Flight test: Oman Air
Bangkok to Muscat, Oman
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Sindbad. Passengers can also earn points by flying on Etihad.
UP THE BACK OR POINTY END?
Economy, seat 41D (then 40D).
TIME IN THE AIR
5 hours, 50 minutes from Bangkok, Thailand to Muscat, Oman.
THE SEAT STUFF
34 inches (86 centimetres) pitch, 18 inches (46cm) width. There are 196 economy seats in a 2-4-2 layout.
One checked bag up to 30 kilograms in weight, one carry-on bag up to 7KG in weight. Technically, any additional personal items carried aboard must be included within the carry-on allowance.
My first seat, 41D, is on the aisle in a row of three near the back of the aircraft, directly behind a standard row of four. As a result, its associated seat pocket, tray and video screen are all out of alignment with my seat. Fortunately the flight isn't very full, so the crew are happy for me to move one row forward. Oman Air's economy seats seem tight with the armrests down, although there's generous leg room. As I have a row to myself, I can spread out and make the most of the space. This means I manage a short but satisfying nap beneath one of the airline's clingy blankets.
The seatback touchscreen seems more responsive than many I've used on other aircraft. There's a good selection of recent Hollywood movies from hobbits to superheroes, along with some art house fare. Lovers of international film would be happy with the non-English selection, which includes subtitled movies in Arabic, French, Italian, German, Thai, Malay and other languages. The television section is less impressive, with individual episodes of popular series such as Hawaii Five-0 and The Big Bang Theory. There's also "Live TV", featuring live streams of various cable news channels; though this is not always available, dependent on satellite signals.
It is efficient and friendly, with the attendants adeptly serving a diverse and multinational clientele.
An early lunch is served an hour into the flight, with a choice of chicken, seafood or a vegetarian dish, each served with rice. I snag the last serve of chicken. It doesn't look like much, but turns out to be surprisingly tasty. In fact, it's delicious and thankfully much spicier than you expect airline food to be, which I attribute to the Thai catering staff at our point of origin. It's accompanied by a nondescript salad and a slice of sponge cake, along with plastic cutlery. Alcoholic beverages are discreetly served but I decide on a pineapple juice instead. Near the end of the journey we're given a chicken pastie, which is also very good.
ONE MORE THING
Oman Air offers a Wi-Fi service aboard the flight, dependent on the availability of signal. It's not cheap, however, starting at $5.80 for a 3MB download allowance.
Seats are snug, but for a medium-haul flight this is a good economy-class experience.
One to three times daily.
Tim Richards flew courtesy of Oman Tourism.
Sunday Star Times