Review: Thai Airways Domestic Royal Silk Lounge, Bangkok

We visited THAI’s domestic lounge before a flight out of the Thai capital.

With the wonders of jetlag we were up early and so arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport earlier than we would have planned, being dropped out front by the first door near THAI’s premium check-in.

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Inside we found the Royal Silk check-in to be closed until 5am.

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The next row over (check-in for Star Alliance Gold members in economy class) was also closed. There were luggage trollies piled with amazing stacks of boxes which formed waiting passengers’ luggage.

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Thankfully we were not waiting long for check-in staff to arrive and issue our boarding pass. We were then promptly through security (there was no line at that hour) and riding an escalator which goes down two floors, straight under the international departures concourse.

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From there it was a left turn and then a bit of a hike (at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, fancy that!). We passed the lounge for monks, alas we have not yet reached that higher state of being.

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Thai Airways’ domestic Royal Silk Lounge is located in Concourse A and covers 979 sqm (~10,550 sqft). It is open from 5am to 11:30pm daily.

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Arriving in the lounge we had to wait behind a couple with who were waving around a single Air France Flying Blue Ivory card to try and get access. Air France is a SkyTeam member, while Thai Airways is a Star Alliance member. Furthermore Flying Blue Ivory is the entry level tier and does not confer lounge access anywhere in the world, even when flying Air France. As there was only one member on staff we patiently waited a few minutes for the couple to give up and leave.

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Inside there was a notice that customers flying on Thai Smile (the regional wholly owned subsidiary of Thai Airways International) would need to present their membership cards for Thai Airways’ frequent flyer scheme to gain access. While Thai Smile used to recognise Star Alliance Gold membership, they now do not. That was not spelt out on the notice.

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We were the first customers in the lounge for the day. It later filled up with all the early morning international arrivals from Europe. Every seat was taken and people milled around looking for an even vague sense a seat might become free.

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The lounge is visually broken up by the pillar in the middle and glass surrounding it.

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Running along the back are five computers (only four of which are at a height were they can be sat at). We feel these are uncomfortably close together and an easy fix would be to take one or two out.

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It is of course obvious that this lounge gets crowded and so THAI needs to have as much seating capacity as possible. The lounge is configured with individual seats facing each other with little space between them.

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One thing that was certainly noticeable by its absence was power outlets for customers to use. This is a massive omission. Given that the lounge was empty we eventually located a free outlet in the floor which we could make work with our Thai power plug adapter. The wi-fi was sufficiently speedy, although we were a bit miffed to have to scan our boarding pass at reception to get a printed wi-fi code.

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Near the entrance, a self service bar and buffet is laid out.

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It is certainly not worth being early just for the food on offer.

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It is worth noting that as THAI do not serve alcohol on domestic flights, there is no alcohol available in this lounge either.

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A selection of magazines and newspapers is available in the back corner of the lounge.

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A corridor (also lined with seats) leads back to the bathrooms (for which there was often a queue).

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There is also some seating tucked away in the back.

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We followed the sign to the ‘Garden Zone’ but found that to be closed (as it has been on every other occasion we have visited this lounge also).

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Thai Airways International (to give the airline its full name) offer a pleasant, but not particularly comfortable lounge for domestic departures out of the Thai capital. We suggest planning to minimize your time in this lounge, particularly during the busy morning peak time, and indeed – in a rarity for us – we left right on boarding time to head to our gate.

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