I tried, guys. I tried to think of a witty pun for Oman Air, but came up with nothing. But hey, heck yeah sounds close enough, right? RIGHT?!
We flew to Oman via its flag carrier Oman Air for the first time today. A bit of a History lesson: I’ve been flying to and fro Oman for many years now, usually to visit my dad who works here as a civil engineer and to renew my visa (which expires every 2 years). I’ve used plenty of airlines – SilkAir (Thailand), Gulf Air (Bahrain), Qatar Airways (Qatar), Emirates (Dubai), and Etihad (Abu Dhabi). If I were to rate them from meh to amazing , it would be the following:
Disclaimer: this list only includes the airlines I used when flying to Oman. This doesn’t include Singapore Airlines which I think trumps the rest of them when it comes to food, comfort, and airport services. Also, this list only talks about my experiences flying in Economy Class (I wish I had a money tree, but alas, I do not…)
Meh: SilkAir – Take this opinion with a grain of salt, as it has been a loooong while since I last flew with this airline. They may have improved since then, but from what I can remember (circa 2009 and the years before that), I was never that comfortable with their seats, and their leg room back then were very lacking. But hey, they had pretty purple blankets, and they allowed us to take one or two with us. Free airplane blankets! And oh, I didn’t relish stopping at their airport for a connecting flight to Oman. Their airport in Thailand is super big and super confusing. Then again, I was younger, and I may or may not have paid much attention to the signs and just followed my mother around…
Okay: Gulf Air – Ugh, I hate this airline. The only reason this isn’t in last place is because I haven’t flown with SilkAir for the longest time, and I do remember feeling unhappy about it, but that was ages ago. The last time I used Gulf Air was last year, I think? BUT I HATED FLYING WITH IT. There were so many seats, but so little space. It felt like we were herded as cows, put into a cage and expected to sit or stand still for hours. We were cramped, for real. And their airport was so crowded, that people from all walks of life were sitting on the floor while waiting for boarding gates to open. WHAT THE HELL! We didn’t get to experience any premium lounges (usually they exist for those who are Amex or premium card holders), cause we didn’t have much time to be lazy when we were there. Not sure if there were any, though.
Cool: Etihad Airline – This is a cool airline. Decent space, decent food, decent flight stewardesses. Reliable. It’s always crowded though when you take a flight from Manila, although that’s not surprising considering there are so many Filipinos in Abu Dhabi, and it’s one of the few airlines Filipinos use to go to other countries in Europe (I prefer Singapore Airlines). Their new airport terminal is better than their old one (where there’s a very colorful glass/mosaic ceiling in the center), which can get very crowded (people sleeping and sitting on the floor).
Cool 2.0: Emirates Airline – Another cool, reliable airline. Flights to and from Manila are always, always full. Then again, this is not a surprise as there are so many Filipinos working in Dubai. Decent space, decent food, decent flight stewardesses; their entertainment thingy has a very bad touch latency though from what I can remember, so I almost always have to press really hard for it to register. Oftentimes, flight attendants are friendly, although there was this one time an Emma Watson lookalike was very… snobby, like she couldn’t believe she was stuck with us peasants in the Economy Class. >.> I’m not a fan of their airport, though… yeah, it’s big and it has tons of duty-free shops and has loads of places to chow, but there’s just SO MANY PEOPLE. I don’t like crowded places. And their WiFi sucks.
AMAZING: Qatar Airways – loved the food, loved the comfortable chairs, loved their entertainment system, and their aiport was spacious every time I was there. I love this just as much as Singapore Airlines (which is the legit of the legit, yo).
Okay, that was a long… and densely-described list. I’M SORRY. So moving on, we used Oman Air now because it has a direct flight to Oman, AND GUYS YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HAPPY THIS MAKES ME BECAUSE CONNECTING FLIGHTS ARE A HASSLE, OKAY. (Just imagine having to go through long lines for security checks again… while knowing your plane’s about to leave in thirty minutes… que horror!)
I admit, I was at first hesitant to fly with Oman Air, because 1.) They only recently opened a direct flight from Manila to Muscat; 2.) I haven’t ridden with them before so I have no idea how reliable or comfortable or good they are; 3.) I had this notion it was a budget airline (it is not) and I’ve had… weird experiences with budget airlines before (I am looking at you, Cebu Pacific!).
But lo and behold, 8 hours of flight time later, I found that it was actually pretty decent!
1.) THE SEATS ARE SO COMFORTABLE. There is so much leg room (you can comfortably stretch your legs, considering of course you didn’t put your laptop underneath the seat in front of you), and I even fell asleep while sitting (which doesn’t happen often, because I need to lie down in order to get to la-la land). Sure, it wasn’t as comfortable as Singapore Airlines’ (in my honest and subjective opinion), but it was good enough for me to sleep while tilting my head to the side (I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS. I WOKE UP 2 HOURS LATER WITH A SORE NECK).
2.) THE FLIGHT WASN’T FULL. YESSSSSSSS!!! Okay, this is probably something that’s on a case-to-case basis, but it’s a known truth that there are not much Filipinos in Oman compared to other Middle Eastern countries (which boggles the mind because this is such an amazing and friendly country). It was so pleasant to know that there were so many vacant seats, because that meant we could ask the FAs if we could move to an empty row, which we were granted, as proven in the picture below:
3.) THE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM WAS PRETTY GOOD! Like any other airlines, each seat has their own TV in front of them, but what made Oman Air’s so extraordinary to me is the fact that it has high latency. I never needed to push the screen hard; just a light touch would register right away. There is absolutely no need to use a wired remote control at all. Their entertainment system had a lot of amazing albums from a diverse range of artists (TWENTY ONE PILOTS! TAYLOR SWIFT! ONE REPUBLIC! MICHAEL LEARNS TO ROCK!) that I managed to create a list for almost, oh 1000 songs. I listened to them for the first 6 hours of my flight (while asleep, of course hehe). Their selection of movies were diverse, yes (it ranged from Hollywood to Bollywood to Malaysian to Indonesian to Tagalog films, etc.) but they were extremely limited at the same time… I think it only had 5 movies under the New On Board one. Their selection of TV shows were quite lacking, too (only one Big Bang Theory episode? REALLY?) but I’m hoping it would have more stuff up its sleeves in the future!
4.) THE FOOD WAS… NOT UP TO PAR, THOUGH. As any other person in the world, I brighten up at the mention of food. The flight attendant asked me whether I wanted chicken, beef, or vegetarian, and as a chicken lover, I chose chicken.
It was honestly gross. I’m not sure what kind of chicken dish it was, but it tasted weird. I think it was supposed to be chicken adobo, but the sauce’s taste just didn’t make sense to me. PLUS, IT HAD BROCCOLI. What kind of chicken adobo would have fricking broccoli?! The rice was kinda rough, too. I ended up only taking a few bites then went to attack the dessert (which was some cheesecake with frosting on top. Pretty good.)
All in all, it was a pleasant trip, taking all things into consideration. I just wish the flight attendant didn’t shake me awake while I was asleep only to ask if I wanted coffee or tea. I’M SLEEPING, OKAY? I DON’T WANT NONE OF THEM BEVERAGES.
So, hi again, Oman! You bet I’ll be using your flagship carrier regularly from now on. Not only did it save us time (trust me, waiting for your next connecting flight can range from 3 hours to 5 hours… the waiting game sucks), but it was considerably cheaper, too (then again, we availed a promo… only 700 bucks for a round trip! :O). Here are some pictures I took:
What do you think? Would you want to visit this place in the future? What are your favorite airlines?
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