This month Flight-Report had the opportunity to try out Royal Air Maroc’s brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Following the delivery of the 787 to RAM, the new Dreamliner flew the popular Paris to Casablanca route prior to launching longer haul routes like Casablanca-New York and Montreal.
The Dreamliner joined the RAM fleet on January 2nd, 2015. The aircraft is in a two class configuration with 18 full-flat seats in Business class in a 2-2-2 layout and a 3-3-3 layout in economy.
On this flight, we will have the opportunity to test Royal Air Maroc’s new Business class product which features a new Business class seating concept.
Royal Air Maroc operates from the recently renovated Orly South Terminal.
RAM check-in area
There is a priority check-in desk for Business class passengers. With only 18 seats in Business class, there are no crowds and the check-in process is quick and smooth,
Members of Royal Air Maroc’s frequent flyer program with Elite status (Silver, Gold, and Ambassador) also have access to the priority check-in lanes.
Royal Air Maroc gives priority security screening access to its Business class and Elite customers through “Accès N° 1.”
The recently updated airside section of Orly’s South Terminal is now much more pleasant and modern.
Royal Air Maroc operates its own lounge at Orly, giving Business, Gold and Ambassador status flyers access on the date of departure.
Newspapers and magazines in the lounge are a mix of French and Moroccan publications.
There is a good amount of comfortable seating available in the lounge along with table to eat or work.
Royal Air Maroc has a rather large operation at Paris Orly for a non-French carrier—understandable considering the cultural and historical ties between the two countries. Aside from Casablanca, RAM also serves the airports of Agadir, Essaouira, Fez, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Rabat, and Tangiers direct from Paris Orly—an impressive portfolio of destinations.
The food offering in the lounge is quite good.
There are dates—no surprise for a North African carrier.
A variety of charcuterie and cheeses are also on offer…
…along with crudités, sandwiches, and wraps.
For your sweet tooth, you’ll find macarons and other sweet treats.
Pastries are also available.
A variety of soft drinks and juices can be found.
And for those who prefer something stronger, you’ll find spirits…
…along with red and white wine, as well as champagne.
We tried a bit of everything.
After boarding is announced in the lounge, it is a short walk to the boarding gate.
And here is the brand new Royal Air Maroc Dreamliner! RAM is only the third African carrier to operate the Boeing 787, after Ethiopian and Kenya Airways.
Once boarding begins, the process is rather orderly with boarding priorities clearly announces and respected. Business class and passengers with Elite status board via the dedicated priority lane.
You can grab a newspaper or magazine upon boarding.
And voilà… the new Business class cabin. As mentioned earlier, the cabin is configured in a 2-2-2 layout. Although many 787 operators have opted for a 2-2-2 configuration, RAM’s 787 has a unique Business class product.
The In-flight Entertainment (IFE) screens are huge! Quite an impressive size.
With only 18 seats, there are just 3 rows of seats, which makes for an intimate and private feel.
The large 787 windows let a lot of natural light into the cabin, which is very pleasant.
Viewed from the front, the seats are slightly angled towards each other.
The wall decorations in the cabin add an extra flair to the overall ambiance.
The seat controls, reading light, and power outlets can all be found nearby. The remote control for the IFE is touchscreen, as we now see becoming standard with the latest generations of IFE.
Features unique to the 787 and Boeing Sky interior on other aircraft include the overhead bins and ceiling lighting.
If you are travelling alone and seated next to a stranger, a seperation screen canbe put up to preserve privacy.
Pre-departure drinks are served individually at each seat. The serving tray is decorated with flower petals, which is a nice and gives the impression that RAM pays attention to detail.
So here’s the deal with the seats. Earlier, we told you that although a 2-2-2 configuration for Business class in a 787 was common, that Royal Air Maroc’s Business product was unique…and it is. The Moroccan flag carrier is only the second airline to have installed this model of Business class seat: The Equinox by French airline seat manufacturer Sogerma.
The seats angle towards each other and slightly overlap at the feet when in full flat position to maximize the use of space in the cabin. In a pair of seats, one seat is higher than the other in full-flat position to allow for this overlapping.
Here is what this looks like when both seats are in bed mode.
The separators between seats preserve a sense of privacy while the higher position of the window seat allows passenger sitting by the window to exit to the aisle more easily than with a traditional forward-facing 2-2-2 configuration.
As this is a new Business class seating concept, it was a rather bold choice by Royal Air Maroc to install such a product. From our impressions so far, this seat seems to have been the right choice for RAM.
The IFE is the newer “Thales TopSeries Avant” model, which can be found on more and more carriers.
The touchscreen remote control can also be used to view the air show.
Looking out the window,it is unmistakable that we are on a 787 with those beautiful raked wingtips and chevrons on the engines.
As we push back from the gate, this RAM 737 is bathed in the light of dusk.
Headsets are distributed during taxi.
The security video is played on the huge IFE screens.
And we take off with the last rays of sun.
Little visit of this aircraft after takeoff. The real galley is quite large and open, which must be more pleasant for the crew to work in.
The IFE screens in the economy cabin are also quite large.
Back in Business class, one can see that there are special seatback pockets for magazines and newspapers available at all seats.
Again, the PTVs are huge, and the Picture-in-picture features allows AvGeeks to keep an eye on the air show while watching a movie or TV series.
And here is the seat in relaxation mode. A pleasant position, especially with 3 large windows to look out of and a nice view of the GEnx engines.
In bed mode, the window seat is higher than the aisle seat, as mentioned above. This does indeed allow those seated in the window seat to climb out to the aisle more easily due to the higher position.
The foot space is decent and not too constraining until some Business class seats.
There is a nice variety of entertainment choices on the IFE.
A pre-dinner drink is served with almonds and a rose petal for decoration, which is a nice touch. The champagne is a Monopole Heideseck.
The Royal Air Maroc logo on the glass is very nice.
Menus are distributed shortly after drinks are served.
List of drinks and spirits
The meal will consist of four courses: an appetizer, two choices for the main dish, a cheese course, and dessert.
Smoked salmon tartare
Like the glasses, the cutlery is also emblazoned with the RAM logo.
Bread is distributed warm.
For the main dish, RAM presents the choices on a cart so that passengers can visually see what they chose rather than relying on menu descriptions. This is a very rare practice in this day and age and a very nice touch.
Here is the lamb. Although the cart was very well presented with linens and flower petals, it does not seem as though there was much thought put into the presentation of the actual dish itself.
For the cheese course, there is a choice of four different cheeses along with some fruit.
A choice of four cheeses cut by the flight attendant is definitely above average service for Business class, especially on a shorter flight like this.
The cart returns later with desserts, after dinner drinks, and coffee/tea.
For dessert, there is a Pâtisserie française, a millefeuille, also known as a “Napoleon” in some parts, accompanied by a Moroccan mint tea and an espresso.
The lighting in the cabin is very pleasant.
The crew prepares the cabin for arrival.
The IFE is switched over to the air show on arrival, but you can continue to listen to music.
Approaching Casablanca from the south.
There is not much to see out the window during landing as night has fallen.
The Dreamliner flight deck.
Upon arrival we disembark by airstairs which allows for a nice last view of our Dreamliner.
After a rocky few years, Royal Air Maroc is on track for a comeback with this innovative new Business class product and a brand new fleet of 787 Dreamliners. RAM is also in the process of acquiring a new fleet of Embraer E190 aircraft as it continues its fleet renewal.
With an impressive level of service, innovative hard product, and attention to detail, the flight with Royal Air Maroc was an enjoyable experience.
The Positives: • The seat – Full flat with a good level of privacy • Quality of service with nicely presented cart, nice attention to detail and decent champagne. • The lounge at Paris Orly – spacious with nice offering • IFE : a nice selection of entertainment…also, did we mention the screen is huge? ?
The Negatives: • The 2-2-2 configuration does not allow for aisle-access for all passengers, but the design of the window seats, as previously mentioned, allows for easier aisle-access than on more traditional configurations. • Lack of side drink table.
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