Airline: Oman Air
Cabin: Business Class
Route: Jaipur, India (JAI) – Muscat, Oman (MCT)
Aircraft: Boeing B737-800 (A40-BV)
I am a big fan of “not so famous” airlines, as often one can find some real hidden gems among them. Oman Air in my personal opinion is one of them – great airline, with a great hard and soft product, pity though they live in a shade of more famous Middle Eastern neighbors.
I have flown with them previously on their A330 and business class product was truly amazing (way better than some well-known players), so for this trip from India to UAE I have chosen them, rather than flying direct.
Experience started with a checking in in Jaipur airport and ground staff was among the most attentive and helpful I have recently encountered. Even though airport is quite small, I was escorted all the way to the gate, where the aircraft had just arrived.
Waiting area in the international part of the terminal is very small. If I remember correctly, there were only two gates for flights going out of India.
When the boarding have started I joined the queue, as there was no separate line for the premium cabin passengers, but as soon as I reached the desk, one of the airport staff (not WY staff) goes: “No, you sit here, you board last.” Okaaaaay, feels like being scolded, by elementary school teacher for jumping the line in the dining hall, but whatever.
So I boarded last, to my surprise there was only one more passenger seated in the J cabin (I wonder, how he got through that pleasant lady at the gate…) and that was pretty much it for the whole flight. Two of us and that’s it.
In terms of seating we have to remember its regional aircraft, so I wouldn’t expect flat bed with massage functions. For flights like this (little under 3 hours) it is more than enough.
Welcome drink was served promptly, by quite welcoming and professional crew, followed by the usual hot towel. I think his economy class colleagues, where jealous since him and other crew had only two passengers to take care of 🙂
Taxi out did not last for long and soon we were on our way to Muscat.
Meal service started by giving out the menus right after take off….and promptly collecting them back, so I had no chance to take a photo of those. Bit frustrating at that moment, but I decided to applaud ecological thinking of the crew and keeping them for reuse later, before any of passengers leave their biriyani sauce finger prints all over them.
First they came out with linen and trays with some mezze items, and carrot desert on them. Later on bread was offered and appetizer plate was exchanged for the plate with the hot main course. Both options I have to say were quite tasty. Only let down was the desert (but I have a sweet tooth, so I’m bit too much when it comes to sweets hehe).
I passed on the hot beverages run, as I like to have my coffee before landing. After I opened the entertainment system, I found out (with horror), that I shoveled in my meal within few minutes (Out of the window go my mama reminders to eat slowly and chew every mouthful at least five times – well, I skipped the breakfast on that day. Hope that crew did not refer to me for the rest of the flight as “hungry b*****d from 3A).
IFE had quite limited selection, but it did not bother me so much, as flight is not so long, so it’s not like one can sit back, relax and have a quiet movie night. Few episodes of Big Bang Theory were just enough for me, however for some reason, any airline I board, first pair of headsets I get never works.
And just a quick look into the seat pocket:
I think one of the reasons why Oman Air is not so well-known outside of the region is their somehow still limited network. But on the positive note it seems, that they are growing slowly, but steadily. This is their network as per their inflight magazine:
Before we reach the top of descent I asked for my coffee. I liked the presentation and the cookie on the side and the fact that milk is not poured into coffee for you, but kept in the small jar so you can make it the way you like it. Surprisingly still not very common thing in most of airlines.
Soon Muscat appeared underneath us. If you haven’t ever been there, I do highly recommend visiting this city. Very peaceful, charming with the real spirit of Arabia.
And after landing what did I see? Some fellas from our government visiting Oman:
Bus transfer to the terminal is always bit of a let down, but that should improve soon after new terminal will be open (not sure about the opening date, but should be sometime soon).
Final thoughts? Oman Air is a great airline with unique spirit, a great potential and it is a great ambassador for the country, maintaining a little bit of that Omani hospitality in often (sad to say so) sterile and uniformed world of aviation. Sadly they don’t really fly to places where I usually travel, but as soon as I see them on some route I plan to go, I will be more than happy to hop on their plane.