On the Ground: Upon arrival at JFK two hours before my scheduled departure, I noticed signage was not terrific within Terminal 8. I was directed to the Royal Jordanian Airlines counter and greeted by a professional and pleasant ticketing agent who quickly checked me into Crown Class business class. I received a pass to the Crown Class Lounge (shared through American Airlines’ Admirals Club) plus two complimentary drink vouchers; there I awaited the first leg of my journey, which entailed an 11-hour flight to Amman, Jordan, followed by a four-hour layover and a three-hour final leg to Dubai.
I sat in the lounge and cashed in my two drink vouchers while awaiting the arrival of an associate. The lounge offers other amenities including a full menu, comfortable seating areas, several computer work stations, separate coffee/pastry bar and complete men’s/women’s shower facilities. Adequately prepped, we made our way to the gate approximately 40 minutes before departure.
Pre-Flight: We boarded the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with high expectations. I was not disappointed. Stepping on board was like walking through the foyer of an understated luxurious home, spacious and warmly lit. We were escorted to our flat-bed seats (configured 2-2-2) which measure 21 inches wide and extend to 78 inches long when adjusted for sleep or relaxation. Although I’m 6 feet tall and somewhat husky, I found these seats designed by B/E Aerospace exceptionally comfortable.
Attendants provided cozy blankets and pillows, a dinner menu and an overnight amenity kit that included slippers. Attendants offered a pre-flight drink and explained available services, including access to our own 17-inch monitors to view pre-programmed television shows, movies and games as well as full personal connectivity ports and USB sockets.
In-Flight: We departed on time, and the near-silence of this amazing aircraft immediately impressed me. Although fully loaded with passengers, baggage and fuel for the long flight, the Dreamliner effortlessly lifted off, almost as if floating on air, as excess engine noise was virtually nonexistent. Within an hour of takeoff, I expected our flight attendant to make her way through the front cabin to request our dinner orders. To my pleasant surprise, after serving a light salad and salmon appetizer, an exceptionally polite and knowledgeable flight attendant served the entire Crown Class dinner menu from a well-appointed cart. I mention “knowledgeable” because I am allergic to nuts of all kinds and conveyed the importance of ensuring my meal was allergy-free. My meal included beef filet and fresh vegetables, and other options were pasta and chicken — all fresh, tasty and filling. No need for dessert, although I admit I considered it.
After watching a movie, I called it an evening as all cabin lights had been dimmed, including the windows designed to adjust to the time of day of our destination. Amman is seven hours ahead of New York, so we were scheduled to land mid- to late afternoon the next day. Although I had the good fortune of sleeping for a couple of hours at a time, I did require the use of the bathroom midway through the evening flight. I’d recommend securing one of the two center-cabin seats which allow easy access to an aisle. As we were situated near the window, I had to step over my associate, who was asleep.
As we awoke, passengers attended to their morning rituals; the Crown Class bathroom could have been more spacious, but it was quite sufficient, well-lit, clean and remarkably fresh-smelling.
Breakfast (coffee/fruit/omelet) was terrific and timely, served in the same manner as dinner. Upon arrival (on time), we were ushered through a separate security line geared toward connecting flights. We spent a comfortable four-hour layover in the Crown Class Lounge at Queen Alia International Airport, which was expansive, comfortable and offered an ample food selection, a full bar, bathroom/shower facilities and individual entertainment cubes.
Admittedly, we were spoiled with the 787-8 experience; and although the Airbus A320 Crown Class service on our flight to Dubai was very good, it could not compare in overall comfort and attention to detail.
The Experience: Royal Jordanian’s 787-8 Dreamliner Crown Class sets the bar very high — in a word, exceptional! The airline catapults itself toward the top of the list of carriers servicing this ever-growing region. Although you can fly non-stop to Dubai on other airlines, you may consider Royal Jordanian, especially if you can put aside time to experience Jordan.
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item check=yes]Friendly and helpful agents[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority tagged baggage[/item]
[item check=yes]Airport lounge[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary in-lounge food[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority boarding[/item]
[item check=yes]Helpful and courteous flight attendants[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight beverage service[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight newspapers and magazines[/item]
[item check=yes]Extensive on-demand entertainment[/item]
[item check=yes]Amenity kits[/item]
[item check=yes]Lie-flat seat/bed[/item]
[item check=yes]Turn-down service[/item]
[item check=yes]In-flight menu with three entrée choices[/item]
[item check=yes]Top-shelf wines and liquors[/item]
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Reconnecting the World: GBTA Convention 2023 Spotlights the Vital Role of Business Travel and In-Person Connection
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