Oman Air, Business Class – Airbus A 330-200: Kuala Lumpur to Muscat

Oman Air Logo

Date: 23. December 2016
Departure: 09:40
Arrival: 13:10
Flight time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Seat: 10A

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Getting to the Airport

In Kuala Lumpur I am staying at the Sama Sama hotel that is connected to the airport terminal building via footbridge. It takes you about five minutes on foot from the hotel lobby to the departures concourse on level 4 of the terminal building.

Check-in

Terminal: 1.
Row: M
Airport check-in:

  1. Business Class – two counters.
  2. Web check-in – one counter.
  3. Economy Class – four counters.

Web check-in: I receive an e-mail from Oman Air the evening before the flight, inviting me to check in online for the flight from Muscat to Zürich, but not for the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Muscat. So I am not quite sure what that e-mail was about and what the web check-in counter is supposed to be for.
Comment: The airport is crawling with people when I arrive for check-in. There are long queues for all airlines and outside, most of the aircraft stands appear to be occupied.

The Lounge

Location: In the satellite terminal, above the station of the shuttle to the main building.
Name of Lounge:
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge.
Type of Lounge:
Malaysia Airlines Business Class lounge.
Toilets:
Toilets are available in the lounge, but they are pretty old and smelly.
Showers:
Also available, but in equally bad shape as the toilets.
Food & Beverages: There is a selection of hot and cold dishes, with a mix of traditional Malaysian and Western breakfast dishes.
Connectivity:
Wifi is available in the lounge, password required.
Comment:
The lounge is used by all passengers travelling on Malaysia Airlines and a few others, like Oman Air. As a result, the place is completely full and there is hardly a place to sit. Once I do find a place to sit down, I go and get myself a drink, only to find that they have run out of clean glasses.

I think this is a really nicely designed lounge, but I also think it is starting to show its age, it looks tired and worn.

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Boarding

Priority Boarding: Kind of…
Number of Airbridges:
2.
Comment:
My flight is boarding from gate C1, which shares a security checkpoint with gate C3. There are two queues for the security checkpoint. There is no dedicated lane for Business Class passengers but at least the queue moves fairly quickly. Once you are inside the holding pen, there are two separate exits to the aircraft. Business Class passengers use the L1 door, all other passengers use the L2.

The Cabin

Configuration: 2 + 2 + 2.
Seat Layout: Oman Air has started to renew the Business Class cabin of its Airbus aircraft. Where previously the A 330s had a seat that was more akin to what other airlines have in First Class, the new Business Class definitely makes better use of the available space. Oman Air has installed the same seat that Japan Airlines has on the Boeing B777-300 on long-haul flights. On a pair of two, the seats are slightly staggered, with the aisle seat is slightly behind the window seat to allow the person sitting by the window easy access to the aisle without having to climb over another person.

Apart from the fact that the seat and cabin are obviously still very new, I like the colours Oman Air uses, a combination of light and dark browns with a dash of turquoise to liven things up.
Capacity:

  1. Business Class – 30 seats.
  2. Economy Class – 196 seats.

Pitch: 82 inches.
Width: 22 inches.
Length as a Bed: 77.5 inches.
AC Power:
Every seat in Business Class has its own AC power port and two USB ports.
Audio and Video: Audio and video on demand. The IFE system is operated via remote control. The control reacts very well and is very fast.
Earphones: No name branded earphones.
Connectivity:
Wifi is available on board and there are different price plans for mobile devices and laptops. You can choose between 30 minutes/10 MB for USD7; 60 minutes/25 MB for USD13; or 3 hours/100 MB for USD20.
Comment:
Of course the new seat is not as luxurious and spacious as the old Business Class seat that used to be installed on the A 330. However, having said that, the new seat certainly makes more sense commercially. I like this seat. It offers a lot of storage space and if you raise the privacy screen between you and the person on the aisle, the window seat really is quite private. Besides, on this particular flight only 10 out of 30 seats are occupied anyway.

I was unable to find a seat map with the new cabin layout.

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The Crew

The crew are friendly enough. As soon as I am seated, I am brought a scented hot towel that is so hot it actually has steam rising from it. In short succession I am also brought the earphones, the vanity kit, the menu and an orange juice.

Once the doors close, the service begins with the traditional Omani welcome, which consists of a fresh date and a cup of Arabic coffee.

Amenities

  1. Shaver with shaving cream.
  2. Colgate toothbrush and toothpaste.
  3. Eye shades.
  4. Earplugs.
  5. A comb.
  6. A lot of useless Amouage cosmetics (lip balm, eye cream, hand cream…)

The First Service

Welcome drink on the ground: Orange juice.
Towel before the meal:
Scented hot towel served while still on the ground.
Delivery:
Individual tray service.
Type of meal:
Breakfast.
First course:
Natural yoghurt with honey.
Main course:
Bowl of fruit (mango, pineapple, grape, kiwi, melon, nectarine)
Breadbasket:
A selection of warm breads, including Arabic bread, a Danish roll, a croissant and a bun, served with butter.
Beverages:
Coffee with cream, orange juice.
Comment:
On the morning flight from Kuala Lumpur Oman Air changes the service order around. Just after take-off the small meal is served, while the main meal is served prior to arrival in Muscat.

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The Meal

Choice: There are three options each for the starter, the main course and the dessert.
Delivery:
Individual tray service.
Type of meal:
Lunch.
Breadbasket: A selection of bread, including Arabic flat bread.
Beverages:
A Diet Coke and still water, coffee after the meal.
Comment:
Ninety minutes out of Muscat the main meal service begins. For the starter I have the Arabic mezze, which are quite tasty. I have to say, this dish is not on the same level as Qatar Airways’ mezze platter, for example. But the food is good enough and the presentation is nice.

For the main course I have the beef curry and this really is quite tasty – the beef is so tender! The meal is served with cucumber and a chilli in case you like your food a bit spicier.

I decide to skip dessert and have the cheese plate instead. As the flight attendant comes to remove the plate from the main course, he notices that I have already demolished all the bread, so with the cheese plate he also brings me some more bread.

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First Course

Arabic hot and cold mezze (labneh, olives, samosa and something red with a tasty, strong flavour of roasted bell peppers.

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The Main Course

Oriental beef curry with a spiced gravy and fragrant steamed rice.

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The Cheese

A selection of cheese with pineapple chutney and poached pears.

Arrival

Our arrival into Muscat is very spectacular and leads us along the cost past Mutrah and the city of Muscat to land in a westerly direction.

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From the outside, the new terminal in Muscat looks nearly finished. However, I ask one of the cabin crew and he tells me the facility will not be opening before the end of 2017 because there is still quite a lot of work to be completed on the inside of the building.

But of course this is all good news for me because it means we will be deplaning via stairs and ferried to the terminal by bus. I always enjoy taking a good look at the aircraft I fly with from the outside. Business Class passengers are bussed across to the terminal in their own, dedicated bus.

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Malaysia Airlines, First Class – A 380: Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong

logo-malaysia-airlines-MAS

Airline: Malaysia Airlines
Aircraft:
A 380
Cabin:
First Class
Seat:
1A
From: Kuala Lumpur
To: Hong Kong
Date: 25. August 2013
Departure: 09:15
Arrival: 13:05

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Getting to the Airport

I spent the night at the Hotel SamaSama at Kuala Lumpur airport, which is connected by a walkway to the main terminal building. In its previous incarnation, the SamaSama used to be the Pan Pacific Hotel.

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Check-in

Malaysia Airlines have a dedicated row of check-in counters for their First Class passengers and platinum members of their frequent flyer programme. It’s quite busy when I arrive, so one of the check-in agents asks me to take a seat while I wait.

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The Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge

From check-in I head one floor down to immigration and then from there to the security check. For some reason there are two security checks in Kuala Lumpur – one immediately after immigration and another before you enter the holding area of the gate.

The Malaysia Airlines lounges in the satellite are located right above the station of the shuttle train. There is one entrance to the lounge. Business Class passengers are then directed to the left of the counter, while the First Class section is located to the right. There are some good apron views to be had, but at this time of day the place doesn’t appear to be too busy.

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The selection of hot and cold dishes in the lounge is great. I haven’t had a proper breakfast yet, so I decide to have some Nasi Lemak (rice cooked in coconut) with Chicken Rendang.

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Boarding

Half an hour before departure I leave the lounge and head for gate C27, where the big bird is expecting me. Passengers in Business Class are instructed to head one floor up for boarding. On the lower level there are two airbridges, the B bridge for Economy Class and the A bridge for First Class passengers.

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The Cabin

Wow! I definitely like the Malaysia Airlines First Class cabin. The colours are rather dark, but the cabin is very beautifully appointed and sumptuous. The seat provides ample space and privacy. It all looks very elegant.

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So far when I’ve travelled on the A 380 with Thai, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines it’s always been on the upper deck. So this will be my first ride on the lower deck. Two things strike me from down here. First, the engines and wing look even more enormous than they do from one floor up. Secondly, there’s more noise on the lower level. The good news is, we’re only two passengers on the flight today.

The Crew

What can I say? Today’s crew really are deserving of Malaysia Airlines’ reputation for the best cabin crew. They are truly excellent and very professional. There are two ladies and one gentleman in charge of the two of us. They take their time to provide a very personalised and utterly charming service. They soon realise I have a bit of a thing about planes and we get talking. Very obviously the crew are very proud of their product and the A 380 and competently answer all my questions.

I am offered a drink and choose an orange juice, which is brought to me with a hot towel. The menu is already at my seat.

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Departure is the same sluggish affair as it was yesterday with Thai Airways from Hong Kong to Bangkok. Well okay, fair enough. I suppose with this big bird take-off will never be sprightly.

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The Meal

I start writing this trip report. It’s quite bumpy as the flight attendant comes to dress the table for the meal service. So I place my MacBook Air on the side, on the rail in the space between the seat and the cabin wall. Suddenly there is a bum from the turbulence, followed by a thump. It takes me a moment to realise that the thumping sound came from my laptop, which has managed to slip through a small gap.

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It’s so tight I can’t get my hand down there. The flight attendant suggests I move seats to the other side to give her more space to manoeuver while she tries to get a hold of my laptop. Eventually though she gives up and informs me that the captain has been advised and that he has requested engineers to come on board upon arrival in Hong Kong to retrieve the laptop. How embarrassing!

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The meal starts with a plate of amazingly fresh and juicy fruit – grapes, dragon fruit, melon and papaya.

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This is followed by a selection from the breadbasket. I just have a croissant.

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Next I have the Nasi Lemak with spicy shrimps. The dish is served with peanuts, boiled egg, cucumber and dried fish.

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And then for dessert I have some vanilla ice cream.

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With the coffee the crew serve a bowl of warm nuts and another with chocolates.

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After the meal I take a tour of the cabin and the loo.

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Arrival

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Epilogue

After we land, the purser comes to my seat and asks me to wait for the engineers to arrive to retrieve my Mac. We pull onto the stand and wait for all the passengers to disembark. It’s amazing how long it takes to unload a nearly full A 380. Once everybody is gone, the engineers arrive. It takes then about 20 minutes until eventually, with the help of one of the flight attendants and her slender hands, they manage to get the laptop out. I’m really embarrassed about the whole thing, which is only highlighted by the fact that all the crew were really very friendly about the whole thing.

I collect my belonging and thank them for their service and their kindness. My next flight will not be until this evening. So I head to the hotel bus shuttle stop and catch the shuttle bus from gate 29 to the Novotel City Gate, which is located about 10 minutes away from the terminal.