Lachlan Burnet thinks he may have just discovered the “Best Keep Business Class Secret” in aviation – at least for us here in Australia at any rate.
As a self-confessed “plane nerd” and someone who loves trying new and lesser-known airlines, when the opportunity came up to sample Oman Air’s Business Class I couldn’t refuse – particularly when it was their brand “new” Business Class seat.
There are priority check-in lines for First and Business Class passengers (Oman Air is apparently phasing out F class in the not-too-distant future) and for elite members of their “Sinbad” frequent flyer program – I now have a new favourite mileage club name – Sinbad! How cute is that?
There is no Oman Air Lounge at KLIA, so premium passengers can use the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge which is a little tired but scheduled for a complete refit soon.
THE SEAT AND ENTERTAINMENT
On this aircraft (an A330-200) the newly-refreshed J Class features 30 seats spread out over 2 cabins – 18 in the front cabin and 12 in the smaller rear cabin.
As it turned out, I was the only passenger in this particular cabin section tonight which made me feel like I was flying in my own private aircraft.
There were also 2 cabin crew members all to myself which made me feel very special.
My first impression of the cabin and seat as “Wow”. The new Oman Air Business Class seat is designed by APEX, and it also used by Korean Air and Japan Airlines on certain aircraft in their fleets.
I was completely blown away by the privacy level, particularly in the window seat which I had chosen.
The cabin is configured 2-2-2 however the cunning, staggered design of the APEX seat means that each passenger has direct aisle access and a large (movable) partition is in between each pair of seats.
A single traveller should definitely do all possible to score a window seat as they are much more “closed off” and private than the other seats. If you’re travelling with a friend then select a pair of seats in the centre of the cabin.
There are lots of nooks-and-crannies and larger storage areas with this seat as well as a power-point and two USB sockets to power and charge your gadgets. I also loved the sand-based colours of the cabin which instantly gave me a connection to their homeland of Oman.
The seat controls are very intuitive and you can really put the seat in any position you like.
Here’s the seat in what I called “Relax Mode” – great for watching movies, and as a fully-flat bed which was exceptionally comfortable as you’d expect.
The video screen is exceptionally large at 17 inches and is controlled by a very easy-to-use remote.
(And yes, I did wonder if the three gentlemen shown on the screen were from Oman’s version of “Masterchef”. I never got to find out, unfortunately, but this is what I’d imagine they’d look like).
One function I really liked is that you can watch a movie on your big screen and leave the “moving map” displayed on your remote simultaneously – very satisfying for an #AVGeek like me!
There was a large selection of western and Arabic movies and TV shows on offer – far more than you could possibly hope to watch on a flight of this length – and all on-demand.
Noise-cancelling headphones were handed out which were okay, (I think it’s far better to use your own which I what I did in this case), and in-flight Wi-Fi is available, however, there are data limits and it is quite pricey.
SERVICE AND FOOD
Oman Air has cabin crew of many different nationalities. Unlike other Gulf carriers, Oman Air employs local cabin crew and I found the Omani people to be so hospitable.
As well as a male Omani (who seemed delighted to teach me some basic Arabic words during the flight) I had two lovely female crew – one Filipino and one Thai – who was very proactive and attentive during the flight.
After boarding, Champagne was poured at the seat (which is so much nicer than it being galley-poured and brought out en-masse on a tray) and Arabic Coffee and a date was offered as well as a range of international newspapers. I loved the glassware and the Arabic coffee pot – they were gorgeous.
A high-quality set of pyjamas in a useful resealable bag was distributed. I changed into these straight after take-off and they were supremely comfortable. Slippers were also offered too.
As this flight left Kuala Lumpur after 2100, the crew were proactive in serving the dinner in quick time after departure so maximum sleep could be enjoyed, but it never felt rushed or hurried.
A plate of nuts and an aperitif were offered first – and who doesn’t like it when your nuts are warmed prior to serving?
Following this was a lovely smoked salmon amuse bouche.
Then the starter I selected which was the Arabic Mezze plate which was nicely presented.
As I was the only passenger in my cabin there must have been a lot of food left over.
The Thai flight attendant brought me a plate of satay that I didn’t order, but said that I must try it as we left from Malaysia and it’s “incredibly delicious”. Well, if you insist!
Individual bread baskets were served, and for the main, I decided to try a traditional Omani curry.
I always try the “local” dish of the airline I’m flying and this was a spectacularly tasty option that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I was so full by this stage and wanted to skip dessert, however, the Filipina flight attendant this time was having none of that and said she would be “very upset” if I didn’t at least try the cake. Ohhhhh… Go on then!
Now, it was time to try out the bed and I took my supplied amenity kit into the bathroom.
The amenity kit and bathroom were both stocked with local Omani products from Amouage, which is, again, a nice symbol of their homeland, however I did get a giggle over the pink satin eye-shade – very “50 Shades” and probably wouldn’t suit me that well should I be brave enough to wear it.
One thing to be aware of in the bathroom (apart from being stocked with nice local products like the amenity kit), is that the toilets also feature a bidet function, which you might not find on other carriers (except, maybe JAL and ANA).
Not realizing this, I pressed the button below nonchalantly assuming is was the FLUSH button and boy, how wrong was I! “Er, excuse me, can I have another set of pyjamas, please? Mine appeared to have gotten a tad wet”.
When I returned to my seat again one of the cabin crew had been proactive and brought a lovely, relaxing cup of Green Tea to my seat and told me it was “good for digestion and to help you sleep better”.
The flight from KUL-MCT is approximately 6 hours in length, so if you eat after take-off you might get 3 hours or so which is a nice-enough “nap” prior to getting off the aircraft.
I awoke 45 minutes prior to landing and my Thai crew friend told me that she’d put away the pre-landing refreshment for me in case I was hungry.
I truly wasn’t, but for the sake of this review, I accepted it as well as ordering a strong, black coffee which was brought promptly.
Before too long, we’re touching down at MCT and this wonderful flight is over all-too-soon.
From talking to the crew during the flight, the new terminal building schdeuled to open soon will be a huge improvement on the current one (which, I found was old but worked quite well) and will certainly make things more appealing for travellers considering using Muscat as a transit point on their journey.
I had heard good things about Oman Air, but until I experienced them myself, I didn’t realise just how good they are. While the service might not be as “polished” or “by the book” as other, larger airlines, I found their style charming and genuine. I would certainly recommend Oman Air’s Business Class without any hesitation whatsoever.
The new Business Class seat is an absolute winner and the nicest business class seat I’ve ever experienced.
Most of their aircraft have been refurbished with the new product, and their new aircraft (Boeing 787’s) are being delivered with this configuration, but their older J Class product (which I flew on the return leg) was still extremely comfortable and with a fully lie-flat bed in a 1-2-1 configuration.
In Asia, WY fly from CGK, BKK, MNL and KUL through to MCT and have an extensive network throughout the Middle East and into Europe to ports such as London, Paris, Frankfurt and Manchester.
Their cheapest fares ex-Asia seem to be from CGK and KUL, so if you can manage the left from Australia to one of these cities up the “back of the bus” then taking WY’s Business Class from there to Europe and back makes for an extremely cost-effective way of travelling most of your journey in a lot of style and comfort.
Flight: WY824 KUL-MCT
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Flying Time: 6 hours 45 minutes (Depart KUL 2120, Arrive MCT 0005)
Visit Oman Air to find out more here
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