Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)
Review: Air Canada Premium Rouge 767 Tampa To Toronto
Review: Sheraton Gateway Toronto Airport
Review: EgyptAir Business Class 777 Toronto To Cairo
Review: Cairo Airport Lounge Terminal 2
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class Embraer 175 Cairo To Amman
Review: Grand Hyatt Amman
Review: Royal Jordanian Lounge Amman Airport
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class 787 Amman To Kuala Lumpur
Review: St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Kuala Lumpur
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Radisson Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei
Review: Royal Brunei Lounge Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class 787 Bandar Seri Begawan To Dubai
Review: W Dubai Al Habtoor City
Review: St. Regis Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class A380 Dubai To Los Angeles
I got to Bandar Seri Begawan Airport at around 5PM for my 8:35PM flight to Dubai. Brunei’s Airport is small and beautiful, easily one of the most passenger friendly airports out there. A vast majority of passengers using the airport seem to be transiting rather than originating in Brunei, meaning that security and immigration are both very quick.
I was impressed that Royal Brunei had luggage trolleys for business class passengers (not that I needed it, with my carry-ons), though the station wasn’t staffed.
Despite how small the airport is, it has very high ceilings, similar to what you’ll find at many of the nicest airports in Asia.
Just inside the entrance to the airport and to the right was Royal Brunei’s business class check-in, which featured a sitting area.
There were two associates working there though no guests, so I was checked in within about a minute.
Just past check-in was security, where there literally wasn’t a single passenger, so I was through very quickly. After that was immigration, which was equally quick. Then I found myself in a long hallway leading to the main part of the terminal.
Brunei Airport has slightly different “world clocks” than you’ll usually see, which largely overlap with Royal Brunei’s routemap, including London, Dubai, and Melbourne.
I did appreciate the Royal Brunei 787 model in the hallway.
Brunei Airport is tiny, with fewer than 10 gates, so it’s really easy to navigate.
The airside area is just as spacious and bright as the landside area. There was plenty of seating, though not that many amenities, given how small the airport is.
The only lounge at the airport is operated by Royal Brunei, given that only a couple of other airlines fly here. Royal Brunei’s Sky Lounge is located one level above the main concourse. There’s a spiral staircase leading to it, and I imagine in another area there’s also an elevator, though I didn’t see it.
At the lounge entrance I was admitted upon presenting my boarding pass, and informed that boarding would be announced in the lounge.
The lounge isn’t especially big, with a seating capacity for 120. Then again, it doesn’t really have to be big, given how few flights operate out of the airport. The lounge has a few different seating zones.
In the far corner of the lounge were seats arranged in a circle with some cool artwork in the background.
Then past that was a rack with some magazines and newspapers, and then a bunch of traditional lounge seating arranged in rows.
Along the wall was a lime green bench with some dining tables.
Past that was the reception desk, and then on the other side of the lounge were similar seats in a different arrangement, with 3-4 seats per section.
At the far end of the lounge were two heavy duty massage chairs.
Then there was a bigger selection of magazines and newspapers.
Next to the main part of the lounge was a circular business center with several outdated-looking PCs.
Back in the center section of the lounge was the buffet spread.
There was a coffee machine, bottled water, juice, and soft drinks.
Then there was fresh fruit, salad, and several types of hot options.
The food looked okay, though not especially appetizing…
The lounge’s bathrooms were located in the center section, and had a unique design.
The lounge’s showers are located inside the main restrooms, and didn’t look especially appealing. There wasn’t even a full door between the showers and the rest of the bathroom, but rather something similar to a bathroom stall.
So while the lounge technically has showers, I’d avoid using them if possible.
Unfortunately the lounge’s wifi was also almost unusable. That’s very frustrating for a lounge.
Royal Brunei’s three longhaul destinations are Melbourne, Dubai, and London. They fly nonstop to Melbourne and Dubai, and then the Dubai flight continues to London. Based on observing and overhearing the other people in the lounge, it seemed like 90% of the people in the lounge were Australians and Brits flying between Melbourne and London (Royal Brunei times the flights so that they’re optimized for connections in both directions).
At around 7PM I was paged by name in the lounge. Hmmm, that’s usually not good (well, at least when there’s not a cabin for you to be upgraded to).
The agent asked if I’d be willing to switch seats, because a couple seated together was currently separated. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the seat change I was happy to make it, as I didn’t want others traveling together to be separated.
I decided to leave the lounge at around 7:15PM. My boarding pass indicated that boarding would start at 7:35PM, a full hour before departure (this isn’t true as Royal Brunei boards 30 minutes out — it drives me nuts when airlines lie about boarding times on boarding passes).
About 15 minutes after I left the lounge they started boarding the flight to Melbourne, which was departing at 8PM.
My flight was departing from gate 5, located just outside the lounge.
I had to use the restroom while waiting (I drank a lot of water in the lounge), so used the public restroom. As it turns out, all the bathrooms at this airport are squat-style. I’m sure that caught some Brits and Aussies just transiting in Brunei off guard.
I assumed boarding would start at 8:05PM (30 minutes before departure), but the crew only showed at up 8:10PM. There was no announcement about the delay, though at 8:25PM business class boarding finally began.
Royal Brunei Lounge bottom line
Brunei Airport as such is a joy to fly out of, though I wasn’t impressed by Royal Brunei’s lounge. While the seating was nice enough, the wifi didn’t work, the shower situation wasn’t especially good, and the food didn’t look all that great for a carrier’s flagship lounge. The lounge is a perfectly nice place to pass some time, though I wouldn’t arrive early to use it.