This is a continuation of my Asia Trip Spring 2018.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Review: Oman Air 787-9 Business Class Bangkok-Muscat
Review: Qatar Airways 787-8 regional “First Class” Muscat-Doha
Review: Qatar Airways 777-300ER Q Suites Doha-New York JFK
For my return journey from Asia I had booked a great deal on Qatar Airways in their revolutionary Q-Suites roundtrip from Muscat to JFK, I will return to Oman in May. In order to position myself in Oman for the flights I used my remaining Chase Ultimate Rewards to book a one way business class ticket on Oman Air from Bangkok to Muscat. I also purchased a one-way Thai Airways economy fare from Taipei to Bangkok which was supposed to be on their new 787-9 but last minute it was swapped to a 777-300ER which was still comfortable and great just not as exciting.
Airline: Oman Air flight WY 816
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registered A4O-SD
Seat and Class of Service: Business Class seat 15A, mini-one-row-cabin
Flight Time: Approx. 5 Hours 50 minutes, Dept. 20:40, Arr. 23:30
Distance: 2,855 miles
Upon arrival in Bangkok, I proceeded to West transfers to check-in and get my boarding pass for my Oman Air flight. The Oman Air counter is right by the Oman Air lounge in Bangkok, which is also a Priority Pass lounge, though Priority Pass holders have a 2-hour stay limit.
The Oman Air lounge in Bangkok is quite nice and relaxing. Blue ambient lighting compliments hues of beige and browns reflecting Oman Air’s branding. A buffet with Omani, Thai and Indian foods as well as fruits and sweets is available. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are also available, all self-service. Personally my favorite thing was the Lime-Mint beverage that had and then the fresh orange juice. This is one of the few Bangkok lounges that has partial views of the tarmac, though it is curtained off. Wifi is reliable. I had about 4 hours in Bangkok, so I spent some time in the lounge but ultimately decided I wanted something Thai to eat and went upstairs to grab something.
Boarding was more or less on time. I made sure to be one of the first onboard so I could snap some photos without causing a roadblock since I was in the mini-cabin of business class behind L2 boarding door and in front of economy.
Oman Air uses the APEX Suites business class seat, widely regarded as one of the industry’s best and most spacious, and used by carriers like JAL and Korean Air. It is arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration with the window seats being staggered to achieve maximum space and privacy, so in some ways its 1-2-1, depending on how you look at it. I was actually amazed at just how much space it offers, the pictures make it look narrow but it really is quite spacious, especially the window seats.
While it does not look like there is a lot of storage, I personally feel there is just the right amount. Next to the seat under the foldable armrest you have your charging ports and a little nook to place your phone, maybe even personal headphone case, and dont worry it wont fall through the seat. Then you have a large tray table, followed by two nooks large enough for water bottles, slippers and Oman Air’s large and generous Business Class amenity kit. What was most impressive to me was the storage space under the ottoman, which fit my overly large backpack with ease, I have yet to fly another business class seat that can do this. There is also a privacy screen that can be brought up after take-off, and it makes the suite feel entirely private and enclosed.
The large blanket, amenity kit and wine list were sitting on the ottoman upon boarding. I did find it weird that there was a wine list but no menu which was later explained by the flight attendant, the menus were not loaded (not a biggie, more on that later). Slipper and Pajamas are also available upon request after take-off. Water bottle is already in the nook as well.
Soon, a Filipino flight attendant (my crew was made up of Filipino, Omani, and what I assume was either German or Scandinavian crew) came by to take my pre-departure beverage order. I went for some Laurent-Perrier Brut champagne. She returned with a hot towel, glass and the bottle and poured at the seat. Once I finished that up and it was cleared, another flight attendant came by with Arabic coffee and dates, this is one of my favorite elements of flying airlines from the Middle East. I finished my coffee rather quickly and the flight attendant was swift to offer me a refill.
Soon we were airborne. The seat controls are intuitive and the seat even features a massage function which was quite nice. Shortly after takeoff the pajamas and slippers I had asked for on boarding was delivered. I kept the pajamas as as souvenir but didnt bother changing into it for such a short flight.
Next the flight attendant returned to take my dinner order. She apologized for not having the printed menu but read off my options. I ordered the Arabic Mezze to start, followed by Oman Air’s Omani selection which on this flight was the Saffron Prawns with rice, followed by fruits and tiramisu. For the appetizer I paired with a 2016 Domaine Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Mantagu white wine, for the main I ordered a 2012Chateau Laroque Saint Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux, and finished with dessert wine 2006 Chateau Guiraud 1st Grand Cru. There was an amuse bouche served before. The food was delicious. Flavorful but not overly so, shrimp grilled just right, and though the tiramisu wasnt really a tiramisu, more like a tiramisu mouse of sorts with ladyfingers on the side, it was also good.
I then played around with the various seating positions and was again amazed at how long and wide the bed was once fully flat. It was comfortable and spacious in every possible sleeping position, and I rarely hit the walls, seat panels or end of the ottoman. I got a solid 3 hours-ish sleep until I was shaken awake for pre-arrival refreshments.
Once again the flight attendant read off the options for refreshments and I went with a chicken sandwich with mint tea. The sandwich came with a chutney that was delicious. Once that was cleared we were on our descent into Muscat.
The crew were all friendly and addressed passengers by sir or madam, and my main fight attendant addressed me by name throughout the flight. They were all courteous and professional though I would not say the service was anything above and beyond, but it was good and certainly better than a lot of other airlines.
We landed and pulled into Muscat’s brand new terminal building that had just opened on March 20, 2018. While not massive, you can tell some things were thought out in terms of making the passenger experience smooth. Lots of large and clear signs. Transfer was straight forward enough, but there was no clearly defined premium lane for premium passengers (I know that at immigration and on the landside departures there are separate counters and lanes), but there werent a lot of passengers and I had 4 hours to kill so I didnt mind even though I had my Qatar first class boarding pass in hand.
The airport, though opened, its not full online yet. Currently there is only one lounge operating for all airlines, and I am not even sure if its Priority Pass ready. It is the Prime Class lounge which is on level 2 of departures and across from the airside hotel. Oman Air’s lounge is not ready yet, and I believe there is to be a third lounge as well that is also still under construction. The Prime Class lounge was massive. Featured multiple buffet areas, all with the same food selections none of which I tried as I was not hungry. There is a cool bar with no beverage, yet? They have showers that were not ready as towels had yet to arrive and complimentary sleeping rooms with full beds that you should book in advance when you check into the lounge. There is even a game area for kids and folks who want a game of pool before their flight. The departures area is nice clean and airy, with a few duty free shops and a nice seating area with lots of charging stations. The boarding gate area is just average, and not sure if its due to Qatar Airways or the airport contractors but there was also no premium line at boarding, rather a haphazard everyone all together boarding. The new terminal is nice, and should be a richer and better experience once everything is fully running, and based on the renderings on the walls, the Oman Air lounge should be quite beautiful.
Overall I enjoyed this experience. The seat was spacious and great, the food was delicious and I got to fly another dreamliner type the 787-9.