April 3, 2014

The Royal Brunei Business Class Review: What You Need to Know Aboard the 787 Dreamliner

Wondering what it's like to fly with Royal Brunei? It's an airline that many don't know well, despite its long history and good service. That's a shame because it makes perfect sense for certain routes. Here, let me walk you through our Royal Brunei Business Class review.

Royal Brunei Business Class Review - Keith Jenkins of Velvet Escape ready to sleep in reclining chair
Abi King Royal Brunei


Disclosure: although I didn't pay for my Royal Brunei flight, I flew on the understanding that I'd report back the good, the bad and (if it came to it) the ugly. As ever, as always. Otherwise, what's the point? Check out my other reviews here to see for yourself.

Royal Brunei Business Class Review - Seat View in Dreamliner

Royal Brunei Business Class Seat

First things first, let's talk about the most important part: the seat. This is a long haul flight and comfort is crucial.

The business class seats fold flat to sleep, with an array of positions in between for relaxing. Crew provide a cotton covered duvet and proper pillow to help you get some rest. You'll find plenty of storage beneath your feet and above your head but few pockets within reach once you're seated.

Business Class Royal Brunei Dreamliner 787 Facing Forward


Entertainment-wise, you'll find the usual suspects with a 15.4 touchscreen monitor and headphones. You can charge devices in flight, although the position of the plug makes it a little tricky and prone to falling out.

The in flight entertainment system covers a wide range of tastes, but racy comments and scenes have been censored out. 

The reading light is well positioned and there's a little foot rest to help you reach your overhead compartment if you're on the short side, like me. This is the kind of attention to detail that I really appreciate.

Royal Brunei Business Class-shoe storage
Royal Brunei Business Class on the Dreamliner 787

Royal Brunei Business Class Layout on the Dreamliner 787

What is the Royal Brunei Business Class CABIN Layout like?

With only 18 seats, arranged in pairs, this layout suits those who are travelling in couples or those with friends and family rather than the solo business traveller.

While there is a screen you can use to gather a little privacy, it's something of an afterthought: this design is for interacting with the people around you.

Royal Brunei Business Class-

No shutters on the Dreamliner...

What is it like to fly in the 787 Dreamliner?

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner promises a quieter flight - and it certainly felt that way.

 The windows are larger but tinted and seal off light gradually rather than using the pull down shutters we've known and loved (or hated) for years.

This makes more of a difference to the feel of the cabin than you might expect: you can see the raindrops on the windows, for example, as a reminder that you are really flying through air rather than wrapped up snug in a strange vibrating box.

Royal Brunei Business Class review toiletries

What is the service like in Royal Brunei Business Class?

Staff were attentive, exceptionally polite, quiet and friendly. They had a few issues to contend with that I think result from it being first flight nerves and routines (they ran out of fast track cards, for example, and forgot my meal - but did their best to address these issues in a kind manner. Unfortunately, as a result I didn't get to try the main menu but did get a rehydrated noodle-based dish instead.) As in the Kingdom of Brunei itself, there is no alcohol served.

Empire Hotel Brunei

Vast pools at the Empire Hotel, Brunei

What is a stopover like in Brunei?

For passengers planning to travel direct from Melbourne to London, there are stops in Bandar Seri Begawan and then again in Dubai. A business class seat allows you to bypass a lot of the hassle with the switch since there is no queuing as you leave and reboard the aircraft and pass through security and you have lounge access in Dubai (where you can also have a glass or two of wine in addition to the food buffets available.)

You can also leave your belongings on the plane if you wish. 

The Lounge in Brunei

The lounge in Brunei has wifi, food and drink but a more limited range of both and - again - no alcohol.

Flying with Royal Brunei to Dubai for Ras Al Khaimah

Flying with Royal Brunei to Dubai to get to Ras Al Khaimah

Are two stopovers worth it on the London to Australia route?

So, are the two stops better or worse than one when you fly? I think it depends on your personality and how you feel about time in the airport.

If flying tends to make you feel claustrophobic, you may be glad of the chance to get off the plane and stretch your legs in the airport. The route from the United Kingdom to Australia takes around 24 hours or so. If you just want to get it over with as quickly as possible, this route may not be the one for you.

What's the difference between economy class and first class with Royal Brunei?

Economy class with Royal Brunei is a safe, dependable experience. As with the business class product, no alcohol is served. The meal service is more basic but still reputable and the luggage allowances are less.


What I loved

  • Quiet, comfy sleep. 
  • Polite service and friendly cabin crew.
  • Plenty of space.
  • Business class passengers have priority during stopovers and can leave belongings on the plane.

What to know

  • Two stopovers on the Melbourne to London route (although Brunei is a fascinating place to visit in its own right.)
  • Less privacy than other business class cabins - but better for couples/families/friends
  • Royal Brunei Airlines do not serve alcohol.

The specs

Find details about the Royal Brunei BetterFly business class service here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

top picks

December 19, 2021

Looking for the best travel gifts for couples? You've come to the Read more here...

The Best Travel Gifts for Couples

December 14, 2021

Looking for the best luxury travel gifts for him? Don't worry, there's Read more here...

The Best Luxury Travel Gifts for Him

July 13, 2021

This Cathay Pacific Business Class review gathers together my experiences on several Read more here...

Cathay Pacific Business Class Review: What You Need to Know

Looking for something else?