Royal Jordanian Airlines
Amsterdam – Amman
Amman – Dubai
Royal Jordanian (RJ) Airlines is not what I’d call well known in the US. My ultimate destination from Amsterdam (AMS) was Dubai using One World award miles. Since this would be considered a short haul flight I did not want to pay a huge surcharge so I chose RJ. I’d not heard much about RJ except a CNN report earlier in the year stating that RJ is considered one of the 10 safest airlines in the world. In fact it appears RJ has a ‘fatality-free’ flying record so this was of course welcome news.
Since the two flights to Dubai would be short haul flights, about 4 hours each, I knew the plane would be smaller and have only two classes, first and economy. I was seated in seat 1A from Amsterdam to Amman in first class and 3A from Amman to Dubai. Although not totally lie flat the seats where very comfortable and for the most part I used the, lazy boy, position for most of the flight.
The business lounge in AMS left much to desire. It was not a dedicated RJ lounge but did provide better accommodations than at the gate. It was so boring in fact that I left pretty early to roam the AMS airport which was incredibility disappointing, dated and small. Not much available in the way of eateries or shopping, at least not in the international departure area for RJ.
The good news is that the flight departure and arrival were right on time but everything in between was meh. One the first leg, the flight crew consisted of two attendants in our cabin. One which pretty much prepared meals the entire flight and another that tended to the cabin. Although polite she was not what I would consider friendly or added any value.
The food, in a word, bad. The menu was very limited (again short flight) so I selected beef and it was like shoe rubber. No, I’ve not actually had shoe rubber but I imagine it would have tasted like whatever they served me…..I kid you not, extremely tough.
Also, there was a young woman that boarded the plane and sat in economy. After the flight reached altitude she made her way up to our cabin and began to socialize with the flight crew. She was in plain clothes and there was no indication she was part of the crew. I came to the conclusion that maybe she was a RJ employee because she remained in the area near the jet door / food prep almost the entire flight talking with the crew. In fact I did not doze during this flight and didn’t see her take a seat during landing but later in the airport saw her walking with our pilots.
A couple of things here. It seems to me that with all of the recent issues surrounding air travel, airlines would issue directives to all employees to follow protocol AT ALL TIMES. This women did not add any value to the safety or experience of the flight for passengers so it would have been appropriate for her to remain seated like everyone else.
Now the Good News
With the flight came free overnight accommodations because the second leg did not depart until the next morning. As usual, I’d done my research and came to know that since this RJ flight would be landing late with a next day departure to my final destination I would have access to a free hotel near by. When checking in at AMS I tried to confirm this with the agent at the gate. She’d not heard of that and had to call her supervisor who confirmed the arrangement. I would need to collect my transfer at the Amman airport. It’s always surprising to me when passengers know more than employees. My rule of thumb is if I don’t get the answer I think is correct I kindly say …OK Thank You… then proceed to someone else. If not in this case I would have been lying on a couch in the lounge all night.
So upon landing at Amman I was headed to the luggage ramp and caught a sign ‘Transfers’. I wasn’t sure if that meant what I needed or folks who were transferring to another flight. There was a guy standing there so I approached and he said, “Yes this is where you get your hotel transfer, come with me.” I am thinking, why am I the only one here, and where is he taking me….there was no one else around. He asked for my ticket and passport then said, “I’ll be right back”. I am thinking, okay, I’ll never see that passport again. Then he pops back out and say’s “okay, follow me”. Well I planted my feet and said, ahhh, that’s okay I am looking for the hotel desk. He tried to explain and showed me his ID and insisted that I was in the right place but it just seemed too efficient I guess (shame on me). If you are staying over night, look for the ‘Transfer’ sign. On my entrance into the airport if was to my left, then the desk is on your right.
So he said he had to call someone so I waited. Finally another gentleman came and again with the ‘follow me’. After a few twists and turns we ended up at the customs line where he personally waited with me to get my passport stamped. He gave me a free hotel voucher, free visa and then walked me down to the front of the airport where there was a mini-van waiting to whisk me off to the hotel. Who knew…..this was actually incredible service. The following morning the checkout was seamless and a van took me right back to the airport where guess who was waiting for me curbside…yep that gentleman. Who escorted me inside and collected my receipts and wished me well on my way.
I gotta say, RJ hit a home run with this aspect of the trip, extremely efficient and very personable and kind.
Back to reality, I expected if flying RJ and at the Jordan airport that the business/first class lounge to be impressive but not the case. It was nice with hot items, plenty of beverages and seating but not what I expected. The airport is rather small and not much in the way of shopping but they did have a Popeye’s Chicken! I don’t really have any tips for this airport, its very easy to navigate.
Like AMS, not much to see or do. The Amman airport is rather small but pleasant. The lounge did have a selection of hot breakfast items and beverages, pool table, TV monitors and comfy seating. I headed to the gate and boarding was right on time.
Amman to Dubai
Boarding was right on time and efficient as before. This was a breakfast flight and much better food.
Of course the most important thing about any flight is arriving safely and RJ did accomplish this and everyone was kind and helpful on the flights but there was nothing that was offered to make these short haul flights stand out. Pretty much a standard experience except for the ground crew.
View my Air Canada business class review here.