Gulf Air is the national carrier for The Kingdom of Bahrain. With a fleet of just 39 jets, this Middle Eastern airline serves major destinations throughout Africa, Asia and Europe.
In this post:
How I Booked This Flight
A few months prior to booking this flight fellow aviation tragic Jody alerted us of some brilliant mistake fares for Business Class bookings with Gulf Air. Booked separately, Bangkok to Bahrain plus Bahrain to Singapore in Gulf Business was available for at least AU$8000. But enter that route as a multi-city trip and, on some dates, the same flights cost just AU$402.
With that in mind, July 1st was set for a Flight Hacks takeover of Gulf Air Business Class!
Checking In At Bahrain
We arrived hours ahead of our scheduled 11:50pm departure from Bahrain. Nonetheless, check-in was a breeze and we were soon on our way to the lounge.
Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge Bahrain
The newly renovated Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge in Bahrain is expansive and can cater for up to 400 guests. Dark wood and black elements with light white tones make for a warm space that reflects the airline’s Falcon Gold Business cabins.
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer limited airport views on one side of the lounge, while seating against a clear pane of glass overlooks the departure hall on the other side.
The space moves from casual seating to dining tables toward the buffet stations. On offer was an international selection of hot and cold dishes that was appropriate but not outstanding.
The other side of the lounge is where you’ll find the bar and a games area. As well as a pool table, there is a kids formula 1 simulator and a VR gaming chair, which were both out of action during my visit.
Gulf Air B787 Business Class Cabin
The Falcon Gold cabin on Gulf Air’s Dreamliner jets sees a total of 26 Business seats in a dreaded 2-2-2 configuration. But before you stop reading, Gulf has fitted the intelligent Apex Suites to its 787s, which allow direct aisle access for all passengers. The cabin feels sleek and modern with a white and grey combination plus golden finishes and of course the odd falcon here and there. It’s a clean minimalistic design, and that’s fine by me.
I had selected 4K, a window seat accessed via a small walkway from the aisle. These seats offer optimum privacy once the electric partition between you and your aisle-seated neighbour is raised.
Those travelling as a couple may wish to select a middle seat, as the aisle/window combination is slightly offset to allow window guests direct access to the aisle.
Finally, bulkhead seats offer additional space, although these seats are subject to the increased activity being right next to the galley and bathrooms.
The seat is comfortably padded, with an additional duvet provided during sleep.
Simple seating controls can be found on the armrest. The top four buttons allow for a preset seat position, while the four below that allow for specific movements. There is also a massage function, which was a nice touch but rather loud when active.
You’ll find a few more controls on the other side of the seat, importantly the button to awkwardly raise the partition and cut off your seat neighbour for ultimate privacy.
Miles away is the 21.5-inch IFE screen, which is controlled via a touch-screen remote beside each seat. The remote can also activate the cabin crew call bell, do not disturb indicator and control the window shades.
Below the screen is an ottoman which can be deployed downwards or locked up for more space.
Storage space is limited depending on how much you like to keep within arm’s reach. A long storage well is all you get close by, with the literature pocket and other space already taken up by the safety card, water bottle and amenity kit. My MacBook was able to fit here just fine, but had to be removed when transitioning to bed mode to avoid crushing it with the seat. Below the ottoman, there is space for a medium-sized laptop bag or backpack.
The tray table is sturdy and can be found on the inner side of each seat. When slightly reclined I did wish the table came back a fraction more.
Finally, a universal power outlet, two USB ports and audio output can be found inside the storage well.
Food And Beverage
Shortly after boarding a welcome drink of orange juice, lemon and mint juice or champagne was offered. Following this was a round of dates and Arabic coffee whilst meal orders were taken.
Being a midnight departure, sleep was the main focus rather than a lengthy food and beverage service. Once we were in the air a choice of six light meals was served:
- Local Garden Salad
- Middle Eastern Mezze Selection
- Carrot and Cumin Soup
- Goat Cheese Pie
- Stuffed Croissant
- Seasonal Fresh Fruit
After a good sleep and around 90-minutes from our arrival in Singapore, breakfast was served. Fresh fruit plus a choice of pastries and toast was offered in addition to a choice between:
- Chive and Cheese Omelette
- Pancakes with Blueberry Compote
- Continental Breakfast
Gulf Air delivered with fresh and tasty meals appropriate to the flight duration. No complaints here.
Waiting at each seat was a bottle of water and an amenity kit that contained an eye mask, socks, earplugs, lip balm, a dental kit, unisex perfume and body lotion. Pyjamas and slippers were also handed out before departure.
The inflight entertainment system worked well, albeit with limited options. As always I wish more airlines fitted external cameras to new aircraft. One of my favourite options was the IFE sleep mode which asked if you wanted the crew to wake you for the food and beverage service.
The bathroom was a basic Dreamliner touchless affair, with the addition of a bidet in the two Business class toilets up front.
Service & Staff
Both on this flight and our Bangkok to Bahrain journey the day prior each crew member was friendly and professional. Although, I did wish the crew were more proactive during the cruise/sleep phase of both flights.
Summing Up: The Gentlemen Of Leisurely Travel
All up, we had a wonderful trip with Gulf Air. On the ground, a dedicated Falcon Gold check-in area was a welcome perk, and the Bahrain lounge offered appropriate food and beverage options.
The cabin was well designed and my seat felt both spacious and private. While the food offered from Bahrain to Singapore was fresh and fantastic, the dining from Bangkok to Bahrain the day prior was average. As sleep was a priority on this flight, I was pleased to receive inflight pyjamas, something not all airlines do these days. The bed was also quite comfortable.
So, would I fly Gulf Air again? Absolutely!