One of the very first countries that my father visited nearly four decades back was Thailand. I would often see photo frames hung around our staircase with collages of photographs from his Thailand trip. The dancing girls, seafood, people always amused me and I really wanted to visit to see these myself. Over the years and decades, the photographs slowly faded away, after some time the photo frame also disintegrated with termite attack. What remained was a plastic wall hanging flower holder but that too was lost over time. The memories also slowly faded just like those photos in the frame.
After a decade of blogging, I got my first ever chance to go for a familiarization trip organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to Bangkok. The opportunity was not pre-planned and within a week I was ready with my bags packed for my first ever trip to Thailand.
Kolkata to Bangkok with Thai Smile
Thai Smile which is a subsidiary of Thai Airways has recently started direct return flights from Kolkata to Bangkok. Unlike Thai airways which has late night departures from Kolkata Thai Smile, on the other hand, has a slot which is perfect for family, business travelers. The flight from Kolkata is at later afternoon, which makes it easier for family traveling with children, as they do not have to remain awake all night. I have traveled with my six-year-old daughter and the problem that I faced usually in overnight flights is that the child requires a full day rest the next day else they become extremely crankier and this, in turn, makes the holiday lose out on a full day.
If you are a business traveler then you can easily attend your office for half a day then head to the airport and reach Bangkok by night and you get a full night’s sleep all ready to attend your business affairs the next morning.
It’s a short flight around three hours thus you can say it’s a short haul from Kolkata and a perfect destination for an extended weekend vacation out of Kolkata.
Flight Review – Thai Smile WE 348
At the airport, after getting our checked in just we headed straight to the Check-In counter and handed the print out of the tickets to get our boarding passes.
Thai Smile allows a baggage allowance of 30 Kilogram, which is a big plus for major shoppers like me. So the next time you are coming back from Thailand with a huge catch of gifts you need not worry about paying extra for those extra kilos of luggage you have acquired during your holiday.
Since I usually video record my flights that’s why I always prefer a window seat. Passing through the security check was a breeze as there are very few international flights during this time of the day.
The boarding was announced and we boarded the flight directly through the aerobridge. The cabin crew greeted us with a smile just as the name of the airline. What I notice is the bright interiors comprising or orange and purple colors. The cabin crew was all dressed up in their bright orange uniform.
Thai Smile operates only Airbus A320 aircraft with only Economy seating. However, they have something called the Premium Economy located in the front rows of the aircraft. The aircraft has a capacity of 12 Premium Economy and 150 Economy seats.
I personally found the Thai Smile to have a good leg room space, unlike other low-cost airlines which operate the same route having extremely cramped up leg space I felt comfortable in these seats.
The boarding was completed quickly and we waited for the pushback. The departure time was at 4.30 PM (IST) and as promised, we did depart on time.
As the seat belt sign was switched off, the cabin crew quickly sprang into their service mode. We were served salted peanuts and some refreshing soft drinks. You have the option of carbonated drinks, fruit juices, and alcoholic beverages also. I had an early lunch that day thus these were very much needed.
Next came the meal in a box, which from the very word describes what it is. I choose a non-vegetarian meal and was handed two rectangular boxes, which at first was a bit surprising as I was expecting a traditional tray with multiple containers.
Looks can be deceiving and this is the best example when it comes to the meal in a box at Thai Smile. The bigger brown box contained a cup of water, freshening towel, plastic cutleries, mouth freshener, dessert (Laddus) a bun and a billet of margarine. The design of the box is such that it opens from one side and is self-contained. And I simply loved the interior chessboard design.
The other box contained the actual hot meal and the concept is quite innovative in terms of storage and packaging. The meal after preparation is placed into this rectangular cardboard box. These boxes have a fixed shelf life and just before serving, these boxes are preheated so when it is served you get a box of a hot meal. Coming to the menu it had rice, chicken, and radish, which were surprisingly very tasty and sumptuous. Do not let the size of the box fool you, as the quantity is sufficient.
After the meal, you get an option of tea or coffee, for me, the meal was quite heavy so decided to rest for a while. There is another service of refreshing drink after around half an hour of the meal service, which I think, is very good considering the controlled atmosphere of the cabin, which can make one dehydrate very fast.
Unlike Thai Airways there are no In-Flight Entertaining systems in Thai Smile. Since most of the routes operated by Thai Smile are short haul thus there are not present. Retractable public address screen is present which are used to display safety instructions and promotional videos.
Flight Time Performance
The flight departed on time and sometime before the scheduled landing which was at 21.00 (Thailand Time), we were informed by the pilot that the flight is before schedule and we landed in Bangkok around twenty minutes before the scheduled arrival time. It is a short three-hour flight from Kolkata. At Suvarnabhumi Airport there was no aerobridge but were transported to the terminal in busses. We had been provided immigration card during the flight itself thus proceeded straight to the Visa on Arrival section.
Bangkok to Kolkata with Thai Smile WE 347
The return journey was a memorable one as the team had bonded and along with the Thai Smile team, it was a memorable trip to Bangkok. Getting the boarding card was a breeze and after passing through security checks and then the Immigration desk, we boarded our flight.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport has a huge Duty Free section so if you have missed purchasing gifts for you near and dear ones then this should be the place to get hold of something. Duty-Free shops are present after immigration counters.
We took the Thai Smile WE 347 flight which departs Bangkok at 13.55 (Thailand Time) and reaches Kolkata at around 15.30 (IST). It was a three-hour flight but with the time difference, it looks shorter. On board, services were similar to that of the Kolkata to Bangkok flight.
With free Visa on arrival and perfect timing, Thailand can be your next holiday destination. Be it a family vacation, bachelor’s party, friends on holiday or just a weekend getaway, Bangkok should be always on your radar now.
I was invited by Thai Smiles as a part of Bloggers and Media FAM trip to Bangkok. I would personally like to thank team member of Thailand Tourism Authority, Thai Airways and Thai Smile for the lovely hospitality.