Trip Report: Flying on Thai Airways ‘rare’ 787-9

Cabin interior of Thai Airways B787-9
Photo Credit: Indy Udol

BANGKOK – After having flown on the classic Boeing 777-200ER, today’s trip report will examine what flying on Thai Airways ‘rare’ fleet of Boeing 787-9s is all about. The 787-9 is considered a rare type on Thai’s fleet as they currently operate only 2 aircraft. 

My Flight TG 403 Singapore – Bangkok

Once again – welcome back to Singapore’s infamous Jewel. This iconic waterfall never fails to bore me. 

Thai Airways check-in at Singapore Changi Airport.

Special credit to a good friend of mine for being cheeky, taking a picture of me during check-in.

After going through security and immigration, I was greeted with the view of the infamous Terminal 1 bay. No, that is not our flight back to Bangkok.

Shown in the picture is Thai’s 787-8 HS-TQB operating as flight TG413 back to Bangkok. 

There she is! My 787-9 is here. My aircraft came promptly after the Thai 787-8 left for Bangkok. 

Thai Airways Boeing 787-9 pulls into the terminal gate.

My aircraft, the 787-9 HS-TWB. To be very honest, the aircraft needs a wash, like all Thai Airway’s planes. 

At gate D2 ready for my flight back to Bangkok! 

Interior business class on Thai Airways B787-9

I walked past the business class section. Unfortunately, I won’t be sitting in this section for this flight.

This herringbone business class seat can be only found on Thai’s 787-9, whilst the airline’s standard or signature seats are staggered on a 1-2-1 configuration found on their 777s and A350s.

Even so, the airline’s 787 Business class seats are configured 2-2-2, and its A330 being 1-2-2 and/or 2-2-1 seats found on Aer Lingus for instance. This shows how inconsistent the Thai flag carrier is. 

My seat is 44A. Very light load today to Bangkok, which means… 

… an entire row of economy class to myself! Which means I can transform the row into my own little working cocoon. The seat comes with a USB plug and a universal plug for me to charge my phone and my laptop. 

Leg room was decent, but not great compared to the 777-200ER classic, nor my flight on the Philippines Airlines A350. 

Ready for pushback. 

Rotate from Singapore Changi Airport. 

For my meal, I opted for the western dish (again). I had prawns with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots. The taste wasn’t too bad. 

Highlight of the tray – my favourite food of all, the ‘Larb’. It’s a Thai staple food which consists of minced pork or beef with red onions mixed with sharp curry paste. Very aromatic and delicious. 

Of course, white wine to flush everything down. 

Wifi is available on this flight, though I did not try it myself. 

Second drinks service, I opted for the cola. 

After the meal service, we had 1 hour and a half to spare. I was intrigued by the light show on board this Dreamliner. 

More beautiful mood lighting before arrival to Bangkok. 

One last shot! 

On finals to Runway 21R at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. 

Bottom Line

The flight was on time, the cabin was clean, food was mediocre but could be better. The airline is undergoing a structural transition, so it would be best not to be so critical.

The airline is losing or has lost its competitive edge to other Asian airlines namely Cathay or Singapore Airlines.

Though not related to my flight, if I were a frequent flier on Thai Airways and business class is my class of choice, I will not be satisfied with the inconsistency in the hard product line up.

Thai Airways fares best in economy class, but its premium product needs brushing up. 

Why such a small fleet? 

Thai Airways got two Boeing 787-9 in its fleet. The HS-TWA (MSN 602) and HS-TWB (MSN 623). They were initially planned for flight to the west coast of the United States but have never been materialised.

We still do not know why Thai still hasn’t increased the quantity of the 787-9, as having 2 in its fleet is an odd composition.

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