Is flying business class from Dubai to Muscat worth the money?

While it might be difficult to be adversely affected by a 45-minute flight to Muscat from Dubai, flydubai’s business-class cabin made the short hop that much more comfortable and convenient.

But at Dh1,300, it could be considered a little pricey for such a short trip. An economy ticket would set you back just Dh590.

However, the upgrade begins to feel like a good idea after one glance at the economy queue.


The ticket includes access to flydubai’s business-class lounge, which opened in May 2014 at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2.

Featuring an open bar, finger food, soups, curries and desserts, the cheery, two-level, Wi-Fi-activated space is a five-minute walk from the business boarding gate that leads on to a separate bus to ferry us to the aircraft. However, since the Boeing 737-800 aircraft has only one entrance, we have to wait for the passengers from the previous, much fuller bus, to make their way on board.

The 12 Italian leather seats are in a 2×2 configuration and serviced by two flight attendants. Hot towels and juice are followed by what seems like the longest and loudest safety videos I’ve experienced, making last-minute phone calls a strained effort.

It’s a half-full cabin, which helps because the descent into Muscat is announced the minute you take the first bite of your cold, rather hearty panini, washed down by a drink that arrives only to be taken away again.

The 10-minute window to turn on your electronics is enough to draft a quick email or two, to be sent when you touchdown. A USB port enables partial charging.

The surprisingly varied in-flight entertainment, kept on until the plane draws to a complete halt, is complimentary for business-class passengers as are the noise-cancellation headphones, meals and drinks – they are chargeable in economy. And while the seats don’t recline all the way – seven inches with a 60-degree footrest elevation – there’s plenty of leg and hip room for a comfortable, if announcement-filled, power nap.

Flydubai is not a premium airline. Muscat is not a distant destination. Therefore an upgrade might seem a forced luxury. A business-class ticket to Muscat on FlyDubai however is less than half the price you would pay on other UAE airlines. So if standing in long check-in queues is not your thing, this is a flight, and a price, worth considering.

Q&A

How much do other UAE carriers charge for the Muscat – Dubai journey?

Flights to Muscat from Dubai are from Dh3,615 in Emirates business and Dh665 in Emirates economy. From Abu Dhabi, Etihad, charges Dh4,140 in business and Dh700 in economy.

Which new routes did flydubai add in 2015?

It launched 17 new routes last year. These include Shiraz, Isfahan and Bandar Abas in Iran and Chennai in India. The low-cost carrier currently flies to 89 destinations in 43 countries.

Where did the first flydubai flight from Dubai’s new airport head to?

The first flight out of Al Maktoum International airport at Dubai World Central was on October 25, to Kuwait. The low-cost carrier recently confirmed it will move to DWC at some point before 2020.

How profitable was the airline at the end of last year?

Flydubai, also known as Dubai Aviation Corp, lost Dh147.4 million during the first half of 2015 owing to conflicts in Iraq, Ukraine and Yemen, which forced flight suspensions. This month [February], the airline reported an overall drop of 60 per cent in its net profit for 2015, to Dh100.7m, blaming a stronger US dollar, tough market conditions and the slump in oil prices.

How many aircraft does flydubai have in its fleet?

Flydubai received its 50th aircraft on September 28, 2015. The delivery of the Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 completes the order the airline made at the Farnborough Air Show in 2008. The carrier will start to receive 16 new aircraft from May phased over the following two years. It also plans to retire seven aircraft to maintain a young fleet.

* The writer was a guest of the airline.

pmunyal@thenational.ae

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