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Oman Air 818
Bangkok (BKK) – Muscat (MCT)
Wednesday, February 17
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 12K (Business Class)
This flight boarded a full 50 minutes before departure, so I had the business class cabin to myself for a good 10 minutes before any other business class passengers showed up. Upon entering through the forward door (on this flight they boarded through both jet bridges) I was pointed towards the right aisle, where my seat was located.
This was the same plane I had from Muscat to Bangkok, featuring Oman Air’s old business class product. There are a total of 20 seats, spread across five rows in a 1-2-1 configuration (with three rows in the forward cabin and two rows in the rear cabin).
For this flight I assigned myself seat 12K, the window seat in the last row of the forward cabin.
Moments after settling in the senior flight supervisor came by my seat to welcome me aboard. She was from Thailand, and an absolute gem. We talked for a moment about Muscat, where she has lived for eight years, working for Oman Air. She was extremely friendly and took ownership of the flight, telling me to let her know if there’s anything “her” crew can do to improve.
She offered me a pre-departure beverage, suggesting I perhaps have an orange juice, fresh lemon juice, water, or champagne. I selected a glass of champagne, which was served with a warm towel. I appreciated that drinks were always poured at my seat — she first brought out the glass, and then the bottle of champagne, from which she poured.
Moments later she came by with an amenity kit, headphones, and the menu for the flight.
Also waiting in the console by my seat were the pillow and blanket.
Over the next 30 minutes the cabin slowly began to fill up. Of course I was happy to just sit there and listen to Oman Air’s lovely boarding music.
There were only three other “paid” business class passengers, and then seven operational upgrades. I only know this because I overhead the crew mentioning it during boarding — “we have more than four passengers, we just had seven upgrades because economy is oversold.”
Oman Air sure knows how to fill economy — on three of my four flights it was oversold. I imagine being an elite member with Oman Air gives you consistently great odds at operational upgrades.
Eventually some of the other business class passengers arrived, and the senior flight supervisor engaged them in conversation as well. I was the only non-Omani business class passenger, and she asked all the others whether they were on holiday or business.
The two I overheard both said they were in Thailand for medical treatments — one for his father, and another for himself.
One thing I have to say about Omani people in general is that they’re extremely friendly. Truly hospitable, friendly, kind people, which I haven’t found to consistently be the case among locals in neighboring countries.
As I sat there one of the other flight attendants, who was also from Thailand, came by to welcome me aboard and refill my champagne.
At around 8:40AM I was offered Arabic coffee and a date, which I accepted.
At 8:45AM the door closed, thanks to boarding starting so early. Around this time the senior flight supervisor came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of 5hr55min, anticipating we’d arrive in Muscat a bit early.
At 8:55AM we began our pushback.
As we started our engines the senior flight supervisor was trying to get the safety video to play, though seemed to be having issues. Moments later she said “cabin crew, manual safety positions.”
She had the Arabic-speaking flight attendant read the announcements (since he seemed to be the only crewmember who could speak both languages). That ended up being rather unfortunate, since he really struggled with reading English. It was clear he was just sounding out every word written down without actually processing it. Not that I can really judge, since I can’t read any languages which use different “characters.”
Our taxi to runway 1R was quick, and the safety demo was slow, so the crew was in the aisle until we were holding short of our departure runway at around 9:05AM. It was about halfway through the safety demo when the captain came on the PA to say “good morning to everyone, cabin crew please be seated.” The senior flight supervisor looked like a deer in headlights when she heard that, and motioned for the flight attendant reading the announcements to hurry up.
Within a couple of minutes we were cleared for takeoff, and began our takeoff roll.
The views on the climb out were typical for the Thai countryside, and five minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off.
10 minutes after takeoff the other Thai flight attendant working the aisle came by to take my lunch order.
The menu read as follows:
And the wine list read as follows:
There are some airlines on which I look forward to dining in first class, but it’s rare in business class. Usually in business class I expect a good meal, but not a memorable one. After my last two flights on Oman Air I was actively looking forward to my lunch.
The flight attendant said it would be about 45 minutes until lunch was served, so asked if I wanted a drink in the meantime. I ordered a cappuccino, which was served on a cute tray with a chocolate.
Eventually my table was set — I was offered the usual breadbasket, and just had a sparkling water to drink.
While I loved the mezzeh I had on the last two flights, I figured I should mix it up, and ordered the linguini as the starter. It was fantastic.
For the main course I once again ordered the Omani dish. It was still excellent, though perhaps my least favorite of the three Omani dishes I had so far on the trip (but still very good).
For dessert I had the tangy citrus tart, which was once again incredible. Seriously, three of the best desserts I’ve ever had have been on Oman Air, both in terms of presentation and taste. I also had a cappuccino to go along with the dessert.
As the meal finished I was also offered a bottle of water. The entire meal service was great once again, and was completed about 90 minutes into the flight. This crew was on top of their game — the flight attendants were friendly and attentive, and genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs.
After the meal I watched a few sitcoms, including “The Odd Couple” and “Mike & Molly.”
As I finished the second show I ordered a coffee with milk, which was once again served on a tray, this time with a small cookie rather than a chocolate.
Then I witnessed something I’ve never before seen on a plane. I’ve seen plenty of people pray on planes, though on this particular flight everyone in the forward business class cabin prayed at the same time. I was the only one not praying. A couple of them were praying out loud.
It was sort of a surreal experience to be on a plane and be the only person in a cabin not praying. I’m not a religious person, but in a way there was something beautiful about the situation, and it’s probably what I remember most about the flight.
I ended up napping for a couple of hours, and then about 75 minutes before landing the pre-arrival snack was served, which was once again tasty. I had a glass of champagne to wash it down.
I was also offered a hot towel after the meal.
Unfortunately the airshow didn’t work on this flight, so I wasn’t able to track the progress of the flight.
The view as we approached the coast of Oman was beautiful.
We had a smooth touchdown on runway 8L at 12:05PM, and then began our long taxi to our remote stand, once again passing Muscat Airport’s new terminal.
Within five minutes we were close enough so I could see the traffic on the tarmac, including two Oman Air A330s, as well as a Cargolux 747.
We ended up taxiing past them, and parking one “row” of parking away.
We got to our arrival stand at 12:20PM, at which point the seatbelt sign was turned off.
Upon arriving it was another five minutes until the boarding door was opened. At that point I got into the business class bus, which was fairly empty and departed within a minute or so.
As usual, the views on the tarmac were pretty awesome.
Oman Air business class bottom line
This was another fantastic flight on Oman Air. The food was excellent, and the service was probably the best of the three flights. The senior flight supervisor really took pride in “her” airline. Oman Air is a really special airline, especially when you get to fly their old business class product. While Oman Air perhaps isn’t objectively the world’s best airline, I grew fond of them very quickly, and am determined to fly them again soon.
Stay tuned for the Muscat to Frankfurt review, which was on Oman Air’s A330 featuring the new business class product. That flight was a stark contrast to the previous three, as it had among the worst service I’ve had on any airline (not counting British Airways).