Established in 1950, Gulf Air, the Flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is the oldest airline in the region. Gulf AIr was originally owned by a consortium of Gulf States–Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. With the exception of Bahrain, all other states in the consortium have since established their own carriers. After some years of financial issues, mostly linked to fierce competition from the neighbouring big three Gulf carriers–Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad–also known as the "ME3," Gulf Air has worked to reorganize and reinvent itself as a high-end Boutique airline. Gulf Air's recent acquisition of new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners symbolizes this renewal.
Flight-Report was able to discover the new face of the Bahraini airline on a new Dreamliner flight from the carrier's hub to Bangkok.
The Bahrain airport is on the small side and distances are conveniently short when connecting. Transit security is also a quick and painless process.
The terminal is older, but there is a decent number of restaurants and shops, along with a large duty-free and, as often seen in airports in this region, a luxury car to be won through a drawing.
One of Gulf Air's new flagship B787-9s could be seen on the way to the Falcon Gold Lounge.
falcon gold lounge
Let's go check out Gulf Air's flaghip hub lounge. The Falcon Gold Lounge is located on the upper level, accessed by escalator from the boarding area.
Unlike the crowded gate area, the lounge is spacious and calm.
More intimate seating arrangement, ideal for groups and families.
There is a nice area for families with children, separate from the main lounge.
Work station with computers are also available
Wall art in the lounge celebrates the carrier's rich history.
The overall food offering in the lounge is quite good with a good amount of options, including a salad bar…
Sandwichs, canap�s, cheeses, desserts…
As well as breads and fruit.
A nice selection of 7 hot options.
For drink options, champagne and wines are available for self-service.
As well as liquors and spirits.
There is also a large variety of soft-drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages along with several Lavazza coffee machines.
The lounge offers some nice tarmac views.
For those seeking to get some rest on a longer layover, or who simply want a little more calm and privacy, "Quiet Rooms" can be reserved for 15BHD (around 40USD).
Soft lighting, bedding, and large pillows make this space ideal for relaxation, though some may find the sleeping surface a bit short
The early morning light fills the lounge through the large floor-to-ceiling wall of windows.
The large windows allow for nice tarmac views and planespotting.
Not a huge selection of reading materials.
The morning food offering is quite good, with a good amount of options.
Pastries and cookies
Condiments, cheeses, sandwiches, wraps, and canap�s
Yogurts and fruit salad
There are 9 hot options available in the morning.
Including scrambled eggs and beans
As one would expect in a hub lounge, showers are available.
Shower kits are available at the front desk. The kits contain a towel, tooth brush, razor…
…and Gulf Air branded washing products.
Time to head to the gate with the Bangkok departure showing on time for 9:05
Our beautiful Dreamliner being prepared for the trip.
The boarding area is pretty tight, which makes the boarding process a bit chaotic.
We board the aircraft through door 2L.
Very nice first impression of the cabin, which feels bright and airy due to the lack of a galley at doors 2 and missing central overhead bins.
The Gulf Air falcon has always represented the airline, but it was recently redesigned as part of the airline's brand refresh.
Gulf Air have outfitted their new Dreamliners with Rockwell Collins Serenity Suites (Previously B/E Aerospace Apex Suites). One of the best rated Business class seat designs in the market.
The seats are arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration with all passengers having direct-aisle-access thanks to staggered seats on the window sides.
Center seats are side-by-side, making them ideal for couples.
Space between seats is 89 in (226 cm) with a comfortable bed length of 78 in (200 cm).
The seats offer a nice amount of shoulder room at 23 in (58 cm) wide.
For this flight to BKK, we'll be in seat 4A. Note the red lighting on 4C, which indicates "do not disturb"
Storage for reading materials
The remote for the In-flight Entertainment (IFE) is the latest Avii model from Thales' AVANT system.
The IFE screen is quite large at 22 in (56 cm) diagonally.
Unlike Korean Air and Oman AIr, who also use this seat model, Gulf Air have opted for a folding ottoman, which allows to better aisle-access from window seats.
The seat command panel has 4 pre-set modes, as well as lumbar support and massage functions.
An amenity kit and bottle of water are already provided at the seats upon boarding.
The adjustable individual reading lights have 3 different lighting levels.
Shortly after settling in, the cabin crew offer pre-departure beverages. The champagne is generously filled.
Cabin crew offer a choice of hot and cold towels, which is unique.
A large choice of reading materials
Coffee and a data are also offered prior to departure, which adds a nice Middle Eastern touch.
On pushback we can see the construction work on the terminal expansion project.
Gulf Air Dreamliners are outfitted with Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines.
The safety video plays during the taxi to the departure runway.
Takeoff after a short taxi time.
We leave the Kingdom of Bahrain behind as we begin our turn eastbound.
The Falcon Gold (Business) cabin on the B787-9 is comprised of 26 seats between doors 1 and 2.
Aft of door 2, there are 2 Economy class cabin for a total of 256 coach seats. The Economy cabin is outfitted with Recaro CL3710 seats.
Economy class passengers also enjoy large HD individual screens.
Flying over the UAE-Oman border as we continue our eastward progress.
Menus were distributed on the ground with orders taken prior to departure.
For this morning departure, breakfast will be served first followed by a lunch/dinner service prior to arrival.
The drinks menu has minimal details and misses the mark with no names or descriptions of any wines, except the champagne.
The breakfast service begins with an espresso, served with a shortbread cookie.
The meal tray is placed directly on the tray table–no linens were pre-placed. The Continental breakfast service is very simple, consisting of pastries and fresh fruit.
Fresh Fruit A wide range of fresh seasonal fruits
Despite its simplicity, the breakfast was of a good quality.
As Gulf Air have been moving their premium product up-market, they now offer a turn-down service, which is traditionally seen in First class. The cabin crew provide a mattress and extra pillow for the turn-down service.
The fully flat, private, seat is very comfortable in bed mode.
The second meal service begins as we overfly the Gulf of Bengal.
We're about 2 hours out from arrival in Bangkok.
For the pre-arrival lunch service, there are 3 options for the starter course and 4 options for the main course.
Once again, the meal is served on a tray with no linens dressed on the table.
This particular appetiser isn't described in the menu, but it consists of marinated chicken breast with a vegetable julienne.
Garlic bread is one of the options.
A look at the soup option: Carrot & Orange Soup Served with croutons
Fish option for the main
Steamed Fish King fish steamed with ginger and leak, accompagnied by jasmine rice and vegetables
After the main course is removed, passengers may select cheeses, fruit, and desserts from a nicely presented trolley.
Two nice looking dessert options
Lemongrass Custard, Passion Fruit Mousse
Overall, after a rather light 1st meal service, the pre-arrival meal was quite satisfactory. Though the appetiser course was a bit ordinary and disappointing, the main course and desserts were well-presented and delicious. Gulf Air's presentation of the dessert trolley felt high-end.
Approach and Arrival
The moving map indicates we'll be arriving shortly.
As often in Southeast Asia, the windows begin to fog up as we get closer to the ground.
Welcome to Suvarnabhumi!
Gulf Air ensures Business class passengers have disembarked prior to allowing Economy class to deplane.
One last view of our Dreamliner.
The new Gulf Air Boeing 787-9 fleet is configured with 26 seats in Falcon Gold (Business) class and 256 Economy class seats. At the moment, the new Dreamliners are operating between the Manama hub and Bangkok, London, Manilla, and Casablanca. Overall, Gulf Air proposes over 50 destinations throughout the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Eastern Asia, and Europe.
Flight taken reported by Flavien for Flight-Report as a guest of Gulf Air.
With the arrival of the 787-9 fleet, Gulf Air are showcasing their move up-market as a Boutique carrier. The Rockwell-Collins Serenity Suite product is certainly a winner. Along with the latest in IFE systems from Thales, Gulf Air offer a pleasant experience on board.
The airport experience is generally pleasant, mostly because of a nice lounge. The airport itself is small and outdated, but is in the process of being modernised.
Gulf Air certainly have some stiff competition in the region; however, the new direction the Bahraini carrier is taking will help to distinguish it from neighbours.
- The Falcon Gold Lounge - Bahrain (Spacious, diverse and quality catering, good tarmac views, quiet rooms, and play area for kids) - Spacious and private forward-facing full-flat seats with aisle-access from every seat - Nice finishes and overall attractive cabin - Turn-down service - All of the advantages that come with flying on Dreamliners: Cabin at lower altitude pressurization, large windows, mood lighting, quiet aircraft - Latest generation IFE system with large HD screen
- Fee to use the Quiet Rooms in the lounge - Small and outdated terminal making for chaotic boarding - On board menu missing descriptions, especially for wines - Small pillows
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