Bangkok to Oman (Muscat)
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Points can be earned in Sinbad, with Etihad the airline partner in Oman Air's scheme.
The back, way back: economy, seat 36A.
The scheduled time is five hours and 55 minutes; our flight was due in to Muscat at 2.40pm local time but arrived 25 minutes early at 2.15pm.
Oman Air flies daily from Bangkok to Muscat. There are connecting flights to Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East from the Omani capital. On the A330-300 flights to and from Bangkok, London and elsewhere there is a first class service. Oman Air doesn't fly into Australia.
There are 196 economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. There are also 20 business class seats (no first class) with an 82-inch (208 centimetre) pitch. It's a 34-inch (86 centimetres) pitch for my economy brethren and I.
Hand luggage is limited to seven kilograms, the checked luggage allowance is 30 kilograms.
I am told this flight is one leg of a popular way to get to Tehran from Asia and Australia but there is no one sitting next to me. I have my window seat and the aisle seat and spread my own wings. It's an extremely comfortable flight made more so by the relaxed mood – there are dozens of empty seats – the appealing turquoise and brown colour scheme of the plane and the stylishly dressed and attentive cabin crew.
There are 190 movies – kids, Bollywood, French, Arabic and new release and classic Hollywood - and 200 TV shows as well as music channels to choose from on an individual seat back entertainment system that runs perfectly smoothly. It is possible to make calls and send texts from Oman Air flights (airline charges apply)
Faultless. A blanket and pillow is waiting for me on the seat. A satisfyingly strong gin and tonic precedes lunch and I decline the polite offer of another. Late in the flight I order a coffee just before a short bout of turbulence – some 10 minutes later, after the seat belt sign is switched off, the coffee is brought to my seat without me having to again ask for it.
Before lunch is served I am handed a printed menu with a choice of three main courses. Decisions, decisions: the mildly spiced vegetable biryani, sweet and sour snapper medallions or the beef kofta with vegetables and turmeric rice? Fortunately I choose the kofta for it is one of the best meals I've eaten during an economy flight. The accompanying salad seems as fresh as it could be at 37,000 feet. A small bottle of French wine complements lunch and induces sleep.
ONE MORE THING
Applying for a tourist visa to Oman at the Muscat airport was swift and uncomplicated.
This was as agreeable as flying economy can be.
Tested by Greg Clarke, who flew at his own expense