I am currently engaged in a rapid fire First Class round the world trip where I have the opportunity to try out 4 First Class products for the first time. The first two flights on Cathay Pacific First class 777 and 747 were discussed here. I just stepped off the Thai A380 in Frankfurt originating in Bangkok and wanted to share my first impressions.
The hard product is very solid but has some quirks
The Thai A380 seat is very solid. The seat is both spacious and private similar to the new Lufthansa First Class seat. The IFE entertainment is enjoyable and there was certainly enough content to keep someone entertained for 10+ hours.
One of the highlights of the hard product for me was the amount of easily accessible storage compartments of the seat. I love the ability store my toiletries , personal Bose headphones, pajamas, change of clothes and water bottles near my head for sleeping all at an arms reach.
Onboard I absolutely loved the very spacious First Class bathroom which was missing from Cathay Pacific’s offering. Instead of a second large bathroom up front they have installed a lounge which went completely unused during my trip except for people using it to wait for the larger bathroom. I think a second large bathroom like on Lufthansa A380 is the way to go.
There were a few quirks I found as well.
First off, the design aesthetics are noticeably dull. The color scheme looks outdated even though the product is brand new.
There was a weird screen to my right that illuminated though I am not sure what purpose it served.
The table is fixed and cannot be retracted which really is a design flaw. When sleeping if you try to adjust your legs they will likely smash into the table which makes things a bit claustrophobic.
The A380 is a big BIG differentiator
I believe an average product on an A380 exceeds a superior product on any other widebody for longhaul overnight flights.
The very best part of flying an A380 can not be captured in pictures. Flying in a quieter cabin that is pressurized more closely to sea level makes a world of difference for overnight long-haul flights. While the Cathay Pacific seat was far more spacious and comfortable as a bed, I slept sounder and woke up feeling much more refreshed on the Thai A380 because of this fact.
The onboard services didn’t quite match the immaculate ground services
The ground services at BKK blew me away which I will cover in another post. The flawless coordination in the First Class Lounge at BKK was not quite there onboard though still very good. I loved the service onboard and thought they made my flight great but there was some confusion on who was helping which guest during several moments during the flight and other minor service flaws.
Where to sit
There are 12 equally sized seats in First Class. If flying solo, I would recommend sitting towards the front and at the windows. I was in 3K and there were minor disturbances from the galley throughout the flight. The larger bathroom at the front is on the A side so I would say 1K and 2K are best since no one seemed interested in using that forward lounge. Unlike my opinion of Cathay Pacific, this flight would be great for couples. The middle seats have the proximity I prefer for First Class couple travel. Again the front two rows would be best because of the rear galley noise.
The bottom line
First Class on the Thai A380 is a great product. There were a lot of goods and a few bads. I strongly believe a pretty good product on an A380 exceeds a superior seat on any other widebody for longhaul overnight flights. Thai is one of the few Star Alliance carriers that releases a high quality first class product months out so I would suggest keeping them in mind the next time you are looking for an aspirational award trip to Asia.