Gulf Air A320-200 EconomyBack to Forum
Anonymous12 May 2013
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!!12 May 2013
Just to make brief reference to my return flight from Muscat to Bahrain on GF565. I was dropped early at Muscat International and was able to check in at leisure before making my way airside. The airport is bright and airy, with a good range of retail opportunities, far better than Bahrain.
The Gate was downstairs, one of the bus gates, and there was some confusion as to which exact gate would be used as the one showing on the board was handling another flight with a departure time similar to our own. Once this was resolved, we assembled in the gate area and, somewhat behind schedule, were bussed to the aircraft, Economy passengers first. While we made our way up the rear steps, another bus was discharging just the one passenger who made his way up the front steps. Business class folk arrived a few minutes later.
The aircraft was one of Gulf’s Extended Range A320s, normally on European routes. This meant that Business Class travelled in super luxury for the 80 minute hop with long-haul comfort while back in Economy we benefited from a 33-34″ pitch (compared to the normal 30-31″) and this was certainly noticeable.
Departure seemed unrushed, even a bit tardy but with no explanation. Once we pushed back, we taxied to the runway at which point the pilot came on urgently to tell cabin crew (who were checking things in the asiles) to “please sit down immediately as we are now on the runway”). After a scramble, all was fine and we took off.
Service was similar to the way out – a filled roll and drinks but few free smiles except from an efficient English lass.
We landed a few minutes late, again at a very remote gate and were bussed in to the terminal. Disturbingly, I noticed three pices of stray luggage on the road to the terminal and, despite a considerable volume of traffic passing them by, nobody seemed interested in retrieving them. Once I had cleared formalities, there was slight wait for my own luggage, which did appear and I was then out to my waiting hotel car.
A fine short-haul service with the added comfort of the couple of extra inches.15 May 2013