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HKG-BWN-HKG Royal Brunei Airlines Y Class  
User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 8569 times:

My fiancée and I just spent a weekend in Brunei visiting friends. It has been 6 years since I last took a Royal Brunei flight. Things did not seem to have changed much. Read on and find out….

Date 21/9/02
Flight No. BI 634
HKG to BWN
Aircraft B767-300ER
Reg. No. V8-RBK
Departure time 1200h
Arrival time 1450h
Flying time of 2h 40m

We checked in at the HK Airport Express train station at 1000h. That left us plenty of time to take the 25min train journey to CLK. I was disappointed that they used Dragonair boarding passes rather than the nice yellow/black ones of BI. After all, this was a code-share with KA.  Sad

Having arrived at the airport by 1050h, we went straight through security and immigration. The airport was rather deserted, considering that it was a public holiday. We were through in a few minutes. We decided not to go to the lounge, so we browsed around the shops. There were plenty to shop at CLK, even for us locals and we bought some nice local T shirts and a bag. By that time, we had to head to Gate 30, where our plane was waiting.

On the way to the gate, I saw a CO B777-224/ER (N78001) preparing for its ultra long flight to EWR. There, of course, were plenty of the ubiquitous CX planes of various types. Other planes I saw included an LH B744 readying for its flight back to FRA, a CI A340, a China Southwest A320. It was not very exciting for me.  Sad

Boarding was called for at 1125h. The flight looked half empty judging by the length of the queue. The First/Business class queue was non-existent. No pax in F/J?

On entering the aircraft, the F/A’s did their best to squeeze a smile out of them, which were very contrived. At least they showed us to our seats. The cabin looked a bit shabby, albeit clean. The seats were all a bit tatty and worn down, including the business class ones. The Y class seats were hard and quite uncomfortable. They did not seem to have been changed since my last flight with them all those years ago.

By 1150h, everyone was on board. So, the doors were closed and the F/A’s handed out cold paper towels and headsets. Now, this time, the headsets were electronic, not the pneumatic type I remembered from my last flight with them. They then had the safety demonstration, which nobody seemed to have taken notice. Even the F/A’s looked bored doing it! After that, they showed an Islamic prayer with English subtitles. I saw a Muslim passenger praying along with the video. Basically, it was a travel prayer, praying for Allah to see us through our journey safely. This feature had not changed, which I was glad because it did have a calming effect on us, even though we were not Muslims. Also, the prayer has become a symbol of BI!

The taxiing was long. We followed a Dragonair A321 in the take off queue. No sooner had the KA flight departed, we started our roll and were airborne very quickly.

Then, we were all woken by an extremely loud and cheerful Australian captain doing his PA. “GOOD AFTERNOON LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!” he boomed with a cheerful lilt. This was the loudest ever PA I have ever heard! He then explained more about the flight.

The flight path was basically a southerly one, taking us down to near the coast of Philippines before heading straight to BWN.

A snack service started after reaching cruising altitude of 35000 ft. They gave us a packet of peanuts with a savoury garlic-flavoured crust. They were delicious. But, the orange juice and the pineapple juice were terrible. They tasted really foul. A point to note is that the airline does not serve alcohol. However, non-Muslims are allowed to bring alcohol on board for personal consumption.

Lunch was served shortly afterwards. It consisted of either chicken rice or fried fish. We had a sample of each and were disappointed by both of them The fish was very dry. The chicken was slightly better due to the fact that they had three little sauces to go with it!

As to the IFE, the system was not working well and Celine Dion seemed to have a permanent sore throat!! The socket for the headset was loose and so I had intermittent stereo sound. I had a headache after listening to it for five minutes, so I gave up. They then showed a short documentary on Islamic culture, which would have been interesting had the headset been working normally.

The flight went rather slowly without good entertainment. Luckily, we had each other for entertainment!!

At 1420h we started our descent into BWN. We could see the coastline below us, then lots of rainforest, albeit much less than the last time I was here. There were more houses now. Some of them were on a hill and seemed alarmingly close to our descending plane! BWN is a quiet airport with few air movements, so there was no need to circle around. We landed at 1450h. The rundown was rather bumpy, probably due to the surface of the runway. The cabin fittings shook on landing. The plane seemed to be developing arthritis with age!! There were only three other BI B767’s on the ground. I could not see any other airlines. The goodbyes on disembarkation were rather cold. Not many smiles around.

Overall, the product seemed some way behind the more prominent regional carriers. Had the F/A’s showed more enthusiasm, warmth and smiles, it would have more than made up of their lacking in hardware. There was only one male F/A who was good. The others were rather cold and seemed to be just ‘doing a job’.


Date 23/9/02
Flight No. BI 637
BWN to HKG
Aircraft B767-300ER
Reg. No. V8-RBH
Departure time 1755h
Arrival time 2045h
Flying time of 2h 35m


After a couple of days visiting friend and staying at the fabulous Empire Hotel in Jerudong, we were driven to the airport in a Mercedes S-Class 600 with compliments of the hotel. We arrived at BWN airport at 1635h. The place looked empty. There were only a handful of departing flights: one to BKK/DXB/FRA, one to Brisbane and one to SIN. There was nobody at the HKG flight check in. So, we were done in less than a minute. They have started to charge a departure tax of B$12 each, which was not the case last time I was there. The government, after a few recent hiccups, is obviously hard up on cash and needs to increase its coffers. We had to wait for a friend to come, so we waited in the check-in hall. We saw some F/A’s being dropped off by their spouses/partners. They looked really miserable. Just like how they looked on board!!

We went through immigration and security at 1715h. There was one person in front of us. He was chatting to the immigration officer for a while before leaving the counter!! It goes without saying that it did not take us long to go through the formalities.

We wandered around the few duty-free shops airside of the terminal. We could not find anything to buy. So, we went to our gate, number 4. There were the two other BI planes at the other gates, but there was no plane at Gate 4!! I saw an AN-124-100 (RA 82079) of Volga Dnepr Russian Cargo Airlines in the Freighter area. It was a first for me and I was rather excited Big grin My fiancée was rather relieved that I was only watching these kind of birds and not the human kind!!

Boarding was called for at 1740h. It was supposed to be by row numbers, but the PA was very faint. Anyway, there were not many passengers, so it did not matter. We were told to board at Gate 1 where V8-RBH was waiting. Nobody explained why.

On entering the aircraft, the crew was a bit friendlier this time, but still, some looked very cold. Smiles, again, were not to be found easily. The pre-flight routine was the same as the last flight. They again showed the prayer video.

This plane had a First Cass section. The seats were in leather and gold. Even the seat belts were in gold! The arrangement was 2-1-2. It looked good, but I could not see their famous First Class toilet with the gold basin! However, the seats did not seem to have PTV’s. The business class section was again in the 2-2-2 arrangement. The seats, again, were tatty and worn down. In Y, the seats were the same as before. At least, this time, the IFE worked well.

The flight was very empty with a load of maybe 20% in Y. there may be one passenger in J. I did not see anyone in F.

The service was exactly the same as before. Dinner was served at around 1850h. One option was the chicken rice. The other was a rather tasty beef stew with creamed potatoes.

We watched a documentary on Islamic Culture in Central Asia. It was interesting. The F/A came round with some drinks after the show as a second service.

We started to descend into HKG at 2015h. We approached HKG from the South East. We did not have to circle around for a change. Landing was very smooth. The taxi to our gate was not too long because we parked at some remote gate. Disembarkation was at 2055h. The F/A’s again did not bother say anything to us in the Y section. Only the purser by the front door said a rather cold ‘Goodbye’.

Overall, this flight was about the same as the one before. They should really do something about the grumpy F/A’s. the tatty seats, the IFE and the general decor of the interior. I read that they have an ex-CX guy as their new CEO and hopefully things will improve. Royal Brunei did win a few accolades before in the 90’s. With the others advancing ahead, they seemed to be left behind in the race. They should not rest on those past laurels. It is such a sweet little airline from a sweet little country. I would love to see it being great again.


I have some photos. If anyone interested, you can email me. I could not load them on this site. Sorry!

26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSq_ek_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1633 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (12 years 23 hours ago) and read 8407 times:

great report!...what is the BI FA uniform like?


Keep Discovering
User currently offlineCMK10 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 513 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (12 years 23 hours ago) and read 8384 times:

Nice report, I am interested in the photos, please email me about them.
DC-10's Forever



"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8546 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (12 years 20 hours ago) and read 8355 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thanks for the report,it's nice to get a report from one of the less flown airlines.

Rgds

BA319-131



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 offlineMarara From Australia, joined Oct 2001, 678 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 12 hours ago) and read 8349 times:

Sounds a bit like my trip in 2000 with them, cept we were going to LHR from Australia. Crews are very hit and miss, usually miss. I think that the FAs think they are above other airlines and they are doing you a favour by serving you. One thing i learned while traveling with BI was not to take any crap ( my parents fly with BI regularly) you let them know you wont put up with any shit and they cant do enough to help you Big grin. When we flew with BI back in 1990 the crew were lovely unfortunatley things have changed ( some havent... like the seats, nah they had 757s back then)

PS. Glad they still serve those P-nuts, they were called "Camel Peanuts" from memory.






I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. Jerome K Jerome
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 hours ago) and read 8323 times:

I flew to Bandar Seri Begawan in 1997 in BI Business Class. It was my second experience with Biz Class and I found the hardware rather mediocre after my first C Class flight with United. Back then, they just changed to the present style of uniforms... I kinda prefer the old one which was a torquoise coloured kebaya without the head dress.

The seats were very dated but rather comfy, I must say. As for the airport, the size is justified looking at the amount of traffic that goes into BWN. But Brunei is a very slow and relaxing country with nothing much to do but watch MTV!

However, you should try the other side of Brunei... where you take the boat across international waters to Temburong... that was where I went. Jungle Survival Training!



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (12 years 9 hours ago) and read 8308 times:

Thanks guys for your response.

Sq_ek_freak: Marara has answered your question. I thought the uniform was rather nice. I always wondered if the head scarf will get in the way in case of emergency........

CMK10: I shall email you with a few of my pictures. I did not take many, but hope you like them.

BA319-131: Thanks. There should be more airplane nuts doing reports from the more obscure airlines. Where are they?

Marara: Your experience sounded exactly like mine. I still remembered the service 6 years ago. It was just like this trip. I flew on their B757 and also their B767. Unfortunately, the seats have not changed...The cabin crew, grumpy though some of them were, did not do anything wrong and they would oblige to your requests. So, it is kind of difficult to ask, "Give us a smile, girl!" or words to that effect!! Maybe, in the Islamic culture, girls are not suppose to smile. I remember in Muslim weddings, the bride certainly looked very sombre. Yes,the peanuts are still the lovely 'Camel Nuts'  Smile

Ryanair!!!: I cannot remember their old uniform. Do you have a picture? Yes, I totally agree that the seats are dated, even more so now when the other carriers have advanced. As to comfort, the Y class ones were definitely "null pointes"! I have yet to try the Business or First. By the looks, only the First class seats look anywhere near comfortable. BWN has only like 20 movements a day, arrivals and departures. So, the atmosphere is totally relaxed. There are usually more senders-off than passengers! Yes, Brunei is a very slow country. Nothing seems urgent there and they seem to have all the time in the world. Even at immigration. I have been there 5 times now, mainly just to see old friends. We are planning to go to Temburong next time. What is that like? They label it as 'eco-tour'.


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (12 years 8 hours ago) and read 8293 times:

Well, the area of Temburong is larger than Singapore, but only like 4 roads that webs out from the the town center - Bandar... something, cannot remember the name. Outside that, it is nothing but pure dense jungle and the Apoi River, that was my lifeline for 1 week.

I was in Temburong for a total of 1.5 weeks and had the time of my life surviving on nothing, grass, leaves and roots ( I was seriously doing Jungle Survival Training with the Air Force). Drinking the stinking river water with God-knows-what-had-died-underneath. And you have never seen darkness in the wild until you have spent a night in the jungle, it is so dark you cannot even see your own hand. This is because Temburong is so sparse that there are no city lights to be reflected in the skies.

I saw a monkey getting dragged into the water by a crocodile, flowing streams of little rivers with water so fresh (only in the highlands), rolling stretches of mountains with little or no human existence - ah... BEAUTIFUL!

Still, looking at such lush flora and fauna, makes you wonder what urbanisation does to Singapore. All we have are nature reserves and nicely manicured gardens. But nothing beats the overwhelming and untamed wilderness of Temburong.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 8 hours ago) and read 8277 times:

Ryanair!!!

Wow! Sounds fantastic! Hope you did not go ill after drinking from that river.
I wonder if they have something less 'survival-like' for us visitors. We, after all, are not going to be training for the army!

I will definitely go to Temburong next time I visit Brunei.


User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (12 years 8 hours ago) and read 8264 times:

CMK10:

I tried sending you the photos, but each time I got a 'failure' message.
Can you give me your email address again?


User currently offlineSIA fan From Indonesia, joined Aug 2000, 728 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (12 years 8 hours ago) and read 8266 times:

Great report and the FAs uniforms looked nice. Did they wear the headscarves during flight too?


SQ*G BD*S
User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 7 hours ago) and read 8273 times:

SIA fan:

Yes, they wore the head scarves throughout flight. Elegant, but a little bit cumbersome, I thought. It is unlike the EK crew who take their hats with the scarves off in flight. I always wondered if the scarves would get in the way in case of emergency.


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (12 years 4 hours ago) and read 8232 times:

In case there is a fire on board, they can wrap the head dress around their faces.  Big grin So there is a use for them in emergencies!


Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (12 years 2 hours ago) and read 8225 times:

Ryanair!!!

Hee! Hee!!


User currently offlineSN-A330 From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 1129 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (12 years 1 hour ago) and read 8232 times:


Thanks for the very nice trip report CXHKG

Regards, SN-A330




I would rather be flying...
User currently offlineEx_SQer From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1436 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (11 years 12 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 8198 times:

Ryanair!!!: The town is called Bangar.

CXHKG: Temburong jungle training is a little on the extreme side! If you want a somewhat rugged jungle holiday, try a guy named "Uncle Tan" who operates a jungle lodge about 50kms out of Sandakan in Sabah. I went in 1992, and I had a whale of a time. It's a bunch of jungle huts located along a river (you need to take a two hour boat ride in). The huts are "basic", though. They have guides that'll take you on jungle treks to spot animals, etc. I paid MYR20 per day, all meals included. I'm not sure if it is still in existence - I found them in the Lonely Planet.


User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (11 years 12 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 8182 times:

You guys travel all the way there just so that you can be treated to basic facilities? Ok, maybe I am not into nature, trekking or any activity that exposes me to temperatures above 30 deg C.  Big grin

Guess some of you didn't get enough of NS....being stuck in an APC, no air con, no fan, together with platoon mates who have not showered for days, mosquitoes, humidity, 35 degreesC heat in an alluminium vehicle, camouflage wax firmly pasted on your face, on high alert throughout the night...... recalling that just sends a chill down my spine!



There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (11 years 12 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 8156 times:

SN-A330:

Thanks. It was my pleasure. There will be another report to come.....HKG to ICN on CX in Nov! Stay tuned.

Ex_SQer:

Thanks for you info. I shall look into that. I have never had anything like a nature holiday. I would love to give it a try and see. I am sure it will be an eye-opener!


User currently offlineMarara From Australia, joined Oct 2001, 678 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (11 years 12 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 8153 times:

Interesting thing about the head scarfs is that they are taken off during the Emergency Demo and are then put back on again before takeoff. Same thing happens with the Males Coats. The scarf has little hair clips, so i guess they just pull the scarfs off in an emergency.




I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. Jerome K Jerome
User currently offlineCathay Pacific From Australia, joined May 2000, 1864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (11 years 12 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8120 times:

Great report, it's good to read something different from time to time! Can't wait for your next report! Smile

btw, I'm interested in looking at those pics, do you think you can send them to me?

Thanks

regards
Ken



cathay pacific, now you're really flying
User currently offlineEx_SQer From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1436 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (11 years 12 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 8121 times:

CXHKG:
Other things I did in Sabah - climb Mt Kinabalu, soak in hot springs, raft the Pedas River (Grade 4 at the time), watch turtles lay eggs and hatch, watch orang utans.... all in all a great experience.

Maybe you could fly BI there again. haha!


User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (11 years 12 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 8105 times:

Ex_SQer:

We have almost daily flights to BKI with MH and KA. So, I do not think that I will use BI's services to go there.......and I assure you that it has nothing to do with my recent experience with them  Yeah sure


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 22, posted (11 years 12 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 8065 times:

SQ772... u poor thing. Looks like you had it rough during our NS! That Temburong training was the only "toughie" during my stint with OCS. After Temburong, you realise that field camps, route marches and weekly hell trips to Pulau Tekong is pure heaven.

Back to the topic... has anyone else in this forum flown Royal Brunei? I always thought their service was one of the best... no? After all, their tagline is "Giving the world Asia's best..."

For those in Singapore, the BI flight attendants stay at Royal Crowne Plaza when they are here. After all, the Sultan of Brunei owns that hotel!




Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineCXHKG From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2000, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (11 years 12 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8052 times:

Their slogan should be more like "Gave the world Asia's best...and we do not care now!", judging by their Y class product. They have much to improve on.

User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (11 years 12 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8060 times:

Do BI flight attendants night stop in SIN? I always thought the crew who operate BWN-SIN-DXB-LHR (did I miss a stop?) would break in DXB and another set would take over on the DXB-LHR sector. As for their BWN-SIN-BWN flights, I would assume they do a turnaround?

I have seen TG crew at the new hotel just beside Zouk, can't recall the name of the hotel though.
BA/QF crew stays at Swisshotel (Westin) [you can see the whole gang in uniform in the afternoons and evenings].... what a sight...

Ryanair!!, you were/are an officer, I was not...big diff in training conditions you know...  Big grin



There's always a better way to fly...
25 Post contains images Ryanair!!! : BA / QF / KLM... Swisshotel Raffles TG... Grand Copthorne MAS / LH... Orchard Hotel Brunei... Royal Crowne Plaza Indian... Concorde Those are the ones
26 SIA fan : SQ772 and Ryanair!!!, if you're interested Garuda crew stays at Grand Hyatt in SIN. There are lots of them every day mingling in the lobby as well as
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