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GF253 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International (BKK) - Muscat Seeb International (MCT)

Date: 25 March 2007
Departure (scheduled): 09:50
Arrival (scheduled): 12:45
Aircraft: Airbus 340-300
Cabin: First
Seat: 2B

Check-in was completed with some fuss as I had to pay the airport departure fee and didn't have the cash on me, necessitating a trip to the cash machine. However, once checked-in it was fairly quick journey through to landside. The Gulf air lounge was quite tricky to find and necessitated going up a level, seemingly back out through security and then back in again when the time came to board. Luckily there were no queues.

We had been allocated seats 1D/E which are the middle seats in the first row on the 2-2-2 layout of this old-style cabin on board Gulf's A340's. However we noticed that 2A/B were free and had better legroom, so swapped back once the doors were closed. The seats were of the old armchair style and while comfortable enough for a 5 hour day flight, they wouldn't really have sufficed for a longer or overnight sector. Furthermore there was an annoying lack of storage space compared to the more modern Sky suites. Furthermore, this was my only flight not in an A seat on this trip!!

We were offered a pre-departure drink and I went for just water, no point in getting ahead of myself and it was fairly warm on board. Push back was slightly delayed, but we were soon on our way to the runway where our departure on this A340 can be described as typically leisurely. I was quite relieved when we eventually rotated!

As per normal, the Sky chef dropped by our seat to present us with our menus and describe the service on this flight. Service started with an Amuse Bouche and I took some champagne, the


A Selection to Start

Smoked chicken
slices on Pomelo salad, rice paper wraps and black sesame seed dressing

Arabic Mezze
A variety of Middle Eastern hot and cold dishes or marinated artichoke, vine leaves, makdoos, hummus babaghanoush, warm falafel, samboosa potato kibbe, served with Arabic bread

Mushroom soup
served with button mushrooms and green beans

Fresh snapper fish pieces
blended in a cream of spinach with green peas, wild mushrooms and carrots

Main Course

Grilled beef tenderloin
served with roast potatoes, steamed long beans and Szechuan pepper sauce

Chef’s Recommendation

Middle Eastern honey glazed chicken
almond couscous and roasted pumpkin orange sauce

Vegetables stir-fried with ginger and chilli sauce
served with brown and white rice

A Sweet to round off

Tatin tart
upside down apple tart with cinnamon cream sauce

Lemon and meringue pie
with passion fruit sauce

Seasonal fresh fruit

International cheese



Jacquart Champagne Brut Mosaique Vintage 1998

White Wines
- Pouilly-Fume Les Genievres 2005, Guy Saget
- Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2005, Bouchard Aine
- Bellingham Spitz Chardonnay 2003

Red Wines
Chassagne Montrachet Rouge 2003, Bouchard Aime
- Chataeu Haut Lagrange, AC Pressac-Leognan 2000
- Delheim Shiraz, SImonsberg 2003

Dessert Wines
De Bortolli Noble One 2004



Available throughout your flight, served to your bedside within 15 minutes

Fish and Chips
Pieces of fish in light tempura style batter with oven baked potato chips offered with your choice of sauce

Create your own Salad

Arabic mezze
A variety of Middle Eastern hot and cold dishes or marinated artichoke, vine leaves, makdoos, hummus babaghanoush, warm falafel, samboosa potato kibbe, served with Arabic bread

Parsnip curry soup
Crème fraiche and North Sea shrimps

Omelette prepared by your in-flight Chef
With your choice of tomato, cheese, capsicum, chives and smoked salmon

Create your own Toasted Sandwich
With your choice of Turkish bread or sliced white or brown bread, tomato, cucumber, rocket lettuce, baby spinach, roast chicken, goat cheese, black olive tapenade and garlic mayonnaise

International cheese

Seasonal fresh fruit

I went for the smoked chicken starter which was very nice, the beef tenderloin which was one of the best steaks I've had on an aeroplane. The lemon and meringue pie for dessert was exceptional too. I kept to the champagne for the first course and swapped to the excellent Chassagne Montrachet for the beef. In a departure from my normal routine, I decided to have some dessert wine with dessert and that was again wonderful.

Throughout the meal and for the rest of the flight, the service left a little to be desired. It was not bad, but it was the bare minimum. Considering what I had got "used" to on the Asian carriers, particularly Singapore Airlines, it was a little bit of a downer on the whole experience.

After all that food and drink I reclined my seat and tried to get some sleep for what remained of the flight, as I had only had 5 hours or so during the night. I was only partially successful, but spent maybe a couple of hours just dozing on and off in my admittedly not-too-uncomfortable reclined seat.

About an hour and a half before arrival I decided to take advantage of the bedside menu service (slightly inappropriately named on this service) and ordered fish and chips and a beer. These were delivered within minutes and were again delicious.

In no time at all we were descending into Muscat and after a long and lazy approach with wonderful views of mountains and sea out the window, we landed and taxied to the apron where a dedicated bus was waiting to take first class passengers into the terminal building.

Cabin views