Oman Air is a great representative for Oman, and here is one of the reasons. Oman Air has been ranked the best performing airline at London Heathrow in July; great news for people flying into Oman for Holidays with us.
The 22.35 Oman Air flight turns out to be the last flight scheduled from Heathrow each day.
Since at night there is no view – I had lots of time to read the inflight magazine. For the national airline I was disappointed that the In-Flight magazine was riddled with errors about Oman.
The error standouts were in an article about Bandar Khiran and its “placid bay” with “no sound pollution, vehicle pollution” . While the main photo was of Bandar Khiran; one of the others was of the residential area of Wadi Kabir (not a bit of water in sight should have been a give-away for the team responsible for the article ) and the other of Bandar Jissah – both many kilometers from Bandar Khiran – but both labeled up, Bandar Khiran For any unsuspecting reader who relied on the “How to go” section – they would urgently need an accurate “How to get back” as the “How to go” section is seriously inaccurate !
Key factual errors were added for good measure about the Mausoleum at Qalhat ‘Bibi Miriam’. This was stated to have been built for a lady ‘Bibi Miriam’ – but was in fact built by her for her Turkish husband, who was the ruler of Qalhat & Hormuz at the start of the 14thC.
Despite all that I managed to get sleep and woke to the announcement that we were descending intoMuscat.
Swinging round we approached from the East and descended past Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque to land about 45 minutes early .
Taking Etihad from Heathrow to Muscat I was lucky to have a brand new plane, an Airbus 340 . It was a flying advert for the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix later this year.
As is often the case in The Gulf the flight attendants were from all over the world, mostly Far East, and I’m not certain if there were any Emiratis.
The meal was frankly poor – with rubber like Pasta – made worse by being served a couple of hours into the late evening flight. I found the entertainment selection extraordinary – 70films, 100 TV entertainment programs, no idea how many news Channels and presumably as many Audio choices. For a new plane it was a shock to have an aborted landing – with good recovery, thank you Mr Pilot– because a wheel door apparently would not open. Our second attempt succeeded and it was comforting to see the fire tenders moving back into their sheds.
Arriving for transfer at Abu Dhabi into the new Terminal the Muscat flight was waiting in the old terminal – very nice because it’s distinctive. Flashing up on the TV – BBC breaking news Michael Jackson died. I can remember where I was the night Elvis (Presley) died and now will be able to add Michael Jackson to my life’s time line, through this flight.
The Jackson 5 and later Michael were not my favorites but his Music from ‘Off the Wall’ to ‘Thriller’ was so good. What a shock to his family and fans . He visited Oman a couple of years ago and I must say in Oman Michael Jackson was sooo popular that many people here will miss him.
Oman Air will be flying into Muscat from Heathrow in 2009. I must admit that the schedule suits me well at Heathrow – leaving at 2130 and getting in to Muscat the following morning at 0845 – the flight from Muscat at 13.20 is equally good and arrives at Heathrow at 1740. But Gatwick I found, on what I have to say will probably be only my second visit in my life, was far easier to get around and the train in from Charing Cross was so easy. I don’t expect they will run both – or will they?
Update – new times (as of 30 Aug 2009 – are depart Heathrow 22.35 and arrive 09.15 and from Muscat to Heathrow depart 13.45 and arrive Heathrow 19.05