I've recently flown in J on Royal Jordanian, Qantas, Finnair and in First on BA
. Since RJ
are new to the alliance and QF
have both made product enhancements recently, I thought I'd give you a few comments on what I experienced. It's not a trip report, it's more a critique/view of what I experienced.
Royal Jordanian -
Surprising in so many ways. First of all, our flight from LHR
-AMM was delayed an hour and all J class passengers got a £12 voucher at a bagel place in Heathrow. The staff there made us spend our whole £12 so we got bagels, two bags of chips, two drinks and some fruit. Very nice!
The lounge in T3
is the Servisair lounge, which used to be a QF
lounge - as the glass partitions still have the QF
triangles and kangaroos on them. Lounge had no free Internet (bad) however it did have a decent selection of drinks. Quite dated decor wise though.
On board, we were given portable DVD players with a selection of movies to choose from. However, the screens are tiny and I decided not to keep watching Flags of Our Fathers as it would be better experienced on a proper television.
The service however, was stunning. Food wise - astonishing. The portions were large. The main course elements were brought out on a cart and plated in front of you. You could choose anything from the cart and I chose a bit of everything and was duly served it. I joked with the flight attendant that I was a pig and she said back that she'd make sure I left the flight full. Superb cabin crew on the A310.
Leg room was enormous and the seats comfortable for the sector. At the conclusion of the flight, you are given a gift - a long box or a square box. We ended up getting a second choice cause the F/A liked us and so we got both a Jordanian pottery plate and two arabic coffee cups.
Full marks, only downside was the IFE - which should change when the 787s come online.
Our second sector, AMM-BKK
was very similar - with even more legroom on the A340-200s. Not a very heavy load in J though, I think 50%. What was astonishing was Queen Alia Airport in Amman - Crown Class have their own room to check-in at... and inside is an immigration guy just for Crown passengers. Definitely the height of luxury. The lounge had free internet and the selection of food and drinks was average (three alcohols, cheeses and other small snacks).
British Airways -
The first lounge in BKK
is not finished, so I used the new QF
/BA J lounge. Tried to get into the CX
first lounge, but they pointed and just said, "Their lounge is over there, you need to go there". I am not fussed on the decor of the lounge, it's very modern but the colours don't do it for me.
First Class is all it's cracked up to be. Almost everyone changed into their First pyjamas either before or just after take-off. The slippers are comfortable, and the new Anya Hindmarsh bags (covered in velvet) were stunning. Lots of bedding strewn about at take-off, but it all fits where it has to go. Champagne offered pre-takeoff, canapes and more drinks after take-off and the food was superb. IFE screen was enormous and the seat extremely comfortable.
Chatted to some of the F/As in the galley and they were nice if not overly friendly (only one BA
staff member was really friendly, and he was Australian - it's a cultural thing). The First toilet has a window. Very nice to pee and look at the clouds. Full marks, would do it again.
The Sydney domestic Qantas Club has to be seen to be believed. Two food stations, two or three bars - it takes the entire floor above the terminal. It's huge! Great views also. I also went to the Qantas Heritage Museum in the Domestic Terminal and it was well worth it.
Finally flew domestic J class in a 737-800. The seats are the same as the AA
J seats on their 737-800s, just with different seat covers, so I wasn't trying anything different. While I knew the config was the same due to QF
taking the AA
slots after September 11, 2001, I didn't know the actual furnishings were identical too. No champagne offered for pre-takeoff drinks. I said, "What, no champagne?" and she came back and told me she'd put some on ice for me. So I ended up having three during the flight. I thought the dinner service was sub-par food wise.
Internationally, I flew SYD
with them in 11A. The new crockery and cutlery is alright - apart from the plastic knife (though it is grey to "match" the "silverware"). What I did hate was the new non-slip tray. It's grey with a big white Qantas kangaroo in the bottom right corner. The epitome of tack. It made the entire dinner service look really cheap. It bugged me after the flight so much that I have thought long on why I don't like it - the kangaroo should be eliminated, and the colour changed. The grey reminds me of stable tables (non slip trays to eat dinner in front of the television off your lap) - not good for International J.
Otherwise the flight was good - my first experience with QFs AVOD. It worked, sorta. The movies would pause several times for a couple of minutes, be fine for a while, then do it again.
The lounge they use in Singapore is uber cheap and nasty, so I used the BA
/QF one instead. It's fantastic - lots of PCs, drinks, and food. I had a shower there also and it was great. I had no choice - I was going to ask where the toilets were and was handed a towel instead so I thought, "Why not!". Best thing to do before a long flight.
Boarded the MD11 to BKK
, and had shocking non-smiles from the Asian crew members in pale blue. The Finns were more professional. The first sector was dinner, which was definitely 3 stars out of 5, and then the entire tray on seat 1L came off in my hands. I held it up to the F/As and one came and put it back on - backwards. It wouldn't stow. I was told maintenance would fix it in BKK
We stayed on board in BKK
(about 6 J class pax and maybe 20 Y pax) and saw the amazing amount of effort that goes into turnaround - such as vaccuuming, bringing on the pillows and duvets for the overnight sector, catering loading and so on. I was checking it all out. Three mechanics fixed my tray - took them 45 minutes.
Once into the air we were served a light meal and I watched Volver. I settled down to sleep and have to say that the Finnair angled bed seat is not bad at all. The large fat pillows and thick duvets make for a comfortable experience. Only thing missing was storage space a la QF
Skybed. It was exacerbated by the fact that row 1 doesn't have the extra storage in the top of the seat in front. Two hours out of HEL
we were served breakfast, which was 2 stars out of five - my sausages kept spitting grease on me whenever I cut them. Ugh.
Transfer in HEL
was painless and then we boarded our (20 minutes late) A320 to LHR
. Another breakfast, better than the last one and an okay flight. J was full for the sector, priority tagged luggage first off.
You need to experience Royal Jordanian Crown Class - and Jordan is very safe and worth a visit too. Amman isn't the most exciting place, but the Dead Sea is absolutely unmissable. Finnair need to lift their game in catering, but otherwise the seats and experience was very good. QF
need to have a re-think on the trays and of course fix the bugs in their AVOD. The Skybed is still the best J seat out there that I've tried. BA
were very good, but the crew could have been warmer and the selection of First DVDs also wasn't the best. That said, most people in First were much older than I am, so I suppose they're just aiming for their market.