✅ Trip Verified
| Vientiane to Bangkok on Thai Airways evening departure. The flight this evening was operated by HS-TER, a nine year old Airbus A330 named U Thong. As usual I had filled in my API information and checked in online. On arrival at VTE, I headed straight for the Internet check-in counter. Ground staff were on hand directing passengers. There was already a line up. However when we approached the head of the line, a senior ground service staff directed us to the Royal Silk check-in counter and processed us quite efficiently. She was warm and friendly. Security check and immigration wasn't too long (perks of a small airport) and we were at the gate with about an hour and a half to spare. At about 7:40 PM we were advised that the incoming aircraft was delayed out of BKK, due to which departure was delayed by 20 minutes, making the new departure time 8:50 PM. Boarding at 08:40 PM was chaotic with no designated order or series as is the norm with wide-body aircraft. Mind you, there was an announcement of boarding by row numbers, but the staff at the gate didn't seem to be too bothered. There was a dedicated line for loyalty program elite tiers and business class passengers. The welcome on board was friendly, but hardly the warmth one associates with Thai Airways. The seat was the standard economy on A330, equipped with a personal television. On this short haul sector the in-flight entertainment was deactivated and the only display was the rather outdated flight map. The seat pocket contained a copy of Sawasdee, Vision (the in-flight entertainment listing), duty free shopping guide and a promotional document from the Thai government. The flight was delayed further and we finally took off 36 minutes late. The service on board was lacklustre. The crew were neither friendly nor warm. The quality of cuisine served was unimpressive. Naturally, I compared it to the Thai Smile aircraft that I took for the inward bound flight and the food was below average. The meal on offer was a cheesy mushroom calzone with too much of the pastry accompanied by a rather shoddy choux cream custard and a bottle of water. This was followed by the crew making a trip down the aisle with orange juice and tea/coffee. They played the Thai Immigration video which mandated that one must complete the TM6 form provided by the airline. Needless to say, the crew waited until the last minute to start distributing these even though we were on the tarmac in VTE for quite some time. Eventually after they handed out the form, the crew member approached me to stow my tray table for landing. I couldn't help but respond with, "If you wanted to secure the cabin, you might have handed these out a bit earlier." I am of the opinion that Thai Smile is the better product on this route.