Thai Airways A350 finally makes it to Melbourne
Thai Airways used to be a leader in international travel. Unfortunately – long gone are the days that they had a leading hard product, and their soft product, which used to be one of the best in the sky has also suffered. Like many airlines, it has had financial difficulties, which have seen it peddling an uncompetitive business and first class product for some time. They still have some of the roomiest economy leg room you will find, and of course they still fly the romantic 747’s on a range of routes into Australia.
I have a soft spot for Thai, as they were the first airline I travelled on internationally, and I have occupied a business class seat in the ‘hump’ of the 747 on the way to Asia or Europe more times than I can remember.
Well, today, finally, they landed their long-promised A350-900 flight in Melbourne this Sunday morning.
The two class A350 (Royal Silk Class: 32, Economy: 289) replaces their daily 777-200 services Bangkok – Melbourne. It increases the seat count per flight by about 30.
The A350 service has been promised for about a year, originally scheduled for September 2016. It has experienced so many delays – from seating problems, through to regulatory delays, that some commentators had given up hope.
The arrival of the A350 is a substantial upgrade of the product being offered by Thai to Australia. The new business class seats offer direct aisle access to all and convert into lie-flat beds in a 1-2-1 configuration. Add to this free wi-fi and improved business class meal service, including ‘dine-on-demand’, and I would say Thai is back in the competition for business bums on seats. Economy is in a 3-3-3 configuration but retains a once standard 32′ pitch using 18′ wide seats (compare this to Qantas A380 of 31′ and 17.5′)
Not being based in Melbourne – I probably won’t get a chance to sample this product anytime soon, but when they schedule the A350 to Sydney – promised for ‘some time’ in 2018 – I’ll definitely want to try it.
Images courtesy of Airbus and Thai Airways