Oman Air Boeing 787 Business Class Review [MCT > BKK]

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Airline: Oman Air (WY)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 (A4O-SI)
Flight #: WY817
Route: Muscat (MCT) > Bangkok (BKK)
Date: June 25, 2019
Duration: 6hr
Cabin & Layout: Business Class, 30-seats, 1-2-1 config
Seat(s): 11K
Miles Used: None – paid fare
Cash Used: $1,400 (£1,180) per person one-way Barcelona to Frankfurt to Muscat to Bangkok

Introduction

This review follows on from a flight from Frankfurt to Muscat on Oman Air’s Airbus A330 in the older business class configuration. You can read how it was booked in that review.

Ever since flying Qatar Airways’ phenomenal Qsuites earlier this year, the next product high on my list was the highly regarded Apex Suites as seen on Oman Air, Korean Air, and Japan Airlines. I was eager to see if it lived up to the hype.

How to Book Oman Air Business Class With Points and Miles

Although I booked my Oman Air flight as a paid ticket, it’s possible to redeem points and miles towards Oman Air flights.

The best way to do this is by using Etihad Guest miles. These can be transferred in from American Express Membership RewardsCapital OneCiti ThankYou, and Marriott Bonvoy at varying rates, so it’s pretty easy to build up a solid Etihad Guest balance.

The price of a ticket on this route — Muscat to Bangkok — costs a reasonable 34k points in business class. You can view the full Etihad Guest award chart for Oman Air on the Etihad Guest website (PDF).

OK, now for the bad news: it’s hard to actually book the ticket.

Unfortunately, these awards don’t show up on the Etihad Guest booking site and there’s seemingly no way to find award space online. This means that you’ll have to call in to find award space and actually book the ticket.

We recommend calling the airline’s Manchester, U.K. call center for the best experience. It will take a bit of time to actually book the ticket, but I promise that it’s worth it in the end!

At Muscat International Airport

My inbound flight landed at 7:28 p.m. and my connecting flight was scheduled to depart at 9:20 p.m., providing time for me to check out the new Oman Air First and Business Class Lounge.

The new $1.8 billion Muscat International Airport passenger terminal opened in March 2018 and it was an absolute breeze to transit through.

Muscat Airport
Muscat Airport

Business class passengers can use the fast track security lanes and it took me a total of 10 minutes to get from the gate to the new lounge.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Entrance
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Entrance

Passing through the automatic double doors, I was greeted by a staff member who quickly checked my boarding pass and welcomed me in.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Entrance
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Entrance

A large model of its flagship Boeing 787 aircraft is the feature piece in the reception which sits in front of a portrait of the Sultan of Oman.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Model Boeing 787
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Model Boeing 787

When I was taking a photo of the directory, a staff member mentioned that the listed spa wasn’t open just yet.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Directory
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Directory

Entering the lounge, you pass through a winding hallway, flanked with armchairs and flight information boards.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Entrance Hallway
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Entrance Hallway
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Hallway Seating
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Hallway Seating

Smaller lounge areas are also off this hallway.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Lougne Seating
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Lounge Seating

The hallway then opens into the main buffet and dining area.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet Seating
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet Seating

During my visit, the buffet included 7 hot dishes and a large selection of cold options and desserts.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet Beverages
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet Beverages
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffett Beverages
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet

Walking further into the lounge, you’ll come across the tendered bar which faces a huge window. The bright internal lights reflected off the glass in the evening so there wasn’t a view to be seen.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Bar and Lounges
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Bar and Lounges
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Bar Lounges
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Bar Lounges
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Bar
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Bar

Walking further past the bar, it expands into another large buffet and dining area.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet Seating
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Buffet Seating

I still wasn’t hungry due to the 3-course lunch service on the flight from Frankfurt, so I had the bartender make me the signature cocktail for the day instead — a cosmopolitan.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Bar Cocktail
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Bar Cocktail

There is also a room for the kids to play in.

Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Kids Room
Oman Air First & Business Lounge Muscat Kids Room

Overall, I enjoyed my brief visit to the Oman Air First & Business Lounge. There is ample seating in various zones and 2 large dining areas, however, there was a lack of power points near some of the armchairs in the private lounge area and around the armchairs in hallways.

Muscat Airport Terminal
Muscat Airport Terminal

I arrived at the gate 10 minutes before the listed boarding time and was first in the queue. The boarding commencement was weird. No announcements were made; an airport ground crew member just opened the door and said, “OK, Bangkok, you come now.”

Muscat Airport Boarding
Muscat Airport Boarding

When I arrived at the aircraft door, the cabin crew were still scrambling with final cabin preparations and had no idea the ground crew started boarding. As a result, another airport staff member held passengers back for another 5 minutes.

Flight

Aircraft

WY817 is operated by a Boeing 787-9 aircraft, snapped here a few days earlier in Bangkok out the window of my Finnair Airbus A350.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 at Bangkok
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 at Bangkok

Oman Air currently has a fleet of 9 Boeing 787-series aircraft, 2 of which are 787-8 model with the remaining the longer 787-9 variant.

According to the Oman Air social media team, the Boeing 787 is currently flown on routes between Muscat and:

  • Bangkok
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Paris

My aircraft today was Oman Air’s newest 787-9 and was only 3 months old.

The carrier has 2 versions of the 787-9: a 2-class configuration with the Apex business class seats and economy class and a 3-class configuration which adds first class.

My aircraft was the 2-class configuration.

The business class cabin features 30 seats in a staggered 2-2-2 configuration with 24 in the forward cabin between door 1 and door 2 and a smaller cabin behind door 2 with just 6 seats.

Economy has 258 seats split across 2 cabins in a 3-3-3 configuration.

Oman Air Boing 787-9 Seat Map
Oman Air Boing 787-9 Seat Map. Image Credit: Oman Air

Business Class

Finally on board, seeing the cabin for the first time I thought to myself, “Wow! What a sleek looking cabin!”

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Middle Seats
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Middle Seats
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Cabin from Front
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Cabin from Front

With only 11 passengers in the front cabin this evening, it was also very empty.

Don’t let the 2-2-2 configuration fool you — this staggered seat arrangement affords every passenger direct aisle access.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Cabin
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Cabin

The best seats in the cabin are the A and K window seats. These seats have up to 3 windows and have a walkway from the aisle to the seat.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seat 11K
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seat 11K
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window Seat Walkway
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window Seat Walkway
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window Seat Walkway
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window Seat Walkway

Between each A/B, D/G, and J/K seat pair are electrically controlled privacy screens which are all down upon boarding. The adjustable privacy screen makes every seat pair suitable for individuals or couples, not just the middle D/G pair.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window Seats
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window Seats
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window-Side Seats
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window-Side Seats
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seat 11J
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seat 11J
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seats 11J & 11K
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seats 11J & 11K

Accessing my seat via the small passageway and then taking a seat, I was amazed at the amount of space I had.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window Seat Point of View
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Window Seat Point of View

Thinking about the Singapore Airlines Boeing 787 I flew just a few days earlier, which also has 2 seats staggered by the windows, the Oman Air Apex Suite is wider at 22.8 inches vs. the Singapore Airlines 20 inch width.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Aisle
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Aisle

Directly in front of me, I had a 17-inch IFE monitor and an ottoman, under which I could store my camera bag.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Ottoman
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Ottoman

Alongside the partition between the neighboring seat, there is a narrow cocktail table for your beverage, and in my case, camera lenses.

Directly under this a twin-level open storage space and the literature pocket.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Storage Pocket
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Storage Pocket

Closer to the seat, is the removable IFE remote.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class IFE Remote
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class IFE Remote

Further down are the buttons to control the privacy screen, mood lighting, and the Do Not Disturb lights found on the outside of the suite.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Privacy Screen Adjustment
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Privacy Screen Adjustment
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Do Not Disturb Off
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Do Not Disturb Off
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Do Not Disturb On
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Do Not Disturb On

Directly under this is a small storage compartment that easily fits the amenity kit.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Storage
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Storage

It’s also a great place to store and charge an electronic device as the storage compartment houses 2 USB sockets and a power socket. The headphone jack is on top.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class USB Ports
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class USB Ports

Over your shoulder is a spotlight with adjustable brightness and a hook to store your headphones.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Light & Headphone Hook
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Light & Headphone Hook

On the seat arm on the opposite side are the adjustments for the seat itself, complete with adjustable lumbar support, massage function, and even a “reclined mode” for take-off/landing.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seat Controls
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seat Controls

In the walkway between the window seat and aisle, there is a hook to hang your jacket.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Coat Hook
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Coat Hook

The tray table is large and thankfully spins to a 90-degree angle to allow you to jump out of the seat during meal service.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Tray Table Spin
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Tray Table Spin
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Tray Table Spin
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Tray Table Spin

With the screen up between the seat next to me, the privacy was amazing. Who needs a sliding door when you have this?!

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Privacy Screen Up
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Privacy Screen Up

If I was seated in an aisle seat, the seat shell provides decent privacy also and the offset middle seats mean you won’t lock eyes with the passengers across the aisle.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Privacy Screen Up
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Privacy Screen Up

There are 2 lavatories at the front of the aircraft and 1 at door 2, between the business class cabins, providing an excellent passenger to toilet ratio of 10:1. The toilets are also configured with bidets, yet the amenity holders were all empty.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Toilet
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Toilet

The seat folds down to a fully flat 80-inch bed and as such, at 5 feet 10 inches, I couldn’t touch the end of the bed. Unlike the Oman Air Airbus A330 retro seat, this one is perfectly flat and free of lumps. The mattress topper also helps this and was thicker than some airlines I’ve flown, yet not as good as Virgin Australia’s one.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Flat Bed
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Flat Bed

Sadly, Oman Air didn’t option-up this Dreamliner with individual nozzles and they were very much missed with the cabin kept way too warm this flight. Despite the privacy of my window seat, it wouldn’t have been appropriate to sleep without a shirt on, but it crossed my mind.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Flat Bed Point of View
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Flat Bed Point of View

After the meal service and finishing up a movie, it was 3 hours into the flight and time to get some sleep. I woke up 2.5 hours later by the scramble in the cabin to prepare for landing with just 50 minutes to go. Overall, it was an uninterrupted slept, but it just wasn’t long enough.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Forward Cabin
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Forward Cabin
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Rear Cabin
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Rear Cabin
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seats
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seats

Amenities

The crew distributed an Amouage-branded amenity kit to business class passengers, the same as I had on the inbound flight.

Oman Air Business Class Amenity Kit
Oman Air Business Class Amenity Kit

It is one of the most inclusive amenity kits you’ll receive on a flight and is filled with socks, an eye mask, brush, lip balm, earplugs, facial moisturizer, hand and body lotion, mouthwash, and a dental kit.

Oman Air Business Class Amenity Kit Contents
Oman Air Business Class Amenity Kit Contents

Pajamas are also provided on this evening service.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class PJs
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class PJs

Entertainment

The IFE monitor is the same 17-inch size as found on the older A330 aircraft, and suffers the same issue of not feeling big enough due to the 80-inch distance between you and the screen. However the software, responsiveness, and resolution are hugely improved over the older system.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class IFE Screen
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class IFE Screen

I found the IFE remote unresponsive like on the Qatar Airways A380; you need to push the screen very hard to get it to respond.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class IFE Remote
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class IFE Remote

Wi-Fi was also installed on this new aircraft, but I just couldn’t get it to connect so I gave up and decided to prioritize getting as much sleep as possible.

Noise-canceling headphones are the same cheap-looking quality as the previous flight, so I didn’t bother to try them again.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Headphones
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Headphones

The crew once again collected them 30 minutes before landing into Bangkok.

Meal and Service

Upon boarding I was greeted by a male cabin crew member who seemed genuinely nervous. He offered me either a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne ($35 a bottle), mixed berry smoothie, orange juice, or water.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Champagne
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Champagne

A hot towel arrived on a ceramic plate. The crew member mentioned, then overfilled, the champagne, spilling it over the cocktail table. It may have been due to the fact I had just taken a photo of him pouring it that made him nervous.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Pre-Departure Champagne
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Pre-Departure Champagne

I was handed the menus and advised I was welcome to dine at any time I wanted. The crew member spoke very quietly and seemed unsure what needed to be done.

Oman Air Business Class Menu
Oman Air Business Class Menu

Newspapers came around next.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Newspapers
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Newspapers

Followed by more champagne.

Then dates.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Dates
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Dates

I was then offered an Arabic coffee.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Arabic Coffee
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Arabic Coffee

My meal order was taken just before we pushed back.

For the rest of the flight I was looked after by a Ukrainian cabin crew member who was just lovely and far more confident and professional. Sadly, I didn’t get her name.

Around 45-minutes into the flight, my tray table was set for the dinner meal service and an amuse bouche arrived of crusted chicken with vermicelli, tamarind chutney, cucumber, and carrots.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Amuse Bouche
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Amuse Bouche

For appetizer I selected the classic Arabic mezze with hummus, baba ganoush, marinated olives, cheese sambousek, chicken kofta, and Arabic tomato sauce served with Arabic breads. It arrived on a beautiful glass plate with accompanying dips and olives. Compared to the Etihad Airways mezze I had just a month earlier, it was a far more substantial serve.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Arabic Mezze
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Arabic Mezze

The other appetizer options:

  • Carrot and pumpkin cream soup
  • Grilled lemongrass chicken with raspberry vinaigrette

Then for main, I opted for the braised duck in seeded mustard with duck jus, herb crush potato, roasted pumpkin, zucchini, and cherry tomato. Once again, I was amazed at the restaurant-quality and presentation of the dish. The duck was cooked to perfection.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Braised Duck
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Braised Duck
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Sancerre La Perriere
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Sancerre La Perriere

The dinner service concluded with warm cinnamon and strawberry bread and butter pudding with vanilla anglaise, strawberry compote, crushed cashews, strawberry, and whipped cream. I paired this with the 2014 Château Guirand 1st Grand Cru ($36 a bottle) dessert wine.

Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Dessert and Château Guiraud 1st Grand Cru
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Dessert and Château Guiraud 1st Grand Cru
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Chateau Guiraud 1st Grand Cru
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 Business Class Château Guiraud 1st Grand Cru

It was the perfect way to finish off an overall excellent meal and was the perfect portion size, too.

My tray table was cleared around 2 hours and 20 minutes after departing Muscat.

I’m unsure if a refreshment service was available before landing into Bangkok as I slept through it and nothing was noted on the menu.

However, I doubt I would have wanted more food if there was any offered after the dinner service.

Final Thoughts

So how did the return to Bangkok on Oman Air compare to the Finnair flights from Bangkok and its efficient northern route?

Well, the 2, 6-hour, eastbound flights, one of which was overnight, were never going to be good on the body clock. I landed in Bangkok at 6:34 a.m. local time after totaling 5.5 hours sleep across the 2 segments and I felt terrible.

The experience was made even worse by the fact my bag never arrived at the carousel. It turned out that it never made it out of Barcelona and would take another 7 days before it was returned to me at Sydney Airport.

No matter how good a business class product is, nor the high-tech Boeing 787 with higher humidity and lower cabin pressure, it just can’t overcome the effects on the body of crossing so many time zones.

In hindsight, I should have flown to Europe via the Middle East as 2 shorter day flights which would have been more favorable on the body clock and I would have been able to enjoy more of the Oman experience. Then I should have flown Finnair east-bound which would have had the longer, uninterrupted, 10-hour segment and a better opportunity to sleep.

Saying all of that, Oman Air was an absolute pleasure to fly and it exceeded my lofty expectations. Although the service wasn’t as polished or friendly as Finnair, everything else, including the restaurant-style dining and lounge in Muscat felt far more premium.

I would also choose the old Oman Air A330 business class over a Finnair A321 business class any day of the week. But it’s the Apex Suites on the 787 that further swing my love to Oman Air. This seat is now my second favorite business class seat, behind the Qatar Airways Qsuites, due to incredible space, privacy, comfy flatbed, and decent storage. I just wish Oman Air would launch longer routes to capitalize on the 787’s love for distance.


Greg Stone

About Greg Stone

Greg got bitten by the travel bug at a young age while traveling with his Dad on business trips to Asia. He took over the family business in 2012 and uses it to maximize his loyalty points earning. His obsession with earning and burning loyalty rewards points allows him to travel over 100 days every year.

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1 comment

  1. You can see the award space available by going to omanair.com and selecting the “miles” option when searching for flights.

    99% of the time there is 2 business and 1 first class available. I’m guessing not many people redeem on this airline.

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