What could be worse than more than 9 hours crammed into a tiny space with two farting and belching children, especially when they’re your own? I don’t know because somehow, we’ve won the airplane lottery and scored four seats between the three of us on our Thai Airways economy flight from Sydney to Bangkok.
It’s handy as I momentarily consider checking one of the kids into the hold, as we’ve each got a whopping 30-kilogram luggage allowance and we’ve barely cracked 12 between us. Speaking of check in, I’m blown away by the incredible ground service of the Thai Airways staff at Sydney Airport. They don’t even try to have me arrested when I try to check in a child and they’re friendly and extremely attentive all the way through to boarding.
Once we do, I settle for the aisle seat behind the kids. And by settle, I mean I duct tape myself into it, because there’s no way this claustrophobic mama is giving up an aisle possie or the opportunity to not be dribbled on by small people for the next nine hours and 20 minutes.
This means the kids have scored an empty centre seat between them, so Sugarpuff straps her bunny into the spare seat belt. Because even stuffed rabbits need to follow the safety instructions.
The seats on the Boeing 747 service are surprisingly comfortable and, as I have a seven-year old seated directly in front of me, I don’t have to deal with a dreaded recliner, so the seating feels relatively spacious for the duration of the flight.
When the beverage service commences immediately after take-off, the kids are proffered a bag of crispy treats, juice or soft drinks. I’m offered an additional selection of complimentary beer, wine or spirits. As I am travelling with kids I decide on a bottle of water, so I can remain both hydrated and suitably responsible.
As if. I’m straight into the G&Ts. My children are pro travellers and with over 1,000 hours of movies, short films, games and music – including a stack of family options – on the Thai Airways in-flight entertainment system, they’re both headphoned up and engrossed in their respective movie selection within seconds of the service being switched on. Plus, given I’m seated behind them, I doubt they’d even notice if I was doing handstands in the aisle. Which I don’t. But only because I’d hate to spill a perfectly mixed gin.
We’re barely an hour into the flight when the attendants come by offering the first of two meal services. There is a selection of Western or Asian style meals. The normally unfussy and very hungry Raffles generally refuses to eat any food in flight because to paraphrase, “it sucks”.
But when my spice-obsessed son hears the attendant mention green curry, he can’t resist.
And he’s very glad he decides to dive in. There’s a reason Thai Airways took the top spot in the Skytrax rankings for best Economy Class meals, and the curry is so spicy and packed with flavour he tries to knock off mine. Sugarpuff goes for the less spicy salmon and potatoes and is just as happy. An empty meal tray is an almost unheard occurrence in Eats World flying history, but Thai Airways’ food is good enough to have pulled off a hat trick.
With another six hours before we’re due to land in Bangkok, where a four-hour time difference awaits to mess with our minds, a normal person would probably take the opportunity to enjoy a nap!
But while Sugarpuff and bunny snuffle and snore, Raffles and I find sleeping in the confines of economy something about as likely as being invited to the cockpit to fly the plane. So, from our respective aisles, he goes tomb raiding with Lara Croft and delves into the Quantum Realm with Ant Man, and I catch up on a little work.
Throughout the remainder of the flight, the attentive staff regularly pop by with juice and water for anyone needing to rehydrate themselves… and the odd sneaky G&T for a mama preferring to inebriate herself.
Before we know it, we’re being offered our second meal, a beef noodle number that we all enjoy and we’re making our descent into Bangkok, arriving right on schedule.
Our flight has been so comfortable and the service so extraordinary, that as we disembark into Bangkok’s enormous Suvarnabhumi Airport, we’re feeling fresh and ready to hit Bangkok running. Now, if we could only find our way out of the cavernous halls of the airport…
Thai Airways is the national carrier of Thailand offering daily direct flights to Bangkok from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with Perth. For more info: Thai Airways