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Royal Brunei A320neo Economy Class: Better Than What You’d Expect

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Hello from Bandar Seri Begawan! Today I had the opportunity to fly from Hong Kong to Bandar Seri Begawan on Royal Brunei. The flight was operated by one of the airline’s brand new A320neos. I was especially excited about this flight because I hadn’t heard much about Royal Brunei’s A320neos prior to booking myself onto the flight, but was intrigued by the cabin photos that I searched up.

a group of airplanes at an airportRoyal Brunei Airbus A320neo Hong Kong Airport

After searching up the cabin photos, my expectations of Royal Brunei’s A320 heightened. I’m glad to say that those heightened expectations were met. While Royal Brunei doesn’t have the world’s most luxurious narrowbody products, this is a great way to spend 3-4 hours.

Royal Brunei’s A320s (regardless of age) are outfitted in a two-class configuration. Business class consists of recliners, whereas economy features standard seats with adjustable headrests. I was seated in economy class, which featured leather seats in a 3-3 configuration – however, I was given the opportunity to take a quick photo of business class. The seats were comfortable enough for a 3-4 hour flight, as they were standard recliners with PTVs – a closer look at that in the full review.

a seat in an airplaneRoyal Brunei Airbus A320neo Business Class

a seat on an airplaneRoyal Brunei Airbus A320neo Business Class

Meanwhile economy class features seats in a 3-3 configuration. It’s commendable that they have PTVs at all seats, since not many airlines have that in economy class on a narrowbody aircraft.

a row of seats in an airplaneRoyal Brunei Airbus A320neo Economy Class

More than anything I was impressed by the quality of the seat upholstery. While the seats are otherwise quite no-frills (no storage nook, etc.) and can’t compete with any great longhaul seats, they’re more than enough for short flights. The seat pitch was a not-so-generous 30″, with a few “Economy Preferred” seats offering 32″ pitch – however, despite the fact that the seats weren’t slimline, I didn’t find the 30″ pitch to be too much of a nuisance during the flight.

rows of seats in an airplaneRoyal Brunei Airbus A320neo Economy Class

I’m also happy to report that the entertainment system was great, with an amazingly responsive entertainment screen with loads of options.

a screen shot of a deviceRoyal Brunei Airbus A320neo Economy Class IFE Selection

The hard product was very good, and the soft product was there to match. The crew were friendly, addressing everyone as “sweetie” and cleaning the bathrooms regularly, but obviously service gradually became inattentive as is the case when you have 138 people to serve. As far as economy class goes, I found this one of the better service experiences.

The only huge nuisance was the fellow passengers. They were loud during boarding, and when they lined up for the bathroom they would prop themselves up by putting their hands on our PTV screens. They also weren’t great with keeping the bathrooms clean, so the crew did a commendable job staying on top of things and cleaning the bathrooms up.

I didn’t have high expectations of the food, but my ears perked up when I learned that chicken satay was available. While sloppily presented, I really enjoyed the flavours of the main meal. I was most impressed by the appetiser, which was an incredibly flavourful vegetable salad, and the white chocolate mousse for dessert was great as well (though probably the low point).

a tray of food on a trayRoyal Brunei Airbus A320neo Economy Class Meal

Bottom Line: Royal Brunei’s Airbus A320neo Economy Class

Royal Brunei is a joy to fly, and their A320neo was great as well. The hard and soft products both exceeded my expectations, from a great seat, to great food, to a good crew. I didn’t notice many distinct differences between the A320neo and the “standard” A320 – I found the engine to be a little quieter inflight, though that may have been a placebo effect. The only unenjoyable part of the flight was our loud and inconsiderate fellow passengers.

Ultimately on a three-hour narrowbody flight you can’t expect an amazing experience, though this was one of the most pleasurable shorthaul economy flights I’ve had in a long while.

Have you flown Royal Brunei’s A320neo before? How’d you find it?

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