This round trip routing, DOH-MCT-BKK-PNH is on a separate ticket on Oman Air stock. As such, I organized 1 night in Doha between tickets as a small safety net.
My hotel graciously afforded me a 4pm check out. I wasted a little bit more time hanging out in the lobby and arrived to Hamad International Airport around 6pm.
WY662 / 10APR
DOH - MCT, Boeing 737-91MER, A4O-BT, seat 3A
DOH departure gate A8
Actual vs. scheduled departure : 2139 / 2135
Actual vs. scheduled arrival : 0024 / 0005
Flight time per Flightradar24 : 1:09
I had done the online check in while waiting in the Amex lounge yesterday in Dallas. It wasn't the most fluid but it did the job.
I was tracking the DOH-BKK flight every day for a while leading up to my trip, looking out for any irregularities or regular aircraft swaps. This is totally a first world problem, but I really did not want to have bad luck to have the one 788 remaining with the former Kenyan Airways configuration (if my research was correct A4O-SZ is the tail). While I'm sure the flight would be fine, I was of course looking forward to the Apex suites. About 1 week before my departure, I noticed the flight had gone from a 789 to a 788 ! My seat assignment on the Oman Air website had gone from 10A to 1A ! There was nothing I could do about it other than hope for another equipment change. Low and behold, the seat map showed me back in 10A on the MCT-BKK leg which meant at the very least the Apex seats.
Check-in did not start until 3 hours before departure. The free airport wifi, at least in the non-secure zone, required either a QR PNR or a phone number to validate access, which I found to be annoying. #firstworldproblem.
Check-in for Oman Air is showing "row 9" tonight.
In the meantime, some views of the departure hall and a view down to the arrivals area. There's not actually much to do before checking in. There is one coffee stand with light fare.
I noticed passengers entering the Oman Air zone ultimately a little before 6:30pm.
Priority check-in was to the left but the notion of any line gets blurry quickly.
There wasn't much conversation but the transaction was nonetheless courteous. I was reassured to be through checked on the BKK-PNH sector and the agent confirmed the baggage was also through checked.
Of course, I have to show a photo of the million dollar bear. This is as seen right after border control and security, which was as smooth as could be.
The Oryx lounge is in the background to the right (just to the left of the 'X' beams on the right).
Check-in at the lounge was simply a glance at the boarding pass. The lounge remained quiet and I found myself a spot in one of the 2 remaining seats in the "quiet area" room. Essentially, it's a mini QR lounge.
The cold selections were fresh. There was a mushroom pasta and a soup for something warm. I did not eat that much, wanting to save space for whatever might be served on board, for a 9:35pm departure, 1 hour flight time.
I wish I could have the lemon mint juice at home all the time. And the pastries were delicious :P I should have filled up a zip lock bag haha.
11 out of 12 seats were occupied tonight. I must have won a small jackpot as the seat next to me was the 1 empty seat.
There is a lot more traffic on the DOH-MCT route because of the politics. Tracking the flights, sometimes a 787 or A330 would fly this flight, but no luck tonight.
The cabin and seat were clean and there is a bottle of water at each seat.
On the ground, the crew propose a welcome drink (OJ, lemon mint, water), a date, and a shot of Arabic coffee. The crew did not use my last name at any point during the flight.
Pushback was essentially on time, making for a 50 minute turn around. Take off was in the dark, from runway 16L.
Also on the ground, the crew proposed something to eat, proposing a choice of a cold smoked chicken sandwich or a vegetable biryani. I selected water for the beverage, which I ultimately understood was the bottle of water at my seat.
Vegetable biryani, salad (peppers and feta), (I think) passion fruit dessert. The bread was warm. The biryani was delicious, the rest was just there to be there.
Service was efficient, not at all rushed, and with a smile and the hot snack was a pleasant surprise (we're not used to this coming from the US haha). I noticed some passengers even just took 1 element of the meal. Whether they are used to doing that or if the crew proposed that, I'm not sure, but a nice approach in order to adapt to the passenger.
I did look for, nor did I notice if there was any IFE on this aircraft. I watched only the flight map on the bulkhead. For a 1 hour flight, I didn't expect anything more.
I felt like the approach to MCT was a little long. We ultimately blocked in with a 19 minute delay.
I had seen some images of the new Muscat airport before my trip. The arrivals circuit is clean and well indicated. I was politely indicated the priority lane at the transfer check point, at which point there is an elevator which can bring you either to the regular terminal level or directly to the level of the lounge and terminal hotel.
See you on the next leg !
The 1h flight was quick and efficient. While the crew did not necessarily use my name, it's not a deal breaker, they were still polite and courteous. A hot snack on a 1h flight is a luxury for those used to flying American carriers. I almost rated WY a 5 on the IFE but it's almost unfair to rate anything low with regards to in-flight entertainment on such a short flight.
Hamad International is of course beautiful. It's too bad there is not (yet) any way to get there via public transportation. I would almost venture to say the tones of black, gray, and white lighting make the terminal somewhat dark. The requirement for a QR PNR or a phone number to access public-zone wifi is annoying. It was neat to discover the non-Qatar lounge, however, ultimately it's almost a mini-QR lounge because it is run by them. Does that make sense ?
The transit at Muscat International Airport has started well.