The best seats in business class aboard Thai Airways' Boeing 747s

By Chris Chamberlin, July 29 2016
The best seats in business class aboard Thai Airways' Boeing 747s

Appearing on all Thai Airways flights between Sydney and Bangkok, the iconic Boeing 747 might be the Queen of the Skies, but for business class passengers, it means angled flat beds and a lack of direct aisle access from every seat.

Instead, you’ll find ‘sloping sleepers’ configured in a 2-2 layout, both on the upper deck (rows 11-19) and on the main deck (rows 22-25), where the right-most pair literally sit next to a galley rather than a window:

Separating the galley from the cabin is a floor-to-ceiling wall which drowns out some of the noise, but there are better places to sit when given a choice – here’s where we’d suggest.

Thai Airways’ Boeing 747: best business class seats

16A, 16B: These upper deck seats offer extra legroom due to the emergency exit, also making it easier for the window passenger to reach the aisle.

22A, 22B: Down on the main deck, these seats boast similar qualities in terms of space, although are closer to restrooms and a door that’s often used for boarding, putting them in a busier and noisier area on the aircraft. Perfect for daytime flights, less so on overnight journeys.

16J, 16K: Back upstairs at the exit row, these seats match 16A/B in legroom, but are across from two jump seats used by the cabin crew during take-off, landing and turbulence. Great for travellers who like socialising, but be mindful that your feet may be bumped during turbulence.

After these top picks, there’s a trade-off to be had: would you like more legroom but with more noise, or less noise but with less legroom?

For more legroom: 11A/B and 11J/K let you stretch out at the front of the private-feeling upper deck, but are near two restrooms, the cockpit door and also serve as bassinet-capable seats, so there’s a higher chance of baby noise here too.

23E/F are also good picks for legroom on the main deck, but reside next to that galley wall and also behind two other lavatories. Sometimes passengers in the rows behind can also use the small space between your seat and the galley wall to exit, creating further disturbance.

For more peace and quiet: Anywhere else on the upper deck, except for 19J/K which are directly in front of a lift that the cabin crew use to haul meal carts from one level to the other. On the main deck, 24A/B are window-adjacent while being further away from sources of noise.

For closer storage: Choose a window seat (A/K) on the upper deck to make use of side storage bins located next to your seat for things like laptop bags, clothing and blankets – and aim to use these as best you can, as the overhead lockers on Thai's upper deck aren't as spacious as on other aircraft.

Also read: Thai to fly double-daily Airbus A350s to Melbourne

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

"QUEEN OF THE SKIES"   LOL  The TG 747's are best described as Great Grandmothers. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Sep 2011

Total posts 85

Have to agree with the "grandmothers" comment. The 747 service on TG is well past its sell-by date


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Venerable might be a kinder word.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Oct 2013

Total posts 30

Have been avoiding Thai on J trips to Europe due their substandard non-flat bed seats between SYD to BKK. They have obviously decided to not use a better plane on this sector due to lack of competition on the route (QF's offering is also poor on this route). Real pity - as their onboard serivce is otherwise great and a BKK stopover is always welcomed.

There was a time when Thai was going to pull the Boeing 747s off its Sydney flights and replace them with Boeing 777s, but that didn't eventuate.

Great that Sydney still gets Thai first class (it's the only Australian city that does), but unfortunate for business class flyers given the angled seats.


29 Jul 2016

Total posts 16

Chris, TG is expected to keeep their First Class on this route for  "prestige" reasons. When they previously announced the removal, there was a ruckus in certain official circles and hence the retention of the 744s. So i dont expect it to be removed anytime soon.  No 380's likely either on this route as the extra 100+ Y seats and 20 J seats wont fill.  


29 Jul 2016

Total posts 16

Hi Freqtraveller,    Now that QF usually has the new J on the BKK route, their offering is actually very good, including use of the EK lounge in BKK if you have entry criteria.   But I definately understand your avoidance of TG's 744's, I'm the same!  QF, then EK, then TG for the non stops, although CX and SQ are still good multi-schedule options with stopover, albeit with longer flight time.

21 Oct 2015

Total posts 27

i agree the new QF J on A330 is better than the TG 744. I took it last fall via Sydney from MEL.

If I were to head to BKK anytime soon from MEL, I'd go PE from MEL to HKG on QF then book a separate F on TG flight. It's cheaper and man, the TG ground service in F is amazing. It makes one of my hated airports a complete pleasure. 

Same amount of stops and can layover in HKG. Sure it's PE from MEL, but I'd bear that for the TG lounge!

Thai is scheduled for both double daily Melbourne flights to be exclusively  A350 by the end of October. This will mean flat beds in a 1-2-1 layout so a good upgrade on the current seats.

But out of Syd I 100% agree it is inferior. Once the A350's come on board it will be flat beds to MEL, PER and BNE. Only SYD left with the old angle flats.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Feb 2015

Total posts 29

QF J on the A330 is excellent, though the Emirates lounge access can be problematic, thought it should NOT be.  I''ve had to resort to the Cathay lounge (as Oneworld J class entitled) as the Emirates lounge staff simply refused a QF J class ticket as entitlement, even though it's written everwhere (including on here!) QF J has access to Emirates lounges everywhere.  Their intepretation of the rules seems to change day to day. 

The topic here is the business class seating on Thai Airways' Boeing 747s.

Please keep conversation relevant to that topic, remembering that things like Qantas business class and the lounges of other airlines aren't relevant to seat selection on Thai Airways, which is the topic. :)

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

Definitely avoid J on TGs 747s. Their F is fabulous but J is pretty awful.

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 59

I wouldn't call the F seats or service fabulous any more. I was in TG First the other week and it really was like visiting your grandmother. Tired seats. Menu from the 80's and crew that just wanted us to eat quickly and go to sleep.


29 Jul 2016

Total posts 16

Hi Stephen787,   TG have two different 744 configs are they do deploy the older one to SYD on some flights, so it sounds like you got one.  If the F seats are in an open style cabin and a  mini-suite type cabin, then you got the older cabin. Their website is not up to date on the 744 configs though, so that doesnt help!    No comment on the menu and crew though ;-)


29 Jul 2016

Total posts 16

sorry typo,.."If the F seats are in an open style cabin and *NOT* a  mini-suite type cabin, then you got the older cabin."

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 59

I understand your comment. But no, I've flown twice in the mini suite from BKK to SYD and despite the improvement in privacy and space it is far from class leading. Having flown on several airlines in First, if the crew are not in the ball it can ruin the experience regardless of how good the seats might be. It might sound petty but if you can't good service in First then you have to ask what is going on with the management.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

I flew in 16A recently and was suprised at the extra noise created by the door seal. It was really noticable in that seat. Maybe it was specific to tht particular aircraft.

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