TG425 BKK-PEN Business Class
Thai Airways offered the only available direct business class service between Bangkok and Penang. From arrival at BKK to the lounge was a joy (as usual) with the separate TG business class check-in with direct access to fast-track security and immigration. Then it's straight down the escalator and you are in the main business lounge. This is a large space with plenty of food, but strangely only one bar, where you need to request alcoholic drinks, rather than self-serve. WIFI in the lounge was painfully slow, especially at busy times, but it was great being able to enjoy a complimentary 30 minute foot massage. Be warned - after around 16:30, there is often a wait time of 30 minutes or more and there is no booking process as preference is given to First Class travellers.
The seat on this ancient A300 was similar to that offered on our earlier Cathay Pacific flight and whilst comfortable is definitely outdated. We sat in row 11 (the first row), so had no-one reclining in front of us.
Food & Beverage
A pre-departure drink was offered (choice of champagne, water, juice or a Thai sweet drink) and menus were handed out. Although there was no choice of food, we were pleasantly surprised with the chicken teriyaki served with rice and vegetables, and the small coconut and pandan jelly. Both were tasty and it's great to have a meal served on such a short flight (although welcome as we had no dinner on the ground).
The wine list was comprehensive for a short-haul flight, offering Laurent Perrier champagne and a choice of 2-3 red and white wines. A full range of soft drinks and tea and coffee were also offered. Why can't it be like this in Europe?
The flight passed quickly, although not without some turbulence. On the whole, staff were reasonably friendly (2 more so than the others), but on a short flight they were kept busy and had no time to chat to passengers. We were offered cold towels, pre-departure drinks, top-ups of the drink and headphones, all of which was good. However, there was not the warmth or grace of service we experienced on Cathay. We have no problems recommending Thai - they offer a solid service on short routes (we also previously enjoyed their long-haul First class) and these older A300s have now been retired.