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One week in Jordan (10/2019) & Royal Jordanian Business Class

One week in Jordan (10/2019) & Royal Jordanian Business Class

Old Mar 23, 20, 4:13 am
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One week in Jordan (10/2019) & Royal Jordanian Business Class

Hi everybody

Given the current situation, I have plenty of time at hand and have decided to write this trip report about our trip to Jordan in October 2019.

Back in 2019, there was a great fare on Royal Jordanian in Business Class from Madrid to Tel Aviv which we booked via Priceline for 738USD per person. We really have been wanting to visit Jordan for a while and therefore booked the fare with a stopover in Amman after the Tel Aviv “shuffle”. The routing was as follows:

04.10.2019 GVA-MAD 1215-1415 IB A20N J (EC-NFZ)
04.10.2019 MAD-LHR 1815-1940 BA B772 J (G-VIIS)
05.10.2019 LHR-AMM 1705-0010+1 RJ B788 J (JY-BAC)
06.10.2019 AMM-TLV 1725-1810 RJ E90 J (JY-EMB)
07.10.2019 TLV-AMM 0830-0915 RJ A321 J (JY-AYV)
13.10.2019 AMM-LHR 1200-1525 RJ B788 J (JY-BAB)
13.10.2019 LHR-MAD 1845-2205 IB A346 J (EC-JCZ)
14.10.2019 MAD-GVA 0945-1135 IB A20N J (EC-NFZ)


We booked the positioning flights to Madrid using Avios. Note that we were on exactly the same aircraft on both the outbound and inbound leg 10 days later. Given that both British Airways and Iberia operate widebody aircraft between Madrid and London, we opted to try both BA’s 777 and Iberia’s A340-600 out for the ~2h flights.

We had booked the following accommodation:

04.10.2019: Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Terminal 2/3 for £133
05.10.2019: Landmark Amman for JOD145 (~191€)
06.10.2019: Joseph Hotel TLV for ILS433 (~110€)
07.10.2019: Hilton Dead Sea resort for JOD543 (~716€)
11.10.2019: Petra Bubble Luxotel for JOD229 (~300€)
12.10.2019: Fairmont Amman for JOD204 (~270€)
13.10.2019: Hilton Madrid Airport for 148€

A full review of the Hilton Dead Sea Resort can be found here:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31611926-post33.html

This report will have 5 instalments:

Instalment 1: Getting there
Instalment 2: Amman and Tel Aviv “shuffle”
Instalment 3: Relaxing by the Dead Sea
Instalment 4: Petra and back to Amman
Instalment 5: Flying back

I hope you’ll enjoy this report and that you like the pictures.
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Last edited by florens; Mar 23, 20 at 4:59 am
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Old Mar 23, 20, 4:14 am
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Instalment 1

Day 1 (04.10.2019)

We took the train from home to the airport and arrived around two hours before departure. After we had dropped our bags, we went to the dnata lounge, because the British Airways Lounge was being refurbished at the time. The lounge was pretty busy and nothing to write home about. Soon, it was time to board Iberia’s A320neo aircraft. The flight to Madrid was quick and uneventful. We enjoyed white wine, however, the meal was inedible. It wasn’t that much of a disappointment though, because we didn’t expect much to be honest.

After arrival we went to the check-in area to recheck our bags and then went to Iberia’s lounge which was very crowded and food options were limited as well. It was then time to board BA’s 777 which would fly us to London’s Heathrow airport. We chose the two middle rear-facing seats in the last row which gave adequate privacy.

After arrival at LHR we made our way to the then newly opened Hilton Garden Inn T2/3 hotel and met a couple of friends for “a few” drinks. Well, needless to say we had a lot of drinks according to the folio…

Boarding



After departure from Geneva.



Iberia vegan meal



Approaching Madrid



After landing in Madrid



The 777 “ying yang” Club World cabin



BA’s vegan catering



Our 777 seen after landing at Heathrow



Champagne and snacks at the rooftop bar at HGI T2/3



Next morning folio



Day 2 (05.10.2019)

We woke up with a bit of a hangover, but thankfully our flight to Amman wasn’t until later in the afternoon. After a good breakfast at the hotel, we made our way to Terminal 3. Unfortunately, we had not been able to check our bags through in Madrid (apparently, “different systems” between BA/IB and RJ made it impossible to check them through), so we had to check them in, get boarding passes and then make our way to the lounges. For those of you who know T3, there are several lounge options. We opted to have lunch at the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge and then head to the fantastic Qantas lounge to have a Gin tasting. The time went by quickly and soon it was time to board Royal Jordanian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner bound for Amman.

We were greeted by friendly cabin crew who offered Arabic coffee as pre-departure beverage. We had selected the first row seats on the 787 which offer a larger footcubby. In general, the seats are comfortable and the 2-2-2 configuration didn’t bother us too much.

The flight was full and we were offered a full dinner service after departure. We opted for champagne (Taittinger is served) and then enjoyed our vegan meal. It seemed like there was no difference between the vegan and vegetarian meal because our salad had cheese on it. Thankfully, we are flexible enough and didn’t mind. What I particularly liked about RJ’s service was the dessert cart and the generous cognac pour.

Immigration in Amman was a breeze: Quick and efficient, no questions asked. We took a taxi to our hotel and went to sleep.

The cauliflower soup was delicious.



As were the gnocchi























Taittinger and warmed nuts after departure. The glasses were regularly topped up.



Stunning sunset that night.



Starter



Over the Alps



Main course



Dessert cart





Landmark hotel room

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Last edited by florens; Mar 23, 20 at 5:01 am
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Old Mar 23, 20, 4:14 am
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Instalment 2

Day 3 (06.10.2019)

After a good night’s sleep we thoroughly enjoyed the buffet breakfast at the hotel. We planned to explore Amman during a couple of hours before our hop over to Tel Aviv the same evening.

We took Uber to the Roman Theater and then walked around the city. Walking around new places is a good way to explore in my opinion, as you can stop wherever you like. It was fairly hot that day, therefore we needed a break at some point. We enjoyed a snack at the Wild Jordan Center and then made our way to the Amman Citadel which offers splendid views over the surrounding areas.

The time passed quickly and we had to go back to the hotel, collect our luggage and head to the airport. Uber worked very well in Amman and was reasonably priced. The 40 minutes trip to the airport cost about 23€.

Royal Jordanian has a dedicated check in area for Crown Class (their business class) and for oneworld status customers. The check in, baggage drop and security as well as immigration formalities were very quick and uncomplicated and well organised. I had to boot my laptop and they checked everything carefully for explosives. We headed to the lounge which was under renovation at the time and had some drinks and then headed to the gate about one hour before departure. The flight time was about 20 minutes and there was no service provided during the flight, except one bottle of water was waiting at the seat which I found perfectly adequate for such a short flight.

Immigration at Tel Aviv was swift and we then took a taxi to our hotel. It was located in Jaffa and was very basic. Since we only stayed overnight and had an early start the next morning, we didn’t want to pay the usual 200-300 EUR rate for a nicer hotel in Tel Aviv. We opted to go to Meshek Barzilay for dinner. It is a vegan restaurant friends had recommended.

Since we had an early start the next day we went to sleep quite early.

Day 4 (07.10.2019)

We got up early and made our way to the airport. We heard different stories about the departure “experience” at TLV. As a result, we got there about 3 hours before departure, anticipating lengthy waiting times and in-depth questioning by immigration officers. Well, I must say we were pleasantly surprised. “Only” one hour was required from arrival at the airport until we made our way to the lounge and the longest waiting time was actually the queue to drop the bag (no priority queues). The immigration officials were a little bit confused about our itinerary and very short stay in Israel. We explained the concept of mileage running to them and off we went! It was really no big deal and fairly simple.

The DAN lounge was very basic, but all we needed really was coffee at this early hour. The flight back to Amman was quick and uneventful. We were looking forward to the next couple of days filled with relaxing, swimming and enjoying the Jordanian hospitality.

Amman impressions

































Our Embraer



After departure



At Meshek Barzilay







Boarding the A321 at TLV





After departure





Flying overhead TLV after departure



Spotting the Dead Sea

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Last edited by florens; Mar 23, 20 at 9:03 am
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Old Mar 23, 20, 4:15 am
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Instalment 3:

Days 4 - 7 (07-10.10.2019)

Immigration was a little bit less swift than 2 days ago. The immigration officers were puzzled why we already had stamps from Jordan in our passports from one day prior (we entered the country past midnight and left the same day…), so we explained everything to them. This time we used our Jordan Pass for the visa waiver as we would stay in Jordan for a couple of days.

We bought a bottle of wine at the duty free and were then greeted by our driver. We had pre-booked a car from the hotel that would pick us up at Amman Queen Alia Airport after arrival from Tel Aviv.

The drive to the Hilton Dead Sea Resort took about one hour. When we arrived we had to scan our baggage before entering the resort (a normal procedure at hotels in Jordan) and were told that we should not consume the bottle of wine outside of our hotel room. Fair enough.

We checked in at the dedicated Diamond check in area and were then shown to our suite.

As mentioned upthread, a full review of the hotel can be found here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31611926-post33.html

It was finally time to relax for a couple of days and we really enjoyed our stay here!

On our way from Amman to the Dead Sea



Lobby



Suite







Beach



Resort



One of the pools



Pool with swim up bar



Another pool



Overview



Epic sunset



Lebanese dinner



Breakfast spread











More sunsets




Last edited by florens; Mar 24, 20 at 1:44 am
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Old Mar 23, 20, 4:15 am
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Instalment 4:

Day 8 (11.10.2019)

The time had come to check out and make our way to Petra. We had pre-booked a one-way cab transfer (https://www.jordancab.com/). The drive to Petra took about 2.5 hours. We checked in to the Petra Bubble Luxotel and then went to explore Petra on foot. It was very hot and there were a lot of tourists. A lot. We kind of expect this, but after a couple of days tranquility in the resort this was just a bit too much for us. After exploring Petra for a couple of hours we returned to the hotel and relaxed on our patio, watching the gorgeous sunset. The dinner was buffet style and the chef was happy to cook some vegetarian dishes for us which we appreciated very much.

The bubbles allowed us to see the stars and we even saw shooting stars.

Day 9 (12.10.2019)

The next morning we decided to head back to Amman after breakfast. Our tickets for Petra would have been valid for a second day, but we felt just too lazy to go explore more and instead preferred to return to Amman right away.

The hotel had organized a taxi driver which drove us to Amman for about 80 JOD / 100€. He was quite talkative and we learned a few things about Jordan.

We arrived at the Fairmont around noon. Our room wasn’t quite ready yet and we were invited to wait in the lobby area. We used the time to eat a light lunch and were eventually able to check in. We were absolutely impressed by the hotel – their attention to detail was incredibly amazing and we really had a great stay. We checked out the pool in the afternoon and had some drinks there.

We opted to head back to the city for dinner. As we were a bit early we walked around a bit and then went to Sufra Restaurant for dinner. We ate outside in a very idyllic garden and enjoyed our last night. Back at the hotel we decided to have a couple more drinks. We reminisced about that past week in Jordan. The hospitality has been great and we really enjoyed this trip. Of course we could have been more active and explore more places (there is actually quite a lot to see), but on the other hand we also were in need of some relaxation. To conclude, I think we found the perfect balance between the two.

Day 10 (13.10.2019)

The breakfast spread was absolutely gigantic and everything was fresh as well as delicious.

At around 9am, it was time to say goodbye to Amman. We ordered Uber to get to the airport for our journey home.

Somewhere between the Dead Sea and Petra



Petra Bubble Luxotel



Petra



















Amazing sunset in Petra







Fairmont Amman Room











Pool area



Downtown Amman



Idyllic Sufra Restaurant garden







Fairmont Amman breakfast spread

















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Last edited by florens; Mar 24, 20 at 6:14 am
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Old Mar 23, 20, 4:16 am
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Instalment 5:

Day 10 (13.10.2019)

Check-in was as efficient as a week ago, except there was a seating issue. IB had a last minute aircraft change to LHR which meant a differently configured A340-600 would fly the route today. This meant that our seats got changed and not to our liking. The RJ agent said it was impossible for him to change the seats in his system. I had to do it myself then, via the IB app, and eventually he was able to print our boarding passes.

We didn’t bother to go to the lounge this time and just waited in the terminal until it was time to board.

Today’s flight took about 4 hours and the service was very good again. We opted, again, for Arabic coffee before departure and then enjoyed champagne and nuts after departure while waiting for our meals. The IFE is quite basic, but we managed to find a movie to watch. The flight went by really quickly.

After landing at LHR I was surprised to see that IB had once again changed their A346 configuration and thus our new seats were not the ones we had originally wanted. As the aircraft was full, there was no way to change them anymore, unfortunately.

We made our way to the C gates, where our flight would depart from and were able to see a beautiful sunset.

The boarding was chaotic, as most passengers got new boarding passes (because of – you guessed it – seat changes). We had come to the conclusion that we want to avoid IB at all cost in the future, as our experiences really hadn’t been that great.

I ordered a G&T and was then served the same unappealing, dry and unseasoned meal again which I left untouched. After landing we had to wait one hour for our bags to be delivered and then went to the Hilton Madrid Airport for the night. By now we were quite tired, and annoyed about the Iberia / Madrid Airport experience.

Day 11 (14.10.2019)

Well, not much to say about the last day. Had breakfast, went to the airport, checked in, went to the lounge to drink water, boarded our flight (which was delayed), took off bound for Geneva, were served another unappealing and inedible meal onboard Iberia, landed and eventually arrived home after a great trip!

Our 787



After departure from AMM with views over Amman





Champagne and nuts



Starter



Over Greece, I think



Approaching LHR





Sunset at LHR





Iberia A340-600 business class



Business class vegan meal



Onboard Iberia A320neo from Madrid to Geneva



After departure from Madrid



Iberia business class vegan breakfast meal



Approaching Geneva

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Last edited by florens; Mar 24, 20 at 6:29 am
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Old Mar 23, 20, 11:59 am
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My Dear - what a lovely interesting report! It was factual but fun. You were clearly enjoying yourselves and I really got into the spirit of your trip. Whilst I think that some of these mileage runs verge on lunacy, I can see the appeal! So many of these are far too long and full of some of the most dreafully opinionated clever-cleverness. The only part where I felt a bit sorry for you both was that the meals for vegans seem so unimaginative - I hope that they tasted better than they looked in some cases.

In these days where we are confined with our invisible Asbos - it is like a breath of fresh air to read and I thank you for taking such pains to share your best rather than your every experience. My threshold of boredom decreases daily, and whilst I did go and make a cup of tea first - I came back. Thanks again.

PGxx
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Old Mar 23, 20, 2:46 pm
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thanks for the beautiful pics, awaiting the next installments.
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Old Mar 23, 20, 3:41 pm
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I thought it was a great idea to opt for vegetarian options on IB flights. The dishes in the photos looked sufficiently appetizing to me, and the Spanish love of pork is rather annoying.
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Old Mar 23, 20, 8:39 pm
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Great photos. Looks like a fun trip - and I would love to visit Jordan sometime. RJ looks like a nice airline as well too; I remember seeing RJ's A340-300 at JFK back a few years ago when I was traveling more through there.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old Mar 24, 20, 4:28 am
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Was able to stay at one of the resorts on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea back in 2007. It was a wonderful place and can't wait to get back. Really enjoyed the pictures!
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Old Mar 29, 20, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by PUCCI GALORE View Post
My Dear - what a lovely interesting report! It was factual but fun. You were clearly enjoying yourselves and I really got into the spirit of your trip. Whilst I think that some of these mileage runs verge on lunacy, I can see the appeal! So many of these are far too long and full of some of the most dreafully opinionated clever-cleverness. The only part where I felt a bit sorry for you both was that the meals for vegans seem so unimaginative - I hope that they tasted better than they looked in some cases.

In these days where we are confined with our invisible Asbos - it is like a breath of fresh air to read and I thank you for taking such pains to share your best rather than your every experience. My threshold of boredom decreases daily, and whilst I did go and make a cup of tea first - I came back. Thanks again.

PGxx
I hope you came back and enjoyed the rest of my TR!

Originally Posted by zip10001 View Post
thanks for the beautiful pics, awaiting the next installments.
Thanks, I hope you liked the rest too.

Originally Posted by MaxVO View Post
I thought it was a great idea to opt for vegetarian options on IB flights. The dishes in the photos looked sufficiently appetizing to me, and the Spanish love of pork is rather annoying.
Each to their own, I guess, but our meals were unseasoned and dry, and always the same.

Originally Posted by 757 View Post
Great photos. Looks like a fun trip - and I would love to visit Jordan sometime. RJ looks like a nice airline as well too; I remember seeing RJ's A340-300 at JFK back a few years ago when I was traveling more through there.

Thanks for sharing!
It was a great trip indeed and I can really recommend visiting Jordan. I think it is a great destination for a lot of people. There is a lot to explore but one can also take it easy.

Originally Posted by KevinMD View Post
Was able to stay at one of the resorts on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea back in 2007. It was a wonderful place and can't wait to get back. Really enjoyed the pictures!
Cheers!
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Old Mar 30, 20, 3:16 am
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Thank you for the TR. Unfortunately a lot of the pix are not showing up.....
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Old Mar 30, 20, 3:23 am
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Originally Posted by 1P View Post
Thank you for the TR. Unfortunately a lot of the pix are not showing up.....
That's odd. I can see them all.
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Old Apr 11, 20, 6:15 am
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thanks
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