Since 1993, a relatively discrete airline compared with Emirates and Qatar, Oman Air (WY) represents precisely what we like: human-sized, it provides the traveler with the impression that he adventure himself in something different. Each boutique airline has its signature: the cabin, aircraft comes with something different from what the “industrial” competitors provide. Elegant signature with WY, indeed.
With 47 aircrafts (and 70 orders), WY expends with the last generation of Dreamliners serving its long-haul routes. Paris CDG – Muscat MCT for instance, operated daily by B787-9 and B787-8 V1. We experienced the later on a not so exceptional day: with one more national strike affecting CDG so seriously that some airlines (Qatar for instance) canceled all their flights. A French specialty, this strike was an excellent way to check Oman Air efficiency in a period of crisis. Calls to their office and promptly replied emails messages reassured us: their team at CDG 2 Terminal A was on active duty to make our boarding as smooth as silk. A last phone called from their marketing and sales department confirmed two hours before we checked-out from our hotel that everything was under control. Thumb up to the Paris and London central offices for such a remarkable reactivity.
The “Premium Class” check-in was rushed in less than ten minutes, despite the presence of a small group of travelers preceding us in the line.
We received two precious sesames: the practical “Accès N°1” card for fast-track, and the invitation to the lounge.
Certainly, due to the strike, we never crossed the “Accès N°1” immigration/security controls so quickly in our travelers' life. That was a matter of five minutes in total. This gave us all plenty of time to discover and enjoy the awesome “Cathay Pacific Lounge”, at level 2.
We like the lounges operated by Asian and Middle Eastern airlines. Oman Air put its passengers in the right hands: the place is spacious, has an unbeatable view on the runways, and is most elegantly designed. Actually intimate, with a convenient distance between the sofas and tables. Accessible to wheelchairs, it has a shower room, and a complete business center (with PC and laser printers). The selection of snacks, regional cheese, desserts, and more nourishing dishes (the dish of the day was “Beef Stew with Roasted Potatoes”), is appetizing. The wine and liquors offer at “The Noodle Bar” is attractive, with Champagne “Baron d'Avella”, Morgon, Sancerre, and Bordeaux “Mouton-Cadet”. The whiskey is “Chivas Regal” and “Black Label”, both 12 years. Plus Porto, Pastis, Rhum Bacardi, Cointreau, etc. A great open bar, indeed.
The gate A39 was not far. There is, of course, a priority for business class passengers, with a separate boarding.
We have experienced this year some new and awesome business class cabins. With Vietnam Airlines and Sri Lankan. Both very similar to First Class. Yet, we stepped into the WY “J Class” with a silent WOW! We liked the “compartments” design, with 2+2+2 large padded wool seats, will an easy access to the aisle for all passengers. With a lie-flat bed, of course, good IFE on a quality handset, large screen and a great selection of international programs. Power and USB plugs are conveniently located. There is plenty of pockets for magazines, tablet, cameras and small pieces of clothes (our jacket and hat were spontaneously sent to cloakroom.
Only 18 seats provide a “club” atmosphere. The negative aspect is that this well promoted, affordable product, sells like hot cakes, and that even those who can afford J Class might sometimes be obliged to suffer in the WY Economy Class (crampy, yet extremely good value, with the best available rates from Paris to Oman on our departure dates)... We had the last available Business Class Seat. The cabin was totally full. Which didn't impress the lovely stewardesses, who maintained a no-fault service during the flight. With only one “faux pas”: the Oman Air uniform, pairing pretty oriental faces, was well worth a picture or more. When we asked for a picture, we have been kindly yet firmly explained that this was “against the policy of the airline”. Which we found quite odd. Usually, airlines dress stewardesses such a way that they promote the image of the company, onboard, and on the pictures posted in the magazines, blogs, and social networks.
We quickly forgave the staff attendants, when a first flute of Champagne “Nicolas Feuillatte, Brut Millésimé, Cuvée Spéciale 2010”. This good brand elaborates, in Chouilly, a valuable Champagne which we discovered for the very first time most recently, visiting La Villa, the best French restaurant in Saigon. Quite ignored in France, this is a best seller in Asia. An excellent choice, with a good millesime. Few airlines serve vintage Champagne, and this gave us immediately a good image of WY F&B. But the best had still to come...
We couldn't realize that we had more than 200 passengers behind us in the economy class cabin. We felt like seated in a private jet. The Dreamliner provides such an intimacy in J class. The position of the cabin, distant from the powerful GEnx new generation of reactors, allows a silent take off. We wished to immortalize this moment and send pictures on Whatsapp to our friends but there was a fee to use the WiFi. It was only USD 10 for 30 minutes / 10 Mb.Not that much. But we were too lazy to catch a credit card in our bag. WiFi should be complimentary in Business Class; it is with Emirates which, yet a great airline, offering a service inferior (let's say more industrial) to Oman Air, indeed. That would be a no-WiFi flight for us: finally so relaxing. Alone in the air, in a dreamed world.
We explored our seat and the gadgets all around. We were already familiar with the LCD AVOD remote control, designed like an Android smartphone. It is fairly easy to use. We stretched our body as much as we can: there is indeed more legroom for a tall passenger than in the other business class cabins experienced before. Even aboard Dreamliners. More space also for spreading magazines and personal items all around.
The B787 Dreamliner has the best airplane windows ever. It ditches that small window with a pull-down plastic shade and replaces it with a larger 16' tall (65% larger than the standard airplane windows), dimming window that can be adjusted to let in various amounts of light. An electrified gel, sandwiched between two thin pieces of glass, darkens when the electric current increases; when it drops, the gel lightens. The system is as innovative as simple. We could control our window from a switcher: it allows five levels of aperture. Just like the diaphragm of a camera. The “Magic Windows” are also networking together: so flight personnel can control the windows, too. Attendants can adjust each window, adjust windows in an entire section of the plane or adjust them for the entire plane. These new dimming windows are just the beginning for Boeing and its research partners PPG Aerospace and Gentex Corporation.
Quality headphones allow the passenger to enjoy the Inflight Programme / AVOD: a generous choice of movies, TV shows, music videos, radio programs, and interactive games.
The latest US blockbusters and classics are available; yet censored for vulgarity... Refrain to watch a movie casting Eddie Murphy or Robert De Niro, unless you like the beeps.
Another refreshing towel (we got one already upon boarding) came with another glass of Champagne, an “amuse bouche” (spicy steak tapas), and the menu/wine list. The choice, for “à la carte” dinner, featured three appetizers, mains, and desserts.
Plus one soup: savourous “Broccoli, Potato”& Almond” consommé, with toasted almonds flakes, sour cream, and lemon oil. Served with a remarkably freshly back selection of cereals, olive, and malt mini-bread. The butter was French “Isigny” AOP, and the olive oil & balsamic vinegar was Greek “Kalamata Papadimitriou”. The best brand.
We selected a local appetizer. “Traditional Arabic Mezzeh”, featuring Grilled Lamb, Beetroot and Chickpea for a rich dip with warm Arabic bread, and refreshing Cucumber Salad.
Paired with one glass of memorable “Château Laroque, 2012, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bruno Sainson”. With a fragrance of oak, ripe dark fruits, it has a spicy, unique signature. A “grand vin”, it has its place on the best tables. This is the type of “grand cru” served in First Class.
This would be have been enough to fill our stomach. But the main course was one of the best we even enjoyed in Business Class. “Peach Lobster in Lime & Star Anise”. A full piece of lobster, with a perfect al dente texture and taste, with Cauliflower and Celeriac Mesh, Grilled Baby Courgettes, Pumpkin, Sherry Tomato, Spinach, and Basil Cream Sauce. What a treat! Worth a Michelin-star restaurant, indeed. We paired this delicacy with one last glass of Champagne.
We didn't pick up any of the nicely selected farmhouse cheese, but couldn't resist and concluded our dinner with some high-calories.
The “Warm Pecan Nut Tart”, with Vanilla Ice Cream and Mango Coulis was to die for. Delicious with one cup of Illy regular espresso. Plus one shot of Cointreau, which always favourize a fast sleep.
Back from brushing our teeth in the immaculate washroom, we found a thick and soft wool blanket over our bed, quality pyjamas, and a beautifully designed Oman Air toiletry kit, revealing a glory of goodies inside, surrounded by its brown silk lining which contrasts charmingly with its soft brown/grey exterior. Within a silk pocketing inside, we could a range of Amouage gifts, Bilsom earplugs, eye mask, and all the items for a complete refreshment.
Sleeping like in a five star hotel, flying over the deserts, mountains, and oceans is a high valued traveler's privilege. We like the pressure and hygrometry control in the Dreamliner: making the atmosphere in the cabin refreshing and pleasant for a sweet night. No aircraft can beat it.
The full flatbed is one of the comfiest ever enjoyed in the sky. BE Aerospace did a great job for Oman Air. It takes seven hours and five minutes to fly the 3470 miles between CDG and MCT. Two hours before reaching our destination, the stewardess woke us softly with a hot towel for breakfast. We skipped the “Creamy Scrambled Egg with Coriander and Gruyere Cheese”, and preferred refreshing and light “Fresh Fruits and Yoghurt” option, with compote and toasted oats, plus some pieces of crispy French bakery.
We landed softly, right on time 6:40 am (+ 1 day) at Muscat. We disembarked in priority. Surprisingly there are still no aircrafts stands equipped with jet-bridges in this aging yet well-organized airport. A minibus awaited for us, and it took less than ten minutes in total to get to the immigration area. We noted that, contrary to many airlines from the Middle East, Oman Air and the airport employ local staff. Omanese are smiling and warm, and our first impression from the airport was excellent. Note that it is quite far from the city center (32 kilometers), and that airport shuttle or taxi should rather be booked in advance to avoid being overcharged by rogue taxis at arrival.
Our global impression is excellent. Good value, safe, comparable to First Class, actually boutique, gastronomic F&B. Must be improved: the attitude of the staff for photo shooting, and a Wifi. A few dozens of complimentary megabytes would allow more passengers to send pictures of the fantastic atmosphere and comfort on board.
PARIS TOWN OFFICE:
90 rue de Courcelles, 75008 Paris, France
MUSCAT TOWN OFFICE:
Sarco Building, Opp. Haffa House, Building No. 477, Block No.
OMAN AIR HOMEPAGE
MORE ABOUT OMAN AIR BUSINESS CLASS
SAFETY RECORDS FOR OMAN AIR
SULTANATE OF OMAN TOURISM BOARD