TRIP REPORT: I just booked a 7+ hour trip in Business in a Boeing 737 MAX on Oman Air. Am I mad?
I’ve just booked a trip with Thai Airways/Oman Air and Malaysian Airlines that will take me from Sydney to Europe via Bangkok and then back to Australia from Zurich via Muscat and Kuala Lumpur. We have some obligations in Thailand and friends to visit in Europe. This fare at under AU$7,500 per person Business Class return was nearly too good to be true for an all-widebody trip. But then a narrow body reared its ugly head.
Content of this Post:
When I first booked the trip, the Muscat Oman to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia leg was on an Oman Air Airbus A330-300, with those wonderful Business Class seats I travelled on in 2023. A full review of that trip will be appearing in the next month or so.
A week later, when it came time to confirm and pay for the 2024 trip, the price was the same, but the aircraft travelling this 7-hour and 10-minute leg had changed from a twin-aisle widebody Airbus A330-300 to a narrow body single aisle Boeing 737-MAX. Hmmmmm.
To give you an idea of the difference, this is the Business Class seat/cabin on the A330-300:
A 77.5-inch long, lie-flat Business Class seat with a pitch of 82 inches is 22 inches wide and offers an electrically controlled backrest, leg rest and seat depth.
On the other hand, the Oman Air Boeing B737 MAX only has a ‘shell’ seat that does not go flat, but only reclines into a ‘Z’ relaxed position when fully reclined. It looks like this:
OK, OK, we are getting this trip at a very low fare, and it is a daytime flight. The legs before and after both have fully reclining lie-flat seats for their respective overnight flights. Maybe I should stop my kvetching? This may not be so bad.
What Nonstop Dan thinks about Boeing 737 MAX on Oman Air
To assuage my fears about the comfort of this flight, I searched the internet and found a four-year-old video from one of my favourite flight reviewers, Nonstop Dan. He maintains several YouTube channels, but his airline review channel is the most relevant for understanding the experience of a Boeing 737 MAX on Oman Air.
Here is what he thinks about this cabin:
Dan’s opinion is based on a 3.5 hour flight. Ours will be twice that, so we shall see. No WiFi will also be a challenge. But on the whole he is fairly positive about the experience.
Also, forewarned is forearmed. If you know what to expect, then you can plan for it. For this daytime flight, it will be reading and watching movies, with minimal work. That’s in contrast to the legs on either side, which will be nighttime flights, where sleep will be the priority.
Maybe this is a case of the adage ‘You get what you pay for’ being true. However, I did book a trip, where this flight was originally on an Airbus A330-300 but has now been downgraded to a single aisle narrowbody Boeing 737 MAX on Oman Air, without lie-flat beds. On the other hand, equipment changes occur all the time, so six months out, at least I can prepare myself for this slightly less comfortable daytime flight. Anyway – you’ll know what I think in August this year.
Things could be worse. I could be flying economy!