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I’ll admit before this flight I had barely heard of Gulf Air. Gulf Air is the state-owned airline and the flag carrier of Bahrain – a country I was set to visit for a wedding earlier this year.
Before I attended the wedding I had a connection via Bahrain on my way to Singapore. I found a great deal on a business class flight via Aeroplan and thought I might as well try out the flag carrier of a country I was set to visit shortly.
Now being in the Middle East, I had high hopes for Bahrains flag carrier. Gulf Air does not currently operate flights to the US but I hear that is changing soon.
Gulf Air is not part of Star Alliance but they are codeshare partners with a few airlines and available to book via Air Canada Aeroplan. I found plenty of award availability when my flight was set to depart in March of this year.
I’ve always been a fan of Aeroplan and often times find the best redemptions via the program. A major plus is the amount of transfer partners they have, which makes it easy to rack up points.
I even checked upcoming availability and there seems to be plenty.
Gulf Air operates a 7 and half hour flight between Bahrain and Singapore on their Boeing 787-9. For only 60,000 Aeroplan points this is certainly a steal.
Comparable airlines like Emirates, Etihad, or Singapore Air charge significantly more on this route so I was extremely happy with my redemption.
Now onto the flight – Gulf Air has a total of 26 business class seats, dub “Falcon Gold”, on the 787, spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Even though there are 2 seats on the window side every one of them has aisle access.
Upon first entry I immediately noticed how much space each seat gets. These seats are the closest to a “suite” but do not come with privacy doors.
I would say the middle seats looked equally as good as the aisle side of the window since they were pretty similar.
If you take a look at the 2 seats by the window – you will notice a passage in the front for the window seat to access the aisle. I found this to be hugely useful throughout the flight since my partner could get in and out without bothering me.
If you are flying solo too then keeping he divider up is a great way to have some separation. I find most flight dividers to be too low but this one was plenty.
A closer look at the seat and it was pretty modernized and comfortable.
The window pods looked like by far the best seats in the whole cabin. When the divider is up you truly feel like you are in a private cabin since no one can see you even when passing down the aisle.
A quick look at the seat across from me and you can see how exposed the aisles feel. These seats could really use a door like on Etihad but at least the person directly across from you can’t see since the seats are staggard.
I settled into my seat on the aisle while my partner took the window seat. You can see by my feat there was plenty of space even in front of me to spread out although not a great place to keep a small bag.
As I looked around on the controls there was a decent amount of small storage space right at my seat. I would say the outlet was a bit hidden and I did find this seat easy to lose items in.
The outlet was hidden underneath the arm rest making it really difficult to plug something in. Once you got it through it actually worked out ok, especially if you are in bed mode.
The seat controls were pretty basic and at least reasonably simple compared to other airlines.
The headphones that were provided were ok and nothing to complain about. I tend to no longer use airplane headphones since I got Airfly Pro that allows me to connect to any IFE with bluetooth.
The amenity kit was a bit odd design choice with this horse. I can’t say I know the reason for it but definitely an area Gulf can make an adjustment unless its for good reason.
Inside the amenity kit was you standard stuff like socks, tooth brush, and hand cream. I set it all up on the ledge and without the tray table out I found it kind of hard to keep track of all my stuff. Often times things were falling but I seemed to manage with the multiple pocket areas you can store stuff in.
I sat back and checked out the IFE that was one of the most impressive parts of this cabin. The remote was actually pretty intuitive and funny enough you can watch a movie on the remote itself.
The IFE screen is located pretty far from your seat so its pretty nice to just sit back and select your options comfortably.
Before the cabin was shut the flight attendants came around with Arabic coffee and dates. This is one of the highlights of flying on a Middle Eastern carrier as the coffee has just the right amount of spice and enjoyable few sips.
As I checked out the menu on this route the flight actually served a light meal after takeoff and the main before landing. I like this approach with late night flights so I don’t have to have such a large meal before sleeping and can count on a better pre arrival meal.
I wasn’t really sure what to get for my light meal. I wanted to go for the mezze but I had actually just had some in the lounge before boarding.
I decided to order the Smoked Salmon Quiche as well as the omelette for breakfast.
When it came to beverages the options weren’t too extensive but enough to keep you satisfied.
Before we took off I decided to take a few shots of the side seats with the divider down.
As you can see in my partners pod the seat is slightly ahead of mine but still relatively easy to talk to one another if you are traveling together. I would suggest the window seats over the middle for couples, which is a nice change from other airlines where you always need to pick the middle to be near each other.
When you zoom our you can see how much farther the screen is for the person next to you. My partner felt it was too far in front but on my next flight I tried the window seat and didn’t feel it was too bad.
Note the foot rest is much farther on the window seat so if you are a shorter person that could make a difference.
Shortly after takeoff the food service arrived and the lights were lowered. I noticed that since it was late many people in the cabin decided to sleep instead of getting the light meal.
The salmon quiche looked pretty decent but wasn’t really served with anything else except for bread. A few greens on the side would have really made this a bit better.
On the inside it was a bit dry and had the mildest fishy smell. I don’t think people trying to sleep enjoyed smelling this salmon but I ended up eating most of it.
I was able to get great sleep on this flight and really just relaxed in my pod. I was on the aisle side but didn’t seem to mind and the amount of people passing during the flight was minimal.
Breakfast was served about 1.5 hours to landing and it was a pretty big spread. I would say breakfast is one of the worst meals on airlines but this one was actually really good.
The omelette was not overcooked and served with sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, and a hash brown. I would say this was up there in best airplane breakfasts I’ve ever had.
In addition to the omelette was a side of fruit served as well. This is always refreshing instead of a heavier dessert – it was breakfast time after all.
Summary & Takeaways
For my first flight with Gulf this was an impressive one. The cabin style, seats, food, and flight attendants all made this a really great flight to take.
For 60,000 Aeroplan points I thought this was a steal of a booking. When Gulf Air restarts routes to the US I think they can definitely pick up on some travelers that are looking to use the Middle East as a layover point before their final destination.
This was not my only flight I took on Gulf during the trip and I would say each one of them was just as good as the next.
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