This review of Oman Air Business Class examines the boutique airlines service in a region of many big players. From the 1970s to 90s it mostly flew regional Middle Eastern and Asian routes which gradually expanded to more long haul flights. It now flies to several destinations in Europe as well further afield in Asia.
I had travelled to Oman couple of times before and find it a great alternative to going to places like Dubai if you want some winter sunshine without too much of the hustle and bustle. Omani hospitality drew me back and the airline offering Apex Suites based business class product felt like a calling, as it’s one of my favourite product type out there. So how does this niche airline compare to the big ME3?
Route: London Heathrow to Muscat
Flight No: WY102
Flight Duration: 7 hours
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Oman Air now operated back from Terminal 4, after the temporary move to Terminal 3. As this was a short long weekend trip, I was just travelling with carry on luggage so I checked in on their app, had my boarding pass already. It was all super easy.
Even though I didn’t need to check-in, I cut it rather fine after a full work day to arrive at the airport just 55 minutes before departure so headed straight through security.
Oman Air Lounge & Boarding
Oman do not operate their own lounges at Heathrow but rather use Gulf Air’s Lounge in Terminal 4. I did not have any time to check it out however thought might have a quick peak, by the time I even got there my flight was already boarding so decided not to go in and made my way to the gate.
When I got to the gate, it became apparent this would be quite a full flight. But they were still boarding passengers requiring extra assistance so had to hang around for a little. So I went for a wander around anyway.
Just as I was scanning through, I was informed by seat had been reallocated to 15K (I had originally chosen 11k).
Oman Air Business Class Cabin
There was several other business passengers ahead of me boarding in the smaller business cabin that I was now in, which meant I was unable to take clear cabins shots at the time.
The mini Business Class cabin has just 12 Apex Suites in 2 row of 2-2-2. Fear not, each and every seat still has full direct aisle access! In total there were 30 Business Suites on this aircraft.
I was glad I still had a window seat, which are by far some of the most private Business Class seats out there.
Each Suite has a cream deeply padded chairs that is 22″ wide with adjustable headrest accented by shades of brown of wooden side panels
My suite has view of not 2 for 4 windows! In paper the Suite has a pitch of 80″, but it sure feels longer.
Places in front just above the foot rest ( you would basically only be using this if you are over 6 foot” or in deep recline/lounge mode!) was wrapped bedding/mattress pad and an extra pillow.
Already placed in my seat was an Amouage leather amenity kit. Which included eye shades, earplugs, flights socks, a lip balm and hand cream. I seemed to recall the business class amenity kit’s being much more extensive than that from a friend’s flight recently.
There was a lit space under the footrest were you can place your shows or smaller carry on satchel.
The IFE comes in the form of a 17″ Screen in front, which even though is very decent for airline cabins, looks small considering the sheer distance from your seated eye level to the screen.
What was rather funny was the screen on the seat adjacent to me looked bigger! because of the way the Suites are staggered.
On the left had site a slim wooden panel runs through the entire length were you can place some belongings or drinks. Beneath that to the front you have two storage shelves. Some people highlight the lack of storage as on of the weakness of the APEX suite designs, but I found this iteration of the product to be more than adequate
The only problem I identified is a proper place to place your laptop, it looked like you can just about squeeze it into the literature pocket but I did not have either of my laptops to test this with.
On the right hand side, you have all your seat controllers, much like other Apex Suites, they are very user friendly.
Along the side of divider panel you will find a nice hook to place your headphone while not in use!
I only managed to get other cabin shots later in on..
Oman Air Business Class Service
Like many good business class experiences, Oman Air offers true dine-on-demand. Service begins on the ground soon after you board with welcome drinks. While in Oman air this usually includes Arabic coffee and Date on top of choice of welcome drink. In this instance, each passenger was also offered a hot towel, which is much appreciated.
However I seemed to have somehow missed the pre-departure beverage and dates.
About 20 minutes after take-off, the cabin crew sprang into action for further drinks and the dinner service
I opted for a mojito mocktail, which was served with some nuts
Placed on the Suite was a nice brown leather bounded Menu which I somehow only captured the main dinner service page
You can find a typical menu here for reference too.
My preferences for dinner were taken during the drink service.
The crew began to set the table while I was still enjoying my drink. The super silky tablecloth was very impressive and definitely sets a tone of a luxury restaurant. Only thing missing was Qatar/Turkish style lamps!
About 45 minutes after take-off my meal began with the Amuse Bouche, which was marinated lobster.
This was followed by the smoked mackerel salad..
For a starter, I was impressed with the portion size of this. There quantity of mackerel was something I’d have on a main, which alongside with the potatoes was rather filling. The dish was excellent with a mix of savoury and sweet of the pomegranate and orange bits.
I took my time with finishing it, so the braised lamb main arrived about 45 minutes after that..
Again, this was a superb dish. The lamb was very moist and seasoned very well, as were the vegetables and rice.
After the main, I already felt full, so decided not to order the cheese plate and went straight for the dessert. A pecan parfait.. this was light and satiated the sweet tooth.
After the dessert, I requested some tea, while I chilled out for a while..
Oman Air Business Class Entertainment
Oman Air have something called ARIA. There was a good selection of programming, I watched mostly documentaries and the flight map though!
I found the handheld controller very responsive and easy to use
The headphones provides were also good noise cancelling quality.
Oman Air Business Class Restroom
There are 3 lavatories on this aircraft for Business passengers use, 2 in the front and 1 in the middle galley area.
The restrooms were very well kept and looked pristine both times I used it.
Since the amenity kits were lacking dental kits, you could find them in the restroom instead, which is probably a great way to reduce plastic waste for people who do not need them.
They also had a larger version of the Amouage hand cream and a fragrance here too.
Oman Air Business Class Bed
I am not sure if turndown is officially offered, since I watched the couple sitting across from me make their own bed, but while I was headed to the restroom after dinner, a crew member did ask if I wanted my bed made, to which the answer was yes please!
So I came back to this..
Just like my Gulf Air’s Falcon Gold flights, I still felt the same awe of just how long this bed is. If you are a tall person, this would be a dream to sleep in!
When I tucked in, it felt very comfortable. Many flatbed can feel very hard but this is the seat padding and the mattress topper really comes into its own.
The bedding and duvet were soft to touch and something that just makes you want to snuggle up..
Despite the staggering, if you were travelling with someone, you can still talk to them with the divider down, though perhaps not for long, without doing your neck in!
As I laid in bed, I drifted into sleep without trying.
Oman Air Business Class Midflight Snack
Less than 2 hours after falling asleep I woke up, realizing I still had my contacts on! Which wasn’t great. Unfortunately, I did not feel so tired to fall back alseep again and instead of waiting for breakfast service I decided to order something snacks from the anytime menu.
The mini burger was lovely as well as the salad/hummus bread. I think they threw in a breakfast yogurt in there too.
After this, I felt tired again and slept through until landing.
This was a super pleasant and enjoyable flight and more or less bang on what I had expected from Oman Air. The service, quality of catering is not far be out of range from Qatar/Singapore levels. If you enjoy the warm of Omani/Middle Eastern hospitality, you would feel right at home. Compared to my recent Gulf Air Flights with APEX Suites, the service and soft touches certainly felt like a touch above.
Despite it being a full flight in Business, the crew were very attentive and timely. I can’t say they went above and beyond per say, which is expected given a full cabin. The only things I noted that were different than otherwise expected was the slimmed down amenity kit contents ( on their website they showcase more Amouase products) and the slight confusion about the pre-departure drink. But that did make a huge difference thanks to the speedy drink service post take-off.
Together with the excellent hard product with the soft touches and service, Oman Air Business Class has a very competitive offering which comfortably makes it into my Top 10. My return from Oman was in First Class. What is even more impressive is their First Class catering is not all to different to Business Class, with the addition of caviar and some different cheeses and additional champagne.
Oman Air is due to join OneWorld so flying them should become much more accessible. Currently you can book award seats if you have Etihad miles or Aeroplan points lying around!