Rwandair A330-300 busi­ness class


Business Traveller - - TRIED & TESTED | FLIGHT -

BACK­GROUND Rwandair flies to 21 des­ti­na­tions in Africa, the Mid­dle East, Europe and Asia from Ki­gali, the cap­i­tal of Rwanda. It launched three-times weekly flights from Lon­don Gatwick to Ki­gali in May 2017.

CHECK-IN I ar­rived at Gatwick North at 1950 for my 2150 de­par­ture. The flight was not shown on screen so I asked at an in­for­ma­tion desk and was di­rected to Zone C. About 20 peo­ple were check­ing in a va­ri­ety of gi­ant boxes and bags, which were block­ing the busi­ness class lane as well as the econ­omy one, so it took a while to be seen. Fast-track se­cu­rity was quick.

THE LOUNGE Rwandair uses the No 1 lounge – for a re­view visit busi­nesstrav­

BOARD­ING At about 2100 the flight showed as board­ing. When I got to Gate 102 there was still a fiveminute wait to board, with busi­ness class fly­ers given pri­or­ity. Drinks were slow to come be­fore take-off and only wa­ter or juice was of­fered.

THE SEAT Rwandair uses two new air­craft on the route, an A330-200 and the longer A330-300. This flight was op­er­ated by the lat­ter. There were 30 fully-flat seats in busi­ness class, stag­gered slightly in a 1-2-1 lay­out so the cen­tre pair was closer to­gether in one row and fur­ther away in the next. Win­dow seats are ei­ther next to the win­dow and pro­tected from the aisle, or on the aisle. I was in 4H, by the win­dow. As you’d ex­pect with such a spa­cious ar­range­ment, there’s plenty of room to work, re­lax and sleep. The seat has sev­eral pre-set po­si­tions, plus also a mas­sage func­tion, mood light­ing, good wifi (free for 45 min­utes and US$30 for the rest of the flight), a uni­ver­sal plug socket and two USB ports. The IFE sys­tem had 12 films and seven TV shows (more will be added, and the A330-200 on the re­turn jour­ney had a wider choice). Noise-can­celling headphones were pro­vided.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? I’d avoid the front row be­cause of gal­ley noise, and also the back row, where there are only two win­dow seats, which is ex­posed to the rear gal­ley. Gen­er­ally, I would pre­fer a win­dow seat with the side ta­ble giv­ing shel­ter from the aisle.

THE FLIGHT There were only five pas­sen­gers in busi­ness class. No bot­tle of wa­ter was left by the seat, so it was a long wait for a drink af­ter take-off, at about 2240. I asked for cham­pagne, which was Moet & Chan­don served from half-bot­tles. A re­fill was of­fered rea­son­ably swiftly.

Un­for­tu­nately, be­cause the flight is rel­a­tively new, there were a num­ber of ser­vice prob­lems. There were no menus, and the food listed on the IFE sys­tem was not what was served. All the wines had been opened, with corks in the top – I was told they had been loaded that way – and, char­i­ta­bly, they were past their best. Mostly South African, there was also a Louis Jadot Marsan­nay, which looked as if it had been around the world many times. I asked for a taste – it wasn’t a Louis Jadot Marsan­nay. Yet the bot­tle was full.

The crew could not iden­tify the food (this was not the case on the re­turn jour­ney). Main course dishes were chicken, beef or veg­e­tar­ian. I went for the lat­ter, which was prawns, al­though there was also some tofu in there.

I had no trou­ble sleep­ing, wak­ing when I heard break­fast be­ing pre­pared. Amenity bags con­tained the usual items, plus a ra­zor and shav­ing gel.

AR­RIVAL We ar­rived slightly early at 0700. Tom Ot­ley

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