Review: RwandAir A330 Business Class Brussels To London

Filed Under: Other Airlines

RwandAir 700
Brussels (BRU) – London (LGW)
Saturday, November 10
Depart: 5:00PM
Arrive: 5:10PM
Duration: 1hr10min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 6A (Business Class)

In the previous installment I reviewed RwandAir’s business class from Kigali to Brussels, and I figured I should break off the next segment into a separate installment, given how long the previous review got.

RwandAir’s flight to London Gatwick operates via Brussels in both directions, meaning that the airline can essentially serve two markets with one “direct” flight. However, RwandAir doesn’t sell tickets exclusively between Brussels and London, as some airlines may do (this would be considered a “fifth freedom” route — for example, Garuda Indonesia used to sell tickets between London Gatwick and Amsterdam).

When we arrived at Brussels Airport many passengers deplaned — those continuing to London Gatwick, as well as the crew, stayed onboard.

In business class, only about one third of the passengers got off in Brussels, meaning about 20 people were continuing to London. Based on what I saw, I’d say the ratio was similar in economy as well.

Refueling started as soon as we got to the gate (at 4PM), and was complete by 4:20PM. At 4:40PM the door closed, at which point Captain Carlos announced our flight time of 40 minutes, and our cruising altitude of 18,000 feet.

We pushed back at 4:45PM, and started our quick taxi to our departure runway. It was a very quiet afternoon at Brussels Airport.

Taxiing Brussels Airport

There’s something so special about flying as the sun sets, so this flight was pure perfection, given that we were chasing the sun the whole way.

Taxiing Brussels Airport

We had a rolling takeoff on runway 25R at 4:55PM. The takeoff roll was extremely quick (I imagine we didn’t have that much fuel, and we also had fewer passengers), and the climb out easily one of the steepest I’ve had in a widebody.

Taxiing Brussels Airport

Below the clouds there was pretty landscape…

View after takeoff from Brussels

View after takeoff from Brussels

…but above the (thin layer of) clouds, it was even more beautiful.

View enroute to London

View enroute to London

Right after takeoff I turned on my entertainment screen to check out the map for our flight.

Airshow enroute to London

Airshow enroute to London

Airshow enroute to London

Just 10 minutes after takeoff the captain announced that we were starting to cross the Channel, and that we would be descending in about five minutes.

Crossing the English Channel

It took all of just a few minutes to cross the Channel…

Crossing the English Channel

Airshow approaching London

The crew came through the cabin to provide a quick drink service. I ordered a Diet Coke, though they were out of ice on this flight, so it was quite warm. As a snack they offered the same macadamia nuts I had twice before that day. Grrr…

Drink & nuts enroute to London

The seatbelt sign was turned on pretty early, given that we were going through some pretty thick clouds on our descent.

View approaching London

View approaching London

We touched down at Gatwick Airport at 4:35PM, and from there had a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate. This might come as a surprise, but I don’t think I’ve ever flown through Gatwick Airport before. I thought the bridge above the apron was so cool-looking.

Arriving at Gatwick Airport

We parked at our arrival gate by 4:45PM, just a couple of gates down from a TUI 787.

Arriving at Gatwick Airport

RwandAir A330 bottom line

There’s obviously not all that much to say about this flight, given how quick it was. The highlight of this flight was the beautiful views, given the extended sunset we experienced.

I do find it interesting that RwandAir doesn’t sell tickets exclusively between Brussels and London, and that passengers can stay onboard the plane in Brussels. It’s also interesting to me that the crew works the same flight the entire way, rather than laying over in Brussels — that’s a pretty long day for them, but I guess RwandAir’s contracts allow that, and it’s certainly more cost effective.

  1. Thanks Lucky, this means we’re one step closer to Norwegian Premium Economy review!
    One thing occured to me – Have you thought about getting a mirrorless so all those cloud and sunset photos can be more picturesque? Not they’re bad, but as you can see people all love your friend’s China Airlines A350 review for all those beautiful shots…

  2. I’ve flown in and out of Gatwick a few times, but it’s always to/from the terminal which doesn’t have the cool bridge (north or south I can’t recall). It does look cool, but I don’t what it links, is it a satellite terminal with the main building? I’m assuming it’s for use by arriving and departing passengers, and not just staff?

  3. The bridge links to a satellite terminal – gates with numbers in the 30s if I remember correctly. My easyJet flights often depart from there. It’s a bit of a walk (and a long escalator) but the bridge is quite cool.

    There’s also a small café over there (a Pret A Manger) which is always pretty deserted even when the rest of the terminal is packed.

  4. Yeah, as @Asper84 said, that bridge is nice looking but a pain to walk across. It’s a long hike from the terminal to the satellite pier that bridge connects to. Although super-long walks to gates are not unusual in the big London airports (I’m looking at you LHR T-2!).

  5. Selling tickets from BRU to GTW on this flight would note make much sense. Many passengers prefer taking the Eurostar high speed train between Brussels and London in less than 2 hours. It offers frequent services (approx. hourly) and the convenience of departing and arriving in the city (without long waits at the airport) makes it very attractive (that said tickets can be very expensive).

    Most passengers flying on SN’s or BA’s BRU-LHR flights are connecting on other flights.

  6. Already looking forward to the next flight review. That is probably one of very few Premium Economy reviews Lucky will ever write. 🙂

  7. Brussels to London is 20 minutes flying + 20 minutes queuing to land in London. You’re lucky you got a beverage.

  8. The airbridge links Gatwick’s North Terminal main building and its satellite building (Gate No. 101-113). It is a REALLY long walk (especially if you arrive on train, which brings you to the South Terminal first and you will need a ride on a shuttle/people mover). It has both arrival and departure on the same level of the bridge so you can only see one side of the apron directly. The gates are usually used by easyjet and … yes, Emirates A380 which always parks at gate 110 (this should be the only gate with jetbridges for A380).

  9. Is RwandAir part of any alliance or have partnerships with any other airlines? I’m flying them in J next month and wondering where I can credit miles to.

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