DALLAS — Oman Air (WY) has built a reputation as a premium carrier with a strong focus on premium experiences. Its fleet counts just above 50 aircraft, which, according to Abdulaziz Al Raisi, the airline’s CEO, is the perfect size for the carrier. This allows the Omani carrier to exert unprecedented control and consistency over its high-quality in-flight and airport products.
In today’s trip report, Airways had the pleasure of experiencing the WY flagship First Class product on board the airline’s Boeing 787-9 from Muscat International Airport (MCT) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Check our recent video for the lounge experience.
So, after the outstanding lounge experience, where to?
After leaving the lounge at around 12:40 local time, I headed straight to gate A9. My 787-9 for today’s flight, A4O-SG, features eight first class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 28 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration with all direct aisle divided into two cabins, and 232 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
Oman Air has installed a first-class cabin only on two Boeing 787-9, while the remaining operate a larger business-class cabin. Flight time for my WY101 flight to London Heathrow is expected to be 7:10 hours.
Boarding With a Surprise
I arrived at the gate well ahead of time and was immediately informed that, due to overbooking, some business class passengers, including me, were upgraded to the first class seat.
My seat 12K turned into 1G, the right aisle seat at the front of the first-class cabin. I was also told that the service would have been the same as in business class. So, to my surprise, this trip report had turned into a first-class seat with business-class service.
I have to say, the business class service offered in WY’s cabin already felt like a first-class experience during my flight from Milan to Muscat. Not many airlines offer dine-on-demand pajamas, mattresses, and duvets in business class, especially for six hours flights.
As for the MXP-MCT flight, flight attendants welcomed passengers with a hot or cold towel, Arabic coffee and dates, and a selection of welcome drinks, including water, champagne and juices, and warm mixed nuts. An Amouage amenity kit was waiting for me at my seat, with noise-canceling headphones and a bottle of water.
A duvet and mattress are placed inside the ottoman to convert the seat into a bed. The cabin manager soon welcomed us on board and asked us for the choice of our in-flight welcome drink (the second one offered in a very short span).
Despite having an almost overbooked flight, boarding was completed in no time, with the crew tirelessly taking care of each guest in business and first class.
Seat, Suite Controls
If the business class seat on my Milan to Muscat flight had impressed me with its spacious and luxurious design, the first-class suite is the ultimate in-flight travel experience.
Today I was sitting in 1G, middle seat facing the right aisle. While featuring a slightly shorter bed than the business class seat, this seat compensates for its (very) few flaws. A screen is found in front, next to which an ambient light is placed. The suite has plenty of storage compartments and a more responsive IFE touchscreen controller.
A small wardrobe is installed in the seat’s walls to store jackets and jumpers. The first-class seat also allows passengers to dine together as, unlike business class, it is possible to sit on the ottoman in front. A larger tray table is found, which can also be tilted to exit the suite. Each seat is equipped with sliding doors, although privacy is already outstanding due to the large divider on the side of the seat.
Privacy can be further increased between two middle seats through electronic partitioning. A very responsive touchscreen that controls lighting and seat positions replaces the seat and suite controls.
Finally, the seat is wider than the business class counterpart, and the cabin feels way more private, with only eight seats. It also feels more spacious due to the lack of overhead bins – bags and backpacks must be stored in the galley wardrobe during taxi, take-off, and landing.
A universal power outlet is found in the main storage area next to the seat together with a USB charger and the audio exit. As expected, the seat fully reclines into the most comfortable bed I’ve ever tried on an aircraft, which spans the entire suite.
We lined up for take-off in time, following a Boeing 737 MAX and another 787-9. We had an eastbound departure, coasting Muscat before turning northwest. Our flight path would cross Dubai, up to the Black Sea, before flying above Germany and landing in cloudy London Heathrow. Lunch started soon after take off.
I already had a good lunch at the Oman Air lounge buffet, but I saved some space for the flight. We were asked if we would like to join for lunch immediately after take-off, and I decided to have a quick bite. The menu offers 4 choices of appetizers, main courses, and desserts, together with 7 wines in total.
This time, I went with a lobster amuse bouche, which was originally intended for first class, a main course of grilled filet of fish with lime and coriander sauce, and mint and berries ice cream for dessert.
While these were intended as business-class dishes, the quality would have been more than appropriate for a first-class service. The crew was also super attentive and friendly in the service and helped me with wine pairings.
In-flight Entertainment, Wi-Fi
The IFE in first-class features larger screens than in business class. The movie and TV series selection is really good – It took me quite a lot of time to select a movie, as it featured most of my favorites.
I ended up watching Interstellar for the 20th time. No printed in-flight magazine is offered, but Oman Air fleet and hub information can be found in the IFE menu.
It was a bit difficult and counterintuitive to operate the in-flight map showing our Boeing 787 flying above the Middle East; however, since the seat next to me was empty, I just set that screen to always show the in-flight map.
My unisex Amouage business class amenity kit included earplugs, socks, lip balm, lotion, comb, and hand sanitizers packed in a nice beauty case. The first-class bathroom is arguably the widest I’ve ever seen on an airplane yet.
The lavatory is placed between the two aisles and spans this entire length, giving a lot of room to get changed. Items missing in the amenity kit such as toothbrushes and Amouage perfumes were found in the toilette – a nice, useful, and efficient touch.
Wi-fi was also available, but I found it quite expensive – although a messaging plan exists, it only offers a few MBs to use for chatting apps such as Messenger or Whatsapp. Only two people were connected for the whole flight. After landing I also found out that first-class passengers were entitled to a complimentary Wi-Fi voucher for the flight.
I quickly went to check the economy class cabin. The traditional 3-3-3 seat configuration is found on WY 787-9s, with a large IFE screen. A special amenity kit is given to children, which is a truly nice touch.
Despite being a day flight, most people were sleeping as the cabin was turned into night mode. I had a lovely chat about photography with the cabin crew members who were interested in my camera.
Approach and Landing:
As we flew above Germany, a pre-landing meal was offered. This included hummus, a small burger, chicken pesto, and patisserie crème as dessert. Once again, delicious. I paired this with the Lallinger champagne that WY offers in business class.
We flew north of cloudy London before lining up for an eastbound landing.
We landed on runway 09L on time and taxied past Terminal 2 on our way to Terminal 4. We arrived at a relatively calm time at Terminal 4, as it took me only a few minutes from the aircraft to the baggage collection.
Oman Air’s reputation cannot be overstated: today’s flight experience gave me an excellent and representative idea of the investments the airline has carried out in the past, both in their airport and in-flight services.
The already excellent business class experience is even further enhanced in first class, where the suite makes up for the (very few) areas of improvement of the business class seat.
The service was again attentive and friendly, which I really appreciated throughout the entire flight. The standard set by the Omani airline is some of the highest across their network.
A small fleet allows for a great degree of control and consistency over the airport and in-flight experience, and WY is mastering this like very few airlines in the world.
Featured image: Simone Chellini/Airways