Tried & Tested

Flight review: Royal Air Maroc Boeing 737-800 business class Casablanca - London

14 Feb 2024 by Tamsin Cocks
Royal Air Maroc business B737-800 (image by author))


Royal Air Maroc (RAM), Morocco’s national airline, operates 16 flights a week between Casablanca and London, with nine weekly flights to London Heathrow and a daily service to Gatwick.

In 2019 it introduced the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on the Heathrow route, while the Gatwick operation is served by the narrow body Boeing 737-800 being reviewed here. 

RAM became the first African airline to join the oneworld alliance in April 2020 (which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary), and operates the Safar loyalty scheme. 

The airline recently introduced an airport upgrade scheme, which allows passengers to upgrade from economy to business at a fixed rate on the day of travel, (depending on availability).


I arrived at Terminal 1 of Casablanca Mohammed V International airport at 0930 for the 1210 flight AT 802 to London Gatwick. 

All passengers were required to queue for a passport check to get into the terminal, which took about 10 minutes. Once we entered the terminal, flight information screens (in French or Arabic) informed us that our flight was “Retarde” (Delayed) until 1310.

The RAM check-in area was up an escalators to counters 58-84, with dedicated business class counters that were empty. 

We received our boarding cards and told boarding would commence at 1245, though no explanation for the delay was offered. 

We were able to use a fast track security channel, which was quiet, though narrow, with no areas to repack bags which caused some congestion. We were through, following another passport check, by 0950 and emerged into Duty Free with a “Here’s looking at you kid” mural on the wall. 

Zenith VIP Lounge, Casablanca Mohammed V International airport (image by author)

The lounge

The Royal Air Maroc lounge, known as the Zenith VIP lounge, is located one floor below the main departures level near Gate E7/E8 – a five minute walk from Duty Free. It is open to business class oneworld alliance passengers, as well as Safar Flyer Gold, Ambassador or Silver loyalty card members on presentation of a boarding class. A colleague travelling with us was also permitted to buy entry for €35, though this appears to be a discretionary arrangement.

The receptionist told us to keep an eye on boarding times as there were no announcements. 

The lounge was fairly large, with 225 seating capacity spread over two floors, though it did get relatively full.

On the ground level were a mixture of long couches (in the relaxation area) and individual armchairs in purple red and white. Power sockets were dotted around the room (on a ratio of roughly one to three chairs) though not all of these seemed to be working. 

Zenith VIP Lounge food, Casablanca Mohammed V International airport (image by author)

Around the corner was the kitchen area, with a self-help buffet selection and coffee machines, plus some breakfast bars and dining tables. The food selection included pastries, sandwiches, and hot food served in cassolettes. 

Upstairs, accessible via lift or stairs, was another seating area with views over the airfield and a manned bar for barista coffees and alcoholic drinks. This upper area seemed quieter and slightly more premium.

Other lounge facilities included showers, a business centre with computer facilities, a kids play area and a large leafy annex for smokers. The wifi offered a good connection. 


Despite being told boarding would commence at 1245, the screens confusingly showed that the flight was boarding at 1200, so we dutifully left the lounge by 1150. It was about a 10 minute walk to Gate A3, up two sets of escalators.

It was clear boarding was not imminent when we arrived, and staff shrugged when asked why the screens were showing the wrong information. 

Boarding did eventually begin at 1245, but it was a painfully slow process even for business class passengers. I was onboard at 1315 and handed a sanitising wipe, while pleasant boarding music featuring a sitar-like instrument played. The overhead bins were quite narrow and I just managed to fit my carry-on case overhead. 

Boarding finished at 1330 and we pushed back at 1400, almost two hours delayed. Cabin crew came round with juices and water.

Royal Air Maroc business B737-800 (image by author))

The seat

The business class cabin has 12 recliner seats arranged in a 2-2 configuration, while there are 147 seats in economy (3-3) separated by a curtain.

I was in 2A – it’s worth avoiding the first row as this is where bassinets are located, and there is no under seat storage. 

The seats were kitted in purple and cream leather and were very comfortable, with large cushioned adjustable headrests and a patterned detail. A large arm rest divides the two seats, with enough room for both passengers plus a small drinks tray and additional wings for each passenger. Meal tables are stored in the opposite arm rest. There is also a foot rest for added comfort.

RAM B737-800 business class (image by author)

Storage was fairly limited – the overhead bins were quite tight as mentioned, and other than this there was two roomy seat back pockets.

There are no personal IFE screens – screens popped down at the front of the cabin for the inflight safety video, but passengers can access a selection of entertainment (movies, TV, games and audio) via the SKY-RAM wireless inflight entertainment system to play on their personal devices. The SKY-RAM player can be downloaded ahead of boarding from the Google Play or App Store.

The bathrooms were well maintained throughout the flight and had roses and rose petals left out for a sweet fragrance. A defunct ashtray gave away the age of the plane.

RAM business class meal (image by author)

The flight

The inflight safety video was shown at 1405 before cabin crew walked down the plane spraying disinfectant. We finally took off at 1415 – just over two hours delay.

Large red business class menus were brought round at 1455, along with a snack of roasted almonds. This contained a selection of soft drinks, including Moroccan mint tea, plus a fairly comprehensive alcohol selection (Champagne Laurent – Perrier Brut, spirits, two reds and a white wine, plus Beer Casablanca). 

Lunch began with a Moroccan starter of caramelised tomato and eggplant Zaâlouk, plus a bread roll selection, followed by a choice of chicken tagine with potatoes, olives and preserved lemon, or salmon filet in a cream sauce with quinoa, lentils and sautéed asparagus.

After having my fair share of tagine over the previous few days in Morocco I opted for the salmon, and was disappointed when this wasn’t available – particularly with only four passengers in the business class cabin. The chicken tagine was tasty, but my neighbour’s salmon did look appealing…

RAM business class meal 2 (image by author)

Fresh cut fruits were for desert, followed by a selection of cheeses.

The service was good throughout the flight, we had a great rapport with the cabin crew who were diligent in topping up our wine glasses.

I managed to get some work done on the tray table once meals had been cleared and our descent was announced at 1640.


We landed roughly 20 minutes later, around 1700 with a swift disembarkation. I had no luggage to collect and was on the ThamesLink toward central London by 1736.


A pleasant flight with comfortable seats for a short haul journey. Service was friendly and the food was a highlight. A little more coordination from the ground staff would have improved the overall experience. 


  • Flight duration 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Configuration 2-2
  • Seat pitch 36 inches/91 cm
  • Seat width 21 inches/53 cm
  • Price Internet rates for a business class ticket from Casablanca to London Gatwick in mid-March start from £379
  • Contact
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