In this post I want to share with you my experience of booking tickets via Oman Air to go to Dubai. I'll try and cover the options that I had and the final choices that led me to make this decision of choosing Oman air and the overall experience of having to deal with them while on the flight.
Booking tickets online
I'm a faithful customer of the Cleartrip app and I always use the app for booking flight tickets where ever I fly. The reason I like that app is because of the clear user interface and using minimal clicks to get my things done. However most of these apps are based on dynamic pricing and whether you are browsing using your phone or depending on the country you are doing it from etc.
The prices change based on where you are accessing the app from and how many times you have accessed it before on the same day. Somehow I felt all the prices for Dubai were peaking a lot using these apps due to the holiday season. Also most of these ticket charges did not offer me enough luggage capacity or seating choices. I had to pay over and above the stated amount for choosing my seating and or meals.
Oman Air was the only airline which offered me sufficient luggage capacity meal choices and sitting choices as well. So I directly went to Oman Air website and wanted to book the tickets to Dubai. The route was via Muscat and there was quite a lot of waiting time at Muscat. The sweet part of this whole booking experience was the cost. I could get to and fro tickets for 4 of us to Dubai for 65000 rupees. This included 30kg baggage per person (one of the highest) plus 7kg hand carry, meal and seat selection included as well. Hats off to Oman Air for offering so much during booking.
The problem with layover time
Sometimes due to the tickets being cheap or the rush during the hour of booking you can get tickets which have a lot of transit time at the intermediate airports. This is what happened to me while flying to Dubai and I had to wait in Muscat airport for nearly 6 hours before my next flight to Dubai.
Issues with modifications to tickets
The problem with the fare being offered on most of these routes is that these conditions are non negotiable. Like for example you cannot change the meals or change the seats.
Modifying the flights will cost you quite a lot and if you do decide to cancel the flight sometimes you will lose all the money. Depending on the package taken if you cancel the flight you may also get some money back but that is normally about 50% of the booking cost.
Approaching Oman Air office in Muscat
The situation that I had was that I had my next flight from Muscat to Dubai 6 hours after I landed.
As a last minute effort I tried to get a seat for the four of us on to other alternative flights 3 hours apart and earlier. The effort was to minimise waiting time at Muscat airport.
When I reached the Oman Air office and ask them whether I could change the booking even if it was at a cost they simply ask me to go to the same source from where I book the ticket and try to change it from there.
They did not have a clue on how to handle customer request and they didn't even care about what I was actually trying to communicate or seek a clarification on. I went online to Oman Air website using Oman airport free WiFi since my roaming connection was not available and I noticed that it would not allow me to even load the ticket leave alone modify it or change it.
The reason for this is when you undertake a journey with Oman Air or for that matter any other airline they will mark against a ticket that this journey has been undertaken. My last journey from Bangalore to Muscat was not yet recorded since I just landed in Muscat. Due to this I was not able to load the ticket and make any other changes.
Contacting Oman Air office in Dubai
So upon reaching Dubai in my schedule flight late in the night the next day I decided to call up Oman Air office in Dubai and try to alter the return journey. The person on the other end who answered the call had no clue how to get this done for me and gave me an email id that I should send a mail to ask for a refund.
Reaching out to Oman Air on Twitter
I sent him an email and for nearly one whole day I did not get any response. So I took to my usual route of contacting Oman Air via Twitter and after another one day of wait and two days of turnaround time they responded to me saying that they will reply to my email regarding the refund.
After another day or two they replied to my email stating that I would lose two thirds of my money if I decided to modify or cancel the flight.
Testing other options such as upgrading to business class
When I entered my PNR number and requested for Oman Air has to upgrade my ticket to business class the whole ticket immediately popped up and started showing me fares for the upgrade.
All this while when I tried to enter the same PNR and try to retrieve my ticket it did not allow me to do so just because the current location was not updated. Only for the upgrade process everything seem to work which was a bit disappointing.
Lessons learnt from this booking experience
I will go ahead and share a few things that you need to know in order that you do not do the same mistakes that I did while planning a trip.
- [ ] take a look at the transit times before finalising the tickets
- [ ] understand whether your airline has an active customer support policy
- [ ] talk to people who have been to the intermediate airport and ask them about the customer support facilities available there
- [ ] if the direct flight is about 10000 to 20000 costlier you may decide to book that instead of the one that has a transit time
- [ ] if you have kids Who need to board a flight beyond 12 P.M then it is better not to up for that kind of schedule because it will be very difficult to wake them up and make them board the flight since they often tend to get cranky.
- [ ] do a trial run on Twitter by approaching the airline to see how the response would be.
- [ ] understand the refund policies and cancellation policies for cancellation of tickets
- [ ] charges apply even if you want to modify the ticket so you may need to be aware of what you would be losing in terms of cost.
- [ ] it is not worth while trying to reach out to airport staff at the transit airport in case you are already about to sleep. This is likely to lead to lot of frustration and improper responses can only make things worse.
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