Tried & Tested

Oman Air A330-300 Business class

26 Jan 2011 by AndrewGough

CHECK-IN I checked in online the day before my flight and had a good choice of seats. The process was easy and swift and involved entering all passport information. I arrived at Terminal 3 at 2000 for my 2125 flight to Muscat. Having only hand luggage I proceeded directly to fast track security where there were only a couple of people in line.

(It should be noted that customers who travel with a J or C class ticket are eligible for complimentary chauffeur drive up to 50 miles from Heathrow and 60 km from Muscat.)

THE LOUNGE Oman Air does not have its own lounge at Heathrow but uses the Emirates Lounge near Gate 7. The Lounge is busy but very comfortable with plenty of seats, a good selection of drinks, hot and cold food and a business centre. The flight was departing from Gate 26 so I left the lounge at 2040 as it is a 10- to 15-minute walk.

BOARDING There was no queue at the gate and I walked straight onto the plane where I was shown to my seat. I had my jacket taken from me and was offered a selection of drinks followed by Arabic coffee and dates. The drinks and food menus were given out along with an amenity kit, which came in a gold cloth box and included a pair of socks, shoe horn, sewing kit, hair brush, razor, toothbrush, mouthwash and toiletries from Amouage (facial mosturiser, lip balm, hand and body lotion and eye gel). I started reading the newspaper and a member of staff switched on the light overhead to help me.

THE SEAT The A330-300’s business class cabin is fitted in a 1-2-1 configuration, with 20 seats spread over two cabins. Every seat had access to the aisle. My seat, 12K, was in the first row of the second cabin.  Made from brown and beige leather, and beige cloth, the seat is fully adjustable with a number of presets. There is a footstool that doubles as a seat for companion dining, a reading light, coat hook and multi region power socket.

To see the seatplan, click here.

The seat reclines into a fully flat bed that at 77.5 inches must be one of the longest in the sky. It is also wide enough for all but the largest people to lie flat. The window seats have the added advantage that there are bins next to the seat similar to those on the top deck of a B747. The bins are large enough to take a large briefcase each and can be easily accessed from the seat during the flight.  Other storage is in the overhead bins and under the footstool/companion seat where, at take-off, a duvet and pillow is stored.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? In my view choosing the best seat is simply a matter of choosing the middle two if you are travelling together or a window seat if travelling alone. Then it is just a matter of whether you prefer the smaller front cabin and how far you wish to be from the galley and restrooms.

THE FLIGHT The flight departed on time and we were airborne very soon after. A sleep suit, slippers and eye mask was given out immediately. The only things missing were ear plugs, but when I requested them they were quickly found. I was told by the crew member that these are normally in the amenity kit and must have been an omission from mine.

Staff came through the cabin taking orders for drinks and dinner. As it was a short flight I decided to go to sleep and my bed was made for me with a sheet, pillow and quilt. Had I chosen to eat dinner, there was a good selection to choose from including winter pumpkin and apple soup, chicken ciabatta and potato wedges, mezze selection, vegetable tortellini and salad. For desert there was fruit, ice cream, apple strudel and cheese. I decide I would eat breakfast but rather than have the full one, I opted instead for the express breakfast served an hour before landing.

The crew woke me as promised and served fresh orange juice, fruit, pastries and forest mushroom tart with red pepper coulis and rocket (my choice of hot dish). It was very tasty and served on smart china and glassware, as one might expect in a restaurant.

The AVOD IFE is operated from controls in the arm. It has a large 17-inch screen with live satellite TV (BBC World and Al Jazeera). The system was easy to use and there was a good selection of TV (not live), films and audio.  There are also noise-cancelling headphones and USB sockets for connecting devices to the system.

The Aircraft is also fitted with the OnAir communications system allowing in-flight use of mobile phones or wifi.  The cost of wifi is $29.95 (£19) for a flight using up to 26MB. I used the system and it worked well for email, skype and instant messaging.  Just being connected uses a small amount of data so disconnect when not using to avoid paying extra ($6 per MB over the 26MB limit).

ARRIVAL The flight landed at 0821, almost twenty minutes early. There are no air bridges at Muscat Airport so we disembarked onto a bus. When all first and business class passengers were on the bus it departed and there was another behind for economy passengers. It was a very short walk to immigration, where there was no queue. As I had no visa I had to purchase one on arrival from the Travelex counter before immigration. This took just a couple of minutes.

VERDICT A very large comfortable bed/seat, plus impeccable service.

Fact File

  • Configuration 1-2-1
  • Seat Length 77.5”     
  • Seat Recline 180 degrees to fully flat
  • Seat width 22”
  • Price A mid-week return in February from Oman’s website starts at £2,586 (including taxes)
  • Contact omanair.com
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