I was flying from Salalah to Muscat for a meeting by Oman Air flight WY 906 scheduled to leave Salalah at 13.30 hrs on Wednesday 15th December 2010. Check in formalities were completed one hour prior to the flight and everything looked normal.. the hustle and bustle of the passengers in the departure lounge as we waited for the gate to be opened and as usual the gate opened for boarding at 12.30 hrs and we entered the boarding hall after surrendering the counterfoil of the boarding card. The hall was full and overflowing and we expected that we would proceed to aircraft by 13.00 hrs but alas there was no urgency on the part of Oman Air staff to open the door for the passengers to proceed to the aircraft. No information about any delays was mentioned nor did the milling travelers in boarding lounge had any inkling of impending delays. Restlessness started setting in and the passengers started questioning the ground crew the reasons for the delay and we were just informed that the tire inspection is underway on the plane. By 14.00 hours we were informed that this flight has been cancelled due to technical snag….. as per the information gleaned from some staff at the airport were came to know that the there has been some issues with the tire and a replacement tire would be flown into Salalah from Muscat by 18.30 hrs and only after the replacement this flight would take off…. So a delay of over 6 hours
Once this announcement was made an uproar erupted in boarding hall as many passengers were transiting through Muscat to European destination and some to India and they would be missing the connecting flights. People who had contacts (Wasta) with the ground crew were the luckiest people as they could reorganize their onward flights almost immediately. The Oman air staff at Salalah had a tough time resolving issues of the transiting passengers who were flying onward by Oman Air flights but others it was really sad nothing was being done by them.
As I reside in Salalah I returned back home as there was no point waiting at the Airport for the next 6 hrs. On returning back to the airport later in the evening for the same flight we were informed that our flight would take off prior to the regular flight at 19.20 hrs but then our flight was cleared to leave for Muscat only at 19.50 hrs. Further there was no announcement made for the refreshments for the passengers of WY 906 in place of the dinner/ lunch which is normally served on the flight ( The food which was bought for the lunch got spoiled and could not be served. In such cases it is the responsibility of Oman Air to make necessary alternatives to serve dinner on the flight as they are charging the passengers accordingly. There was no word of explanation or apology even by the crew members on the flight regarding the dinner and they went on to serve us just some nuts !!!!!. A lame apology by the co-pilot in broken English towards the end of the flight just before landing to Muscat.
We have no choice but to fly by Oman Air only as it is the only airline plying between Salalah and Muscat. It is an experience that I would like to forget for I have had better treatment from the airlines in my travels during the past few years with them. I only hope that Oman Air personnel have more understanding of the passenger’s needs and address those on priority in the future.