Review: First Flight on Gulf Air in Economy Class

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The short flight of approximately one hour from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Bahrain was not going to be anywhere near full of passengers, which I thought was nice as I sat there at the nondescript gate area — although I did detect the faint smell of stale cigarette smoke from the main terminal, which was mildly uncomfortable for me.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Gulf Air — the official national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain — was the airline which operated the Airbus A320-200 aircraft for the flight; and it would be my first time flying as a passenger on this particular airline. I have not heard much about this airline — other than when it was nominated for Freddie Awards — and I jokingly refer to it as the fourth of the three Gulf carriers.

Please excuse the dirt, as the windows were apparently not cleaned at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Please excuse the dirt, as the windows were apparently not cleaned at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The airplane arrived at the gate late; but that was no problem: with as few passengers as there were, everyone boarded at once — and I was one of the first to step aboard the airplane.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The aircraft was nice and clean, with the colors in muted tones. I arrived at my seat.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Unlike the seat on my first flight as a passenger on an airplane operated by Etihad Airways, there were few features to this seat.

There was an in-flight entertainment system with an adjustable touch screen, a retractable coat hanger, and a tray table equipped on the rear of the seat in front of me…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…and also unlike with Etihad Airways, the tray table was sturdier and smoother because it was not split in half and folded.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Leg room was significantly more ample than in the seats of Etihad Airways; and the aisle was wider. I did not feel as cramped as I did as a passenger on aircraft operated by Etihad Airways.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

You can better see the seat pitch in the photograph shown above, which shows the row of seats across the aisle from the seat to which I was assigned.

Why, thank you! Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Why, thank you! Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Have you ever seen an air sickness bag which wished you well?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The in-flight entertainment options were rather sparse; and some of the options were unavailable altogether…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…but considering that there are usually few options of using in-flight entertainment systems on airplanes operating on domestic flights within the United States without having to pay extra in the economy class cabin, the options here were certainly satisfactory.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

During the short flight, the flight attendants served a sandwich with a cup of orange juice; and if you like chicken salad — which I do not — then you were in luck.

IMG_9559

Fortunately, there was a vegetarian option available…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…which comprised mostly of cucumber and lettuce with some tomato.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I enjoyed the vegetarian option much better. The chicken salad sandwich was left uneaten by me.

The airplane landed in Bahrain on time.

Summary

You can order from a variety of special dietary meal options from Gulf Air; but unfortunately, seafood is not one of them — unlike by Etihad Airways. All food served aboard aircraft operated by Gulf Air is halal.

My first flight aboard an airplane operated by Gulf Air was uneventful — and that is a good thing. The interior of the airplane was clean; it was nice that food was served by nice flight attendants during the short flight; and although sparse, there were some in-flight entertainment options — enough to keep a passenger busy for an hour.

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Overview

Release Date

October 23, 2015

Pros

Clean airplane interior
Ample leg room
Complimentary sandwiches were served
Nice flight attendants who offered good service
Flight landed at destination on time
Some basic options for in-flight entertainment
The aircraft was not full of passengers
Reasonable airfare at $288.40 round-trip, including all taxes and fees

Cons

Arrived at gate late prior to departure
No announcements about status of flight
Some options for in-flight entertainment were disabled
Nondescript gate area with lingering odor of faint cigarette smoke
Complimentary sandwiches were not very good
Seafood not an available option for special meals

Service

Comfort

Food and Beverage

Value

Overall Rating

Conclusion

All in all, the flight was a pleasant and relaxing experience.

3.3

Comments

  1. mohammad javid says

    I been on many different middle eastern airlines, including emirates so I thought of trying gulf air last year.
    I DO NOT RECOMMEND!!!
    Their entertainment is average however the airline’s luggage management is the worst i’ve ever seen!!
    very poor quality of service.
    their mishandled baggage tracing service is absolutely horrible, I came back from holiday in August 2015, which is when they lost my luggage and I STILL have not been contacted about my missing luggage!! I have sent several emails and letters to Gulf Air’s offices, not to mention multiple phone calls too however not once have I been contacted! It has been 8 months!! their customer care is appalling.
    Very reluctant to solve any issues that occur whilst travelling with them!
    dont be trapped by their low prices!! completely not worth it, i assure you!!

    • Brian Cohen says

      Thank you for imparting your experiences with Gulf Air, mohammad avid.

      I did not check any baggage; so I cannot comment on that aspect of the service employees of the airline provide.

      I do hope that your belongings return to you as soon as possible.

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