Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan

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Royal Brunei 872
Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Bandar Seri Begawan (BWN)
Saturday, January 7
Depart: 12:10PM
Arrive: 2:30PM
Duration: 2hr20min
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 8K (Business Class)

At the door I was greeted by Fizhal and Leanne, the two flight attendants that would be taking care of the business class cabin for the short flight to Bandar Seri Begawan. Royal Brunei’s A320 business class cabin consists of a total of 12 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2 configuration.

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Royal Brunei A320 business class seat

The airline has a total of six of these planes in their fleet, and I was on the second oldest, which was delivered to the airline in 2004.

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Royal Brunei A320 business class seats

While the seats felt a bit outdated, they were extremely comfortable. Apparently the seat pitch on these planes in business class is 44″, which sounds about right — it was a bit more spacious than domestic first class in the U.S., and the seats were also really thick.

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Royal Brunei A320 business class seats

On the far side of the seat were the basic electric seat controls.

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Royal Brunei business class seat controls

Then in the center section of the seat was the headphone jack and audio controls.

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Royal Brunei business class entertainment controls

Underneath the center armrest were power ports, though they didn’t work — however, Fizhal was awesome, and offered to charge my iPhone in the galley.

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Royal Brunei business class power ports

Waiting at my seat on boarding was a pillow and blanket. Both were basic, though perfectly fine for a two hour flight.

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Royal Brunei business class pillow & blanket

Boarding was efficient, and complete by 12:05PM. While economy was full, business class wasn’t. There was a couple seated a row in front of me, so in total three of the 12 business class seats were taken.

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Royal Brunei business class seats A320

As soon as I was settled in, cabin services officer Fizhal came by my seat to formally introduce himself, inform me of the flight time of 2hr5min, etc. He also asked how he could address me — I said “Ben,” and sure enough at every subsequent interaction he and his colleague addressed me that way.

This is the type of greeting you usually get in international first class, not in regional business class. Moments later Leanne made a similar introduction.

I was then offered a warm towel.

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Royal Brunei business class warm towel

I was also offered a pre-departure beverage of choice — I just had a glass of water.

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Royal Brunei business class pre-departure water

While many airlines use napkins and coasters to make cheap advertisements (i.e., for Coke), I liked that Royal Brunei had a coaster that had their branding and said “welcome aboard.”

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Royal Brunei business class coaster

I was also offered a selection of newspapers — given that it was my first time to Brunei, I selected a copy of the Borneo Bulletin.

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Royal Brunei business class newspaper service

I was also offered the menu for the flight.

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Royal Brunei business class menu

A couple of minutes after the door closed, Captain Jeff (who sounded British), made his welcome aboard announcement. He informed us of our flight time of slightly over two hours, and said we’d be flying over Singapore, Kuching, etc. He also warned us that it may be very bumpy after takeoff based on their flight in.

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View at gate at Kuala Lumpur Airport

At 12:10PM we began our pushback, at which point a recorded prayer was played over the PA, followed by the safety video.

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Taxiing Kuala Lumpur Airport

Traffic at Kuala Lumpur Airport is fascinating. As we began our taxi, I believe I saw two of the “abandoned” 747s that have been at the airport forever.

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Unmarked 747s at Kuala Lumpur Airport

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Traffic at Kuala Lumpur Airport

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Malaysia A380 Kuala Lumpur Airport

Our taxi to the runway was very short, and by 12:20PM we were cleared for an immediate midfield takeoff on runway 32R.

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Taking off Kuala Lumpur Airport

The takeoff roll was quick, and the first couple of minutes of our climb was smooth.

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View after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur

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View after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur

However, then it got really bumpy for about 20 minutes, so the crew had to be seated.

Finally about 25 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, and the curtains between cabins were drawn.

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Royal Brunei A320 business class cabin after takeoff

I was then presented with customs and immigration forms for Brunei.

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Landing forms for Brunei

While this plane doesn’t have built-in personal televisions, I was presented with an iPad and headphones, which is impressive for such a short flight.

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Royal Brunei A320 business class entertainment and headphones

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Royal Brunei business class entertainment

There were a bit over a dozen movies to choose from, so it wasn’t an amazing selection, but was decent.

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Royal Brunei business class entertainment

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Royal Brunei business class entertainment

The lunch service began shortly after the iPads were distributed. The menu read as follows:

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The drink list read as follows:

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The starter consisted of grilled chicken pesto. On the same plate was some bread (both a roll and some garlic bread), as well as the dessert.

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Royal Brunei business class lunch — appetizer and dessert

The grilled chicken pesto starter was pretty good.

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Royal Brunei business class appetizer — grilled chicken pesto

I sort of loved Royal Brunei’s cutlery.

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Royal Brunei business class cutlery

For the main course I ordered the Thai green curry chicken. While the rice and vegetables were good, I generally prefer white meat chicken, which this was not.

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Royal Brunei business class main course —  Thai green curry chicken

Then for dessert I had the pumpkin cheesecake, which was surprisingly refreshing.

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Royal Brunei business dessert — pumpkin cheesecake and teh tarik

Royal Brunei is a dry airline, though unlike some other dry airlines, I appreciate that they put some effort into their beverage selection. They at least have interesting non-alcoholic drinks, including proper sparkling water, iced coffee, teh tarik, a huge tea selection, etc.

With dessert I decided to order teh tarik, which made Fizhal’s face light up, as he said that teh tarik was his specialty. He made one for me, and then stood there and waited for me to try it, as he was curious what I thought.

Once I finished that, he said “tea and coffee are my specialty, so let me know if you want anything else.” Well, I love iced coffee and don’t think I’ve ever had a properly made one on a plane, so I ordered one of those. It was really good. We later talked about how I was continuing to Dubai the next day, so he wrote down the recipe for me, and told me to tell the crew the next day to make it that way.

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Royal Brunei business class iced coffee

I relaxed for the rest of the flight, and then 30 minutes before landing checked out the lavatory in the front of the cabin. It was pretty standard, though I found it funny that they had a car air freshener in it.

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Royal Brunei A320 business class lavatory

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Royal Brunei A320 business class lavatory air freshener

About 30 minutes before landing we started flying along the coast of Borneo, which made for some stunning views. Around that time, the first officer came on the PA to provide us with updated information, informing us we’d be landing at around 2:20PM.

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View enroute to Bandar Seri Begawan

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View enroute to Bandar Seri Begawan

While we flew parallel to the coast for about 15 minutes, we eventually started flying inland, at which point the seatbelt sign was turned on.

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View enroute to Bandar Seri Begawan

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View approaching Bandar Seri Begawan

As we began our final approach, the Sultan’s palace was visible in the distance — damn!

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The Sultan of Brunei’s palace

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Final approach into Bandar Seri Begawan

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Final approach into Bandar Seri Begawan

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Final approach into Bandar Seri Begawan

At 2:20PM we had a smooth touchdown in Bandar Seri Begawan on runway 3. The airport is quite small, so it was a quick taxi to the gate from there.

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Taxiing Bandar Seri Begawan Airport

There were just three Royal Brunei A320s on the ground at the airport (Royal Brunei also has some 787s, though they were all out flying to Melbourne, Dubai, and London).

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Taxiing Bandar Seri Begawan Airport

We pulled into our gate by 2:25PM, next to one of Royal Brunei’s newer A320s (which had winglets, while the one I was on didn’t).

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Royal Brunei A320 Bandar Seri Begawan Airport

I bid farewell to the crew, and was through immigration in a matter of minutes.

Royal Brunei A320 business class bottom line

While the Royal Brunei A320 I flew wasn’t the most modern, it was still very comfortable. However, the soft product was excellent. The flight attendants were extremely friendly, there were iPads for entertainment despite the short flight, and I appreciated Royal Brunei’s extensive non-alcoholic drink selection. I was looking forward to my visit to Brunei, and my connection on the Royal Brunei 787.

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Comments

  1. How many people will have to tell you that pictures of water glasses, empty hallways and such are completely ridiculous?

    For someone who has been writing this so long, you should know the value of editing.

  2. “Well, I love iced coffee and don’t think I’ve ever had a properly made one on a plane”

    Austrian Airlines has some good iced coffee. Didn’t you have some with them when you flew them a few years ago?

  3. @B — I disagree. Part of the reasons Lucky’s reviews are so good are that they’re incredibly thorough. Even the photos of water contribute something. In this case, I was like “Oh, nice, they used real glass instead of plastic.” It’s small, but the attention to detail is what sets Lucky’s reviews apart from the rest.

  4. There is a photo of the teh tarik next to the pumpkin cheesecake description photo.

    I like all the photos. It certainly doesn’t take any effort to scroll past them, so I always wonder about all the complaints. And while shots of airplanes on the tarmac are not my thing, I love the shots of the glassware and plates and cutlery. That to me is very interesting. So to each his own. This is a blog for the masses, so putting up “everything” seems to be the very smart thing to do.

  5. ‘at which point a recorded prayer was played over the PA’

    Perhaps some might think this a good idea for all flights?

  6. Though a dry airline was advised by flight crew whilst in the Melbourne duty free prior to flying with Royal Brunei I could BYO liquor on board. Duly purchased a 1/2 dozen Bacardi minatures & the crew served me cans of coke to mix during the flight.which is also under the 100ml carry on policy though not an issue on Melb once through security though maybe elswhere eg Bangkok

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