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Review: Oman Air Business Class from London (LHR) to Muscat (MCT)
Review *Coming Soon*: Oman Air First Class from Muscat (MCT) to London (LHR)
On my recent trip to Oman, I had the pleasure of experiencing Oman Air’s Business and First Class services between London and Muscat. This was my first time on Oman Air Business Class cabin, and my expectations were surpassed in great ways. Oman Air (WY) is largely considered a regional airline with a handful of long haul flights to Europe and Asia. Thanks to their unique partnership with Air Canada’s Aeroplan, I was able to redeem my Aeroplan points to experience Oman Air’s premium cabin service.
- Airline: Oman Air (WY)
- Route: London (UK) – Muscat (Oman)
- Duration: 7.5 hours
- Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
- Flight: WY 102
- Seat: 12G
Oman Air Business Class – Booking
Thanks to the unique partnership between Air Canada and Oman Air, I was able to redeem my Aeroplan points for a business class trip from Ottawa (YOW) to Muscat (MCT), which included Ottawa-Toronto (YYZ)- London Heathrow (LHR) segments with Air Canada, and the LHR – MCT segment on Oman Air’s business class cabin. The entire trip from YOW-MCT priced at 80,400 Points + $184.24 CAD in taxes.
Oman Air Lounge – London Heathrow (LHR)
The lack of a dedicated lounge is a serious drawback in the overall experience of flying Oman Air (in partnership with Air Canada) out of LHR. Passengers flying Oman Air premium cabins (Business and First) get complimentary access to No1 Traveller’s ‘flagship’ lounge at London Heathrow’s Terminal-3. However, LHR-MCT flight WY 102 departs from Terminal 2B. And if you have ever been to LHR, you know nothing is a “10 minute” walk as the airport website suggests. The Inter-Terminal Transfer by train between Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 and Heathrow Terminal 4 is currently suspended, and the true walking distance between the Lounge in T3 and the departure gate in T2-B, using pedestrian underpass is ~25-30 minutes.
LHR Terminal 2-B also houses Air Canada lounge which has limited hours of operation (7am -2pm) and does not jive with the WY 102’s departure timing of 9pm. Other Star Alliance lounges in T2-B (United and Singapore) do not give access to passengers flying non-Star Alliance airlines.
Long story short, I skipped the LHR walking marathon and spent a couple of hours at Cafe Nero (closer to departure gate) which offered plenty of seating with tarmac views, and plug points to recharge devices.
Oman Air WY102 – Boarding
I made my way to gate B48 a good 20 minutes before boarding time to observe the operations. Unfortunately, the boarding was delayed, and the ground staff seemed to be scrambling through their procedures. Some staff members were busy deterring passengers from lining up in front of the gate, while some staff seem to be indifferent to the lineup formation. 10 minutes past the official boarding time, with no announcements of status, I made my way to the dedicated business/first class line. I was the only passenger in that line, and the staff members that eventually welcomed me made sure to remind me that “most business class passengers usually board last”. Um, ok. That said, the staff was extremely polite and I don’t think they meant it as it came across. I was asked to show my boarding pass, vaccination status, and flagged to board right away. To my surprise, so were the passengers in the Economy line. Obviously nothing wrong with that, but I did not hear any announcements of boarding, let alone priority boarding.
Once I cruised through the walkway into the beautiful Boeing 787-9, the business class cabin was an immediate wow! WY 102 from LHR-MCT offers three cabin service, with 24 Apex Suites in business class cabin with a 2-2-2 configuration. Each business class suite offered expansive seating and storage area. The design of Apex suites combined with the adjustable privacy dividers made the experience more ‘First-Class-like’.
Oman Air Business Class – Cabin and Seats
The business class cabin is split into two sections, and I was seated in the rear section which accommodated 12 passengers. I had dropped the ball on advanced seat selection, my assigned seat for the 7.5 hour ride was 12G in a business class cabin at capacity.
The seats were setup with a pillow, mattress and a blanket, with plenty of individual space to stretch. Other seat amenities included a 17 inch personal monitor, personal media unit to manage the IFE selections, noise cancelling headphones, a bottle of water, personal reading light, two USB ports and a power outlet for laptop and other devices.
The 26 inch width, and a bed length of 74 inches offered more than ample room for me to stretch and get comfy. The space under the foot-well of the seat offered plenty of storage space to stow away my backpack, with easy access throughout the flight.
Seat controls on the arm rest offered plenty of options to find my sweet spot while sitting, and when laying flat. The seat controls were placed just past the arm rest such that I did not accidentally press into any of the buttons – a feature I appreciate.
I eventually found the power outlet and the USB ports which are tucked away deep under the IFE controller. Accessing the power outlet was a little weird as I plunged my hand and tried to align the plugs ‘blindly’. A definite design flaw in an otherwise stellar Apex Suite setup.
The retractable screen divider offered good privacy from the neighboring seat. The divider was big and opaque enough to offer much needed privacy to the middle seats, especially since the aisle side was completely open to the neighbor across the aisle.
Shortly after I was seated, the crew came around to distribute the menu, amenity kit, and Business Class PJ’s (!). I don’t remember the last time I was offered PJ’s in a business class cabin, colour me impressed. The PJ set is a lovely brown pallette with the Oman Air logo, which represents incense smoke in silver and gold colours on the chest.
Another impressive addition to the business class experience was the elegant amenity kit from Amouage – International luxury fragrance house founded in the Sultanate of Oman in 1983 to be ‘The Gift of Kings’. The leather pouch including the gold tag with Amouage and Oman Air logo, was chic. In addition to the usual knick-knacks, the amenity kit induced a hand and body lotion, lip balm and a facial moisturizer from Amouage.
Oman Air Business Class – Service and Food
A hot/cold towel service is one of the most underrated perks of flying premium cabin. I absolutely love it when I can soak my face in a cold towel at the start of the flight. And Oman Air had not one, not two, but three towel service on this 7.5 hour journey – wow! Passengers could pick from cold or hot towels, a small but essential part of getting comfortable onboard. The first towel service was pre-departure, second after meal, and third and final one before landing.
The towel service was quickly followed by pre-departure drinks of fresh fruit juices (Pineapple and Orange). On recommendation of our service director Yakoub, I chose pineapple juice and it was delicious and refreshing. Almost on cue, as soon as I was done with my juice, Yakoub came back around with a round of Arabic coffee served in traditional ceramic cup, poured out of a traditional coffee pot (Dallah), and accompanied by some dates. The coffee as expected was fragrant (cardamom) and smooth – a lovely way to start the journey.
The menu was presented in a stylish leather organizer, which included a First Class wine list and the Business Class food menu. Needless to say, it was a welcome surprise to see the First Class drinks menu being shared with business class passengers.
Shortly after take-off the food and beverage service commenced with my champagne choice of Billecart-Salmon Rose, and side of toasted almonds and cashews. I was promptly informed that there was a change in the Amuse Bouche selection – lobster was swapped with prawns. The marinated prawn with olive paste was delicious and I could have eaten a few more as appetizer.
For the appetizer course, I went with the Arabic Meze-light. I call it ‘light’ because a 3 item spread is barely a meze 😉 Its hard to go wrong with hummus, and the tabbouleh tasted fresh along with the picked vegetables. A warm bread serving with soft butter made for a comforting start to the meal.
For the main course, I chose ‘Omani seasonal fish’ which was a combination of grilled fish, prawns, and zataar chicken (?), accompanied by mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. The main course was perfectly portioned, and I enjoyed the seafood selection.
Next up, it was time for my favorite part of onboard meal service – Cheese plate, which doubles as dessert for me. The tray was wonderfully presented with 2 different kinds of cheddar (sharp, just as I like it), blue cheese, brie, array of dried/fruits, with a fig and tomato chutney which blew the lid off my flavor buds! So, so good.
Meal service concluded within 2 hours of take-off, leaving passengers a valuable 5 hours of sleep on this overnight flight.
After a stellar meal like that, there is only one thing I look forward to the most – sleeping. I loved the stitch-work on the cotton blanket which was cozy and comfortable. The pillow was plush without being too high, and offered great support in either positions of sleep (straight or on my sides). The giant ottoman offered plenty of foot/leg space that I didn’t have to worry about squeezing my feet into a footwell, even when I slept on my sides.
I managed to sleep a solid 5 hours, and woke up when the landing announcement was in progress. I was able to freshen up just in time for the pre-landing hot towel service, which was such a lovely amenity. While I didn’t get much time with the IFE, I can confirm that the handheld controller was not responsive enough, and required multiple taps before the main screen displayed the selection. The headphones were adequate for the short while I used them, with sufficient noise cancellation to enjoy screen time.
Oman Air Business Class – Take Away
The Apex suites really are much roomier than the reverse herringbone pods. The hard product combined with Oman Air’s lovely service, food selection, access to First Class drinks menu, and up to 3 towel services on a 7.5 hour flight, I must say that this was one of the most comfortable rides I have been on. The staff onboard was excellent in their service execution, with friendly and proactive attitudes. Amenities like the IFE controller, headphones, can definitely use an upgrade, as can the ground service in LHR. For my first time on Oman Air, I would rate my overall experience a solid 8 on 10, and look forward to returning in the near future.