Oman Air’s incredible business class experience

Oman Air remains one of my favorite airlines, and I was able to experience Oman Air’s incredible business class on both International and domestic sectors, says Chandragupta Amritkar.

When I was invited to Germany, I had the opportunity to experience Oman Air business class flight and decided to stopover in Muscat and Salalah. Coordinating with my old friend Eihab Attia, who heads the marketing for the UAE and Oman by Orascom Hotels, I included his hotels into my schedule. So, this time I flew four sectors – Mumbai to Frankfurt, Munich to Muscat, Muscat to Salalah, and Salalah to Mumbai.

The flight from Mumbai to Muscat was good, boarding quick, food and hospitality was warm and nice, but it was the Muscat to Frankfurt that was par excellence. Oman Air (WY) operates a fleet of around 50 aircraft, with long-haul flights operated by a mix of Airbus A330-200 and A330-300 and Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft. Most of them feature the same Business Class seats – the APEX Suite (a denser 2-2-2 cabin configuration but cleverly designed by staggering the seats along the sides of the cabin and providing a passageway from the window seats thus all seats have direct aisle access). While all Oman Air Business Class seats are good, the window seats can be preferred as they give a feel of almost like enclosed suites (thanks to adjustable privacy dividers) and they also benefit from extra legroom due to the positioning of the seats. Though personally I miss their old business class 1-2-1 configuration with all seats having direct aisle access and baggage space attached to your seat. With a pitch of 80 inches and a bed length of 76 inches, the seat turns into a fully lie-flat bed. There’s a nice ottoman to place your feet with storage underneath the ottoman for a handbag. We were provided with quilted duvets and fluffy pillows as well as cotton sleeper suits and slippers for this 7-hour plus flight. Each seat has a 17-inch personal monitor and two USB ports. While there are a lot of movie choices including Indian movies, I opted to watch the map for most of the flight.

Guests also enjoy a set of unisex Amouage kits (the Omani luxury fragrance brand) which contains body lotion, facial moisturiser, and lip balm along with a dental kit, mouthwash, shaving kit, silk eyeshades, hairbrush, socks, and earplugs.

The Inflight Dining
The ‘dine on demand service,’ which means you eat at your suitable time, is an advantage for those who had sufficient food in the lounge. We were offered pre-departure Omani coffee (‘Kahwa’) with Omani dates. Pre-departure beverages also include Champagne, water, or juice. After take-off, they have à la carte menu with varied dining options accompanied by fine wines, and for vegetarians, they can book in advance their choice of meal. During the meal, we were offered specialty coffees – Espresso, Cappuccino, Mocha, or even hot chocolate, which I prefer (by the way, Oman Air serves one of the best hot chocolates that I have relished).

The Lounge Experiences
For frequent travelers, Business Class lounge facilities are an ideal antidote, especially for those who don’t want to wait in a swarming airport terminal. Business Class passengers get a much more peaceful environment along with access to fresh delicious food, spacious bathrooms and showers, and for those who relish a drink, access to a full bar.

Thanks to the redevelopment of Muscat International Airport, guests can enjoy a swanky new terminal with state-of-the-art technology (I was informed it was the first airport to have a drone detection system). It is located on the 5th floor of the terminal are the Oman Air First and Business Class lounges. On entering the lounge, the soft brown and gold hues are soothing to one’s eyes and the marble floors to walk.

The lounge has two self-serve buffets (hot and cold food) and a bar in-between. Those opting for a quick nap there are curtained nap pods, for longer rest there are four sleeping rooms, private showers etc. A spa provides an assortment of treatments (those were good old days when it used to be complimentary, though Wi-Fi still remains complimentary).

On the Salalah Muscat flight, the Oman Air Salalah Lounge is located past security and has comfortable couches and leather chairs. In a relaxed environment had some snacks and a juice as I waited for my flight to depart.

At Frankfurt and Munich airports, Oman Air partners with other airlines and third-party lounge providers.

Wi-Fi
There is scope here. While Wi-Fi is available, it’s quite expensive. Quite a few airlines give free Wi-Fi for just checking emails, WhatsApp/social media messaging apps (even in economy) and a limited MB for free in business class. I believe Oman Air can also do the same and bring a smile to the faces of the passengers. Also, it would be great if frequent fliers can redeem miles for free Wi-Fi.

Oneworld alliance
Oman Air is the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman that began its operations in 1993, initially serving key domestic routes and today has become a force to reckon with among international carriers. An award-winning airline, Oman Air is expected to be implemented into oneworld soon. “This is a big step moving forward. We will provide more options and destinations to customers with our alliance’s members. Ours is the third airline in the Middle East, along with Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian, to be part of oneworld. Oman Air’s Sindbad frequent flyer program will be able to earn and redeem miles on all oneworld member airlines, with top-tier members receiving additional benefits including lounge access,” said Sunil V A, Regional Vice President ISC & FE.

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