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The Jewel Amiss In Crown On Royal Jordanian  
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 27
Posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 24764 times:


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Why choose a direct flight when a circuitous one involving a fifth-freedom carrier exists? Or so implies Robert Frost in a poem he wrote circa 1916. I am off to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand for a couple of days, and a convenient option from Kuala Lumpur exists in the form of a daily nonstop AirAsia A320 service. But it's also a flight that I know well - perhaps too well: damn those LCCs which are both a blessing and a curse - and that gets me itching for different, more exotic possibilities. Royal Jordanian's newest tag-on to and from Bangkok seems to fit the bill perfectly.

After a seven year hiatus, the flag carrier of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan resumed flights to Kuala Lumpur in June, operating a three-times weekly service from Amman via Bangkok. Initially the airline wasn't selling tickets for the BKK-KUL tag-on, but within a month the fifth-freedom hurdle had somehow been overcome, and a delicious new intra-regional option is born.

It gets better. RJ operates the service using a pair of its latest A330-200s - the planes aren't brand new (they were first delivered to now defunct Air Comet) but they're fresh enough to be considered new, and are fitted with the airline's latest hard products. Add to this the schedules which fit mine, a return fare at about $310 that is reasonable for business or Crown class, and the option becomes quite irresistable. The only inconvenience - a compulsory night stop in Bangkok en route - I can live with.

Two excellent recent reports on these planes preceed this one on A.net: an economy class report by Ronerone (Roni) and one on Crown class by Carfield. While Roni's trip shows quite respectable offerings in Y class, Carfield's subsequent report on a disappointing J class leaves me a little concerned on what to expect in Crown. As I'd already bought my ticket at that stage, all I can do is lower my expectations - and hope Carfield's experience is a one-off.

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northbound - kuala lumpur to bangkok


It's wet at the end of a busy work-week, and public transportation infuriates. It's Friday the 13th, after all. Kuala Lumpur may be home but I can't possibly love a city that leaves me with no option of getting to the airport just because it's raining at rush hour. My preferred choice - by express rail - is almost impossible from my office in the city center when taxis refuse to even bring me to the train station. Mention the airport, however, and every cabbie volunteers. So that's how I eventually get here - 80 minutes in a Proton taxi and already a bit worse for wear.
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Check-in desks for the airport's newest customer are easy to find. There's already a permanent RJ logo at the top of the allocated check-in island and near the six check-in desks, an attractive banner that's a clever sell of the country too. Makes me wish I was headed that far!

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Check-in for Royal Jordanian is handled by Malaysia Airlines. There's a short single queue for the economy class desks and some minor trouble with a couple of passengers and their baggage, so that probably explains why the Crown Class check-in isn't manned when I get there.

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I'm not particularly bothered as it gives me an opportunity to get a few shots in but I get spotted doing so: "May I help you? Travelling Royal Jordanian?" an MH agent in his trademark turquiose suddenly jumps into the frame just as I'm trying to show you there's no one here.

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Online check-in via RJ's website was no hassle at all last night - the MH agent reconfirms I'd selected window seat 3K, and promptly issues my boarding pass. The decision to choose this seat follows an earlier email exchange with Roni on where RJ's sky marshall might be seated (likely 4H or K) and the advantages of being outside his immediate field of vision, especially if you're taking pictures. That's one major consideration for a trip reporter on RJ. Thanks Roni!

There are four passengers in Business class tonight, the agent says in response to my question about loads, adding that "the flight's not full upto Bangkok", which also seems to imply it fills up on the second leg. The handle of my checked bag is wrapped with a number of exotic new tags and I'm sent on my way with an invite to the MH Golden Lounge at the satellite building. I ask if I can use the newer and much nicer MH regional lounge instead but a brisk and firm "No" suggests this point isn't negotiable. I'm quite surprised RJ isn't using the new Cathay Pacific/oneworld lounge - I'd been hoping to have my first look in tonight, but seems like that's not to be.

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KLIA's shiny check-in areas are quiet tonight, despite this being the time when MH schedules its bank of late evening departures: theoretically this should be one of the "peak" hours - so imagine what "off-peak" might look like. Slowing travel during the Ramadhan month, coupled with the mass migration of local O&D traffic to AirAsia (that operate from the less lavish LCC Terminal across the tarmac) are taking their toll, I'd guess. The FIDS are showing the usual mix of mostly MH Australasian, European and north Asia departures and a whole bunch of gate changes that appear to be a KLIA specialty. The 22:10 RJ departure is actually scheduled a tad late for passengers on the short hop to Bangkok, so I'd imagine most on today's flight might be headed for Jordan and beyond, rather than Thailand.

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Peak or non-peak? I really can't tell with KLIA. Immigration and security checks - looking equally quiet tonight - are down one level from here. And then, a driver-less people mover known as an Aerotrain (below) brings me to the Satellite building, from where most of MH longhaul flights as well as all foreign carriers like RJ depart. Incidentally - and a forewarning if you're headed for KUL soon - the Aerotrain (which is the only link between main airport building and the remote satellite) will stop operations completely for four months starting Nov 1 for "maintenance". A fleet of public buses will be brought in to replace the aerotrain in the interim. We're surely in for lots of fun then.

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For a short while, I drop by MH's Business Class Golden Lounge at the Satellite that's starting to show its age - tired furniture, scratched tables and the general conditions that come with 12 years of wear and tear. It's seriously in need of refurbishment and quite a ways off from 5-star as it stands. I take no pics of the lounge - the dim lighting and crowds don't make it conducive. Every so often there are boarding calls: I record MH flights leaving for Auckland, then Melbourne, then Chennai and Jakarta; MH139 to Adelaide is delayed, while Abu Dhabi-bound Etihad is calling its last passengers. About 40 minutes before scheduled departure, my RJ flight is called for boarding.

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A332 JY-AIE that's just shy of 2 years old (but almost brand new with RJ) is waiting for me when I get to gate C4, a short distance away from the Golden Lounge. The holding area is empty - it seems most of the economy class passengers have already boarded and I am invited to "go straight on board" by the MH staff manning the gate. There's nothing much to see out on the wet tarmac and I snap an unsatisfactory photo of my plane, just for the record. Next to us is a Narita-bound B763ER belonging to fellow oneworld partner JL. On the other side, a KL B772ER is just coming in from CGK (another long-standing 5th freedom route) en route for AMS later. This mix is as exotic as it gets at KLIA.

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Royal Jordanian Airlines
Kuala Lumpur – Bangkok in Crown Class
Flight RJ 181 Airbus A330-200 JY-AIE
Dept: 2205 Arrv: 2337 (17 minutes late)


How to describe the boarding experience? Let's be charitable and call it unique. The welcome at door 2L by a senior crew member is amicable, but what follows is not exactly the best first impression of RJ. I'm not usually particular about being directed to my seat - and really hate to be petty - but when there are half a dozen cabin crew congregated in the galley and nobody notices there's a boarding passenger because they're deep in animated conversation, it does make you wonder if anyone's taking this 'service' thing very seriously at all. Squeezing past the crew with an "excuse me" to get to my seat on the other aisle, I almost feel like I'm gate-crashing someone's private party.

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Turning left, I find a smart-looking and well appointed cabin with four rows of beige and cream seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. It's quite attractive and immediately likable. Only problem is when I get to my alloted seat, there's a Jordanian couple, their young son, and the usual paraphernalia associated with traveling with a small child already comfortably installed at and around 3 H&K. As is usual in these situations, boarding passes are produced to determine if one of us has misread his seat number - and it does seem they have.

Such slips happen at every flight departure, so I'm surprised at how the crew - who've now noticed my presence and the slight commotion at row 3 - react to this situation. A stewardess leaves her galley party to check my boarding pass and immediately asks the family to "move". Knowing for a fact that we are the only four passengers in this empty 24-seat cabin, that command - although by-the-book correct - sounds quite absurb to me. The couple start picking up their things when I do what any one of us would have done in this situation, and that's to suggest that if the flight isn't full, perhaps I can move to an empty seat instead? The stewardess suddenly looks lost - like this scenario wasn't provided for in a service manual - and doesn't respond. Instead, she turns her head back to a supervisor at door 2L who nods his head: "yes, you can," she says finally.


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I move to 2K, a row ahead. The amenities at my seat - a duvet-like blanket and large pillow - look comfy enough for the long flight to Amman. The seats are of the angled-flat variety with the standard legroom you'll find on some longer intra-Asia regionals, and more than adequate on a short-haul like mine. A stewardess comes round with a tray of different juices. Trying to make small talk, I point to some orangey substance: what juice is this? I ask. There's no response: I am starting to wonder if I'm talking gibberish today. Is this orange juice? I try again; or is it mango? Again, no response. My stewardess only shrugs: it appears she doesn't know. Or maybe doesn't much care either. Ah, whatever, eh? I say half in jest, mostly to break the awkward silence. "Yes, whatever," she says in response, smiling. In that case, I'll have a glass of whatever then, I say.   

The rest of the pre-departure service is thankfully not anywhere as bizarre. A copy of the Jordan Times is offered - one of the benefits of fifth freedoms is the chance to see the world from a different perspective - followed by headphones, and a recycled menu.

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There are no more joiners in Crown class, and welcome announcements in Arabic, English and Thai follow a pushback five minutes ahead of schedule. It's 1 hour and 50 minutes to Bangkok and we'll be flying at 56,000 feet - or perhaps, I just misheard. The sky marshall is seated together with another airline staff in the middle of the back row tonight, which means a commanding view of the entire cabin and the end of picture-taking for me, unfortunately. The active runway tonight is 14R that flanks a flood-lit construction site that will eventually become KLIA2, the airport's new high-brow, low-cost terminal come 2012. We are airborne by 22:16.

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Thunderstorms in the vicinity ensure it's a bumpy ride out of KLIA. The seat belt sign stays on for a little while, and so I explore the contents of my seat pocket that contains Royal Wings, RJ's bi-monthly inflight magazine, the AVOD IFE guide that offers some movies I hadn't yet seen (though the selection of 24 films is small by today's standards), a safety information card, and duty-free catalog. The menu is a lavish, multi-page affair and a teaser in Royal Wings even says I can expect "a choice of four main courses... Arabic ice cream to follow... the finest a la carte dining" in Crown class, lifting my hopes for a scrumptious meal ahead.

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Or maybe not. For the reality is somewhat different. I have only myself to blame for being too presumptuous in thinking a nice dinner will be served on board at this late hour, and so I'm left both disappointed and hungry as well.

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To be fair, the on-board service does improve from the less-than-satisfactory start. Hot towels are offered when the seat belt signs come off and then my tray table is dressed in white linen for the highlight of the flight: the cold snack service - Yummy.    I am so famished I devour all the food on this single tray, even if the sandwiches are too dry and not really the best. The air is much calmer at cruising altitude, but you will notice my pic is blurry from shaky hands. I'm blaming under-nourishment for this one.

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The rest of the flight is pretty uneventful. I power up the IFE to watch Date Night - mindless, predictable but mildly funny stuff that keeps me entertained right up to an abrupt end when a stewardess asks "finished your film?" and then yanks my headset from the socket without waiting for a reply. We make a bumpy descent into Suvarnabhumi and land on 01L under heavy rain and flashes of lightning. Bangkok is at its busiest in the 1-2 hours just before midnight and our arrival at the gate is delayed another 15 minutes awaiting a late pushback by another plane from our allocated stand.

All things considered, this hasn't been one of my best flights. The catering and particularly service were disappointing let-downs. I had definitely expected more of Royal Jordanian. But did I succumb to unreasonable expectations? Had I been too finicky? Or perhaps hunger had clouded my judgement? That's for you to tell me.

Any airline can have an off-day and perhaps, this is one of RJ's. It deserves a second chance - and I'm glad I get to test RJ again on the return. I fly on to Chiang Mai from here, but will keep the RJ flow intact in this report; so the BKK-KUL flight follows immediately below. The domestic Thailand sectors, if you're interested, are covered after that.
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southbound - bangkok to kuala lumpur


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Good afternoon. It's a few days later and the sun is shining. I'm again back at Suvarnabhumi after some enjoyable days in Chiang Mai, but leaving Thailand after visits like these always make me feel a little melancholic. Still, the prospects of flying again lifts my spirits when I spot the check-in desks for the Royal Jordanian service to Kuala Lumpur.

All four check-in counters are manned by TG staff and free of passengers at about 2 pm for a 4.15 departure. I approach the nearest one, which happens to be an economy class desk, and present my CX Marco Polo Gold card (the status long since expired) just for the heck of it. "The number is already in," confirms the TG agent, but she's far too polite to say something like: "you are no longer Gold Sir, but I'm sure you already know that... we see sad sods like you all the time!"

When I ask about loads on this flight, her answer "not so full" is an understatement. There are a total of 8 pax in business, and 17 in economy. Seventy? I thought I misheard. "No, seven-teen," the agent confirms. Looks like four check-in desks to handle this departure is way too extravagant.

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Variety is the spice at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi. The airlines and destinations on the FIDS confirm this airport as offering one of the most diverse spotting opportunties in the Asia Pacific region. The importance of BKK as a major Star Alliance hub is also apparent from the number of codeshares on regional TG flights: the 16:00 departure for KUL, for instance, carries codes for SK, LH, OS, NH and MH, in addition to operating carrier TG.

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A breeze through immigration and security - thanks to the Fast Track service that's offered by RJ to its premium passengers - and I'm in a mall that stretches for a kilometre offering limitless shopping and eating, but with no plane in sight.  If shopping isn't your thing, there are some diversions. Choose the right balcony to look over and you'll get a bird eye's view of the security screening process for transit passengers en route to their connecting flight. I think this level of "transparency" of passengers going through scanners and body-checks is wierd - but then, not very much at Suvarnabhumi makes sense to me.

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Whichever gate you may be headed for at this airport, you are bound to reach one of these areas with the glassy ceilings eventually. This is a major intersection of the various international concourses - in this case Concourse D meets E, F and G. Airline lounges are mostly located one level down from here.

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Like at KLIA, Royal Jordanian is not quite integrated with fellow oneworld members here. Considering that CX, JL and QF/BA run a total of five lounge facilities at BKK, it's strange that it's a Star Alliance lounge that I am invited to use.

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This is the interior of the Thai Airways lounge I choose to visit at Concourse E. The national carrier probably holds some sort of record for the largest number of premium lounges at a single terminal - seven or eight, I believe, scattered across four concourses. Each of the business class lounges looks identical and have similar facilities; varying only in size. Service is fine, but catering is consistently unremarkable - there's no excuse for it in Thailand really.

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I select a window seat that has a view of my departure gate E2. But as you can clearly see, the "view" is far from satisfactory, with plenty of obstructions preventing any decent attempt at a photo. Suvarnabhumi is frustrating like that but it's better than nothing, I suppose. I spot, through the anti-glare, the incoming from Amman arriving on time, and figure it's about time to move on.

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It doesn't take a minute to get to the close-by gate - the holding lounge is located down a ramp from the here. The A332 had just arrived, and there are not many other passengers. But the RJ crew - stewardesses looking very smart in cheery red - are already here, waiting anxiously to start work. There's a crew change at BKK and this set will be doing the daytrip to KUL, and returning to BKK with the plane tonight. Even before all the Amman passengers have disembarked, the fresh crew are already starting to board.

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Outside, the A332 is being serviced for the short-hop to KUL - it's refueled, the cabin gets cleaned, waste emptied, food and drinks get catered, bags get unloaded and loaded, all within the one hour or so it stays on the ground here. This may be pretty routine stuff at airports like BKK but it's no less amazing when you think about the effort that goes into it. The gate area (they've finally decided to add cushions to the seats after 4 years) remains quite empty: with a load factor of 9% this afternoon, I wouldn't have expected anything else.

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There's no doubt that Royal Jordanian has one of the world's most unique liveries - not many airlines choose an almost-black, dark grey upper fuselage matched by a contrasting light underbelly. That together with hints of red on the engines, fins and winglets make this a very classy color-scheme I like quite a lot. (Come to think of it, even the previous RJ liveries were never conformist, and were equally special.) The only issue I have with it is how it never comes out quite right in my amateur pics!

I'm glad I get to try HRH Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, fifth in line to the Jordanian throne, according to wikipedia - or otherwise known as JY-AIF - that nicely rounds off the entire RJ A332 fleet.   The arrival of a fellow oneworld partner's B744 as BA009 from LHR (it will leave for SYD after a very generous 3-hour transit), also coincides with the boarding call for my flight.

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Royal Jordanian Airlines
Bangkok – Kuala Lumpur in Crown Class
Flight RJ 180 Airbus A330-200 JY-AIF
Dept: 1624 Arrv: 1925 (on time)


Boarding. Two aerobridges are in use and it seems I'm alone in making my way down to the business class entrance via door 1L. But what happens next is strange. I've encountered situations before when there are no crew members at the door, but it's the first time I walk past a crew member - seated on a jump seat at the door - who doesn't bother to look up, much less stand up. Perhaps he thinks I am part of the ground crew but the blase attitude does feel awfully odd. Please don't get up, I am almost tempted to say, but I fear the irony may be lost. A stewardess working in the galley notices me, makes some form of eye contact as if she's about to check my boarding pass, but then turns away. What is happening? For the second time out of two, I am made to feel like an unwelcome guest in someone else's party. 

I don't like to dwell into stuff like this because it makes me sound kinda petty (and I'm really not so devastated) - but a welcome greeting when boarding is so basic and universally taken for granted that its absence here is glaringly noticable. I find my window seat and settle in as the only passenger joining Crown Class from BKK, while the crew remain - how can I say this in a nice way - totally unobtrusive. There are seven others in J who are all thru customers from Amman and already comfortably settled, having not disembarked during the transit.

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There's a fresh blanket and pillow at my seat, and the area around it is clean with no evidence of its former occupants: BKK ground handling does well with short turnarounds. I don't identify any of fellow passengers as the sky marshall and so feel comfortable enough to take a cabin shot while we're on the ground. As you can see, it's not a bad looking cabin at all. Pitch at 62 inches is pretty standard for J, but is weaker than the 83 inches (and full-flat seats) you'll find on RJ's longhaul A342s.

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The view from my window is of a BR B77W next door that's en route from LHR to TPE - it's among the multitude of airlines that fully utilize their rights out of Thailand. This airport is probably the closest thing to a fifth-freedom heaven on earth: you can spend a fortnight just flying in and out of BKK on a dozen carriers without ever visiting their home bases! Gate E4 is also EK's usual A380 gate - the aerobridge you see is used for boarding the upper deck (now incidentally, also on the world's only fifth-freedom A380 sector).

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I hesitate to come back to the topic of on-board service because it makes me look like a fusspot. For some reason, the crew look unhappy and it's showing in their work. Except for one stewardess who's a shining beacon in a sea of dour faces, everyone serving in J doesn't look like he or she wants to be there. There's no offer of pre-departure drinks or newspapers, but I do get a set of headphones, while the stewardess handing out menus looks super pissed with the world and manages to avoid making eye contact with everyone (so I don't take it personally when she just slips the menu down the back of my seat - after tapping my shoulder with it - because she can't be bothered to walk further forward.) I don't think this is regular RJ service, but so far, today's team certainly isn't doing any favors to the image of their airline.

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With boarding completed, we pushback a few minutes behind schedule to a charming welcome by Captain Kelly wishing us a "lovely journey" on RJ. Cabin announcements are made in three languages, with the English text reading "Welcome aboard Royal Jordanian oneworld alliance" probably missing a few words in between. Together with ours, the planes parked at and around Concourse E show the sheer diversity of traffic at BKK.

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We taxi to active 19L where there isn't a queue for departure. The 4000m runway runs parallel with Suvarnabhumi's Concourses A and C, which are predominantly TG occupied.

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Being quite light, it's a quick take-off run and on rotation, I get a view of the land earmarked for the building of a new terminal at Suvarnabhumi. Despite the airport having only been open 4 years, it will already have reached its maximum capacity of 45 million passengers this year. A plan to build a 28-gate satellite passenger terminal at this location (and linked by an underground automated people mover) will boost capacity to 60 million - by 2015 apparently, but I suspect that's more of a wish list than a target.

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We climb steadily away to the south. It's pretty much straight ahead with no turns required when headed for KUL from 19L. Below us, the flat lands close to where the Chao Phraya meets the sea is especially waterlogged during the current rainy season. A couple of minutes later and we're over the Bay of Bangkok - heading towards the Gulf of Thailand.

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The seat belt signs come off and drinks are served to those passengers who aren't fasting in this Ramadhan month. It's nice that the crew do make it a point to ask each passenger, rather than just assume. Eaters vs non-eaters are about equally split among the eight in J today. Those fasting will have missed a very respectable offering on this daytime sector with a choice of 4 entrees - so different from what I had on the KUL-BKK flight!

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An attractive tray containing starter, salad, pudding and breads is delivered first. The starter is especially delicious, a testament to the quality of flight catering out of BKK. It's the friendly stewardess serving me too, so I'm doubly happy.

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It's amazing how a tasty meal and friendly service can turn things around. My spirits are lifted a little already. My only minor complaint is the meal feels a little rushed with crew a bit too eager to speed you on to the next course.

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My main course is the pan fried fish prepared and spiced in the same 'chu-chee' style as the prawns I was served on TG's 50th anniversary flight back in May. Whereas I didn't quite enjoy the prawns for being overdone on TG, this offering is heavenly. Just superb. RJ catering on this southbound sector seems even better than on a comparable TG flight in J. I've no idea about MH though.

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A decent coffee completes the meal and complements my accidental movie selection The Ghost Writer which is a surprisingly engaging thriller that's set in such a moody backdrop it could have been filmed in monochrome.

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The clouds start to thicken as we close in on Peninsular Malaysia. The thunderstorms which sent me off a couple of days ago are still around to welcome me back, it seems. As we start our descent into KLIA, it's quite evident that it'll be a bumpy ride down. The friendly stewardess comes round to collect menus. When I ask if I can keep it as a souvenir, she considers it for a moment and then says in a whisper: "I didn't see it. You can't show anybody," and walks quietly away. Oh, what a tangled web we weave...  

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As we trundle down towards KUL and the low cloud and heavy rain keep the outside as dark as night, the mood lighting comes on for the first time. "On behalf of Royal Jordanian oneworld alliance, we would like to thank you..." goes the annoucement in English on landing. We arrive on time and park at the same gate C4, next to a JL B763ER.

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last words
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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1874–1963) - The Road Not Taken


One thing I realize writing this trip report is that it gets tricky when things don't go swimmingly. Perception plays a big part. It's all too easy to be critical of a situation when it isn't what one is used to - unusual situations bring out long-held prejudices and weigh it down with emotional baggage. And I hope this hadn't happened here.

Royal Jordanian isn't a bad carrier. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. Had these been tests, RJ might have failed them to some degree. Inflight service was an obvious weakness, especially in business class where one might have expected less inexperience, and more courtesy and consistency. These flights go to show how the attitude of a crew - and the performance on the day really - can make or break it. They indicate the importance of detail - sometimes the smallest ones - that make all the difference between great, and not so good.

Thanks for reading this report. A short account of the Chiang Mai portion of the journey follows below. Will I fly RJ again? Probably - especially if it continues to offer great bargains in its J and Y classes on the tag-on. It may however need to raise its game a lot more for me to consider it on a longer-haul though.

Cheers
airpearl

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Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz

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31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 27
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 24823 times:

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northbound - bangkok to chiang mai


This is not so much a "detour" as the main reason for my trip. But in the obviously more crucial perspective of trip reporting, it had become a by-product   The Bangkok-to-Chiang Mai sector used to be my most traveled city-pair when I was based in Thailand, and TG would be the airline of choice - mainly for the miles but also in my quest to try to tick off the airline's entire B744 fleet (there are few airlines where this is possible without flying any long-hauls). But today, I thought I'd try something different.

This trunk domestic route (together with BKK-HKT) is also one of the most keenly fought over in Thailand with five airlines competing and offering multiple daily frequencies. Bangkok Airways is a relative newcomer as a serious competitor, and the only direct rival to TG as a full-service airline.

Having only flown PG once before on an ATR72 (to China's Jinghong, flights now suspended), I am keen to test out a Bangkok Airways jet service for the first time.

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Early Saturday morning and I am back at Suvarnabhumi. Having arrived late last night from KUL, I manage to catch only a few hours sleep - and feel a little jet-lagged. Bangkok Airways operates a common check-in area at BKK, that's well-staffed and organized. There are a few PG departures at this time, mainly on domestic and regional Indo-China routes.

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The banner on the left advertises PG's new frequency boost to four-times daily on the BKK-CNX run. The check-in is fast, courteous and efficient. I had pre-selected my seat online, but the agent says she's moving me further foward to a row with empty seats by my side - so I'm not complaining. At the end of the same island, a couple of desks are handling a Kingfisher departure for Mumbai - a new service launched this year.

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It's not a mirage. Bangkok Airways offers a "premium" lounge for its economy class passengers. The Boutique Lounge located in the domestic concourse is open to all PG's passengers - and tangible proof that the tagline 'Asia's Boutique Airline' is not merely a promotional gimmick. Passengers traveling in business, or Blue Ribbon, class has access to another more lavish lounge. The airline also has similar lounges in Suvarnabhumi's international concourse.

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Inside, it may not be as posh as some Business Class lounges - but then, you wouldn't expect it to be. It's very nice. The decor is colorful and cheerful and the seats are comfortable. There's plenty of free newspapers, magazines and reading material - including Koh Samui guides and maps for the taking (PG is de facto official airline for the resort island). There are also ample computer terminals with internet access, free wifi and a selection of snacks and non-aloholic beverages. All in all, a fantastic innovation.

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Bangkok Airways
Bangkok – Chiang Mai in economy class
Flight PG 215 Airbus A319-100 HS-PPA
Dept: 0757 Arrv: 0912 (on time)

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Boarding starts early and by bus today. Our Airbus A319 is parked out close to the TG hangars. The weather still doesn't look very friendly, but at least it has finally stopped raining from last night.

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Like many here, I enjoy boarding by stairs precisely because it yields possibilities of lingering over views and shots you'd never get boarding directly from the gate. (For this, we should thank weak planning at Suvarnabhumi.) There are no problems with taking pictures on the tarmac at BKK.

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There's a friendly welcome at the door and I am ushered into a spotlessly clean but sober cabin with seats in dark blue reminding me of one from a U.S. domestic airline. The flight doesn't look full, probably with more than half of the seats unoccupied.

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I'd been allocated seat 4A, which is close to the front, just behind a moveable curtain-barrier that's much favored in Europe to seperate business and economy classes. I can't figure the reasoning behind the curtains, which aren't used, as this aircraft isn't equipped with a business class cabin.

I am very impressed with the cabin crew - all female, mostly young with a more senior supervisor keeping a keen eye on things - who are amazingly professional in treating a short domestic hop like it was a flagship flight. Maybe I'd been flying too many LCCs recently, but I'm impressed by small details like galley curtains at the front being drawn each time the crew are preparing service items, even while we're on the ground. The airline's meticulous attention to safety is admirable too. There's been talk previously of PG joining SkyTeam, but I'm certain it'll be a major asset to any airline alliance it joins.

.

.

.

We depart eight minutes ahead of schedule to a safety video on drop-down screens. The overnight rain ensures there's no great pics to be captured out of the windows as we follow a couple of early morning TG departures from 19L. I spot one of the "new" B77Ws, leased from 9W, for the first time though. I believe this one - HS-TKJ (previously VT-JEJ, leased to GF) - is headed for Narita.

.

.

.

Once airborne, we climb quickly above the rain-bearing clouds and the seat-belt signs come off. It's convivial aboard this flight, helped by the generous pitch and the empty seats next to me. I'm happy as lark. In the seat pocket is a safety information card and a copy of Fah Thai, an island-resort centered inflight magazine that makes me wish I was headed for a beach holiday.

.

.

.

Trolleys are soon rolled out for breakfast service but wrapped scented towelettes are handed out first - a small detail but significant for indicating a full-service pedigree to PG's service detail.

.

.

.

The snack-breakfast offering is not any better than TG's on domestic flights but service is done enthusiatically. Would I like coffee? How about a juice? There's orange, tomato and apple - what would I prefer? And a glass of water as well? Here's the Danish and yoghurt, would Sir like anything else? Sir is impressed.

.

.

.

I catch some shut-eye after breakfast but it isn't long before the rice fields of northern Thailand and then the more hilly terrain beyond come into view. It doesn't look any drier up here, but at least it isn't pouring. Chiang Mai town center that many visitors know is small and compact, and is located very close to the airport, but Chiang Mai province sprawls right up the Burmese border.

.

.

.

We land 10 minutes early and quickly taxi up to the empty Lanai-inspired CNX terminal. I'm glad I chose Bangkok Airways - an airline that hasn't succumbed to the temptation of following the others in going low-cost everything. It's easily one of the best 'quality' short-haul airlines I've tested for a long while. Bravo.

.

.

.
southbound - chiang mai to bangkok
.



.

A couple of days later and it's time to leave Chiang Mai for Bangkok, to catch the late afternoon RJ connection onto KUL. As I'd arranged a meeting in Bangkok, I decided to choose a morning flight that'll let me have enough time to get into the city and back, without forcing me to get up extra early. The Thai AirAsia departure at 8.25 am seems ideal.

.

.

AirAsia has a couple of new self check-in machines at CNX, but most passengers still prefer to use the usual counters for that human touch. There's a short queue here just before 7 am and I'm quickly attended to and issued with the usual supermarket check-out masquerading as a boarding pass.

.

.

.

It's quiet in the morning at Chiang Mai and most departures are BKK-bound. With no reason to hang about outside after check-in, I go airside to grab a much needed coffee. There's not much happening on the tarmac as well.

.

.

.

This is the common departure holding lounge for domestic flights; it's not excessively busy this morning. The early morning PG and TG flights have just left and the next departure - which is my FD flight - isn't due to leave for another hour. TG's Royal Silk Lounge is the only airline facility here.

.

.

.


Thai AirAsia
Chiang Mai – Bangkok in economy class
Flight FD 3231 Airbus A320-200 HS-ABP
Dept: 0822 Arrv: 0925 (on time)


The incoming FD flight is early and in the usual AirAsia fashion that's more akin to catching a bus, we're quickly queuing at gate 4 and ready to board. There's no ceremony and no romance associated with flying LCCs like AirAsia - pile it high and sell them cheap, as Tesco founder Jack Cohen could have said.

.

.

This A320 smells factory-fresh and no wonder: HS-ABP is barely three weeks old at the Thai carrier. The welcomes are nice enough but crew appear to be a tad less forthcoming than those on its Malaysian parent. It seems the airline's preferred and more expensive 'hot seats' are now denoted by a red head-rest. Load factor is pretty good - probably exceeding 90% - but I'm lucky to get an empty seat next to my 'cool' black seat.

.

.

.

We depart three minutes early, taxi past the 411 fighter squadron of the Royal Thai Air Force that's based here and spot the locally preserved DC3, looking pretty good for its age. We turn onto runway 18 and start our take-off run almost immediately.

.

.

.

After we level off, there's a beverage and snack run, but there aren't many takers this morning. Unlike some at AK, the FD crew today aren't anywhere as aggresive in their inflight sales efforts and quickly retire to the galleys leaving the passengers alone to snooze.

.

.

.

The legroom is standard LCC tight. It's fine for a one hour hop to Bangkok, maybe okay for a two hour flight; but can be a bit challenging for longer sectors. (Flights on AirAsia group's A320s can stretch to four hours like on KUL-HKG... not fun, as I can tell you from experience.) That's why the carrier is so keen for you to pay more for those seats with the red headrests.

.

.

.

The flat central plains around Bangkok beckon, a smooth descent into Suvarnabhumi and landing more than 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

.

.

.

There's always something interesting to spot at BKK anytime of the day. This morning, QR is operating a B77L to Doha, in lieu of the usual B77W. Mahan Air has two departures later today: the A310 leaves for Mashad and B743 for Tehran.

.

.

.

We taxi to our stand which looks like a remote one far from the domestic concourse.    Above QR613 passes us in the opposite direction heading for 19R en route to DOH.

.

.

.

Trooping down towards the AirAsia bus yields yet more opportunities for tarmac shots of the LCC's brand new metal.

.

.

.

Thai AirAsia is a decent budget airline, and if it can maintain the punctuality and consistency of today's flight across the system, there's no reason to suppose why it shouldn't survive. For sure, there are airlines providing better inflight service in Thailand, but the strength of AirAsia is in its branding and that will ensure the continued flow of bookings for cheap seats on this bright red coach with wings.

.

.

.

The bus ride to the domestic concourse passes under international concourse D, which today is occupied by a few TG machines. HS-TJW is among the later delivered B772ERs, while we disembark under the majestic gaze of one of TG's magnificent jumbos.

.



.
Finally, here's a list of previous trip reports (in chronological order, from latest)

Flat & Low: Premium Class On AirAsia X (by airpearl Sep 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
Flying Mugabe's Private Jet: Air Zimbabwe KUL-PEK (by airpearl Jul 25 2010 in Trip Reports)
On Asiana Business: Chicken Soup For The Seoul (by airpearl Jun 20 2010 in Trip Reports)
Happy 50th Birthday TG! Retro Flight To Hong Kong (by airpearl May 7 2010 in Trip Reports)
Propping Down To Singapore On A Firefly (by airpearl Mar 28 2010 in Trip Reports)
Upping The Game: On Etihad In J & New F (by airpearl Feb 9 2010 in Trip Reports)
The AF A380 Gets TSAed: To JFK On Boxing Day (by Airpearl Dec 30 2009 in Trip Reports)
Software Surprises On Emirates: BKK-DXB Vv On A380 (by Airpearl Dec 20 2009 in Trip Reports)
Gulf Air First KUL-BAH-KUL On Jet’s B77W (by Airpearl Oct 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
Going Askew Aboard Cathay’s 747: A Short Hop In J (by Airpearl Aug 22 2009 in Trip Reports)
Korean Y Experience - Older A330 & Brand New B77W (by Airpearl Jul 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
The Fiesta Route To Manila: In Economy On MH & PR (by Airpearl May 24 2009 in Trip Reports)
Gulf Air (And Proxy) London Roundtrip In F & J (by Airpearl Jan 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
Flying On Borrowed Time: Thai A340-500 (by Airpearl Dec 7 2008 in Trip Reports)
Singapore Airlines Business Class To Melbourne (by Airpearl Nov 8 2008 in Trip Reports)
The Qantas A380 Inaugural (by Airpearl Oct 20 2008 in Trip Reports)
Trijets Rule OK: Biman Bangladesh DC10-30 (by Airpearl Jun 25 2008 in Trip Reports)
Ups & Downs: CX First Class Across The Pacific (by Airpearl Jun 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
Battle Of The Kebayas: Malaysia Vs. Singapore (by Airpearl May 17 2008 in Trip Reports)
From Song Thaew To 747: Domestic On Thai Airways (by Airpearl Apr 24 2008 in Trip Reports)
Short Hop, Big Suite: Cathay’s New F On 747 (by Airpearl Apr 9 2008 in Trip Reports)
How The Other Half Lives: F Class On ANA & Thai (by Airpearl Apr 3 2008 in Trip Reports)
An Indian Indulgence With Jet And Kingfisher (by Airpearl Mar 20 2008 in Trip Reports)
Inaugural AirAsia X And Routine A380 In A Weekend (by Airpearl Nov 13 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad To London In J And F (by Airpearl Oct 23 2007 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Pacific New J Class On A330-300 KUL-HKG (by Airpearl Oct 10 2007 in Trip Reports)


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 78
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 24643 times:

Hi Airpearl,

excellent report as usual, full of entertaining text passages and great pictures. RJ's J Class product is really disappointing, many airlines treat you better in Y Class.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Add to this the schedules which fit mine, a return fare at about $310 that is reasonable for business or Crown class, and the option becomes quite irresistable.

Very hot deal!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Squeezing past the crew with an "excuse me" to get to my seat on the other aisle, I almost feel like I'm gate-crashing someone's private party.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
A stewardess leaves her galley party to check my boarding pass and immediately asks the family to "move". Knowing for a fact that we are the only four passengers in this empty 24-seat cabin, that command - although by-the-book correct - sounds quite absurb to me. The couple start picking up their things when I do what any one of us would have done in this situation, and that's to suggest that if the flight isn't full, perhaps I can move to an empty seat instead? The stewardess suddenly looks lost - like this scenario wasn't provided for in a service manual - and doesn't respond. Instead, she turns her head back to a supervisor at door 2L who nods his head: "yes, you can," she says finally.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
A stewardess comes round with a tray of different juices. Trying to make small talk, I point to some orangey substance: what juice is this? I ask. There's no response: I am starting to wonder if I'm talking gibberish today. Is this orange juice? I try again; or is it mango? Again, no response. My stewardess only shrugs: it appears she doesn't know. Or maybe doesn't much care either. Ah, whatever, eh? I say half in jest, mostly to break the awkward silence. "Yes, whatever," she says in response, smiling. In that case, I'll have a glass of whatever then, I say.

Unbelievable! Is it so hard to offer basic services?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
There are a total of 8 pax in business, and 17 in economy.

That's what I call a poor load.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The snack-breakfast offering is not any better than TG's on domestic flights but service is done enthusiatically. Would I like coffee? How about a juice? There's orange, tomato and apple - what would I prefer? And a glass of water as well? Here's the Danish and yoghurt, would Sir like anything else? Sir is impressed.

Very impressive, I really need to try PG one day.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
HS-TJW is among the later delivered B772ERs, while we disembark under the majestic gaze of one of TG's magnificent jumbos.

I can't wait to try these birds in less than a week!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offline9MMAR From Malaysia, joined Jul 2006, 2107 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 24448 times:

Obviously Carfield's bad experience is not a one off.

I found it interesting that there are other airlines that use the Satellite Golden Lounge in KUL. All this while, I thought Golden Lounges in KUL are meant for MH's consumption only. Personally, I would have expected RJ to utilise the Plaza Premium Lounge actually. Do you know any other foreign airlines that utilise the Golden Lounges in KUL?

Would you mind telling us the nationality or at least the race of the one and only friendly RJ cabin crew throughout your entire journey? Having domiciled for more than 2 years in an Arab country now, I think the kind of unwelcomed treatments as if you are having leprosy when engaging in transactions which involve customer service delivery by the locals not only in an airliner, but at banks, restaurants, telcos et. al., should be expected.

Also regarding the extremely poor loads for the BKK-KUL leg as you experienced, should we expect the service to be terminated or reduced (to maybe 2 or 1 weekly) soon? I mean there are 6 airlines plying the route at the moment (MH, TG, AK, FD, LH and RJ) and RJ offers the least frequency and probably the worse schedule timings among the bunch. They are also not the cheapest option. Other than probably some Umrah pilgrims and a handful of travelers wanting to experience something a bit different or having a tight budget, I do not see other type of clientèle subscribe to RJ's service ex KUL.

Anyway, it was a great read and an eye opener one at that too. I'll shrined this one so that MW members will not have a false perception about this airline - a lot seem interested with the carrier actually.


User currently offlineojas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2957 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 24297 times:

Hi airpearl!

Wonderful TR!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I'm not usually particular about being directed to my seat - and really hate to be petty - but when there are half a dozen cabin crew congregated in the galley and nobody notices there's a boarding passenger because they're deep in animated conversation, it does make you wonder if anyone's taking this 'service' thing very seriously at all. Squeezing past the crew with an "excuse me" to get to my seat on the other aisle, I almost feel like I'm gate-crashing someone's private party.

It was a frequent experience on Gulf Air for me.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
"Yes, whatever," she says in response, smiling. In that case, I'll have a glass of whatever then, I say.   

Sad

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
. It's 1 hour and 50 minutes to Bangkok and we'll be flying at 56,000 feet - or perhaps, I just misheard.

I guess it should be 36,000 feet!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The gate area (they've finally decided to add cushions to the seats after 4 years)

Finally, I remember when we took that adventurous trip on Biman (Thanks to you) we had to sleep like homeless people on our return from BKK to SIN .. for our AirAsia flight. We had our backs aching for the next 2 days.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
This airport is probably the closest thing to a fifth-freedom heaven on earth: you can spend a fortnight just flying in and out of BKK on a dozen carriers without ever visiting their home bases!

So true, erstwhile Indian Airlines too had been operating DEL - BKK - KUL (or SIN don't remember propoerly) until recently.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Gate E4 is also EK's usual A380 gate - the aerobridge you see is used for boarding the upper deck (now incidentally, also on the world's only fifth-freedom A380 sector).

Sorry to nitpick, but EK operates DXB-SYD-AKL on the A380 as well. However you could say EK is the only airline offering a tag on route on a A380. Also BKK - HKG will get the A380 from 1st October.   

Thanks for sharing.



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2438 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 23834 times:

Hi airpearl,

I am pleasanty surprised to see your trip report popping up today. I did not know that RJ had been granted the fifth-freedom right for the BKK-KUL leg. I have got the impression that Malaysian government is very generous about that. I wish the Dutch government could follow the example more often.

KLIA Main Terminal interior looks beautiful during the evening. I like that soothing yellowish light all around the corner.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
a forewarning if you're headed for KUL soon - the Aerotrain (which is the only link between main airport building and the remote satellite) will stop operations completely for four months starting Nov 1 for "maintenance". A fleet of public buses will be brought in to replace the aerotrain in the interim. We're surely in for lots of fun then.

Would it not be a great opportunity for us A.nutters for photographing the tarmac.

Too bad the RJ J service did not live up to your expectation. It was quite shocking actually to hear what you have experienced on board. I wonder why most of the crew members were so uninspired and indiffirence. One cabin crew on the way back did save the grace for sure. I love the way she conveyed the subtle permission.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Seventy? I thought I misheard. "No, seven-teen," the agent confirms

Ouch! Would this tag on ever be profitable?

Quoting airpearl (Reply 1):
There are no problems with taking pictures on the tarmac at BKK.

Good to know but I am kind of expecting it actually. AFAIK, you will not get any trouble for photography at south east Asian airports.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 1):
Would I like coffee? How about a juice? There's orange, tomato and apple - what would I prefer? And a glass of water as well? Here's the Danish and yoghurt, would Sir like anything else? Sir is impressed.

So is this reader here who wishes to become a future costumer.

Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your next installments.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlinetk747 From Australia, joined Sep 2009, 339 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 23703 times:

Wonderful report as always. I had a similar experience on RJ a few months ago flying HKG-BKK in Y. The crew was absolutely hilarious definitely no need for IFE. From yelling, mocking, rolling eyes, joking, laughing and chatting with passengers a whole range of emotions was displayed by the entire crew. I'll write a report soon and expand on it further.

TK747


User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 23533 times:

Hello Airpearl,

you've been entertaining as usual and I can do nothing but admire your politeness when speaking about RJ crew's poor performance. They do remind me of how AZ employees used to behave like back when they were hubbing - sort of - in Milan. I loved the pictures you've taken, the one about RJ FAs stepping in their aeroplane above all, I love the way you cut it and the colours. Can I ask you what type of camera are you using on your TRs?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
So that's how I eventually get here - 80 minutes in a Proton taxi and already a bit worse for wear.

80 mins on a Proton...must have been a hell of a ride, was it? 
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Trying to make small talk, I point to some orangey substance: what juice is this? I ask. There's no response: I am starting to wonder if I'm talking gibberish today. Is this orange juice? I try again; or is it mango? Again, no response. My stewardess only shrugs: it appears she doesn't know. Or maybe doesn't much care either. Ah, whatever, eh? I say half in jest, mostly to break the awkward silence. "Yes, whatever," she says in response, smiling. In that case, I'll have a glass of whatever then, I say.

Maybe she wasn't fluent in English, who know? However, what was "Whatever juice" made of?

On a more serious note I'm impressed by Bangkok Airlines, they seem to be offering a very attractive product for a LCC carrier. I wish there would be more carriers like it in Europe, rather than cattle transporters like Ryanair.


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5074 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 23394 times:

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):

Two excellent recent reports on these planes preceed this one on A.net: an economy class report by Ronerone (Roni) and one on Crown class by Carfield. While Roni's trip shows quite respectable offerings in Y class, Carfield's subsequent report on a disappointing J class leaves me a little concerned on what to expect in Crown. As I'd already bought my ticket at that stage, all I can do is lower my expectations - and hope Carfield's experience is a one-off.

= AirPearl, I reviewed RJ's JCL on their AMM-YUL flight - take a look - Royal Jordanian RJ 267: 17/DEC/09:AMM-YUL: J Cabin (by abrelosojos Feb 5 2010 in Trip Reports) - I think you'll find my review remarkably similar to yours ...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):


Online check-in via RJ's website was no hassle at all last night - the MH agent reconfirms I'd selected window seat 3K, and promptly issues my boarding pass. The decision to choose this seat follows an earlier email exchange with Roni on where RJ's sky marshall might be seated (likely 4H or K) and the advantages of being outside his immediate field of vision, especially if you're taking pictures. That's one major consideration for a trip reporter on RJ. Thanks Roni!

= This is strange - Roni has mentioned the skymarshalls, but I have never encountered them on RJ - and took pictures pretty freely myself. But, better to be safe and trust an insider than get caught  .

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
How to describe the boarding experience? Let's be charitable and call it unique. The welcome at door 2L by a senior crew member is amicable, but what follows is not exactly the best first impression of RJ. I'm not usually particular about being directed to my seat - and really hate to be petty - but when there are half a dozen cabin crew congregated in the galley and nobody notices there's a boarding passenger because they're deep in animated conversation, it does make you wonder if anyone's taking this 'service' thing very seriously at all. Squeezing past the crew with an "excuse me" to get to my seat on the other aisle, I almost feel like I'm gate-crashing someone's private party.

= Absolutely unacceptable. Again, read my report for the similarities ...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):

All four check-in counters are manned by TG staff and free of passengers at about 2 pm for a 4.15 departure. I approach the nearest one, which happens to be an economy class desk, and present my CX Marco Polo Gold card (the status long since expired) just for the heck of it. "The number is already in," confirms the TG agent, but she's far too polite to say something like: "you are no longer Gold Sir, but I'm sure you already know that... we see sad sods like you all the time!"

= I almost spilled my water as I thought I read she actually said that!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):


Boarding. Two aerobridges are in use and it seems I'm alone in making my way down to the business class entrance via door 1L. But what happens next is strange. I've encountered situations before when there are no crew members at the door, but it's the first time I walk past a crew member - seated on a jump seat at the door - who doesn't bother to look up, much less stand up. Perhaps he thinks I am part of the ground crew but the blase attitude does feel awfully odd. Please don't get up, I am almost tempted to say, but I fear the irony may be lost. A stewardess working in the galley notices me, makes some form of eye contact as if she's about to check my boarding pass, but then turns away. What is happening? For the second time out of two, I am made to feel like an unwelcome guest in someone else's party.

=  .

Your report seems to be consistent with my overall impressions on RJ. While they have managed to improve their hardware, their software still needs a lot of work.

I am glad you took the exotic routing, and thanks for bringing us with you.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 22844 times:

Absolutely fantastic trip report Airpearl!

The pictures are just PERFECT! I cannot stop looking at them! I think these are some of your best my friend!

Though i must say that your experience was not just disappointing, it was horrifying! Whether it was an off day for RJ, a 'mistreatment' by the crew, or whatever, it is definitely no excuse!

I recently flew on one of RJ's Asian 5th Freedom flights, and also experienced a rather sub-par offering. I cannot understand why a rushed tray meal service on these flights substitutes the classic trolley service offered on Amman-Gulf flights that are within a similar flying time.

The crew vibe on my flights was definitely rather 'off' but i can't say it was bad. Though, as exactly as you described, they seemed to be super-rushed to get it done. I was offered three hot towel services in less than an hour and my fingers were starting to prune!

Furthermore, there seemed to have been some high-status passenger on board in Crown Class, and everyone seemed like they needed to impress him and things seemed a tad pre-tentious.

Finally, the seat, as Carfield described spot-on, is the worst seat in its flattest position. I much preferred an Economy Class seat to be honest. It is really uncomfortable! Have you tried it flat-out?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Online check-in via RJ's website was no hassle at all last night

Strangely online check-in is not available at BKK, but at KUL.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Thanks Roni!

You're welcome! Hope the advice helped!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
uch slips happen at every flight departure, so I'm surprised at how the crew - who've now noticed my presence and the slight commotion at row 3 - react to this situation. A stewardess leaves her galley party to check my boarding pass and immediately asks the family to "move". Knowing for a fact that we are the only four passengers in this empty 24-seat cabin, that command - although by-the-book correct - sounds quite absurb to me. The couple start picking up their things when I do what any one of us would have done in this situation, and that's to suggest that if the flight isn't full, perhaps I can move to an empty seat instead? The stewardess suddenly looks lost - like this scenario wasn't provided for in a service manual - and doesn't respond. Instead, she turns her head back to a supervisor at door 2L who nods his head: "yes, you can," she says finally.
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I move to 2K, a row ahead. The amenities at my seat - a duvet-like blanket and large pillow - look comfy enough for the long flight to Amman. The seats are of the angled-flat variety with the standard legroom you'll find on some longer intra-Asia regionals, and more than adequate on a short-haul like mine. A stewardess comes round with a tray of different juices. Trying to make small talk, I point to some orangey substance: what juice is this? I ask. There's no response: I am starting to wonder if I'm talking gibberish today. Is this orange juice? I try again; or is it mango? Again, no response. My stewardess only shrugs: it appears she doesn't know. Or maybe doesn't much care either. Ah, whatever, eh? I say half in jest, mostly to break the awkward silence. "Yes, whatever," she says in response, smiling. In that case, I'll have a glass of whatever then, I say.   
Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
I hesitate to come back to the topic of on-board service because it makes me look like a fusspot. For some reason, the crew look unhappy and it's showing in their work. Except for one stewardess who's a shining beacon in a sea of dour faces, everyone serving in J doesn't look like he or she wants to be there. There's no offer of pre-departure drinks or newspapers, but I do get a set of headphones, while the stewardess handing out menus looks super pissed with the world and manages to avoid making eye contact with everyone (so I don't take it personally when she just slips the menu down the back of my seat - after tapping my shoulder with it - because she can't be bothered to walk further forward.) I don't think this is regular RJ service, but so far, today's team certainly isn't doing any favors to the image of their airline.

Totally unacceptable!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The friendly stewardess comes round to collect menus. When I ask if I can keep it as a souvenir, she considers it for a moment and then says in a whisper: "I didn't see it. You can't show anybody," and walks quietly away. Oh, what a tangled web we weave...  

I think i need your autograph!  
I am still trying to keep an RJ menu, but my tactics just never seem to work!


Thanks a lot for sharing this!

Cheers,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 22716 times:

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
.

.


Oh, I forgot to ask about this picture. Is the "Photo" sign meaning that you can sit in and get a photo of you being smug under this umbrella or can you just take a picture of the whole thing without seating on it?


User currently offlineAlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 22593 times:

Another fascinating report from you airperl. I love write ups involving flights around Asia, a part of the world i try to visit at least once a year and which holds a special place in my heart.

Wow, what a "mixed up" service the crew offer on RJ. Im glad you didn't get too upset by it, and perhaps took a certain amusement from some of there random acts. The J cabin looks quite nice, and as you say, if the fares are low for J class its worth considering them again in the future.

Bangkok Airways appear to be a good outfit. It makes all the difference in the world to have an enthusiastic and friendly crew (take note RJ).

Your pictures in this report are very good. I have always been fascinated by some of the amazing cloud formations one can see while flying, and your picture of the decent into KL, as you meet the storm again is one of my favourites.

Thanks, Lee


User currently offlineb707forever From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 22434 times:

Thanks for the reports. Flying, for us anetters and everyone really is a human experience. If the human contact is lacking then it doesn't make a difference how the rest is, it'll be not be a good experience.

I don't think you were unfair in your assessment. For a crew to be seated or talking amongst themselves is not only unprofessional, it's a security risk!

I did wonder if the Flight Attendants were also observing Ramadan though and wondered if their attitudes were reflected of hunger and being tired. How do airlines who have staff that observe the month handle that or is it just business as usual. I'm thinking that if, say Emirates, for their day time service between Dubai and JFK are all day light flights, the crew is not permitted, if observant of Ramadan, to eat because it stays light?

I've never seen this topic discussed before but am very curious.


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1912 posts, RR: 24
Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 22372 times:
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Airpearl,

Another really good report! Really interesting to read your report on RJ .. their marketing makes Crown Class appear to be fantastic, when really there are some things that are really lacking!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Trying to make small talk, I point to some orangey substance: what juice is this? I ask. There's no response: I am starting to wonder if I'm talking gibberish today. Is this orange juice? I try again; or is it mango? Again, no response. My stewardess only shrugs: it appears she doesn't know. Or maybe doesn't much care either. Ah, whatever, eh? I say half in jest, mostly to break the awkward silence. "Yes, whatever," she says in response, smiling. In that case, I'll have a glass of whatever then, I say.

I can't believe this! Very bizarre .. You almost feel like asking, "Did you hear me?" haha ..  

The food on the return leg definitely looks really appetizing; I was getting hungry seeing those food shots!

Nice views as well of Bangkok Airways .. looks very nice.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew


User currently offlineburj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 901 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 21872 times:

Wow awesome TR, the pictures are stunning!

I am truly horrified that you got such a bad reception on boarding. There is really NO excuse for that. Forget about it being business class, or being a plane even...just common human courtesy is that when you see someone new approaching you act least ACKNOWLEDGE their existence and give them SOME kinda of greeting!


User currently offlinevietsky From Vietnam, joined Nov 2008, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 21869 times:

Hi Airpearl,

I enjoyed your T/R every time. Quiet impress with the Bangkok Airways. Very nice concept of having a Lounge for Y. I think Airlines seem to forget Y Class recently.  

Regarding on RJ, so sad that the Service can not match with its hard product.

Looking forward for your future T.R.

Vietsky


User currently offlineryanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4742 posts, RR: 26
Reply 16, posted (3 years 10 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 21371 times:

Ah Sir, looks like we were both paying our deeds to the land of happy endings!...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
My preferred choice - by express rail - is almost impossible from my office in the city center when taxis refuse to even bring me to the train station. Mention the airport, however, and every cabbie volunteers. So that's how I eventually get here - 80 minutes in a Proton taxi and already a bit worse for wear.

Sigh... why am I getting very bad flashbacks of a trecherous and weary journey to the airport?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
The decision to choose this seat follows an earlier email exchange with Roni on where RJ's sky marshall might be seated (likely 4H or K) and the advantages of being outside his immediate field of vision, especially if you're taking pictures. That's one major consideration for a trip reporter on RJ. Thanks Roni!

You might as well have put a death sentence on Roni. I am sure an immediate investigation is being lauched this minute by RJ's intel-department on this mysterious "Ronerone".

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
and a whole bunch of gate changes that appear to be a KLIA specialty.

Cut the airport workers some slack will ya? You think it is easy working at such a HUGE airport which sees so little traffic? These people need to work to earn their keeps so let them change gates all they want. Poor sods...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
For a short while, I drop by MH's Business Class Golden Lounge at the Satellite that's starting to show its age - tired furniture, scratched tables and the general conditions that come with 12 years of wear and tear.

Wow, the last time I stepped into the Golden Lounge was in 2004, can you believe it? I guess little has changed.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
stewardess suddenly looks lost - like this scenario wasn't provided for in a service manual - and doesn't respond. Instead, she turns her head back to a supervisor at door 2L who nods his head: "yes, you can," she says finally.

Golly, was this girl ex-SQ?


Gosh did the pigs start flying? You actually got a clean shot out of the normally dust-caked windows!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Ah, whatever, eh? I say half in jest, mostly to break the awkward silence. "Yes, whatever," she says in response, smiling. In that case, I'll have a glass of whatever then, I say.

I could feel my blood pressure rise reading this. In fact, my heart beat a little faster. WTF is this? Service? Not funny...

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
keeps me entertained right up to an abrupt end when a stewardess asks "finished your film?" and then yanks my headset from the socket without waiting for a reply.

Revenge for crashing a party, I suppose?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
This airport is probably the closest thing to a fifth-freedom heaven on earth: you can spend a fortnight just flying in and out of BKK on a dozen carriers without ever visiting their home bases!

It would be nice for me to be based in Bangkok solely because of this. But I fear I'd go crazy there from the pollution and traffic. Make no mistake, I love this city but I don't know if I can live there.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
There are also ample computer terminals with internet access, free wifi and a selection of snacks and non-aloholic beverages. All in all, a fantastic innovation.

I have always been very curious about the cost base of PG. Amazing they can somehow pull this off. I wonder if they pay their employees peanuts but have a fantastic bonus sharing scheme to make it up?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
In the seat pocket is a safety information card and a copy of Fah Thai,

One of my colleagues actually handle the mailing process of this publication. Interesting to see the pic of the magazine posted up here.

AWESOME REPORT!



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 27
Reply 17, posted (3 years 10 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 21200 times:

Hi everyone

Thanks very much for the replies and nice comments - and those of sympathies too   I really wasn't so devastated you know, but thinking about it, this is probably only the second report I've written where the boarding experience deserved more than a single line or two. The other report was about NH and the amazing Ms Suzuki - and that's right at the other end of the spectrum of course!


Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Very hot deal!

It is quite a good deal. Especially during the peak holiday periods, you can often get cheaper fares on 5th freedom airlines like RJ and LH than AirAsia. Really no contest as far as I'm concerned.


Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
That's what I call a poor load.

I was really surprised. I suppose the loads could be much better on the return as it's coming to the end of summer and Middle East visitors (quite a large contingent every summer visit Malaysia) would be headed home by then. I had intended to go back into Y to check if there really were only 17 pax (I don't think you'd even see them in the cabin, no?) but I got too engrossed in my movie.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Very impressive, I really need to try PG one day.

You must. They can easily become one of my favorites if they had a more extensive network - but then, there must be a reason why they're called 'boutique'

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
I can't wait to try these birds in less than a week!

Sounds intriguing PH! Can't wait to see where in an upcoming TR I'm sure  
Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 3):
I found it interesting that there are other airlines that use the Satellite Golden Lounge in KUL. All this while, I thought Golden Lounges in KUL are meant for MH's consumption only. Personally, I would have expected RJ to utilise the Plaza Premium Lounge actually. Do you know any other foreign airlines that utilise the Golden Lounges in KUL?

Hi 9MMAR, I think MH Golden Lounges can be used by the airlines that are prepared to pay for it. Plaza Premium must be a bit cheaper though that's why more airline patronize. QR is another airline using MH's lounge, but again only the satellite facility and not the regional lounge, which appears to be for MH pax only.

Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 3):
Also regarding the extremely poor loads for the BKK-KUL leg as you experienced, should we expect the service to be terminated or reduced (to maybe 2 or 1 weekly) soon? I mean there are 6 airlines plying the route at the moment (MH, TG, AK, FD, LH and RJ) and RJ offers the least frequency and probably the worse schedule timings among the bunch. They are also not the cheapest option. Other than probably some Umrah pilgrims and a handful of travelers wanting to experience something a bit different or having a tight budget, I do not see other type of clientèle subscribe to RJ's service ex KUL.

It's hard to tell. The service started 2 months+ at that stage and it takes a while to build up presence. I certainly hope they stick with it for KUL's sake. One of factors in RJ's favor is reasonably good connectivity at AMM to parts of the Middle East and Europe, while being the only oneworld carrier outside the immediate region to fly to KUL helps too. KUL-BKK traffic is unlikely to be a priority.

Quoting ojas (Reply 4):
Wonderful TR!

Hey Ojas, thanks!  
Quoting ojas (Reply 4):
I guess it should be 36,000 feet!

That's what I figure too... haha

Quoting ojas (Reply 4):
Finally, I remember when we took that adventurous trip on Biman (Thanks to you) we had to sleep like homeless people on our return from BKK to SIN

You're very welcome (sigh)... and that's how they thank you tsk tsk tsk  
Quoting ojas (Reply 4):
So true, erstwhile Indian Airlines too had been operating DEL - BKK - KUL (or SIN don't remember propoerly) until recently.

I think they've stopped the service at least 2 years ago. I've flown IC on KUL-BKK before, connecting onto another IC flight to CCU - the airline had a mini-hub in BKK!

Quoting ojas (Reply 4):
Sorry to nitpick, but EK operates DXB-SYD-AKL on the A380 as well. However you could say EK is the only airline offering a tag on route on a A380. Also BKK - HKG will get the A380 from 1st October.

You're absolutely right. Somehow, I just didn't remember SYD-AKL while I'd read so much about the BKK-HKG tag-on that I assumed it had already commenced.


Quoting akhmad (Reply 5):
KLIA Main Terminal interior looks beautiful during the evening. I like that soothing yellowish light all around the corner.

Hi Suryo, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I suppose KLIA can be rather nice (he says grudgingly)

Quoting akhmad (Reply 5):
Would it not be a great opportunity for us A.nutters for photographing the tarmac.

That's my initial thought too - but there is a service road that's at a lower level than the rail tracks and I fear this is the route the buses will take, in which case the views aren't going to be great.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 5):
Good to know but I am kind of expecting it actually. AFAIK, you will not get any trouble for photography at south east Asian airports.

You're right there - even at places where there are rules against it (like at KUL's LCCT) enforcement is not so strict either.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 5):
So is this reader here who wishes to become a future costumer.

It comes highly recommended.  
Quoting tk747 (Reply 6):
Wonderful report as always. I had a similar experience on RJ a few months ago flying HKG-BKK in Y. The crew was absolutely hilarious definitely no need for IFE. From yelling, mocking, rolling eyes, joking, laughing and chatting with passengers a whole range of emotions was displayed by the entire crew. I'll write a report soon and expand on it further.

Hi TK747, thanks for your comments. Please do post your report - I'll look forward to reading about your experience!

Quoting JL418 (Reply 7):
They do remind me of how AZ employees used to behave like back when they were hubbing - sort of - in Milan.

Hi JL418, I have heard stories about AZ, but the times - admittedly not many times - I've flown them, they seemed okay though.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 7):
80 mins on a Proton...must have been a hell of a ride, was it?

Hahaha... certainly nothing subatomic about it, that's for sure  
Quoting JL418 (Reply 7):
Maybe she wasn't fluent in English, who know? However, what was "Whatever juice" made of?

You know, that did cross my mind. Hence the silence. 'Whatever' tasted very much like orange.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 10):
Oh, I forgot to ask about this picture. Is the "Photo" sign meaning that you can sit in and get a photo of you being smug under this umbrella or can you just take a picture of the whole thing without seating on it?

Your guess is as good as mine! I would guess the former but when I first saw it, I thought it's a special seat reserved for monks - as they do in Thailand.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 7):
I loved the pictures you've taken, the one about RJ FAs stepping in their aeroplane above all, I love the way you cut it and the colours. Can I ask you what type of camera are you using on your TRs?

Thanks very much. I used two cameras - a Nikon D80 on the outbound but for many of the shots on the remainder of the trip, a point-and-shoot Canon Ixus.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 8):
I think you'll find my review remarkably similar to yours ...

Hi Abrelosojos, wow quite extraordinary! I did remember you doing a report on RJ but maybe should have checked it before I left. Thanks much for the link.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 8):
I almost spilled my water as I thought I read she actually said that!

Haha... sorry! That would be unthinkable in Thailand... at least not to one's face.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 8):
Your report seems to be consistent with my overall impressions on RJ. While they have managed to improve their hardware, their software still needs a lot of work.

Agreed. Despite the obvious weaknesses, there is an undeniable charm about the carrier that stops you from saying you'll not fly RJ. I can't pin it down exactly why and where - but it's an intriguing little airline actually.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
The pictures are just PERFECT! I cannot stop looking at them! I think these are some of your best my friend!

Hey, hey Roni, thanks for your too nice comments.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
I recently flew on one of RJ's Asian 5th Freedom flights, and also experienced a rather sub-par offering.

Hmm... interesting. One more to add to the TR backlog?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
I cannot understand why a rushed tray meal service on these flights substitutes the classic trolley service offered on Amman-Gulf flights that are within a similar flying time.

Why the big difference? Customer expectations or yields, or perhaps a bit of both?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
Finally, the seat, as Carfield described spot-on, is the worst seat in its flattest position. I much preferred an Economy Class seat to be honest. It is really uncomfortable! Have you tried it flat-out?

The seat didn't seem so bad in the lounging position but I didn't push it to its 'limits'. I had thought of RJ as a possibility for a year-end long-haul, but it's not likely now I think.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
Strangely online check-in is not available at BKK, but at KUL.

Could it be that BKK is the intermediate stop, whereas KUL is at the end of the line? I only tried online check-in ex-KUL but not on the return.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
I think i need your autograph!  
I am still trying to keep an RJ menu, but my tactics just never seem to work!

Hahaha... on the outbound, I just kept the menu out of sight as the crew just didn't look too amenable (sometimes you just know), but on the return I asked permission - so I now have both menus  
Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 11):
Another fascinating report from you airperl. I love write ups involving flights around Asia, a part of the world i try to visit at least once a year and which holds a special place in my heart.

Thanks for your comments AlwaysOnAPlane.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 11):
It makes all the difference in the world to have an enthusiastic and friendly crew (take note RJ).

A PG flight immediately after the RJ experience I had was quite a culture shock. The difference was so immediately noticeable.

Quoting b707forever (Reply 12):
Thanks for the reports. Flying, for us anetters and everyone really is a human experience. If the human contact is lacking then it doesn't make a difference how the rest is, it'll be not be a good experience.

   Thanks for your comments B707forever.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 13):
The food on the return leg definitely looks really appetizing; I was getting hungry seeing those food shots!

Thanks for stopping by Matthew. By far, the highlight of my flights with RJ!

Quoting vietsky (Reply 15):
I enjoyed your T/R every time.

Thanks for your kind words Vietsky. Glad you enjoyed.

Quoting vietsky (Reply 15):
Quiet impress with the Bangkok Airways. Very nice concept of having a Lounge for Y. I think Airlines seem to forget Y Class recently.

That's very true. Nowadays, even so-called full-service airlines feel they don't need to be better than LCCs in Y class - so this is really a nice surprise. Interestingly, PG flies to both Laos and Cambodia but not a potentially more lucrative market like Vietnam. I wonder why that is.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 16):
Ah Sir, looks like we were both paying our deeds to the land of happy endings!...

Haha... yes it does look like it  
Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 16):
You might as well have put a death sentence on Roni. I am sure an immediate investigation is being lauched this minute by RJ's intel-department on this mysterious "Ronerone".

I'm confident they'll have difficulty catching up with this elusive character at the rate he travels around!  
Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 16):
You think it is easy working at such a HUGE airport which sees so little traffic? These people need to work to earn their keeps so let them change gates all they want. Poor sods...

You mean it's by design? Isn't that giving them a little TOO much credit?

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 16):
Gosh did the pigs start flying? You actually got a clean shot out of the normally dust-caked windows!

Amazing isn't it? I learnt to be a contortionist just to get this shot.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 16):
I could feel my blood pressure rise reading this. In fact, my heart beat a little faster. WTF is this? Service? Not funny...

Even now, I can't be sure what actually happened there. I prefer to be charitable and, as JL418 said above, she could have had problems with English.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 16):
I have always been very curious about the cost base of PG. Amazing they can somehow pull this off. I wonder if they pay their employees peanuts but have a fantastic bonus sharing scheme to make it up?

I wonder. Also having a virtual monopoly in Koh Samui must help too. Thanks for your nice words Ryan.

Cheers
airpearl


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8488 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (3 years 10 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 21049 times:
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Hi Airpearl,

Super read, most enjoyable, even if I had expected more from JY than this.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
80 minutes in a Proton taxi and already a bit worse for wear.

- Rather you than me!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
but what follows is not exactly the best first impression of RJ. I'm not usually particular about being directed to my seat - and really hate to be petty - but when there are half a dozen cabin crew congregated in the galley and nobody notices there's a boarding passenger because they're deep in animated conversation, it does make you wonder if anyone's taking this 'service' thing very seriously at all. Squeezing past the crew with an "excuse me" to get to my seat on the other aisle, I almost feel like I'm gate-crashing someone's private party.

- Now that is really poor, never come across anything liket his before, just terrible!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
when I get to my alloted seat, there's a Jordanian couple, their young son, and the usual paraphernalia associated with traveling with a small child already comfortably installed at and around 3 H&K. As is usual in these situations, boarding passes are produced to determine if one of us has misread his seat number - and it does seem they have.

Such slips happen at every flight departure, so I'm surprised at how the crew - who've now noticed my presence and the slight commotion at row 3 - react to this situation. A stewardess leaves her galley party to check my boarding pass and immediately asks the family to "move". Knowing for a fact that we are the only four passengers in this empty 24-seat cabin, that command - although by-the-book correct - sounds quite absurb to me. The couple start picking up their things when I do what any one of us would have done in this situation, and that's to suggest that if the flight isn't full, perhaps I can move to an empty seat instead? The stewardess suddenly looks lost - like this scenario wasn't provided for in a service manual - and doesn't respond. Instead, she turns her head back to a supervisor at door 2L who nods his head: "yes, you can," she says finally.

- Looking at it seems the lower members of the crew either have no common sense or must to defer to those above for guidance, crazy!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
A stewardess comes round with a tray of different juices. Trying to make small talk, I point to some orangey substance: what juice is this? I ask. There's no response: I am starting to wonder if I'm talking gibberish today. Is this orange juice? I try again; or is it mango? Again, no response. My stewardess only shrugs: it appears she doesn't know. Or maybe doesn't much care either. Ah, whatever, eh? I say half in jest, mostly to break the awkward silence. "Yes, whatever," she says in response, smiling. In that case, I'll have a glass of whatever then, I say

- Just quite sad, really poor.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
Like at KLIA, Royal Jordanian is not quite integrated with fellow oneworld members here. Considering that CX, JL and QF/BA run a total of five lounge facilities at BKK, it's strange that it's a Star Alliance lounge that I am invited to use.

- Indeed, makes sense to have them all working together!

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 19, posted (3 years 10 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 20775 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 17):
One more to add to the TR backlog?

Haha .. nah .. it was an 'off' day for me  
Quoting airpearl (Reply 17):
Why the big difference? Customer expectations or yields, or perhaps a bit of both?

I think it may have something to do with what's offered on the flights to/from AMM (presumably the trolley affair), that it doesn't justify another round on the 5th's?

Quoting airpearl (Reply 17):
I had thought of RJ as a possibility for a year-end long-haul, but it's not likely now I think.

I wouldn't do Long Haul in J on RJ's A332 (i would in Y though).

Quoting airpearl (Reply 17):
on the outbound, I just kept the menu out of sight as the crew just didn't look too amenable (sometimes you just know), but on the return I asked permission - so I now have both menus

I tried hiding behind my back (i was actually leaning on it), assuming that after a few quick seach attempts the crew would give up. However, milliseconds after i had swallowed the last possible bite out of the meal i got a "Can i offer you anything else can i have the menu please?" as a response   haha.

Cheers,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 27
Reply 20, posted (3 years 10 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 20308 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 18):
Super read, most enjoyable,

Hey, thanks Mark. Yup I had higher expectations of RJ too, but luckily they were tempered by Carfield's report, so the disappointment wasn't as great.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 18):
Now that is really poor, never come across anything liket his before, just terrible!

That's a first for me too. Even more surprising seeing this is J class.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 18):
Looking at it seems the lower members of the crew either have no common sense or must to defer to those above for guidance, crazy!

I don't know what it was. It just seemed so bizarre that the crew member wouldn't know the cabin is empty and there's no problem with choosing any other seat. It looks like inexperience and training (or lack thereof) to me - which also doesn't reflect well on RJ.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
Haha .. nah .. it was an 'off' day for me

Haha... you deserve TR-free days every once in a while  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
I think it may have something to do with what's offered on the flights to/from AMM (presumably the trolley affair), that it doesn't justify another round on the 5th's?

Does make sense especially if the likes of EK do it. Do they? On the regional Asians, carriers like TG, MH, CX no longer offer trolley service I think hence the less elaborate service.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
I tried hiding behind my back (i was actually leaning on it), assuming that after a few quick seach attempts the crew would give up. However, milliseconds after i had swallowed the last possible bite out of the meal i got a "Can i offer you anything else can i have the menu please?" as a response

Oh no, so meticulous they are! I guess I must have been very lucky then - so really my flights weren't all bad  


User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 21, posted (3 years 10 months 22 hours ago) and read 20169 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 20):
Does make sense especially if the likes of EK do it. Do they? On the regional Asians, carriers like TG, MH, CX no longer offer trolley service I think hence the less elaborate service.

Well it seems that EK does the trolley service in F on the BKK-HKG runs (on one of their consistency levels   ). But EK is is definitely targeting O&D traffic on that route, so i'd assume they would need to compete.

RJ may need to do some touch-ups on its service delivery in Crown if it so seriously decides to join the competion and better utilise those freedoms of the air  

Just my view i guess...  


Cheers,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26847 posts, RR: 58
Reply 22, posted (3 years 10 months 20 hours ago) and read 20097 times:

An interesting report on RJ,never knew about the Air Marshalls

Thanks for sharing

OA260


User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 27
Reply 23, posted (3 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 20021 times:

Quoting burj (Reply 14):
Wow awesome TR, the pictures are stunning!

Hi Burj, very sorry left you out earlier - only realized now! Thanks for your kind comments.  
Quoting burj (Reply 14):
when you see someone new approaching you act least ACKNOWLEDGE their existence and give them SOME kinda of greeting!

Totally agree. But I don't think this was the crew's attempt to be intentionally rude, but it's just they seemed so caught up with whatever it was, that they 'forgot' they were working. Of course, that isn't good either.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 21):
Well it seems that EK does the trolley service in F on the BKK-HKG runs (on one of their consistency levels ). But EK is is definitely targeting O&D traffic on that route, so i'd assume they would need to compete.

Interesting. But of course, that's F though. Will change with the A380 now I suppose. EK's BKK-HKG is really one of the most well established 5th freedoms in the region and has been around forever. Must be making good bucks for them that it's being upgraded now. I just checked the fares - they're still pretty good, probably the cheapest way to travel on EK's A380 J!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 21):
RJ may need to do some touch-ups on its service delivery in Crown if it so seriously decides to join the competion and better utilise those freedoms of the air

I guess if the fares stay cheap, perhaps there's little incentive to. And amazingly, I heard recently from a super frequent flier (you know the category of passenger that flies SQ Suites to ZRH for a 2 hour meeting and returns on the same plane) - anyway, she says her RJ KUL-BKK J experience was "fine" - prefers it to MH's 734s (not much competition there, I have to admit). No complaints on service but implies that for the fare she paid, "you can't complain". She's even planning a holiday to Jordan - believe it or not - after flying RJ!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 22):
An interesting report on RJ

Thanks for stopping by OA260.

Cheers
airpearl


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3203 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (3 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 20009 times:

Nice indight into RJ. Sounds like the service on the KUL tag-ons is severely lacking. No greeting when boarding in Business Class is pretty terrible. Even Ryanair manage this! Funny that the catering was so different betweren the sectors.


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-GVA-LHR-TXL-LHR-VE-PRN,SPU-OSL-LHR, LGW-DXB-BKK-DXB-LHR
25 Post contains images globetraveller : Hi there Airpearl! Another excellent trip report from you! As usual, your writing style is just superb and the pictures are great as usual. These RJ f
26 Post contains images airpearl : Haha. I suppose that says it all. Thanks for your comments Gabrielchew. Hey Globetraveller, good to hear from you. And thanks very much for the nice
27 akhmad : Is there anything else I should know? Ouch, that would be a pity. How long will the maintenance take? Cheers, Suryo
28 Post contains images globetraveller : Hey Airpearl! Hmmm... I am not sure they are award winning, but I can assure you that three trip reports are in the pipeline. Yeah, that is true - I d
29 Post contains images NZ107 : Hey Airpearl, I can't believe it's taken me 6 weeks to finally get around to commenting.. And I must admit that I did read it the moment it came out!
30 Post contains images airbusfanyyz : Great report and of special interest to me as I'll be flying RJ on this sector in Y next month. I too am surprised they didn't serve a proper meal on
31 Post contains images airpearl : Hey Globetraveller, are these reports still forthcoming? It looks like I missed you again in KL didn't I? Ahem, and I can't believe it's taken me mor
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