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Using Avios on Royal Jordanian – Part 1, review of short-haul Crown Business

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Royal Jordanian has a surprisingly low profile amongst Head for Points readers.  They would have been further off my own radar if I didn’t have a friend who uses them regularly and is a fan.

This is why Royal Jordanian should be on your radar:

As a member of the oneworld alliance, you can earn and redeem Avios for their flights

Royal Jordanian operates brand new Boeing 787 aircraft to Heathrow Terminal 3 with its latest business class seat

Via its base at Amman in Jordan, you can fly to various parts of the Middle East and Asia, including Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur

I recently flew back from Dubai to Heathrow on Royal Jordanian.  This article covers my A320 short-haul flight to Amman.  Future pieces will cover the Crown Lounge in Amman (click here) and the Boeing 787 business class service to London (click here).

Flying Royal Jordanian short haul

Royal Jordanian uses Terminal 1 at Dubai International Airport which is the same terminal as British Airways.

Check in was a breeze as you would expect at 5.45am for a 7.45am departure.  I was given a pass for the Royal Jordanian lounge which is actually a shared facility.  However, due to the poor signage in the terminal, I headed in the wrong direction and found myself outside the British Airways lounge at a few minutes past 6am.

oneworld airlines have reciprocal lounge access so British Airways was happy to let me in.  I was totally alone.  It was a bit weird.  Everything was set out, including an extensive hot breakfast buffet, but there were no guests.  I stayed for an hour and in that time not a single other person entered!  The first BA flight is not until 10am so it isn’t surprising that no-one had arrived by 7am when I left.

I usually don’t like the new BA Dubai lounge because it is too small – substantially too small if we’re honest.  When you’re on your own that isn’t really a problem and this was my best visit yet.

Seating

Royal Jordanian has ‘proper’ short haul business class seats in Crown Business as is common in the Middle East.  If you only remember one thing from this review, let it be this.

As per the seat plan here:

there are four rows of 2 x 2 seating.  Here are a couple of shots of the seat:

with this one showing the seats when reclined:

Design-wise it is far too beige for my liking.  What the seats lack in style they make up for in size and comfort however.  Whilst I didn’t use it, there is also IFE with a monitor built into the seat arm.

Unfortunately, I had a problem with my seatmate as you can see:

I assumed the guy had boarded wearing sandles.  However, when we landed, he pulled out a pair of trainers and socks from under his seat.  He had clearly decided that his feet needing some fresh air.

I also had issues with my neighbour across the aisle.  When I flew Qatar Airways First Class a couple of years ago I had a problem with my seat mate watching videos on his iPhone without headphones.  And guess what – I’ve no idea if it was the same guy, but yet again I was sat near someone who had no qualms at all about watching iPhone videos with no headphones.  No-one else seemed to care.

Meal

At just over three hours, Dubai to Amman is realistically more medium haul than short haul.  We were only offered a one plate platter which was a little disappointing and, to be fair, is a lot less than British Airways would offer on a 190 minute flight:

It didn’t do much for me but I had eaten well in the BA lounge.

What does Royal Jordanian cost on Avios?

If you just booked Dubai to Amman on Royal Jordanian, it would cost 20,000 Avios plus £65 of taxes in Business Class, one-way.

Economy is 10,000 Avios one-way plus the same in taxes.  Paying the extra 10,000 Avios for Business Class is not a bad deal given the big comfortable seats and the chance to use the British Airways lounge in Dubai.

Overall the Royal Jordanian short haul experience was perfectly acceptable although lacking in any ‘wow’ factor.  I enjoyed the oversized seat but the food and service were underwhelming.  That said, given how early I had got up that morning, I wasn’t necessarily in the mood to be ‘wow’ed and was simply happy to have a decent seat to get another three hours rest.

Once we landed in Amman, I headed off to visit Royal Jordanian’s flagship Crown Lounge …..

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Comments

  1. Upper class does not mean having more class.

  2. Interesting, I flew AMM-AUH a couple of years ago and was offered a proper hot meal on a tray. On AMM-Europe flights they do trolley service. I wonder if your time of departure meant a pared down meal, or whether it is cost cutting since I flew.

  3. Courtster says:

    I know it was an early flight, but is RJ a ‘dry’ airline? It’s 1700z somewhere after all.

  4. I am sure that there are some non-Avios/non-TP earning J fares on RJ so be careful when choosing them thinking you are getting an easy 560 a la Qatar.

  5. We also experienced the iPad sans headphones on a Qatar flight (a longer DOH-SOF segment) and we seemed to be the only ones bothered by it. We were 2A 2C and it was the guy in 1A watching loud videos who was the culprit. We didn’t say anything, but reasonable to ask the crew to say something?

    • Combat Johnny says:

      When people play music at me when travelling without headphones i tend to reply with some napalm death. They quickly stop

    • Incredibly annoying.

      There is an option. If you know the film, talk about the plot loudly. “This bit’s really good, they’re going to” etc. If you’ve got a child, have them stand up and hang over the seat to watch.

      If it’s music. Just sing along.

    • If the perpetrator is particularly belligerent, i have no qualms about playing music loudly from my phone in their direction.

  6. Surely watching videos without ear plugs/phones can be addressed by the staff, even if you have to make a polite request to them? If everyone watched videos without ear plugs then the whole section would be a nightmare.

    Bare feet might be more subjective as localised, but certainly not nice if you’re sat next to them.

    • I don’t mind bare feet unless they smell. I take my shoes off on each and every flight (albeit always have socks!). Music and/or films sans headphones, however, is an entirely different thing and I would expect crews to do something about that. I would ask if necessary, and hope very much that they’d do something!

  7. Did you ever manage to get Avios from an RJ flight? Many people complain, and I also did not get Avios from 2 RJ flights into my Iberia account.

    • Scottydoggiom says:

      They never creditted our accounts until i raised the problem with RJ . Took quite a bit of messing around , sending copies of tickets etc but finally i got them into my BA account .
      I wouldn’t of even checked except a friend asked me how many points i got for our flights

  8. Have never flown RJ, but have to say those photos make it appear less attractive that Qatar for intra Middle East short hauls. Having said that I’ve never redeemed Avios on Qatar and I suspect it might cost more as it calls the front of it’s short hauls First Class rather than Business Class.

  9. What's the Point says:

    Rob – I suspect your experience of the lounge is going to be very similar to all of my visits…….

    I headed off to visit Royal Jordanian’s “”flagship”” Crown Lounge …..

    • Indeed …..

      • Used Dragonpass for Plaza Premium T5 LHR the other day from 5am for an hour, and similar experience. Very friendly staff, good views and (not surprisingly) plenty of hot food. Felt disconcerting on my own though.

        Good place but for PAYG wouldn’t have felt £40 for 2 hours was worth it unless T5 was jammed.

      • What's the Point says:

        Rob – did you get to experience the smoking room, without actually being in it?

  10. AspirationalFlyer says:

    Interesting review. I agree regarding the BA DXB lounge. I’ve switched to Virgin for my next trip to see if it’s any better.

    Separately, I’ve flown this route in reverse (Amman – Dubai) in economy and it was a really good experience. There were seat back TVs and a good selection of film and TV. Given I already have OneWorld status – based on this review – I’d probably stick to economy on this route and save my avios. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the RJ Amman lounge.

  11. Nicholas says:

    Rob – How did you book an Avios redemption with RJ? Via Avios.com or someplace else?
    Thanks.

  12. What did that person say when you started taking photos of their feet? 😀

  13. The seat looked like it had the same “bones” as the BA CW Cradle seat of the 90s. Very similar at least.

  14. Not sure that actually constitutes a meal, more a selection of single items put on one plate.

  15. What’s their safety record like?

    • They wouldn’t be flying in the EU if there was a concern.

      Note that if you fly RJ to London from Amman you are allowed to take laptops in the cabin, as I did. If you fly BA from Amman you are still not allowed to take your laptop in the cabin because BA’s security checks are not seen as secure enough …..

  16. ‘What’s their safety record like?’

    I’ve thoroughly gone through their safety records over the last 20 years. I’m pleased to announce not one passenger has died from not wearing socks….

  17. Dominic Barrington says:

    This flight is positively long haul compared to the TLV/AMM ‘hop’, which I did in November! RJ are easy to redeem on through ba.com – I’ve never flown them for cash – and I was very pleasantly surprised. I await the AMM/LHR review with interest. (And they are certainly ‘not’ dry, and they have an excellent safety record. Jordan is a remarkably English country in some ways, reflecting King Hussein’s education in Britain!)

  18. When you consider how incredible Qatars short-haul product is (especially their catering) this is a very poor member of the Oneworld alliance and I’m surprised they didn’t kick them out when the much superior Qatar joined.
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2018/02/14/qatar-airways-business-class-a320-review/

    • If Oneworld are going to start kicking airlines out based on the quality of their short-haul product, then BA are in trouble!

    • At one point RJ pretty much had a monopoly with flights into Amman and prices reflected that. Now its opening up to low cost carriers like flydubai and even Ryanair so perhaps the shine will come off RJ’s OW membership.

  19. It is more common that we wanted that people playing videos on loud speakers in business even first. Big applause to Malaysia Airline, the only occasion I was in that the FA told the passenger to use headphone or shut it as it disturb other passengers.

  20. What's the Point says:

    Easyjet flew LGW to AMM for a few years, but stopped after saying they couldn’t make it stack up. Every Easyjet flight I went on was full – and at least £200 to £300 less than econ BA and RJ.
    Ryanair start flying soon to AMM, but only from outside of UK.
    So the duopoly of UK direct flights operated by BA + RJ remains in tact!

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