I’ve been wanting to fly Oman Air for some time now, and the relatively small carrier has been receiving excellent reviews for its 787 business class product.
Since Oman Air often has insanely well-priced business class flights from Jakarta or Bangkok to Europe, paying cash often makes more sense than using points (you can use Etihad Guest miles to book).
Back in January, an excellent opportunity presented itself: Oman Air was selling return flights from Jakarta to Paris for only $2159 RETURN in business class. Best of all, both routes would feature the new and improved Apex Suite design (also found on Japan Airlines).
Booking Oman Air
While booking direct can often yield the best price on Oman Air, their website is somewhat of a black hole, and my payment failed multiple times.
Instead, I opted to go through Orbitz since A) they are reputable, B) the price was identical and C) when you book with Orbitz you can cancel ANY flight up to 24h after booking. (Pro tip: If you’ve ever had to book a random onwards connection to enter specific countries, Orbitz is also the perfect solution).
How To Redeem Miles For Oman Air Business Class
Oman Air has its own award program called Sinbad, but it’s rather pointless unless you live in Oman and fly Oman Air a lot. A better and the only alternative to both earning and burning miles is Etihad Guest. In Australia, we have access to the EY Guest program via American Express, so it’s a good option if you’re looking to redeem.
If you’re looking to redeem miles, it’s actually cheaper to fly to Singapore instead of Jakarta for only 42,000 Etihad Guest miles one way.
From Europe to Muscat you’re also looking at 42,000 miles in business class so the total trip to Asia (one way) would set you back 84,000 miles.
Taxes & Fees
According to FlyerTalk taxes for EY guest redemptions on Oman Air are 74,500 OMR which works out to about AU$277. It’s unclear if this is per segment or on a one-way redemption.
Are miles worth it?
If you can find Oman Air tickets for around $2200 return, using miles becomes a lot less attractive. For a return trip, you will now need 336,000 Amex MR points + at least $554 in taxes.
Earning Etihad Miles on Oman Air
When you’re paying cash for a business class ticket, you also earn miles. In this case, I opted to credit my miles to Etihad Guest since you earn enough miles in one return trip for a business class redemption from Perth to Melbourne with Virgin Australia (booked through Etihad guest).
For a trip from CGK-MCT-CDG (return), you will earn a total of 22,272 Etihad guest miles (which is rather good). You won’t earn any tier miles, so don’t count on any status with Etihad.
(You only need 21,800 Etihad Guest miles to fly business class from Perth to Melbourne with Virgin Australia. How? Read my Etihad Guest Guide here.)
Flight 1: Jakarta to Muscat
While Jakarta is an “OK” airport, it’s not somewhere you want to spend too much time, and the lounge on offer (or any other lounges in the airport for that matter) is rather mediocre.
While sitting in the lounge, someone on Instagram sent me a DM: “did you know Oman Air is wet-leasing an A330 from SriLankan airlines? ”
As it turned out, the beautiful B787-9 had been swapped out to a leased SriLankan A330 which is an entirely different business class product. Although the SriLankan cabin definitely isn’t bad (features the reverse herringbone found in Cathay Pacific etc.), it was showing signs of age.
All in all, not a bad way to spend the 7.5hr daytime flight from Jakarta to Muscat. While to food & service certainly wasn’t bad, it wasn’t what I had expected, and overall I was slightly underwhelmed.
I figured that just like many other airlines, Oman Air had reserved their A-team for the more “significant” routes to Europe.
Oman Air Muscat Stopover
When you fly Oman Air, you’re entitled to a free stay at the most excellent Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace in Muscat. Check out my post on how to book your Muscat stopover for free here.
The new Muscat International Airport is now open for business, and it’s a fantastic airport. Everything is highly efficient, modern and friendly. I rate it.
After my night stay at the Ritz Carlton, I was back at the airport for round 2 in Oman Air’s business class seat. This time nothing had changed, and my B787-9 featuring the Apex Suites was still scheduled.
Business and first class passengers have a completely separate check-in area and security/passport control. The whole experience is extremely fast and stress free, comparable with what Qatar Airways & Emirates offer their premium passengers.
Oman Air Arrivals Lounge Muscat
Oman Air has a nice little arrivals lounge located up the escalators when you exit customs in Muscat. While it’s nothing exciting, it’s an excellent spot to freshen up, have a coffee and connect to wifi before you head off.
Oman Air Lounge Muscat
The Oman Air lounge in Muscat is pretty large and looks nice, but on both occasions, I was there, it was super crowded. The lounge is supposed to have 2 levels, but I found that this was closed both times I was there so overall I had an average experience.
Next door is the Plaza Premium lounge which apparently has free hotel rooms for guests, so this might be a better option if the Oman Lounge feels too crowded.
Flight 2: Muscat to Paris
Boarding finally commenced, and while business class guests got priority boarding pass checks to enter the gate waiting area, once boarding started, there were no separate lines, so it was a matter of first in best dressed.
Once on-board, things changed for the better, and I soon figured that we had the Oman Air A-team cabin crew.
On first impression you might think that the 2-2-2 configuration of the Apex Suite is inferior compared to airlines who have 1–2-1, however, I think the opposite is true.
First off, all seats on Oman Air’s 787-9 have direct aisle access thanks to a small walkway in between the pods. The seats are staggered to you’re not sitting directly next to your seatmate and thanks to the enormous privacy barrier, you won’t actually see anyone once it’s raised.
The forward cabin has 24 seats, and there’s also a small mini cabin between door 2 and the economy section which has 6 seats.
The first thing you will notice about the seat it the amount of legroom, it’s incredibly spacious with nothing in your way to obstruct free movement of your legs and feet. In terms of seat ergonomics, it’s one of the most comfortable business class seats for lounging. It’s just a pity that the TV is so far away (or they could have installed a bigger one), but that’s the price you pay for legroom.
When it comes to storage, there isn’t a lot of it, so I found the best place to keep small items was in the ottoman footrest.
In terms of design and colours, I can’t fault Oman Air in this department. Everything seems very Omani, and the colour palette is very sleek.
In bed mode, both armrests come down to allow some extra width. While it’s not the widest seat, I found it very comfortable for sleeping (mattress pad is supplied on overnight flights).
Food & Beverage
The catering out of both Oman and Paris was a vast improvement over what the chefs in Jakarta managed to cook up. On each flight, I tried the classic Arabic mezze, which did vary slightly based on the flight.
Overall the food was delicious, and the presentation was pretty good with proper plates and tableware set up. Instead of boring you with the details, here are all my food pictures and menus so you can see what’s on offer instead of reading about it!
As for drinks, Oman Air serves Laurent Perrier champagne, which is an excellent drop in its category.
Amenity Kit & Pyjamas
Oman Air provides a stylish faux leather amenity kit to all business class guests which contains the essentials. The bag is in collaboration with Amouage, an Omani based perfume brand. Inside the kit, you will find the essentials in a range of generous sizes such as hand and body moisturiser, face cream, lip balm, dental kit and mouthwash.
For the PJ fans out there, I’m happy to inform you that Oman Air also provides pyjamas to business & first-class passengers on overnight flights. Quality-wise, I didn’t rate this too high, but they were comfortable and light enough to sleep in.
Oman Air IFE
While the Oman Air IFE system is excellent, the amount of movies on offer were’t as extensive as what you would find on Singapore Airlines or Emirates. For some reason, my system crashed on every flight and would take around 5 minutes to reboot; random.
Flight 3: Paris to Muscat
Oman Air offers business class passengers lounge access in the most excellent Cathay Pacific business & first-class lounge at Paris Charles de Gaulle.
I ended up arriving at the airport around 4 hours before departure since I had to check out of my hotel. Of course, the check-in only opens 3 hours prior, so after sitting around for a while, I did remember that online check-in was offered. Three minutes later, I had my mobile boarding pass added to my Apple wallet, and off I went through security.
However, there was one small problem…
Nowhere on the boarding pass did they mention “business class”. This meant that at all the fast track points, I had to go through my email and show the itinerary to the agents to convince them not to send me via the dreadful regular screening lane. At the lounge, the staff had to call up Oman Air to check whether I was a business class guest.
Boarding was more efficient this time, and I was one of the first passengers to board. I always find that unless you’re strange like me and need to take pictures of empty planes, try to board a bit later when flying the 787. For some reason, I always find that the air-conditioning doesn’t kick in for a while, which can make for a hot aeroplane.
While the food on this flight was great, I did find that the service could do with some improvement. The gentleman looking after my side of the plane was clearly lacking essential hospitality experience, and small stuff like setting up a dining table correctly seemed too much for him to handle.
Flight 4: Muscat to Jakarta
On arrival in Muscat, I headed straight to the arrivals lounge which was empty at this time in the morning (around 6am) to have a coffee and connect to the wifi before jumping in a taxi again to the EXCELLENT Ritz Carlton Al Boston Palace. Where I had booked yet another free night thanks to the Oman Air stopover program.
I had contacted the hotel a day in advance through the chat app within the Marriott App and told them I was arriving this early and checking out at midnight. They were happy to offer me an early check-in from 7am, which was terrific.
Upon arrival, they also upgraded me to a huge suite complete with balcony. I’ll be reviewing the Oman Air stopover program here and the Ritz Carlton Al Boston Palace here.
My flight back to Jakarta was yet again on the leased SriLankan Airlines A330. It was a rather uneventful flight and I decided to sleep all the way.
Oman Air Business Class Conclusion
Would I recommend Oman Air? Absolutely! I mean, how can you pass up on business class to Europe for around $2000? Having always heard positive stories from fellow travellers, I can confirm that Oman Air is one of the best business class experiences out there. I’m even tempted to say that their Apex Suite is on par with Qatar Airways’s Qsuite. Simply because it’s so spacious and the privacy is impressive when you have a window seat. Don’t be fooled by the 2-2-2 configuration, it’s not what it seems!
Service-wise, I feel Oman Air has some room to grow. I feel like they should probably learn from their competitors over at Singapore Airlines who manage to have consistent excellence on pretty much every flight.
Overall I very much enjoyed my flights and with the hotel stopover included it’s one of the most compelling business class products on the market. Go fly it!