Jordan launched its own flag carrier in 1963 under the name Alia, after King Hussein’s daughter. The Amman based carrier began modestly providing services to neighbouring Middle East destinations before launching their first European service to Rome in 1965. Despite the loss of one aircraft in an Israeli attack in 1967 the airline continued to expand and by 1970 by the leading Arab carrier. Two decades of rapid growth saw the airline expand across Europe, Asia, North America and Africa and also branch out into retail and catering. As Jordan grew as a popular tourist destination so too, did the airline. In 1986 the airlines name changed to Royal Jordanian and they became the first Arab airline to fly to their former enemy Israel. The prestige and income of the airline began to wane as luxurious new airlines in the Gulf began to make their mark in the 1990’s and Royal Jordanian retreated from many unprofitable routes. In 2006 the airline joined OneWorld which coincided with a sophisticated new livery and logo. In recent years the airline has cautiously added new routes to exotic locations like Baku, Kiev and Kuala Lumpur. In 2012 Royal Jordanian has taken over several Egypt Air 747’s as tourism declines due to their political upheaval.
Royal Jordanian prides itself on providing warm and friendly Arab hospitality on all flights the instant passengers step on-board. The airline takes immense pride in pleasing passengers and the smiles from the airline’s attractively attired flight attendants seems friendly and sincere. Crew are never rude, generous to children and infants and enjoy chatting to passengers in the galley. The good natured staff that Royal Jordanian employ make it a tremendous pleasure to meet them. Crew are tremendously respectful and approachable at the same time. All flight attendants speak several languages. While other airlines pretend to provide excellent on board service, for Royal Jordanian it just comes naturally.
Royal Jordian’s network is designed to attract international passengers as much as it is to bring holiday makers to Petra, therefore the airlines network has grown to include destinations few Jordanian passengers would travel on. The airline has an extensive network in the Middle East, Europe and provides many links in Asia, North America and Africa. The airline previously covered Asia comprehensively but withdrew as routes became unprofitable. The airline also has a regional subsidiary which operates one domestic flight to the Red Sea holiday resort of Aqaba. In recent years Royal Jordian’s network has been overshadowed by Emirates, Etihad and more recently Qatar Airways.
In the 1970’s Western passengers were suspicious of ‘Middle Eastern airlines’ so Royal Jordanian lured them on-board by offering attractive fares. Most frequent flyers are now fully aware that airlines from this region are now the world’s best and are infinitely superior to European and American rivals. In additional to superior service they also provide the best value for money and Royal Jordanian is no exception. To compete they offer great deals to attract numbers.
Royal Jordanian provide excellent catering in all classes on all flights. On short hops they provide complimentary drinks and delicious snacks while on long haul flights, meal trays are packed with servicing and very delicious. Royal Jordanian is the only airline to offer Economy passengers three meal options. There is no sign of budget cutting on their meal service and European passengers used to a barren meal tray will be thrilled. Airline cuisine tends to be an International theme with very little on the tray resembling Jordanian food. Perhaps the quality of their salads and use of rice is the exception. Premium passengers are served meals on official looking crockery that appears to have been taken from the King’s kitchen.
Royal Jordanian have invested heavily in recent years modernising their in-flight entertainment systems, especially as a response to Emirates ICE units. Royal Jordanian provides multiple video, audio, information and game channels in a wide range of languages, from seat back entertainment units in Economy and adjustable screens in their premium class, Crown Class. In short, the hours will fly away as you entertain yourself by catching up on class and current movies. The airlines Royal Wings magazine is an interesting read with excellent photography.
Royal Jordanian provide its own ground and baggage services in Jordan, while they typically use third party contractors elsewhere. At Amman and other Middle Eastern airports the airline has automatic kiosks for quick check-in while elsewhere checking in is usually slow to moderate as staff negotiate with passengers attempting to carry excessive baggage. Baggage handling at Amman is efficient and pilfered luggage is considered unacceptable and is a thing of the past, but not so in many places they fly to. So lock your bags.
Royal Jordanian have axed First Class and they name their Business Class as Crown Class. Crown Class is tastefully appointed in a sophisticated sandy colour with dashes of red, which match the staff uniforms. Cabin interiors are very soothing, so together with the comfortable seats will help passengers drift off to sleep. Long haul flights have lie flat beds, while shorter flights have rooming reclining seating. The airline’s meal service is sumptuous and beautifully presented on luxurious linen and cutlery. Crew are discrete and attentive. The airlines Crown Lounges are chic with an modern Italian theme but can be a little crowded.
Economy passengers are in for a very good flight with Royal Jordanian, as long as there aren’t too many children on the plane which often occurs. Seats are comfortable, entertainment excellent, food fantastic and the interiors are modern. The airline is generous with bags and flying this airline is a pleasure. First time travellers will wonder why they never flew before.
One area of the airline that has not been very well developed is its Royal Plus frequent flyers loyal programme. As part of OneWorld a vast number of cards will earn points on Royal Jordanian so if you have a different one, that will do and there seems little reason to join Royal Plus, unless perhaps you live in Jordan. The scheme works like others, but has not been linked to many other industry providers.
Royal Jordanian is the joy of Jordan and the entire country feels very proud of their great airline, from the King down. The reputation of the airline is paramount and the airline employs many good natured people in high positions who would never get a job at other airlines because they are not cut-throat enough. Working for Royal Jordanian is highly prestigious in the country and the corporate culture within the airline fosters goodwill. Because Royal Jordanian fly to Israel, Israeli security have access the airlines entire computer network so many passengers may feel uncomfortable knowing that Mossad have checked their bookings, passport details and perhaps even credit card accounts, even if they are not flying to the Jewish State.
In the 1970’s Alia had quite a few incidents which helps explain why the airline changed its name as its reputation for safety was highly questioned. However since 2000 when the airline experienced a failed hijacking, Royal Jordanian has enjoyed a relatively spotless safety record. Aircraft are new, crew highly professional and maintenance is given a high priority. Royal Jordanian has a far superior safety record than most American airlines for example.
Jordan’s flag carrier provides excellent service, delicious meals at a price that beats most rivals.
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