If you’re flying Oman Air internationally from basically anywhere on their network, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be flying through Oman en route to your final destination. This probably means a stop at Oman Air’s hub in Muscat. It’s an awesome city and to encourage people to actually explore Oman, rather than just flying through it, the flag carrier has implemented a complementary stopover service for people to visit the city.
This is not a new concept and variants of this concept exist within the industry, take Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines or Finnair’s Stopover Program for instance.
What’s On Offer With An Oman Air Stopover
Stopovers are the bane of any traveller’s existence – there’s nothing worse than being stuck in an airport for hours on end with nothing to do. With middle eastern airlines increasingly their base as a global transit hub, more and more people are finding themselves in this situation now. Unsurprisingly, they are now trying to get you to visit the city rather than just have you connect.
It’s, therefore, no surprise that Oman Air has developed a campaign to encourage stopovers. As one of the lesser-known airlines in the middle east, it has much more of a boutique feel than their Gulf rivals. Not surprisingly, fewer even know about its stopover program.
Oman Air offers passengers travelling through Muscat to stay for up to three nights, with the airline picking up the tab for one night if at least two nights are booked. With no current service to the Americas, Oman Air primarily serves passengers travelling between Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
A Bit Of History
The stopover program with Oman Air is nothing new. Originally, the national carrier only offered a stopover program to Business and First class flyers (the link is still live to a certain degree but unlikely to work) allowing them a stay at the Al Bustan Palace or the Ritz-Carlton for a night – with breakfast no less.
A year later it relaunched with the Grand Millennium Muscat as the hotel of choice. The main difference between the two programs was that the new program was open all travelling classes. A few months later it then subsequently changed hotels to the Sundus Rotana Muscat.
At time of writing, none of these hotels are on offer – currently, the Park Inn by Radisson is the only notable 4 star available with a few other 3* and 4* hotels. It’s safe to say that the stopover program is here to stay but since the hotels are always in rotation so your mileage may vary when you intend to book.
Distinction between Oman Air Stopover & Layover
At this point, it is important to make the distinction between a stopover and layover as Oman Air is a bit vague on the difference on the website. Oman Air has two different programs targeting transit passengers. One of the programs is aimed at passengers who have around 8-24 hours of layover in Muscat. While the other is aimed at passengers, who wish to spend a few days in Muscat before continuing on their journey.
A forced extended layover, which also technically known as a Stopover Paid-by Carrier (or STPC for short) is when you are forced to transit for an extended period of time due to a forced/organic layover, as opposed to voluntary layover. In other words, if you have to have a long transit because the airline does not offer a shorter connection then you will be eligible.
In Oman Air’s case, if you have an organic layover of more than 8 hours, the airline will provide a few amenities to tide the time over.
A stopover, as discussed in this article, focuses on what it says on the tin – a stopover in Muscat. This works in many ways. For timid would-be adventurers who fear long-haul flights, the Oman Air Stopover in Muscat program is the perfect way to break up the trip. For seasoned travellers, it offers a way to bolt-on an additional location while also boosting the local tourism economy.
Importantly, unlike a STPC, aside from the one free night, and with exception to the visa fees, you bear the cost of travel around the city and the cost of travel between the airport and hotel.
How to Book a Stopover with Oman Air
Booking is not the easiest but the information is there on its website. Instead of booking a multi-city trip (like with Singapore airlines) or elect into stopover (as with Finnair), Oman Air requires you to submit a request for a flight itinerary, similar to how it’s done with a travel agent.
Hotels on Offer
Remember that the hotels change often so its always good to keep an eye on the offers out there.
|3 Star Hotels/Resorts||2 Nights||3 Nights||Validity|
|Tulip Inn Down Town Muscat||$63||$115||31 December 2020|
|Ramee Guestline||$92||$129||1 Oct – 31 Dec 2019 & 1 Jan – 30 Apr 2020|
|Ramee Guestline||$77||$107||1 May – 30 Sep 2020|
|4 Star Hotels/Resorts||2 Nights||3 Nights||Validity|
|Tulip Inn Muscat||$72||$115||1st January to 31 December 2020|
|Park Inn by Radisson Muscat||$81||$120||30 April 2020|
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I have a confirmed booking last sept6to fly back home to manila.online booking from manila and it was paid by credit card.but it was cancelled due to pandemic for further notice. I would like to rebook again so I can go home before the end of the year
What will I do because I called many times but unfortunately most of them (Oman Air)offices no one answering the call
Did you buy your ticket direct from Oman Air or through an agency?
If through an agency, the agency’s T&Cs would apply.
assuming you booked direct – if the carrier cancelled the flight (and likely due to Oman air not operating any flights during that time) you should be able to request a refund. You would want to check the carriers refund policy as a result of Covid to exactly know what to do in these instances. I would advise emailing them as well as you may get a response that way as well as while you contact over the phone.
once established you can either rebook with the credit with Oman air or seek.
as another step – log in to manage your booking – you may want to try using the refund form -> https://www.omanair.com/uk/en/manage-bookings/refund-form
I have bought 4 ticket to fly to Australia by Oman Air for my Sabbatical with my family from Tehran with departure date of June 2019 which is postponed due to COVID 19 flight cancellation.
After following the matter with Oman Air local office in Iran, They mentioned the ticket would remain valid for 24 months and as soon as the Oman Air resumes its flight to Iran, you may use your ticket within the same class of original reservation.
This was fine to us until yesterday that I received a call from Tehran office and requested to refund our ticket due to the new policy of Oman Air to stop flying Iran. They insisted to refund within few days cause the Tehran office will be permanently closed soon!
It was all the surprise.
I have spoken with Head of Tehran office about this matter and also talked over the phone with Oman Air customer representative in Muscat. Both have directed me to send email to customer care which recieved no reply.
As a university professor, I have to undertake a Sabbatical mission in Australia for which our university paid for our ticket directly. So, at present, I do not want to refund my ticket at all, since my ticket is a university-bought ticket and in case of refund, I may loose many benefits which reflects my career trilby.
In another word, If this ticket is refunded any way, I have to pay for my new ticket from my personal budget which is almost impossible during the current situation and if I don’t, I would be in deep challenge, in terms of my job and career.
As a Flag Carrier of Sultanate of Oman, I do humbly requested them to issue me travel voucher which allows me to fly within their routes in future.
But still no reply.
Alternatively, another option that I may suggest, is to let me fly to Muscat by Salam Air (Oman Air code-share partner which flies frequently to Iran) and continue my journey to Australia (once this route is also resumed) from Muscat by my current Oman Air reservation.
Again no reply.
Can anyone advise what should I do now???
sorry to hear of your situation, however, if they are closing the office and cannot honour your flight there is not much they can do but refund you.
Oman air does not have many code-share partners and even fewer they would codeshare into their home base. Furthermore, having you on a codeshare flight could cost the airline more (be it logistically to organise you onto the flight) and would be easier to refund you outright.
I would have a quick look through their conditions of carriage to see what your rights are with regards to a refund and them honouring your ticket but in the current climate, I would say you are stuck between a rock and a hard place – especially if the airline has provided you enough notice to cancel.
Additionally, this move to cancel airline tickets is industry-wide, you only have to look at carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific for instance – even part of major airlinesm they will just cancel the ticket then move you onto a competitor.
At this point am waiting at muscat airport from 7 am and my transit flight is in the next 16 hrs, shouldn’t the airways give some accomodation atleast for some hours??
It depends if the airline offers an STPC policy, usually, on extremely long layovers it will all depend on if the change was voluntary or involuntary – ie. if it was your choice to have a long layover (because it was cheaper to do so) or if you had no choice (because the airline doesn’t fly there any sooner). in cases of involuntary, the airline may offer accommodation like Qatar airways. However if it was voluntary then the airline would not be required to.