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Flight Review: Royal Jordanian Crown Class (Business) A330 from BKK to CAN

Royal Jordanian has interesting fifth freedom flights out of Bangkok to HKG, CAN, and KUL. This time, I was flying their route from BKK to CAN in Crown Class (what they call their business class product).

Royal Jordanian A330 at BKK

My first impressions of the cabin were not great. The cabin looked old and tired, and the seats were quite worn down. I was originally assigned seat 2K, but there was something wrong with the arm rest of the seat, so a flight attendant asked me to switch to seat 1K.

Business class cabin

Seat 1K

View across the cabin

Things were not holding together…

Seat controls

In flight entertainment screen

In business class, there ended up being 5 passengers. The cabin had 4 rows of seating in a 2-2-2 configuration.

I was offered a pre-departure beverage of water, orange juice, or apple juice, and then I was given a menu and wine list, headphones (noise-canceling), and offered some Arabic coffee (although no dates). Just based on the way the female flight attendant offered me the menu, I knew that she’d be great.

Wine list

Food menu

There was a pillow and blanket at every seat. The pillow was large and fluffy, and the blanket was light. The seat was actually pretty comfortable for lounging, and there was plenty of legroom, but it just looked a bit old and worn. No real complaints for a short hop to Guangzhou.

The flight time to Guangzhou was 2 hours and 45 minutes. I had pre-ordered a special meal, and the flight attendants noted that it was on the manifest (and on my boarding pass), but for whatever reason, my special meal wasn’t catered. When the flight attendants found out about this mistake, they were super apologetic and tried their best to figure out something that would work. They even offered me things from their crew meals, but I told them it really wasn’t necessary (I was pretty full from grazing in three different lounges at BKK).

I ended up receiving the noodles and stir-fried vegetables that came on the side of the fish entree. The food wasn’t great (the salad appeared to be served without dressing, the bread was bad, the noodles were quite salty, dessert was fine), but I wasn’t very hungry.

Appetizer, dessert, salad, bread

Make-shift entree

After a few bites of the meal, I ended up reclining my seat and taking a short nap. The bed is angled flat, and it was actually pretty comfortable. It reminded me of American Airline’s old “next generation business class” seat, which I’ve slept in just fine. Obviously, there are much better business class seats out there, but this wasn’t bad for a short flight.

Seat fully reclined

Seat fully reclined

Overall, Royal Jordanian wouldn’t be my first choice, but I’d be happy to fly them again. The best part of the flight was the service from the female flight attendants.

My Current Solution to Qatar’s Aircraft Swaps on BKK-DOH

A couple of days ago I wrote about how I was a bit annoyed that Qatar Airways had yet again swapped their aircraft on the BKK-DOH flight that I was planning to take. I specifically booked a flight to fly the A380 in first class, then switched to a more inconvenient flight to stay on the A380 after they did an aircraft swap on the original flight I had booked, and then found out that they’re not flying the A380 on any of their BKK-DOH flights ¬†on the day that I’m traveling.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to do, but I realized that 1) Qatar said they’re going to start flying their A380 to Guangzhou starting on July 1, 2016; and 2) China is still part of Asia 2 for American Airlines’ award chart. This means that I can fly BKK-CAN-DOH on one award and still get the chance to fly Qatar’s A380 in first class.

Space in first class on this new Guangzhou route appears plentiful, and I was also able to find space on a fifth-freedom route from BKK to CAN operated by Royal Jordanian to position for the flight. This does mean that my total routing from BKK to SEA is now pushing close to 3 full days, but I’m excited to try out three new airline products and two new first class lounges. Transiting Guangzhou probably won’t be tons of fun, but I’ll also get to check out the lounge offerings there.

Fingers crossed that Qatar won’t swap aircraft on me any more…