BOOKED: I’m Flying To Oman To Sit On A Couch!

BOOKED: I’m Flying To Oman To Sit On A Couch!


For 2024, I’m hoping to publish more review trips than ever before. My intention is to get that off to a good start, and I just booked my first review trip of the year for travel within the next couple of weeks. I wanted to share the basic details — there’s one segment I’m particularly excited about.

Background on my upcoming review trip

For those who aren’t longtime readers, let me just explain that I take review trips with the sole intention of reviewing as many airline and hotel experiences as possible while being away from home for as little time as possible (since we have an infant son). I also take more leisurely vacations with family where I spend more time in destinations, but these trips aren’t those. 😉

My goal is typically to review products that readers may enjoy redeeming their points for, and/or products that I just generally find interesting, including flights, airport lounges, and hotels. In the case of this upcoming trip, I managed to secure a quick 72-hour hall pass, which I’ll basically be spending entirely on planes and in airports.

Let me just share the general inspiration for this trip. For a long time, Air Canada Aeroplan didn’t have access to Oman Air awards, but that recently changed, and these awards are back. A small portion of Oman Air’s fleet has first class. I’ve reviewed the carrier’s Boeing 787 first class, which is the more modern product.

However, Oman Air’s Airbus A330 first class is what intrigues me most. Oman Air has some uber-retro A330 cabins, but in the coolest way imaginable. Oman Air’s A330 first class cabin has six seats and a couch. No, not a bar, but rather just a couch in the middle of the cabin. I guess that’s there in case you decide you absoultely need a change of scenery.

I’ve checked a lot of things off my aviation bucket list over the years. However, sitting on that Oman Air couch has been on my list for a long time, and it’s something I haven’t yet done. So it’s time to do that. It’s time to try this classic beauty of a product before it’s too late. And with Oman Air joining oneworld in 2024, I figure there’s no better time to fly with the airline again. Let’s see if Oman Air delivers a “commanding performance!”

The itinerary that I’ve booked…

With the above out of the way, let me share the details of the itinerary that I’ll be flying. I booked this entire award using Air Canada Aeroplan points, and I’ll of course share the exact flights, dates, points requirements, taxes, etc., when I publish the trip report series. Below is what Ill be flying, in chronological order.

Air Canada A220 business class

I’ll be kicking off my trip modestly enough, flying Air Canada’s Airbus A220 business class from Miami to Montreal, to position for my first long haul flight. I haven’t flown an Air Canada narrow body aircraft in a few years, so I’m looking forward to seeing how one of the carrier’s newer planes is.

Air Canada Airbus A220 business class

SWISS A330 business class

From Montreal, I’ll be connecting to Zurich on SWISS. Now, I haven’t reviewed SWISS’ A330 business class since 2014, so I figure that’s useful. However, what I’m really hoping is that I’m offered a paid upgrade to SWISS first class, as that seems to be frequently be available within 24 hours of departure, even on partner award tickets. I’ve heard that Montreal is the best North American gateway for that in terms of pricing and availability.

If I’m not offered a paid upgrade, that’s totally fine, as the business class review will be useful too. However, if I do get a paid upgrade, I’m also excited to publish an updated review of the SWISS First Class Lounge Zurich, which I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I intentionally planned a very long layover in Zurich in case that all works out as I hope. I’ll also hopefully be reviewing the SWISS Arrivals Lounge Zurich.

SWISS Airbus A330

Oman Air 787 business class

For the next portion of the trip, I’ll be flying to Muscat in Oman Air’s Boeing 787 business class. I last reviewed this in 2016, so I think it’s time for an updated review, to see how the carrier’s business class product is holding up. How’s the service, food, amenities, etc.? I’ve ranked Oman Air as having among the best business class products, and it’s time I make sure that’s still the case.

Oman Air Boeing 787 business class

Oman Air A330 first class

In Muscat, I’ll of course be writing updated reviews of the Oman Air First Class Lounge and Oman Air Business Class Lounge, since I visited them only when they first opened, before the spa even opened. Then it’s time for the segment I’m most excited about. Oman Air currently flies its old but cool A330s primarily to Frankfurt and Kuala Lumpur, so I’ll be heading west back to Frankfurt. This product looks like such a fun throwback, and I can’t wait to experience it.

Oman Air Airbus A330 first class

Singapore Airlines 777 business class

Last but not least, I’ll be flying from Frankfurt to New York in Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777 business class. While I’ve recently reviewed Singapore’s A380 Suites Class, Singapore’s 777 first class, and Singapore’s 787 business class, it’s time to give the carrier’s long haul business class another try.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 business class

Bottom line

I should be taking two review trips in January 2024, and the above are the details of the first one. I’ll be flying Air Canada’s A220 business class, SWISS’ A330 business class (or maybe first class?), Oman Air’s 787 business class, Oman Air’s A330 first class, and Singapore Airlines’ 777 business class. It’s a very quick trip, but every segment is for something I haven’t reviewed in a long time, so I’m looking forward to checking all of these out.

Wait until you hear what I have planned for later in January, because that’s a lot more exotic…

Any thoughts or predictions on my itinerary? Stay tuned!

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  1. Bbg432 Guest

    I have a booking for late January in Oman F with curious layout on the 333. Any idea of when you’ll post your experience?

  2. Bgriff Guest

    It won't be the most exciting review in the world, and it will be hard to get in while not crowded, but you should consider flying Delta home from New York to review either the new Sky Club at JFK T4A or the new-ish club at LGA.

  3. Matthew Whitehouse Guest

    How are these review trips even justifiable given their environmental impact and the climate crisis?

  4. Vincent Guest

    Lucky, while I appreciate you sharing your upcoming trip details with the readers and generating some excitement (and clicks), I’m also sure that these airlines will now be watching your itinerary closely now (even more than the usual VIP-list monitoring, which you are probably already on it) and make sure that the crew deliver an unusually amazing experience to you, which in turn defeats the purpose of an honest review.

  5. Vancouver - Char Diamond

    Happy New Year- best wishes and appreciate your honest reviews

  6. Robert Fahr Guest

    I misread this and thought the headline said "coach" instead of "couch".

    1. Eryk Guest

      I thought it said “shit” instead of “sit”!

  7. Andrew Diamond

    Any plans to stay in Muscat, or is this a nonstop circuit like your last RTW adventuer?

  8. N515CR Member

    Flew up front on an AC 737-8 MAX earlier this year, and it was a very solid product. The seat itself was similar to what you'd find on DL/UA/AA on a domestic F flight, and the IFE was also good. Wouldn't hesitate to fly it again.

  9. Deborah Guest

    I hope you don’t get the Swiss first upgrade. I think a business class review would be better considering more readers probably fly business over first. It’s easier to get a business awards and when flying with a partner or family, the cash price to upgrade the entire party is out of reach for most people.

  10. Andy Diamond

    In my view, LX87 YUL to ZRH is one of the most brutal eastbound transatlatic flights. With a departure at 4:50pm and flight time of 7h25m (usually about 6h45m in the air, sometimes as little as 5h30m), it offers hardly any time to sleep. It arrives at 6:15am, which is 15 min past midnight in Montreal. Also no way to check in to your hotel, unless you book two nights.

    1. Ben Guest

      In my point of view, it was the easiest eastbound transatlantic flight. As I live in Switzerland, I was after a „short“ flight at 2 am Canadien time at home and went for four hours to bed and had no jetlag. Loved it

  11. InceptionCat Gold

    That headline made me chuckle. I thought you were going to sit on a monumental couch in Muscat or sth like that!
    Either way, i'm looking forward to the trip reviews. Thank you for what you do for us here Ben.
    Dir ein gutes erfolgreiches neues Jahr. Greetings from MUC.

  12. Lukas Diamond

    I hope you spend at least one day exploring wadis in Oman. They are absolutely gorgeous and well worth spending even a week in Oman (I know you can't do one week but one day you should).

    1. Todd Guest

      We'll be in Oman from 1/13-1/21
      If you need some expats to hang with, hit us up!

  13. AC Guest

    You should commission an Environmental Impact Assessment of your blog and buy carbon credits to mitigate.

    1. Paul Guest

      This is an airplane review not an environmental meeting …

    2. Paul Guest

      I was wondering if perhaps you could start doing YouTube reviews . I’m sure others as well as myself would love to hear your commentary in a video format .

  14. Darryl Is Back Guest

    Go away Darryl.

  15. Icarus Guest

    All well and good flying everywhere, yet you never seem to actually visit any of the countries/cities.

    1. D3kingg Guest


      Ben has been everywhere and seen it all. For us flying is a sport; just as others go hunting.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Icarus -- I take two kinds of trips. Some are review trips, for the sole purpose of reviewing flights, while others are actual vacations. I'm fortunate to still take way more vacations than the average person. For example, this year I've taken extended trips to Japan, Greece, Germany, Italy, the UAE, and more. I just can't always justify being away from home for extended periods of time, because I have a family.

    3. nc-retiree New Member

      Ben - the only time I met you was a quick conversation in the ORD B18 Red Carpet Club back when you were either a senior in high school or a freshman in college, when you were kind of a FT novelty. It is nice to see how you have found happiness and maturity doing what you love.

  16. D3kingg Guest

    Would like to hear about your experiences at Terminal 2 in FRA. Happy New Year !

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ D3kingg -- Happy new year to you as well! I'm looking forward to checking out all the lounges there, as it has been some time!

  17. JamesW Guest

    This headline makes me want to talk about carbon emissions.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ JamesW -- A totally fair and important consideration, and it's something I'll write about soon, as I try to do what I can to offset that as much as possible.

    2. Lukas Diamond

      Don't indulge him or others, no need for that here.

  18. Day Guest

    Ben if you want to fly Swiss First contact the social media team. I find them helpful and I think they would offer you a fair price.

  19. Mick Guest

    Trip #2 how about a review of Kenya airways? And a review of the newish Marriott (?) game reserve? I have fond memories of Kenya airways. Old school seats in biz but very comfortable for sleeping.

  20. Blue J Guest

    Flew the YUL-ZRH route on Christmas Day on Aéroplan points. Although first class was "empty" (2 non rev passengers) was not offered any paid upgrades even after asking.
    Arrivals lounge is decent, the 615am arrival meant the lounge was empty and scored a bed in one of the bedrooms. Definitely a nice perk.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Blue J -- Thanks for the data point, that's not very promising. I'm curious if maybe first class wasn't catered at all and they sat non-revs there as a result, but weren't selling upgrades since they couldn't offer the full product? Didn't realize the arrivals lounge had bedrooms, that's cool! Out of curiosity, for how long can you use them?

    2. John G Guest

      In ZRH, I asked about a buy up at the gate (after not pulling the trigger during online check in) and they quoted me a higher amount (2000 franks vs. 1700 euros) and told me it will be business class catering for you. I declined.

      Based on this experience, I don't think being catered or not deters them from selling upgrades.

    3. Day Guest

      You can use the lounge till 1 pm. No restrictions.

  21. Levi Diamond

    2-2 recliners on an A220 sounds great until you realize how tight it is. The 1-2 euro-J (as on AF and, I'd imagine LX et al) is so much more comfortable.

  22. Alvin | YTHK Diamond

    Before equipment swap: I'm flying to Oman to sit in a couch!

    After equipment swap: I'm flying to Oman to sit in coach

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Alvin | YTHK -- ROFL!

  23. Ben Holz Guest

    Sounds exciting! I actually thought you couldn't use the LX F lounges on arrival (I believe it was the case some years ago) but it seems like they have changed their policy for the better. Also, isn't there a guest reader review of the Oman Air A330 F from many years ago? -- KUL-MCT if memory serves me right, maybe this time around they might have the pre-booked onboard ;)

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ben Holz -- Nowadays they do allow access on arrival, and I actually have a short intra-Europe connecting flight on a SWISS Embraer E195-E2, so I'm not even terminating there on SWISS (I just left that out, since it's a short segment, and probably the least interesting one I'll be flying). And indeed, your memory is correct. Hopefully my experience is better!

    2. hanchicago Guest

      If you booked your A330 Oman Air F flight with points, I’m curious which program (airline partner and/or transferrable currency program) you used to book it. I’m sure you’ll share the details in the product review. (I look forward to Oman Air joining oneworld in 2024 and hopefully making some 789 first class awards available to book with AA, Alaska, or BA miles. Last I checked, Aeroplan had no access to long-haul awards for WY F and J flights).

    3. hanchicago Guest

      Wow, you found WY F award space bookable with Aeroplan!

      Checking now.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Alvin | YTHK Diamond

Before equipment swap: I'm flying to Oman to sit in a couch! After equipment swap: I'm flying to Oman to sit in coach

Robert Fahr Guest

I misread this and thought the headline said "coach" instead of "couch".

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ JamesW -- A totally fair and important consideration, and it's something I'll write about soon, as I try to do what I can to offset that as much as possible.

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