Review: THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class (SIN-BKK)

THAI Airways' B787-8 Business Class is fine for a short-haul hop, but its shortcomings will become more apparent the longer the flight goes on.

To start my Baby Supply Run, I had to reposition myself to Bangkok for my Emirates flight to Hong Kong.

Singapore Airlines Business Class award space can sometimes be difficult to find on this route, especially if you’re booking within a month of departure. I only saw Advantage and waitlisted Saver options, but fortunately, THAI Airways makes plenty of award space available on the Singapore <> Bangkok route, and the number of KrisFlyer miles required is exactly the same.

The main difference is that you’ll have a higher cash payment with THAI because of their fuel surcharges, which on this one-way flight cost me S$91.80.

THAI Airways operates a variety of aircraft on this route, including the Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-8. I’ve already reviewed the former, so here’s what you can expect on the Dreamliner.

✈️  tl;dr: THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class
THAI Airways’ B787-8 Business Class is fine for a short-haul hop, but its shortcomings will become more apparent the longer the flight goes on.
👍 The Good 👎 The Bad
  • Seat converts to full-flat bed
  • No direct aisle access for window seats
  • Lacks privacy and storage space
  • IFE screen is easily washed out in bright light, and not very receptive to touch
👶 Baby Supply Run: Trip Planning
  • Baby Supply Run: Trip Planning
  • THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class SIN-BKK
  • Emirates Lounge BKK
  • Emirates A380-800 Business Class BKK-HKG
  • Qantas Lounge HKG
  • Sky Bridge Intervals Lounge HKG
  • Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club HKG
  • Centurion Lounge HKG
  • Regal Airport Hotel HKG
  • Japan Airlines B787-8 Business Class HKG-NRT
  • Cathay Pacific Lounge NRT
  • Japan Airlines B787-9 Business Class NRT-SFO

THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class

THAI Airways has a total of 22 Business Class seats on its B787-8 aircraft, in a 2-2-2 configuration. A total of six such aircraft are in the fleet, delivered between 2014 and 2017, so they’re not exactly the most modern. 

THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class
THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class

These seats will be instantly familiar to some, as they’re the same Collins Aerospace Diamond model used by Qatar Airways, STARLUX, KLM, La Compagnie and more (all with varying degrees of customisation).

It’s far from a leading Business Class product, lacking privacy and direct aisle access for every passenger- those in the window seats will need to cowboy step over those in the aisle seat to visit the washroom. Still, it does transform into a full-flat bed just under 2 metres long, and the seat padding is comfortable enough. 

THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class
THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class

As is customary for THAI, Business Class seats are clad in a love-it-or-loathe-it purple upholstery, which I’ve heard described elsewhere as “a budget spa chair minus the pedicure”.

In terms of seat selection, couples will prefer the A/B or J/K seats at the sides. If you’re a solo traveller, the E/F seats in the centre guarantee you aisle access. You should also note that the A/B seats are angled towards the port side, while the E/F and J/K seats are angled towards the starboard side. This means the A/B seats are relatively more private, since the passengers in E/F will be looking away from you. 

The other thing I’d highlight is that the overhead bins in the last row on the starboard side are reserved for crew use, so don’t take those seats if being close to your stuff is important to you. 

Reserved overhead bins in Row 15

I went with seat 15J, and lucked out that 15K was empty. I ended up using it as a storage area, since the seat was severely lacking this (more on that in a bit).

THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class
THAI Airways B787-8 Business Class

Business Class seats on this aircraft measure in at 20 inches wide, which is on the narrow side for this cabin. It gets even narrower towards your legs, which need to fit into a tight little cubby beneath the IFE display. 

Foot space

The faux-wood bifold tray table slid out from the armrest. It was sturdy enough for me to type on, though it didn’t pivot to allow you to exit the seat without stowing the tray.

Tray table

Seat controls were built into the divider between the seats. There were presets for full flat and full upright, though the adjustment options were otherwise limited. You could move the leg rest or backrest up and down, or adjust the lumbar support, and that was it. 

Seat controls

Additional seat controls and a reading light could be found near head level, providing another set of buttons to put the seat full flat or full upright.

Additional seat controls

A key weakness of this seat is that it lacks any real storage space. The small table between seats is shared by both passengers, and aside from the already-stuffed literature pocket, the only place to store something is a small nook below the IFE display, which isn’t particularly deep nor tall. 

Storage nook

You might be able to keep some items in a small stowage area behind your head, but this isn’t ideal either as it’ll get in the way of the headphone jack, USB Type-A port and universal power outlet found here. Also, you can’t use this space during takeoff and landing.

Stowage and ports

Even though the seats worked just fine, you could see they weren’t in the best of condition. There were numerous scratches and scuffs, but there’s almost zero chance these aircraft will receive a refurbishment, given THAI’s fleet development plans.

Seat condition


As this was a short-haul flight, no amenities kit was provided. However, a cushion and plastic-wrapped blanket were waiting at every seat. 

Pillow and blanket

Likewise, there weren’t any toothbrush kits in the lavatory, though the crew might have had them upon request.

Food & Beverage

Pre-departure drinks

Pre-departure drinks and hot towels were offered before take-off, with a choice of apple juice, orange juice and water. THAI Airways doesn’t pour champagne on the ground when flying out of Singapore, but they do offer it out of Bangkok on request (tax reasons, for those wondering why).

More drinks and mixed nuts (cabin temperature, not warmed) were served after take-off, and the crew came around to take breakfast orders. While THAI offers printed menus on its long-haul flights, they won’t score many points for presentation on the short-haul routes! 

THAI Airways menu

Three different options were available to Business Class passengers on this flight:

  • Congee with Teochew-style braised duck
  • Bell pepper frittata
  • Cantonese soya chicken with rice

I went with the last option, which was basically chicken rice. It wasn’t great. The rice was bland and the chicken tough, and I was glad I’d eaten in the lounge earlier (if you want good chicken rice, go to the Plaza Premium Lounge in T1).

Cantonese soya chicken with rice

THAI’s champagne of choice is Laurent-Perrier Brut, not one of my favourites, but that’s a subjective thing. 


Champagne is served in full-sized flutes, and while this makes for a nice photo, it’s not very practical given turbulence and their higher centre of gravity. There’s a reason why Singapore Airlines and other carriers go for stemless glassware. 

Champagne glass

Inflight Entertainment

Inflight entertainment

THAI Airways B787-8s use the Panasonic Avionics eX3 inflight entertainment system, with a 16″ touch sensitive screen in Business Class. It’s of a rather old vintage (as you can tell by presence of the 9-pin eXport port designed for iPods) and the screen isn’t the brightest, so you’ll need to pull down the window shades to prevent direct sunlight from washing out the image. 

Even though the display is supposed to be touch sensitive, I didn’t find it very responsive. It was much easier to control things from the IFE remote, which had its own built-in LCD screen.

IFE remote

THAI keeps an up-to-date list of inflight movies on this website, and even though the selection can’t challenge KrisWorld or Emirates ICE, it had more than enough variety for a regional flight. Recent releases on this flight included Oppenheimer, Barbie, A Haunting in Venice and Golda.

Movie selection
Movie selection
Movie selection
Movie selection
Movie selection

Business Class passengers receive a pair of noise-cancelling AKG headphones. These offered good noise-cancelling performance, though I wish they were over-ear instead of on-ear, to improve the passive isolation. 



THAI Airways offers Wi-Fi on its A350-900, B777-300ER and B787-8/9 aircraft, with three plans available:

  • Unlimited chatting: US$7.99 (suitable for text-only messaging)
  • Unlimited surfing: US$24.99
  • Unlimited streaming: US$39.99

None of these plans really made sense for a two-hour flight, and THAI should rethink its pricing for short-haul routes, perhaps offering cheaper 3-hour options. 

Business Class passengers used to receive a scratch card with 20MB of free internet, but that’s no longer the practice- not like 20MB will last you very long anyway!

Sleep Experience

As this was a short flight, there wasn’t much time to take a nap, but I did put the seat all the way down just to test it out.

Business Class seats convert into a 1.98 m long bed, but it isn’t so much length that’s the issue here as it is width. The seat padding can be bumpy in places, and your feet will be squeezed into an uncomfortably small cubby. It’s not a good set up for back sleepers, that’s for sure.

Seat in bed mode
Seat in bed mode

It’s not much better if you’re in the window seat, because your feet still have to contend with that same small nook. Also notice how difficult it is to step over your seat mate to access the aisle, given the tight confines. 

Seat in bed mode
Seat in bed mode


The 22 Business Class passengers on THAI’s B787-8 have access to two lavatories, a forward one just behind the cockpit, and one in the galley separating Business and Economy Class.

THAI B787-8 lavatory

These had automatic taps and touchless flushes, and were kept clean throughout the flight. Bathroom amenities included Bath & Bloom body lotion, plus a brand of cologne called Sunrise whose lineage I couldn’t trace. 

Bathroom amenities


For a two-hour flight between Singapore and Bangkok, THAI Airways’ B787-8 Business Class isn’t cutting edge, but gets the job done. 

However, THAI also deploys these aircraft on longer routes like Perth (6.5 hours) and Sapporo (7 hours), where its weaknesses — namely the lack of direct aisle access — will become more readily apparent. I certainly wouldn’t consider this anywhere close to a competitive Business Class product, and perhaps Singapore to Bangkok is exactly where it belongs. 

What’s your take on THAI Airways’ B787-8 Business Class?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Good review. Just as some feedback, don’t use port/starboard to describe direction. Most will have to google it. Left/right will suffice.

The Law Society in the UK for example has issued guidance to the effect that lawyers should use “plain English” wherever possible, I.e. it doesn’t matter if you’re technically correct, if most people don’t understand you then you’re not effectively communicating – and you are a blog after all! Otherwise really enjoyed the review.


On the contrary, I appreciate that starboard and port are used. Left and right can be confusing when you have no bearing. Do you mean the left side facing the cockpit? Or the left side facing the aft? Using port and starboard, the intended meaning will always be clear. Also this is a frequent flyer blog so I expect the average reader to be familiar with some aviation terminology.


Whilst I appreciate what you’re saying re: the average reader knowing more of such terminology than the average man, I would have thought it to be quite obvious that a reference on a forward facing aircraft to left/right would be with reference to the cockpit no?


Nope. Port and Starboard are fine. Port is where you board. Starboard, is the opposite way. Not very hard at all?


For regional flights, I wish there was more emphasis on a comfortable lounging experience instead of “lie-flat” or “privacy” pretence. Yes, I’m in the plush supportive armchair camp.

Stemmed glassware is just fine. Carriers like JAL use them in F. No problems with turbulance, just need some common sense

Seperately – how about a review from a prespecive of a travelling couple with a year plus lapchild? The boxed in window seats would be a godsend; ideal as a play area.