Thai Airways have launched their new subsidiary Thai Smile this week, the new ‘pseudo’ low cost wing of Thai Airways following a mantra of “Trendy-Friendly-Worthy”. Commencing operations on July 1st, they will be operating a fleet of 4 A320’s. This new airline will focus on short haul destinations from Bangkok to Asia and India. This is yet another legacy carrier that has branched into the low cost market. The cabin crew will be wearing a more relaxed and modern uniform than that of Thai Airways as they are trying to generate a feel of a younger cabin crew than it’s legacy parent.
There are some refreshing and exciting changes to the low-cost model though… Thai Smile will offer complimentary drinks and snacks, seat selection and free baggage, and most impressively, frequent flier miles on their parent companies Royal Orchid Plus programme.
They are also offering an economy ‘plus’ style service, where the first 5 rows of the aircraft will have extended leg room, and a better snack and service offering. On top of all of this, the usual applies, with a Smile Café offering a larger selection of meal and drink options.
Whilst the airline has only announced one twice daily route, (Bangkok-Macau) they are hoping to generate 300,000 passengers in their first year, so no doubt they will continue to launch further routes including tourist hotspot, Krabi.
This appears to be some kind of hybrid airline, offering part low cost and part legacy offerings. It will be interesting to see how this airline fairs, as its hard to see where its real cost savings will come from. That said, if all low cost carriers offered this kind of service, its easy to say, the aviation world would be a better place. One question comes to mind, with no mention of a new in-flight magazine, will they continue to run their parents magazine, or will they target their new demographic with new literature?
I do like what they have done with the livery and it suits their business model of being a hybrid airline and the deconstruction of the ribbons around the tail section of the fuselage adds a sense of fun and ease to the original livery. The ribbons around the nacelles actually work, subtly matching the belts around the cabin crew. The smile logo is the dominant of the two logos on the fuselage, pushing a real sense of a light-hearted product. As both Thai Air and Thai Smile can interconnect, (as shown by their route map on their website) the fact the tail fin will look identical is a smart move as it offers a feeling of familiarity for Thai Airways long haul travellers connecting on from Bangkok.
I am looking forward to flying with them soon.