New airline Thai Smile to take over parent Thai's Asian flights

By John Walton, September 20 2011
New airline Thai Smile to take over parent Thai's Asian flights

Thai Airways is aiming its new "light premium" airline Thai Smile at business travellers, with flights within Thailand to begin in the middle of next year.

Flights from Bangkok's main Suvarnabhumi international airport to Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai and Surat Thani will start off Thai Smile's services in July 2012.

Parent airline Thai Airways will end service to those routes at the same time.

And "by 2013", Thai is planning to have Thai Smile's Airbus A320 planes on routes to "India, China, and most ASEAN member states of Southeast Asia".

Thai Smile's managing director Woranate Laprabang promises that his airline will be "a competitive hybrid between premium THAI flights and ultra cheap, low-cost airlines like Air Asia and Tiger Airways".

Woranate also promises free meals and drinks, seat selection, speedy check-in, 15-20kg luggage allowances, and mileage accrual on Thai's frequent flyer program and other Star Alliance partner airlines.

Thai Smile is bigging up its plans for innovative designs for the flight cabin, but has revealed that the A320s will have 174 seats.

That's only three seats fewer than Jetstar's A320s, which are crammed in at a knee-crunchingly tight 28 inches of seat pitch (the distance between your seat back and the one in front).

Air New Zealand's trans-Tasman A320s, by contrast, have 168 seats.

With Thai Smile's owner Thai Airways removing services on routes that Thai Smile will run, you may well want to check exactly which airline's planes are on your flight.

A "relaxed, stylish atmosphere" doesn't make up for an extra three to six inches of legroom.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 336

Jetstar has 30 inches leg room, not 28 inches

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

Afraid not, sorry.

From Jetstar.com: "The cabin features leather covered seats with seat pitches from 28 inches on A320 aircraft, 29 inches on A321 aircraft and 31 inches on A330 aircraft."

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 336

I stand corrected. I always fly in the exit rows for the led room :)


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