Royal Air Maroc Rabat to London economy cabin flight review
Royal Air Maroc , more commonly known as RAM, is a four star rated airline by Skytrax
RAM is fully owned by the Goverment of Morocco and has it headquarters located within Casablanca Airport. From its Casablanca base, RAM operates a domestic network within in Morocco, as well as scheduled international flights to Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
This is my Economy Class experience flying from Rabat, Morocco to London Heathrow.
Flight : AT804 Departure 15.10
Route: Rabat (RBA) to London Heathrow (LHR)
Seat: 19F (Economy Class )
84 seats / 2-2 configuration
Plane Type: Airbus Embraer E190
Boarding was a swift affair due to less than 100 people boarding , just having the one aisle was tricky with everyone trying to stuff their luggage in the overhead lockers , but once boarding was complete we were up and away on time.
Cabin and Seat
The economy cabin on the Embraer E190 has 84 seats in a 2-2 configuration , with a seat pitch of 32 inches and width of just 17 inches. I found the actual seat pretty comfortable with good padding, but a tad snug around the hips.
At 5ft 7 I found the leg room ok, but I would have struggled if the flight was much longer. pillows and blankets were avalible on request, but the cabin temperature was fine for me. As on most short haul flights, there was no seats back TV’s nor were there any amentiy kits, also no in seat power.
I was surprised to see that a full meal was on offer on this realitively short flight. There was a choice of pasta or fish , I prefer to stick to quite plain food when I fly, so I went for the fish , which was hot and surprisingly tasty. There were two drinks services during the flight, though sadly just soft drinks in the economy cabin , with tea and coffee being served after the meal.
In My Opinion …..
I’ll be honest , I’m not a fan of smaller planes , purely down to the bump factor , smaller the plane bigger the bumps during turbulance. The flight whilst a tad bumpy over the English Channel, the rest of the flight was fine. The service onboard was prompt and efficient. and the meal service and complimentary drinks was a welcome change to pay food & drink charges on most airlines these days. My only annoyance was the single aisle , it was nigh impossible to go to the toilet and get back to your seat without getting stuck behind the catering trolley, but it’s not really something that can be avoided.
Gulf Air is the principal flag carrier of Bahrain, the airline operates scheduled services to 41 destinations in 23 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe, all flights transit thru their hub airport in Bahrain. Gulf Air operate two cabins of service , Economy and their aptly named Falcon Gold Business Class cabin.
This is my Falcon Gold cabin inflight passenger experience on one of two daily flights from London Heathrow to Gulf Air’s Hub in Bahrain.
Flight: GF0002 Departure 9.30am
Route London (LHR) to Bahrain (BAH )
Seat: 1K ( Falcon Gold Class )
30 seats / 2-2-2 configuration
Duration: 6 hrs 30 mins
Plane Type: Airbus A330
Heathrow terminal four check in
Falcon Gold Lounge- London Heathrow
Located between gates 6 & 7 on the main concourse in Heathrow’s Terminal four is the Falcon Gold Lounge.
Falcon Gold Lounge – interior
With a light and airy decor, separate lounging & dining areas as well as showering facilities, its small but perfectly formed with everything you need for a brief visit.
Whilst not extensive, there’s was perfectly adequate selection of hot and cold breakfast items were available prior to my 9am boarding call.
Falcon Gold food buffet
Boarding started promptly approx 45 mins before departure. Falcon Gold passengers were invited to board first , in their own dedicated lane. After being greeted at the aircraft door by name , I was shown to my seat and offered a pre take off drink and hot towel.
Cabin & Seat
The A330 has 30 Falcon Gold seats in a 2-2-2 formation over 5 rows, split over 2 cabins eithier side of the main cabin door separated by the toilets and galley.
A330 Falcon Gold Seat Map
Whilst the Cabin is quite neutral , it has a spacious feel, and there is generous leg room between the rows, so no akward moments trying to climb over your seatmate when exiting your seat mid flight. There’s also a pull down privacy screen if your travelling alone.
Rear Falcon Gold cabin
The seat was a standard forward facing full flat bed , there was a comfortable pillow & duvet style blanket stored in the cubby hole under the tv monitor. There’s also a bottle of water and noise cancelling headphones stored down the side of the seat. There was also a usb charging point in the console, but I found it pretty slow when charging up my smart phone.
Amenity kits were handed out before take off , All Falcon Gold passengers recieved a Cerruti branded amenity kit, I particularly liked the Aigner products ( body lotion , mosturising lip balm and a refreshing facial spritz ) , the black leather pouch was handy to reuse as a washbag / make up case.
Falcon Gold Cerruti amenity kit
This is where I feel that Gulf Air can make their biggest improvement , I found Falcon entertainment system , clunky , dated and extremely tricky to use.
In flight entertainment controller
I also found the actual movie selection quite limited, and it was the same selection on both outbound and inbound journey, so I found I’d already watched the films that I wanted to on the way out. There was approx ten mainstream hollywood blockbusters , a number of bollywood films, some random tv shows and a muslim selction.
With two crew members & a Sky Chef serving the Falcon Gold Cabin , service was prompt and efficient.
Falcon Gold dining menu
The food service was hands down the highlight of this flight, with a relatively short flying time of just over six hours, service began approx two hours after a take off and the food just kept coming kicking off with a generously sized main course of a surpringly tender lamb shank cooked to order, followed by a fully stocked cheese and dessert trolley. with then just in case you were feeling a bit peckish there was an afternoon tea served about 90 minutes before landing.
Sky Chef prepared main course
Transiting in Bahrain
With over 41 destinations, for transiting passengers, Bahrain airport is pretty compact, from disinbarking it took approx 15 minutes to reach the Falcon Gold Lounge on the 1st floor of the main concourse. With comfortable seating ,a business section for catching up on work, shower facilities and a full food & drinks with waiter service, and a view of the run way it’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal.
Falcon Gold Lounge – Bahrain airport
In My Opinion….
I’m baffled as to how Sky Trax can rate Gulf Air as a three star airline, clearly they are long overdue an upgrade in my humble opinion.
I was pleasantly surprised at the level of service I received in the Falcon Gold Cabin , from a decent lounge before boarding, to being greeted by name as I entered the aircraft, being shown to my seat , and the Sky chef coming out to personally discuss the dining menu , all the things that I’ve experienced on other five star middle eastern carriers such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar.
But the highlight for me on this flight was the food service, this was one of the best meals I’ve had on a plane, with comfortable seating which converted to a flat bed and great amenity kit. Well worth the short detour through Bahrain when I’m travelling to the UAE and highly recommened.
With a major rebrand scheduled for 2018 , I look forward checking out a new and improved Gulf Air and a well deserved skytrax reclassification.
Last year I wrote about my very first trip on an A380 with Etihad in economy,check it out here http://wp.me/p4AB93-y8
After that, it was love at first sight for me and the A380 , instead of dreading flying , I actually began to look forward to the flight, as much as the actual trip.
So I was particularly excited, when I finally got the the opportunity to climb the stairs to plane heaven, and not just to sneak a peek either.
This is my Etihad A380 Business Class experience, travelling from Adu Dhabi which is their hub city to London Heathrow.
When travelling business class, there’s none of this dragging in the main entrance with the rest of the world. You pull up to your own dedicated business class, kerb side check in area. Your bags are magically whisked inside, and your escorted to the carpeted check in desks, and after the most pleasurable of check in experiences , there’s a dedicated business class security area, where every lanes a fast track and your through security in less than 5 minutes.
Heading for the plane , I had not one, but two Etihad escorts to guide me to the gate, I felt like a total rock star , as they cleared a path through the crowds to the gate. At the time, it felt like a total extravagance, but in hindsight, as someone who regularly gets lost in airports, it was helpful when your cutting things a bit fine.
Taking the gangway straight to the top deck upon boarding , I noted apart from the Residence and Nine First Class cabins right at the very front of the plane , that the Business Class cabin takes up literally the whole of the top deck . The Business Class cabin has 70 seats and is split into front and rear cabins in a 1-2-1 formation. On this flight the cabin was totally full.
The center two adjoinining seats are perfect for couples and friends travelling together while the solo traveller would be suited to the single window seats. Its also worth noting that seats face both forward and rearwards . I was assigned a rear facing seat which I can confirm was a very strange experience upon take off and landing , but when your in the air it doesn’t make any real difference.
This is where where Etihad earns their 5 star airline status in my opinion. The Business Class seat aka on the A380 “Business Studio”, is 6ft 8inches long when flat, and 22 inches wide. The seat is tan cloth, with a signature Poltrona Frau leather headrest, and an Etihad branded pillow. There’s lots of concealed personal storage space to store your stuff, and plenty of space for your handbag under the foot rest.
The seat is totally lay flat with a great vibrating massage feature, and now you can even get to choose how firm or soft you would like your seat, and all controls are within reach of your finger tips.
I found the headphones extremely fiddly to connect up to the console , so much so I had to get a crew member to connect them up, but after that they were fine, and they even managed to drown out the engine noise.
I have a thing about airline blankets , most offerings are way too thin , so much so when I’m travelling on a night flight, sometimes I bring my own. The Etihad blanket was lovely and thick like duvet, with cosy fleecy lining ,and I found it very comfy.
I loved the new LUXE of London city themed amenity kits , ( this one pictured is the AbuDhabi one) which contained mini travel guide along Scaramouche and Fandango products ,including a lip balm, hand cream, toothbrush , toothpaste, ear plugs, a sleeping mask
The tv screen is a massive 15 inches in Business Class , you can control it by touching the actual screen or by using the remote control handset .
There’s more than plenty to watch from the latest blockbusters to tv series to Bollywood more than enough to keep me entertained on a relatively short 7 hour flight.
So once your settled in your seat the food and beverage manager comes round to discuss the menu , theres two menus to choose from one a la carte and the other is a casual anytime menu if you don’t feel like a full meal. There’s also a very good wine list. As I was driving when I got to back to Heathrow, sadly I was unable to indulge.
After eating a full breakfast before boarding, I wasn’t particularly hungry , but I was determined to put Etihad’s in flight chef to the test. Usually reserved for the requests of First class passengers, Our chef Valad gracefully agreed to show me how he manages to cook from scratch, with just an aircraft oven. I decided to keep it simple with a couple of fried eggs
Later on I was also a bit peckish so went for a steak sandwich from the all day menu which was delicious.
And the staff bought me almost hourly refills of tea & cake to keep me going.
The Lobby, is the hotel inspired hang out area on the on the top deck of the A380. Located between the rear of the First Class cabin, and the front of the Business Class cabin, for all top deck passengers.
I doubted if people would actually leave their seat and use it, but I was proved wrong, it was positively buzzing with people hanging out, and sharing a glass of champers with their fellow passenger.
In My Opinion …
Contrary to belief , I’m not a regular in Business Class , and it’s a real treat to fly up front. With a round trip Business Class ticket between London & Abu Dhabi normally costing in the region of £3,000, with a saver Business Class fare booked well in advance it can be as low as £800.00 each way.
I feel the A380 definitely gives you more wow for your buck in Business Class. The separate deck , the newer seats , The Lobby area which is not not on the 777.
For overnight flight, flying, Business Class allows you to have a shower before you board in the lounge , even having a full meal, so the moment you get onboard you can go straight to sleep . It definitely beats squashed up in economy where’s it impossible to get any sleep unless the cabins half empty.
If you can get a saver fare , it’s definitely worth considering mixing and matching cabins getting a business seat on a night flight and bearing economy on a day flight.