Flying Jordan’s Only Domestic Flight: 40 Minutes in Royal Jordanian’s E195
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While planning my trip to Jordan, I had originally decided to hire a car on arrival at Amman and do the fourish-hour drive to Aqaba on the southern coast to act as a base for me to visit Petra and Wadi Rum. After a bit of research, I realised that Jordan’s one and only domestic flight was from Amman to Aqaba.
New plan: taking Royal Jordanian’s Embraer 190 instead was a no-brainer. It would save time, I would get to fly and review a new airline, and most of all, flying is always better than driving, right?
As Royal Jordanian is a Oneworld airline, you can book a ticket with either Avios or cash. A one-way cash ticket costs on average around £83 and a one-way Avios ticket costs 4,500 Avios plus £20.40. This is actually a good value redemption, but for the length of the flight and the relatively low price of the ticket, I decided I would pay in cash for this one.
I have checked into many flights all over the world in my time, but this will always stand out. I was told on arrival in Jordan that I would need to be at the airport around 90 minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure at 6:05am, which meant a wake-up call of 4am!
With tape to hold my eyelids open, I arrived at the airport and had to put my luggage through a security scanner before I was even allowed in the check-in area. This isn’t usual protocol within Europe, but I have experienced it before in other parts of the world. The security guards removed every single electrical item from my bags and scrutinized them, asking, “What is this for?” and “Why have you brought this?” This went on for around 10 minutes until who I imagined to be the chief of security gave them the nod that I wasn’t doing anything dodgy.
I was told check-in would open at 4:50am, but I was still sitting landside with by bags at 5:15am — quite strange, considering the flight was due to depart in 50 minutes. A few minutes later check-in opened and I had my boarding pass in my hand a minute or two later — there really weren’t a lot of people waiting for this flight.
Next was another security check, about 10 meters away from the first one and with the exact same squad of guards who went through my bags a little earlier. This time it was a lot quicker, and I made it down to the departure gate before taking the bus to the aircraft. The whole process was pretty quick and easy, aside from the intense double security check and being made to feel slightly like a criminal.
We were up in the air bang on time and were treated to a stunning sunrise over Jordan.
Cabin and Seat
We boarded the Embraer 195 up some stairs through the front left door and walked through the small Crown Class cabin with 12 seats in a 2-1 configuration.
The seats even in the 2-2 configured main cabin looked so padded and comfortable — perfect to nap in for the 30-to-40-minute flight ahead.
The seats in the business cabin were slightly wider and were in a 2-1 configuration.
On closer inspection, I saw the 11-year-old cabin was starting to show its age. Several of the seats were worn around the edges. The back of my tray table also had what looked like a coffee stain dripping down the length of it. As this was the first flight that day, I would guess that the aircraft cabin hadn’t been properly cleaned.
The tray table was large enough to fit even my 15-inch laptop.
The 33 inches of pitch was plenty for me on this short flight, and I didn’t feel cramped or squashed into my seat whatsoever. Storage was very limited and consisted of a single, though large, seat pocket that was home to the safety card and Royal Jordanian’s magazine.
Amenities and IFE
There wasn’t any inflight entertainment on board of any sort, but that wasn’t really needed for such an early, short flight — especially when most people were taking the opportunity to catch up on sleep or making the most of the beautiful sunrise once we were above the clouds and cruising at 20,000 feet.
There was one lavatory per cabin on this Embraer E195 and the one I used in the main economy cabin was clean and tidy.
Food and Beverage
Meals for Purchase
I wasn’t expecting there to be any kind of onboard service for such a short flight, so when a member of the cabin crew came around with a tray of orange juice before we had even taken off, it was a pleasant surprise.
Shortly after takeoff, the same cabin crew member walked through the cabin offering cups of water.
I asked if there were any kind of snacks available and was politely informed that there would not be on this flight.
From boarding the plane, the service in flight and then deplaning less than an hour later in Aqaba, the flight attendants were very friendly and the service, what little of it there was, was faultless.
I used the call button to ask for another cup of water, and the same flight attendant who had served me previously was at my seat within what felt like seconds, and was more than happy to oblige to my request.
There was nothing negative to note about the service during this flight, but as there was no food or proper drink service, it wouldn’t be right to give full marks here.
This flight did exactly what it was supposed to do — get me between Amman and Aqaba in less than an hour, avoiding the four-hour drive that I would have needed to do otherwise. The flight was really short, so there wasn’t much to it in terms of service or amenities, but I had a positive experience overall, despite the oddities with check-in. I would certainly fly this route again if and when I return to Jordan in the future!
Featured photo by shutterstock.
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