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Chennai Airport Lounge & Thai Airways Business Class Chennai-Chiang Mai

a sign in a building

Next installment in my 3 Weeks in Asia Trip Report from February. After a wonderful two days in Chennai, it was time to head to my next stop — Chiang Mai, Thailand. I had originally planned to use 60,000 United miles for this flight, but opted for cash when I realized it was only $380 one way.

My flight left around 1:30 AM so the Park Hyatt Chennai hotel car took me to the airport around 10PM. The extra time wound up being important, since for the first time ever, I’d booked a flight for the wrong date. And Chennai airport does not allow anyone through the terminal doors without a valid ticket or accompanying someone with a valid ticket.

people in a terminal

Fortunately the kind security guards made someone from Thai Airways come out to talk to me and it all got settled, though it took a little while.

I had been given an invitation to the lounge with a highly detailed map and it turns out I wasn’t missing much by waiting by the ticket desk.

a hand holding a document

an elevator with an electronic sign

The Travel Club Lounge was packed full with few empty seats, a highly trafficked bathroom, and a mediocre array of snacks. They did come by passing out bottles of water though, which was nice.

a sign in a building

The Chennai to Bangkok flight was the old version of Thai business class, but perfectly fine for only 3 hours in the air, especially since the cabin was only half full and I had the row to myself.

a row of seats with pink towels from the top

a purple striped seat with a pocket in it

There were no amenity kits (not a surprise) but a multi-course dinner service and even a separate wine menu.
a menu of a restaurant

a menu of wine in a restaurant

a menu with black text

I went with the chicken massaman curry as my main course which was ok. The tuna starter had an odd flavor, the banana caramel dessert was tasty though.

a plate of food on a tray

a plate of food on a table

a piece of cake on a plate

All too soon we landed, I would have loved a chance to get more than an hour or two of sleep. I only had a 90 minute layover so after getting through immigration I headed directly to my gate.

people standing in a terminal

The Bangkok to Chiang Mai flight didn’t have a Business or First Class option, so tried out Thai Airways Economy for the first time. I no longer had any Star Alliance status, so it was also interesting to have just come off a business class flight and have no boarding privileges.

Fortunately I wound up having the entire row to myself and found it to be pretty standard economy.

a seat with a pillow and a window

a screen on a device

Well, the seat was standard. Thai Airways still serves free meals in Economy, even on hour long flights. The sandwich was a strange veggie cream cheese and I still haven’t fallen in love with the slightly sweet gelatin desserts, but still — free food in economy on a domestic flight. I’d forgotten what that was like.

a box of food in a plastic wrapper

The Chennai airport is quite tiny so it didn’t take long to collect my bags and head outside to where the hotel car was waiting. Taking the hotel car was about 3x more than the local taxis, but since I was arriving before 10AM, I wanted the hotel to know I was coming.

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