Thai Airways opens diner for customers craving in-flights meals

BANGKOK, Sept 3- More than 100 diners craving in-flight meals after months of travel restrictions flocked to Thai Airways International Pcl’s offices on Thursday to try a new pop-up restaurant and get a reminder of the forgotten flavours of on-board dining. The national carrier, which has for months grounded most of its planes, has transformed the cafeteria of…

By Chalinee Thirasupa and Chayut Setboonsarng

BANGKOK, Sept 3 (Reuters) – More than 100 diners cravingin-flight meals after months of travel restrictions flocked toThai Airways International Pcl’s offices on Thursdayto try a new pop-up restaurant and get a reminder of theforgotten flavours of on-board dining.

The national carrier, which has for months grounded most ofits planes, has transformed the cafeteria of its Bangkokheadquarters into an airline-themed restaurant and opened it tothe public.

“I ate a lot,” said Pirachat Pengthongworrapetch, 36, whoheard about the restaurant online. “It’s better here than in theair because it’s cooked to order.”

Thailand has halted commercial flights to try to preventcoronavirus infections.

But diners can still get to meet cabin crew, who greet themin full uniform as they enter the restaurant. It is decoratedwith airplane parts and seats to lend it an authentic aircraftfeel.

“Spare parts from engines, windows and fan blades were usedas furniture,” Thai Airways Catering Managing DirectorVarangkana Luerojvong told Reuters.

Each decoration has a QR code attached so visitors can lookup information about the parts.

Diner Kanta Akanitprachai, 50, liked the idea of a planemeal without having to buy a flight ticket.

“I like the in-flight meals on Thai Airways, but we only getto have it when we fly,” said Kanta. “Today we get to have ithere, that’s good because we want to eat.”

Varangkana said the restaurant, which serves about 2,000meals per day, was a way to recoup some lost revenue during thecoronavirus pandemic, and there are plans to turn other ThaiAirways offices into similar dining experiences.

Chefs and cabin crew from the airline, which filed forbankruptcy protection in May, appeared in good spirits.

Japanese chef Jun Uenishi said the experience was differentbecause it was his first time interacting with customers.

The Thai bankruptcy court will decide on Sept. 14 if theairline can go ahead with its restructuring proposals.(Editing by Martin Petty and Mike Collett-White)

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