Earlier, I posted about our flight to Morocco on the 787-8 Business Class, which is the older of the two offerings from Royal Air Maroc. That was the result of an unfortunate aircraft swap. Fortunately, when we landed in Casablanca on our connecting flight from Marrakesh, I saw the new 787-9 waiting for us for the return to New York.
We spent most of our time on our connection at two lounges, one of which was near our flight at the A gates, and the other which was hidden in the F gates. There is plenty of construction going on right now, but the lounge by the F gates was by far better (although the signage was very confusing).
It was Ramadan when we flew, so there was no alcohol on offer in the lounges. The basic food options were decent though nothing to call home about.
We headed to the gate early given the debacle on our flight to Morocco. Upon arrival at the boarding area, we had to undergo a document check and a secondary security check for our flight to New York. The document check line had only one RAM agent working it, and there was a dispute with one passenger who had a temporary Visa (he explained that due to the government shutdown, his visa was delayed but he was allowed to go to the U.S.).
This dispute took about 10 minutes and held up the line since there was only one agent. She had a phone but didn’t call another RAM agent to come help her. I note this because there were several other agents standing around not really doing anything, just watching the line grow and grow. After about 15 minutes, we passed through to the secondary security as boarding was already started.
Given our experience of needlessly waiting in New York, we opted to walk around the side of the line and give our boarding passes directly to the gate agent. I heard one passenger exclaim and ask what we were doing, but the agent said “business class can go ahead” and the passenger agreed, even saying, “yeah you paid to avoid this line!” You definitely have to take initiative out here!
Royal Air Maroc 200 Casablanca (CMN) to New York (JFK) Saturday, May 25, 2019 3:10pm-7:00pm (on time) Duration: 7h50m Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, Seats 3D/3G
Once onboard through the second door, we took a left turn to the large business class cabin full of B/E Aerospace seats.
The purple and beige with wood accents are a great color combination for the cabin. We selected two seats in row 3 in the center section to sit next to each other. The cabin was booked 16/26 but I counted 19 people sitting in business class, and noted that a couple people seemed to know the flight crew. In any case, I still had a free window seat across the aisle to catch the view landing.
There is no SeatGuru page for the Royal Air Maroc 787-9 (as of this post), so my main notes for the business class cabin is that Row 1 does not have extra legroom in the bulkhead (as far as I can see). You’d be closer to the galley and even with a good crew, there will likely be noise emanating from there. I chose row 3 and didn’t find noise to be an issue.
If you are a solo traveler, rows 5 and 7 only have one window. The other window seats have two.
Unlike our prior crew leaving JFK, this crew was fantastic and came around very quickly to offer drinks and menus. There’s no alcohol on the ground, but the crew did offer champagne once we got in the air since they soon realized we were in a celebratory mood.
The B/E Super Diamond seat isn’t as well appointed as other carriers, but they chose a fantastic hard product to place on this aircraft. There was ample storage space as well as lighting. The tray table slides out and was large enough to work on (or watch a movie on my iPad).
The privacy divider can make the center seats pretty private, but my seat mate who received a proposal for a lifetime appointment the prior day wasn’t having any of that.
The menu was similar to the outbound flight with alcoholic drinks including spirits like Martini, Gordon’s Gin, Smirnoff, Camus Cognac, JW Black Label, and Cointreau, though we decided to stick with Laurent-Perrir Brut Rosé for the flight. There was also Beer Casablanca and a couple of Moroccan wine selections that we didn’t partake in.
The meal started with canapés of prawns skewer, cherry tomato with feta cheese, and a ‘frivolity” of pastrami with goat cheese, as well as a foie gras crumble. There was a salad course with smoked salmon. The hot dishes included a cod filet with Thermidor sauce, a teriyaki chicken skewer option, or kebab style lamb.
After a smooth climb, the meal was served rather quickly.
After the meal, I slept for a solid 4 hours (on a day flight!), which was much needed given how early we had woken up in Marrakesh and how late we’d be up in New York. After waking up, I watched a movie in the dark cabin. I love the dimming windows on the 787 since it doesn’t feel like they’re closed, but still allows less light in the cabin. The wall decor and open center area without overhead bins make the cabin feel more airy.
While the lavatory does have a window (with a shade), it was pretty sparse in terms of toiletries.
There was a Spinach lasagna snack offered mid-flight, which was fine.
Closer to the end of the flight, I moved to the window seat to catch the view landing into New York. If I were a solo traveler, I would definitely take a window seat. It’s incredibly private, as I could barely see even part of my old seat from it.
Overall, our trip to Morocco was great, and flying on Royal Air Maroc made it more seamless than having to connect. The 787-8 Business Class was disappointing, but the 787-9 Business Class was much more worthy of miles. Unfortunately, Etihad recently changed their program such that you’ll pay more miles to connect past Morocco to elsewhere in Africa, Europe, or Asia. However, if you’re planning a trip to Morocco and can make it to a North American gateway easily, Royal Air Maroc is a great option for a nonstop flight rather than a connection through Europe. If they could improve on their boarding process, ground staffing issues, and maybe get rid of the 787-8 business class ;), it’d be a solid choice.