Review: Oman Air Business Class 787 Frankfurt To Muscat

Introduction
Review: American Business Class A321 Los Angeles To New York
Review: British Airways Lounge New York JFK
Review: Iberia Business Class A340 New York To Madrid
Review: Iberia Arrivals Lounge Madrid Airport
Review: Hilton Madrid Airport
Review: LAN Business Class 787 Madrid To Frankfurt
Review: Oman Air Business Class 787 Frankfurt To Muscat
Review: Oman Air Lounge Muscat Airport
Review: Oman Air Business Class A330 Muscat To Bangkok
Review: Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi Resort & Spa
Review: Oman Air Lounge Bangkok Airport
Review: Oman Air Business Class A330 Bangkok To Muscat
Review: Oman Air New Business Class A330 Muscat To Frankfurt
Review: Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Club Suite
Review: Air France Lounge Frankfurt Airport
Review: Air France HOP Business Class Frankfurt To Paris
Review: Air France First Class Ground Experience Paris
Review: Air France Business Class 777 Paris To Toronto


My connection time in Frankfurt was a bit over two hours, as I was landing shortly before 6PM, and my flight was scheduled to depart shortly after 8PM.

After arriving from Madrid I took the train to Terminal 2D, where Oman Air departs from. I find it funny that the Frankfurt Airport train system says “thank you for choosing in favor of Frankfurt Airport.” Perhaps more accurately it should say “thank you for choosing against Heathrow or Charles de Gaulle,” because that’s the only standard by which Frankfurt Airport would be someone’s first choice (well, unless you’re going to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal).

I headed straight to the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge, which Oman Air uses for their business class passengers in Frankfurt. I won’t be reviewing it again, since I’ve reviewed this lounge before.

I just presented a copy of my itinerary to the agent, and he suggested I head to the gate about an hour before departure to retrieve my boarding pass.

The lounge was extremely full when I first arrived, but emptied out at around 7PM, as several flights were called for boarding.

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Japan Airlines Lounge Frankfurt

I headed to my departure gate at around 7PM, about 80 minutes before my scheduled departure. The Oman Air flight was departing from gate D1, which required me to clear security again.

Upon arriving at the gate I was impressed to find that my boarding pass and lounge invitation for Muscat Airport were already waiting for me.

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Oman Air departure gate Frankfurt Airport

The crew showed up at the gate at around 7:20PM, and had a seat in the gate area. Both of the pilots and the male crew (about half of the flight attendants) seemed to be Omani, while the rest of the crew seemed to consist of women from Southeast Asia. They were taking selfies and laughing in the gate area, and finally at 7:45PM boarding was called, starting with business class.

Oman Air 114
Frankfurt (FRA) – Muscat (MCT)
Sunday, February 14
Depart: 8:20PM
Arrive: 6:00AM (+1 day)
Duration: 6hr40min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 12A (Business Class)

I boarded through the second door on the left, where I was greeted by one of the male flight attendants and pointed left towards the business class cabin.

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Oman Air business class cabin 787

Oman Air’s business class cabin on the 787 is rather intimate, and consists of just 18 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Not only were the seats themselves beautiful, but I thought the finishes were beautiful as well. The interiors had some quasi-Omani touches, like the sand-colored seat covers, which felt authentic to the region.

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Oman Air business class cabin 787

These 18 business class seats were staggered, at least for the seats by the windows, as you can see below. The center seats and aisle seats were identical, and were quite private, but not all that spacious.

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Oman Air 787 business class seats

I had assigned myself seat 12A, which was the window seat in the third (last) row of business class.

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Oman Air 787 business class, seats 12A & 12C

I didn’t know what to expect going in, but this ended up being my favorite business class seat ever (for what it’s worth, this is the same business class product that Japan Airlines and Korean Air have on select aircraft).

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Oman Air 787 business class seats

The window seats offer incredible privacy, thanks to the standard partition position being in the up position, rather than down (as is the norm on British Airways).

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Oman Air 787 business class seat partition

The window seats had such privacy, and you didn’t need to step over anyone to access them. Instead there’s a small private walkway for each window seat, located in front of the aisle seat.

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Oman Air business class entryway, seat 12A

The aisle seats themselves were fine, though lacked privacy.

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Oman Air 787 business class, seat 12C

As you can see below, the legroom in the aisle seat was decent, and you had a good amount of space for your feet when sleeping. The seat also had quite a bit of storage.

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Oman Air 787 business class, seat 12C

When you look at the seat itself, the window seat may look similar.

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Oman Air 787 business class, seat 12A

But in reality it’s so much more spacious. You probably have at least an extra two feet of legroom, and you have a massive ottoman which is in no way restricting — that means you can sleep without having to “tuck” your feet into a small foot cubby.

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Oman Air’s new business class window seat legroom

To the right of the seat were several exposed storage compartments, perfect for reading glasses, an amenity kit, headphones, etc.

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Oman Air’s new business class window seat ottoman

But I really can’t get over just how much legroom there is. Best of all, there’s so much room under the ottoman that you can store a 22″ carry-on without it taking up any of your legroom.

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Oman Air business class ottoman

Waiting at my seat was a pillow and blanket. The pillow was fairly plush, while the blanket was thick without causing me to sweat.

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Oman Air business class pillow & blanket

To the right of the seat were the entertainment controls, on a handheld monitor which could be removed from the compartment.

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Oman Air business class entertainment controller

Immediately below that were the buttons to control the reading light and privacy partition.

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Oman Air business class seat controls

Then on the left armrest were all the seat controls, which were simpler than you’ll find on many other products — there was no handheld monitor, but rather the settings were built into the armrest itself. They were simple to use, which I appreciated.

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Oman Air business class seat controls

On the right side of the seat towards the bottom was a headphone jack and two USB outlets.

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Oman Air business class headphone jack and USB outlets

Then above that was a reading light.

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Oman Air business class reading light

As boarding continued I couldn’t help but enjoy the Oman Air boarding music. Here’s a short clip of it:

It actually doesn’t sound that great on YouTube, but somehow I really enjoyed it on the plane, perhaps as much as the Etihad boarding music, which is otherwise my favorite.

I should also note I was enjoying this flight so much from the moment I stepped on. There was something which just felt so foreign and fun about the entire experience. After having done a countless number of Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar flights, it just felt different.

About 10 minutes after settling in, one of the business class crew came by with a hot towel, and to offer me a pre-departure beverage. I should note that he was Omani, as were the two other flight attendants working business class.

I mention that since you’d never find an Emirati cabin crew on Emirates or Etihad, or a Qatari cabin crew on Qatar Airways. One of the nice things about Oman as a country is that most of the citizens are in the “working class,” so you actually get to interact with locals no matter where you go. It’s one of the many reasons I love Oman.

Anyway, I ordered a glass of champagne. When I asked what kind of champagne they had, he said he’d check, as he didn’t know off the top of his head.

He returned and said it was Taittinger, which is perfectly nice. A German friend of mine joined me for this flight and was seated in the window seat on the opposite aisle, and upon inquiring as to what type of champagne they had, he was informed it was “a French one.” Insightful. 😉

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Oman Air business class pre-departure champagne and hot towel

Within about 15 minutes the entire business class cabin was boarded, and every seat was taken. Business class had three seats for sale shortly before departure, and then last minute three Omanis were upgraded (based on the conversation I overheard), and they were scattered throughout the cabin.

A veiled lady was seated next to me in the aisle seat, and one of the men traveling with her basically demanded that I change seats because she wanted privacy. I (politely) refused. I paid for my ticket and intentionally selected my seat (and for that matter was specifically trying to review the product), so wasn’t about to switch to an inferior seat.

For what it’s worth, a vast majority of passengers seemed to be German, both in economy and business class. It seems Oman Air’s business model is based almost entirely around transporting people between Europe and Asia, and this flight was no exception.

I was eventually offered a pair of headphones. They were rather uncomfortable, and hurt my ears after keeping them on for any substantial amount of time.

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Oman Air business class headphones

I was also offered an amenity kit, which was quite nice.

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Oman Air business class amenity kit

The kit included products from Chopard.

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Oman Air business class amenity kit contents

Then menus were distributed for the flight.

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Oman Air business class menu

Moments before the door closed the crew came around with Arabic coffee and dates. These dates were more like pralines, and much sweeter than the ones you get on other airlines. Given my sweet tooth, I didn’t mind.

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Oman Air business class pre-departure Arabic coffee and date

At 8:10PM boarding was completed, and the senior flight supervisor (a slightly older Omani man) came on the PA to welcome everyone aboard “on behalf of the captain and the Sultan of Oman.” He informed us of our flight time of 5hr43min, and our cruising altitude of 39,000 feet.

At 8:15PM we began our pushback, about five minutes ahead of schedule. At this point the safety video began to play, which featured some rather “animated” characters.

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Oman Air 787 safety video

We taxied out to runway 18, where we were cleared for takeoff at 8:30PM.

The seatbelt sign was turned off less than five minutes after takeoff, so I quickly headed to the lavatory to change into something more comfortable.

There was one lavatory located behind business class in the center of the cabin, and then a further two lavatories located in front of the business class cabin. They were pretty standard 787 lavatories.

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Oman Air 787 business class lavatory

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Oman Air 787 business class lavatory amenities

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Oman Air 787 business class cabin

About 10 minutes after takeoff the captain came on the PA to add his welcome aboard, and inform us of our anticipated arrival time of 5AM, almost an hour ahead of schedule.

Once back at my seat I tried to browse the entertainment selection, though they didn’t turn on the system until about 15 minutes after takeoff, so I could only watch the “main” screen with the flight info.

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Oman Air entertainment system

Finally when the system was turned on I checked the airshow and then browsed the entertainment selection.

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Airshow enroute to Muscat

I couldn’t actually figure out how to display entertainment options on the TV rather than just on the controller, so I consider this to be one of the more complicated business class entertainment controllers out there.

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Oman Air entertainment

The selection was fairly good, though, so I watched an episode of “Fresh Off The Boat,” followed by an episode of “Modern Family.”

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Oman Air entertainment

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Oman Air entertainment

I should note that while I found the controller difficult to use, at least there were no ads, and the system was quite responsive.

I also checked out the wifi situation, which is offered by OnAir. Oman Air has a variety of wifi options, so you can buy a plan either based on how much time or data you want. A full flight plan was $34.99, which isn’t as cheap as Etihad or Lufthansa, but is still quite reasonable compared to Iberia or Singapore.

I do wish it would be a 24 hour plan rather than a single flight plan, given how a vast majority of passengers are connecting on Oman Air between Europe and Asia.

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About 20 minutes after takeoff the flight attendants came around to take dinner orders, and ask if passengers wanted to be woken for breakfast.

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View of Oman Air business class from seat 12A

Finally about 45 minutes after takeoff drinks were served. I ordered another glass of champagne, which was served with mixed nuts.

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Oman Air business class dinner starter — nuts and champagne

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Oman Air business class dinner starter — mixed nuts

About 15 minutes after that, tables were set, in anticipation of the dinner service. Each passenger had an individual breadbasket, and was also proactively offered water. I thought the setup was pretty classy.

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Oman Air business class dinner — table setting

The menu read as follows:

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And the wine list read as follows:

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Oman Air doesn’t have the world’s most extensive business class menu, but let me say upfront that the food was exceptional across the board.

I started with a mezzeh, which was nicely displayed and tasted great as well. It also wasn’t too filling, which was a blessing, since I was hoping to get some sleep on this flight, which is something overeating doesn’t usually help with.

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Oman Air business class dinner starter — Arabic mezzeh

About 20 minutes after the appetizer was served, the crew cleared plates and offered the main course. I selected the Omani dish for my main course, and it was exceptionally good. I know it probably doesn’t look amazing, but it was bursting with flavor. Oman Air has one of these “Omani specialties” on every flight, and they were fantastic across the board.

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Oman Air business class dinner main course — flavours from the sultanate

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Oman Air business class dinner main course — coriander rice

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Oman Air business class dinner main course — braised chicken koftas

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Oman Air business class dinner main course — oven-baked pumpkin and grilled peppers

For dessert I had the vanilla cream profiteroles, which were out of this world. It’s possibly one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, be it on the ground or in the air. I also had a cappuccino to go along with the dessert, which was tasty.

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Oman Air business class dinner dessert — vanilla cream profiteroles

The meal service was finished about 1hr45min into the flight, which meant we had about four hours to go until arriving in Muscat.

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Airshow enroute to Muscat upon going to sleep

I was offered a bottle of water, and then reclined my seat to sleep. The window seats in this configuration are fantastic. They’re so private and so spacious, even better than reverse herringbone seats. You can comfortably bend your knees when sleeping with room to spare, which I can’t personally do in reverse herringbone seats. And you couldn’t possibly have more privacy.

The one negative of the seat is that it was quite hard. Not problematically so, but a mattress pad wouldn’t have hurt.

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Oman Air business class bottled water

I managed to get some solid sleep, and woke up about 75 minutes before landing, as the crew was slowly turning up the cabin lights in anticipation of arrival.

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Oman Air business class cabin on approach

While I only napped for a couple of hours, it was great sleep.

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Airshow enroute to Muscat upon waking up

When the crew saw I was awake they came to set my table for breakfast. The breakfast menu read as follows:

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In a way, breakfast service is completely unnecessary on such a short flight. But if you’re going to serve breakfast, I think what Oman Air does is perfect.

Breakfast consisted of a plate with all kinds of carbs (a roll, a baguette, a croissant, a danish, and some pita bread).

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Oman Air business class breakfast

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Oman Air business class breakfast — roll, baguette, croissant, and pastry

Then were was greek yogurt with honey, which I love.

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Oman Air business class breakfast — honey yogurt

And then a small plate of delicious mixed fruit.

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Oman Air business class breakfast — fresh fruit

I was also offered some coffee and orange juice with breakfast.

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Oman Air business class breakfast — coffee and orange juice

Once the meal service was complete, hot towels were distributed.

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Oman Air business class hot towel

We began our descent about 30 minutes out, at which point I turned on the airshow to look at our approach path.

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Airshow on approach into Muscat

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Airshow on approach into Muscat

The seatbelt sign was turned on about 10 minutes before our arrival.

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View on approach into Muscat

We had a smooth-as-could-be touchdown at 5:05AM, and then began our taxi to our arrival stand.

Muscat Airport is in the process of building a new terminal, which is quite close to the runway. Right now the airport doesn’t have any gates, and unfortunately the remote stands are a long distance from the runway.

We finally made it to our remote stand at 5:20AM, after a 15 minute taxi. The only other plane in sight was an Oman Air A330.

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Oman Air A330 Muscat Airport

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View upon landing in Muscat

It took the ground staff about five minutes to open the door, at which point I descended onto the tarmac. As much as I hate having to take a bus to the terminal, I do love the view of a heavy jet from the tarmac.

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Oman Air 787 upon arrival in Muscat

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Oman Air 787 upon arrival in Muscat

There was a bus exclusively for business class passengers, so after a couple of minutes we were off to the terminal, for our roughly four hour connection.

Oman Air 787 business class bottom line

There were so many things I loved about Oman Air business class. First of all, the business class seats were fantastic, assuming you can snag a window seat. I’d argue the window seats are the best business class seat in the world.

The food was top notch as well. I enjoyed the dinner immensely, and thought the breakfast was just the right portion for such a short flight.

Beyond that, there was some “wow” factor which I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t flown Oman Air before, and it felt exciting because it was a new experience. As much as I love Emirates first class, this product excited me more, for some reason.

As far as the service goes, it was unique to be served by “locals” in the Middle East. You’d never find that on Emirates, Etihad, or Qatar. But that’s true of the Omani workforce in general, and not just at the airline. I’d say the crew was reasonably friendly and efficient, though completely unmemorable. They didn’t go above and beyond and weren’t proactive, though also were fairly responsive to requests and weren’t actively bad (which is a stark contrast from my return crew from Muscat to Frankfurt — stay tuned for that).

All-in-all, I loved Oman Air!

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Comments

  1. In most cases I would have accepted a request to switch seats so as not to be seated next to a woman on a conservative Middle Eastern carrier — if someone asks you when you fly Saudia, it’s in your better interests not to say no. Though in this case, with the barrier between you, the request was definitely somewhat less reasonable, and may have been that her husband was trying to steal your superior seat.

  2. Thank You Ben, for writing this report. You may be aware that there is yet another global Business Class sale going on now until March 7th. I just booked myself DEL-MCT-MXP/CAI-MCT-DEL for USD 800 all in! DEL-MCT-DEL on B738 but MCT-MXP on new A330, and CAI-MCT on B739. Your report has really convinced me to get this ticket! Looking forward to reading further experiences with WY.

  3. Awesome, informative review! Seriously, mate, no one out there does it better than you. I felt like I was right there with you when I was reading this.

  4. @Bgriff In general, I feel like it’s on the person requesting a seat change to only make the request if the seats are equally good (or if the new seat would be better). But if someone asks me to move from my window seat to the middle seat across the aisle, so that they can sit with their family, there’s just no way I’m going to do that. I try to be as reasonable as possible, but people should be embarrassed to ask someone that and put someone in the awkward position of saying no. I think the same goes in this situation; ultimately, it’s the requester’s personal hangups that are causing the problem, not Ben. It’s akin to the situation that was covered on this blog a few days ago, about ultra Orthodox men refusing to sit next to women. It’s on these men to find a solution to their problem, or move to worse seats; they should never place the burden of the consequences of their beliefs on innocent bystanders.

  5. @Hiro,
    How’d you get such a good deal? searched all sites but they show me a minimum of USD 2,000
    Can’t really find that route for $800.

  6. I was wondering if you could speak more to the request to move seats and his reaction?
    I am a female who travels solo and so usually women who are veiled don’t mind sitting next to me but I once had a man who I assume was a woman’s husband demand I switch because I “obviously wouldn’t mind sitting next to an unrelated man.” The way he said it bothered me but what was worse was the fact that I had an aisle seat and he was asking me to switch for a middle on a transatlantic flight. I declined and he got a flight attendant involved. I had paid for seat selection and she was on my side and he was not happy. I am just always curious about these scenarios.

  7. If you want another Middle East airline that has all local flight attendants try El-Al. All their staff is Israeli and offers a real local flair. Plus, while I understand that El-Al isn’t up there on the list of airlines you’re dying to review, it would prove interesting.

  8. I really enjoyed the report and it looks like a great product. However, I’ve never flown with any Gulf airline (nor I visited any of the Gulf countries), and I don’t think I will want to for ethical reasons. As much as I would love to try the products, I wouldn’t like to support airlines that adopt questionable and unethical working practices. Similarly, why would I want to indirectly support a country where most human rights are violated? I’m not judging you in any way, just expressing my opinion.

  9. Wonderful read, Ben. Getting me very excited about my upcoming visit to Oman – albeit EK over and QR back. Maybe WY one day!

  10. @saver, not all Gulf countries can be categorized into one when it comes to human rights particularly towards treatment of working-class foreign expats. Oman is one exception where as Lucky has mentioned, the locals themselves are part of working class population and Omanis are mostly very polite and respectful to anyone. It has its own unique history that differentiates from rest of the Gulf.

  11. “The center seats and aisle seats were identical, and were quite private, but not all that spacious.”
    “The aisle seats themselves were fine, though lacked privacy.”

    So which is it? 🙂
    At least the aisle seats aren’t both narrow AND nakedly exposed, ala BA Club.

  12. @Bgriff has an interesting and valid observation. I use to fly Saudia quite often and had many requests to change my seat to accommodate the needs of a conservative Muslim woman. @Bgriff is right: sometimes it was most definitely in my best interest to agree to the request, even if it meant switching to an inferior seat. Over the years I developed a keen sense of when I could say ‘no’ and when I should acquiesce. Of course, this is just apart of doing business in the Gulf.

    My employer now has us flying Qatar from IAD to the KSA. I must say I actually miss Saudia. The food and service were consistently better on SV; though, I am certainly grateful that I can get a bloody mary on QR. The menu on Ben’s Oman Air flight looked wonderful.

  13. “A veiled lady was seated next to me in the aisle seat, and one of the men traveling with her basically demanded that I change seats because she wanted privacy. I (politely) refused. I paid for my ticket and intentionally selected my seat (and for that matter was specifically trying to review the product), so wasn’t about to switch to an inferior seat.”

    I would have also said no to moving from my seat, it was not your problem and he should not have brought it up, he should have sat in his wife’s seat and moved her to his if he had such a problem with it.
    I hate it when people make you out to be the bad person in life because you said no, I mean you are within your right to stay put.

  14. There is a broken link in the couple of reviews that has an index link to Hilton Madrid Airport (wrong date in the link). Happy flying…

  15. @saver

    Oman is one of the most progressive countries in the middle east, and women make a significant part of the workforce. Don’t assume, go there, see for yourself, do research. It is a great country with wonderful people, and very different from many of its neighbours.

    I flew Oman air in Y, it was an OK experience. But visiting Oman remains one of the most interesting trips I have ever taken.

  16. There is no such thing as the “tarmac”. It is called the apron (or ramp in the US and some other countries). As an self proclaimed AV geek, you should know this.

  17. Unless my eyes deceive me, that’s zuchinni and red pepper – so pumpkin is the Omani translation of zucchini? I guess they think it’s the generic word for squash.

  18. I’ve flown Oman Air several times recently. Have to say I agree with you regarding the seat, it’s fantastic. Surprised the crew were forgettable though. I’ve experienced three very distinct types of service (all highly memorable):
    Most flights the service was similar to flying Singapore Airlines first class, simply fantastic.
    On a couple of flights with predominantly Arab crew the service was far more relaxed, I was treated like an old friend.
    And unfortunately I also experienced a couple of totally shambolic crews, who couldn’t do anything right and who all seemed to be working completely independently of each other.

  19. Another excellent report Ben. Never thought of flying WY but now….it might be a great Business experience.
    As for the boarding music, Etihad’s still my favorite 🙂 Looking forward for the following WY reports.

  20. @ Bgrigg; @ Imperator,

    Would you mind elaborating on what the possible consequences could be if one were to refuse to change seats in those situations where you say it’s in your best interests to acquiesce?

    Any further info much appreciated.

  21. @Bgriff – why is it sometimes in your best interest to acquiesce when you are asked on Saudia to move to another seat?

  22. @saver, yes the country is run on absolute monarchy system whereby freedom of speech may be limited compared to countries in North America or Europe. On the other hand, the sultan (or king) makes sure everyone to live decent lives and has greatly improved standard of living in his country in past 45 years ever since he took power. Majority of people respect the sultan, not just the locals but the foreign labors who come and work there – which is a pretty rare scene compared to neighboring countries. Just because “freedom of speech” is limited doesn’t equate to oppression. You’ll understand better when you visit Oman and see it for yourself.

  23. I love oman, have visited ten times.
    The omani’s are very friendly. I always fly oman air from bangkok business and first and love it, service is exceptionally good.

  24. Echoing some of the previous comments on here, I would really like to know why it is in your interest to let Saudi passengers tell you that you must swap seats at their request. Will they damage your business interests in Saudi Arabia or just make the flight unpleasant?

  25. @Hiro: I am pretty sure that lack of freedom of speech not only equates to, but is the very definition of oppresion…

    To the rest, I have the feeling that what Bgriff means by his post is that almost everyone is part of or connected to the royal families of the gulf countries, upsetting someone with potentially good connections that can make your life a lot harder, especially when you are flying to said country and not from (in which case, don’t switch) and given that they were both flying in a premium cabin, the chances of running into someone like that are far greater.
    Someone has commented here under a recent story how they got in trouble (I think in Saudi or Qatar, but could be wrong) because they got caught looking at someone who has a member of the royal family (who isn’t part of their royal family nowadays, right) in the bus to the terminal. I guess it is one of those, better be safe situations…

  26. Just boarded BKK-MCT on the 787. Not the same J config as what you have in your review this is a 2-2-2 non staggered, well at least not the way it is in your pictures in that the middle 2 are slightly misaligned from the outer two on each side. 3 rows in main business cabin plus 2 more behind it for a total of 30 seats. These seats are nice enough but are just regular 787 J seats same as on Ethiopian.

  27. Nice review Ben as always. I must get on this business class flight from KUL to Milan or Cairo..

  28. Omanis practice their own version of Islam (neither Shia nor Sunni) which is very tolerant of non-Muslims and has tolerance as one of its main tenets. Oman is also a country not nearly as dependent on oil and gas as other Arabic countries are and has always valued their agriculture. It is also a country in rebirth, but it has actively worked to keep the local culture and architecture, so it isn’t a sky scraper modern place. Omanis are also very multi-ethnic and have been for hundreds of years. Their Sultunate used to be much bigger and was a key trading outpost in the region when the UAE, Qatar and Saudi were nothing but tribes.

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