capicua From Venezuela, joined Apr 2011, 50 posts, RR: 0 Posted (11 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5695 times:
Welcome to the continuation of my Oman TR series. Sadly, this already marks the beginning of the return trip.
There were several highlights on this trip, apart from touring the land itself and getting to absorb the sights. On a personal level I should mention the mini class reunion we had in Muscat. Culturally there were an amazing saber dance performed outside the souq in Nizwa, an Omani wedding party we had the chance to attend and a rendition of Puccini’s La bohème I went to see in Muscat’s new Opera House (of all places – you should’ve seen me all dressed up in borrowed clothes as this was nowhere in my travel plans). In the nature chapter, one moonlit night I was able to witness the hatching of sea turtles and their rushing from the sandy nest to the nearby waters of the Gulf of Oman while adults of their kind crawled up the beach to cave a nest and lay their eggs or were just finished with their business and returning to the sea in complete exhaustion. And, last but not least, aviationwise there were a lot of firsts on this trip: the airline, the destination airport, the local airports of SLL and KHS, the A330 and the EMB190. Not bad at all.
But let’s get back to business. As I’ve already reported on the outbound flight, I will try to keep this report short and sweet.
As opposed to the outbound trip, this was a daytime flight. I arrived at MCT around 2 hours prior to departure thinking that this was enough time to secure a good seat at check-in. I hadn’t considered the many transfer passengers from all over who obviously had already checked in much earlier at their points of origin and as my fare class didn’t allow OLCI, there was nothing I could have done about it. The check-in process was very quick, but when my turn came there were no window seats and no aisle seats in the outer (2 seat) blocks left. From what was available I chose an aisle seat in the very last row, center section.
After check-in it was time to bid my school friend and his kid son farewell and go through the security check and passport control, both of which were hassle-free.
The terminal afforded views of both the domestic/regional apron:
and the one where international/long haul flights are parked:
Construction of the new tower and terminal is still going on:
Opening in 2015 seems quite realistic. Those who like airstair boardings should have a few months left to experience them here then.
I got to the boarding gate at 13:05. The gate agent had a look at my passport and then went over to his supervisor, who had a “list”. Turns out it was a list of nationalities that can’t enter Germany without a visa. Only after checking that Venezuela was indeed not on the list and with profuse apologies was I let through into the holding pen. The gate opened to get on the bus shortly thereafter and soon we were on the way to the plane.
November 2012 Airline: Oman Air Flight: WY113 STD/ATD: 13:45/13:57 (off stand) STA/ATA: 18:10/18:15 Route: MCT-FRA Registration: A40-DG Aircraft: A330-200 Seat: 44F
A40-DG will be taking us to FRA today:
We were greeted by several flight attendants at the door and more of them welcomed the passengers as they were making their way down the aisles. My seat at the very rear, with pillows and blankets already placed on each one:
I overheard the cabin crew saying the passenger count was 204 (out of 216), so a healthy load on this flight. The aft cabin was taken care of by a team of four F/As, 3 male, one female. I had the impression that this particular crew was much less reserved than the one on the outbound flight. They engaged in conversations with the passengers and were generally quite cheerful. One even gave me a thumbs up sign upon seeing me taking photos.
Legroom was very generous and the IFE box small enough to prevent it from being a nuisance:
The footrests came in handy, well… footy too:
In lieu of outside views the big screen is very welcome:
Prior to taxi warm towels and international newspapers were handed out and at 13:57, a few minutes behind schedule, we were off the parking stand. Safety video:
As could be seen on the FIDS a few pictures up, there were several flights departing between 1:50 and 2:00 p.m., four of them WY widebodies to Europe. It took us some time to be number one for takeoff and at 14:18 we were finally in the air.
After reaching FL010 the crew came into action and distributed headphones and amenity kits.
At about the same time the cockpit crew came on the P/A to greet the passengers again, apologizing for the delayed departure. Our flight time today would be 7h 15’ due to a 40 kt headwind. To the amazement of many passengers all P/A’s from the flight deck were also made by the F/O in German.
By the time we reached FL380 between Dubai and Abu Dhabi the cabin crew were handing out the menus and serving aperitifs. I went for an unbloody mary.
I had the seafood ragout and some white wine to go with it:
The main course and the desert were excellent, couscous I’ve had better ones. But that is a matter of personal taste. All in all the meal was generous and tasty.
What I found interesting was that the cabin crew wore disposable gloves while collecting the finished lunch trays. It’s the first time I saw something like this but maybe the more frequent flyers have seen that on other flights/airlines as well.
After the meal it was time to check out the seat pocket contents…
…and get up for a walk about the cabin.
Had I had a smartphone or a laptop, I could have used it up here and gone online.
Important information for some passengers:
Making progress over the Black Sea.
And over Eastern Europe
After passing Bucharest we flew through an area where it got bumpy. Once we reached smoother air again, about two hours out of FRA, the cabin crew started the second meal service handing out hot towels first and then a tasty chicken snack along with a beverage of choice. I had an apple juice to go with it.
Eventually it got dark outside. Those sitting by the left windows must have enjoyed a beautiful sunset and dusk during the approach to Frankfurt. At least that’s what I could see from my seat.
With mood lighting
At 18:15 we touched down on runway 25L at FRA reaching our stand at the E gates at 18:27.
Yet another very pleasant flight with Oman Air had come to an end. Passport control was swift, much more so than the baggage delivery.
The next day I had a meeting in Frankfurt before continuing to Hamburg so I stayed overnight. My choice was the Top Hotel Post Frankfurt Airport which is located about 10 autobahn minutes from FRA and provides free shuttle service. At € 65.- it may be a good choice for some of you when a future A.net meet comes up.
The following day, after the meeting, I used the hotel shuttle to get back to FRA to take the train to Hamburg from the airport station. An impression of the ‘Squaire’:
Now isn’t that sweet?
After some juggling with the timetable and cancelled trains, I finally managed to take yet another ICE that delivered me at Hamburg main station 3,5 hours later.
gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 2802 posts, RR: 13 Reply 1, posted (11 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5671 times:
Nice continuation of youre joiuney. Shame there were no window seats available...lucky you weren't stuck in a middle seat though! Service on WY continues to sound wonderful!
Quoting capicua (Thread starter): my fare class didn’t allow OLCI, there was nothing I could have done about it.
Really? I've not encountered an airline that won't let a certain fare class OLCI. Very strange. The OLCI is to save the airline time/money, so really the airline should be encouraging you to OLCI, not dissuading you.
knightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1536 posts, RR: 18 Reply 3, posted (11 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5124 times:
Thanks for the lovely report. That brought back fond memories! It sounds like you had a brilliant time in Oman. It truly is a fascinating country.
I particularly like the pictures you took at the bottom of the stairs to board the plane. When I flew with Oman Air in July I wanted to do the same, but it was so hot and humid outside that the camera lens steamed up as soon as I got off the air conditioned bus!
Ferminios From Canada, joined Apr 2011, 93 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3613 times:
Thanks a lot for sharing your great trip. I grew up in Muscat (1993-2000) and the country has a special place in my heart. It's all still so recognizable, it's clear that Oman has gone for maintaining traditions rather than putting up skyscrapers like their neighbours.
I haven't been back to Muscat since I left in May 2000. Trip reports like these bring back a lot of memories of that time. It's about time to get back, have to save up though
WY looks to be the carrier of choice to get there, I hope to make it happen before the end of the year.
capicua From Venezuela, joined Apr 2011, 50 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3463 times:
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1): The OLCI is to save the airline time/money, so really the airline should be encouraging you to OLCI, not dissuading you.
I absolutely agree with you. The only explanations I could come up with were that either such low group fares don't get the 'perk' of an OLCI or the passengers of a tour group are not supposed to go their own way and stay together like a flock even when it comes to check in.
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1): Shame there were no window seats available...lucky you weren't stuck in a middle seat though! Service on WY continues to sound wonderful!
Yes, a real shame. But considering the number of available window seats versus the number of aisle and middle seats on such a plane, the odds are fairly high to end up on anything other than a window seat if you have to leave it all to good luck. The middle seat next to mine was actually one of only 12 seats on the plane to remain free. Service really was wonderful!
Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 2): I'm hoping to try them out myself in a few months time, although only on a short hop.
You should have quite a good experience with them. Maybe the short hop makes you want for more.
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 4): Did you swim in the ocean there? What was the weather like as it's now their winter.
Is it worth going?
We had a chance to get waist-deep into the Indian Ocean in Salalah, but there were warnings not to venture any further because of strong currents. We were told that this isn't always so, though.
When we were there in late October / early November daytime temperatures still hovered around 30-33 °C (86-91 °F), dropping to the likes of 25 °C (77 °F) during the night. Weather was always sunny and dry.
Whether it is worth going or not will very much depend on your expectations and likings. I for one didn't regret going there one bit!
Quoting reifel (Reply 5): Wow, MCT terminal looks old school I like it though. I will fly there in March, so will be able to experience before the new ones open.
It does indeed look old school, particularly landside, but they are making progress in the construction of the new terminal. If you go there in March, you will still be able to experience the current, more authentic terminal.
Quoting Ferminios (Reply 6): Thanks a lot for sharing your great trip. I grew up in Muscat (1993-2000) and the country has a special place in my heart. It's all still so recognizable, it's clear that Oman has gone for maintaining traditions rather than putting up skyscrapers like their neighbours.
My pleasure. I'm glad I could bring back some memories to you.
Quoting Ferminios (Reply 6): WY looks to be the carrier of choice to get there, I hope to make it happen before the end of the year.
Other than KLM (do they fly to MCT?) you will always have to change planes somewhere, so you might as well take one of WY's flights from LHR, FRA, CDG or ZRH. Best wishes for your 'project' then!
capicua From Venezuela, joined Apr 2011, 50 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2999 times:
Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 3): Thanks for the lovely report. That brought back fond memories! It sounds like you had a brilliant time in Oman. It truly is a fascinating country.
Sorry for replying only now. I'm glad you liked the report. Yours in turn was an inspiration to write up this one, albeit just in Y. But as I came to experience, economy is a very bearable place to be on a WY flight.
Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 3): I particularly like the pictures you took at the bottom of the stairs to board the plane. When I flew with Oman Air in July I wanted to do the same, but it was so hot and humid outside that the camera lens steamed up as soon as I got off the air conditioned bus!
I was fortunate enough to be able to take these pictures both on arrival and again when leaving. I did ask for permission and they were fine with it. The heat was less than when you were there, sure, and humidity was practically non-existent.