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TominScotland
Participant

A few weeks ago I asked Forum members for their experiences of RJ, as I was planning a low cost Business Class trip to Hong Kong which garners generous Tier points – I cannot find that post so am starting a new one to give a few thoughts on my experience. This is not a full review, just a range of observations.

My itinerary was LHR-AMM-HKG return (with a stop in BKK both ways). Although billed as 787 on all legs, in fact both LHR-AMM and AMM – LHR were on a 321 which was a bit of a let-down. They appear to randomly roster the two aircraft on the route and make changes at short notice.

Pre- travel

RJ’s website is quite challenging to navigate, especially when it comes to selecting seats. Web-check in is disconcerting as both times my reservation came up as Economy rather than Business. First time around, I smelt involuntary downgrade (due to aircraft change) so phoned their Reservations Centre (out of hours in London sees you routed to Jordan automatically). “Do not worry, this is just a problem with our website – you are in Business”…. And he was correct, no problems with the seating allocation in Crown Class.

Lounges

Amman is a pleasant transit experience by comparison with the chaos elsewhere in the Middle East. Very quiet and fast security etc.

RJ use the BA Lounge in T3 which I quite like – comfortably scruffy, I would say. The lounge in Amman is, according to Wikipedia, the second largest in the Middle East (not sure about that). It is bright, airy and quiet and is the only Lounge I know that has a tilting pool table….. (yes, tilting). The food and beverage is very average so not worth saving your appetite for. Wild birds flying around the terminal (and lounge) is an attraction if you are into that sort of thing). Good wifi. $15 in a premium lounge to have a shower is probably unacceptable? In Hong Kong, I used the Wing which I like and is probably a much better choice (if you have it) than the Plaza Premium Lounge which is the RJ facility in HKIA.

A321 flights

Seating is 2-2 and comfortable for a 4.5 hour daytime flights. Power at seat is useful and the seats recline nicely if you want to doze. IFE is quite limited but then I don’t really partake.

B787 flights

Seating is 2-2-2 so window seats do not have direct aisle access. Good seats, 180 degrees fully flat and comfortable to sleep in. I sat in 1H on the way out which seemed to have a tad more space than my 3D on the return. Reasonable quilted cover and standard amenity bag. Reasonable seat storage areas but limited overhead storage. The feeling of height in the cabin is fantastic but that comes at the cost of central storage areas so everyone is scrapping for the side bins. IFE is the same as on A321.

Food and Beverage

This is fine of you are not a drinker in the air – that is me!! Wine choice was red or white or champagne. I enjoyed my meals with the exception of the repast offered coming in to Bangkok over night when a light breakfast with plenty to drink would have been much preferred over the lunch on offer.

Service

This would not really be a strong point. Some cabin crew were good and engaged but there was little thought about the timing of drinks – difficult to get anything before a meal which for me in the early morning is a real must. Cabin crew from BKK – HKG were mainly Thai and that did make a big difference in terms of the smiles. On both flights, I put my red ‘do not disturb’ sticker up overnight and it was ignored and I was woken up. No real concern from cabin crew or apology.

A major concern is the unwillingness of cabin crew to engage with errant passengers who insist on standing up immediately on landing during taxi. There were attempts to ask them to sit down but I think it is a gender issue in the Middle East – it is very difficult for women to
enforce requests to sit down or even to show any degree of firmness.

Overall

Perfectly fine if a rather long way round, particularly with the Bangkok stop (during which you stay inboard) and long transit times on the way back. Aircraft and seats are good (especially the 787) but service is mediocre and the Amman lounge a disappointment.