I took a short side trip from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Phuket(HKT) to catch up with friends.  On the trip to HKT I got to fly Royal Silk business class on the brand new Thai A350-900.

Business class section on Thai’s new A350-900

Returning to Bangkok (BKK) to connect to the Vietnam Airlines flight to SGN, I flew the much older Thai 777-200ER and visited the Thai Airways lounge in HKT.

Thai Royal Silk Lounge HKT

After checking in at HKT and clearing security, I had about 20 minutes before boarding the flight to BKK so I dropped by the Thai lounge.  The Royal Silk lounge is in the domestic terminal at the rear of the airside passenger waiting area.  It is open to those flying business or first class on Thai and certain Thai frequent flyers.

The lounge has wifi, hot and cold entrees, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, seating in a quite environment, electrical outlets, a flight monitor and Thai agents.

Phuket Royal Silk lounge general seating area

Some of the seats in the general seating area were rather shabby.  A small alcove was designated for first-class passengers.

First-class alcove

The best part of this lounge, hands down, were as the warm snacks/entrees.  There was a heating unit below each one and a clear cover over them.  You could see each snack/entree without lifting the cover.  The samosas were outstanding – better than ones I’ve had in restaurants.

Hot food area
Assorted sandwiches including vegetarian

Unlike the domestic Royal Silk lounge in BKK, at least this lounge had beer.

Phuket lounge cold beverages


My flight to BKK was slightly delayed.  I ended up spending about 30 minutes in this lounge which, except for the wonderful samosas, was about 29 minutes too long.

TG204 HKT – BKK 

I had seat 11B for the flight to BKK.  Thai 777-200s have the old, angled-flat, business-class seats.  These aircraft have 30 seats in business in a 2-2-2 arrangement.

Seat 11B, the first row of business class

These seats are 20 inches wide and recline 160 degrees.  Seat pitch varies from 61 to 70 inches.

Seat 11B is in the first row of business
Thai 777-200 business-class cabin
Seat control with massage function

The video screen is stowed under the armrest between the seats.  It folds up for viewing. The screen is small.  Being close to your eyes rather than mounted on the wall or seat in front makes up somewhat for the small screen size.

In-flight entertainment screen

Because the screen is not fixed, you can adjust it to avoid glare.  In addition to small size, another drawback to fold-up screens is that they must be stowed for takeoff and landing thus reducing viewing time.

These seats are more than satisfactory for short flights.  Someone was sitting next to me in 11A, but I never felt crowded or uncomfortable.  On flights were sleeping is an option, the middle seats would be preferred to avoid stepping over someone or being stepped over to get to the aisle.

The Service

As usual, to shorten the time required for the meal service, the flight attendants distributed hot towels before takeoff.  They also served non-alcoholic beverages before departure.

Pre-departure beverage

Even though HKT has only one runway and is served by many Asian and European carriers, I have never experienced delays once the plane is boarded and ready for departure. The runway is very close to the terminal so taxi times are short.

Once airborne on the 78-minute flight they served a hot entree with desert and offered hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages.  The meal was simple but well presented.

Shrimp Pad Thai

Thai provides free meals even in economy on these short domestic routes.

Thai Routes and Fleet

Thai flies to many destinations in Asia, Australia, and Europe but none in the US since it dropped its flight to Los Angeles a few years ago.

Thai domestic route map

The Thai fleet consists of 94 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Thai fleet

The final analysis

For short flights business class on a Thai 777-200ER is quite satisfactory.  For longer international routes, the 2-2-2 format, non lie-flat seats, and small video screens make this aircraft one to avoid if possible.  If flying this aircraft long haul, the seats in the center section are the best.