Thai Airways dropping first class to Sydney – 26 Oct 14

Getting an award seat to Sydney in first class is about to become a LOT harder for Star Alliance fans. Thai Airways is changing up their service and switching to 777s for flights to Oz, removing what was once a relatively easy redemption to score. The change takes effect on 26 October 2014 as part of their semi-annual schedule adjustments.

No more first class seats on Thai Airways to Sydney starting later this year. Ouch.
No more first class seats on Thai Airways to Sydney starting later this year. Ouch.

Interestingly it seems that ITA is still showing P fares for sale on the thrice-weekly daytime flight from BKK to SYD and Thai definitely calls that a first class fare. But the aircraft doesn’t have a first class cabin so good luck with that.



This is definitely a blow to folks sitting on Star Alliance points as the other options into Sydney don’t generally offer much in the way of first class seats. Asiana, Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air China and Air India all fly in to Sydney without a first class cabin (Ben says CA will have 3-cabin service 10 Dec-4Mar). United and Singapore Airlines will continue to offer 3-cabin flights for now, but getting partner awards up front on SQ is more than a bit challenging and United historically has been challenging on the Oz routes as well, a pattern which likely won’t be helped by the down-gauge to 777s earlier this year.

The long, slow death of the international first class cabin is hardly a new theme. The story has been told for quite some time now. But first class to Sydney has long been a huge aspirational award and the Thai flights were a relatively easy way to get there. No more.

Buh bye.

h/t Airline Route:


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. That is a bummer! The route from NRT to SYD via BKK is a bargain too. I did enjoy that route. Sad news.

  2. Spare a thought for those of us who actually live in Sydney and need to compete with everyone else to try and travel anywhere else in a premium cabin!

  3. I hold an itinerary for November booked with UA miles. What happens now? Will I get downgrade compensation and refund of miles?

    1. If you end up traveling in biz rather than first then you may be due a refund of miles; almost certain no downgrade comp.

      But it also depends on the total routing of the award. If there are other segments in that part of the ticket booked into “O” for first class then you don’t get anything back even though this one is downgraded.

  4. In the same boat as Alex, have an itinerary on TG476 booked using UA miles from SYD-BKK and then onwards BKK-TPE, and TPE-JFK. SYD-BKK is the only one scheduled to be in First. If that’s the case, I damn well better get a refund on my miles.

    How would I go about doing that? Simply call up UA for confirmation of the downgrade and redeposit?

    1. Wait a bit until the schedule changes have fully propagated through the system. Then, yes, call in and the agents should see that it is now booked in I rather than O and be able to adjust the award costs.

      No idea if it is the 773 or 77W on the route. Will need to wait until all the systems show the changes.

  5. Sidenote, i won’t be TOO upset if it’s serviced by the 777-300ER, but it’s a regular 777-300, i’ll be some pissed. Noticed Airline route wasn’t able to specify if Sydney would be receiving one or the other. Any ideas?

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