Wednesday 5 May 2010

Fly Thai and Join the Smile High Club

On Saturday May 1, Thai Airways reenacted its historical first ever flight between Bangkok and Hong Kong, with the crew decked out in nostalgic mod/pop 60s style fashions, and the plane also bearing the original Thai Airways livery (featuring highly unoriginal blue and red stripes).

The original menu was also replicated with those in the pointy end of the plane enjoying Lobster Medallion Bellevue served with Russian Salad, Smoked Snapper Marinated with Mustard Sauce served with Thai herbs such as lime wedges, shallot, peanut, ginger, chili slices and spring onion, all together wrapped with betel leaves. And that was just for starters, literally. For the main course, first class passengers feasted on Lobster in Chu-Chee Sauce and Braised Cubed Beef Hong Kong Style.

It’s 50 years since that first flight in 1960, done in a plane borrowed from the Wright Brothers (actually a DC-6B). Boy, TG -- as it’s known in the trade -- has come a looooooooooooooong way since then, with 10,000 planes flying to 550 countries worldwide now, making Thailand the perfect travel hub for anyone travelling in just about any direction across the globe. Even if you're flying from Sydney to Melbourne, for instance, you should consider flying via Bangkok.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Thai’s pilot simulator training centre in Bangkok, where half a dozen sims of Airbuses, and all the other models in their modern fleet, stand like a miniature NASA laboratory. What a fun session and a great chance to try out the Airbus technology first hand. (The less said about my first landing attempt the better. Suffice to say we all walked away from it.)

Coincidentally my first ever flight on TG was Hong Kong to Bangkok.

I was travelling with a work colleague, an ‘Old Bangkok Hand’ who was going to show us youngsters the sights, sounds, smells, etc of Bangkok. We flew First Class (well, it was the Eighties, the age of excess) and us six passengers in the 1st class bubble upstairs on the 747 were – as I remember – outnumbered by the crew.

Boarding that plane was my first taste of Thailand. The graceful silk garments. The wai. The smiles. Being younger and better looking then, I was sure they were only smiling that special smile for me. None of the other passengers were surely enjoying the same smile I was receiving! I had unwittingly joined Thai Airways’ World Famous Smile High Club.

We floated on a cloud to and fro Bangkok. Smooth as silk indeed. And that experience planted a seed in my mind then that was only to come to fruition some years later when I finally did move to live in Thailand.

Out of thousands of airplane journeys I’ve done, covering over half a billion kilometers, that journey sticks in my mind as one of the most memorable and enjoyable ever. Nothing at all to do with the sixteen double vodka tonics. Jing jing!

Well here’s to you, TG. You’re an elegant lady still, and looking pretty good for 50. Especially those little laugh lines around your eyes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

DO please leave your comments below ... always happy to hear feedback and suggestions from engaging fellow travellers (but if you are an auto-bot kindly $#@& off)