Fantastic Business Class at Economy Prices: Oman Air Business Class

Oman Air is a relatively new airline, having launched long-haul flights only in 2007. They frequently offer their Business Class at very low prices. Great seats, friendly service on board and a fantastic new airport and lounge in Muscat make Oman Air’s Business Class a very competitive product! Read my Oman Air Business Class review to see if it is worth your money for a premium cabin flight!

Pre-Departure: Oman Air allows two pieces of luggage with a combined weight of 50kg for Business Class travelers. Elite members in their Sindbad loyalty program have an extra 10kg allowance. You can bring an additional two pieces of hand luggage onboard, with a weight of up to 7kg each, as well as small, personal items. That’s a generous allowance!
At the airport, Oman Air has a separate check in line for Business Class passengers and there was no wait when I checked in for my flight in Manila. You also have lounge access before departure. Oman Air operates their own, fantastic lounge in Muscat (see my review here) and utilizes contract lounges elsewhere.
The Boarding Experience was excellent in Manila: I arrived at the gate after boarding had already started and Staff gave me priority at the passport checkpoint at the entrance to the gate area and walked me to the gate to board immediately – color me impressed!
The boarding experience at the new Muscat Airport was a significant improvement over the chaos at the old terminal. I was able to pre-board as business class passenger, although it still seemed unorganized – ground staff doesn’t seem to really care.

Oman Air A330

Onboard Service: Service on all of my Oman Air Business Class flights has been very good. Staff consistently welcomes guests onboard warmly and, both the responsible flight attendant as well as the purser introduced themselves by name prior to departure, offering to take care of any wishes I might have. And they were just as friendly and attentive throughout the flight. They did a great job in pacing the service throughout the flight, pro-actively stopping by to fill up my glasses, remembering what drinks I was having without having to ask or checking in on me, if there was something else I wanted. The service is right up there with Singapore Airlines or Etihad!

Food: The good impression from the service continues with a great dining experience. Oman Air offers flexible, restaurant style dining, with a combination of a set menu (with main-course choices) and a la carte dining of a menu with various appetizers, main courses and desserts. The flight attendants allow you to order your meal on your on timing and to combine various dishes to a meal of your choice. For example, you can have the set menu at the beginning of the flight and just a snack before you land. Or you can order another full meal as a combination of a la carte courses. Or you can sleep in and skip the second meal altogether. Each course is served restaurant style, no carts visible in business class! I really like the flexibility of the dining experience: Sometimes, I’ve just eaten before boarding and want to go straight to sleep, other times I might be hungry and want two full meals. A true luxury experience allows you to have it your way – this is a vast difference from the US carrier’s “chicken or beef?” Cart service!
You can get an idea of the variety of food from the menu below:

Despite being based in muslim country, Oman Air does have a nice list of wine and liquor. Oman Air serves a very nice Laurent Perrier champagne ($37/bottle) pre-departure and during the flight. I had the French Bordeaux Chateau Laroque Saint Emillion 2012 ($43/bottle) with my meal and I very much liked it. The quality of the wine was drastically better than on my recent Cathay Pacific Business Class flight!
The same can be said about the quality of the food. One of my meals consisted of a shrimp canapee, a fresh salad, followed by a chicken main course and some fresh fruit.Other dishes I enjoyed during the trip were a sushi appetizer (difficult to do well on a plane!), a tender beef stew and a beautiful cheese plate. You can feast your eyes on the photos below:

The quality and taste of each lunch and dinner dish was excellent, some of the best food I’ve had onboard an airplane. In comparison, the egg omelette and breads I had for breakfast were just average.

Seat Airbus A330: Oman Air is using a staggered 2-2-2 layout. The window pairs are offset, giving each seat aisle access.

Center seats are aligned, making them good for couples. There are privacy screens that can be moved up or down.

All seats are fully flat, similar to ANA or Asiana. Here, the seats appear to be a little longer and have full width at the feet with a storage cubby at the end giving very tall people some extra space. At 6ft3 I was very comfortable and didn’t even need the cubby!

The seat reclines in a smooth motion from upright for meals to lounging for reading or watching movies and to fully flat for sleeping. It’s very comfortable to sleep on, with no bumps or gaps. The seat has a massage function that works really well – on other airlines, I didn’t even notice it when it was on! I had the window seat on each flight which offers the most privacy with the privacy screen up. The small walk-through to the aisle is wider than on other planes with a similar configuration.
You also have plenty of storage and surface around your seat: There is a small shelf on the aisle side for a glass or hot towel. Below it are storage spaces for the head phones, water bottles or reading materials. Near the seat is a wide and slim space that can hold a laptop or tablet. You’ll find the power outlet and USB port here as well. There is a clever hook near the headrest to hang the noise cancelling headset. The table is stored in the arm rest and is large and very stable when folded out, good for meals or to work.
The controls for the seat are simple, with buttons for up, lounge and sleep, as well as individual controls to move parts of the seat. You also get a touch screen controller for the entertainment system in the arm rest. While intuitive to use, it’s not as responsive as a modern smart phone. The screen itself is very large, bright and with vivid colors.
Entertainment: The system offers a good selection of movies, TV and music. There were a number of recent blockbuster Hollywood movies, as well as movies for each of the destinations Oman Air flies to. While the selection wasn’t quite as extensive as on Eithad, it’s better than most premium airlines I’ve flown with and certainly enough for a few hours of distraction.

Amenity Kit: Oman Air has a pretty impressive amenity kit as well. On the most recent flights, it was a brown leather bag with basics like socks, ear plugs, a sleep mask and dental kit. It also had mouth wash, a shaving kit, a comb/brush and a selection of expensive Amouage branded lotions.

You also receive a thick, soft pillow and a relatively thick and heavy comforter. In addition, the flight attendant offered pyjamas on one of the flights. I wasn’t aware that they have them and they were not automatically offered to all passengers, making Oman Air one of the few passengers to offer them in Business Class. It was a comfortable set of long pants and v-neck shirt in soft, brown cotton, with a pair of slippers packaged in a brown cotton bag.

Bottomline: Oman Air offers my favorite flat-bed seat, very good food and entertainment and friendly and proactive service. You even get pyjamas and a nice amenity kit. WIth the new aiport terminal in Muscat, the connection experience is pleasant and vastly improved, so there is little to complain about. All of that makes low prices for Business Class between Europe and Asia, frequently between $1,350-1,900 great value and a bargain worth looking for. I’d happily fly Oman Air again and will look for any available sales. You get one of the best business class experiences in the sky at the price of Premium Economy on other airlines!

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