Originally titled “The Midnight A310 to Bangkok”, this was written and published in 2008 immediately after landing, in an airport lounge while waiting for my onward connection to Sydney. Royal Jordanian provided decently priced flights at the time plus I wanted to try Airbus A310 Crown Class and an A310 for that matter! RJ had joined the oneworld alliance, so they made the short list of airlines I like to fly. Enjoy this blast from the past!

RJ130 – Amman to Bangkok (AMM-BKK)
12 July 2008
Airbus A310-304 – JY-AGP
Seat: Crown Class 2A
Departure: 02:05 Arrival 15:15

It wasn’t midnight, but midnight sounds much more romantic an hour than 2am! Read on…

The Old Crown Class Lounge

I flew into Amman from Budapest and had a six hour wait at the airport. Flashed my boarding pass and was permitted back into departures. The new Royal Jordanian Crown Class lounge was due to open in April 2008, then June 2008 and last I heard it was mid-July 2008 – which means I had to use the old lounge. While I was slightly bummed out about that, I consoled myself with the fact that I am going to be there again on the return in August and hopefully it’ll be open then. Either way, there had been some changes to the existing lounge since I was there in April 2007.

There were now computers against the back wall, and free wireless throughout the lounge. Fast wireless! However, some things remained the same such as the large television and the food area. The old Business Centre (small glassed off room with the PCs in it) was now the smoking room. Anyway, the six hours passed quickly – not only was the wireless fast and free, but the plugs in Jordan are the same as the UK – so I didn’t run out of battery either. Two trip reports passed the time nicely!

I also visited the bathroom, and this is where RJ show they are trying to upgrade the product as much as possible. Proper towels and even monogrammed ones. I really can’t wait to see the new lounge in August if it’s open. Queen Alia International Airport remains the worst one I’ve ever been to for it’s sheer ugliness and boringness. I didn’t take any pictures, as I didn’t want to make your eyes bleed.

Discovering The Airbus A310 Crown Class

“Gate closed” for boarding at 1:35am, however we didn’t board until 1:55am. No explanation was given, and our flight was listed both at Gate 2 (correct) and Gate 12 (incorrect) on different electronic departure boards in the airport. I had assumed they were all linked, but not at QAIA!

I was first on board and settled quickly into 2A. The three RJ A310s recently went through an interior and engine refurbishment at a cost of 10 million Jordanian Dinars (basically 10 million Euros) to see them through to the 787 delivery. This means the Airbus A310 Crown Class is as modern as it gets. The new seats are Recaro ones, the same as on Aer Lingus, and other airlines.

They have lots of legroom as well, however Row 1 is the place to be. As there is no seat in front, there is extra room as the bulkheads don’t have cut outs in them, so essentially you get more face space.

The Crown Class flight attendant introduced herself to me, and her and her helpers were magnificent throughout the flight. We had a welcome drink (Guava juice for me) and she took orders for after take off. We were also issued stickers to put on our seats to indicate whether we wanted to be woken up two hours before landing for the breakfast service. That was a nice touch!

No Vacuum Toilets And A Light Snack

We ran out of time for the full English safety demo – it was cut off near the end, and we were into the air about 35 minutes late. Once aloft, I went to hit the toilet – and found out that it hadn’t been part of the upgrade. We love blue loo!

Immediately after, we were served our light snack before lights out. Smoked salmon on bread, cheese on bread, and ham on bread, with some desserty things and a salad.

Very nice and perfect for such a late night departure – I also had a champagne, then popped my seat into the sleeping position and attempted to sleep. I basically cat napped as I do, cause I don’t sleep well on planes. Snoring indicated others were more successful at sleep!

A Spectacular Breakfast!

I got up about 2.5 hours before arrival (the preparation for the breakfast got me up). The breakfast menu was distributed and looked a little like this.

Fruit, bread and the tray arrived, followed by a gorgeous smoothie, of which a couple of people asked for seconds of. It had strawberry and banana in it… Cathay do a good one too, as do Qantas. Next came the big serving cart for us to order our breakfast from.

I chose a bit of everything basically, as I always do when presented with the cart! A la carte, loving it! Breakfast was nice, I particularly liked the sausages, they were great!

Afterwards, I had a Danish. We’d made up some time along the flight so we weren’t far behind schedule at all by the time we reached Thailand.

Besides the portable movie players, they also have main screen entertainment available, and you can see it finishing in one of the cabin pictures at the top.

Our friendly Crown Class flight attendant graciously allowed me to take her picture for this article. She was wearing the traditional Jordanian clothing, which one F/A wears on each long haul sector. I like them, there are also many variations with other colours etc. Before landing, we received our Crown Class gift, which was blown glass this time. The last sector was a digital alarm clock. You always get something, which is nice. We completed the feedback questionnaires and landed in Bangkok.

We were at the gate promptly.

Overall Thoughts

Once again Royal Jordanian show their true colours in their service and food offerings. The new lounge should be good if the changes to the old one are any indication of what might be coming soon. The airline should be extremely good once the 787s come on stream with modern IFE – but they’re certainly making progress!

I hope you enjoyed this report, please comment – I’ve been travelling now for 30 hours and I’m still not in Sydney, so comments help to keep me going 🙂 Any questions, ask away!

And that is how it was, flying Royal Jordanian’s Airbus A310 Crown Class in 2008. Goodness knows what I was using for a camera, but it certainly didn’t cope with low light.

Have you ever flown Royal Jordanian and seen that cart service? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Laurent ERRERA from L’Union, France via Wikimedia Commons.