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Revealing An Underdog: Royal Brunei Business Class  
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1663 posts, RR: 53
Posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:




What do we know about Brunei Darussalam? Well, not so much when compared with its overshadowing neighboring sisters. While the likes of Malaysia and Singapore continue to snag that spotlight away, Brunei carries on with its ‘business-as-usual’ approach. Humble and rich can just about sum it up for this country, and it’s no different for its home carrier Royal Brunei Airlines.

A true underdog in the world of aviation, this airline has a rich history that is almost untouched. Dating back to 1974 during Brunei’s pre-independence days, the airline’s first destination was Singapore and was followed by Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching. Eventually the airline linked all the other ASEAN countries to Brunei, established a presence in Australia, and expanded all the way to the Middle East, and Europe.

At one point, Royal Brunei’s network was filled with exotic routes to Jeddah or Frankfurt via Abu Dhabi, Cairo via Kuala Lumpur and Bahrain, London Gatwick (eventually replaced with Heathrow) via Singapore and Dubai, Zurich via Kuala Lumpur and Bahrain, and Kuwait via Singapore, Calcutta and Dubai. However, this infestation of multi-stop milk runs proved to be inefficient and the airline was a loss-making entity that was losing a ‘no-brainer’ battle to its neighboring competitors. After some major restructuring, many routes were trimmed, and pointless destinations axed. Abu Dhabi was unfortunately one of those pointless ones, but Dubai remained as the airline’s transit stopover point in the Middle East.

Today, Royal Brunei continues to serve London Heathrow via Dubai from its home base in Bandar Seri Begawan with its legacy 767 aircraft, with full 5th Freedom rights out of Dubai, and an open-skies policy between Brunei and the United Kingdom. However, the airline has voiced many cries of concern over its Dubai operation, citing excessive competition on a saturated Dubai-London Heathrow route, without any SPA with an unwilling Emirates Airline. Can Abu Dhabi be back on the cards again?

With all its inefficiencies that it may have had in the past, or the constant overtaking by the likes of Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei seemingly continued to offer comparable in-flight service that was positively received by many. Recently I got a chance to try this underdog, and today I report back to you on my experience with Royal Brunei Airlines. Enjoy!


Welcome To My 17th Trip Report.


This TR will cover my flight to London Heathrow from Dubai on Royal Brunei in Business Class.


This will be the first of two reports on my trip to the USA. London Heathrow was just a transit stop on my way to Chicago and my entire trip involved four airlines, and a fifth that was unplanned for. However, two out of the five will be documented as the others involved short U.S. Domestic and Intra-Europe regional flights.


Thursday July 9th 2009


I left Abu Dhabi at 7:50pm, and headed to Dubai. I stopped for a bite to eat before reaching the long-term parking garage at Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 at 10pm, where I had dropped off my car.


Departures Entrance From The Long-Term Parking Garage At DXB




As usual, I took my time and smoked a cigarette by the curbside as I watched the entire goings on. There was some congestion outside as several flights to the Indian-Subcontinent (the UAE’s largest market) seemed to be departing around that time. I proceeded inside the terminal building at 10:30 and stood in line for security.


DXB Terminal 1 Departures Hall At Night




After the long queue for security, I was cleared through with no hassle and then had to stand in another shorter queue right before the Royal Brunei check-in counters. There were only two desks open for Royal Brunei, one for Business Class and one for Economy however, everyone seemed like they had to stand in the same queue regardless.


Royal Brunei Airlines Check-In at DXB






I arrived at the check-in desk and handed my documents to the agent who began to process my way through. Although he was friendly and attentive, he got carried away talking to me about the amazing days he spent living in Jordan some years back. In between all that non-stop chatter, he managed to issue my boarding pass, and check my suitcase to Heathrow in no time and by 10:55pm I was through with check-in.


My Boarding Pass




I headed towards immigration and security, and by 11pm I was airside and eventually arrived at the Duty Free area.


Arriving At The Duty Free Area At DXB




DXB Terminal 1 Duty Free






After some walking around, I decided to go to the lounge for some food and Internet. Royal Brunei uses the DCA lounge at Dubai, which is your standard premium offering at this airport.


DCA Business Class Lounge At DXB




Arriving at the reception of the lounge, I handed my boarding pass to the agent. He questioned whether I was given a lounge invitation card at check-in, in which I denied. Although this seemed to be the policy, I was welcomed inside regardless, as they probably ran out of invitation cards at check-in.

The lounge itself, was as usual, unpleasant and old. Moreover, the food today looked completely unappetizing, so I settled for something sweet, in addition to a drink.


Inside The Lounge






Buffet Spread










My Food




FIDS




After my quick bite, I went on the internet to pay a few bills that were well overdue, then left the lounge at 12:30am.


Friday July 10th 2009

I arrived at the nearby Gate 108 where I found a small queue of passengers waiting go inside. The aircraft hadn’t arrived from Bandar yet, and judging by the number of passengers on tonight’s flight joining from Dubai, it was looking to be quite full at least in Economy.

As I arrived at the podium, I handed my boarding pass and passport to the agent, who took a quick glance to match my look to the passport photo, then tore off my boarding pass and handed me back the small stub. At 12:35am I was inside the holding area which was already filling up with passengers, in addition to a fresh new set of crew. It was my first ever sighting of the mysterious Royal Brunei crew.


The Holding Area








At around 12:40am, the mysterious yellow-bellied white B767 royally roars its way and pulls at the gate, powers out and releases all passengers inbound from Bandar. I noticed that approximately 20% of the passengers that were leaving the aircraft were wearing flu face masks, so they were either sick, or trying not to get sick.


The B767-300ER That Was To Take Me To London




The flight seemed to be running a little behind schedule, and I was worried about my onward connections, as all my tickets were unlinked. After all, my transatlantic flight was the most important flight out of the bunch and the whole itinerary was planned around it. So fingers crossed, I would still make my manual transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 at Heathrow!


Crew Boarding The Aircraft At 12:50am




At 1:30am, 20 minutes after the scheduled departure time, a pre-boarding announcement was made calling for all passengers with special needs to board the aircraft first, followed by the premiums. I proceeded towards the gate and through the aerobridge.


Boarding Call For BI097 To London Heathrow




Inside The Very Elegant Aerobridge








I arrived at Door 2L of the aircraft where a male purser was standing to welcome all new joiners on board. I could barely understand what he was saying as he had an extremely heavy Malay-English type of accent (Perhaps Ryanair!!! can imitate?) but I figured it out from the usual routine greetings that one normally receives at that position.

“Welcome on board, please proceed to the left”

By 1:25am I was on board.


CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
55 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1663 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Flight Information

Airline: Royal Brunei Airlines
Flight No.: BI097
Routing: Dubai – London Heathrow
Scheduled Departure Time: 01:10 AM
Actual Departure Time 02:20 AM (Pushback)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 05:55 AM
Actual Arrival Time: 06:37 AM (Touchdown)
Equipment: Boeing 767-33A/ER
Registration: V8-RBG


The cabin was mainly dark in color with a touch of bright yellow shining all around from the seat-backs and the pillow cases; a very dramatic, yet appealing contrast in my opinion. The bulky seats crammed inside the tiny 767 cabin gave the ambience a cramped look but definitely not a claustrophobic feel. Furthermore, the cabin was extremely clean which is most important of course. All in all, I could definitely enjoy this for the next several hours.


My Seat




Leg Space




Blanket




Headset & Pillow




The moment I settled in, Sazlina, a lovely Brunei-born Malay female cabin crew wearing the veiled Royal Brunei uniform instantly walks towards my seat with a tray of towels.


“Welcome on board sir, would you like any hot or cold towel?”
“Hot towel please”


Some Cabin Shots








Immediately after the towel service, my menu was handed out by the very same Sazlina, who was also performing the same individualized type of service for every joining passenger.


Menu












Shortly afterwards, a smiling young looking male cabin crew appeared by my seat with a tray of welcome drinks.

“Excuse me sir, welcome on board, would you like anything to drink?”
“What do you have on offer?”
“I have Orange, Apple, and Mango Juices, and Water”
“I’ll take the mango juice please”


Welcome Drink Service




My Welcome Drink






More Cabin Shots






Sazlina Attending To A Fellow Passenger



At 1:45am our Auatralian captain made an announcement welcoming us on board and apologizing for the delay that was due to the late inbound of the aircraft from Bandar. He also proceeded to inform us of our routing for tonight and that our flight time to London Heathrow was seven hours and ten minutes.

Momentarily afterwards the doors were closed, and the IFE screens were switched on in preparation for the safety demonstration. However, all we could view was static for several minutes until it was concluded that the IFE was inoperable and as a result, a manual demonstration was performed.

The cabin crew took their positions across the aisle and Sazlina removed her veil for the demonstration, which I found to be interesting. The demo started in Malay, and then I realized half way through that it had switched to English without my notice, as the narration was voiced by the leading purser with the heavy accent.


Manual Safety Demonstration




After the safety demo, we were still idle at the stand, with no sign of pushback as the ground handlers seemed to still be loading things in the cargo belly. The captain then made another announcement that we were to be another 15 minutes till we pushed back as the ground staff were having some trouble loading a Lamborghini properly onto the aircraft, which explained the loud bangs, shakes, and noises coming from beneath my feet.

During that time, Sazlina was taking supper orders from the passengers, when she arrived at my seat for my order.


“Anything to drink after takeoff?”
“I’ll have the soya bean milk please”
“Anything to eat?”
“I’ll have the salad with chicken, and also the warm noodles”
“Would you like prawn or chicken with it? Prawn is little spicy”
“Chicken please, and chili sauce if you have”
“Certainly”


Sazlina Taking Supper Orders




Amenity Kit & Water Handed Out






Pushback finally commenced at 2:20am, and after a rather quick taxi to the runway, V8-RBG finally took to the skies at 2:30am and was on its way to London.


Cabin Lights Dimmed For Takeoff






As we reached cruising altitude the seatbelt sign was switched on, and the cabin crew were released for the service, which commenced with the distribution of landing cards. While all the preparations were being made in the galley, I decided to play around with the seat, which seemed flimsy as it was showing its use and abuse.

I found that when sitting upright, and also when it is reclined to its angled lie-flat position it was quite uncomfortable as I had to place some pressure on my ankles. Since this seat is similar to SQ’s older generation SpaceBed, I wonder if it is as uncomfortable as this? My only other previous experience with an angled lie-flat was on CX’s older ‘new business class’ which I did find to be very comfortable in comparison.

Back to the service, meal trays were distributed very quickly, and mine already had my chicken salad plate on it.


Meal Tray




Chicken Salad




The salad was quite tasty, as the vegetables were fresh, cold, and crisp. However the chicken quantity was rather small. Also, the bread basket only appeared after I was through with my salad.


Bread




My salad plate was cleared, and my warm noodles were brought to me with two small and very thin strips of chicken. I wonder why they seem to be holding short on the protein. My soy milk was then brought to me with my main meal as well.


Warm Noodles With Hints Of Chicken






The warm noodles were great and were the typical instant noodles that I love.

Once I was through Sazlina came by to collect my tray.


“Can I get you anything else sir?”
“No thank you, until breakfast”
“Hope you enjoyed”
“Yes thank you”


By then, I was feeling sleepy and reclined my seat all the way back and fell asleep. Surprisingly I slept off consistently without waking up which is rather unusual when I am flying.



In Bed




Privacy Screen




Approximately two hours before landing, I was awakened to a very bright cabin, when I realized that the window shades were never closed from start. I also noticed that the breakfast service had also commenced and the crew was passing around with a trolley of coffee/tea and juices.


“Good morning sir, I hope you got some sleep”
“Yes I did thank you”
“Would you care to have some coffee or tea? We also have Orange and Mango juice, and a breakfast energizer”
“I’ll have a cup of black coffee and an energizer please”
“Any sugar with your coffee?”
“No thanks”


Coffee & Energizer




After my coffee and my energizer, it was time for the main thing I wanted to see on this flight, the infamous royal lavatory, and it was like no other that I have ever seen! WOW!


Where Is The Toilet In This Lavatory?












Daylight Cabin Shots






When I returned to my seat, the smiling young looking male cabin crew appeared with a tray of breakfast preserves.


“Excuse me sir, what would you like with your bread and croissants? I have honey, strawberry, and orange marmalade”
“Strawberry please”

I was a little confused as he placed the tiny marmalade container by my armrest before my meal tray had arrived and was doing the same for everyone else. There were tiny jam containers pointlessly resting on every passenger’s armrest.


The Mysterious Strawberry Jam




Sazlina then brought my meal tray which already had a fruit plate placed on it. This time around the bread basket was passed around with the meal trays.


“Just curious, what do you do sir? I noticed you have a camera and you are taking pictures”
“I am just an aviation enthusiast and I like to take pictures of my flights”
“Do you post on any blog?”
“I post on airliners.net”


Breakfast Tray








The fruit was quite fresh and nothing to complain about. Once I was finished my plate was immediately cleared and my main meal order was taken.


“Have you decided what you would like to have for your main course?”
“I’ll have the egg-fried rice with sweet and sour chicken please”
“Certainly”


Small Portion Of A Main Meal




While the portion was a bit small, the meal itself was tasty and the rice not too oily which I prefer. I quickly finished my meal, and after my table was cleared I got up and headed to the back for a visit to the Economy Class cabin.


Trolley




Galley




I arrived at the rear galley and found all the crew there. The moment they saw me they all flocked towards me wanting their picture taken.


“Oh look there he is, come come take our picture”
“Okay!”
“We saw you at the gate in Dubai with your big camera, take our picture please”


Royal Brunei Crew Revealed!




Economy Class Cabin






I returned back to my seat, and at around 6am London local time our captain made an announcement that we had started our initial descent towards London Heathrow.


My Seat After Seven Hours




The seatbelt sign was switched on and the cabin crew made their final preparations before landing. Mints were handed out, and the cabin was sprayed with an aerosol disinfectant. Sazlina dropped by my seat for a quick chat before landing.


“So where is your final destination today?”
“Chicago”
“Oh so you have a long way ahead of you”
“Yes I do”
“Well I hope that you have enjoyed your flight with us today”
“I certainly did, thank you very much”


One Final Picture Before Landing




At 6:37am we touched down at London Heathrow, only about 45 minutes late, which meant I still had time to make my connection.

We taxied to the gate where the aircraft had docked, powered off, and the seatbelt sign was switched off. We all got up to gather our belongings in preparation to exit the aircraft.

I walked down the aisle and thanked the crew for their efforts and exited the aircraft and proceeded straight towards immigration, customs, baggage claim, and eventually the Heathrow Express that took me to Terminal 5. I managed to connect to my British Airways flight to Amsterdam on an Airbus A319 registered as G-EUPW.

As for the return flight from London to Dubai, I had an unfortunate incident where my British Airways flight from Amsterdam left a little late, and when we arrived at LHR, we docked by a contact gate, yet had to deplane by stairs from the back door, and this took an extra 45 minutes until the buses arrived by the aircraft.

Furthermore, it took another one hour till our bags appeared on the baggage claim, and due to all that I missed my tight connection on Royal Brunei and had to quickly book myself in Economy Class on British Airways back to DXB. While it was on a B747, and the service was absolutely flawless in typical BA fashion, I was so bummed out and exhausted that I decided to call off the trip reporting for that flight and sleep all the way through. Luckily however, I was able to get a refund from Royal Brunei after explaining my situation to them.

Back to Royal Brunei, I found them to be a very pleasant airline to fly on. While the service was a little patchy, overall it was great. The crew was, as expected a little reserved, but extremely courteous, and after some time, they will take to you more comfortably. This airline definitely deserves a lot more credit than it deserves, but unfortunately, there is no choice but for it to remain hidden in the shadows of the big boys that fly right around the corner.

This concludes my trip report. I hope that you have enjoyed it and your comments are always welcome and appreciated.


My previous Trip Reports can be found here:

The Singapore Airlines Cliché (by Ronerone Jul 27 2009 in Trip Reports)
A380: Qantas Proper To SIN City (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
Welcome To Terminal 3: Etihad Airways AUH-SYD (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
5th Freedom Of The Air: Kenya Airways HKG-BKK-HKG (by Ronerone Mar 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Pacific: First Class On The Legacy Milk-Run (by Ronerone Jan 26 2009 in Trip Reports)
Inspirations On A Narrowbody: Etihad To Amman (by Ronerone Nov 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Malaysia Boleh!: On The Malaysian Airline System (by Ronerone Oct 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Pearls & Diamonds: Inspired By Etihad Airways (by Ronerone Sep 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
The Future Has Arrived: EK A380 Inaugural Flights (by Ronerone Aug 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
Syrian Special Performance, Featuring Sam Chui (by Ronerone May 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
This Is Royal Jordanian! (by Ronerone Apr 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
Ultra-Competitive, Ultra-Long Haul: EY Vs EK (by Ronerone Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
Suvarnabhumi, The Etihad Way! (by Ronerone Jan 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Delight: A Trip To Asia's World City (by Ronerone Oct 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 2 PixVidz (by Ronerone Jul 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 1 PixVids (by Ronerone Jul 4 2007 in Trip Reports)
CX: JFK-HKG-DXB In Y A346/772 (Lots Of Pics/Vids) (by Ronerone Aug 28 2006 in Trip Reports)


You may also view these pictures, and others, on my flickr account:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jy-rwh79/sets/72157622105211727/


Royal Brunei Goodies




Regards,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineEgyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great TR once again  Smile Royal Brunei is definitely an underdog it looks amazing, I was speechless after seeing the lavatory photos!

Salam,
EgyptAir269


User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Roni,
just another facinating report on an indeed, mysterious airline. I've always liked their colourscheme to be honest, and when I started collecting model planes, my first ever purchase was a Royal Brunei B767-300 model.
I must say, meals for business class are maybe a bit below average levels, but for sure not bad at all, and I kinda like the interiour too. Good to see that they didn't make a problem of all your picturing on board. I think they're pleased with you to report positively on them now!
So you've travelled via AMS, onward with an US carrier or with one of our KL widebodies?
Will follow your onward stories.

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I recently flew BI from Brisbane to Ho Chi Minh (via BWN) in Y. It was a 767 to/from Brisbane connecting to an A319 to/from SGN. For the ridiculous price I paid for the ticket (significantly less than Jetstar), they are quite good. Note that they do not serve alcohol on board their flights.

The only comment is that one of their 767s is IFE-less, which I was unlucky enough to score up to BWN on the outbound leg. On the return I had the IFE but a number of the units were inoperable, including my own - lucky there were some empty seats so I relocated to be able to use it. Once in operation, it was a pretty OK AVOD option, but nothing like the EK/VS/SQ standard of AVOD these days.

All that said, I have no complaints - friendly crew, clean aircraft, good meals and on-time operation.


User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6431 posts, RR: 38
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Roni,

Once again, great TR from another airline which hasn't received much coverage! Thanks for sharing! Pictures remain fantastic with many interesting artistic views!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
The captain then made another announcement that we were to be another 15 minutes till we pushed back as the ground staff were having some trouble loading a Lamborghini properly onto the aircraft, which explained the loud bangs, shakes, and noises coming from beneath my feet.

Haha, extra reason for the flight crew to make the flight less bumpy! Held up by a Lambo, that's definitely a first I've heard of!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
After my coffee and my energizer, it was time for the main thing I wanted to see on this flight, the infamous royal lavatory, and it was like no other that I have ever seen! WOW!

Woah.. Gold here, gold here. I wonder if anyone just sits on the cushion for no particular reason at all. Do you know if the Economy toilets are similar?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I walked down the aisle and thanked the crew for their efforts and exited the aircraft and proceeded straight towards immigration, customs, baggage claim, and eventually the Heathrow Express that took me to Terminal 5. I managed to connect to my British Airways flight to Amsterdam on an Airbus A319 registered as G-EUPW.

As for the return flight from London to Dubai, I had an unfortunate incident where my British Airways flight from Amsterdam left a little late, and when we arrived at LHR, we docked by a contact gate, yet had to deplane by stairs from the back door, and this took an extra 45 minutes until the buses arrived by the aircraft.

Furthermore, it took another one hour till our bags appeared on the baggage claim, and due to all that I missed my tight connection on Royal Brunei and had to quickly book myself in Economy Class on British Airways back to DXB. While it was on a B747, and the service was absolutely flawless in typical BA fashion, I was so bummed out and exhausted that I decided to call off the trip reporting for that flight and sleep all the way through. Luckily however, I was able to get a refund from Royal Brunei after explaining my situation to them.

What a shame you missed the connection back to DXB. But that's nice of BI to refund the ticket. Sounds like you had a great time flying with them!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
My only other previous experience with an angled lie-flat was on CX’s older ‘new business class’ which I did find to be very comfortable in comparison.

I sense a little bit of bias creeping into here  Wink
The first and only Business experience of my life so far was in CX's "new business class" and I kept on sliding down the lie flat seat. But they have since changed the product over to the new one and I haven't been back to HKG since either.

Thanks again!

Regards,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineA1ring23 From Australia, joined Jun 2009, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Roni, was just about to start an intense period of study and just popped onto here to check for any good TRs, and your's came up, so I definitely had to read it!!!

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Immediately after the towel service, my menu was handed out by the very same Sazlina, who was also performing the same individualized type of service for every joining passenger.

Just wondering, how can an individualized service be the same for each pax? Or do you mean that the level of individual service was the same?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
The captain then made another announcement that we were to be another 15 minutes till we pushed back as the ground staff were having some trouble loading a Lamborghini properly onto the aircraft, which explained the loud bangs, shakes, and noises coming from beneath my feet.

Whoa, nice stuff, wonder who would pay that sort of money to have such an exotic car transported on a passenger carrier?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
I found that when sitting upright, and also when it is reclined to its angled lie-flat position it was quite uncomfortable as I had to place some pressure on my ankles

Certainly looks like it, seat pitch looks below average for international J.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
In Bed

May I ask how much room there was underneath the seat in front of you, to stretch your legs out when in the sleeping position? And I'm assuming the bed was lie-flat, yes?

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Economy Class Cabin

You are very tall Roni!! Big grin

Thanks for a great TR, the pictures are amazing as usual.
Look forward to more in the not-too-distant future!

Regards,
Pete



Where's the accelerometer on this thing?
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I don't think they participate in any major frequent flyer program. Looks really nice. Thanks.

User currently onlineAT From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1044 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great trip report. Always fun to read something a bit different, and your pics are just amazing.
The 767 Business Class cabin does look a bit snug but in a cozy way and the interior looks in good condition.

The doors on the 767 are so futuristic.


User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6431 posts, RR: 38
Reply 9, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Semsem (Reply 7):
I don't think they participate in any major frequent flyer program. Looks really nice. Thanks.

They are part of Asia Miles, Cathay Pacific's Frequent Flyer.



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineSeamefly From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 317 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great report! However, the pictures made me dizzy !!  Smile ... May be next time you could use a regular lense or something..

User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
With all its inefficiencies that it may have had in the past, or the constant overtaking by the likes of Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei seemingly continued to offer comparable in-flight service that was positively received by many.

I had the pleasure of flying with them a few times and they are, as you say, an undiscovered gem. They have not changed that uniform in AGES and I have to say it still looks good. However, I still prefer the colours of the OLD uniform which was more turquoise based rather than the present maroon and white.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 1):
I could barely understand what he was saying as he had an extremely heavy Malay-English type of accent (Perhaps Ryanair!!! can imitate?) but I figured it out from the usual routine greetings that one normally receives at that position.

LOL... Call me. I will recite the greeting word for word. I could even slip into Thai Airways and Philippine Airlines for you if you wished.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
The cabin crew took their positions across the aisle and Sazlina removed her veil for the demonstration, which I found to be interesting.

Not surprising... Imagine trying to slip the life vest over and around that veil? I believe the proper term for that head gear is "pill box"? When I was younger, whenever I saw these stewardesses walking by, I prefered to call it the "curtain" or a "napkin". Hahahahahaha...

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
Woah.. Gold here, gold here. I wonder if anyone just sits on the cushion for no particular reason at all. Do you know if the Economy toilets are similar?

This "gold" toilet is a left over legacy from the time when the airline used to have a First Class cabin. Back in those days, even the seat belt buckle was gold up front. Not gold plated, but PURE GOLD! Brunei is a rich country and their extravagance does show in these little things on board BI. I flew on JCL a few years before the refurbishment was in place and it was NOTHING like this, so Roni you experienced BI with these "Skybeds" in it's full glory. Lucky you.

That being said, BI as a 6th freedom airline isn't fairing as well as SQ or MH. Over the years Bandar Seri Begawan International Airport (BWN) has progressively looked more and more like an abandoned building. They have recently renovated parts of the airport about 6 years ago but the majority of it is still like it was since it opened. BI seems to be very active in trying to capture the Malaysian-Borneo market with their shuttle like operations from BWN to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. How successful are they I am not so sure though, perhaps other Malaysian members can shed some light on this.

It is such a pity their 777-200s never came to fruition. All painted but never put into use. An interesting note is that this airline has never been profitable since day one. Their latest restructuring causing these destinations tobe axed is one of their many attempts in recent years to bring them back into the back.

[Edited 2009-09-03 21:02:20]


Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6431 posts, RR: 38
Reply 12, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 11):
This "gold" toilet is a left over legacy from the time when the airline used to have a First Class cabin. Back in those days, even the seat belt buckle was gold up front. Not gold plated, but PURE GOLD! Brunei is a rich country and their extravagance does show in these little things on board BI. I flew on JCL a few years before the refurbishment was in place and it was NOTHING like this, so Roni you experienced BI with these "Skybeds" in it's full glory. Lucky you.

Thanks for the clarity on that! I wonder if they've had instances of stolen seat buckles for that purpose!! Or was it a hazard as the soft metal had more chance of giving way in the event of an emergency... A few ounces of gold and you've paid yourself back for the cost of the air ticket!



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineFaucett From Peru, joined Jul 2009, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Not to belittle the service or anything else, but the bathroom is amazing......
Great TR!!!!



faucett
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27005 posts, RR: 57
Reply 14, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Roni,
Fantastic report. I always thought they were a best kept secret. The bathrooms always sprung to my mind when I think of them. Really nice seats and I love the crew uniforms. Nice that they participated in your report. If only all airlines were like that.

I would love to fly them one day. Economy also looks pretty good too.

Thanks for the great photos and read.

Philip


User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Roni. Excellent trip report and pictures!!

I didn´t know that Royal Brunei has 5th freedom between UAE and UK.

But why would someone fly with them if they can fly with Emirates, Etihad, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic? They look like a great airline to fly with, but I am not sure if ordinary people know about that.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 9):
They are part of Asia Miles, Cathay Pacific's Frequent Flyer.

Is this only for BWN-HKG flight? They also have their own Frequent flyer program called Royal Skies.


User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1689 posts, RR: 11
Reply 16, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Furthermore, it took another one hour till our bags appeared on the baggage claim, and due to all that I missed my tight connection on Royal Brunei and had to quickly book myself in Economy Class on British Airways back to DXB. While it was on a B747, and the service was absolutely flawless in typical BA fashion, I was so bummed out and exhausted that I decided to call off the trip reporting for that flight and sleep all the way through. Luckily however, I was able to get a refund from Royal Brunei after explaining my situation to them.

Great that they refunded ya with little or no hassle. That shows they're a real quality airline.

Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter):
Back to Royal Brunei, I found them to be a very pleasant airline to fly on. While the service was a little patchy, overall it was great. The crew was, as expected a little reserved, but extremely courteous, and after some time, they will take to you more comfortably. This airline definitely deserves a lot more credit than it deserves, but unfortunately, there is no choice but for it to remain hidden in the shadows of the big boys that fly right around the corner.

Yup. They're definately a gem. I almost flew them in August 2008-my Dad booked DXB-LHR-DXB on Royal Brunei, but told me we were put on Biman (he confused the airlines up). I asked him to rebook, and we got on VS, before I knew he really meant Royal Brunei.
Needless to say, I'm extremely angry right about now!

Roni...where to start? Great TR, again. Your writing, photos are divine. I am not exaggerating when I say that they are event TRs that I look forward to with great pleasure. Well done. Pictures are fabulous. They're so glossy they belong in Vogue. As for the WCs....I've never said this to anyone before, but thanks for taking pics of those!
Well done. A+++++. TR of the Year, unless you write another one before the end of 2009  Smile (and hopefully you'll do one soon !)

Were the FAs wearing the hijab throughout the entire flight? I know it's part of the uniform, but I think I saw one not wearing it in one of the pics.

Regards,
Omar


User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6431 posts, RR: 38
Reply 17, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting AlexEU (Reply 15):
Is this only for BWN-HKG flight? They also have their own Frequent flyer program called Royal Skies.

Take a look: http://www.asiamiles.com/am/en/earn/...ae27dea110VgnVCM1000000ad21c39RCRD

I'm lead to believe that you can earn Asia Miles on BI, however the last update was in 2007. But surely they'd have taken it off the website by now if you couldn't.



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 19
Reply 18, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

A rare and exotic airline, you did a fine job with the pictures....but is there is a more "bling" lavatory on any airline in the world?


In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineBartBus From Netherlands, joined Jul 2009, 40 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Very nice photographing, which type of lens did you use? I presume some pictures are taken with an fisheye lens, quite like those. DXB looks like a very nice decorated and very well cleaned place. I love those details like the "desginer" aerobridge.

User currently offlineTravellerPlus From New Zealand, joined Nov 2008, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thanks Roni.

They are certainly the most amazing toilet any where.

Sorry to say this but I have to agree with the earlier post that the fish-eye lense made for hard going on the eyes after a while. Could the lenses be swapped to create variety as the effect works really well for some shots, eg the cabin and I love the crew group shot, but not so well for others.

Thanks for sharing and glad to hear you had a wonderful flight, on the way out at least.



What goes around comes around....unless your luggage is not on the carousel...
User currently offlineHenkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Nice report, nice pics.

A fisheye is a nice lens, but it requires processing afterwards to correct for the distortion. You can sometimes leave it like it is, but it is easier on the eyes if done. I use Capture NX by Nikon to correct the distorted perspective and still benefit from the ultra wide angle.

Regarding the airline: loved the toilets too.  Smile Too bad they are not part of any alliance.



Wherever you go, there you are!
User currently offlineTaichen From Spain, joined Jul 2001, 215 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Nice report. I've always been curious about Brunei and its airline ; I must also say, I am not impressed by Royal Brunei. Service seems to be substandard for business class; economy looks quite nice, though.

User currently offlineJoffie From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 811 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Fantastic Report.
Reminds me of my business class flight from Brisbane to London on Royal Brunei back in Feb.

They are a great airline.


User currently offlineChrisrad From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1069 posts, RR: 8
Reply 24, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great trip report!! We flew them in February BNE-BWN-DXB-LHR in Business Class, was extremely cheap and the crew and food were great!! I would have done a Trip report as I was planning except I lost my camera before I got to download any of the photos.


Welcome aboard Malaysia Airlines! Winner of Best Cabin Staff 2001,2002,2003,2004,2007,2009,2012
25 Airlinefreak1 : As usual again , another amazing trip report !! shukran ! keep them coming I love royal brunie , they have always been my 2nd favourite ailrine . I re
26 Airpearl : Hey Roni, thanks for another fantastic trip report. I haven’t been on Royal Brunei – though I’ve been tempted many times because of the cheap fa
27 PlaneHunter : Well done, Roni, another fantastic report with top-quality pictures! And these aisles are really narrow, aren't they? It seems the IFE wasn't availabl
28 The777Man : Excellent report with amazing pictures. Great to see a report on one of the smaller long-haul airlines ! The777Man
29 SQ772 : I've flown Royal Brunei on a couple of occasions, but only on their A320s and A319s between SIN and BWN. On their inflight service, I would say that t
30 Ronerone : Dear All, Thank you for your comments and your support! Hi Seamefly, TravellerPlus, SQ772, Thanks for your comments! I must admit that i am quite obse
31 BA319-131 : Hi Roni, Another excellent report, this time on an airline with very few TR's. I have to sat it's amazing BI have managed to keep up services on the D
32 Globetraveller : Hi there Roni! Another great trip report! As usual, the pictures were plentiful and amazing, and the amount of detail was just right. As far as Royal
33 Caleb1 : Roni, Thank you very much for allowing us to experience a bit of your travels through your insightful and well written TRs. As always, I look forward
34 Akhmad : Hi Roni, What an excellent and truly inspiring trip report! Great pictures as well. This is the most beautiful lavatory I have ever seen. How lovely!
35 Ojas : Hi Roni, Just like your singapore cliche your TR's falll in the same category, excellent consistently! Of the past 10 years whenever I traveled on EK
36 Ronerone : Hi Mark! I totally agree. Can also be a cost saving measure to get rid of these invites. Well, there was a 'Light Menu' which offered a selection of
37 Globetraveller : Hey Roni. Yes, five trip reports in the pipeline. Hopefully one should be done this coming week... I am in the States, so I have some time off during
38 Karan69 : Hi Roni, This report seems like a Roni Cliche, excellent and great pics, It was nice to read about an underdog airline, and man what a J class toilet
39 LH4116 : Great report Roni, a wonderful read! The pics were great as usual, and I see that you used the 10mm fisheye, though I wasn't quite sure on which camer
40 NZ107 : And it seems as though it'd be more comfortable than an economy class seat! Too bad I have nothing to compare my experience with And too bad I can't
41 Ronerone : Hi Karan, Haha! Thanks! ... Same goes for your recent TR! .. Too bad AI did not meet expectations though! Hope all is well! Stay Tuned! Hey Jonas, Th
42 MHTripple7 : I am a huge fan of "underdog" carriers so this report really interests me! BI's product is definitely lacking compared to EK and such but overall it l
43 FlyTUITravel : Nice to see such a great review on this airline. Thanks for posting.
44 CHEPOS : Thank your for sharing your experience with Royal Brunei, excellent written TR. Very discriptive and to the point. I have seen pictures of Royla Brune
45 SR 103 : First off, sorry about the late reply, but wow! What a great report on an airline that is rarely mentioned on these boards. You know, maybe I have bee
46 Mk777 : Hi Roni, Nice to read a TR about an airline seldom mentioned on airliners.net. Having said that, i should also add that the flight was very comfortabl
47 Ryanair!!! : I have to remind everyone again that it isn't gold plating, but it is pure gold.
48 Ronerone : Thanks MHTripple7! I have one more underdog to report. But it's in a queue for now Hi FlyTUITravel, Thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed. Hi CH
49 Post contains links and images akhmad : Hi Roni, You know what? The fellows of Indoflyer were enjoying your insight report of BI. Though in Indonesian, you can see your TR being discussed he
50 t154m : fantastic TR with all the details we love.
51 Post contains images ronerone : Thanks guys for the support! And many thanks to the followers of Indoflyer for reading my TR Cheers, Roni
52 netdhaka : Nice trip report, as usual. Thanks for sharing.
53 767747 : Great report! Royal Brunei looks wonderful. I love those sinks in the J bathrooms! 767747
54 BNE : Thanks for the trip report; and for the person who replied to it just recently. On the 14-Feb I flew from Auckland to Brisbane on Royal Brunei. The to
55 777way : Great report and love your photography.
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