Oman Air

My 7 Favorite Airlines I Flew For The First Time In 2016

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One of my big focuses of 2016 was reviewing as many new airlines as possible. Given that I’ve flown most of the world’s best first class products, this came primarily in the form of trying more business class products. Furthermore, with so many airlines having devalued their award charts, often the sweet spot for award redemptions is shifting from first class to business class.

At first I figured I’d miss products like Cathay Pacific first class, Emirates first class, Lufthansa first class, etc., which almost began to feel like second homes.

However, I’ve found it so enjoyable to try new airlines. In many ways, airlines reflect the cultures of their respective homes, so even if you’re not visiting a country, flying a country’s airline gives you a good taste of that destination. I’ve enjoyed flying new airlines so much, and my goal for 2017 is to review even more new airlines than I did this year.

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Review: A Very Disappointing Experience In Oman Air First Class

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Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to fly Oman Air business class, and I had an incredible experience. I loved how “local” the experience felt, along with Oman Air’s excellent business class seat (both the old seat and new seat are industry leading), their great catering, etc.

I’ve long been intrigued by Oman Air’s first class, which I’ve been tempted to try. However, I’ve wondered if there’s any differentiation between Oman Air first and business class, given that the products look very similar.

Well, reader John Spear recently flew Oman Air first class from Kuala Lumpur to Muscat to London, and shared his experience with me. I have to share the experience here, since this has to be one of the worst jobs an airline has ever done managing expectations in first class. It’s not just about the lack of differentiation between first and business class, but about the downright false advertising that Oman Air does about their first class product. The report is long, but well worth reading, in my opinion.

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Oman Air Disabled Their “Disturbing” Inflight Maps…

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There’s no denying that it’s tough to do anything nowadays without offending people. Sometimes people are just being ridiculous, like the self-proclaimed social justice warrior who insisted a Lyft driver remove his dashboard doll because it offended her.

Sometimes people have valid points and an apology is due, like when Korean Air launched flights to Nairobi, inviting people to experience “the indigenous people full of primitive energy.” It pays to get a translator!

Similarly, people weren’t all too pleased when one of Air China’s inflight magazines suggested avoiding London neighborhoods populated mostly by Indians, Pakistanis, and black people. Oh, and females should also never travel alone.

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3 First Class Fares That *Almost* Tempt Me…

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As you guys know, my goal this year has been to review as many new airlines in premium cabins as possible, and I’ve found it to be immensely enjoyable. I’ve tried even more new products than I was hoping to, so a few weeks back I shared an additional list of 13 more airlines I want to review in the coming months.

I’ve shared the details of my upcoming trips, and as you may have noticed, my emphasis this year has been on business class products rather than first class products. That’s for a couple of reasons:

— With recent award chart devaluations, first class awards are in many cases now disproportionately expensive, while the cost of business class awards is still reasonable, so the “sweet spot” for redemptions is starting to shift
— For most business travelers, business class reviews are more useful than first class reviews, since most people can’t justify booking first class

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Incredible Deal: Oman Air Business Class From Asia To Europe For $1,000 Roundtrip

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Oman Air has one of the best business class products in the world. Ben flew with them last year and discovered that their rare business class seat was actually his favorite in the skies.

This is a rare product that is only available on Oman Air, Japan Airlines, and select Korean Air aircraft. Meanwhile, their old business class is also great. It looks more reminiscent of first class on many airlines.

There are very few ways to redeem miles for Oman Air flights, making their business class even more inaccessible. When combined with their limited route network, few people get to experience Oman Air.

Well, there is a deal at the moment that may allow some of you to try them out. From October to December you can fly business class from Kuala Lumpur to Munich starting at just $1,000 roundtrip!

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Oman Air Introduces Yet Another Business Class Product…

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Oman Air is one of my favorite “boutique” airlines. Oman is a gorgeous country with friendly people, and overall the airline does a great job representing the country. Up until now, Oman Air has had two types of business class products on their longhaul planes.

Traditionally Oman Air has had an incredible business class product in a 1-2-1 configuration, which looks a lot like what you would have found in first class on many airlines about a decade ago.

Oman Air also has a new business class product, which I initially thought was a downgrade, though the window seats in this configuration are actually my favorite business class hard product out there, as they’re incredibly private.

Add in Oman Air’s excellent catering, and it really is a great experience.

Do keep in mind that Oman Air consistently has exceptional business class fares, especially between Europe and Asia with a layover in Muscat, so it’s possible to fly them on the cheap (and you can even credit your miles to programs like Etihad Guest).

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Incredible Oman Air Business Class Fare Sale Between Europe And Asia

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For years I’ve wanted to fly Oman Air, which is generally regarded as one of the better boutique airlines out there. Earlier in the year I had that opportunity, when Oman Air had a fare sale between Europe and Asia.

Earlier in the year I flew Oman Air between Frankfurt and Bangkok, and had an incredible experience.

I wrote a trip report about my experience, including the following installments:

— 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: Oman Air Lounge Bangkok Airport
— Review: Oman Air Business Class A330 Bangkok To Muscat
— Review: Oman Air New Business Class A330 Muscat To Frankfurt

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Review: Oman Air New Business Class A330 Muscat To Frankfurt

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By my fourth Oman Air flight I figured I wouldn’t be thrown any curve balls, given how consistent the previous three flights were. Well, this crew was nice enough to keep things interesting, and probably ranks as one of my 10 worst crews ever. And it’s not because they were rude or malicious, but rather simply because they were lazy.

Boarding began at around 1:30PM via a remote stand. The bus ride from the terminal took about five minutes, and the air stairs were attached to the plane’s second door.

Upon boarding I turned left into the business class cabin. Unlike my two previous Oman Air A330 flights, this A330-300 featured Oman Air’s new business class product, which is identical to the one on the 787.

Oman Air’s new A330 business class cabin features a total of 24 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration (that’s one more row than on the 787). The plane features the Apex Suite, which is also found on select Japan Airlines and Korean Air planes.

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Review: Oman Air Business Class A330 Bangkok To Muscat

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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.

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Review: Oman Air Lounge Bangkok Airport

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Oman Air offers a chauffeur service in Bangkok, so I requested to be picked up at Le Meridien at 5:30AM. I know that was extremely early for my 9AM flight, though I wanted to be sure I had plenty of time to grab pictures of the Oman Air Lounge and take care of some work before my flight.

The driver showed up right on-time, this time in an older Mercedes E200. On the way out my driver showed up in a Toyota, so I’d say this was a nice upgrade.

The drive to the airport took about 25 minutes, and I was dropped off at the main terminal. Suvarnabhumi Airport has a gorgeous check-in hall with high ceilings, though it’s almost always crowded, in my experience.

I checked the departures board to see where Oman Air’s check-in counters were. They were using the “T” counters, which were towards the far right of the terminal.

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Review: Oman Air Business Class A330 Muscat To Bangkok

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While the 787 I flew from Frankfurt to Muscat featured Oman Air’s new business class product, this flight featured their old business class product. Going into the trip, this is the flight I was most excited about. The reason I decided to fly Oman Air now was because I wanted to be able to try their old business class product before it goes away.

So, was it as awesome as I had hoped?

I boarded through the second door at around 9:35AM, where I was directed left into the business class cabin.

Oman Air’s A330-200 aircraft have a total of 20 business class seats, which are in a 1-2-1 configuration. There are a total of three rows (12 seats) in the forward business class cabin, and then another two rows (eight seats) in the rear business class cabin.

I have to stop for a second and share my level of excitement for when I boarded this plane. What makes me giddy about onboard products isn’t just the most cutting edge features, but there’s also something I love about a cabin which feels like it’s from a different era (which doesn’t have to be a bad thing). Perhaps the last time I felt more like a kid in a candy store than on this flight was when I boarded the Etihad A380 for the first time.

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Review: Oman Air Lounge Muscat Airport

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I got to the terminal at around 5:30AM, leaving plenty of time before my 10AM flight to Bangkok. The bus from the remote stand dropped off in the arrivals area, where you can follow signage either towards immigration or connecting flights.

I followed the signage towards connecting flights, which led me down a long hallway. There I presented my boarding pass and passport, after which I cleared security.

Oman Air times their flights pretty well so that they all arrive and depart around the same time, in an effort to minimize connecting time. However, in this case we lucked out, as we were the first flight of the morning to arrive, so there was no one at security.

Security was a breeze (almost concerningly so, as they didn’t even seem to be looking at the x-ray monitor), and I was through in no time.

Muscat Airport is rather depressing. They’re in the process of building a new terminal, but for the time being there’s just a terminal which is way past its prime.

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Review: Oman Air Business Class 787 Frankfurt To Muscat

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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.

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Introduction: O-man, IB Crazy AF

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To those of you who have been asking for more creative trip report titles, there ya go. Punny, eh? 😉

The motivation for this trip started with my desire to fly Oman Air. I’ve flown most of the other major carriers in the region, including Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, etc.

But when it comes to business class products, Oman Air has always intrigued me more than any of those airlines. They’ve historically had a business class product which looks a lot more like first class than business class, though their new planes are being delivered with a different business class product. So I really wanted to try their old product before it eventually disappears.

Fortunately that opportunity presented itself when I stumbled upon some great Oman Air business class fares between Frankfurt and Bangkok (routing via Muscat in both directions). Unfortunately the time I had to take this trip was very limited, as I hoping to squeeze it between my trip to Changsha on Hainan, and my trip to Colombia, which gave me only about a week to play with.

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