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I got to the terminal at around 5:30AM, leaving plenty of time before my 10AM flight to Bangkok. The bus from the remote stand dropped off in the arrivals area, where you can follow signage either towards immigration or connecting flights.
I followed the signage towards connecting flights, which led me down a long hallway. There I presented my boarding pass and passport, after which I cleared security.
Oman Air times their flights pretty well so that they all arrive and depart around the same time, in an effort to minimize connecting time. However, in this case we lucked out, as we were the first flight of the morning to arrive, so there was no one at security.
Security was a breeze (almost concerningly so, as they didn’t even seem to be looking at the x-ray monitor), and I was through in no time.
Muscat Airport is rather depressing. They’re in the process of building a new terminal, but for the time being there’s just a terminal which is way past its prime.
I followed the signage to the Oman Air Lounge, which is fairly centrally located (the entire terminal is small given that there are no gates with jet bridges, so it would be tough to not be centrally located, I suppose).
The entrance to the lounge is located just past duty free shopping. Upon presenting my boarding pass and lounge invitation I was admitted into the lounge.
I headed down the hallway past the first class section of the lounge (Oman Air only has a couple of planes with a first class cabin, so I’m sort of surprised they even bother).
Near the entrance was the first seating area, which featured a variety of couches and lounging chairs, along with a couple of PCs and a printer.
Further into the lounge was some high-top seating.
And then at the far end of that corridor was the bar, which had more high-top seating.
Towards the center of the lounge was the dining area, which had several tables and then a circular buffet below a stained glass dome of sorts. I’ll talk more about the actual food spread in a bit.
Then on the other end of the lounge was more seating, which was perhaps the blandest of the entire lounge. It was all cream colored and not very well organized, as there was virtually no privacy.
For example, while they might look stylish (relatively speaking), why would anyone want to sit in those circular chairs in the center row?
Then in the far end of the room were some chairs with ottomans, which also had pillows and blankets. I thought that was a nice feature, for those who want to rest. There was also a shared nap room there with some day beds (they didn’t look all that comfortable, so it’s not a true bed like you’d find in the Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge in Doha), though I couldn’t grab a picture since it was occupied.
The breakfast spread in the lounge was quite impressive. It featured a good variety, and also looked tasty. There was a selection of both Arab and Western options.
I’ll let the pictures of the food speak for themselves.
There were also several types of juice, along with soft drinks and bottled water.
As a caffeine addict, the highlight of the lounge for me was the industrial Nespresso machine.
While it looked heavy duty, it was still easy to use — you just had to insert a pod and pull the lever.
Alcoholic drinks were available at the bar. We had a couple of glasses of champagne, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn they serve Lanson, which I quite like. I’d say Oman Air actually has better champagne on the ground than in the air, which is rare.
After getting caught up on email I took a shower. I’m not sure if the room was so oddly designed because it was accessible, or if that’s just the standard shower design.
The lounge also has a very small spa with a couple of treatment rooms. This isn’t quite as well organized as those operated by Emirates in Dubai or Etihad in Abu Dhabi, but it’s a nice feature nonetheless.
All the spa treatments are complimentary, and you can choose from the following options:
I chose the 15 minute head, neck, and shoulder massage, which was fantastic. It was a bit better than what’s offered by some other carriers which just have the massage chairs which you sit upright in. This spa had real massage tables, and you were requested to take your shirt off.
The lounge began to fill up around 8AM, as it was quiet prior to that. This seemed to be in anticipation of the 10AM bank of flights.
According to my boarding pass, boarding for the Bangkok flight was scheduled for 9AM, so I headed down to the gate around that time. The flight was boarding from gate 16, which was about a three minute walk from the lounge.
Gates 16-23 are all in the same area, so I took the stairs down towards them.
Remember earlier how I mentioned Oman Air times their flights so they all leave around the same time? Yeah, this was pretty evident upon taking the stairs down a level. The lower level was chaotic, as several longhaul flights were departing at once, with huge queues.
Fortunately the queue to get into gate 16 wasn’t too long. There wasn’t a priority line, but I was still in the gate area within five minutes, after having my passport checked and boarding pass scanned.
The gate area was crowded, given that this flight was sold out and the “holding pen” wasn’t especially big.
Finally at around 9:25AM boarding was called, at which point everyone rushed for the door and got on the bus. There was no priority boarding, so it was a bit of a free-for-all.
The drive to the plane took almost 10 minutes, as we were stuck at a red light for almost five minutes. The bus driver also didn’t seem to grasp that the bus was full as could be and we were moving around like bowling pins, as he drove rather erratically.
Eventually we pulled up to the beautiful A330, and I was so excited to get aboard and experience Oman Air’s old A330 business class product.
Of course first I had to get a picture of the fuselage and the wing/engine. 😉
Oman Air Lounge Muscat bottom line
The new terminal at Muscat Airport should be opening next year, and it looks beautiful. It should be a huge improvement over the current terminal.
The old terminal is way past its prime and not especially nice, though given what it is, I thought it was quite functional. The transit process was super easy, and the Oman Air Lounge was surprisingly nice. It featured good food and drinks, and a spa. While the decor wasn’t cutting edge, it wasn’t offensive either.
Since most Oman Air flights are timed to minimize connection times, chances are that most people wouldn’t actually spend a lot of time in the lounge. Still, it wasn’t a bad place to kill a few hours, especially since I spent most of it getting caught up on work.
If you’ve been to the Oman Air Lounge in Muscat, what was your experience like?