Review: Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport

Filed Under: Lounge Reviews, Oman Air

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I was excited to check out the new terminal at Muscat Airport, which opened in March. Fortunately I had plenty of time to do so, since I arrived shortly after 8AM, and my flight to London was only departing after 2PM.

I’ve reviewed Oman Air’s Lounge in the previous terminal. While the lounge itself was nice, the terminal wasn’t, and didn’t even have any gates, so all flights used remote stands. That’s not exactly a great passenger experience.

So, how does the new terminal compare? Very, very favorably.

My flight landed at one of the far gates in the new terminal, which immediately impressed me. The terminal had moving walkways throughout, which had beautiful lighting and landscaping (or whatever you’d like to call it).


Muscat Airport new terminal


Muscat Airport new terminal

However, parts of the terminal were still under construction, even months into the terminal opening.


Muscat Airport new terminal still under construction

One of the great things about Muscat Airport’s new terminal is that it’s much smaller than what you’ll find in Doha or Dubai, so you won’t end up walking for miles on end. In this case it was a short five minute walk from one end of the terminal to the other.

The terminal was really quiet, and I headed straight for the transfers area, where there was no wait at security, so I was through in about a minute.


Muscat Airport transfers

From there I took the escalator down a level to the main terminal area.


Muscat Airport transit area

The lounges are located in the circular central area of the terminal on level five, so I took the elevator up. On one end you have the Aerotel, which is a lounge and hotel, then you have the Primeclass Lounge (the contract lounge and Priority Pass lounge at the airport), and then you have the Oman Air First & Business Class Lounge.


Muscat Airport new terminal


Muscat Airport new terminal

How beautiful of an exterior is that?!


New Oman Air Lounge exterior

In this installment I’ll be reviewing the first class section, and then in the next installment I’ll be reviewing the business class section of the lounge.

At the reception desk I was greeted by two friendly ladies. Upon seeing my boarding pass they said “welcome, you’re flying our brand new first class to London, enjoy!” It’s nice to see that the staff were aware of the exciting occasion for the airline.


New Oman Air Lounge reception

To the side of the reception desk was a model Boeing 787.


New Oman Air Lounge reception

There was also a sign listing all the features of the lounge.


New Oman Air Lounge amenities

While the entrance to the business class lounge is inside and to the left, there’s a special door to the right side leading to the first class lounge, so Karina escorted me into the lounge and introduced me to Salim, who would be taking care of me for my layover.

Oman Air’s new lounge at Muscat Airport opened in late April, a bit over a month after the terminal itself opened. Before I review the first class section of the lounge, let me note that it’s large, given how few flights Oman Air has that feature first class.

Long term Oman Air will only have two planes with first class, which will be two 787-9s that will exclusively fly to London. As of now they also still have a couple of A330s with first class, but they’re in the process of reconfiguring these planes to remove first class.

So Oman Air has very few first class passengers, but has a surprisingly large space dedicated to these passengers.

Inside the entrance to the lounge was a fairly narrow hallway with some seats arranged along the gold partition separating it from the business class lounge.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport seating


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport seating

Deeper into the lounge was a wider section with several seats arranged facing one another.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport seating


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport seating


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport seating


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport departures board

Then there was the main part of the first class lounge towards the windows, which contained the bar, dining area, and more seating.

I just have to emphasize how much I loved the design of this lounge. Would I ever want to live in a house decorated this way? Heck no. But I thought the lounge so beautifully reflected Omani architecture and had so much attention to detail, so I really loved that they put those elements into the lounge.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport

By the windows was yet another seating area to the right.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport seating


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport seating

There was a workstation with an iMac.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport workstation

Then there was the beautiful bar.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport bar

I was impressed by the drink selection in the lounge.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport bar

Oman Air has Hennessy Paradis at the bar, which is the same $800 per bottle stuff that Emirates has in first class.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport bar

Then in the back was the dining area.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport dining area


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport dining area

At the back of the dining area is a door that leads to the business class lounge, though there’s a code required to open it. If you do want to visit the business class lounge, one of the lounge attendants will happily let you in that way.

Back towards the far corner of the lounge were the individual bathrooms and a single shower room. The shower room was quite nice, and featured a toilet and sink as well.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport shower room


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport shower room

There were also separate bathrooms.


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport bathrooms


Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat Airport bathrooms

My only disappointment with the lounge was that the views were lacking. While the lounge has huge windows, they face the roof of the terminal, rather than the apron and runways.


Oman Air First Class Lounge view

I had several hours in the lounge, and for the first three hours or so I was the only passenger. I can’t emphasize enough how big this lounge is, and how nice it is to have such a private space. I imagine that a vast majority of the time there are just a few people in this lounge at most, so it really does feel very exclusive.

First I wanted to get a bit of work done, so I sat down on one of the couches. Salim presented me with the menu and said I could have a full meal whenever I wanted.


Oman Air First Class Lounge menu

To start I just asked for some water, and was brought both a still and sparkling water, as well as a plate with some snacks.


Oman Air First Class Lounge drinks & snacks

I also ordered a cappuccino, which was nicely presented.


Oman Air First Class Lounge cappuccino

While I didn’t have any champagne in the lounge, I asked what they serve. Oman Air has Lanson in their first class lounge. While that’s a perfectly alright champagne, it pales in comparison to what they serve onboard.


Oman Air First Class Lounge champagne

I spent a couple of hours working, and Salim constantly checked on me to see if I wanted anything. A 1:1 staff to guest ratio is pretty darn good.

Finally at around 11AM I decided to have lunch. I was curious to see what the lounge dining was like, but wanted to eat long enough before the flight so that I wouldn’t spoil my appetite onboard too much.

The menu read as follows:

I had a seat at a table that actually seated four people.


Oman Air First Class Lounge table setting

In some ways the dining experience in this lounge reminded me of the experience in the Etihad Residence Lounge Abu Dhabi. While Salim presented me with the menu, he had the lounge’s chef come to take my order once I was ready.

Technically lunch only started at 12PM, so he wasn’t sure if they had a few of the things available just yet. For example, I wanted the nicoise salad, but it wasn’t available since the tuna wasn’t ready yet for the day. Fair enough.

My first course was brought out about 15 minutes after I placed the order.


Oman Air First Class Lounge lunch

To start I had the soup of the day, which was a delicious pumpkin coriander soup.


Oman Air First Class Lounge soup

I also ordered the mezze, which was excellent.


Oman Air First Class Lounge mezze

For the main course I had the char grilled soy maple glazed salmon with balsamic reduction, with parmesan mashed potatoes, grilled baby asparagus, and carrots.


Oman Air First Class Lounge main course

The dining experience was great.

One funny thing did happen during the meal. I had the lounge all to myself, and then suddenly nearly a dozen gentlemen entered the lounge for a tour, and they had a photographer walking in front of them. I was curious who these guys were, and at first wondered if it was an executive for the airline, a government official, or what.


Oman Air First Class Lounge visitors

After doing some research I realized that Emirates operated a one time A380 flight to Muscat on July 1, so at least some of them were representatives from Emirates. One of the guys is featured in this press release, though I’m not sure who the other guys were.

In retrospect, I now feel a bit weird for having said “what a great first class lounge” to them as they walked by, given that there were probably more Emirates employees than Oman Air employees.

Eventually one other person showed up in the Oman Air Lounge, and funny enough it was reader John, who had written a guest review of Oman Air first class a couple of years ago. He was also on the Oman Air inaugural new first class to London. We only made that connection once onboard.

My flight was scheduled to board at 1:30PM from gate C8. Salim said he’d escort me to the gate when it was time to board, though as you guys know I try to be the first onboard whenever possible to get good pictures, so I decided to leave at around 1PM and first roam the terminal a bit.

The new Muscat Airport terminal has lots of great duty free shopping, and the terminal really feels intimate, so it’s not overwhelming at all. This might be my new favorite transit hub in the Middle East, given how approachable it is.


Muscat Airport new terminal


Muscat Airport new terminal

Gate C8 was just a short walk from the lounge.


Muscat Airport terminal


Muscat Airport new terminal

The flight crew just arrived as I showed up, and the gate area was still quite empty. The gate area was one level down from the main concourse. I presented my boarding pass, and took the escalator down a level.


Oman Air departure gate to London

There was an additional security checkpoint, presumably since this was a London-bound flight. They were very thorough with this check.

At this point I found myself in the gate area, which was still pretty quiet at the time.


Oman Air departure gate


Oman Air departure gate

There were great views of the apron from the gate area.


Oman Air 737 Muscat Airport

I was surprised to see that Oman Air had prepared special gift bags for passengers on this flight. It surprised me since the only thing unique about this flight was the new first class, while business class and economy were the same as before. It was also the first commercial flight for the plane, so that’s pretty cool.

These gift bags ended up causing a bit of congestion, since they had to go through security as well, so it made the lines to get into the gate even longer.

By 1:45PM boarding still hadn’t started, and around that time Salim appeared from the lounge. I was standing near the gate, and at this point overheard the gate manager say that they’re going to board economy first and then business and first “because it will be faster,” which just seems awfully odd.

They were boarding through door L2, so it’s not like boarding first class first would have caused any delays. It seems silly to leave first class passengers sitting there when they want to board. Salim talked to him, and he agreed to let first class passengers board with economy (though only after emphasizing my excitement for taking pictures of the new cabin).

Oman Air first class lounge Muscat bottom line

Let’s start with the new Muscat Airport terminal. I was very impressed. The terminal is beautiful, has lots of local design elements, and most importantly, it’s not that big. This might just be my new favorite transit hub in the Middle East thanks to how manageable connections here are.

Now about the lounge itself. Oman Air’s new first class lounge is gorgeous. The design is beautiful and incorporates local elements, the space is huge, in particular when you consider how few passengers have access to it.

Beyond that, the service was excellent and food very good as well. Oman Air was a phenomenal airline even when they flew out of the old terminal, but the new terminal elevates the passenger experience significantly.

The business class lounge also has some cool features that first class passengers can use, which I’ll cover in the next installment.

I’m not sure Oman Air’s new first class lounge quite cracks my list of the world’s top 10 first class lounges, but I’d say it’s very close.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. Beautiful photos…love the Omani decor. Any guesses as to the fate of the first class lounge once Oman Air is down to two planes with F?

  2. @Lucky: I’m surprised you didn’t pass by the Primeclass Lounge. I visited Oman a few months ago and really, really enjoyed the lounge. It’s probably my second favorite Priority Pass lounge, perhaps after the GVK Lounge in Mumbai (which isn’t technically a Priority Pass lounge but can be accessed with a Priority Pass membership if you talk your way into it)…

  3. First class specialist here (paid tickets only). This review is very good and makes me want to give Oman Air first class a try.

  4. Is this really a relevant airline? Limited low yield leisure routes, no global alliance or a tie up, FF program that is not really enticing or scalable. I get it that they are bending over backwards to garner positive blogger reviews ( marketing tie up etc) but for them to be a player they will need to expand like mad, add relevant partners and expand their FF reach. Also why do you have to walk miles at Doha Hamad? Excellent moving walkways and the train as well. Let’s be fair – Hamad is a class apart just like QR.

  5. Sam,

    Can you give more details about this:

    “after the GVK Lounge in Mumbai (which isn’t technically a Priority Pass lounge but can be accessed with a Priority Pass membership if you talk your way into it)…”

  6. @ Deepak — I try not to just review the biggest airlines in the world, but also some more “random” ones. I actually think Oman Air is an incredibly useful airline for those traveling between Europe and Asia. They have an excellent business class product and exceptional business class fares. First class is probably a bit less useful generally.

    But “bending over backwards to garner positive blogger reviews?” Huh? I paid for all of my own tickets on Oman Air and have no financial relationship with them.

  7. @ Gio — I’m not sure exactly when the last A330 will be reconfigured, though I imagine it will happen fairly soon.

  8. I like the airport decor – the touches, layout and use of colours remind me very much of IGI Delhi.

  9. Not one fare that I checked from Europe to Asia has oman business fares as competitive. I am sure one can find a meddle ina haystack. At any rate, does not seem like a useful carrier for most – certainly not for anyone in North America. I just think unnecessary hype around Airlines or hotels that not many would find useful, raises questions , that’s all. Most would not consider even the likes of QR mainstream airlines – ask any AMEX corporate travel agent.
    Having said all that, many of your reviews are cool and useful so please dont take this the wrong way.

  10. @ Deepak — Not sure what fares you looked up, but the first fare I just checked was Paris to Bangkok for next month, which seems like a popular city pair. Oman Air is the cheapest, at ~$1,700 roundtrip. Same is true for London and Frankfurt to Bangkok, for example.

    But I’m not sure why you’re suggesting that this “raises questions?” Legally and ethically I’d disclose if I had a financial relationship with any of these airlines. I don’t. I just like flying different airlines.

  11. “Before I review the first class section of the lounge, let me note that it’s large, given how few flights Oman Air has that feature first class.”

    I think it’s better to say “despite how few…”, instead of “given”.

  12. Ben. Great review. However with its $800 a bottle liquor and a golden shower, I’m not sure what it takes to get in your top 10 lol

  13. @Deepak as Lucky mentioned Oman air consistently has the cheapest fares between Europe and Asia (I’ve seen as low as 800€ rt).

    Here’s a surprising fact for you:
    Not every reader is from the US

    Ps it’s ok if you’re uninformed, but let people correct you and admit your errors 😉

  14. Lucky, good review. I got in on the KUL- MUC cheap J fare almost 2 years ago, good experience all around, even with the old lounge. I can see Oman being useful for SEA to Europe if deals pop up.

    I credited miles to Etihad Guest, and really had no use for them until I was able to redeem them for an ANA intra Japan trip that was pricing out near $400 so good value for me.
    Lucky, please post deals on Oman when you find them.

  15. @deepak might be one of the EK representatives for sure… Typical on Middle East to have to be the glitziest, the tallest and the ‘goldenest’ (sic)
    So far autumn wish list:
    ‘Fly WY F, enjoy Oman and Salalah beaches, delete QR, EK, EY…’

  16. Really wanted to fly Oman Air via MNL-MCT-CMN but they don’t have daily schedule out of MNL and my schedule is very tight.

  17. I like that lounge and report, will put WY F to my list.

    @Endre- When you fly on paid tickets only do you collect the miles from those flights and if, then how you spend them?

  18. What a beautifully done lounge. And I really love that bathroom with the gold tiles in the shower.

    It is really remarkable how they’ve dedicated such a large space and facility for comparatively little first class passengers.

  19. Enjoyable review.

    In the ‘Supper Menu’, under ‘Jumbo Prawns’, they write “Smoked eggplant caviar” ?? What is it? They should have proofread their English menu, seeing it’s used in their First Class lounge. They also write ‘Chicken brest’ and ‘Assiette de Chef’.

    I could add a First Class lounge without Jack Daniel’s is not truly First Class, but that is HIGHLY subjective. 🙂

    Again, thank you for the review.

  20. @ben holtz – please don’t make moronic statements. Low yield Paris – BKk does not make for a business case – try LHr – SIN or LHr HKg and see if Oman can make that work at fantastic fares. I bet they can’t. How long can this 1:1 fawning last with 2 aircraft with First and the business class playing between low yield leisure travelers looking for bargain basement fares and eat their way through the entire menu in the lounge? Get real. Oh , and yes not every business travelled lives in NA, but for Airlines to make money they need the business form NA business travelers. Just facts

  21. @ben holtz – please don’t make moronic statements. Low yield Paris – BKk does not make for a business case – try LHr – SIN or LHr HKg and see if Oman can make that work at fantastic fares. I bet they can’t. How long can this 1:1 fawning last with 2 aircraft with First and the business class playing between low yield leisure travelers looking for bargain basement fares and eat their way through the entire menu in the lounge? Get real. Oh , and yes not every business travelled lives in NA, but for Airlines to make money they need the business form NA business travelers. Just facts

  22. Great review. However, the food selection seems a little mehhh to me. Food wise, it is similar to Qatar Airways Al Safwa first class lounge, which in my opinion, serves lousy food due in part to the fact that the food is precooked in another building 🙁
    That being said, the design of the lounge looks great.

  23. Having passed through the Muscat terminal recently I would say that it’s one of the most beautiful in the world. Wow, what gorgeous architecture and tasteful decor!

  24. @Lucky. I might try Oman F.
    Who has access to the First lounge? Also those coming from Oman F connecting to Oman J?

  25. @Deepak please unsubscribe from this blog. I cant imagine I will ever be in Oman, but I read Lucky’s blog specifically for posts like this……

  26. @michael thanks for posting the video! I can’t wait to see the new airport and new Turkish lounge! Going to Asia from the US in November and I may route through the new IST.

  27. A new airport terminal is coming to Bahrain.

    It will definitely be an improvement to the old terminal which is a relic.

    I am going to miss the old terminal, but I think it is time.

    I hope it is able to mirror the intimate feel of the Omani airport.

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