Airline Review: Oman Air

Oman Air, the national carrier of Oman, serves destinations in Europe and the Far East from its Muscat hub. The airline has won numerous awards including the World Travel Awards Best Business Class Airline Middle East 2014 and Best Economy Class Airline Middle East 2013 and 2014.

Oman Air has received numerous awards © Milad A380 - Wikimedia Commons
Oman Air has received numerous awards © Milad A380 – Wikimedia Commons

Flight: London Heathrow to Muscat (overnight). Aircraft – Airbus A330-300

Purchasing the ticket.

This was done by an agent so I cannot comment on the process.

Check-in

This can be done on line at www.omanair.com 24 hours prior to departure. However when I tried to do this it would not recognise the name and booking reference as being on their system. The agent had used my second middle name as the surname. Arriving later than I usually do because of an accident on the M3 I was feeling a little stressed.

The Oman Air staff were friendly and directed me to the correct lane. I was surprised that there was no queue even at the baggage drop. Obviously the staff were efficient in keeping people moving. The problem of my name not matching up to the name on my ticket was resolved speedily and with little fuss. It took little more time than a standard, no problem, check-in. I was very impressed.

Boarding

As usual, when boarding is done by seat numbers, people try to board out of the announced sequence. Such offenders were dealt with firmly but politely which sent a warning to others they should not try it on. This made for very smooth boarding for all. More airlines should follow Oman Air’s lead.

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Oman Air at Muscat International Airport © Gordon Lethbridge

The flight

For many people the flight is the first introduction to the people of the country and can colour their whole experience. Oman Air cabin crew are excellent ambassadors for their country. They come across as being genuine; not just there doing a job. Having visited Oman once before I found that Omanis are an extremely hospitable people. Every passenger was treated as a valued guest and their requests were dealt with promptly. This attention to hospitable detail did make for a slower than usual drinks and meal service. However on the plus side it did mean you felt unrushed. For me it felt like Business Class service but in economy.

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The best inflight meal? © Gordon Lethbridge

There were three choices for the main course, one of which was vegetarian. Oman Air is the national carrier of Oman, a muslim country so there was no pig on the menu. Beef and chicken were the meat choices. The chicken was beautifully tender and just melted in the mouth. It even looked appetising; a rarity in economy class.

The economy class cabin on Oman Air's Airbus A330-300  © Gordon Lethbridge
The economy class cabin on Oman Air’s Airbus A330-300 © Gordon Lethbridge

It was surprising how much legroom there was. Certainly enough not to worry about the person in front banging your knees. Having written about reclining seats on this blog a couple of times I was surprised to find that the seats reclined comfortably but, as you recline the seat moves forward. When the person in front reclined I lost only a couple of inches as the top of the seat back “invaded” my space. Coupled with the fact that there was plenty of legroom meant that when I reclined I was still comfortable and had there been a person behind me instead of a bulkhead they would have lost very little personal space and would have lost no legroom at all.

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These characters from the safety video were very popular © Gordon Lethbridge

There is wifi connectivity on board Oman Air’s Airbus A330 aircraft. I found it a better connection than expected and was able to send emails, update work and even post to Twitter. It is rather amusing (or clever marketing) that they call it WYfi; the WY being the Oman Air flight designator code. There was also a charging point for phones, tablets and laptops.

Oman Air corporate colours  © Prateek Karandikar - Wikimedia Commons
Oman Air corporate colours © Prateek Karandikar – Wikimedia Commons

On a 7 hour overnight flight I want to take a little shut eye if I can. With plenty of room I was able to be comfortable enough to get several hours sleep.

In conclusion

In these days of highly competitive air travel it is great to find airlines where top quality personal service is a priority, even in Economy. I left the flight feeling as if I was special to Oman Air which is what I want on medium and long haul flights. Oman Air has won a number of awards for their service and on my experience they should win several more.

Rating 9.5/10

Links: Oman Air – www.omanair.com; Oman Tourism – www.omantourism.gov.om

Declaration: I travelled to Oman as a guest of Oman Tourism and Oman Air. However I value my editorial independence and will always write things as I see and experience them be it positive or negative. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own.

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Travel Unpacked is all about travel; from luxury to adventure travel and all related topics. There are reviews of accommodation, eateries, airlines,  ferries, books and much more. You will find stories, lists, hints and tips as well as experiences you might want replicate on your travels. It’s about travel as you want it