Review: Thai Smile Plus, Bangkok-Jaipur

Thai Smile Plus Review-Seats


This Thai Smile Plus Review is from our Bangkok to Jaipur flight and part of a trip report that includes EVA Business Class, luxury hotels in Bangkok, Jaipur, Delhi and Golden Triangle, and Korean Air First Class.

Thai Smile is the low cost airline started by Thai Airways, to better compete with other Asian low cost carriers. While sometimes Thai Smile Plus is sold as “business class,” it should really be thought of as premium economy or as similar to short haul European business class, as the seats are the same as in economy class, just with the center seat blocked.

We flew it because it was the only nonstop option between Bangkok and Jaipur, which is a 4 hour 40 minute redeye flight departing Bangkok about 10pm and arriving Jaipur just after 1am.


Thai Smile Plus Cabin and Seat Selection

Thai Smile aircraft are A320s, and Thai Smile Plus consists of the first 4 rows. Since the center seat is blocked, there are 4 seats per row (A, C, H and K), for a total of 16 seats. I recommend selecting seats in the 2nd and 3rd rows, to avoid some of the light from the galley in the front, while also not being in the last row, which is right next to the regular economy section.

Thai Smile Plus Seat Map


Thai Smile Plus Seat

Seats, as mentioned, are regular economy seats, and are just 18 inches wide, although there's slightly more legroom between Thai Smile Plus rows to give 33 inches of pitch, compared to the 28 inches for most rows in regular Thai Smile economy. There's very little recline, so unless you can sleep in a regular sitting position, don't count on getting a lot of sleep using the seat as a seat. There's also no IFE system, so bring your own book or entertainment.

Review-Thai Smile Plus Seats


Fortunately, we were the only passengers in the entire Thai Smile Plus cabin on our flight, so we were each able to claim an entire row to ourselves. There's a latch (which the flight attendants helped us locate) underneath the armrests that can be undone to put the armrests up, and while it's not a terribly long “bed” it was certainly more comfortable to lie down than to be seated the entire flight.

Thai Smile Plus Review-Improvised Bed


Thai Smile Plus Food

We were offered a welcome drink once onboard, which seemed to have some tamarind in it and was quite refreshing:

Review-Thai Smile Plus-Welcome Drink


Before the meal hot towels were given to us:

Review-Thai Smile Plus-Hot Towel


There wasn't a menu, but there was a fish and a vegetarian option. The vegetables in the curried fish were very overcooked, but the curry sauce wasn't bad, and the vegetable curries were quite good for premium economy class airplane food. None of us touched the very artificial looking dessert, however.

Review-Thai Smile Plus Meal-Fish Curry

Review-Thai Smile Plus Vegetarian Meal


The Verdict

Managing expectations are key when flying Thai Smile Plus. I suggest just thinking of it as Premium Economy, especially when it comes to a longish flight such as our nearly 5 hour flight. Also don't count on earning miles, since Thai Smile is not a Star Alliance member; you can, however, earn Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus miles (Thai Smile Plus is U fare class).

We appreciated the convenience of the nonstop between our city pairs, although we wished it wasn't an overnight flight. The good news, at least if other Thai Smile flights are similar to ours, is that many locals aren't willing to pay for Thai Smile Plus, so you may have much of the cabin to yourself.

If you've flown Thai Smile Plus, what was your experience?

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