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.
Map generated by GreatCircle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz
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.
Airline: Oman Air
A40-DG will be taking us to FRA
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.