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By Greg Aragon
I’ve always been intrigued and fascinated by Thailand. With its beautiful beaches and landscape, ancient temples, exotic cuisine and culture, and all around great bang-for-the-buck, the tiny country is on my short list of Asian countries to visit.
So when I heard that Thai Airways recently began flying a new luxurious Boeing jet from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Bangkok, I had to learn more.
My investigation took me to Boeing headquarters in Seattle last month, where the company was holding a special delivery ceremony for the B777-300ER, one of Boeing’s most modern and popular new aircrafts. At headquarters, we toured an incredible showroom of Boeing’s top line of new jets.
Similar to a new car showroom, the facility is where Airline executives and billionaires come to see the latest planes and shop. The building features 3-D movies of new aircraft and exact mockups of the interior cabins. During my visit, I got to climb inside mockups of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a 737, and the 777.
The 787 is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine plane that seats about passengers, that Boeing says consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized 767 aircraft. The 737 is a short- to medium-range twin-engine, narrow body plane with passenger capacity between 85 and 215. And then there is the 777, which Thai Airways introduced into their line-up.
The world’s largest twin-engine jet, the Boeing 777 has a capacity of over 300 passengers and a range of more than 9,300 miles, depending on the model. The aircraft was created with the help of eight different airlines to replace older wide-body planes and fit in the middle of the 767 and 747 jets. It is also one of the most modern and safe planes around.
“The 777 takes luxury to new heights,” says Steve Haro, cabin interior brand design, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The Boeing Signature Interior on the 777 is the most spacious passenger cabin ever developed making flying productive for business travelers, restful for leisure travelers, and enjoyable for all on board.”
In the 777 model designed for Thai Airways, business class passengers will have seats that recline into fully flat beds. In economy class, travelers will have 18.5-inch wide seats, the widest in the industry.
“The 777-300ER’s interior provides a wealth of space and opportunity to highlight our unique brand of service,” says Teerapol Chotichanapibal, an executive customer service rep with Thai Airways. “Boeing continuously develops new ways to increase passenger comfort, helping passengers rediscover the joy of flight.”
Thai Airways has customized their 777-300ER with a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system. With larger screens and touch-control commands, passengers can learn the basics of a new language, browse a wide selection of music and movie choices, play interactive games, and even practice meditation.
Highlights of the new Thai Airlways 777 include 42 Royal Silk Class (business class) seats that become beds, and come with 15” personal TV screens; 304 economy seats with a seat pitch of 32” and a 10.6” personal TV screen; Internet access via GPRS; and award-winning Thai Airlines in-flight service.
Thai Airways began flying the B777-300ER from Los Angeles to Bangkok in October. The flight includes a stopover in Seoul (SEL). The new aircraft will bring an extended range of passenger comfort. The airline provides four weekly flights departing from LAX on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Fares start as low as $1,109* and can be booked via your local travel agent or through (877) THAI AIR or www.ThaiAirwaysUSA.com.
THAI is the national carrier of Thailand with services to more than 74 destinations in 36 countries and five continents. For more information on THAI, please call 800-426-5204 or visit www.ThaiAirwaysUSA.com.
-Photo Courtesy of Thai Airways