I took the short hop to Muscat after a working day in Bahrain. Arrived at the airport in good time – for a reason unknown to me or staff at the Intercontinental, my luggage went ahead of me to the airport so slightly unsure about being reunited with it but no problems there. I had checked-in on line and so went to the bag drop counter and was promptly issued with another boarding card. Immigration and security were quick and the latter cursory.
Without lounge access, I was left to the joys of Bahrain airport which, airside, is a slightly sad cross between the relative austerity of Tehran and aspirations of Dubai!! Put another way, you would not want to be airside there for very long if you could avoid it.
I located close to the Gate and we were called forward without an announcement. As the flight was by no means full, boarding was quick and painless. I was in 9C and, with a free seat next to me, was in reasonable comfort.
We pushed pack a couple of minutes early (Gulf Air does pride itself on being the most punctual carrier in the region), were soon airborne.
Service was fine if uninspiring (sandiwch and soft drinks) and we landed in Muscat on time. We were bussed to the gate in a very civilised manner – a half-full A320 was met by 4 buses so there there was no squeezing into the one vehicle as would probably happen in Europe.
As I had not obtained an e-visa in advvance, I joined the queue for the 5 Rial 10 day visa, purchased from the Travelex counter where they kindly accepted Bahraini Dinars without commission charges. Then onto the Immigration queue – quite fast – so that by the time I got through my luggage was waiting for me and I was away and into a taxi into town.
A fine short-haul service which might have been enhanced by one or two smiles from the multi-national cabin crew – but then it was late evening!!