The Complete Guide to Booking Thai Airways First Class
Thai Airways offers a unique First Class product that includes a spectacular ground experience in Bangkok and delicious cuisine. The airline has also recently updated its First Class cabin, complete with sliding doors and a large entertainment screen.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything there is to know about Thai Airways First Class, including what you can expect before and during your First Class flight, as well as the finer details about Thai Airways First Class cabins, aircraft, and current routes.
Of course, we’ll also check out all the best ways to fly Thai Airways First Class at a significantly reduced rate by redeeming points.
The Thai Airways First Class Experience
Thai Airways First Class includes the very best that the Bangkok-based airline has to offer. Unique to Thai Airways, First Class passengers will enjoy a complimentary pre-flight massage at the flagship lounge’s spa in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
Once onboard, you can expect attentive service, a spacious suite, delicious cuisine, and Dom Perignon Champagne at your disposal. You’ll also get to add Thai Airways First Class pajamas to your airline loungewear collection, and use them for a nap in your lie-flat suite.
The Thai Airways First Class experience begins as soon as you arrive at the airport.
Departing from Bangkok, there is a dedicated First Class check-in counter, where you’ll find your own porter who escorts you through a special Fast Track security lane and immigration area.
After what should be a rather quick check-in experience, you’ll be transported, perhaps by golf cart, directly to the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge. This lounge is essentially brand-new, as it opened briefly prior to the pandemic, only to be shuttered shortly thereafter.
The Royal First Class Lounge is temporarily closed, so First Class passengers can rest in this state-of-the-art lounge prior to their flight instead.
The spacious lounge includes many different seating areas, so whether you’d like to read, eat, relax, or nap, you’ll be sure to find an area to suit your needs. There is a separate seating area for Royal First Class passengers.
Should you be hungry, you can help yourself to a hot food buffet, or you can order items from the lounge’s kitchen. There are specially marked tables for First Class passengers, as well as a special à la carte menu reserved for passengers in Royal First Class.
You surely won’t be disappointed if you’re a fan of Thai food, and there are also a number of other options as well.
Along with the food, you’ll have a choice of beverages, including Möet & Chandon Imperial Champagne.
Whether you’re connecting through or departing from Bangkok, you can take advantage of the lounge’s shower facilities to freshen up before waltzing aboard feeling fresh and clean.
Both the Royal First Class Lounge and the Royal Orchid Prestige Lounges have spas on site. Unfortunately, they remain temporarily closed due to ongoing effects of the pandemic.
Once they return to operation, though, Thai Airways First Class passengers are in for a real treat. While having a spa in a lounge isn’t entirely unique on its own, Thai Airways goes above and beyond by offering all First Class passengers a complimentary hour-long treatment.
Indeed, you can choose from either a 60-minute full-body massage, or if you happen to be short on time, you can also elect for a 30-minute foot or shoulder and neck massage.
Once fully relaxed and ready to board, you’ll be escorted, sometimes by a personal van or a buggy, all the way to the aircraft. Upon arrival, the Thai Airways First Class experience continues in earnest.
Currently, Thai Airways First Class is only found on the Boeing 777-300ER. As soon as you board, you’ll find a modern and crisp First Class cabin, as these aircraft only came into operation in April 2022.
This current First Class model has a lot of space, and while it doesn’t have the option of a fully enclosed suite, there is a sliding door which provides partial privacy.
Each seat has more than enough storage space, including in the ottoman opposite the seat and underneath the large entertainment screen. The ottoman functions as both a storage space and a spot where a travel companion can join you for dinner or drinks.
If you wish to change your seat’s position, seat controls are available through an advanced touch screen design, or with a simpler push of a button if you’d prefer.
In keeping with First Class tradition, these seats can be lowered all of the way, so you can enjoy a fully lie-flat bed during your flight.
To complete the luxury experience, you will receive an amenity kit designed by Porsche, as well as pajamas and noise cancelling headphones for the flight.
Food and Drink
As soon as you take your seat, you’ll be treated to a glass of Dom Perignon Champagne, usually accompanied by nuts and chocolate.
On the Thai Airways website, you can pre-select your meal up to 72 hours prior to departure. You’ll have a range of options to choose from, whatever your tastes might be.
The in-flight rotating menu will always contain a wide variety of delicacies. You can expect Thai dishes, such as Coconut Herb Sea Bass or the Royal Boiled Rice Set, as well as classics like Lobster Thermidor.
While in the air, Thai Airways offers a “dine on demand” service style. This allows you to order food and drink whenever you’d like, in case you’re not hungry during the regular meal service times.
You can also have a travel companion sit across from you to share a meal, as the large and sturdy tray table is plenty big enough to serve two.
Thai Airways First Class Cabins
After recently retiring all of its First Class aircraft, including the Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s, Thai Airways has brought back a new First Class product exclusively on a fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs.
On these aircraft, there are eight First Class seats that are configured in a 1-2-1 layout over two rows.
If you’re travelling solo, you’ll want to choose Seats 1A, 1K, 2A, or 2K for the most privacy.
Meanwhile, if you’re travelling with a companion, you’ll want to select either Seats 1E and 1F or Seats 2E and 2F in order to be closer together.
Thai Airways First Class Routes
At present, Thai Airways has three 777 aircraft with First Class cabins. The airline is currently offering flights in First Class to and from London Heathrow, Tokyo Narita, and Osaka Kansai airports.
Unfortunately, Thai Airways doesn’t have any flights to or from North America.
Before the pandemic, there were significantly more First Class route options. However, since retiring all of its older aircraft and eventually bringing back First Class back on new deliveries, this class of service is currently only offered on three routes to and from Bangkok.
As travel continues to resume, it is possible that Thai Airways will continue to add more routes, which would be very welcome news indeed.
How to Redeem Points for Thai Airways First Class
Thai Airways is a member of Star Alliance, and in fact one of the founding members of the alliance. In theory, Thai Airways can be booked with points from other Star Alliance loyalty programs.
In reality, however, it’s a bit trickier. The most popular rewards program for booking Star Alliance flights is Aeroplan, although it’s possible to book Thai Airways First Class with many other Star Alliance airline loyalty programs.
Arguably the easiest way to book Thai Airways First Class is with Aeroplan. As a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, and with a slew of co-branded credit cards, Aeroplan points are easy to come by and easy to redeem.
To or from both Japanese destinations, you can expect to pay 60,000 Aeroplan points for a one-way flight in Thai Airways First Class.
On the long-haul route to London, the cost jumps up to 100,000 Aeroplan points. The flight measures in at 5,938 miles, placing it in the third distance band on the “Between Atlantic and Pacific zones” chart.
You’ll likely have a much easier time booking one of the Japanese routes. If you manage to score a seat on the London route, it would represent an excellent way to fly from Europe to Asia.
Using United MileagePlus miles, you can fly to and from Bangkok to both Tokyo or Osaka for 71,500 miles, plus a very modest amount of taxes and fees.
Flights to and from London are over double the cost, with the Bangkok to London route costing 159,500 miles.
United MileagePlus miles are relatively difficult to come by. Aside from earning miles through crediting paid flights to United MileagePlus, your best bet is with US-issued credit cards.
United MileagePlus is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, which you can transfer instantly at an optimal ratio of 1:1.
Aside from Ultimate Rewards, you can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to United at a ratio of 3:1.1.
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
If you have miles in Thai Airways’ Royal Orchid Plus program, you’ll have an easier time booking Thai First Class flights. While it may be easier to redeem points with this program, it comes at a slightly lower cost than using United miles or a slightly higher cost than Aeroplan points.
Flights to and from Bangkok to Japan will cost 67,500 miles, and to and from London will cost 125,000 miles.
If you have an eligible business class flight paid with cash, you can also upgrade from business class to First Class with Royal Orchid miles; however, the costs are quite high, and it would make more sense to save your miles for a future trip instead.
Upgrading to First Class would cost 61,000 Royal Orchid Plus miles for a route going to or from Japan, and 112,500 miles if you are flying to or from London from Bangkok.
Royal Orchid Plus is a transfer partner of US-issued Citi ThankYou points at a ratio of 1:1. You can also transfer from Marriott Bonvoy at an optimal ratio of 60,000:25,000.
Thai Airways First Class Award Availability
As is the case with First Class award availability on all airlines, you’ll have the best chance of finding space if you book as far in advance as possible.
Currently, reward space between Bangkok and London is quite sparse. If you’re able to find a seat, be sure to book it.
More ample award space can be found on the routes between Thailand and Japan. This is especially the case with the Osaka route, as the airline appears to be consistently releasing one reward seat on each flight.
Flights to and from Tokyo are harder to come by, but by no means are they impossible to find either.
Tips & Tricks for Thai Airways First Class
If you’re looking to try out Thai Airways First Class, you’ll certainly want to find a route flying out of Bangkok in order to make the most of Thai Airways’s ground service. When the spas reopen, this will include a complimentary spa treatment in the lounge.
You can also consider using Aeroplan’s stopover rules to combine a Thai Airways First Class flight with another partner airline’s First Class, too.
For example, you could fly from North America to Tokyo on All Nippon Airways First Class, and then continue onwards to Bangkok in Thai Airways First Class. Over 20 hours of First Class flying will cost only 135,000 Aeroplan points.
Coming in the other direction, you could look at a First Class flight from Washington to Abu Dhabi in Etihad Airways First Class, a flight to Bangkok in business class, and then a flight in Thai Airways First Class to Japan.
At just over 13,000 miles, a routing such as this would cost 155,000 Aeroplan points (including a stopover), but you’d have a pretty spectacular flying experience.
Lastly, keep in mind that the London–Bangkok route will impose the most taxes and fees, due to the UK’s pesky Air Passenger Duty. The upside is that the flight from London is a daytime flight, so you’ll just have to make sure to recuperate your costs with plenty of free-flowing Dom Perignon.
Aptly marketed as “Royal First Class”, Thai Airways’s forward cabin experience will no doubt leave you feeling like a monarch once you step off the plane.
While it may not be renowned as the most groundbreaking experience, Thai Airways’s new First Class product is sure to delight, offering an excellent ground experience, sliding privacy doors, and plenty of high-end bubbles.
Despite not offering any current First Class routes flying to or from North America, Thai Airways First Class is still a bucket-list item worth checking out on your international adventures.
As some airlines have been pivoting away from offering First Class, Thai Airways has decided to buck the trend by introducing a brand-new luxury product on its newest aircraft.
We can only hope that the airline will roll out the cabin on more routes, and that the spa in the First Class lounge in Bangkok reopens without haste.