Review: Royal Brunei Business Class 787 Bandar Seri Begawan To Dubai

Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)
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Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class 787 Amman To Kuala Lumpur
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Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Kuala Lumpur
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Radisson Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei
Review: Royal Brunei Lounge Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class 787 Bandar Seri Begawan To Dubai
Review: W Dubai Al Habtoor City
Review: St. Regis Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai
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Royal Brunei 97
Bandar Seri Begawan (BWN) – Dubai (DXB)
Sunday, January 8
Depart: 8:35PM
Arrive: 1:30AM (+1 day)
Duration: 8hr55min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 9G (Business Class)

I boarded through door L2, where I was escorted to my seat by one of the flight attendants. Royal Brunei’s 787 business class cabin consists of a total of 18 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

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Royal Brunei 787 business class cabin

This is a pretty standard fully flat business class configuration, similar to what you’ll find on the 787s operated by AzerbaijanHainan, LATAMLOT, Xiamen, etc.

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Royal Brunei 787 business class cabin

Each seat had plenty of legroom, and then an ottoman attached to the seat in front of it that becomes part of the bed when fully reclined. While Royal Brunei’s 787 cabin finishes aren’t the most exciting out there, I think they feel classy.

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Royal Brunei business class seats 787

I was seated in 9G, the bulkhead aisle seat on the right side in the center section.

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Royal Brunei business class seats 787

Despite being in the bulkhead, my seat still had the same ottoman and personal television as the rest of the rows.

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Royal Brunei business class seats 787

The seat controls were on the center console, and were easy to use.

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Royal Brunei business class seat controls

The entertainment controller was underneath the center armrest, and a similar device to what’s offered on many other airlines.

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Royal Brunei business class entertainment controls

Right behind that was a water bottle holder, which had a bottle of Evian in it.

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Royal Brunei business class bottled water

In the center console behind the water bottle were the power outlets, including a 110v outlet and a USB outlet.

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Royal Brunei business class power outlets

The tray table also folded out of the center armrest, and was a single table, so couldn’t be folded over.

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Royal Brunei business class tray table

One other cool seat feature was that there were individual air vents — I wish more airlines would offer those.

Waiting at my seat on boarding were a basic pillow and blanket. At first I was really disappointed that they only had such a cheap blanket in business class, but I later found out that was only the secondary blanket — they offered a different pillow and blanket after takeoff.

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Royal Brunei business class pillow & blanket

In the center console underneath my seat were headphones, amenity kits, and slippers.

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Royal Brunei business class amenity kit & slippers

While I liked the branding on the slippers, they otherwise felt rather cheap and flimsy.

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Royal Brunei business class slippers

The amenity kit consisted of a zippered pouch.

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Royal Brunei business class amenity kit

The kit contained the very basics, including eyeshades, socks, earplugs, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.

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Royal Brunei business class amenity kit contents

There were also noise canceling headphones.

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Royal Brunei business class headphones

Business class filled up pretty quickly, almost exclusively with 60+ year old Australian men who were coming in from Melbourne and continuing to London.

Once all business class seats were occupied, the crew came around with warm towels.

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Royal Brunei business class hot towel

After that they came around with beverages, with the choice between apple juice, orange juice, mango juice, and water — I had the mango juice, which was refreshing.

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Royal Brunei business class pre-departure juice

Once drinks were served, the crew distributed menus and explained the dine on demand concept. They also took drink orders for after takeoff, and asked each passenger how they wanted to be addressed. Perhaps most impressively of all, they actually followed through with it, and memorized just about everyone’s name — kudos to them!

At around 8:45PM captain Ben (who was British) made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 8hr25min. He apologized for the slight delay, but explained that there were arrival delays into Dubai and we were given a delayed landing time, and as a result they decided just to delay boarding by a bit.

By 8:50PM the door was closed, at which point cabin services manager Ernie introduced herself and screened the prayer and safety video.

By 8:55PM we began our pushback, and by 9:05PM we were airborne. Our climb out was smooth, and just a few minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off.

After takeoff I checked out the lavatory. Royal Brunei has two business class lavatories on the 787, located in front of the cabin. They’re pretty standard, with the only unique features being the bidet toilet function, as well as the flower in the bathroom.

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Royal Brunei business class lavatory

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Royal Brunei business class bidet toilet

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Royal Brunei business class lavatory flower

Once back at my seat I had a look at Royal Brunei’s entertainment selection.

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Royal Brunei entertainment system 787

I started with the airshow — this was the type of airshow where you could view the plane from all kinds of perspectives, which I love.

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Airshow enroute from Brunei to Dubai

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Airshow enroute from Brunei to Dubai

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Airshow enroute from Brunei to Dubai

After that I checked out the TV & movie selection.

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Royal Brunei entertainment system 787

There were about two dozen movies, some of which looked decent.

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Royal Brunei entertainment system 787

Then there were also a variety of sitcoms. I appreciated that they had many episodes of each show. In some cases they had three episodes of each show, while in other cases they had a dozen. As someone who loves sitcoms, that worked great for me.

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Royal Brunei entertainment system 787

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Royal Brunei entertainment system 787

However, the censorship in the IFE was insane. I understand them wanting to censor some things, but even tame U.S. sitcoms were bleeped out to no end. They took out words like “God,” “affair,” etc.

As we continued our climb out, the crew distributed incredible pillows and blankets, among the best I’ve had in business class. They were so comfortable. A lot of passengers took full advantage of that. Given that many people were coming from Melbourne, about half the cabin went straight to sleep after takeoff.

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Fantastic blanket in Royal Brunei business class

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Fantastic blanket in Royal Brunei business class

Shortly thereafter the crew came around to take meal orders. Royal Brunei has a dine on demand menu, as they should, given how many people are taking three consecutive flights on them.

The menu read as follows:

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The drink menu read as follows:

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Drinks were served about 45 minutes after takeoff. I had a glass of sparkling water, which was served with cashews.

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Royal Brunei meal service — nuts and sparkling water

I got the sense that you were supposed to order a soup or salad or starter, though I asked if I could have both the soup and salad, which the flight attendant was accommodating of.

To start I had the chicken potatoes & leek cream soup. It was flavorful, though quite runny, which isn’t ideal when you don’t have a proper soupspoon.

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Royal Brunei meal service — chicken potatoes & leek cream sauce

I was also offered a selection of bread. In addition to the roll that was served on the tray, they also came around with a basket, from which I chose some garlic bread.

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Royal Brunei meal service — roll and garlic bread

After that I was served the salad. The salad itself was fine, though the beef was sort of chewy.

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Royal Brunei meal service — salad with beef tenderloin

Then the main course was served. While I liked the idea behind the dish, the fish was chewy and dry, and they really needed the sauce to give it any flavor.

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Royal Brunei meal service — tumeric baked sea bass

After that I had the dessert, which was excellent.

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Royal Brunei meal service — bread butter pudding with blueberry

To finish off the meal I had a proper cappuccino — yum!

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Royal Brunei business class cappuccino

The meal service was done about 1hr40min after takeoff. Overall the meal was reasonably good while the service was great. I feel like a little bit more of an investment in the catering budget would go a long way, as all of the courses (with the exception of the dessert) were just a bit off.

However, the service was excellent — it really felt customized, and the crew was extremely friendly.

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Airshow enroute to Dubai

At this point we had about 6hr30min remaining to Dubai, and I was tired, so I decided to sleep. While the seat isn’t the most private out there, I managed to sleep extremely well thanks to the incredible pillow and blanket. I woke up about 2hr15min prior to landing in Dubai as we were just west of India, so that meant I slept for probably four hours. Perfect!

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Airshow enroute to Dubai

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Airshow enroute to Dubai

After waking up I decided to order an iced coffee, which was tasty, and served with cashews.

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Royal Brunei business class iced coffee & nuts

Then about an hour before landing I ordered a snack. Specifically, the sesame beef with emmental cheese sandwich. It was alright. It was all a bit soggy and there wasn’t all that much meat and cheese, but at least it was served warm.

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Royal Brunei business class snack — sesame beef and cheese sandwich

Lastly I ordered a cheese plate, which was beautifully presented and tasted good.

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Royal Brunei business class snack — cheese plate

About 45 minutes before landing first officer Roslee announced we would shortly be commencing our descent, and would arrive at our gate in Dubai at around 1:45AM. Shortly thereafter the crew passed through the cabin with warm towels and juice. After that they distributed fast track cards for those terminating their travels in Dubai (which was just me, best I could tell).

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Royal Brunei fast track card for Dubai

We hit some turbulence on our descent, though for that matter the flight had pretty consistent light chop throughout.

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Airshow approaching Dubai

We had a smooth touchdown in Dubai at 1:35AM, and from there had a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate. I bid farewell to the lovely crew, and headed towards immigration. Unfortunately Dubai Airport can be a mess at immigration during rush hour (which is often in the middle of the night). Even though I had a fast track card, I had to wait over 30 minutes to clear immigration. From there it was a 20 minute taxi ride to the W Hotel.

Royal Brunei 787 business class bottom line

Overall I had a very pleasant flight on Royal Brunei’s 787.

The highlights included the fantastic blanket and cabin crew, the good (non-alcoholic) drink selection, the solid entertainment selection, and the ability to dine on demand.

But there were also some areas for improvement. Royal Brunei’s 787 hard product is average and their food is decent in general, though the execution isn’t great.

I’d certainly fly Royal Brunei again if they were the most convenient airline and the price is right, though I also wouldn’t go out of my way to fly them.

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About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I think first class should feature 15 minutes of neck and shoulder massage.

    Btw have you reviewed the bikini airline yet?

  2. Looks like the good part of the menu is missing. It goes from the welcome message to the drinks. Unless I’m missing something.

  3. Is the price point so attractive that people are willing to take a 2 stop option to get from Melbourne to London versus taking one of the many 1 stop options available?!?!

  4. “I understand them wanting to censor some things, but even tame U.S. sitcoms were bleeped out to no end. They took out words like “God,” “affair,” etc.”

    I personally don’t understand religious fanaticism and don’t really want to.

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