Traveling with Emmie is heaps of fun but getting to the airport and onto our flights is generally pretty stressful. I don't know about other kids but with Emmie, if she sees that I need to be somewhere at a certain time or senses I am stressed about getting somewhere her response is to block me in any way possible! Like unpacking her bag as I’m packing up our big backpack or hiding my clothes under the bed while I’m trying to concentrate on packing, flight times, bookings and schedules. Arggggg kids!
So generally when we arrive at the airport I’m a bit frazzled, and this time it was worse with heavy traffic, a slow driver and a language barrier which kept me from knowing how long it was going to take or if we were heading to the right terminal - so my frazzled-ness was at a serious high by the time we made it to the Thai Airways check-in counter at Beijing Airport.
And then, relax. Immediately I was put at ease and I felt I could hand all responsibility over and just let the Thai Airways team take care of us, and everything else.
Our bags were checked quickly and we were guided through immigration and the series of security checkpoints, train and walkways to our gate for our flight to Bangkok, with little fuss, just help and kindness.
I had time to grab a quick coffee (Starbucks was right next to the gate - score!) before we boarded. It was fast and smooth and our seats, 48A and 48B on the gorgeous Boeing 777 - 300ER, had a good amount of legroom and, luckily for us, a spare aisle seat so Em could stretch out and I wasn't covered with her up arms and legs all over me as usual when she tries to take all available space!
The pinks and purples of the Thai Airways palette are so beautiful, and orchids are everywhere on board. It’s so relaxing. Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, and when we boarded the plane we immediately experienced the beautiful warm smiles and helpful nature of the Thai people through the kindness of the lovely crew.
Take off was smooth and low while we flew south from Beijing over cities and mountains and industries, slowly climbing up into the blue sky. I love staring out the window at the world below and had to enter into serious negotiation about window-use with Em. For personal safety, Em always has the window seat, and this was especially important when she was younger and when we are on night flights. But now she is older, if we are on a day flight and the coast is clear and if she is not using the window then I want it. The way I see it, if you have a window seat you are obligated to look out! And of course at six years old Emmie wants in-flight entertainment instead.
But I lost that battle. And so I turned to the in-flight as well and reclined my seat. Oooh nice - whilst the back reclined the base of the seat shifted slightly to give an extra comfortable position and helped to increase the space between my legs and the seat in front. While Emmie watched Kung Fu Panda III and the Wizard of Oz I checked out Allegiance, then Sisters and discovered Pitch Perfect in the back catalogue and watched the songs from that too.
The drinks service was up and running straight away on this flight, which I loved. I’ve noticed some airlines have started to keep the seatbelt sign on for the first hour or so, but the gorgeous flight attendants were quickly bringing the drinks trolley down the aisle and we had time for two drinks (apple juice for Emmie, sprite for me), before lunch was served - roast chicken and pasta or prawn fried rice, all served with salad, bread roll and desert. Meals completed we were offered tea and coffee or a top up before rest time and the next few hours of our flight into Bangkok.
The Thai Airways crew was super friendly, taking time to chat with Emmie and letting us take photos with them in the galley. Their uniforms are so beautiful, in a traditional Thai style with delicate golds and pinks and purples, Emmie thinks they look like Thai princesses and they are very approachable which is fabulous when traveling with children, as it’s great to know that not only is the crew happy to help, but your children want to engage with them.
And toilets - one of my favourite flying subjects. It was exciting for me because the toilets were spacious, with fragrance on the sink to keep them smelling nice and fresh, and there was a special needs toilet in the middle of the plane near our seats which was huge. I remember the challenge and precision needed to change Emmie’s nappies and clothes in teeny tiny cubicles on long haul flights so for mums with small children having this extra space for change time and to help children use the toilet is a blessing and makes a flight much less stressful and daunting.
There was a little turbulence which we were given notice to return to our seats and fasten our seatbelts, but mostly bumps were avoided and our flight into Bangkok and landing was smooth, even with the rainy season storms in Bangkok.
All in all we loved flying Thai Airways. The crew is professional, helpful and lovely with children, always full of smiles and happy to help. The roomy economy seats and spacious toilets give extra ease when having to change babies and toddlers or help children use the bathroom. The in-flight service is abundant and entertainment for kids is great with kids games, new release movies and tv shows to keep them entertained for hours. It would be really easy to do a long haul flight in this plane - our flight was five hours long and we were feeling good when we touched down.
We were off the plane nice and quickly and since we were guests of Thai Airways were met at the gate and oh my gosh - we were taken in a buggy to collect our bags and then through immigration and customs! How exciting! We loved riding in the buggy and the icing on the cake was that when we emerged into the arrivals hall my mum was waiting for us, having flown all the way from Sydney. What a fabulous day!
We have more flights coming up with Thai and we can't wait!
NOTE: We flew with Thai Airways from Beijing to Bangkok as guests of the airline.