Thai crew snap the shades down as soon as they have finished the inflight service, and insist that they must be down for the entire flight - in daylight. If you dare open them, they persistently dash out of the galley to harras you, insisting they must be shut. The reason for this is so that the passengers don't wake up, and then they have to serve you - it is pure lazyness.
This is irritating, particularly after an overnight connecting flight to Bangkok, when you want to stay awake on the day flight to help reset your body clock.
However a get around for the problem - at least in business class - is to seek out the purser before take off, chat to him, and explain that you would like to look out as daylight is very important to you: he will then tell the crew, who will never disobey him. Sometimes you can be the only person on the flight who is allowed to have a window shade up.
To start with, make sure you are a frequent flyer, and you do fly frequently: after all, if Thai are going to upgrade anyone, they will upgrade those passengers who fly with them pretty regularly, and hence will enjoy the upgrade enough to put more business Thai's way. Then if the flight is full in economy, and someone needs to be moved up, the check in staff will first look at Gold members, and then Silver level, and then at other Star Alliance members at the equivalent levels. Another thing that Thai look at is how much you paid for your ticket: it's much more likely to happen with a full fare ticket (although occasionally you can get lucky with a discounted economy ticket).
As always, my advice on dressing properly in the pages on how to get an upgrade applies.
Bangkok Thai 747|