Wednesday, 7 January 2015

On the way home with Royal Jordanian's Boeing 787 Dreamliner (Part 2: BKK-KUL)

Introduction


The last time I flew with this airline was on a one-way trip to Bangkok from KUL. This time round, I decided to do a return just in case my outbound leg gets equipment change and also a chance to fly on another aircraft of the same type to add more registration to my flight logbook. For more information on this, do read my part 1. Since this flight was departing in the early afternoon, I decided to stay a night in Bangkok so that I could enjoy a day more in the city. Holiday is coming to an end, its always fast when you are having fun and this was not an exception. This flight would be different from my previous as it would be a day flight, that means lots of photos opportunities especially taking window-shots. I chose seat 8K so that I could take photos of the engines and wings. Later on, I wanted to change to 10K (Thanks goodness, the website rejected my request - no matter how many times I tried) I was extremely annoyed with the website but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If I had gotten seat 10K, I wouldn't be able to take a photo like this. I feel that row 6 or 7 would be better. 


Parking beside Jetstar Pacific which is based in Vietnam. Finally, this airline is in Jetstar's livery after the airline has been operating the aircraft without one for many months due to Vietnamese aviation authority's restriction but I guess that has been lifted. 




Flight route: BKK-KUL 


I did a check in the morning which aircraft was flying me back to KUL, and JY-BAF once again took the honour. I was slightly disappointed but at least it was still a Boeing 787 Dreamliner! The flights after mine were operated by Airbus A330 so I had no complaints at all. 


JY-BAF is not too far from V8-DLA, the first Royal Brunei's Boeing 787 Dreamliner. You can check out my trip report over here.


Flying the opposite direction of JY-BAF was D-AIGU, a Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 which I flew before on CGK-SIN route. Unfortunately, I have no trip report on that flight. 


On the day of departure

Waking up around 10 in the morning, I went to Catch-up cafe at my hotel to grab some breakfast. I was told that the crepe cake was delicious, so I gave it a try. The staff was pretty unfriendly and when she spoke for the first time, I got a bit shock. Sounded like a guy and in fact I suspect something about her! 


Crepe cake with strawberry sauce

Prawn fried Rice


The fried rice was not bad, if only the portion is bigger then that would be nice. I paid about 100 Baht for the meal. 

After that, I took the free airport shuttle to the airport. 


I headed to the check-in counter which was about to open. About 5-10 minutes later, I received my boarding pass. Fast and easy and got my assigned seat, 8K. This time, I didn't bother about making a bid to upgrade myself to Royal Crown class as I wanted to take the engine-and-wing shot photos for this leg. 



Boarding pass was issued and I decided to check out the observation deck. 


Even though I have been at this airport a numerous number of times, this was my first time at the observation deck. What can I say about this? Reminds me of Singapore's Terminal 2 and 3 aviation gallery where you can't photograph any aircraft. Not photography-friendly for the aviation buffs at all. 



AVgeeks: Can you recognise the aircraft and airlines in the below photo?


Pointless to stay there, so I decided to make my way to the air-side. An overview of the check-in counters .





At the air-side, I went to grab a bite. Looking at my wallet, I had not much money left. Just enough for a light meal and that was it! 


This bowl of fishball soup cost me 220 baht (US $6.65) - overpriced! Furthermore, the ingredients were little. 


Once that was done, I made my way to the gate to wait for the aircraft! 


EgyptAir MS861 flight heading to KUL. This flight was once operated by Boeing 777-300ER. 



Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, 5Y-KZC just arrived from Nairobi. 


This was my very first departure from Gate D and D6 gets the honour. 


 The stunning looking Royal Jordanian's Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner had just arrived from Amman. 



I was one of the first at the gate, spotted the crew coming in. I gave a thumb up to the middle-eastern flight crew, but the Captain wasn't very friendly. As for the Thai cabin crew, they were different from my previous flight. Let's hope they are as good as the previous set if not better. What is important is able to take photos in the cabin! 

Date: 11th December 2014
Airline: Royal Jordanian
Flight: RJ180 
Route: BKK-KUL
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
Registration: JY-BAF (Aircraft leased from Aercap) 
Delivered on 19th November 2014
Engines: 2 X GENX-1B
Config: C24Y246
Line number: 233
Seat: 8K
Flight duration: 1 hr 50 mins
FL: 370 
Gate: D6
Load: 70% in Y Class
Departure: 1525
Take off: 1535
Arrival: 1835 +1 
Actual arrival: 1830 +1 
Departure runway: 01L 
Arrival runway: 32L 

Once on board, I made my way to the seat. The Thai crew at the entrance was friendly and she gave me direction to my seat, a good start I thought. Made my way to seat 8K which doesn't require much walking and I got myself a good view. There were other passengers on board, they were from Amman and were not allowed to disembark for security reasons I guess. 

The great news this time for me was that the 2 seats beside remained empty. 

Aircraft was then pushed back, engines started and we taxied a long way to runway 01 Left for departure. Flying in good weather is what all of us like and this was indeed a great day for it. Check out my window-shot photos in the later part of the report. 

After 15 minutes, the seat belt sign was distinguished and the cabin crew got up and started their work. For me, I decided to snap some cabin photos before relaxing for the rest of the flight. Please enjoy! 

J class seat 


The beautiful Royal Crown logo



                                          Economy class seats


This was where I sat, seat 8K.



Waiting for boarding to complete. Some of the passengers were impressed with the cabin.


Spotted a metal knife on the ground! What was it doing there?




My seat plus the engine view! 


Daytime cabin shot photo of the Economy Class


The rear cabin looked full.



The electronic windows were set to dim mode by the crew and this is how it looked like being dimmed on a day flight. For this flight, the electronic windows were locked by the crew and only they have the control which made it quite inconvenient for us. Those sitting on the right side had to bear with the sunlight from take-off to cruising speed. Despite being told by the passengers to the cabin crew a numerous number of times, they should have at least make an announcement to explain and dim the light once it was safe to do so. After around 15 minutes of cruising, only then the windows were dimmed.


This photo was taken at the last row of the aircraft. Due to a curved portion of the rear of the aircraft, the last couple of rows have only 2 seats instead of 3. There is a gap between the window and the seat, its big enough to leave your personal belonging such as your backpack over there.


Photo taken after arrival. Parked beside a Japanese Airlines aircraft and with that, my flight experience with this airline was over. 



In-flight meal 


Astonishingly, I got the same meal as my previous flight! For a daytime flight, I expect a warm meal and not this! Not to mention that I didn't really like it. To describe how disappointed I was,  is an understatement. I just don't understand why is this not a hot meal? Its in fact my very first time flying on a daytime flight with a full cost carrier serving cold meal - not acceptable especially from an established airline from Oneworld alliance. 


Here are some window-shot photos! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. 


This was the only time the electronic windows were unlocked. Notice the difference between normal and dim mode? 




Here are the other photos.



Pushing back in progress. Philippines and Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 were spotted.


Once the engines were stabilized after start-up, we started our taxi. 



Qantas Airbus A330-300 is so common especially in South-East Asia.


EI AL's Boeing 747-400! 




VietjetAir A320 and Thai Airbus A380 in the background, you can see how huge the A380 is.


Qatar's A380 resting in Bangkok.


China Southern's Boeing 737-800 arriving from Guangzhou and another look at Qatar's A380.


We headed towards runway 01 Left. 



A few more turns


Almost there



My favourite part of flying: the take-off especially in good weather. 


A smooth take-off followed by some good view. Thanks goodness the light was facing my direction which enables some good shots. 



Goodbye, Bangkok! I be back soon. 


Almost reaching the assigned Flight Level. At this point, passengers were using pillows to block the light since the electronic dimmer was controllable only by the crew at that time.



Finally, its dimmed. 



Once the aircraft started descending, the crew set it back to its original mode. 





Going to go through some clouds, let's be nice, ok? 


It wasn't too bad, just a bit of shaking here and there and we were out of it. 





Just a few more turns




We were on final approach after clearance was given.


Fortunately, the ride was smooth.



Landed in heavy rain, but it was a smooth touchdown. 




Here are the videos of the take-off and landing. 



The flight on this sector was pretty fun, it was like a playground for me on board. The weather on route was pretty nice with some small bumps but nothing major along the way. I got to say that Royal Jordanian's decision to recruit Thai crew on BKK-HKG and BKK-KUL sectors especially is a good one. No disrespect to the Middle Eastern crew, there are some nice ones but the ones that I have experienced so far, most of them are pretty arrogant and that's something that I can't tolerate. 

What the airline needs to do to improve: 

In-flight service: that's for sure. If the top airlines can do it, so can the others. Management should encourage the crew to put on their best and perhaps reward them for their performance. Extra incentives for the hardworking ones is totally deserving. 

Website: An upgrade to its booking system would be nice. The priority is to make it more user-friendly and less buggy for the passengers. 

In-fight meal: Hot meal should be served on an afternoon flight, period.

Improvement in Amman Airport especially for transit passengers: I haven't been there but I heard that passengers rather transit via Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi than this airport, so if this could be worked on, the mindset of those passengers would definitely change at some point. 

Advertising: Let the public know the airline's existence even if its only on short hop like KUL-BKK. Their experience may determine whether they should either recommend the airline to others or fly long haul with this airline. 

Better network: Means more choices for passengers! 

My rating:

Website: 5/10
Check-in staff in BKK: 7/10
BKK Airport experience: 5/10 
Cabin interior: 10/10
Seat comfort: 7/10
Cleanliness: 4/10 (Knife on the floor??)
Punctuality: 10/10
In-flight meal: 3/10 
IFE System: 6/10 
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 67/100

Conclusion

This airline has room for improvement as mentioned above. Instead of watching the other Middle-Eastern rivals fighting it out for the top spot, it should focus on snatching passengers from those airlines and quietly build up its fleet and improved what it needs to do. The airline has retired its fleet of Airbus A340-300 and the A330-200s looks very likely to go soon once more Boeing 787 Dreamliner enter the fleet. I had a blast on board this airline's 787 and it was a great thing that I voiced it out on social media, you never know what kind of result you get. My trip report would be very different if I had gotten A330s on both ways. For safety issue? You have nothing to worry about, in fact for the cheap airfare and if you don't mind the timing on BKK-KUL or BKK-HKG routes, its worth giving this airline a try. 

I hope you have enjoyed my part 2 of RJ's 787 Dreamliner experience. 

Do check out my part 1.


Cheers
Charles Ryan Teo





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