Flight Review – Thai Lion Air SL105: Singapore to Bangkok Don Mueang by Airbus A330-300 – Lion Comfort Seat (Is this Malindo?)

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Thai Lion Air operates on the Singapore – Bangkok Don Mueang route twice a day, once at noon and the other at night. I picked the night flight, Thai Lion Air SL105, departing from Singapore at 8.50pm to maximise my time in Bangkok. On top of that, I chose the flight time for the new Airbus A330-900neo, but alas, I had a last-minute aircraft swap a few days before departure. As I had paid for a non-existent Seat 53K now with the aircraft swap to the Airbus A330-300, Thai Lion Air reassigned my paid seat to Seat 9A in the Lion Comfort section, which I guess wasn’t too bad after all.

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Heading to check my flight check-in row as Thai Lion Air does not allow online check-in for international flights.

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Thai Lion Air’s check-in row is at Row 1 of Terminal 3.

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Heading all the way to the other end of Terminal 3 to Row 1.

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Checking in at the Economy line.

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No queues, perfect.

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The check-in desk for my SL105 flight to Bangkok Don Mueang.

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Waiting for my turn at the next available counter.

At check-in, my bag was weighed and a sticker put on it to endorse it for cabin travel.

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Thai Lion Air (and Lion Air) has a very restrictive cabin baggage policy of only 1 bag of 7kg, of which the size of the single cabin bag allowed is only 40x30x20cm – almost half the volume than all other carriers in the region. A smaller frame within the cabin bag scaling frame can be seen for this smaller baggage size allowance.

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My boarding pass for my Thai Lion Air SL105 from Singapore to Bangkok Don Mueang.

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Heading to departure immigration, passing by the upcoming Frozen 2 Wonderland.

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Heading to the A Gates.

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As my gate was at Gate A16, I headed to the Skytrain to get to the end of the pier.

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Heading to the Skytrain platform for Gates A15 to A21.

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Only 1 track was in use on my visit.

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Heading to board the Skytrain.

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The interior of the Skytrain, with the orange interior on the South side of the network.

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Heading on to Gate A16.

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My perfect Thai Lion Air carry-on of the CabinZero Classic 28L bought from Tony on board AirAsia during the OURSHOP first anniversary sale. The size of 39 x 29.5 x 20 cm fits Thai Lion Air’s carry-on allowance perfectly.

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The sticker given by the check-in staff for approved cabin baggage.

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Heading into the big gate hold room for Gates A16 to A20.

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Once done with security, Gate A16 is just on my right.

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However, with this shared gate hold room, there is a lot of space to spread out.

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Once boarding calls were made to pre-empt boarding, the queue formed naturally. Boarding of Premium Economy commenced first, followed by Lion Comfort – that’s me!

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Heading down the empty aerobridge with the priority boarding for Lion Comfort passengers.

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HS-LAJ would be taking me to Don Mueang today.

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Boarding the Thai Lion Air Airbus A330-300.

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Turning left at the entrance to my seat. What a strange feeling.

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The interior of the rest of the Economy Class seats in the middle cabin.

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My seat at Seat 9A. Ah, what happened to the window.

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To make matters worse, the overhead compartment said “dilarang menyimpan barang”. Hey, wait a minute, is this Thai Lion?

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The rest of the Lion Comfort cabin was almost empty, save for a few seats in front.

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The view of the aircraft from my seat.

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The seat features an adjustable headrest in height and side.

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No individual air-conditioning vents on board this aircraft.

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Despite being a low-cost airline, the Thai Lion Air Airbus A330-300 has in-flight entertainment screens installed on the seat backs, but you need your own headphones to use it. A USB power socket is also available, which was perfect.

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“Pasangkan tali keledar keselamatan semasa duduk”

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“Jaket keselematan di bawah tempat duduk”

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“Monitor mesti disimpan semasa di landasan, berlepas dan mendarat”

Wow, suddenly I can read Thai.

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The excellent legroom on board the Thai Lion Air Airbus A330-300. However, this being a Lion Comfort Seat, I’m not sure if it’s a fair comparison with the regular seats at the back.

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The welcome menu of the IFE.

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The flight information is provided on a broadcast channel.

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The estimated flight path of my SL105 flight to Don Mueang.

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A rather comprehensive IFE with 133 movies loaded on this low-cost flight.

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61 Hollywood movies are also available, and are quite recent too.

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A train-related movie for the Christmas season.

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TV shows were also loaded in the IFE.

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There are 71 TV series loaded in the IFE. That’s more than some full-service carriers in the region. Amazing.

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They even had The Big Bang Theory Seasons 11 and 12.

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As Thai Lion Air does not provide headsets, I just used my Singapore Airlines one. Thanks SQ.

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The rest of the empty seats in Lion Comfort.

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The big part of the boarding pass is retained by the gate staff, while I get to keep just the small portion of it. During this time, a cabin crew came around to double-check on my pre-booked meal, and took my boarding pass with her.

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The main screens in the front of the cabin showed the welcome aboard text during boarding.

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The cabin crew preparing for the manual safety demonstration.

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Despite having an IFE system, Thai Lion Air does not have a safety video, and the safety demonstration is still done manually.

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Once done, the cabin lights are switched off for take-off.

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The tray tables are misaligned at Row 9, due to the extension of the side bulkhead without the window, and cannot be fully folded out flat.

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The folding table sits uncomfortably on top of the left armrest.

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There is an uncomfortable gap on the right armrest.

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Immigration forms for Thailand are distributed by the cabin crew.

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A short while later, my pre-booked meal was served.

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I pre-ordered the Garlic Fried Rice with Chicken Karaage online for S$6.80.

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The Garlic Fried Rice with Chicken Karaage online pre-book comes with a bottle of mineral water.

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The Garlic Fried Rice with Chicken Karaage was very fragrant and tasted really Japanese-y. It also helps that the grains used were Japanese rice rather than Thai Jasmine rice. Despite the portion looking a bit small, I felt quite full from this dinner, despite not having a separate meal at the airport before the flight.

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The middle cabin seems almost full.

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The clean toilet in the middle of the plane.

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Seat covers are not available on Thai Lion Air, and the slot is taped up.

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The sink area in the toilet with some interesting stickers.

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Hmm, are those Thai words?

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More “Thai” stickers around the sink.

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Looks like the aircraft was originally meant for Malindo Air (Batik Air Malaysia) before being assigned to Thai Lion Air.

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Come to think of it, the seat colour of red and brown are reminiscent of Malindo, rather than the typical plain blue of Thai Lion Air and Lion Air.

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Landing in Don Mueang, the IFE screen changes to the welcome aboard sign, in a Batik motif.

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A red crescent. Definitely Malaysian.

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The equipment overhead storage above my seat.

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If there’s any doubt that this plane was originally meant for Malaysia, I think the Keluar signs would pretty much cast in stone that the aircraft was indeed originally meant for Malaysia.

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Opening the doors to the aerobridge. As only 1 aerobridge was in use at Don Mueang Airport, the aisle was cleared for Premium Economy passengers to disembark first, before the rest of Economy Class can disembark.

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Looking back at HS-LAJ. Notice that the aircraft has a Batik tail rather than a Lion tail.

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Heading up the aerobridge.

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Taking the travellator to arrival immigration.

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Arrival immigration was thankfully clear. I picked a good counter with just two passengers ahead of me.

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Heading straight out of the baggage reclaim area since I have no check-in bags.

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Back in the public area.

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Here, I headed out to Gate 6 to catch the A1 bus to Mo Chit BTS Station.

Overall, an excellent flight with Thai Lion Air with very friendly crew, free IFE on a budget flight, a delicious meal, an an empty Lion Comfort cabin to boot. The service levels and quality of food and in-flight entertainment were comparable to Thai Airways International, even on this budget airline. Great job on this flight, Thai Lion Air, if your Airbus A330-300 sticks around, but I don’t think it will for much longer as it’s going to be transferred to Batik Air in the near future. I’ll hope to catch the aircraft to or within Indonesia in future, at not-low fares anymore.

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