Click the video above to see Oman Air Business Class reviewed on a flight from London to Muscat.
Oman Air Business Class
Over the last 15 years, airlines from the Middle East have risen up from almost nowhere to being major players in the world’s airline market. Emirates and Etihad have splashed billions of dollars advertising their glamorous beds, lounges and bars, and getting their name recognised by sponsoring everything from football stadiums to cable cars.
Oman Air have taken quite a different tack, much more in keeping with the classiness of the country itself. Rather than spending a fortune promoting their product, they have instead invested in the product itself – and let word of mouth be their advertising. We’d heard rumours that their business class seat and service was equivalent to other airlines’ first class – so a trip to Oman was a no-brainer!
Can this little minnow of an airline really go toe to toe with the behemoth that is British Airways on the Heathrow to Muscat route, or even beat them?
Oman Air Business Class Check-In Experience
Initial signs were great – Oman Air arranged for a complimentary limo to pick us up as we were in business class which arrived on time and took us to Heathrow Terminal 3. Being a tiny airline with just a couple of flights a day from Heathrow they only had a small check-in area, but there was no queue and we were quickly checked in and sent on our way to the lounge.
Oman Air has partnered with ‘No. 1 Lounge’ in the terminal, which is a lounge open to the public in exchange for a fee. Oman Air passengers have a slightly different arrangement – they obviously get free entry, but they also get a special menu with a wider choice of free food and drink.
The lounge was bustling with passengers from lots of different airlines, but we were able to get a table in the restaurant area with no bother. There was waiter service and the food was great for a lounge – slightly better than the British Airways First Class lounge next door – with a decent view of the airport but was too busy to be able to be described as ‘relaxing’.
Onboard Oman Air Business Class
Our A330 aircraft was spotless inside, and was clearly only a few years old. The business class seats were laid out in a 1 – 2 – 1 formation, which is a great setup for couples and singletons to be able to get the seats they want.
Obviously every seat had direct aisle access, and there was no overlapping of the seats – so no boxes for you to slide your feet in, this was a suite set-up. Your foot stool was able to double up as a buddy seat if you wanted to dine with a companion as well. In these aspects, the cabin was not too far away from the first class offered by British Airways.
The TVs were a good size, and could be viewed during take-off and landing. The cabin – like most things Omani – was tastefully designed with muted browns and lots of leather, rather than shiny bling. The only downsides of the seats were that they were fairly open – there wasn’t much privacy from the rest of the cabin.
Overall though, these are amazing business class seats – the first class seats on the plane were only slightly bigger, to the extent than Oman Air differentiates the cabins by giving first class passengers a full size sofa in the cabin to watch TV from!
Oman Air’s Business Class Food & Drink
Within a minute of entering the aircraft, we’d been given a glass of champagne (in a full size, quality glass!) and a warm towel by a friendly flight attendant. Although Oman is generally a dry country, all their international flights have a generous amount of alcohol on them.
We were really impressed by the food – after take-off, our table was set as if we were in a restaurant with a tablecloth, charger plate, side plate with bread, oil, butter and condiments. It’s such a little thing, but Oman Air’s rivals don’t do this (British Airways serve their food on a plastic tray) and it makes the experience so much classier.
It’s clear Oman Air’s designers have looked to other carriers’ first class menus for inspiration as we were first given some canapes, before our choice of soup as a starter and fish as a main. This was really nice, as each of the components on the plate had been cooked separately before being plated up (rather than everything being served in a single bowl that had been heated together). This meant the fish wasn’t overcooked, and the rice still moist.
Dessert was nothing special – just a slice of chocolate cake – but it was nice to be able to have both dessert and cheese before bed, rather than being made to choose between them like Oman Air’s rivals.
The overnight nature of the flight (leave at 8pm, arrive at 7am) meant that after a relaxing dinner, it was time to sleep for as long as possible – which meant declining the offer of breakfast and asking to be woken with a glass of juice just before landing.
Best Oman Air Business Class Seats
As all of the seats on Oman Air’s A330 business class are the same – with direct aisle access, and no overlap between rows – the choice of where to sit is not quite as important as it is on some airlines.
Side seats have extra storage bins next to the fuselage, and the E & K seats have drink trays on the right hand side (so good for right handers) whilst the A & F seats have drink trays on the left hand side (so better for lefties).
The front mini cabin is a bit quieter as it’s further from economy. Row 11 is next to the toilets and galley, so we recommend you pick row 10 (next to first class), with 10K the pick for solo travellers and 10 E/F best for couples.
Oman Air Business Class Conclusions
Have Oman Air achieved their goal of matching British Airways (their only rival on this route)? Without a shadow of a doubt, the answer is yes. BA have yielded to this competition by flying non-stop to Muscat (previously they had a stop-over en route) and are using their brand new 787-9 planes.
Despite this, Oman Air’s business class is a million miles ahead of British Airways Club World. Only the lure of British Airways Avios and loyalty points might keep their die-hard passengers using them, but this would be a big mistake. Oman Air’s business class is far closer to British Airways’ 787 First Class than it is to their business class, and comes highly recommended by us.
Want A BA First Class Review?
For a review of British Airways First Class on the A380, click here.
Want to see a BA 747 business class review?
For a review of British Airways 747 business class cabin, click here.