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newbief1yer
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London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:45 pm

Video Reports of this leg of the trip
 
Gulf Air - GF006 & GF562 - LHR-BAH-MCT - A330-200 & A320-200
Gulf Air - GF003 & GF561 - MCT-BAH-LHR - A320-200 & A330-200

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/Airliner_Report_zpsyoyxe2jn.jpg

Background

Hello A’netters. Hope you are all doing well. Its Easter and good Friday long bank holiday weekend here in the UK and we wanted to go to a sunny location. We also decided on taking 1 day either side of the 4 day break making it a 6 day weekend.

Our initial thoughts were Jordan or Egypt. But given the political unrest in these areas (well Jordan is relatively safe, but a bit too close to Syria for my liking and given the current situation) decided against them and zeroed in on Oman.

Having spent most of my childhood and schooling in Kuwait, I had heard that Oman is quite different to the rest of the middle eastern countries and thought this would be a great opportunity to visit it.

Looking at flight options, there were a lot of options to get us to Muscat, albeit very few options which were direct. The prices on Oman air was ridiculous, and an economy seat was almost the same price as a discounted business class on BA. But we also wanted to fly on the Wednesday night after work.

Taking flight times, transit times and price into consideration, I chose Gulf Air, via Bahrain. The last time I had flown Gulf Air was way back on May 2010. They’ve had issues since then but seem to be picking up, although no new aircrafts since I last flew on them. But I do know that they have refurbished their interiors on their existing fleet of 16 year old A330-200, so looking forward to that.

Thanks to GCMaps for the map illustrations below:

http://www.gcmap.com/map?P=lhr-bah-mct;mct-bah-lhr&MS=bm&MR=300&MX=720x360&PM=*

Gulf Air - GF6
Route: LHR(T4) - BAH
Flight Reg: A9C-KD ; Built in 1999 and delivered to Gulf Air on July 1999 as A4O-KD. Then went to TAM in June 2001 as PT-MSE, before returning back to Gulf Air in Sep 2002 as A4O-KD and getting reregistered as A9C-KD in Jan 2008
Aircraft Type: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 24A
Flight time: 21:50 - 07:20 (21:50 - 07:10)
Actual flight time:6Hr 20 min
Distance: 3169 miles
Load: full in all classes.
23rd March 2016
My Log book: 7th Flight on Gulf Air/4th flight on Airbus A330-200/ 108th Total overall flight



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Photo © Miguel Alia
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Photo © Luís Padrão


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Photo © Bernhard Bauske
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Photo © fishair

Booking Process, website usability and online check in

Booked this flight using Flight center as they were beating the price I was seeing on Gulf Air website. Bagged the seats for £435 per person including taxes and all additional charges. To remain competitive, Gulf Air to provide with check in baggage allowances of 30 Kilos for economy class passengers which I felt was very generous.

Once booked, the Gulf Air website was useful in managing my booking although the website could do with some refinement. Although the landing page looks slick, once you go into the website, on various subpages, it is still the old format and looks dated. It did what I wanted it for, and no more.

Day before the flight, online check in was seamless and seats chosen to my liking. Even emergency exit row seats were available to select upon online check in. But decided against it as the seat map on the website did not indicate if there are any lavatories in that area. That being said, the seat map on Gulf Air website, did not match with any of the online seat map versions on the various seat related websites. We shall see when we board the aircraft.

On the day upon checking the incoming flight, I realized that we would be on A9C-KD. Not sure if I had been on this aircraft before, as I only have a record of being on A9C-KB during my last trip on Gulf Air to India and Kuwait.

Gulf air flight to London lands at 3 in the afternoon. Not sure why they have such a long layover in London. And quite intrigued by the flight numbering system. GF003 to London but GF006 back to Bahrain?

Time for the Holidays to begin
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030443_zpsv9fjuaxw.jpg

Airport service / checking in / Lounge

Used the park and ride service at terminal 4 long stay parking. A fairly decent and hassle free service. They've introduced a new car drop service which takes out the hassle to find parking spaces and could be a real pain during peak times. Time from entering the car park to the terminal building in 20 minutes.

Seemed like a busy time at t4. Check in was slow. The agent serving us wasn't sure that a UK passport holder would get visa on arrival in Oman. She made a few calls to confirm. On the whole a very slow and lethargic process. Poor attitude by the check in staff.

There was beefed up security at Heathrow today due to the recent attacks in Belgium. Nevertheless we were airside in 15 minutes.

Walked around for a bit and settled in our usual spot at comptoir libanis. The foods good over here but we're told that they had a shortage of staff and food would get delayed. We still took the chance and to our surprise the food arrived very quickly. Good on them. Although this time the Felafels were not cooked correctly. The most likely suspect looks to be an overly heated oil in order to cook quicker, but this has almost burnt the outer layer, but raw inside.

Check in desks at Heathrow
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030445_zpscebqn1pl.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030448_zpsfytkadkn.jpg

FIDS at LHR
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030455_zpsvoi91dyk.jpg

Terminal 4 Airside
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030452_zpss9qpok3t.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030456_zpszh7qfmbi.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030454_zpsfp6qlrfs.jpg

Becoming a regular dinner place for us at T4
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030457_zpsi1d1iucl.jpg

Plane spotting from the viewing gallery
Air Malta A320-200
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030459_zpsgwdccyjt.jpg

A regular here - China Eastern A330-200
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030458_zpsfyops8fq.jpg

KLM Fokker 70
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030460_zpsvvak0tfl.jpg


Boarding Process

Boarding commenced on time. But it didn't seem to follow any process. After the initial families with young children being catered for it was free for all. There wasn't a separate priority queues for business class passengers. That being said it was a quick process.

Boarding completed 10 minutes ahead of schedule but there was a slight delay as one of the passengers had lost her phone along with her credit card. Oh uh.. not the best start for them.

Time to board
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030465_zpsy3we8yol.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030468_zpsb4hffvda.jpg

Sneek peak before boarding
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030469_zpsqkwuhqcq.jpg


First impressions/Hard product/Aircraft Interiors

Upon boarding, gulf air have their new refurbished interiors and it's pretty decent. Nothing over the top but the cabin looked new, clean and fresh.

The cabin temperature was well maintained throughout the flight.

On board Gulf Air A330-200 (A9C-KD)
Our seats on row 24
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030470_zps673guai5.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030471_zpsppr24ofd.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030472_zpscx3zyxoa.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030475_zpsngn0jlta.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030478_zpswdzaidcm.jpg


IFE Monitor
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030473_zpsm8r0qvjm.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030483_zpsyw5erjjq.jpg

Reading material on board
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030476_zpsjnzsr4gm.jpg

Amenity kit
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030477_zpsx8whuwdq.jpg


Very Thoughtful - Get well soon
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160323_213326_zpswaz7n7h9.jpg


Seating/Bed

Been said before and I shall repeat It. One of the best economy seating are on the a330 and this was no different. Combine the wide (er) seats along with the generous 34 inch seat pitch, you have a winner.

Strange fact. When I was checking in online, the seat selection system indicated that row 41 was exit row. But walking though the flight it seems rather row 40 is the exit row.

The recline is very good, but there is an issue with the seats. Since the material of the seat is faux leather it tends to slip when in recline mode. Perhaps the only slight criticism about the seating onboard.

Yet managed around 2 and half hours of sleep during this sector.

Cabin Crew/Captain announcements

Warm welcome and professional. Captains announcement from the delight deck indicated a flight time of 6hr and 10 minutes cruising Anstey an altitude of FL39.

Cabin crew on the rest of this flight was a miss. Extremely robotic and lacked any sort of personal touch. Taking the term cabin crew literally, they did their jobs. But a bit of smile and polished behavior would go a long way.

They did a water run when everyone was sleeping. When asked for another glass it wasn't well received. The crew almost just kept the glass on the table and before I could thank them had disappeared.

The toilets were not well kept and towards the end of the flight was near revolting.

On the whole an average show by the cabin crew on this sector. A marked improvement can be achieved just by few simple tweaks. They were all well-groomed and looked the part. Just lacked finesse and refinement. A smile, cabin crew. Come on. It's not that difficult.

Neighbours at Heathrow - China Southern DreaL)ner
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030474_zpsbgbky46w.jpg


Taking off into the night sky
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030481_zpscngbnvyx.jpg


F&B

The meal consisted of a chicken rice option and a vegetarian pasta option. Tried the chicken with rice option. It was more like a biryani and it tasted quite good. The salad was a miss but the dessert was good. It was a crumble with a sponge below.

Drinks on offer were the usual soft drinks options along with beer and wine. Had the shiraz on offer and it was a good choice.

90 minutes before landing there was another round of drinks and a pastry being served. Did not bother with it I wanted to sleep for a bit.

Delicious Chicken with rice
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160323_230209_zpsxsgjbjt8.jpg


Entertainment

A marked difference from the last time I was on board Gulf Air. See differences below.

Old and New
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR004/old%20and%20New_zpsivw7oehc.jpg


The choices too seemed more than acceptable for a 6 -7 hr. flight. And given that Bangkok, manila and London are their only long haul flights the entertainment system was excellent. Even the tactile feel of the system was superb. Very quick to respond and very intuitive. Perhaps the only confusing aspect were the reading lights which were embedded in the screen using the power on/off button.

Movie and TV choices were very good and quite a few new movies to choose from.

Watched the big short and it's well worth a watch.

Fantastic movie
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160323_222313_zpspgjbcllz.jpg


On time Performance

Disembarked the gate bang on time and was airborne 20 minutes later.
We landed in Bahrain 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

WOW Factor

Nothing much stands out. But overall a consistent and a very promising product

Refurbished toilets
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_004704_zpsf0kzmoki.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_004711_zpsxwfj7axn.jpg

Gulf Air A330-200 cabin at night
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_004552_zpsfb1cux72.jpg

En-route, just enering Turkey. About the time i went in for some siesta
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_010819_zpsnutvemza.jpg

En-route - time to wake up
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_024333_zpsayaxiyiv.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030485_zps8smcrh6s.jpg

Almsost there
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030484_zpspofumvlx.jpg

Bahrain skyline
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030488_zps9ukm84h1.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030489_zpsgto91myu.jpg

Bahrain International Airport
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030490_zpsqqanxym9.jpg

Exiting the aircraft
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030494_zpsebzpn3ri.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030495_zpswkiktqtj.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030496_zpssbmize1z.jpg


Transit at Bahrain

Bahrain airport is quite small compared to the others on the area. It consists of one long'ish terminal.

Security was quick as it seemed that ours was the only flight at that time.

Quite a few restaurants scattered around although I felt that they were on the expensive side for a middle eastern airport.

Went to the sky restaurant. Nothing too great about it except you get some good views from here. Breakfast for one set us back by 12 GBP.

We then proceeded towards our gate number 31. 31-36 gates are all combined together in a common waiting area.

Not much to do at Bahrain airport and not much has changed since I was last here nearly 6 years ago.

Transiting through Bahrain
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030498_zpszr8jkdnv.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030499_zpsrbc8poko.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030501_zpsrnwxo63y.jpg

Duty Free
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030502_zpsdtogywd5.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030504_zpsfyzyraam.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030505_zpss4lftsfv.jpg

Plane spotting at BAH

Turkish based MNG Airline - Airbus A300-600RF - Interesting fact about this aircraft (TC-MCC) - was previously a passenger airline with CZ. Converted to freighter in 2013
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030507_zpsnhtabjzj.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030506_zps27xik1h6.jpg

My last time flight with Gulf Air - A9C-KB
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030508_zps91yh17kq.jpg

Does anyone know which aircraft this is?
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030529_zpsc6lbn3lz.jpg


Gulf Air - GF562
Route: BAH - MCT
Flight Reg:A9C-AN ; Built in 2011 and delivered to Gulf Air on Nov 2011; 4 years and 4 months old at the time of flight
Aircraft Type: Airbus A320-200
Seat: 10A
Flight time: 09:00 - 11:30 (09:00 - 11:30)
Actual flight time:1Hr 30 min
Distance: 514 miles
Load: full load today.
24th March 2016
My Log book: 8th Flight on Gulf Air/21st flight on Airbus A320-200/ 109th Total overall flight



View Large View Medium
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Photo © AirYura
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Hans Schulze

Boarding Process

Boarding commenced 40 minutes before the flight and we were sat in the aircraft by 8:30.

Unlike other airports where they cram as many passengers as possible in a single bus, in Bahrain they opted for a more casual approach. The kept sending the buses half full and here 3-4 such trips which kind of delayed the entire boarding process.

Time to board our next flight
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030510_zpsghx2qupz.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030511_zpsj6sjjq1m.jpg

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http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030514_zpsylpymki3.jpg


First impressions/Hard product/Aircraft Interiors

As previously very well kept and maintained aircraft. The interiors looked sharp and tidy. The window shades were all pulled down in order to keep the scorching sun outside at bay. Giving the cabin a cooler ambience.

Our ride to Muscat - A9C-AN
Up close and personal - note that all windwoshades are drawn, because of the heat.
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030516_zpsxkebmqjc.jpg

Onbaord Gulf Air A320-200 (ER)
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030518_zpscey0fy5t.jpg


Seating/Bed

When choosing seats during online check in, I had opted for exit row seats. But upon entering the aircraft exit row was 9 instead of 10. A minor issue given that all the seats have ginormous seat pitch. One of the most generous on board a narrow body aircraft I reckon.

Extremely comfortable upholstered cushion seats. this aircraft seems to be the a320-(er) version. This could perhaps explain the generous seat pitch and the AVOD unit. Speaking of which there was a considerable real estate being used for the AVOD unit below the seats.

Our seats - Row 10
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030519_zpsxb8hxmxr.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030521_zpsebzmijao.jpg

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http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030522_zps8engfmu0.jpg

IFE on board
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_084129_zpsze2dxfry.jpg


Cabin Crew/Captain announcements

Warm welcome by the cabin crew. Once all were boarded, the chief purser introduced himself and so did the captain. Flight time of 1 hr and 10 minutes announced.

Cabin crew, similar to the previous sector were quite robotic and disengaging. As soon as take off and cruising altitude attained handed in our snack packs and away they went.

Neighbours at BAH
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030524_zpsyxrcm5yv.jpg

Reading material on board
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030525_zpslenccblp.jpg

Disembarkation
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030528_zpsyoxqmvat.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030530_zpsjotv4wrk.jpg

Take off
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030531_zpsnhzugufl.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030532_zpsmlyymwna.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_092326_zps7oqgd35k.jpg


F&B

The food and beverage on this sector consisted of a sweet custard pastry along with water or orange juice. Fair play for such a short sector.

Snacks
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_093449_zpsaa3mzufg.jpg


Entertainment

Very decent for such a short sector. As stated before this must be due to the fact that this is gulf air's ER version and hence used for longer missions like Paris. The screen was slightly outdated but the entertainment choice was fairly extensive. Quite similar to our previous flight.

On time Performance

Departed the gate right on time, although given that we boarded the aircraft 30 minutes before the departure time, I would've expected for an early departure.

Busy time at Bahrain airport. Taxi was short but quiet a queue in front us. Airborne by 9 20.

Toilets
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_092808_zpsfeywedbk.jpg


Cabin View
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_092837_zps0ujf5chf.jpg


WOW Factor

On time and fantastic seating for a narrow body aircraft

Dubai Pearl
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030534_zpsyhizsltp.jpg

En-route
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160324_094900_zps2yqcw913.jpg

Jebel Akhdar
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030538_zpscpc3iyup.jpg


Time to descend
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030539_zpsljmr1uov.jpg


Exiting the aircraft
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030542_zps2xrwnnsp.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030543_zpsiz2qy35s.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030544_zpselbp4v4s.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030546_zpso2qyyp0k.jpg


Immigration at Muscat
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030547_zpsus7o2gyj.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030548_zpsnkayr8xw.jpg

Baggage time
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030551_zpswg4hkman.jpg


Verdict

So far a decent performance by Gulf Air. Bought us to Muscat on time and in a very comfortable manner. The crew need a bit more of a polished approach to be on par with the Airlines of the neighboring countries. A very good IFE on board and decent F&B service, on the whole, on this sector, was a very good alternative to the ME3's. So far so good.

6 days of frolicking around Muscat, it was now time to head back

Snapshot of Muscat and its surroundings
Beach Pavilion at The Bustan Palace
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160324_183009_zpscjf1qiil.jpg

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160327_104719_zpsijncqk2k.jpg

Holiday Inn Muscat Seeb, with our ride for the trip in the foreground - A 4.0L V6 Toyota Fortuner
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160324_132419_zpsnbwzxawi.jpg

Sunset on the Gulf of Oman
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160326_172855_zpswwakoskg.jpg

Jebel Shams
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160325_153541_zpsihomvpoa.jpg

Nizwa Fort
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160327_134120_zps2hbqjaiv.jpg

View of Nizwa from Nizwa Fort
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160327_135006_zpsrqyejem8.jpg

Wadi Shab
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160328_143921_zpsktj2716n.jpg

Bimmah Sink hole
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR005/20160328_160657_zpsk8kwjfg5.jpg


Gulf Air - GF561
Route: MCT - BAH
Flight Reg:A9C-AO ; Built in 2011 and delivered to Gulf Air on October 2011; 4 years and 5 months at time of flight
Aircraft Type: Airbus A320-200
Seat: 15F
Flight time: 07:15 - 07:50 (07:20 - 08:05)
Actual flight time:1Hr 45 min
Distance: 514miles
Load: around 60%
29th March 2016
My Log book: 9th Flight on Gulf Air/22nd flight on Airbus A320-200/ 110th Total overall flight



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Photo © Weimeng
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Photo © Osipov Dmitry



Muscat
 
User avatar
newbief1yer
Topic Author
Posts: 645
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:47 pm

Muscat Airport - Early morning departure
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030564_zpszk7h263o.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030565_zps70jakgrx.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030566_zpsqd6zjrzg.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030567_zpsq6vfgrod.jpg


Airport service / checking in / Lounge

Online check in the previous day was seamless and the website worked well. Seat selection was to my liking too.

The drive from holiday Inn Seeb to the airport was a quick 6 minutes' drive in the early morning.

The current airport is a very basic one and lacks the grandiose of its neighbors. The new airport terminal that is being constructed, looks more like a middle eastern airport with its wavy ceiling design.

Airport was empty during this time of the day. We needed to pass through baggage screening before checking in. Check in was done in less than a minute.

We then proceeded towards immigration and security which was very quick too. Airside in 15 minutes since exiting the taxi. Great!

Settled in the Costa coffee outlet for a coffee. Quite a few duty free shops and cafes/restaurant scattered across the terminal.

Checking in
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030571_zpslvutrvfd.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030573_zpsl8jpxr9t.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030568_zpsrv3shmka.jpg

Separate Oman Air check in area
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030574_zpsabbibklp.jpg

Security
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030576_zpsgnc8kqyy.jpg

Muscat Airside
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030578_zpssohxm9sd.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030587_zpskdcs9ajq.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030581_zpsspdgp7of.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030582_zpsrwik0xa4.jpg


Boarding Process

Boarding commenced 45 minutes before scheduled departure. We were bussed to the aircraft. We were in our seats by 6:45.

From there it was a 30 minutes wait before all the passengers had boarded before departing the remote stand 5 minutes behind schedule.

Quite a few empty seats on this short hop to Bahrain.

Plane spotting at Muscat
Oman Air B737-800 under the morning sun
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030585_zpsnpnphl3d.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030588_zps1veeck2i.jpg

Oman Air DreamL)ner
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030590_zpsjidkm5pr.jpg


Boarding time
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030591_zpsagscypcw.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030592_zpsernbv5zn.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030594_zpspspzentm.jpg


First impressions/Hard product/Aircraft Interiors

As pervious gulf air aircrafts, the cabin looks new and was well kept. No complaints in this respect.

Our ride to BAH - A9C-AO
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030593_zpsqr0zftif.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030596_zpspse30zpd.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030598_zpsctksaqpm.jpg

Similar on board product
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030601_zpsxxugk07z.jpg

Row 15
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030603_zpsuo9xwrys.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030608_zpsqwbdz0bu.jpg


Seating/Bed

As said before one of the best seat pitches in an economy cabin and this aircraft was no different.

Cabin Crew/Captain announcements

A flight time of 1 hour and 20 minutes was announced from the flight deck.

Neighbours at MCT
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030604_zpslrbap4wf.jpg


The new terminal at a distance
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030612_zpsj4pituu5.jpg


The rest of this flight was exactly similar to the previous flight from Bahrain to Muscat. Except for the fact that it was a Bumpy flight and Safety was not adhered to. People kept walking around even though the seat belt sign was lit and not much enforcement from the crew. Poor show in this respect.

On time Performance
Departed the gates at 7:20 and airborne by 7:40.

Time to take off
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030614_zpsxwr8jjtu.jpg


http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030615_zpsxms3uwpj.jpg


Landing at BAH - Clear blue waters
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030619_zpslfnutthd.jpg


Neighbours at BAH
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030623_zpsilye4w2b.jpg


Exiting the Aircraft
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030625_zpssoe5uzgl.jpg


http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030626_zps3opcrasm.jpg

Bahrain transit
Similar experience transiting through Bahrain airport. Not too much to walk and things get done fairly quickly.

Used the lounge at Bahrain airport. Decent space with a more than decent food and drinks offering. Some great views of the apron and runway too.

Dilmun Lounge
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030639_zps1v2g0zr5.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030640_zpsodtie659.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030641_zpsor4ahmiw.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030645_zpshfgg4l6v.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030644_zpsmxzwzxqj.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030648_zpsrfg1bndk.jpg

Meal before the flight
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160329_090557_zps3ljhsrew.jpg

Plane spotting at BAH
Just arriving from HKG
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030650_zpsgvfwjquh.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030649_zpskjtqwkx8.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030651_zpsp2oaskfw.jpg

Gulf Air - GF3
Route: BAH - LHR(T4)
Flight Reg: A9C-KA ; Built in 1999 delivered to Gulf Air on June 1999; 16 years and 9 months at time of flight
Aircraft Type: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 21A
Flight time: 10:10 - 15:20 (10:30 - 15:45)
Actual flight time:7Hr 15 min
Distance: 3169 miles
Load: Almost a full flight in all classes
29th March 2016
My Log book: 10th Flight on Gulf Air/5th flight on Airbus A330-200/ 111th Total overall flight



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Photo © Amrit Kannan
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Photo © James Mepsted

Boarding Process

Boarding commenced 40 minutes before departure. The slightly odd fact was there was another security check before the gate. I took a photo and was asked to delete it by the security guard. He was OK with the other photos of the aircrafts and the airport. Second time I was asked to do this today (to delete an dipping security related photos, which is a fair request).

Boarded and in my seat 20 minutes before departure.

Time to head to our boarding gates
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030653_zpsy7tsd4sb.jpg


Our ride to London - A9C-KA
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030654_zpsoqpwmh5b.jpg


First impressions/Hard product/Aircraft Interiors

Similar to the last 3 flights with gulf air. Neat and clean interiors. Nothing too flashy or showy. Just basic and well kept.

On board K9C-KA
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030657_zpsfd9avasr.jpg


Seating/Bed

Similar experience as all previous gulf air flights. Excellent economy seating.

Cabin Crew/Captain announcements

A flight time of around 7 hours announced from the flight deck.

Cabin crew asked me not to shoot pictures of the interiors. Not sure why.

Amenity kit and headphones individually provided.

Later on during the flight there seem to be a clear segregation of the flight attendants. During a stroll of the galley I noticed that the Arab speaking staff were all grouped together in the galley conferencing in Arabic, while the only eastern European looking fa was sitting the jump seat reading a book. I was then asked by the chef purser to not stand by the side of the galley as that was "their space" and was out of limits. If I needed to stand and stretch I had to stand in the middle of the cabin besides the toilets. Never encountered this before. I did not bother questioning and I just left "their space" . Their attitude shows a clear sign that they did not want to mingle with the passengers. They are here to do a job and no more.

After this flight, I think I have read in many forums, that the galley is indeed the cabin crew's space, although I have never been told to not stand there/near the door just for a stretch.

Another incident was my wife asked for a lot of water during the food run. Once they had collected the trays she went back to the galley to ask for more water. The fa noticed this asked handed her a large bottle of water. Another indication of "do not disturb us". Although this was a win-win for both parties as we had a continuous supply of water with us.

During flight there were a few more water runs. Toilets were kept in fair order.

Neighbours at BAH - through a hevily scratched window
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030659_zpsqqriypsh.jpg

Taking off
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030664_zpsg4fn14vj.jpg


F&B

The food options on this flight were chicken with mash potato, fish and rice and lasagna with vegetables. I went for the chicken and mash potato option and it was probably the worst food I've ever had. The mash was watery and it was like eating dry chicken mixed with corn flour water. Truly and utterly inedible. I only ate the salad and the dessert which were both good. Wife had the fish with rice option and that looked and tasted much better.

The completely inedible Chicken with Mash
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160329_115544_zpsn9ninoyw.jpg

The better fish with rice option
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160329_115632_zpsiwvbnk8t.jpg

Can i have a glass o water? Here, have the entire bottle
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/20160329_142827_zpshdjakumo.jpg


Entertainment

Similar to the previous a330 onward to Bahrain. Although they did not have the will Farell mark Wahlberg starter dad time (check the movie name) that I had started watching on the other flight and did not have time to complete.

On time Performance

Disembarked the gates 10 minutes behind schedule when though we had boarded the aircraft well before time.

WOW Factor

More of an (un)WOW factor - on how bad the chicken with mash potato actually was!

PLane spotting at London
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030670_zps56ux9sbx.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030671_zps9hcqnwyn.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030672_zpslwt7dqzq.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030673_zpslfylz6dn.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030675_zpsratnn0vz.jpg

http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030678_zps05tswike.jpg

Neighbours at Heathrow - What is a Delta doing at T4?
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030676_zpsmau2j2ai.jpg

Baggage hall
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030680_zpslr4718sq.jpg

A person removes all Falcon flyers baggage and keeps them separately.
http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y437/Varun_KR/Varun_KR003/P1030681_zpsf8wnurho.jpg


Verdict

Looking back at all the 4 flights with gulf air the previous week. They are a decent carrier and no more. One of their biggest positives In economy class has to be their seating. Ideal for their network and the amount of time we need to be on their aircrafts.

Their flight attendants need a lot more finesse and lack the global crew of and Qatar or Emirates. And for a national carrier for a country like Bahrain, more the nationalities as cabin crew, better would be the chance of getting and more unified service. They also have this concept of a 'Sky Nanny' who is supposed to be dealing with any kids on board. I hardly saw any interaction with the kids from any of the cabin crew, and specifically from the Sky Nanny. On the last sector, I did see one of the cabin crew who was friendly with one particular child, but nothing apart from that.

Bahrain airport lacks the infrastructure for a truly hub and spoke method. It does the job for now, with the amount of Fleet and network they have. But not sure how feasible it would be for any further increase.

As a final note, it was a decent enough experience. Old aircrafts, but good interiors, great seating in economy, very good IFE, hit and miss food, one dimensional cabin crew, devoid of the glitz and glam aboard the recently flown QR. Would I fly with Gulf Air again? Perhaps Yes. Given if the price and the timing of flight is right.

This concludes my Gulf Air edition of the Trip report. Hope you enjoyed it. Keep the comments and feedback coming, as it would help me improving my future trip reports. As per plan, the next one should be our trip to Sweden and Riga on Norwegian and Air Baltic. Until then, keep the trip reports coming and safe flying.
 
User avatar
newbief1yer
Topic Author
Posts: 645
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:48 pm

Adios.!

First hand experiences about Oman

1. Omantel

Used a pre-paid Oman tel sim during our stay in Oman. Be warned, even though the price paid for the sim card is negligible, the amount charged for data is simply laughable. They claim it to be 1GB for 1 O.R, but it is nowhere close to that. Maxed out my 1 O.R voucher in less than 10 minutes, with about 50MB of usage. Best used only in case of emergencies. That said, the range and network availability across Oman is very good.

2. Driving in Oman

Contrary to the popular notion that driving in Oman is a nightmare, I found the driving behavior and culture very acceptable. It is better than that driving culture in Kuwait and the UAE. People adhered to speed limits. Yes, people do tail gate you at high speeds and they don’t indicate when changing lanes, but I reckon that is very common in the middle east. I reckon the scene changes during the night time, when the boy racers hit the roads.

Maps.me worked perfectly well as my trusted satnav during our trip.

People and food of Oman

The local Omanis are extremely friendly and mingle quite freely with tourists. I found this quite different to Kuwait, although quite similar to UAE/Dubai.

The food, like the rest of the region, is very meat heavy and rich. Kargeens café is a must visit for authenthic grills and their famous Ice Shisha.


Previous Trip Reports

Part 4:India Domestic-9W, AI, SG On A321,B737,Q400 (by newbief1yer Mar 12 2016 in Trip Reports)
Part3: Phuket To India - Bangkok Airways -A320-200 (by newbief1yer Mar 10 2016 in Trip Reports)
Part 2:Thailand Domestic -Nok Air And Thai AirAsia (by newbief1yer Mar 10 2016 in Trip Reports)
Part 1:Qatar Airways - Thailand And India (by newbief1yer Mar 9 2016 in Trip Reports)
Part 3:BA Club Europe - LCA-LHR - Boeing 767-300 (by newbief1yer Jan 12 2016 in Trip Reports)
Part 2:Blue Air - Athens-Larnaca - Boeing 737-400 (by newbief1yer Jan 12 2016 in Trip Reports)
Part 1: Aegean Air - LGW-ATH-JTR - A320-200 (by newbief1yer Jan 12 2016 in Trip Reports)
Ryanair London(STN) To Lake Como (BGY) (by newbief1yer Dec 6 2015 in Trip Reports)
Weekend In Belfast - Aer Lingus A319-100 (by newbief1yer Oct 14 2015 in Trip Reports)
BA First - PEK To LHR - Mid J B747-400 (by newbief1yer Sep 20 2015 in Trip Reports)
BA CW - Upper Deck To Beijing - High J B747-400 (by newbief1yer Sep 19 2015 in Trip Reports)
China Railway (CRH) - Video Report - SJW - Beijing (by newbief1yer Sep 19 2015 in Trip Reports)
LAN Dreamliner (J) Experience - MAD FRA (by newbief1yer Aug 30 2015 in Trip Reports)
Baltic Escapades - VNO/TLL/RIX On W6,BT And OV
South France - EasyJet A320 BA A319
UK To India - The EK Way - B777-200/300 & A380
India Domestic–Jet Airways And Indigo–A320/ATR 72
BA A320/321 - LHR To Berlin TXL - Christmas Day
China Southern - LHR-CAN-HKT - B787/A321
Aloha! The United Way - B777-200 And B737-900
Mahalo Hawaii, Hello NYC - DL B767-300
Cool Blue To BOS And Got Blue? To LAS - E190 A320
VS Little Red To ABZ And EZY Return
24 Hours On A 787! - Final Leg CZ - AKL-CAN-LHR
Part 5 - BHE-WLG-AKL On NZ Beech1900D And A320
Part 4 - MEL-AKL-ZQN On QA And NZ B738A320
Part 3 - CNS-MEL On JetStar A321-200
Part 2 - SYD - CNS On Virgin Australia E190
Canton Route Part 1 - LON-SYD - CZ DreamLiner/A332
DREAM(liner)ING Of Hainan - China Southern
Panda Calling - BA LHR To CTU - Club World
China - The Low Cost Way - Spring Airlines - SJW-CTU
China United Airlines (KN) - CTU - SJW - B737-700
Norwegian B737 - LGW-TOS-BGO-LGW
Jet Airways: LHR – COK
Barra Trip – that was not to be
LHR - KWI - BA 747 - Part 1 - Middle East -China
Part 5: PVG-LHR - BA - Economy - B777
Part 2: KWI-DXB - FlyDubai - Economy - B737
Part 4A&B - SHA-SJW-SHA - FM: Eco: B737
Part 3A&B : DXB-HKG-PVG: CX & KA :Eco: A333
Morocco Trip - LGW-RAK-TNG-LHR - EasyJet & Iberia
Dusseldorf Calling - BA & EZY - Club/Eco - A321
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1866
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:40 pm

Is it worthwhile visiting Oman? Looks nice. Is it hot in March?
 
IberiaA319
Posts: 635
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 5:40 pm

RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:42 pm

Very nice report, I enjoyed reading it.

I usually fly quite often on Gulf Air, but on the A320 for flights from Bahrain to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, and therefore the pictures you are posting are familiar to me.

I am really impressed with the new economy seats on the A330, the remodelling was really worth. It is a long time I do not fly on their A330 and last time I flew them the seats looked like this, around two years ago:

http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/middle/9/6/9/1665969.jpg

The Dilmun Lounge in Bahrain is my favourite at the airport, and it is more relaxing in my opinion than the Gulf Air lounge, which I also use being a Falconflyer gold member.

By the way, the Bahrain airport also allows to go on a Cadillac or similar car to the plane, without waiting for a bus, for a very reasonable price. It is being offered in the Dilmun lounge. Just check this picture of myself:

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/640x480q90/922/d79VTG.jpg

And also nice surprise to see a picture of the Wadi Shab. I was there as well in 2013, after a long holiday drive all the way from Dammam in KSA to Sur and Tiwi, location next to the mentioned Wadi, with previous stops in the UAE and Muscat. Fortunately I was not driving myself.

Good to see you enjoyed your holidays in Oman which is worth to visit.
 
whitelight44
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:02 am

RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:10 pm

Great TR and pictures. I'd love to try Gulf Air. It seems to be a great airline with comfortable seats  
 
User avatar
newbief1yer
Topic Author
Posts: 645
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:27 pm

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 3):
Is it worthwhile visiting Oman? Looks nice. Is it hot in March?

I thought it was a great country to visit. It is quite different to the rest of the Middle Eastern countries in its geography. Mountains, oasis (Wadi) are aplenty. Good resorts too (albeit slightly on the expensive side). If you are for partying, i don't think Oman is the best place for it, unless you know locals who have private parties.
March is a good time. Its not too hot, yet you get sun every single day. When we were there, it was around 25-35 degrees during a 24 hour period. perhaps Feb and until Mid March would be better suited though.

Quoting IberiaA319 (Reply 4):
Very nice report, I enjoyed reading it.

Thanks Iberia319.
Yes, as i had mentioned the new interiors is very good. Only a slight criticism would be if they had stuck to their old fabric material seats. As the new ones, you tend to slip whilst in recline mode and trying to sleep. Not a big deal though.
Your picture reminds me of the previous flight i had with Gulf Air in 2010 from London to India and Kuwait.
Oh, i did not know about the car transfer. That being said i did see a few VIP Cadillacs. I assumed they were for Falcon class flyers, but did not notice anyone from our 4 flights being transferred via the Cadillac. Perhaps i may try it the next time  
Wadi Shab was magnificent indeed. Although we went there during noon time and it was the hottest time of the day, so we had to be well prepared with a lot of water with us.

Quoting whitelight44 (Reply 5):
Great TR and pictures. I'd love to try Gulf Air. It seems to be a great airline with comfortable seats  

Thanks Whitelight44. You should give it a try. Great in economy. Not so sure about their business class product though, and how it stacks up with the rest. Hope to see you trip report on Gulf Air soon  
 
Milesdependent
Posts: 629
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2001 5:27 pm

RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:58 am

Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading this report. I would very much like to visit Oman one day - but everywhere is just so far away from Australia!!

I think I will give Gulf Air a bit of a miss based on this report.

cheers
 
User avatar
newbief1yer
Topic Author
Posts: 645
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:34 am

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 7):
Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading this report. I would very much like to visit Oman one day - but everywhere is just so far away from Australia!!
I think I will give Gulf Air a bit of a miss based on this report.

Thanks for the comments MilesDepedndent. Oman is a great place, but, yes, quite far from Australia, i suppose  
Oops, i did not mean to deter anyone from flying Gulf Air. It was fairly decent, but with the competition around in the region, it has quite a long way to go, to compete with the big ME3.
More so, i reckon the only time you would be able to fly Gulf air, would be if you were in the Middle east and needed an internal flight, as the eastern most they fly to is perhaps Bangkok and Manila.
 
RJA321
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:33 pm

Many thanks for your trip report - I used to live in Oman but have not been since I left in 2002 (would love to visit though).

One question - during your flight from London to Bahrain, the flight map suggests that you flew over Palestine and just south of Amman en route to Bahrain - was this actually the case? I am almost certain that besides RJ and European airlines flying to Amman, no other airline flies over Palestine.
 
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newbief1yer
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:58 pm

Quoting RJA321 (Reply 9):
Many thanks for your trip report - I used to live in Oman but have not been since I left in 2002 (would love to visit though).
One question - during your flight from London to Bahrain, the flight map suggests that you flew over Palestine and just south of Amman en route to Bahrain - was this actually the case? I am almost certain that besides RJ and European airlines flying to Amman, no other airline flies over Palestine.

Thanks RJA321
With regards to the route, good spot. I never realized it. Seems a bit odd now that you have mentioned. No announcements from the captain, so i would not be sure. But looking a FR24, it seems that you are correct, and the Route map seems to be taking a default pre-loaded route. All the route since 31 March, seems to be through Turkey and north of Iraq and then south.

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/gf6
 
IberiaA319
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:06 pm

Quoting newbief1yer (Reply 10):
But looking a FR24, it seems that you are correct, and the Route map seems to be taking a default pre-loaded route. All the route since 31 March, seems to be through Turkey and north of Iraq and then south.

For sure the route of your flight was this one, as other flights from London to Bahrain, according to FR24, flew on this path. The route on the flight map, as you mention, is a theoretical one.
 
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newbief1yer
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:35 pm

Thanks for the confirmation IberiaA319
 
directorguy
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:37 pm

Thank you for taking the time to write and share your trip report. Was very informative and detailed.
Such a shame to see that GF standards have fallen. I would have thought they would make an effort on the long-haul prestige routes at least, LHR in particular. They really should make more of an effort in the customer service department.
On the other hand, BAH airport is very nice to use. Its compact size makes it ideal for O&D as well as transit passengers. The facility is ageing well.
MCT is just ugly-very sterile and early 90s looking. Part of the current terminal (departures) is a new extension, and is nicer to use. We'll see how the new terminal turns out.
Oman of course is a beautiful country, and very glad you were able to visit. It is one of the more underrated Middle Eastern destinations, although it is accessible, easy to gain entry into, and has all the amenities/facilities a visitor would expect (plenty of modern airlines,good hotels, infrastructure etc.).

Next visit should definitely be Egypt-it is a country that people should visit not just once, but repeatedly. Beautiful resorts on the Red Sea, plus incomparable monuments. Don't let the bad press deter you-the touristic areas are as safe as they have ever been.
 
lukeyboy95
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:25 am

Thanks for taking the time to write your TR up.

I'm always interested to know what's going on at Gulf in all it's faded glory! Not overly encouraging...

The crew attitudes sound roundly bad, which is a shame. Soft service can make such a difference, and this business about 'our space' seems bonkers. It's an aircraft, space is limited, manage the situation. It sounds like you were very patient, where I would have be tempted to answer back - especially with the interior photo thing.

Food also looked bleak ex-BAH.

In any case, many thanks!
 
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newbief1yer
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:01 pm

Quoting directorguy (Reply 13):
Thank you for taking the time to write and share your trip report. Was very informative and detailed.
Quoting directorguy (Reply 13):
Such a shame to see that GF standards have fallen. I would have thought they would make an effort on the long-haul prestige routes at least, LHR in particular.

Thanks directorguy.
Yes, the thing with Gulf Air is that they have the Hard Product. Only a bit of tweaking in their Soft product and they could be doing very well.
With BAH, i think the problem is, its too small for expansion. Getting bus'sed in the searing summer heat is not too much fun, given that most of their short haul aircrafts are remote.
I would second the Oman comment. Truly underrated, but in a way that's good for tourists right now - no crowd wherever you go. If they can improve the night life a bit and perhaps open some theme park for the kids (middle east style - go big bang and all out), it would be a cracking destination to visit.
Glad you bought up Egypt. The issue i have with Egypt is, like in Oman, i prefer doing a lot of driving and self exploration. I am sure in Egypt, i should be fine sticking to the main cities, but what if i wanted to drive from, say Cairo, to Luxor or the likes? I could be misinformed, but nevertheless, Egypt is in my radar and should happen in the near/medium future.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 14):
Thanks for taking the time to write your TR up.

I'm always interested to know what's going on at Gulf in all it's faded glory! Not overly encouraging...

The crew attitudes sound roundly bad, which is a shame. Soft service can make such a difference, and this business about 'our space' seems bonkers. It's an aircraft, space is limited, manage the situation. It sounds like you were very patient, where I would have be tempted to answer back - especially with the interior photo thing.

Food also looked bleak ex-BAH.

In any case, many thanks!

Thanks Lukeyboy95.
As stated above, with a few tweaks, GF has the makings of a very good airline.
Hmm, i thought so too, regarding the 'My Space' argument. But i did read elsewhere that the galley area is the crew area. although it could be the actual galley where the trolleys are stored, and not the area next to the door/jumpseat. Yes that was in bad taste and could've been conveyed better.
Food ex-BAH was abysmal. Right up there in one of the worst airline meals ever.
 
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Spiderguy252
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:25 pm

An excellent read of an airline not TRed upon much. Thanks for the share!

I too have flown GF a fair few times from an F+J experience back in 1999 when they were still in their pomp, to the sidekick role they're forced to playing in this century.

Quoting newbief1yer (Thread starter):
Having spent most of my childhood and schooling in Kuwait, I had heard that Oman is quite different to the rest of the middle eastern countries and thought this would be a great opportunity to visit it.

Ditto, I lived in Kuwait for many years myself. Oman in comparison is a touch different both culturally and thematically as you've explored and found out yourself.

Quoting newbief1yer (Thread starter):
Been said before and I shall repeat It. One of the best economy seating are on the a330 and this was no different. Combine the wide (er) seats along with the generous 34 inch seat pitch, you have a winner.

Amen. The A330 is the best type to fly on if you're in Y. The 787 represents Boeing once again shooting themselves in the foot in this regard.

Quoting newbief1yer (Thread starter):
Does anyone know which aircraft this is?

Give a warm hello to the C-130J Super Hercules.

Quoting newbief1yer (Thread starter):
Extremely comfortable upholstered cushion seats. this aircraft seems to be the a320-(er) version. This could perhaps explain the generous seat pitch and the AVOD unit. Speaking of which there was a considerable real estate being used for the AVOD unit below the seats.

That's right, GF have the best A320 seat pitch by a mile (pun intended). I first got to fly on the newer A320s when they were factory fresh in 2010, and this was before the IFE was plugged on, which meant the legroom was even greater! :

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e168/Spiderguy252/legroom.jpg

Too bad the crew on your 2nd leg weren't too flash. But once again, thanks for posting!

Regards,
Varun
 
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newbief1yer
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:44 am

Quoting Spiderguy252 (Reply 16):

An excellent read of an airline not TRed upon much. Thanks for the share!

Thanks Varun.

Quoting Spiderguy252 (Reply 16):
Ditto, I lived in Kuwait for many years myself. Oman in comparison is a touch different both culturally and thematically as you've explored and found out yourself.

Wow, what are the chances.!!

Quoting Spiderguy252 (Reply 16):
Give a warm hello to the C-130J Super Hercules.

Thanks!

Quoting Spiderguy252 (Reply 16):
I first got to fly on the newer A320s when they were factory fresh in 2010, and this was before the IFE was plugged on, which meant the legroom was even greater!

Looks fantastic. And i prefer these seat material to the ones on their refurbished A330. They are good, but you slip around quite a bit while asleep.

Quoting Spiderguy252 (Reply 16):
Regards,
Varun

Whoa, how did you know my name?
:P
 
directorguy
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:18 am

Quoting newbief1yer (Reply 15):
With BAH, i think the problem is, its too small for expansion. Getting bus'sed in the searing summer heat is not too much fun, given that most of their short haul aircrafts are remote.

Traffic levels in Bahrain reflect the size of the actual market as it's mainly O&D.
BAH benefits a lot from proximity to the Eastern Province cities of Saudi Arabia. Many people would actively avoid DMM (the major airport in that part of the country) and cross the Causeway and use BAH. Those people makeup a fair share of passenger numbers.

Quoting newbief1yer (Reply 15):
I would second the Oman comment. Truly underrated, but in a way that's good for tourists right now - no crowd wherever you go. If they can improve the night life a bit and perhaps open some theme park for the kids (middle east style - go big bang and all out), it would be a cracking destination to visit.

Salalah in Oman is reportedly very beautiful. It's on the other side of Oman, closer to the Yemeni border than Muscat, so you'd need a domestic WY flight to get there (although I think GF now flies 3x weekly from BAH). I remember seeing in the London Tube a lot of ads promoting Oman Air and tourism in Oman, so when you want to visit again you can check out if they have any bargains for UK-originating tourists.

Quoting newbief1yer (Reply 15):
Glad you bought up Egypt. The issue i have with Egypt is, like in Oman, i prefer doing a lot of driving and self exploration. I am sure in Egypt, i should be fine sticking to the main cities, but what if i wanted to drive from, say Cairo, to Luxor or the likes? I could be misinformed, but nevertheless, Egypt is in my radar and should happen in the near/medium future.

In the best of times, driving in Egypt is not recommended for tourists. Not only are roads unsafe, but you can't rent a car and drive on your own. Hertz and the big rental companies have offices in Cairo, but the prices are so expensive basically no one does it. Hiring a car with a driver/guide is much better, and more common. I would not recommend road travel to Upper Egypt/Sinai, flying or going by train is preferable.
That being said, you can do plenty of self exploration on your own. Depending on how adventurous you are, plenty of tourists negotiate their own way in Egypt, and deviate from the standard tourist routes and engage in 'alternative tourism.' Cairo is perfectly doable on your own, a bit of common sense and haggling is all that's needed. Plenty of museums and attractions to keep you busy for at least 4-5 days. A Nile cruise, with pre-arranged tours and excursions is definitely a must. If you wish to explore other cities, I recommend a few days in Alexandria, staying in a nice boutique hotel. Getting from Cairo to Alex or Cairo to Luxor (or v.v.) I recommend the train.
Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada are resort towns. Some are basically self-contained bubbles, but if you want some R&R by the beach for a few days that isn't always a bad thing.
Regarding safety-flying to/from and inside Egypt is safe. The major cities and resorts are safe. Rail travel is safe. So long as you aren't visiting to that corner of Sinai where all the insurgents are, you won't have a problem  
 
ozark1
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:08 pm

Thanks for a very good and thorough report...enormously detailed and a very enjoyable read. Just a couple of comments from a cabin crew member's perspective. In the old days, we were very strict with regards to obeying the fasten seat belt sign. If I recall it really wasn't a problem back then. (I'm talking in the 80's and mid 90's). People complied unless it was an absolute emergency. I have been flying long international flights lately and have noticed a huge number of passengers completely ignoring the sign. I'm talking about even in moderate turbulence. My policy is, I tell them they shouldn't be up, that they should be very careful if it was indeed an understandable emergency, and that's it. My job is done. I have explained the policy, and removed any liability from the company side of it. It is very difficult, in the middle of the night on a full wide body, even with a flashlight, to be sure everyone is strapped in. (Even more so if you do not speak the same language). We do tell them to keep the seat belt fastened over their blanket, etc, so we can ensure it is fastened on cabin walk throughs. Being new to the international operation, it seemed as if the other, more seasoned long haul crew members had the policy of refraining from having a constant battle with foreign language speaking people who are just simply going to get up. If it gets out of control, it's time to contact the purser, who can then inform the cockpit. Another thing that happens very frequently on an extremely long haul flight is that the cockpit may simply either forget to turn the sign off after a bout of turbulence or just be more cautious in general. Believe me, if it is smooth, and the sign is on, everyone will get up as they please. The second topic is the galley and the attitude of the crew about it being their space. While I certainly do not mind someone standing and stretching to the side of the galley (where the jumpseats/lavatories are...except on 787, where the lavs are mid cabin). What I do think we are very cognizant of is post 9/11 congregation of anyone in the area where we work, and perhaps would feel a bit threat-conscious depending on the number of people. It is, indeed, the only area where we can congregate and get away for a bit...if it isn't break time, where the bunks are a welcome rest from the crowds. But I would tend to be more inclined to look at it from a safety perspective (which obviously this crew did not). There is so much equipment back there (carts, pots, compartments, stoves,etc). Any "T" tailed airplane has a strong tendency to fish tail and have much more pronounced turbulence in the back of the plane than in the front. I don't mind someone stretching, and I am happy to visit with them, as it passes the time. But if there are, say, two or three people back there standing and stretching, it can be a bit intimidating, and add to that unexpected turbulence, it makes for a bad situation. I would never use the term "our space". If it is approached as a safety issue, there is more of a tendency for people to understand and comply.
 
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newbief1yer
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:31 pm

Quoting directorguy (Reply 18):
Traffic levels in Bahrain reflect the size of the actual market as it's mainly O&D

Yes that makes sense. But i was talking more in terms of Gulf Air expanding and making use of BAH as a hub and spoke model, for which i think BAH is inadequate.

Quoting directorguy (Reply 18):
Salalah in Oman is reportedly very beautiful.

Yes, had looked into Salalah but was too short a trip to incoroprate both. Oman air fly upto 4 flights these days per day, and one of the flight is even their latest Dreamliner for crew training.

Quoting directorguy (Reply 18):
In the best of times, driving in Egypt is not recommended for tourists

Thanks for the details info. Yes, Egypt is way on top of my 'To-go' list along with Jordan. Hopefully soon, Inshallah.

Quoting ozark1 (Reply 19):
Thanks for a very good and thorough report...enormously detailed and a very enjoyable read

Thanks ozark for the detailed comments.

With respect to passengers waling around, i agree that the crew can only do a limited amount. But in the case that i had mentioned, the crew seemed like not too bothered about it. They kind of turned a blind eye, as they person walking around was speaking to them in Arabic, and they approached it using a 'friendly' attitude.

With regards to 'My Space' i agree that there could be a lot of equipment, and as you say if it was a safety issue, i reckon every airline needs/should adopt it as standard. At the time this incident occurred, there was just myself and another person standing there. More so, a friendly chat and then ending the conversation with 'We have some work to do before landing, so if you dont mind...." would be perfectly acceptable. The crew looked like they did not want to engage with any passengers at all. It's not the end of the world, but a little friendliness, especially we are all in this ride together, would go a long way, i suppose.
 
WearyDrover
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:47 am

Hi newbief1yer,
Great trip report with plenty of detail. It's years since I was last in Bahrain (and then it was with BA) so I found your description very interesting. Oman does reveal a rather stark beauty.

Also, thank you for including the photos of other aircraft at the various airports. I do like the Oman Air livery - very stylish. The special livery on the South African A343 looks intriguing: wasn't it used to promote the SA team at the 2012 Olympics?.

Quoting newbief1yer (Thread starter):
The agent serving us wasn't sure that a UK passport holder would get visa on arrival in Oman.

A bit surprising that the agent wouldn't know the requirements for passengers who are from the country of departure and transiting to another GCC country. I could understand it if the passenger was from another country and held a different passport, though.

Quoting newbief1yer (Thread starter):
One of the best economy seating are on the a330 and this was no different.

True, especially if there is no annoying IFE box taking up space., unlike on the A320.

Thanks for sharing.
Regards, Weary
 
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newbief1yer
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:42 am

Quoting WearyDrover (Reply 21):

Thanks Weary.

Quoting WearyDrover (Reply 21):
Also, thank you for including the photos of other aircraft at the various airports. I do like the Oman Air livery - very stylish. The special livery on the South African A343 looks intriguing: wasn't it used to promote the SA team at the 2012 Olympics?.

Yes, LHR does provide some interesting planes to capture. not sure about the special livery for SA, had not seen it before. I struggled a bit as my camera was determined not to focus, since the plane was quite far away from us and the heavily scratched window did not help.

Quoting WearyDrover (Reply 21):
A bit surprising that the agent wouldn't know the requirements for passengers who are from the country of departure and transiting to another GCC country

I was surprised too. usually agents at LHR know better and especially with a UK passport. I had to question myself whilst standing there " now do we actually need a pre-authrosied visa??"

Quoting WearyDrover (Reply 21):
ue, especially if there is no annoying IFE box taking up space., unlike on the A320

Great seats on the A330, no two ways about it.
 
ozark1
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:23 pm

Quoting newbief1yer (Reply 20):
The crew looked like they did not want to engage with any passengers at all. It's not the end of the world, but a little friendliness, especially we are all in this ride together, would go a long way, i suppose.

Absolutely agree with you.
 
jns13
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:25 pm

Hey! Great report--loved the detail, and loved hearing about an airline/destination less commonly seen.

I especially enjoyed the pictures of Oman, which looks absolutely gorgeous! I suppose I had figured it would just be desert and a few beaches, but wow! Stunning. I'm not sure when I'd have a chance to visit, but I'd certainly be more inclined to after seeing what it has to offer.

On that point, are there a lot of tourists there? I would expect most would go to the UAE, which seems a shame, but perhaps it's more popular with Europeans/other Middle-Easterners.

Also, as a note about the Delta 767 at T4: all Delta flights to LHR, save JFK, BOS and SEA, fly from Terminal 4. SEA used to fly from T4, too, but as of Easter weekend they switched it to T3. I'm not sure why this is, but I learned this the hard way as I flew into T4 from SEA the week before Easter, proceeded there to check in when I arrived to fly back the day after Easter, and was informed that, as of the day before, I would need to make my way to T3 instead.
 
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newbief1yer
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RE: London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320

Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:26 pm

Quoting jns13 (Reply 24):
Hey! Great report--loved the detail, and loved hearing about an airline/destination less commonly seen.
I especially enjoyed the pictures of Oman, which looks absolutely gorgeous! I suppose I had figured it would just be desert and a few beaches, but wow! Stunning. I'm not sure when I'd have a chance to visit, but I'd certainly be more inclined to after seeing what it has to offer.
On that point, are there a lot of tourists there? I would expect most would go to the UAE, which seems a shame, but perhaps it's more popular with Europeans/other Middle-Easterners.
Also, as a note about the Delta 767 at T4: all Delta flights to LHR, save JFK, BOS and SEA, fly from Terminal 4. SEA used to fly from T4, too, but as of Easter weekend they switched it to T3. I'm not sure why this is, but I learned this the hard way as I flew into T4 from SEA the week before Easter, proceeded there to check in when I arrived to fly back the day after Easter, and was informed that, as of the day before, I would need to make my way to T3 instead.

Thanks jns13
Yes, Oman is indeed a gorgeous place and would definitely recommend it.
Yes, lot of tourists and more so, there are quite a few expatriates living there too. not comparable to the UAE but definitely quite a few and the numbers seem to be growing.
Thanks for the Delta info. I did not know about it.

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