A six-hour transit time at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport loomed as I headed back to Australia after a trip to Thailand this week. And my flight left at midnight, ensuring that I’d be tired as I boarded my Thai Airways International flight.
But the universe was looking after me, and to my surprise on check-in at Phuket airport at the start of my journey home I was given an upgrade to Royal Silk (or Business Class). I had been up at dawn, kayaking and gibbon-spotting on Cheow Lam Lake in southern Thailand, so it had been a long day already before I reached Bangkok at around 5.30pm. The thought of spending those six hours waiting in the departure halls was not very appealing. And one of the perks of the upgrade is also the access to a Royal Silk lounge.
Ah…the joys of an airline lounge! Showers, food and drink, comfy chairs and sofas, free wi-fi access, newspapers and magazines…all the things that make business travel bearable, really. After storing my luggage in the lounge and doing a few bits of shopping, I was able to set up my laptop in comfort, log on to answer neglected emails, and start sorting out the hundreds of photos I’d taken over the past week.
Since the new Bangkok airport opened in 2006, the Royal Silk lounges offered by Thai Airways have won multiple awards. There are four Royal Silk lounges at Bangkok International Airport (in addition to one at the domestic terminal and one for Royal First Class passengers). Some of the larger lounges have “slumber rooms”, shower and a “kid’s corner”.
Royal First and Royal Silk Class travellers can also head to the luxurious Royal Orchid Spa Lounge, either before departure flights from Bangkok or during transits between THAI international flights. Sadly, you cannot book a massage…it’s a case of putting your name down and waiting your turn. And hoping it’s not so busy that you miss out!
I am not the only person to find busy airports sometimes stressful – especially when I’m tired after a long trip. And I’ve now discovered that Thai’s Royal Orchid Holidays has a wonderful solution, even if you are not travelling Business Class. THAI’s Royal Orchid Holidays has three special packages designed to smooth the path through check-in, immigration and transit at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport (which is a vast and sprawling place to navigate).
“Meet and Greet” packages are available at for departing and arriving passengers from AU$26 per person (based on two or more passengers travelling together, or AU$51 for solo travellers) and Royal Silk Business Class lounge access is available for stays of up to two-and-a-half hours for AU$49 per person. This lounge service can be booked twice for an extended stay of up to five hours. A child under 12 travelling with an adult is free of charge.
A “Meet and Greet” transit service within Suvarnabhumi Airport costs AU$35 each for two or more passengers or AU$70 for one person. Passengers are met at the arrival gate or the terminal platform and will be escorted through Fast Track Immigration formalities to the transit area. At departure time they are escorted from a pre-arranged meeting point within the terminal to the departure gate. Transit time for this service cannot be less than two-and-a-half hours and not more than six hours.
As a veteran of long delays in airports, I reckon this is great value for money to ensure your comfort! But remember, you must be flying with THAI in order to take advantage of these services – and you must book it ahead of time. Talk to your travel agent, or to THAI when making your flight arrangements.
A Glass Half Full travelled as a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand