Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)
Review: Air Canada Premium Rouge 767 Tampa To Toronto
Review: Sheraton Gateway Toronto Airport
Review: EgyptAir Business Class 777 Toronto To Cairo
Review: Cairo Airport Lounge Terminal 2
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class Embraer 175 Cairo To Amman
Review: Grand Hyatt Amman
Review: Royal Jordanian Lounge Amman Airport
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class 787 Amman To Kuala Lumpur
Review: St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
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
Review: Emirates Business Class A380 Dubai To Los Angeles
Royal Brunei 872
Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Bandar Seri Begawan (BWN)
Saturday, January 7
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.
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.
While the seats felt a bit outdated, they were extremely comfortable.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.
On the far side of the seat were the basic electric seat controls.
Then in the center section of the seat was the headphone jack and audio 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.
Waiting at my seat on boarding was a pillow and blanket. Both were basic, though perfectly fine for a two hour flight.
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.
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.
I was also offered a pre-departure beverage of choice — I just had a glass of 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.”
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.
I was also offered the menu for the flight.
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.
At 12:10PM we began our pushback, at which point a recorded prayer was played over the PA, followed by the safety video.
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.
Our taxi to the runway was very short, and by 12:20PM we were cleared for an immediate midfield takeoff on runway 32R.
The takeoff roll was quick, and the first couple of minutes of our climb was smooth.
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.
I was then presented with customs and immigration 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.
There were a bit over a dozen movies to choose from, so it wasn’t an amazing selection, but was decent.
The lunch service began shortly after the iPads were distributed. The menu read as follows:
The drink list read as follows:
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.
The grilled chicken pesto starter was pretty good.
I sort of loved Royal Brunei’s 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.
Then for dessert I had the pumpkin cheesecake, which was surprisingly refreshing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As we began our final approach, the Sultan’s palace was visible in the distance — damn!
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.
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).
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).
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.