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Oman Air First Class Suite reviewed, London Heathrow to Muscat (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of my review of the Oman Air First Class Suite, which you can only find on the Boeing 787-9 between London and Muscat.

Part 1 of my Oman Air First Class review, which looks at the cabin and the suite itself, can be found here.

This final part looks at the IFE and the food and drink options and concludes with a short video.

Oman Air has a special page on its website dedicated to the London-Muscat First Class Suite which you can find here.

Oman Air’s IFE

I will cover the IFE system, called Aria, in more detail in my forthcoming review of Business Class.

What you need to know is that the screen is huge – although I can’t find the exact measurement – and fixed in position at the foot of your suite.  It can’t be folded away but this isn’t necessary as you can turn it off easily using the remote control or touchscreen.  Whilst the screen is large, you are a fair way away from it and it doesn’t dominate your field of vision.

Oman Air First Class Suite review

The system comes with a separate hand-held controller which can be used to control the main screen or be used as a mini-screen in its own right:

Review Oman Air First Class Suite Boeing 787-9 London to Muscat

The headphones were unbranded.  I don’t use noise cancelling headsets enough to feel confident in giving a verdict, but they did the job for the short time I used them.

Wi-fi is available.  Oman Air gives out codes to First Class passengers which allow them three hours of free use.  I would have preferred full flight access, to be honest, especially as the cash price of ‘full flight’ is only $40 vs $30 for three hours.

The speed was good and I was able to work on the first draft of my lounge review whilst it was still fresh in my mind.  The flight was very lightly loaded due to Ramadan, however, so my speed may have benefited from few other people logging in.

USB and plug sockets are available, although very hidden away to the side of the remote control panel, underneath an overhang.

Food and drink

I was on the morning flight to Muscat which left London at 8.25am.

Champagne was offered prior to take off.  There were two options – a standard Laurent-Perrier Brut and the more exclusive Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle, which you may recognise from British Airways First Class.  This sells for around £125 – £140 per bottle in UK supermarkets.

The wine list featured a number of bottles which retail around the £30-£40 mark, with two reds including a Chateau Laroque Saint-Emilion 2012 and three whites, headlined by a Domaine Marc Morey 2014 Chasagne Montrachet.  Excluding Emirates, this is about as good as you will see in First Class these days.

With a flight time of around 7 hours, you will usually only be offered one main meal on a premium cabin flight to the Middle East.  Oman Air decided that it would offer breakfast.

I am not sure I agree with this.  For a start, most people would have eaten something in the lounge or at home before getting on the aircraft.  Secondly, with the best will in the world, it is difficult to impress your passengers with breakfast.

Whilst it is a little counter-intuitive, because most airlines like to start with their ‘big splash’ meal, I would have been happier to be offered a light breakfast and then a full ‘all singing, all dancing’ lunch three hours later.

The Oman Air First Class breakfast menu

Whilst it is hard to impress with a breakfast, Oman Air did a very good try.  It was probably the best breakfast I’ve ever had on an aircraft although competition for that award is slim.  The catering is apparently from Do&Co if you depart Heathrow, which is the ‘gold standard’.

The quality shone through at every stage.  Look at the exquisite design of the crockery used in the photos below.

Whilst Oman Air offers ‘dine on demand’ in First Class, it didn’t seem sensible to delay breakfast any longer than was necessary once the seatbelts signs were off!

Appetiser:

Marinated prawns, smoked tuna, sous vide herb salmon

Muesli, berry compote and strawberry

Seasonal fruits with passion fruit coulis and vanilla panna cotta

Yoghurt – coriander and mango compote with toaster granola

I went for the first option.  The photo does a bad job of showing how beautifully put together the dish is, and how many separate items of food are involved.  It was a very classy act.

Review Oman Air First Class Suite Boeing 787-9 London to Muscat

The crew let me have the yoghurt as well – after all, there were no other passengers to eat it!

Review Oman Air First Class Suite Boeing 787-9 London to Muscat

Mains:

Arabic breakfast

Cheese and spinach omelette with herb cream sauce

Bell peppers fried egg with hollandaise sauce

Vanilla waffle with raspberry compote, vanilla anglaise, whipped cream

Pindi cholle with paneer crumble and sauteed pickle onion

I moved on with the omelette.  Given that it was served on a plane, it was impressive, but at the end of the day an omelette is an omelette:

Review Oman Air First Class Suite Boeing 787-9 London to Muscat

Bakery:

Selection of warm bakery items

The second meal

The snack later in the flight, which Oman Air calls ‘Refreshment’, comprised:

Shaved pastrami in brioche

Crab, celery and sundried tomato tart

Trio dessert – bakewell, fruit tartlet, avocado brownie

Here is the tomato tart:

Review Oman Air First Class Suite Boeing 787-9 London to Muscat

….. and the desert trio:

Review Oman Air First Class Suite Boeing 787-9 London to Muscat

As snacks go, they were impressively done.  Anyone who has been handed a pack of random British Airways sandwiches in Club World as a ‘second meal’ recently will be surprised!

One thing I should add is that the tray table is well designed.  It has a wide range of movement so that, if you need to nip to the loo or get up to speak to another passenger during the meal service, you can easily slide the table back and stand up.  If only all meal tables were so thoughtfully produced.

Arriving in Muscat Airport

Finally, a couple of shots of the brand new Muscat International Airport which opened in March 2018.  Compared to Dubai and Doha this is a modest facility, shaped like a bird with a central terminal area and two wings running off to each side.

I’m not sure what the passenger throughput is, but it wasn’t much in the early evening.  Take a look at these two shots of the baggage reclaim area:

Review Oman Air First Class Suite Boeing 787-9 London to Muscat

and:

Review Oman Air First Class Suite Boeing 787-9 London to Muscat

It felt like I had the whole airport to myself!

Conclusion

The Oman Air First Class Suite is an excellent product and we are lucky that London Heathrow is the one route where you can find it.

A lot of care and attention has been put into every detail, especially in the design of the seat and the materials used.  The crew were excellent on my flight, although given that I was the only First Class passenger I was never going to be neglected.

My only regret is that I didn’t get to have a proper lunch or dinner, which I think would have been a better demonstration of the quality of the food.  That said, I’ve never had as classy a breakfast on a plane.

Once you get past the new Emirates First Class Suite (reviewed here, only on Stansted in the UK) and the new Singapore Airlines A380 suite (reviewed here), I think Oman Air has a product which beats most of what else is out there.  You obviously don’t get A380-style showers or a lounge because the aircraft is too small, but on a 7 hour flight it is hardly necessary.

The biggest problem for Oman Air is that, as you will see in a few days, it has an exceptionally good Business Class product on the Boeing 787-9.  You can have a great experience without paying for First Class.

Annoyingly, Oman Air is not part of a major airline alliance so there is no easy way of booking this with frequent flyer miles.  The airline does have ONE partner, however – Etihad.  At the end of this series of articles I will look at how to redeem on Oman Air using Etihad Guest miles.

And I made a short video …..

Here is a short (141 seconds) video of the cabin – including how the doors work – and the food, which has a different feel to my photographs.  As there were no other passengers, I had a bit more flexibility than usual.

If you can’t see the video below, click here to visit our YouTube page. You can also subscribe to our channel via that page.

Next up …..

As I left the immigration hall, there was a driver holding a board with my name on it.  We were off to the beach-side Al Bustan Palace hotel, managed by The Ritz-Carlton, where I was to spend a couple of nights.  My Al Bustan Palace review is here.

Thank you to the Oman Air team in London for providing my flight.  A review of my return leg, in Business Class, can be found here.

Oman Air’s website dedicated to the London-Muscat First Class Suite is here.

Oman Air First Class Suite reviewed, London Heathrow to Muscat (Part 1)
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Comments

  1. Willem says:

    Great review. Until somewhere in April of this year Oman used to do two full catering services both in First and Business which I thought to be excellent. The change to ‘Refreshments’ as the second services it not thought through well in my opinion. Some sectors do really only need one full meal services, Zurich to Muscat comes to mind, but even their day flight from Manila to Muscat, which is 8:35hrs of flight time now only gets a full services breakfast and refreshments prior to landing. I could really have done with a second meal after such a long flight prior to landing on my recent flight. I fly Oman to Asia quite frequently but I believe the recent meal service changes need to be reconsidered. I have swapped to Turkish Airlines for the time being and their catering is excellent with two full meal services on their longer flights.

    • Turkish Airlines is in my opinion one of clear leaders in terms of onboard catering (Do&Co)entertainment,etc
      This business class service is impressive
      I would fly with them any day,but must say their customer services let me down
      Hard to come by their miles (only route AmexM-Marriot-TK) and no family accounts make me think twice before booking with them!

  2. Frenzie01 says:

    Just to add, on British Airways during second lighter meal (“Refreshment”) service they will not hand you a packet of sandwiches.

    You will have a choice of light meals to choose from a menu and it will be presented on the beautiful new crockery.

    • Ian M says:

      Yeah, I’ve never been handed a sandwich in BA F.

      • I know this, I wrote it badly. I meant that any BA CW passenger who has ever been handed an unwrapped pack of sandwiches etc … Have clarified.

  3. JamesLHR says:

    For those interested in catering, Do&Co provide the food for Oman Air ex-LHR.

  4. You have an enviable job Rob! Oman is definitely on my wish list as it does seem to tick all our boxes (reasonable length flight, sunshine, scuba diving for the OH). Looking forward to the hotel review.

    • They usually have good fares in business one way back from BKK to LHR and presumably also MAN. Very tempted to try it, only downside is it means two stops to EDI but could always factor in a few nights in London.

  5. I flew two segments in Oman Air F as the only passenger recently and two as not the only passenger. Service on the two segments where I was alone was really stellar, service on the other two segments was average for a first class cabin at best and the crew seemed to struggle at points. Unless I got unlucky twice, I’m inclined to think you would have had a different experience if you weren’t alone. Loved the hard product on the 787 though.

    The breakfast as the main meal thing is also the case on WY103 which leaves Muscat in the middle of the night, meaning unless you want breakfast at midnight UK time you will have to wait until pre-landing for a substantial meal which is a bit odd.

    • Unfortunately Oman only releases one F award seat from/to LHR however Royal Jordanian also used to release only one award business seat and now releases two. Hopefully Oman will follow RJ’s lead and open two in the future.

      Oman air is very nice but unfortunately they fly 737 max’s on short routes which makes life complicated for some.

  6. I actually love breakfast and could have it at any meal time! I find as well it’s the hardest meal to screw up so am rarely disappointed. This was demonstrated in the CCR last week when I was delighted to have smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and LPGS for brunch, whereas my OH had the rib eye steak a short time later and found it unremarkable. We have an 11 hour overnight CW flight in the summer so for once I’m going to ask the crew to wake me up for the full offering.

  7. Have you had breakfast on LH First? This did not look as good to me, at least on paper.

    • No – I always try to do same day connections so I am usually flying early afternoon, after a 7am at Heathrow and 2 hours in the First Class Terminal.

    • ankomonkey says:

      On paper? The milk on your Cornflakes would go everywhere! 😉

      • Once had an accident onboard with a little milk carton provided with cereal. I had a problem opening it and was squeezing it quite hard, the cap finally gave way and the milk came shooting out all over a very unamused prim and proper lady sitting next to me 🙂

  8. Do&Co cater the OS lounges at VIE, in fact I think, ALL lounges at VIE and the food is total crap. Frankfurters and potatoes is the sum total of the hot food. Senator and Business are the same. I’ve never been to the HON lounge there.

    Do&Co means very little, it all depends how much they are paid.

    • Glad I’m flying back on Easyjet from VIE in December then for £50, which includes checked bag and seat selection, but no lounge!

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