We booked an all inclusive 10 day sunny holiday at Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda.
And in order to get there we flew from Brussel to Punta Cana and back in business class with airline company Air Belgium on their new Airbus A330neo, a 9 and a half hour flight.
What do we think of it?
What did we like about it and dislike?
We paid for our flight with Air Belgium’s Airbus A330neo and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.
Together with this review we also made a video about our A330neo flight.
You can watch it here:
Check in at Brussels Airport
We arrive at Brussels Airport 2 hours before our flight leaves.
The Air Belgium check in counter is quite desolate, not a lot of people are checking in their luggage.
No need to queue, we leave our suitcase and get our boarding passes after we show our Dominican Republic immigration QR code.
We booked our seats in advance and notice that the seat numbers don’t match the ones we chose. The seat configuration of the A330neo is 1-2-1, and we specifically chose 2 seats in the middle.
The lady behind the checkin desk tells us that the type of airplane was changed last minute and that the configuration is different now. And that all the middle seats are taken.
2 things that later on turned out to be false: we flew with the A330neo as planned and after boarding was complete, one row of middle seats stayed empty as well as other seats.
In the end we managed to get a middle seat.
Travellers flying in business class with Air Belgium have access to the business lounge in Brussels Airport.
The Diamond lounge in Terminal B (international flights) is located on the first floor. An elevator and stairs opposite gates B01 to B05 take you up there.
It is open every day from 5am to 9pm.
We are here at 8am, our flight leaves at 10am.
Meaning that breakfast will be served in the lounge.
However we have been to this lounge before and were never impressed, quite on the contrary. And by the looks of it things haven’t changed one bit here.
Breakfast includes: croissants, ham and cheese sandwiches, donuts, industrial Liege waffles, breakfast cereal, (low quality) sliced cheese and salami, yogurt and 5 jars of candy.
Mediocre to say the least, not worth its extra 35 euros.
The coffee is the only thing that is good.
The coffee machine is located in the room next door where you can also find (cheap) wine, alcoholic beverages, water and soft drinks and savory ‘snacks’, a bowl of green olives and peanuts.
The Diamond lounge is just not an appealing place to sit, it more resembles a staff cafeteria. There’s nothing cozy or luxurious about it.
No, we are not fans of this lounge at all.
Of course Air Belgium doesn’t have a say in how the lounge is run, however we don’t find it satisfying at all.
A330neo business class cabin
It is boarding time.
We make our way to our gate and can immediately board in the business class lane.
The Air Belgium A330neo crew welcomes us at the entrance of the plane, checks your ticket to make sure you walk down the right aisle to your seat.
Airbus A300neo’s business cabin has a 1-2-1 configuration.
One row of single seats both left and right.
And in the middle one row of double seats: ‘honeymoon seats’ where you sit next to each other (you can separate the chairs with a sliding partition you can pull up for privacy) and seats that are next to each other but are separated by a middle console.
Watch our video from 4:00 onwards to get a better understanding of how the A330neo business class cabin and seats look like.
The A330neo business class has a 16″ FULL HD screen, a remote control with integrated control screen providing access to all features, a USB port and an audio jack.
There is also a power outlet to charge your laptop without any worries.
Sanitary kits are handed out before take off.
These plastic ziplock bags contain a face mask, sanitising wet wipes and hand sanitiser.
It is recommended to change your face mask every 4 hours.
Also before take off an amenity kit is offered.
It contains a pair of (nice) socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, earplugs and an eye mask.
That eye mask was great, so soft and soothing but putting no pressure on your eyes.
We both kept them for next flights!
Headphones are also provided.
They seemed alright, however we used our own Bose headphones most of the time.
The audio jack is located right above the remove control.
A bottle of Spa still water is also provided in your private console next to the headphones.
Which is good, you can take a sip of that bottle during your flight without always having to push that ‘butler’ button whenever you are thirsty.
Also available in the A330neo business class are 2 USB sockets.
Excellent to charge your phone, headphones or whatever.
Above that is another socket that is perfect to recharge your laptop for instance.
The moment you board the A330neo, a plastic wrapped pillow and blanket sit on your foot rest.
Before takeoff the flight attendants stow away the unused blankets and pillows in the overhead lockers, even if you left your untouched.
No worries, you ask them for it after takeoff.
The blanket is nice and warm, really cozy.
The pillow is a little thin and feels a little cheap. It was just OK for our flight, nothing more.
The seats on the A330neo recline up to 180 degrees, flat.
The foot space is really great, Luc is 6 ft 2 and had no problem. However the beds are a bit narrow to turn around in. There is no mattress pad delivered, so the bedding is not so confortable.
We always keep a stash of Netflix downloads close just in case the entertainment isn’t up to par.
Here on the A330neo the movie, series and music selection were good though.
Enough to keep you amused for the entire 9 and a half hour flight.
The TV is touchscreen but you can also navigate it with the remote control right next to you.
The layout and use of the screen is easy to use, and easy to navigate.
Food and drinks
As soon as we sit down, a A330neo flight attendant comes over with a welcome drink.
Champagne or apple juice.
Menus are also handed out.
Once the plane is in the air, the drink service starts.
Hot towels are first handed out and collected soon after. A drink of your choice from the drinks menu and a small bag of unsalted mixed nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and hazelnuts.
While everyone is enjoying a drink, a flight attendant stops by to write down your lunch order and any drinks you want with that. The Pouilly Fumé I want isn’t available though, shame.
Watch our video from 9:17 onwards to get a better understanding of how our meals on board the A330neo looked like.
The menu aboard the A330neo is short and sweet if you ask us.
- chiffonade of slow cooked roast beef with seasoned lettuce and Natura truffle mayonnaise
- Mathonet smoked trout fillet with cucumber brunoise, Belgian spelt and horseradish dressing.
Main course are:
- authentic “Chicons au gratin”, oven baked Belgian chicory rolls with ham and a gruyere béchamel sauce served with buttery mashed potatoes
- “codfish à l’Ostendaise”, baked cod in fish cream sauce with grey shrimp served with buttered spinach and steamed poatatoes
- “Mechelse Koekoek”, roasted Belgian chicken breast with chopped leeks, a mix of rice and spelt served with tarragon sauce
- trio of homemade mini desserts
- selection of Belgian cheeses with Liege syrup
We go for the beef salad and chicory rolls.
And the trout salad and codfish.
Our flight attendant lowers the table and covers it with white linen.
She comes back with a tray and the starter. Also on the tray: a bread roll, olive oil, butter, pepper and salt and cutlery rolled into a white linen napkin.
My glass of white wine didn’t make it to my table, the flight attendant apologises and goes back to get it. Which gives me the time to swap plates with Luc to make a picture of his roast beef salad and take a bite of it.
Both starters are served cold.
The roast beef looks appetising, nice and pink on the inside. The meat is tender and juicy, ice cold though which kills the flavor a little. The lettuce underneath is shaved finely and seasoned well.
I like this roast beef salad, Luc isn’t convinced.
My smoked trout sits on a bed of diced cucumber and al dente boiled spelt. The fish is flavorful and flakey, the spelt salad has a good bite to it. The horseradish makes it extra refreshing.
The bread roll is crunchy and super fresh, the butter is creamy and rich.
The flight attendant removes my empty plate and comes back a few minutes later with my main course, the cod fish in cream sauce.
She apologises and says that due to the pandemic they are not allowed to plate the main course up like they used to do. It is served in an aluminum container covered with plastic.
You have to remove the plastic yourself, and it is piping hot.
I let my fish cool a couple of minutes and tuck into it.
The codfish is flakey and cooked well, not dry at all which is surprising since the fish is precooked and then reheated again on the plane. The cream sauce is flavorful and rich, I even find 3 (over)cooked mussels in it, as well as a few grey shrimp. The spinach is soft and flavorful, the steamed potatoes are super tender and delicious.
A very good fish main course, I really enjoyed it. A shame of the aluminum tin, that really doesn’t do this tasty dish any justice.
Luc’s chicory rolls arrive, unfortunately they are gone before I can snap a picture.
His opinion: flavorful and buttery mashed potatoes, tender chicory and creamy cheese sauce. However the chicory itself are very tiny and too small a portion to really be a main course.
When the flight attendant hears this, she immediately offers to get him a second portion – or another main course if he likes. He declines and says he looks forward to the cheese selection.
We get a generous refill of our wine glasses.
And before long the desserts and cheese cart is rolled into the business cabin.
And it looks delicious.
There are 5 types of sweet desserts to chose from, and an appetising cheese platter next to it.
We both pick a selection of each cheese, and a tangerine tartlet.
A stunning selection of Belgian cheeses, every single one of them. Served alongside of it are sliced raisin bread and a Belgian pear syrup. Perfect combination. Hands down the best cheese plate we have had on any business flight.
And that tangerine tartlet is excellent as well, subtle, sweet and crunchy.
Overall we had a good meal here on the A330neo.
The star of our lunch was the cheese.
Halfway into our flight the staff hands out a mid-flight snack: vanilla or strawberry ice cream.
Rich, flavorful and creamy. Very good.
And even better with a cup of excellent coffee as well.
About 2 hours before our landing in Punta Cana, another meal service starts.
Anyone who is awake, gets an apple or orange juice.
And another hot towel to freshen up.
Food options, no choice here though: a kamut wheat salad with tomatoes, feta cheese, mint, parsley and an olive oil and lemon dressing. The ‘fresh winter fruit salad’ turns out to be diced pineapple with matcha green tea.
Also on the tray: bread roll, butter, olive oil, pepper and salt, chocolate and 3 biscuits in a box.
The kamut salad is very tasty and well seasoned.
However it reminds me a lot of my previous starter, the spelt and trout salad. It just lacks a bit of originality perhaps. Luc is not a fan of this kind of salad at all, simply because he isn’t too keen on these grainy type of foods.
The pineapple though is super sweet and the matcha really gives it a surprising twist, what a flavor combo this is! Delicious. The chocolate is very good, nothing more to say about it.
What needs an extra highlight are those shortbread biscuits though.
These are made by Graines de Curieux for Air Belgium and their A330neo, and they are to die for.
Sweet, rustic and with a couple of grains of salt in it. We mention that to the flight attendant when she come over to remove our plate and promptly brings another portion of these biscuits.
The flight attendants on our A330neo flight were great.
Always happy to help you with a smile (behind the fave masks) and bring you anything you want.
If you didn’t like a meal, they would gladly offer to get you another one.
Refills were only a couple of seconds away, just ask or push the butler button.
Service aboard our Air Belgium A300neo flight was excellent, great job.
Our Air Belgium A330neo flight was very good, however the lavatories were below average.
The space is what it is, airplane lavatories are not huge.
However the floor was dirty, sticky, and water seemed to have pooled up against one wall. Bad luck perhaps? We used the lavatories a couple of times and it always seemed to be in this state. The second time the water on the floor was gone, at least that was something.
But it stayed quite unkempt and not well looked after I had a feeling.
During the ‘night’ when most of the passengers were watching a movie or sleeping I went back and saw a flight attendant chuck leftover drinks and ice cubes into the toilet sink.
He was kind of startled to see me walk past but the ice cubes were definitely there, just melting away.
You can do so much better here, Air Belgium.
- excellent flight attendants
- overall good Belgian style food
- excellent Belgian cheeses
- good champagne and wine
- flat bed
- good inflight entertainment
- brand new A330neo design
- wrong seat information at checkin
- hits and misses in the food menu
- dirty lavatories
- narrow beds
- no mattress pad delivered
We paid for our flight with Air Belgium’s Airbus A330neo and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.
How about you?
Have you flown with Air Belgium or the A330neo before?
What do you think about it?
We’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below!