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Royal Brunei Airlines Review  – London to Brunei

Royal Brunei Airlines Review. My experience flying business class from London Heathrow to Brunei and the return journey in economy class on the B787 Dreamliner. Read on to see how my Royal Brunei Airlines flights in business and economy compared.

Royal Brunei Airlines Dreamliner flight review

Royal Brunei Airlines Business Class Seats

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Royal Brunei Airlines Review 

I’ve just got back from beautiful Borneo, the world’s third largest island, where I visited Sabah, the Malaysian part of the island. Three countries make up Borneo, the other two being Indonesia and the Sovereign state of Brunei. We flew with Royal Brunei Airlines from London Heathrow to Brunei’s Banda Sen Begawan airport before taking a connecting flight to Sandakan in Sabah where our Borneo adventure began.

Is Royal Brunei a good airline?

This was my first experience of Royal Brunei Airlines, Brunei’s national carrier. On the outbound leg we flew Royal Brunei business class and on the return flight we were in the economy cabin. There’s no first class category. I’ll give you the low-down on both experiences but overall I’d say yes, Royal Brunei is a very good airline to fly with and I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat the experience. Read my Royal Brunei Airlines review to find out more…

Royal Brunei Check-in 

Royal Brunei flights depart from London Heathrow terminal 4 and I arrived there at 17:00 hrs with a good 3 hours to spare before the flight. I met with the rest of our group (five of us) and we made our way to the check-in desks at zone C. It wasn’t busy so there was no queueing.

The check-in staff were friendly and helpful. I liked that Air Brunei has a dress code for business class. No jeans or trainers are allowed. Not that I’d wear jeans on a long-haul flight anyway but it reminded me of how people used to dress up for flights back in the day.

Royal Brunei Airlines review – business class London to Brunei

Royal Brunei Airlines Dreamliner flight review

Happy bunny in my Business Class Seat

I’ve flown business class with a few different airlines. To Dubai on the 380 Airbus, to Costa Rica, Mauritius, USA, Namibia and many other destinations. There have been a few flights on private jets too. Let’s see how my flight with Royal Brunei Airlines on the B787 Dreamliner compares.

At 13 hours long, it was one of the longest flights I’ve taken and, with a full-on programme in Borneo awaiting, I wanted to arrive rested, refreshed and ready for adventure.

We didn’t have access to fast track or the lounge at LHR T4 as we’d been upgraded at the last minute. Once through security, which was straightforward, we found a place for a drink and kept an eye on the information boards until it was time to head to the gate.

The RB B787 Dreamliner business class cabin

I was shown to my seat which was in the centre row at the front of the business class cabin. The cabin is nicely spacious with 18 seats and nice wide aisles. Three rows of seats run across the cabin split into pair with a pair by each window and a pair in the middle. The colour scheme was neutral with darker seats and flooring.

Royal Brunei Airlines business cabin

Photo credit: Royal Brunei Airlines

My cabin bag was placed in the overhead locker. I also had a small handbag with all my essentials which I usually like to keep with me. I was a little disappointed that this also had to go in the overhead locker for take-off as there was no drawer or place for it to be securely stored without falling out. However, there were plenty of nooks and cubby holes for my loose bits and pieces. My jacket was taken and hung up for me.

The crew were brilliant from the get go. All smiles, graciousness and very attentive but not overly so. We were brought hot towels and then a fresh juice. Each time the flight attendant spoke to me by name which was a nice personal touch. I was handed a menu to choose my meal from.

Royal Brunei In-flight amenities

Royal Brunei Airlines Dreamliner flight review

Royal Brunei Airlines Business Class Amenity Kit

The amenity kit came in a small brown fabric toiletry bag which I shall keep and re-use. Inside were an eye-mask and socks also in RB brown with a small plastic toothbrush and mini Colgate toothpaste. Luxury HARNN toiletry minis were also enclosed – a lip balm, essential on a long-haul flight, and body soufflé which smelt great.

In-flight dining with Royal Brunei – business class

The food was excellent with a choice of dishes. I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I’d been served the similar in a restaurant. The tray, which lifted out from the armrest was a good size so I had plenty of space for everything and didn’t feel cluttered. Each course arrived separately and not all squashed together on one tray.

Royal Brunei Business Class dining

In-flight dining with Royal Brunei Airlines

For my starter I chose smoked salmon rillettes with apple dressing. Main course was braised kalio beef with turmeric infused vegetables and mustard seeds with basmati rice. I had cheese and biscuits to finish and skipped the dessert of sticky toffee pudding. I loved that the meal was served on china crockery with, proper cutlery, cute little salt and pepper pots and glassware. The cloth napkin even had a button hole – Mr Jones would have approved!

In-flight dining with Royal Brunei Airlines

Breakfast was good and consisted of fresh fruit appetiser, a selection of rolls and pastries with condiments and nice coffee. I chose brie and tomato omelette with hollandaise sauce, herbed potato rosti, chicken medallion and cherry tomato. I was very happy with my choice.

In-flight dining with Royal Brunei Airlines

Do they serve acohol on Royal Brunei Airlines?

Royal Brunei Airlines operate alcohol-free flights to all destinations. This wasn’t a problem for me, although I’m sure some guests would find this disappointing.

Royal Brunei Airlines business class seat

Royal Brunei Airlines Business Class

Royal Brunei business class seats

My ‘contour’ seat was very spacious and fully reclined to a 180 degree lay-flat bed. It was incredibly comfortable both in upright and lay-flat positions, maybe due to the fact that these seats have an 11% larger surface than in-flight beds on most airlines. I had so much room that my feet didn’t even reach the foot-rest. Admittedly, I am only 5’2” but there is plenty of leg-room for even the tallest of flyers. There was even a nifty button that set off a massage feature built into the seat.

Royal Brunei Airlines business class seat

Royal Brunei Airlines Business Class Seats

When I was ready to turn in for the night Nazri, my steward, prepped my seat by putting it in the lay-flat position. He made up the bed with padded cover on the full length of the seat, added a good-sized pillow and a crisp duvet which kept me snug. The bedding was very nice and I had a pleasant and uninterrupted six hours sleep.

Royal Brunei Airlines Business Class Lay-flat bed

Royal Brunei in-flight entertainment

The Panasonic eX2 in-flight entertainment system was really good. The LCD monitor was a touch-screen although I used the remote control because the screen was out of reach at the end of the huge cubicle. This didn’t actually matter because it was a decent 15.4” so I could see everything perfectly.

Royal Brunei Airlines business class seat

Royal Brunei Airlines Business Class Seat

There was a range of ‘new’, ‘classic’ and ‘Hollywood favourites’ to choose from. I watched ‘Lion’ – if you haven’t seen it, watch it if you get the chance.  I also watched the cheesy ‘Last Christmas’ – yeah, in March. Don’t judge…. I was happy with my choice!

There was also a range of TV shows, music and games. Voyager gives details of the flight and time and distance which I always like to know.

We were given noise-cancelling headphones which I used to watch a couple of films. The sound quality was very good. I used my in-ear Bose, for sleeping which are more comfortable. There was also a USB charging point which I used to charge my mobile. A good range of magazines were available as well as the RB in-flight magazine.

Royal Brunei Airlines review. Business class flight review on the 787 Dreamliner from London Heathrow to Brunei returning in economy from Brunei to London.

Royal Brunei Airlines Business Class

Departure: 20:10 hrs | Arrival: 17.03 hrs  (local time) We arrived on time.

BI004 Flight Duration:  13 hours (approx)

Distance travelled: 7385 miles (11293 km)

After a short wait at Banda Sen Begawan, Brunei we took a short 45-minute connecting flight to Sandakan. The ATR 72-600 was perfectly comfortable and pretty much empty.

Royal Brunei Airlines ATR 72-600

Royal Brunei Airlines ATR 72-600

The luggage had been checked right through which made flight connections easy. The short-haul flight went quickly and we were offered a sandwich and carton of juice. Our luggage came out quickly and our Borneo adventure began.

The Sky Lounge at Brunei airport

We had around four hours at Brunei airport on the return journey so we made use of the Sky Lounge. The recently refurbed Sky Lounge is spacious with a range of different areas in which to relax, work or eat.

As well as comfortable seating areas there were day beds, work stations with plenty of plug sockets and chargers. Free WIFI was easily accessible. There was also a small cinema, games arcade and a children’s play area.

Royal Brunei Airlines Sky Lounge, Brunei

A hot and cold buffet was available in the restaurant with hot and cold drinks (no alcohol). The food was tasty and fresh and was topped up during our visit. A dining area was adjacent to the food stations.

Two shower cubicles were available in the women’s toilets although there was no changing area.

Access to the lounge is available for a maximum of three hours. The lounge is free to business class and Royal Skies gold members. Otherwise it’s BND45 prepaid and BND55 for walk-in.

Royal Brunei Airlines review – economy class Brunei to London

I don’t mind admitting that I was dreading the return flight after experiencing the luxury of the outbound flight. I needn’t have worried. The return flight in RB economy was actually very comfortable.

The seats were spacious and I had a couple of inches space between me and the sides of the seat. The seats have a semi-articulating recline of around six inches meaning the seat also moved forward when reclining. Headrests are adjustable with the sides turning in for extra head support. I had plenty of legroom.

Royal Brunei Airlines economy class seat

Royal Brunei Airlines Economy Seat

I’d requested a window seat and was able to use my Trtl flight pillow combined with the RB pillow to rest my head against the wall of the aircraft.

I got six hours of unbroken sleep which I was really happy about. If you’ve never used a Trtl flight pillow I can highly recommend them – I never travel without mine on a flight of four hours or more.

It was fairly cool on the return flight. The seat next to me was empty so I used the two blankets and my poncho to help keep warm. I’d have been cold otherwise.

Royal Brunei economy flight – the food

I had two meals on the return flight. Dinner was served not long after take-off and breakfast about an hour before landing. Both meals were acceptable but obviously not as good as on the outbound journey. I’ve had far worse airline meals.

Royal Brunei economy class breakfast

Royal Brunei Airlines Economy dining

In-flight entertainment

In-flight entertainment was the same as on the outbound journey. This time I made use of the seat-back touch-screen which was much smaller this time round but much nearer. There was a personal welcome message wishing me happy birthday on the screen – nice touch.

Royal Brunei Airlines economy class screen

Royal Brunei Airlines Economy Screen

I used my Bose in-ear headphones with the jack located in the seat armrest and watched ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ on the return journey. There’s a USB charging point under the screen.

The stewards on this sector were absolutely brilliant. I was at the back of the plane and each time I dropped by the galley we’d have a bit of banter. They were quite the double act, constantly laughing and obviously very happy in their work. They were hugely entertaining, very personable and helpful.

Royal Brunei Airlines economy cabin

Royal Brunei Airlines Economy Cabin

Final thoughts on Royal Brunei

Business class was excellent and incredibly comfortable. The food was fantastic and I wouldn’t hesitate to fly business on RB again. As far as economy goes I was pleasantly surprised at the high level of comfort combined with affordability and would be happy to fly RB economy again.

It helped that the aircraft was a Dreamliner. Unique features like a calmer, quieter cabin experience, high-tech air purification system for cleaner cabin air and smoother ride technology make for an incredibly comfortable flight. I felt rested and less dehydrated than on many long haul flights which made a huge difference on the economy leg.

Service throughout was fantastic and nothing was too much trouble. I felt very looked after.

I hope you’ve found my Royal Brunei Airlines review helpful. Have you flown with Royal Brunei Airlines? Would you like to?

I flew with Royal Brunei Airlines from London Heathrow to Sandakan, returning Kota Kinabalu to London. Economy fares start from £632 per person including 25kgs of checked luggage, inflight meals and entertainment. Business Class fares are from £2,982 per person (valid London to Brunei and on selected flights between Kota Kinabalu and Brunei). Business class includes 40kgs of checked luggage, inflight entertainment and three-course meals, lounge access at departure airports and during transit in Brunei, flat-beds and upgraded amenities during flight.

This press trip was arranged in partnership with Sabah Tourism with support from Borneo Eco Tours.  All thoughts and opinions above are entirely my own.

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Wednesday 5th of October 2022


Suzanne Jones

Sunday 9th of October 2022

Hi, You might want to check directly with the airline on this.

Lara Dunning

Friday 3rd of April 2020

I've never flown Royal Brunei Airlines and I appreciate that you've laid out both options and what they feature. I've only flown first class a couple of times and never on a really long flight. Having the extra space and the amenities would really make it a pleasure. The food looks amazing and I love that they offer noise-canceling headphones. The economy class is more in my budget and its good to know that it wasn't as bad as you were expecting. Nice that they wished you a happy birthday on your screen!

Suzanne Jones

Friday 3rd of April 2020

I don't often fly business since we closed our business so it was a nice reminder! I'd be more than happy to fly economy again, especially if I was paying, but I'd take some treats to eat on board. They did have some which you could get in the galley but not to my taste. It was lovely that they wished me happy birthday!

Carol Colborn

Friday 3rd of April 2020

We've never flown Royal Brunei Airlines. I have been to Brunei and I described the country as one of understated luxury. That's what came to mind when you were describing the business "first" class. And it's nice that their economy seats are not that cramped together. But my husband would not go because of the lack of alcohol!

Suzanne Jones

Monday 13th of April 2020

It's a great airline and I wouldn't hesitate to fly with them again. My husband said the same thing but it wasn't a problem for me!


Thursday 2nd of April 2020

I would definitely fly Business over the economy (of course, if I could afford it on every flight). The food in Business looked delicious and I especially like that they served rice dishes. I prefer rice over bread for my meals. Interesting that the lounge did not provide alcohol, but their selection of food looked amazing. I've never flown with Royal Brunei Airlines, but I would definitely consider it if it was an option on my route.

Suzanne Jones

Thursday 2nd of April 2020

Wouldn't we all! I was impressed with economy too although tbh the food wasn't as good as in business.

Mei and Travel

Wednesday 1st of April 2020

We’ve never flown Royal Brunei Airline, nor have we been in a Business or First class. It looks comfy, the food seems good too, and it’s awesome that you could sleep 6 hours on your flight. We usually watch the maximum of movies available when flying and don’t have time to sleep! £2,982 for business class seems like a lot though, it’s almost the price of a whole one-week trip per person when we travel.

Suzanne Jones

Wednesday 1st of April 2020

The economy journey was almost as comfortable although the food wasn't so good. Obviously rates vary depending on when you fly and it might seem expensive if you're used to budget travel. Also you don't lose part of your trip due to being totally wiped out on arrival. I'd happily travel with Royal Air Brunei in ecomony and I hope you fly with them to Borneo some time too - it's a fabulous destination.

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