Friday, September 21, 2007

On Why RJ Should be Ashamed, Royal Treatment indeed! Miscellaneous stories from the Bena's journey to the US.

So, the beans, Helper Bean and I took the plunge and made the 13 hour Amman to Chicago flight the other day. I was positively surprised that the children did well and negatively NOT surprised that RJ was awful. I actually thought it might be a good sign that when we got to the airport and approached the women's room, the sign said OMEN. I convinced myself this would be a GOOD omen. Alas, it IS RJ after all... We got to the airport a bit early (as always) and wandered about, had a drink at Starbucks, then went to the gate. The bathroom outside the gate area was being cleaned, so we waited for the one inside. Unfortunately, it had only one stall and no toilet paper or paper towels... Good thing we saved those Starbucks napkins. It finally got close to boarding time, enter Story #1...

Story #1: As we were waiting, and everyone was gathering getting ready for the boarding process to begin, a man and his wife and some other lady and their 3 kids came pushing his way through (stroller and all) to the front. Although I had missed the royal stamp on his forehead, he MUST have been related to His Majesty. Although, it must be a distant relationship since, 1) he lacks the class that the royal family typically shows and 2) he was sitting coach. But, given his attitude and how much more important he is than the rest of us, what else could it be? He MUST be royalty. He got into a bit of an argument with the flight attendants as he was trying to board in the beginning, but was sitting too far forward on the plane (one row only, but still...). Finally, he bullied them into letting him on the plane. I am very sorry to report that we have ample cause to know how the rest of his flight went. He was (predictably) in the row in front of us.

During the entire flight, he complained about everything (the seats, the food, the temperature, etc.). My favorite, though, was when the flight attendant offered him a drink. She apparently misheard him (he requested 7-Up apparently). She had the nerve, the sheer gall, to give him Diet 7-Up. When she handed him the can, he asked "Is this diet?" Yes. "I don't drink diet. I didn't ask for diet. Why would you give me diet?" She apologized and started to get him a regular 7-Up, but he couldn't let it go. He got louder and louder and louder. He was shouting at and berating her. I couldn't believe all of this because she couldn't hear over his loud kids and the hum of the plane. But, it does serve to illustrate the sort of fellow we're talking about. At the end of the flight, the attendant was passing out comment cards. He said out loud, "Comments? Comment cards." The man said "Yes, never fly RJ again." I wanted to pipe in and say, yes please, never let HIM fly RJ again...

Story #2: We finally arrived in Chicago (I don't like Chicago much anyway) and cleared customs and immigration with no issues. I asked one of the RJ fellows where to go to process our hotel vouchers and he indicated it would be outside and to the right. Once we cleared, we went outside and I didn't see an RJ counter. I saw United, American, etc., but no RJ. So, I went over to the exit and hanging half in and half out asked the security guy. He was useless and ignorant, but trying to be helpful. He told me it was "down there" and pointed. So, I left the secured area and went where he indicated. I stopped again when it was clear that I wasn't getting anywhere and the girl at the information desk said, Oh no, it's inside. Great. So, I went back to the security desk to speak with the guard who wouldn't let me back in. I wanted to scream at him, but it's your FAULT you idiot. My only recourse was to go up to the RJ counter, where they sent one of the boys down to escort me back in.

We got to the transit counter and two very nice ladies were working. I waited patiently (well as patiently as I could) with Junior Bean needing to go pee, as they processed vouchers for other passengers. During this time, I heard that the hotel they were sending people to was the Motel 6. What!?! The Motel 6? You MUST be kidding. I would expect at least a Hampton Inn or a Fairfield Inn from the likes of discount carriers like Jet Blue. I certainly expected better from RJ (I assure you my ticket wasn't a discounted price at all). Okay, so we took the taxi to the Motel 6 (there were a BUNCH of folks just like us) because although I perhaps could have argued the issue, I decided that with 3 small kids it wasn't worth it. (I hear El 3atal was cursing up a storm when he talked to Teta and Jiddo Bean about the fact that we were staying at such an awful place). I hoped that perhaps Teta and Jiddo would in fact pick us up and take us somewhere better, but they got lost on the way and I finally gave up. But, the crowning beauty came when we reached the Motel and found that they weren't honoring the RJ vouchers. It seems, get this now, RJ WASN'T PAYING THEIR BILL!!! Okay, now RJ, you should be terribly embarrassed. Really, now. So, I walked in as they were calling the folks at the airport. She explained to me that they wouldn't take a credit card over the phone, so we needed to pay and be reimbursed. How ridiculous is this? Like I trust you to reimburse me when you aren't even paying primary vendors. Please. So, I'm pissed and annoyed, but again I have 3 exhausted kids and just have to make do. We get a really awful room and try to sleep. Oh, and I assure you there is no food close enough to take the kids...

We get up in the morning very early (the kids were up at 3:15, but we waited until 5 to get dressed) and went over to the airport. At least there is safe food and an awesome play area for kids. I felt SO comforted when the front desk attendant refused to let us in. She realized it was me with a bunch of kids and took pity on us letting us wait for the cab inside with another couple of ladies from our Amman flight. She commented she doesn't unlock the doors before six because she's likely to get murdered. Boy am I glad I stayed there! So, we took the cab to the airport and had a nice breakfast (yes, I'll be sending a invoice to RJ for the full $30 of food) and a nice flight on down to MimiBean's house. But, I am still amazed at the incompetence of Royal Jordanian.

Here's my bottom line, they're the only ones who offer a direct flight, so I MAY fly them again. But, after this experience, it's far less likely. By the next time we'll be flying, the beans should be old enough that I'd be willing to change plans in Europe somewhere. So, unless RJ exceeds themselves in their apologies and making it right, I doubt we'll be flying them again... I hated them the first time and they haven't improved on continued exposure. But, this, this is reaching all new lows. A Motel 6 indeed! Really, RJ, you should be ASHAMED of yourselves! And, Your Highness, with all due respect, you should strip them of the right to use Royal or Jordan in their name. It gives all of us a bad name if people think that's what they should expect of Jordan and its royal family.

Story #3: A final note about the humor in flying on a flight full of Jordanians... When we landed in Chicago, the pilot had to stop and wait a moment for another plane to pass, everyone on the plane hopped up and started moving toward the front. Okay, we were 6 MILES from the terminal and still moving. So they stopped the plane and waited for everyone to sit back down before they would go any further. That's what I think of when I think of flying with Jordanians... Everyone rushing the flight attendants in the mistaken belief that they'll get anywhere faster. (Side note, we had some friends fly in to Amman and asked if there were lots of Jordanians on the plane (they came in on Lufthansa). She said, I'm not sure. Simple, I said, did they all hop up the very instant that the wheels touched the ground. Apparently not, so I safely assured her that there was no one on the plane who is actually from Jordan :). Teehee.)

Happy Flying Anyone But not-Royal, certainly not-Jordanian!

15 Comments:

At 9:10 AM , Anonymous Qwaider قويدر said...

Ahhh mamabean ... I've just been through the same pain! It's certainly neither royal nor jordanian

I have no idea why we are putting up with all this crap! They are doing it because for a while they WERE the cheapest to fly to Amman after everyone lost ALL TRUST in them. But now, after their prices have shot up. There are much better alternatives. Even longer flights are tolerated compared to the pain of flying RJ

My next flight will certainly be on something better, and I will plan ahead so I don't get in a situation where it's either RJ or THY (Which I'm sure is becoming much better than RJ these days)

Yet you open the Royal Wings magazine, and it's filled of thier talk about commitment to excellence and other bullshit!

 
At 12:01 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Their commitment is certainly not even skin deep...

 
At 12:04 PM , Anonymous Baha said...

What do you expect from a government run operation managed by a guy with last name of Majali?

do you think he is in charge because he is competent? Do you think they hire people in key positions because those people are competent?

like any state-run project, it goes through periods of performance lasting a few months, followed by years of poor performance lasting years until the next shake up, by that time, hundred of incompetents would have been hired to key positions making reforms impossible.

it's a vicious cycle of decline. I say we privatize royal jordanian airlines before it adds to our already poor image.

 
At 3:31 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Based on my experience, I'm afraid it's too late. The poor image is already well in place. Yikes! Maybe they'll eventually get it together. I know the King has many good ideas, now if the leadership of the country can simply translate them into action...

 
At 4:23 PM , Blogger Asoom said...

EVERYONE that has flown royal jordanian has some kind of story. I've flown RJ exactly ONCE, when we got to JFK to take RJ to amman they had overbooked the next 3 flights (our tickets clearly said "confirmed") so we ended up staying in NY for 3 nights at our expense! The people at the counter were extremely rude and condescending and spoke to my dad like he was some sort of ignorant lowlife, I was 12 at the time and started crying because of how they were talking to my dad (it was more like yelling) who clearly has a handicap and was extremely exhausted and we had a sick baby with us (my brother). We would spend our days in their lobby (along with many other families) because we didn't know when we could take the next flight so we had to be there in case and they didn't even pay for food, my mom actually at one point bought a whole bunch of sandwiches and coffees and passed them out to some of the people in the lobby with us. That ordeal was definitely a nightmare and although it was 12 years ago I still remember many details, especially how they treated my dad.

The plane ride itself was also far from pleasant, they played a movie that showed a good bit of topless women and the plane is like 50% children, my dad brought it up to one of the attendants and his response was “it’s night the kids are supposed to be sleeping”!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know how he decided it was night we were moving through time zones but it was beside the point anyway. To go to the bathroom you had to get in line which took anywhere between 20 min to an hour and they were nasty.

When we got to Jordan half of our luggage wasn’t there which ended up coming like 3 days later. That same night my dad opened up the suitcases to get gifts for his siblings; he brought watches and gave it to them in their boxes, when they opened them up they were ALL EMPTY!!! That’s right, the watches were all stolen (like 6 of them) and the empty boxes put back in place.
After that I’ve only flown European airines although I heard RJ has improved but still has some room to go.

 
At 7:30 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Asoom, Thanks. It sounds like even then RJ needed a shame-fest. Well, when I'm back in Amman, I will begin a personal crusade to shame them into admitting how royally they messed up and embarass them into fixing the situation, I'll be counting on the bloggers to help out :).

 
At 2:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

government folks are shame-proof. they don't answer to the general public. they answer to their patrons only. as for you and me, just pay up the taxes and shut up. your money in the disservice of your country.

 
At 6:47 AM , Anonymous Emily said...

This made me think of our RJ flight from Amman to Frankfurt. About 1/2 way through, I smelled cigarette smoke. I woke my mom and asked her if she smelled it, too. At first, we thought that maybe someone just smelled like smoke (entirely possible given the number of Jordanian smokers), but then we realized, no, someone was actually SMOKING on the flight. I was so angry! I am allergic and it's not like planes have an abundance of fresh air.
When we had our last flight, Detroit to Evansville, we had this hilarious flight-attendent, Jeanie. She was going thru the little speech about the safety vests, etc, but she kept making little jokes. In the event of a water landing, your seat may be used as a flotation device. Insert your arms thru the loopholes, paddle to shore, and keep the seat as compliments of Northwest Airlines. This is a non-smoking flight, smoking is not allowed in the plane. However, if you are talented enough to smoke outside on the wing thousands of feet above the ground without disturbing your fellow passengers, have at it. My mom and I cracked up remembering the Amman flight!
The best was when we landed and she gave the "items may have shifted during take-off and landing, be careful opening the overhead compartments" speech. She ended it by saying, "As we all know ladies and gentlemen, shift happens."
Sorry, I think my comment is longer than your post. Welcome home! Enjoy your visit:)

 
At 11:31 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Excellent! I had one of those flight attendants in the past as well. She concluded the flight (when we smacked the ground at 70 mph due to the Navy pilot who's used to landing on aircarft carriers) by saying, "and in case you missed it... we've landed." Everyone laughed at that one. I can easily see someone smoking on an RJ flight... Sad but true.

 
At 4:08 AM , Blogger UmmFarouq said...

Oh dear
So sorry for your troubles. I had similar troubles on my flight (with other passengers...boy inflating life vest, stabbing others' heads), but they did put us up at the Ramada in Chicago, at least, and gave us 2 joining rooms because we were five people.
Hope the rest of your trip is great, starting NOW.

 
At 3:45 PM , Blogger Jundi said...

like one of the ppl said .. everyone has an RJ story .. its like a rite of passage :D

 
At 11:09 PM , Blogger Sam said...

i have decided im never flying with arabic airline anymore..even with alone with kids..i still prefer the few hours wait in frankfurt, or vienna..im so dreading my flight back home with etihad...flying direct is very tiring..and what the heck is wrong with arabic countries...on every flight i have taken through canada, the US and europe i would get the stroller at the gate like u r supposed to to right? except in amman and abu dhabi! i'll have to say i did get the stroller at the gate in demascus...
im so jealous of all the shopping u guys are doing!!

 
At 2:11 AM , Blogger Philip (El3atal) said...

Unfortunately there is a world of difference between flying business class and economy. When I travel business on Royal Jordanian, it is one of the best airlines in the world. I kid you not, it competes with Emirates and Singapore at that level. The other thing is that the flight attendants must hate people with kids. When I flew economy alone they were ok to me. I remember that flight from Chcago to Amman a year and a half ago and it was not fun at all.

Peace

 
At 5:00 PM , Blogger Mean Dean said...

I just flew back to the States on RJ from Amman last week.

Pilots were smoking - despite the numerous times I complained of smelling smoke (and the numerous times the attendants promised to look into it).

Still, I'd go back, in fact I did:
http://blogJordan.com/

 
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