Revealed: Gulf Air’s Incredible New 787 Business Class

Gulf Air is in the process of taking delivery of their first ever Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The airline has 21 of these planes on order, which will help the airline radically transform their (currently outdated) fleet. Not only are they taking delivery of new planes, but they’re also introducing a new livery, to give the airline an updated image.

This week the first 787 landed in Bahrain, and for the first time the airline unveiled the new cabins… and they’re beautiful. As we were expecting, Gulf Air is installing Apex Suites in business class on the 787, which I consider to be the world’s second best business class seat, after Qatar Airways’ Qsuites. This is fantastic, as Gulf Air becomes just the fourth airline to offer these seats, after Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Oman Air.

The cabin looks beautiful. Not only do I love the Apex Suites in general, but I think Gulf Air chose some of the nicest finishes for their seats.

However, I have to question the creative direction of the person who “staged” this plane. That’s an interesting place to put an orchid…

Economy is in a typical 3-3-3 layout, with personal entertainment at each seat.

Congrats to Gulf Air, not just for getting these new, higher capacity, and more fuel efficient aircraft, but for actually introducing an industry leading business class hard product. Here’s to hoping they spruce up the soft product as well, and create something truly special.

As of now, Gulf Air has scheduled their 787 debut for the Bahrain to London route for June 15, 2018. The 787-9 will operate the route twice daily. For the time being, the plane will operate shorthaul flights to familiarize crews with the plane. However, over two months to do that is a long time, so there’s a chance that Gulf Air will move up the 787 debut on their London route.

I can’t wait to try Gulf Air’s new 787 business class this summer. My plan is to fly Gulf Air to the Middle East, and then Oman Air’s new first class from the Middle East back to London.

As a reminder, American Airlines is still partners with Gulf Air, so you can redeem AAdvantage miles on them. However, the partnership is ending on April 30, 2018, so you’ll need to book before then (though you can travel on subsequent dates).

What do you think of Gulf Air’s new 787 business class?

(Tip of the hat to @bahraini)

Comments

  1. Looks like a great product. Curious about the June 15 start date. They have the plane now but will wait over 2 months for the debut flight? Does it take that long to train the flight crews? Do they use the plane for other routes short term?

  2. @ Max — Most airlines usually do training flights for a few weeks, so over two months does seem long. However, it sounds to me like they want to wait until they get their second 787-9 to start flights to London. So this is certainly on the long side, but who knows, they may move up the schedule.

  3. Gulf has defied the odds and the pundits by surviving this long….a good decade or longer after they were expected to disappear. Part of it might be attributable to the unique circumstances of the aviation industry in the region…but if they are now seriously renewing the product then they must have the intention to hang around longer ( 15 years ago their product went from great …good….okay…uncompetitive, in the space of a few years.
    If the agreement with American is ending perhaps they’ll contemplate a relationship with an alliance, maybe Star. Surely it won’t be long before either Oman or Kuwait ( or both) tries to link to an alliance.
    All 3 of those minor airlines must lose huge business due to the lack of crediting opportunities for prospective passengers. Every time I’m tempted to fly one, an option comes up to earn points on an alternative alliance-linked carrier.

  4. @ Lucky – Makes sense. Having more than one plane to start the route seems like a valid reason. Like you said, they might move up the start date too.

  5. Gulf Air has not taken delivery of their first B787-9 yet. It was ferried to Bahrain’s military airport using a Boeing test flight callsign, I understand it will perform a flyover of the Formula 1 GrandPrix this weekend before returning to Everett and eventual official delivery.

  6. Wow! I couldn’t agree more about the finishes. Of the other three Apex Suites cabins (Korean Air, JAL, and Oman) I thought Oman had the nicest aesthetics but now Gulf Air overtakes Oman’s 787 business class in my opinion. I’ll likely never have the occasion to fly it but I look forward to a trip report.

  7. I think they should have painted GULF AIR in the same color as the tail, would have looked awesome

  8. Congrats GF..finally hearing what pax are telling you how to improve..great aircraft ✓..great unique new livery ✓( do not like the bold big letters..they could even have left them out..and still recognizable as GF)…great Apex seats ✓( no need to say more than the best C seat on the market)..now F&B should be improved like QR with or without a chef on board..amenity kit should improved in more better products which you can relate and use(yes, bring the french or italian products back in the kit)..I still remember when I flew GF I like the products of Temple Spa on board and in the lounge..Hopefully they have kept the PJs…Now I am really thrilled to try this new product…will it be like WY which is already very good or outstanding like QR…or be just okay like the rest of the bunch…Now they should focus on improving the small lounge in BAH…I will defintely going to try again…let us see if it is only shallow or with substance!!

  9. @ nff
    I thought of it too, but not in bold letters..more in a refined one like the arabic signs…the gold is really striking out.. you hear that Ben!..one more new product to try this year…

    @ Mark
    It is an emotinal support plant!..which doubles as snacks between meals !!

    Look at the size of the portions for tea time…Diabetes be aware!!

  10. Once the AA relationship ends, what’s our next best redemption for Gulf Air? Would love to try the product once it’s on LHR.

  11. I know in your reviews you’ve constantly praised the Apex suites . The Apex suites seem nice but why do you like them better then one of the herringbone style seats? 4 across seems better then 6 across no matter how well designed. Interested in your opinion.

  12. Although I normally only fly first class (cash), I will consider making an exception for this new business class cabin.

  13. @Jonathan Tilden

    I do not know Ben’s opinion..but I like the Apex suites because they give me privacy which I want when travelling alone..I have the freedom to distance myself for the sights of fellow pax..the headphones help with noice reduction..the length is great and have no problems sleeping on the sides or on my back..If I want to be entertained I just lower the partition and can engage with travelling companions…
    The reverse herringbone is in comparison still open to everyone’s sight and the constant aisle traffic…when sleeping your head is near the aisle and you hear and feels the movements..it is still very good but the Apex suites is one level better…

  14. How fun!

    Last year when I flew business class from Bahrain to London, they pushed around a cart for “tea’, shouted to “hurry up” AND turned off all lights 20 minutes later during a daylight flight, dropping the business class to solid “dark” without any warning FA’s never to be seen until landing. I asked about a beverage service which was missing with the tea. “you can always REQUEST a beverage, Sir”. Never (never again GF!)

  15. @Richie
    ..and your point is??..are not the majority of airlines do it like that??..well, except the shouting..I can only recommend to talk to that person sincerly to not scold you as you are still the guest and it is his/her duty to give a nice service…scolding is definitely not one of it!!…on one point she or he is right…if you need sth. …than request it…sometimes FAs are pretty busy or pretty deaf…so following your request should not be a pain int ass, right!…try a US carrier..you will see GF is more service attentive!…

  16. @ Matthew

    do not frighten the children about the “overrated US3” !..as my parents taught me…if you think you now it better…than try it…Of course, nobody told me that sometimes the lesson you have learned is painful!!

    So regarding @ Richie here…let him try which he thinks is better service…in the end…he will know it better…with or without a painful experience! … c’est la vie, n’est pas!!

  17. Oh my!!!! I think the new livery is outstanding. Indeed spectacular. The colour palettes makes it look all the more beautiful. The icing on the cake will be if they complement the new livery with brand new crew designed uniforms.

  18. Indeed very nice Business Class with fine finishes and Elegance.
    If airlines go with 2-2-2, this is the way to do it.
    They don’t have any alliances though. How to book an award flight?

    @ Victor ATEM
    agree with you cabin crew New Uniform to complement with the brand new aircraft and new beginning and SERVICE.

  19. @ Mohamed

    Thanks! Surely this new airport is a success..I still remember the old and excisting one…it does not appeal worth travelling through and the awful toilets, even in the GF lounges where you BN occasionally have the odour of cigarettes in the air..lots of people are too lazy to go to a smoker booth or whatever…let us see which of the ME airports have the winning touch…BAH..MCT..KWI…

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