BANGKOK – This trip report hits home as I will be flying on my national carrier, Thai Airways down to Singapore. I have deliberately chosen to fly on the ‘classic’ Boeing 777-200ER, as I have a rather odd obsession with flying old aeroplanes.
We say classic in this case as the 777-200ER is one of the oldest fleets of Thai Airways flying as of now.
During the pandemic, the airline plans to phase out the entire 777-200ER fleet. However, it’s been resurrected in mid-2022 due to the unprecedented recovery and growth of the aviation industry in Asia-Pacific.
As Thai Airways is replacing its older fleet of aircraft, it is appropriate for me as an aviation enthusiast to fly one of these oldies before they retire.
I’m flying on Thai’s award-winning economy class today to see how far the pandemic has impacted their services, as they are currently going through the bankruptcy process. Is Thai the award-winning airline that we all used to know?
Today’s classic bird is the 15-year-old Boeing 777-200ER with the registration of HS-TJV. The aircraft has been flying with the Thai flag carrier ever since its delivery in 2010. This Boeing has a manufacturing serial number of 4278.
My Flight is now boarding as flight TG413.
We are parked next to Scoot’s 787-8. The wing really needs some washing.
Arrived at my seat 44A. The upside of flying an older aircraft is that seats are comfortable and thick, unlike the slimline ergonomics ones. Legroom was also amazing!
The flight load was rather light at 65%. Normally, the Bangkok-Singapore route will see around 80% passenger load and above.
Meal service! I opted for the western menu of fish and mashed potatoes. The side dish was Vietnamese salad and an unknown Thai pudding ( I should know this by heart, I’m Thai!).
My seatmate chose the Thai option, which was the Thai curry panaeng, which looked more appetising than my choice!
Mediocre instant coffee. I am a little bit underwhelmed by the choice of coffee offered by Thai.
Turbulence above the Malaysian peninsula.
After the turbulence subsided, a second round of drinks service was performed.
After dozing off for an hour, I was greeted by the kind flight attendant to open my window shades and my seat up to standard take-off/landing configuration.
I looked out the window and saw nothing as Singapore was blanketed with grey clouds and heavy rain. The onboard camera mounted on the 777’s front landing gear did justice to knowing my whereabouts. We are on final to Changi Airport.
Welcome to Singapore.
Spacious legroom and thick seats
I love the rainbow colour on Thai’s older generation aircraft. Thai’s brand identity was colourful back then, now it is more modern, understated and wooden-toned.
Immigration was a breeze, as a Thai passport holder, I took advantage of the e-gate which took less than 10 minutes.
Singapore’s infamous Jewel waterfall is located outside Terminal 1.
As an enthusiast, flying on an old 777-200ER is always a treat. However, Thai Airways have been hit & miss these days due to cost cutting, which is reflected on this flight. The aircraft was old and worn out, it could do with washing on the exterior.
The seats were beaten up and some objects were loose (not life-threatening). The inflight entertainment was slow and laggy, but bearable, however, there were lots of movie and TV choices.
The food was okay. but I should’ve opted for the Thai dish. The friendly cabin crew totally made up for the wear and tear of the aircraft and the ailing hard product.
Thailand’s flag carrier is now in an awkward position as they are going through a rehabilitation programme.
One could not expect a top-notch service like before, but they are by far not nearly as competitive as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific or EVA Air. Thai’s hard products are very old and worn, especially on the older 777s, but the attentive cabin crew made up for it.