Thai Airways A350 First Routes Announced – Awards Are Available!

Thai Airways Airbus A350
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UPDATE 3 October: A350 Service To China Updated Info

Thai Airways’ first Airbus A350 recently took to the skies for the first time in a test flight over southern France and, all things being well, should be delivered to the airline later this month (Update – Thai received its first A350 on 30 August 2016). We’ve known for a while that Bangkok – Melbourne will be the first long-haul route for the Thai A350 (although that has been put back a few times – more on that later) but now we also know the first short-haul routes that the airline will use for its crew familiarization flights.

Unsurprisingly the airline has chosen to use a couple of its short-haul domestic flights to get its crews accustomed to the new aircraft so, between 4 and 15 September, the Thai Airways A350 will operate the Bangkok – Chiang Mai and Bangkok – Phuket routes on a daily basis.

Bangkok – Chiang Mai

Thai Airways will be operating its A350 on two of its scheduled Chiang Mai flights:

TG102 BKK 07:55 – 09:15 CNX (Daily)
TG110 BKK 13:10 – 14:20 CNX (Daily)

TG103 CNX 10:05 – 11:25 BKK (Daily)
TG111 CNX 15:10 – 16:20 BKK (Daily)

Chiang Man Chiang MaiChiang Mai courtesy of Paul Arps via Flickr

Bangkok – Phuket

After having done a couple of rotation on the Chiang Mai route the A350 will end the day flying to/from Phuket.

TG221 BKK 18:15 – 19:35 HKT (Daily)
TG222 HKT 20:35 – 22:00 BKK (Daily)

[HT: Routes Online]

Awards Available For First Flight!

If you have some miles to burn and you happen to be in the Bangkok area then you could book yourself a flight on to the Thai A350’s very first commercial flight on 4 September.

For 25,000 United MileagePlus miles you could try out the Royal Silk Business Class seats:


Or, and this is probably more sensible, you could book a one-way Royal Silk award using 12,000 Thai Orchid miles or a round-trip for 20,000 miles.


Thai Orchid is a Citi transfer partner and you can transfer ThankYou Points into Thai Orchid at a 1:1 ratio.

A quick look on ExpertFlyer shows that award availability is wide open on most days, on both routes and in both directions.

Thai Airways A350 First International Route

Update 21 September 2016: After announcing a delay to the introduction of the A350 on the Bangkok – Melbourne route and saying that the A350 would appear in “late October”, Thai has now tentatively scheduled the A350 to fly to Melbourne on 1 October – whether the aircraft actually flys the route on that date is anyone’s guess at this point!

Bangkok – Melbourne will be the first international route for the Thai Airbus A350 and the current scheduled start date for this route is 16 September 2016.

Originally Thai has hoped to commence A350 operations on this route from 1 August but that date was scrapped back in June when it was clear that the aircraft wouldn’t be ready on time.

Thai Airways operates two daily non-stop services between Bangkok and Melbourne and both will eventually be served by a Thai A350 (despite the latest delay this is still the plan)..


The Bangkok – Melbourne schedule is set to be as follows:

TG465 BKK 00:15 – 13:05 MEL
TG461 BKK 08:10 – 21:00 MEL

TG462 MEL 00:30 – 06:00+1 day BKK
TG466 MEL 16:15 – 21:45 BKK

From 1 October TG465/TG466 will be operated by a Thai Airways A350 and now, from 29 October, the second daily rotation (TG461/TG462) will get A350 service too.

Thai A350 To Fly To Beijing

Thai was scheduled to operate an A350 on the Bangkok – Guangzhou route from March 2017 but that looks to have been postponed for the time being with that route now being operated by 777 aircraft and the A350 being moved to the Bangkok – Beijing route.

The Thai A350 will operate the first daily flight out of Bangkok and the last daily flight out of Beijing on the following schedule:

TG614 BKK 10:10 – 15:50 PEK (Daily A350 service)
TG686 BKK 23:05 – 04:45+1 day PEK (Daily 787 service)
TG674 BKK 23:59 – 05:40+1 day PEK (Daily 787 service)

TG687 PEK 05:55 – 10:10 BKK (Daily 787 service)
TG675 PEK  06:50 – 11:05 BKK (Daily 787 service)
TG615 PEK 17:05 – 21:20 BKK (Daily A350 service)

Note: Schedules can and do change (in this case, a lot!) so don’t assume that just because a schedule currently shows a particular aircraft that that’s definitely the aircraft that will be operating on that date.

International Business Class Award Availability

Update 12 September: Due to the latest delay in putting the A350 on the Bangkok – Melbourne route the information below is now out of date.

While I wouldn’t call award availability on Thai’s first international A350 route “wide open” it’s definitely reasonably easy to find Business Class award seats.

As things stand ExpertFlyer is showing more Business Class availability between Melbourne and Bangkok but there’s quite a bit of availability in the other direction too.

If you’re booking with Thai Orchid miles, a one-way Business Class award will set you back a painful 68,500 miles but, if you book a round-trip it’s a slightly more reasonable 98,000 miles.


If you have access to United MileagePlus Miles that’s almost certainly the way to go. One-way awards are available for just 30,000 miles and round-trip awards price at 60,000 miles:

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.36.14

Now that is a good deal.

Bottom Line

It’s good to see more A350 aircraft coming on-line and it’s even better seeing another airline following Finnair’s lead by only going with 9-across seating – that’s a lot more civilized than the 10-across seating that I’ve heard a few airlines are trying to squeeze in.

It’s also great to see so much award space available for anyone wanting to try the aircraft or the Thai Business Class product out. I have to admit that it was a bit of an eye opener to discover that Bangkok – Melbourne costs just 30,000 MileagePlus miles for a Business Class award and that’s definitely given me reason to reconsider how best to use my Chase Ultimate Rewards points….perhaps a transfer to MilagePlus is in order?