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