fauzi
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:54 am

Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:58 am

Date : 21st July 2010
Flight : BI 73
Airline : Royal Brunei Airlines
Origin: Bandar Seri Begawan International Airport (BWN)
Destination: Brisbane – Eagle Farm (BNE)
Distance: 3382 miles
Scheduled Dep. Time (Actual Dep. Time): 2110 (2120)
Scheduled Arr. Time (Actual Arr. Time): 0550 (0530)
Class : Economy Class
Seat: 38A
Load: 73% (22/30) in J, 100% in Y (255/255)
Aircraft: B777-212ER
Aircraft Reg.: V8-BLB


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Photo © A J Best

Background:

Every year my family and I go on a summer vacation, and this year it coincided with my brother’s graduation in Brisbane. Due to my parents’ busy schedule, this was going to be a quick trip of a few days. We had several options to go to BNE eg. Via SIN, KUL and BKK, but how could I resist going on BI’s “new” B772. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to my SLR camera, so I had to rely on my phone and I apologise for the lack of quality photos. Nevertheless, this is the 1st TR on BI’s B772.

Pre-Flight:

Before Airport:
Royal Brunei Airlines (Penerbangan DiRaja Brunei), is the national airline of the tiny kingdom Brunei Darussalam. Based in Bandar Seri Begawan, BI offer flights to 17 destinations. BI isn’t a key player in the airline industry but is definitely a player in South East Asia.

Booking was done via my travel agent. We made the booking a few months before hand, and purchased a few weeks later. Luckily the day after we purchased our tickets, the pricing on the exact same flight shot up by a few hundred dollars! By then it was about the same price as SQ and MH.

At Airport:
Brunei’s Bandar Seri Begawan International Airport has come a long way since the 70s, and it still has the same layout from back then, albeit aesthetic renovations and additional gates. Having siblings who are elite members of the frequent flyer program, we were able to use the Business Class check in counters. The agent was friendly and informative, but he couldn’t attend to our request of having seats next to each other. We then proceeded quickly through immigration and an hour before scheduled departure, there was already a long line being formed from Gate 1! Seeing that everyone was getting up and getting in line, we decided to skip the SkyLounge and join everyone else.



30 minutes prior to departure, the ground staff realized that the security check through Gate 1 was going v-e-r-y slowly and with another 150 passengers to go through, they decided to use Gate 2 to complement Gate 1. With Gate 1 opened, security check was a breeze and by the time we arrived at the holding room, ground staff were asking everyone to board.



Being my first time on board the B772 in BI colours, I was excited to see what BI has to offer. Despite seeing photos of the interior beforehand, I was still excited and hoped to see something that differs from what SQ offered. Entering the Y cabin, I realized how old these birds are, and how outdated the Y cabin was. Even though the colors gave a warm and relaxing feeling to passengers, they were definitely not fresh and rejuvenated. I was hoping BI gave their own twist to the cabin, but all I could see were BI headrest sheets.

I knew loads were going to be 100% full since my sequence number was 255, but I didn’t realize it took this long to get everyone on board. At 2100, the captain announced that we were waiting for another 20 or so connecting passengers.

In-Flight:

On board service:
Immediately after take-off, drink service commenced followed by dinner. Captain came on board the PA and informed us of the flight and route details. After dinner, the cabin lights dimmed and cabin crew went around offering drinks every hour or so. Breakfast was 90 minutes before landing.

Aircraft & seats:
The B772 looks fresh on the outside, but the same cannot be said for the interior. The purple/blue cabin gave a warm and tired atmosphere. The seats onboard these B772s are known to be notoriously uncomfortable despite the generous legroom and seat recline. The seat quality is good but I don’t know why SQ chose the particular material and seat fillings. I’m not sure if it is just me but after a long flight on these birds, your bottom will definitely be numb. Hopefully after a year or so, the seat cushions will give in.



At the beginning of the flight, the cabin temperature was cool. But after I woke up just before breakfast, the temperature was very warm and the cabin felt very stuffy. The combination of feeling very nauseated and “breakfast” (read below) was definitely not a good experience.


In-flight entertainment services
I’m sure many of you would agree that the IFE system on BI’s B767s were from a previous decade, and only offered the most basic features. Well on the B777s, the IFE is definitely a big leap from previous versions as they are now very easy to use, has a lot more features, more movies/tv-shows/music etc. I don’t remember the IFE system when these birds were with SQ, but they are a definite improvement.


*I tried to rotate the photo but imageshack just wouldn't let me!


Meal & Beverage:
I am always a fan of airplane food, and offerings on board BI have its ups and downs, based on experience. Dinner was either spicy fish with rice or pasta carbonara and I opted for the former. The fish was juicy and vegetables were surprisingly fresh. I was offered a generous supply of drinks too. Dessert was a good chocolate ice-cream and a hot drink.



Breakfast however, was completely opposite. We were offered either tuna sandwich or cheese sandwich, and I opted for the cheese sandwich. Expecting to be a proper sandwich for breakfast, I got a tiny croissant filled with very bland cheddar cheese! It tasted very stale and disgusting; I wouldn’t even feed it to the homeless. Feeling very hungry, I finished off a bar of Oreos instead.

Crew:
Again based on experience, I know that BI crew aren’t the most consistent, but they can be very nice and helpful. This time however, the crew were boring. They did their services alright, so I wouldn’t say they were robotic. They were nice and helpful, but I wouldn’t say they excelled.



Overall Impressions
I know that BI has the reputation of being a very cheap airline, but the prices on this flight didn’t say so. BI has the opportunity and the potential to be as good as MH or SQ, as they’ve got the equipment and capacity to do so but they’re not showing it. The very warm cabin temperature was a first for me and I'm pretty sure cabin temperatures are controlled by the crew. The breakfast was just ridiculous for a full-service airline.

I’m not sure if it’s the training that the crew had or just the people at the HQ, but sadly it is dragging them down. I’m sure things over in Business Class are completely different, but back in cattle class, there is nothing more you can expect but pure economy.

Overall Rating

Booking System & Call Centre 7/10
Check-in 7/10
Lounge -/10
Boarding 7/10
Flight Punctuality 7/10
Aircraft 7/10
Product 6/10
Service 7/10
Food 6/10
IFE 8/10

Total Score = 69%



Photos of Brisbane and Gold Coast

BI - The Asian Underdog
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1588
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:44 pm

The OREO cookies are enough not to make me ever fly this airline. I thought only we ate them. Thanks for the report.

Is BWN an interesting city to visit if I ever go back to Asia? Thanks for the report.
 
a1ring23
Posts: 170
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:25 pm

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:53 pm

Nice report!

BI was one of the first airlines I ever flew when I was six. I did Kai Tak-BWN-DRW on god-knows that aircraft. I can't remember much but my parents did say I was very excited! So I always have a soft spot for BI  
Quoting Fauzi (Thread starter):
Unfortunately I didn’t have access to my SLR camera, so I had to rely on my phone and I apologise for the lack of quality photos. Nevertheless, this is the 1st TR on BI’s B772.

Ah that's a shame, better than nothing though!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 1):
Is BWN an interesting city to visit if I ever go back to Asia?

Not really to be honest, Gold Coast is worth a visit! But Brisbane is a good base to setup for going up the northern Queensland coast. Just hire a car and drive up the coast - there are loads of nice places to go to! It's only $50-$100 from Sydney on QF of DJ...

Thanks for the report, looking forward to the return!

Pete
Where's the accelerometer on this thing?
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6512
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:58 pm

Hi Fauzi,

very interesting report, great to get an impression of BI's 777. However, I'm really disappointed that the airline didn't install a completely new interior. I was considering BI for a trip to BNE, too, but I booked TG in the end. Not a bad decision it seems.

Quoting Fauzi (Thread starter):
Entering the Y cabin, I realized how old these birds are, and how outdated the Y cabin was. Even though the colors gave a warm and relaxing feeling to passengers, they were definitely not fresh and rejuvenated. I was hoping BI gave their own twist to the cabin, but all I could see were BI headrest sheets.

I really hope that there are plans to update these old interiors...


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
palmjet
Posts: 1230
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2001 2:35 pm

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:10 pm

Thanks for your report. My mum flew BI on the 772 from LHR back home to BNE one day after the 777 started flying the route, and there was a fair bit of excitement at LHR T4 because ground staff were telling every passenger checking in that they were travelling on a B777 and how much better it was than the old 767s !

Planehunter - ohh i see you are heading to my home town? When are you going? If you need any tips on spotting in BNE, feel free to send me an email.

P/jet
Eastern - Number One To The Sun
 
The777Man
Posts: 5911
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:26 am

Hi Fauzi!

Nice report! Too bad they kept the old SQ seats but not very surprising. The meal seems very good as for breakfeast, it seems to be standard now that most carriers are cutting down on breakfeast size and options.

At least the 777s must be a huge impvovement over the 763s ?

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
fauzi
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:54 am

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:54 pm

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 1):
Is BWN an interesting city to visit if I ever go back to Asia? Thanks for the report.

Well depends how you define interesting. It is completely different and totally opposite from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, very quiet, slow and relaxing pace of life. Mainly ecotourism over here ie. rainforests, jungle excursions and golf  
Quoting a1ring23 (Reply 2):
I did Kai Tak-BWN-DRW on god-knows that aircraft.

Wow that was a long time ago! Must've been on one of the B757s!

Quoting a1ring23 (Reply 2):
Quoting Fauzi (Thread starter):
Unfortunately I didn’t have access to my SLR camera, so I had to rely on my phone and I apologise for the lack of quality photos. Nevertheless, this is the 1st TR on BI’s B772.

Ah that's a shame, better than nothing though!

I'm flying on one of the B772s again this September, so hopefully I'll have my camera then!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
However, I'm really disappointed that the airline didn't install a completely new interior.

I am certain there are no plans to install a completely new interior, as they're only going to be with BI for a few years... 3 years max. Until the B787s and reportedly B77Ls come in.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 5):
At least the 777s must be a huge impvovement over the 763s ?

Yes I've got to admit they are a huge improvement over the B763s. Much better IFE, better seat recline (I think) and you don't feel too cramp.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
I was considering BI for a trip to BNE, too, but I booked TG in the end. Not a bad decision it seems.

Well I guess if you pick the day-time flight, you won't experience the breakfast so the trip might be a lot better.
BI - The Asian Underdog
 
flytuitravel
Posts: 489
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 2:46 am

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:00 pm

Ah its cool to see another RBA report.

I'm pretty sure the IFE is the same on the triple 7 as the 767s, I flew them within months of each other and didn't notice any difference. I think they updated the interface slightly, but the content was identical. The SQ seating is kind of disappointing, but I heard that they are on something like 2.5 year lease deals, and their 77L is finally coming in a few years time?

Will have to make a trip to Aus some day soon!
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8120
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:37 pm

Thanks for sharing, nice report & pictures.

Sounds like the cabin interior is a let down, given BI will be flying these birds folr a few years I would have expected a decent overhaull of the cabin.loosk

Breakfast looks weak but that seems to be the norm these days.

Rgds

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
 
fauzi
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:54 am

RE: Royal Brunei B777 BI73 To BNE In Y

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:38 pm

Quoting flyTUITravel (Reply 7):
. I think they updated the interface slightly, but the content was identical. The SQ seating is kind of disappointing, but I heard that they are on something like 2.5 year lease deals, and their 77L is finally coming in a few years time?

Well I haven't flown on the B767s lately, so I guess they updated their whole system. But the new system really is easy to use. Yeah these B772s from SQ are only around for maximum of 3 years, until the B787 starts to come in. And assuming 77L are coming, 77L will come in after B787s.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 8):
Sounds like the cabin interior is a let down, given BI will be flying these birds folr a few years I would have expected a decent overhaull of the cabin.

Yeah I expected some changes, not major but enough to notice and improve.

Will be flying them again this September!
BI - The Asian Underdog

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