Nudging its way through for due attention, Oman Air offers a delightful flying experience to its patrons amid some of the biggest names from the aviation industry. The Middle East’s famed flyers are known to up their game with a constant introduction of innovation and luxury benefits for their passengers. While Oman Air gets most things right, they surely haven’t made the cut that has propelled Emirates and Etihad into the luxury airlines categories. Yet, they are an endeared carrier for many. So what was it that left flyers so satisfied?
To see for myself I decided to choose Oman Air’s Business Class experience from Mumbai to Muscat, a route that is frequented by several Indians for business and leisure. The two and a half hour journey would commence from Mumbai’s state-of-the-art Terminal 2. Unlike the Emirates Business Class experience, I wasn’t offered a pick-up service by the airlines, from my doorstep. The ground staff at the Mumbai airport were polite and I didn’t wait too long before I was ready at the boarding gate.
As one would expect to find in a flight that isn’t a long-haul one, there were no flatbeds. The seats we comfortable in the Business Class, though they did seem to be far to close to each other. This took some getting used to after the spacious seating in the Emirates. The cabin crew was quite friendly and welcoming. They offered me a welcome drink and asked if I was comfortable. Menus were distributed to herald the lunch-time service. The spread was fairly good, with a mix of vegetarian options and meats. The staff seemed to be in a hurry to ‘get done’ with the meals. The traditional servings of dates and coffee infused with authentic Omani hospitality was a welcome experience for me.
As soon as I was done, I busied myself with the in-flight entertainment system. I must admit that the options available were very few, in comparison to what other Middle Eastern aviation giants offer. I was offered a comfortable headset though. The 10.6-inch video screen, PC power outlet, USB port, reading light and literature pocket were the minor luxuries I would have to make do with while watching some reruns of some sitcoms.
The arrival and landing weren’t with too much ceremony. The sight of the shores of Oman just before descent is quite impressive. It’s a nation that truly represents its cultural nuances through every gesture and designed surface, and this is evident right since you land. The Muscat International Airport is large enough to accommodate nearly 20-million passengers. The passenger terminals here are built with the latest technology, while the airport can accommodate some of the world’s largest aircraft. While my transfer to the airport wasn’t too impressive, the baggage processing was phenomenal. The airport is known to have a processing speed of 5,500 bags per hour! With two parallel runways, there’s never the hassle of finding clearance for landing or take-off, which makes this one of the most convenient terminals I’ve experienced.
For a short journey, on a quest to discover the cultural authenticity of a local carrier, was fairly impressive.
The round trip fare from Mumbai to Muscat in Oman Air’s business class is Rs 55,000\-
Note: The critic was invited by the Airlines but all the opinions expressed herewith are his own