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Using Avios on Royal Jordanian – Part 3, Boeing 787 business (Crown) class Amman to London

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This is my review of Royal Jordanian’s Boeing 787 business (Crown) class from Amman to London.

This is the third and final part of my series of articles looking at using Avios to fly Royal Jordanian.  Part 1 on their short-haul business class service is herePart 2, looking at their flagship Crown Lounge at Amman airport, is here.

Royal Jordanian has a surprisingly low profile amongst Head for Points readers.  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 Dubai, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur

As a reminder, I booked this flight using Avios.  It was not organised by Royal Jordanian.

Amman to London

Royal Jordanian flies from Amman to Terminal 3 at London Heathrow once per day.

Flying TO London, the plane leaves Amman at noon, landing at 15.25.  The return leaves London at 17.05, arriving at 00.10 the following day.

Boarding

The strict new security rules banning you from carrying a laptop in your hand baggage when flying from Jordan have now been lifted if you are flying on Royal Jordanian.  They have not, I think, been lifted if you are flying on British Airways because BA is refusing to pay for additional gate screening.

To be honest, the additional gate screening appears to be profiled.   I was waived through with no attempt to even look in my hand baggage, which did contain a laptop.

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

Seating

Royal Jordanian is flying brand new Boeing 787 aircraft between London and Amman although I have heard reports of switches to short-haul planes on days when loads are light.

There are 24 business class seats, in four rows.  It is a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration.

I had not been able to select a seat in advance, either via the app or the website.  This seemed to be down to IT issues (I originally could not select a short-haul seat but it finally began to work).

At check-in in Dubai I was allocated 4A.  This turned out to be a bad window seat because ….. it has no window.  As it turned out, I had no seat neighbour and moved myself to 4C on the aisle.  This felt roomier because I didn’t have a windowless wall next to me.

I was offered champagne (Taittinger Brut Reserve) or a cup of Arabic coffee upon boarding.  A bottle of water had already been placed on the seat.

Here are a few shots of the cabin.  It is a little unfortunate that the plastic bags containing the blanket and pillows have the effect of making the seats look like something from a discount sofa warehouse!

Note the missing window by 4A.  Click on any of the images to enlarge a little.

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

Below is a picture of a a middle pair.

Because I was on a day flight, it wasn’t clear how good the privacy is if you are sleeping or simply don’t want to be so close to your seatmate.  You are sharing a drinks tray as you can see.

In terms of comfort, the seat was perfectly acceptable.  For a couple, I recommend it.  The controls were easy to use, the seat was wide enough and, even though the armrests seemed narrow, were perfectly acceptable.

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

Here’s another view looking down the cabin from the front (RJ has no First Class so Business Class occupies the first four rows):

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

and from the other direction.  It is worth noting that the TV monitors are fixed in position, attached to the back of the seat in front, and cannot be moved.  They are a decent size however.

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

This is one aspect of the Royal Jordanian business class seat that seems to annoy people.  The footstools are tiny – not so much in terms of height but in width.  I also found them hard.  Because I was on a day flight and only stretched my feet out occasionally it didn’t cause me any inconvenience but it could get more frustrating on an overnight flight.

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

In terms of power sockets, you’re sorted.  As well as a UK plug there is a USB socket.

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

In-flight Entertainment

The IFE, to be honest, was definitely the low spot of the flight.  

It didn’t help that one side of my headphones was broken, with no sound coming out.  It didn’t really matter in the end as there were a grand total of 11 English language films on the system.  Kingsman was the token recent release, with classics such as Die Hard making up the balance.  I was really struggling to find something worth watching.

(I don’t normally watch much IFE as regular readers know, but my inability to get hold of any same-day English language newspapers in the airport or lounge in Amman had left me a little low on reading material.)

There was also a compulsory – or it seemed compulsory – five minute ‘TV preview’ video which played before I could select anything to watch.  It wasn’t fun.

Toiletries

A decent pillow and blanket were provided.  There were no pyjamas but that is hardly surprising for a day flight in business class.

I did get a modest toiletry bag containing socks, eye shade, ear plugs, mouth wash, comb, lip balm, body lotion and toothbrush.  The only recognisable branding was on the Colgate toothpaste.

Meal service

Royal Jordanian did a good job with their meal service, which I would describe as ‘solid’.  It is certainly a step above Club World.

I haven’t had the chance to try the British Airways Club World trolley service yet, but Royal Jordanian operates in the same way and it works well.  A trolley service only makes sense if the airline is happy for you to mix and match the various foods on offer and RJ was happy to oblige.

Here is the trolley in the aisle:

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

and here is how the food looks on it.  The silver foil trays are not the classiest but it presumably keeps the food warm if it came out of the oven that way.

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

The appetiser was simply described on the menu as “a choice of appetisers” with a mixed salad.  I went for a fish based selection:

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

The official main choices were:

  • stir fried beef with vegetables in oyster sauce
  • grilled chicken breast in chasseur sauce
  • hamour ‘sayyadiya’ (hamour on spiced rice)
  • fusilli alfredo

In reality you picked the core items you wanted and then added your choice of vegetables, potatoes and rice, which is how I ended up with this rather carb-heavy dish!

Royal Jordanian Amman to London Heathrow 787 review

I skipped desert, but you were able to help yourself to “a selection of gateaux” from the trolley.  Ice cream was also available.

The wine list consisted of Taittinger Brut Reserve champagne, three white wines (including a Sauvignon Blanc from Jordan) and three red wines (including a shiraz from Jordan).  There were also a couple of beers and a selection of mid-range spirits, eg Chivas Regal 12 years and Johnnie Walker Black.  Gin lovers are restricted to Gordon’s ……

Video

Here is a short (1 minute) video of the flight.  You can subscribe to our YouTube channel via this page – this is the same link to visit if the video does not automatically appear below.

Conclusion

And that was that.  It is a relatively short flight (five hours) from Amman to Heathrow and it didn’t seem long before we were landing in Terminal 3.

Royal Jordanian – based on my short day flight – appears to be a perfectly sound mid-tier business class carrier.  You get a brand new Boeing 787 aircraft and a 2 x 2 x 2 seating layout which is ideal for couples albeit less good for solo travellers.

The ability to earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points means that Royal Jordanian is well worth considering to Jordan.  There is certainly no reason to pick BA apart from the earlier departure time out of Heathrow.  Using Heathrow Terminal 3 also means that you can visit the excellent Cathay Pacific and Qantas lounges.

If you are flying beyond Jordan, adding an extra leg would earn you additional tier points compared to flying BA.  Royal Jordanian does occasionally have attractive business class fares to Bangkok from Heathrow.

I am also happy to recommend them if you are looking for an alternative Avios route to or from the Middle East or Asia.  You cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher, and there are no ‘off peak’ dates when redeeming on BA partners, but if that is not a problem then they are certainly worth a look.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Having compared photos, it seems the seat is identical to that of the Qatar A320 that operates on some of the thinner European routes to Doha. Fine for a 5-6 hour experience. Not sure how it would be on a RJ long haul to somewhere like Bangkok tho.

    • And the same as QR A330 J and AA A321 Transcon J. The seat is fine, and the slight staggering does give a tiny bit of privacy.

    • Londonbus says:

      RJ to BKK won’t be _that_ long – AMM-BKK – 4,300 miles…

  2. I’m sure when I’ve looked in the past, royal Jordanian charge more taxes than BA on this route as well as you’re paying peak avios prices. Seeing as Amman is a route with the mid haul A321 BA plane, would BA be the better option to choose?

  3. It’s a shame RJ didn’t go for something a little more creative with their Dreamliners.
    The 2-2-2 configuration and seat are not exactly class leading.

    Not sure BA isn’t a better option, at least if you are a solo traveller and can grab one of the M/H A321 solo seats, which are far superior to what RJ have to offer you (plus don’t forget much better IFE).
    If you end up stuck in a pair of seats as a solo traveller on the A321 though, it’s a different story.

  4. I used to fly this route a lot, including when they flew A310s and the Amman lounge was like your Nana’s living room. I have a fondness for the airline, the crew and for the city itself.

    However I was stung more than once on cheaper business fares that booked into Z class, which BA considered ineligible for tier points and miles, and had extensive correspondence with the GGL about it. I won in the end and got my Concord Room card. Does this problem still exist?

  5. Seats look like same as on some United Airlines flights? Except colour of course.
    Meh …

  6. RJ also have ‘5F’ flights beyond BKK to HKG and (I think) Djakarta that have decent availability on BA.com. I nearly booked one last week but played safe with CX in the end after reading a couple of reviews.

  7. David Sanford says:

    2 comments about RJ:

    1) They don’t fly to India as incorrectly stated in your article.

    2) Getting Avios/TPs from RJ is like getting blood out of a stone. Every single time I’ve flown them, the Avios never credit, and the only way to claim them is the old fashioned BA/fax method, involving months of waiting and follow up calls. It’s an absolute nightmare and would strongly advise readers to consider this before booking flights on RJ if you need the Avios and Tier Points.

    • I’m surprised to hear this as my 8x RJ flights have always posted automatically to my BA Executive Club account within 14 days – it’s not as fast as some airlines, but they did post within 2 weeks.

  8. Has anyone done LHR-Amman-TLV with UK Passport and same in return
    lots of hassle?

    • I flew LHR>AMM>TLV / TLV>LHR and got usual questions on arrival at TLV about reasons for visiting Jordan (and other Muslim countries). The interrogation lasted about same time as previous entries to TLV, so I wouldn’t say it was any EXTRA hassle. Seeing there’s a flight from AMM>TLV immigration on both sides must expect there will be passengers! I’ve not done any of the bridge crossings, but they sounded like more of a faff than flying. AMM>TLV was a really short flight and I found Royal Jordanian great.

      • Travelling Inspector says:

        I flew AMM>TLV a couple of years back, an experience remarkable only for about the highest cost per mile I’d experienced at that point (about to do Victoria YYJ – Vancouver YVR which will run it close). We weren’t able to climb very high before it was time to descend. TLV Immigration knew that my precious visit to Israel had been nine years previously (on a different passport) but they didn’t interrogate me about my itinerary.

  9. I love trolley service! Thank you Rob. We were considering RJ at one point but they only release one award seat on this 787 flight which is annoying. As for the foot well it does look a little stingy especially when compared to other 787 operators like Latam.

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