Advantages Lots of leg room and good luggage allowance
Disadvantages overbooking is apparently common
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The luggage allowance was a mighty 32 kg (up to two pieces) and up to three items of hand luggage - BA take note!As the flight was scheduled rather than chartered we decided to get to the airport really early to make sure that we were not bumped. Just as well we did! We arrived at the airport just after 0900 for a 1430 flight to be told that the flight had been overbooked! Panic! Panic! Not a problem we were told. We were there early enough to guarantee our seats (although it did mean that an upgrade was out of the question) although had we agreed to give up our seats and fly via Chicago arriving in Jamaica the following day we would have received £400 per person plus overnight accommodation - not bad, but not on our honeymoon!
The lady at check-in worked really hard to get us two seats together. The computer had originally put us across the aisle from one another as these were the nearest seats to each other but after a bit of jiggling with single passenger bookings they got us together. I just hope that the single passengers had not pre-booked specific seats….Then the wait……..
We flew from London Heathrow to Montego Bay in an A340 aircraft. The leg room in economy was fantastic. Lots of room even for the very tall! It was more like the leg room experienced flying business on most other aircraft.Then the strangest thing happened… well from a European perspective. People started trading seats trying to get large groups of people together - it was chaos and you see the flight attendants getting edgy as we were approaching our allocated slot time. Still eventually people settled and we were off….
The first thing that they did was to bring round socks and a toothbrush for our comfort - a nice touch in economy.In flight food was OK. You had a choice of a chicken or fish dish with the chicken being a Jamaican dish and the fish, European. Both were good. AJ advertise the flights as "Champagne Flights" where free champagne is available the whole way. Technically it probably was but it was not openly offered. Tea/Coffee, soft drinks and wine were certainly offered and were complimentary. We also had a snack of banana chips mid flight.
In flight entertainment was OK. They provided complimentary headsets and showed three films (all about a year old) and had eight or so music channels. AJ is the only airline to have a fashion show in the sky! This was really just the airhostesses parading up and down the aircraft dressed in fashion from local Jamaican boutiques but it broke the tedium. AJ also offer in flight aerobics to stimulate the body during flight. These were held at the end of the flight though and, I thought, far too late. In a 10 hour flight it would have been good to do them in the middle to encourage people who had not moved much to do so (and to lessen the risk of deep vein thrombosis).The flight attendants were great, friendly and helpful.
The return flight was much the same although with no fashion show as it was a red-eye. I did get to see the film Billy Elliot though which I had missed in the cinema - quite strange to watch at 4am (or was it 10pm….?)Whilst in Jamaica we changed resorts and flew Air Jamaica Express between the two in a Twin Otter (a small turboprop). There was no attendant service on these flights, being only 20 mins or so but again the ground handling was slick and efficient.
I would recommend AJ to anyone travelling to the Caribbean and would certainly use them again. Just check in early and don't get bumped!See Jamaica - Honeymoon Part 2 coming to a Ciao screen near you soon ……..
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