Thai Airways Royal Silk business class lounge, Bangkok Airport Concourse D

Lounge Review: Thai Airways Royal Silk business class lounge, Bangkok Airport Concourse D

Country:
Thailand
City:
Bangkok
Airport:
Bangkok
Cabin Class:
Business
Alliance:
Star Alliance
Airline:
TG (Thai Airways)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • Dedicated fast-track channel from check-in through security, passport control and then into the lounge
  • A staffed bar, if you can find it

What's Not

  • Lack of power points
  • Buffet choices feel more 'domestic' than 'flagship international'
  • No sparkling wine or Champagne

X-Factor

  • Head to the Royal Orchid Spa for a complimentary 30- or 60-minute treatment

Introduction

Thai Airways' flagship Royal Silk business class lounge at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport's Concourse D is smack-bang in the middle of the terminal in a location that can't be beat, with the airline's premium passengers enjoying speedy access after passport control and complimentary spa treatments nearby in the Royal Orchid Spa.

However, the Royal Silk Lounge itself could do with a major overhaul, with power points difficult to locate, carpet that's practically worn-out, identical furniture everywhere you look and some 'hot' items at the buffet served below temperature.

Australian Business Traveller brings you this review following a recent visit to Thailand.

Location & Impressions

If you're beginning your journey in Bangkok, enter the airport terminal via Thai Airways' dedicated Royal Silk and Royal First corridor and check-in area...

... clear security and passport control via Thai's private channel, and then take the first escalator down, which takes you directly into this Royal Silk Lounge.

If you're instead visiting the lounge before a connecting flight in Bangkok, proceed through international transfers and then head to Level 3 on Concourse D to find the 'airside' lounge entrance:

Once inside, you'll find an array of seating...

... joined by more of the same seating...

... and, you guessed it, more seats (314 in total, to be exact), with some located in well-lit areas and others in darker zones better-suited to passengers readying themselves for sleep on evening flights:

The lounge is essentially one long rectangle, with a central walkway guiding you from one end to the other and then out into the terminal at the other end...

... with many zones exposed to natural light during the day through the 'open' design...

... but that same design also allows passengers walking along the public terminal concourse to gawk inside, so if privacy is important, we'd suggest grabbing a seat facing away from the central windows.

Boarding calls aren't made within the lounge itself, but boarding calls made within the terminal proper are relatively audible from many of the areas inside the lounge, as the glass panes pictured above don't stretch from floor to ceiling to act as a sound barrier.

Access

  • Business class and first class passengers of Star Alliance airlines Thai Airways, Air China, Air India, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SWISS and Turkish Airlines, plus Oneworld members Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian by special arrangement
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Gold and Platinum cardholders prior to Star Alliance flights
  • Other Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers prior to Star Alliance flights
  • Paid lounge members of Air Canada Maple Leaf Club (Worldwide plan only) and United Club, also before Star Alliance flights
  • Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers (including Qantas Platinum and Gold) prior to flights with Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian only

Star Alliance first class flyers plus Royal Orchid Plus Platinum members also receive access to the separate Thai Airways Royal First Lounge, while both EVA Air and Singapore Airlines operate branded lounges in Bangkok.

Dining

Given this is Thai Airways' flagship international business class lounge in its home hub airport, we'd hoped to find a solid selection of dining options for the airline's premium passengers, but the choice here is rather wanting.

That begins with vegetarian spring rolls that were luke warm at best with no heat source to keep these at temperature, aside salted and deep-fried chicken wings which we passed on after our experience with the spring rolls...

... continuing with mini spinach quiches and chicken-filled rolls, which were at least flavourful and hot enough, but which aren't a big step up from what you can purchase from the pie warmer at most Aussie petrol stations:

More substantial mains like chicken tikka with rice were also available from the main buffet counter...

... with machine-made espresso coffee to the side...

... along with a range of fresh ingredients to make your own salad...

... and a line-up of finger sandwiches with chocolate treats aside:

In the very far corner is a staffed bar, which has a reasonable selection of spirits but a lacking wine list, with only one white, one red and zero sparking or Champagne:

The location of the bar also makes it easy to miss, being the furthest point inside the lounge for transit passengers to reach, and a sharp right after going down the post-passport-control escalator – despite the fact you're guided left from the same escalator to be scanned and welcomed into the lounge.

Work

WiFi is available throughout the lounge – you'll receive a unique username and password when you arrive, which you'll need to enter after connecting to the THAINetwork_Silk(D) hotspot.

We clocked download speeds at 12.18Mbps, uploads at 6.72Mbps and ping speeds of 8ms during our visit: being roughly on-par with an ADSL2+ connection or entry-level NBN fibre plan in Australia for downloads, and faster than many household connections for uploads: useful when sending large email attachments or uploading photos from your trip to social media.

If you didn't pack your own device, follow the signs to "Internet" in the lounge...

... and perch yourself at one of six computers:

As with any public computer, we'd suggest using these only for general browsing rather than for accessing confidential emails, data, banking or social media accounts, which require you to type in a password.

If you need to make a private phone call, two telephone rooms with closing doors are also available, and could also prove useful for some zoned-in laptop work:

However, power points in this lounge are incredibly scarce, being only near a handful of chairs that happen to be against walls – and even then, some of those outlets are taken up by fans and other lounge equipment.

Relax

A highlight in Bangkok is the Royal Orchid Spa, exclusively for Thai Airways' international business class and first class passengers and located directly across from this Royal Silk Lounge.

Business class guests can enjoy a complimentary 30-minute neck and shoulder massage or a foot massage, while first class flyers are treated to a 60-minute full body oil massage or a 'Royal Thai Massage', with spa sessions secured on a first-come, first-served basis.

We arrived early for our Bangkok-Brisbane business class flight and only had to wait about 10 minutes, opting for the neck and shoulder massage which was a great way to unwind after a busy week.

Back in the Royal Silk Lounge, a selection of newspapers and magazines are available...

... with a play room for children found in the middle of the space:

Next to that are two VIP rooms which feature a privacy wall at the entrance and groups of slightly upgraded seats over those found within the main lounge...

... but we'd expect most VIPs to be next door in the Royal First Lounge, if not the Thai Airways Royal Exclusive Lounge elsewhere in the airport.

All things considered, Thai's flagship Royal Silk Lounge leaves a lot to be desired, particularly when it comes to basics like power points, hot food and sparkling wine, which are common of most modern business class lounges: some even pouring true (French) Champagne.

Accordingly, our approach on future Bangkok visits will be to use this lounge as a fast-track path from passport control to the Royal Orchid Spa for a complimentary treatment, before moving on to the Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounge or the EVA Air lounge instead if there's time to spare before our flight.

These lounges can also be accessed by business class passengers of Thai Airways and all other Star Alliance airlines, plus Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers booked on the same under Star Alliance rules, and offer a much more modern lounge experience to the same flyers.

Chris Chamberlin
Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

6 Comments

  • Yvan J Drake

    MRYJDrake

    13 Jul, 2017 09:52 am

    That sounds both incredibly disappointing for a flagship lounge, but sadly also on par with the Business Class product you encountered on the way over!

    Unless there's an overhaul coming, it's a safe bet you've helped me rule out Thai from any future travel planning I do, even if the end result is Thailand!
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    13 Jul, 2017 10:33 am

    Don't forget - as we mentioned in the review, a Thai Airways business class boarding pass or Star Alliance Gold card will also get you into the SilverKris and EVA Air lounges in Bangkok, which are both much nicer with better pre-flight dining (and are quieter in the evenings before the late night flights to Australia). We'll also be publishing reviews of these when we get the chance.

    Members who gave thanks

    MRYJDrake, GordonS10, johnhyde

  • Yvan J Drake

    MRYJDrake

    13 Jul, 2017 10:41 am

    Absolutely! 

    But it seems the lounge matches the hard product, making it a much easier decision to look at Riding the SQ or Eva products the whole way for very similar price points
    Member who gave thanks

    ExLibris76

  • Marcus

    desafinado74

    13 Jul, 2017 12:29 pm

    Does anyone have any news of when Thai will use the A350 for the MEL - BKK routes ?
    No member give thanks

  • Nathan Luke Jordan

    nathanjordan

    14 Jul, 2017 01:05 pm

    I have tweeted Thai twice now to ask when & they refuse to reply. I tweeted CASA & they confirmed TG was approved in February to fly it, so it would appear the ball is now firmly in TG's court.
    No member give thanks

  • Marcus

    desafinado74

    14 Jul, 2017 03:26 pm

    Thanks Nathan. Let's hope TG will finally use the A350s in Australia in the near future.
    No member give thanks

  • Bruce Robinson

    Bra

    13 Jul, 2017 10:36 pm

    There are also Lounges for Royal Silk class at Concourses C East and West and E East which may be more convenient depending on the departure gate. No spa and bar and the food is basic but internet and power point access good and better for work than D. For domestic flights there is a lounge in concourse A, basic but OK.
    No member give thanks

  • Victor Teng

    victort

    14 Jul, 2017 08:20 am

    Disappointed as looking to book J class to BKK later this year. Looking at options atm and this is another downvote for me when you also take into account the very OLD 747 Thai Airways are running btwn SYD-BKK :( 
    No member give thanks

  • Gordon

    GordonS10

    14 Jul, 2017 05:21 pm

    Use TG a lot as they have a great FF program but they are so inconsistent in their delivery of product/services. This lounge in BKK is a real disgrace and the only good thing in the tea/coffee and you make it yourself! Try to minimise my time there & go to other lounges, other thing is that it is often VERY busy and often hard to get 2 seats at times, in contrast to your photos.
    They have upped the Mel-BKK plane from 777-200 to 777-300ER lately but the A350 in due late this year. Like most things Thai it 'may' be delayed...
    No member give thanks

  • John Hardy

    hardytraveller

    14 Jul, 2017 07:10 pm

    Curious that they have those enormous industrial type fans in the lounge.    Is the air-con so weak ?   Those tired sandwiches have been around forever.  Thai must have some supplier that can't get rid of them elsewhere, I've seen them for at least 10 years.
    And what a mess Suvarnabhumi airport is after such a relatively short time.  Change of gate signs handwritten on A4 paper stuck to a wall; corridors bashed by food carts from the restaurants.  Typically Thai.  No upkeep. 
    Member who gave thanks

    GordonS10

  • ExLibris76

    ExLibris76

    20 Jul, 2017 08:01 am

    hardytraveller, you're right. The aircon is weak, not just in that lounge but pretty much every other TG lounge AND public area at BKK. Hence the need for the the fans.

    Reason: TG and AOT (Airports of Thailand) cheapskate approach to saving money. When BKK opened in 2006, it was set at a proper comfort level for a humid environment (like Singapore Changi). But as the decade rolled on the authorities and TG just dialled back on the aircon switch. Non TG lounges have not followed these idiots' example, so you'll be comfortable in those lounges. Aaah.....just one of a dozen reasons why BKK will NEVER be a SIN or even a KL.
    Member who gave thanks

    GordonS10

Guest

26 Sep, 2017 01:13 am

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