I’m actually hesitant to write a review for Gulf Air as my last flying experience with the airline was way back August 2009 – yes, three years ago pa mga frenships. I was thinking to put it off until I get to fly with them again, para fresh bah.
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Gulf Air (Arabic: طيرانالخليج Ṭayarān al-Khalīj) is the principal flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Its main base is Bahrain International Airport in Muharraq; with London, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, Dubai, Karachi, and Mumbai as major routes. The airline operates scheduled services to 41 destinations in 30 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe and is part of the OneWorld global explorer fare. It has extensive code share agreements with other airlines and special partnerships with their Frequent Flyer Programmes. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Air)
However, having flown GF’s “sister” British Airways* recently and looking at my sked till next year (all with other airlines, meaning no GF flights anytime soon) finally decided to make a review. Will just update if any chance I get lucky & fly GF sooner.
(*In October 1951, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) became a major shareholder in Gulf Aviation, holding a 22% stake through the BOAC subsidiary company BOAC Associated Companies…… The merger of BOAC & BEA in 1974 formed British Airways. Source: Wikipedia)
Gulf Air, for me and my friends, is what we call the “sosyal” airline. Why? Because it means direct flights. No stop overs. No stepping out for changing of planes. Hence shorter, faster travel time. However it also means costlier airfare than all other airlines (EY, EK, CX, QR, et al)
The standard policy for free company air tickets is to procure the cheapest available with acceptable transit times (I work in procurement) so it is not usual for staff to get GF tickets, unless for emergency cases or staff pays the amount difference.
I first got to fly via GF in June 2009 (DXB-BAH).
It was a milestone in my life as an OFW, as it was my return after an “exit”.
The moment I received my new work visa to Bahrain, after waiting
in vain for three weeks in Dubai, I was ecstatic, packed my bags in a frenzy and jumped on the next flight to BAH that night.
Sa sobrang excitedness, I cannot recall if there was any delay or what nots, I was floating on cloud nine with my new visa. I was super thrilled to get back to work (pramis).
I do recall paying for excess luggage (my first and only encounter so far) as the Pinay counter crew insists. Haist. Wat to do? It was for about 3 kgs of dinnerware & homestuff from my shopping spree @ IKEA Dubai Festival City which for the life of me I cannot just leave behind hehe… Please don’t shoot me, there is no IKEA store in Bahrain! (And still none, as of date.)
Another thing I cannot forget is the blue uniform of the cabin crew which I truly adore. Maybe because blue is my favorite color. Maybe I just like their cap with the lovely, flowing blue veil.
It was a short flight with light refreshment which smoothly returned me to Bahrain, my home away from home.
I never imagined that I’d be flying again, so soon, in just less than two months, and this time, really HOME. (August 2009, BAH-MNL-BAH)
Everything was actually blurry. The SMS on my roaming phone. Discussion with former boss. Emergency leave form from HR Department. Passport. GF e-tkts. Abuloy money envelope. Luggage. Bahrain International Airport. Manila. Malasiqui.
I was like a zombie. I was going home for my father’s funeral.
“It’s been three years, dad… and I’ve been doing my best to make you proud. I miss you…”
That explains why there are no photos during the flight. Even during the return trip to Bahrain ten days after, still wasn’t my usual self who’d take pictures of everything – from cabin seats, in-flight stuff & meals, to almost everything that fancies me. My eyes continued to see, but my limbs were like soggy vegetables.
I can only remember these: I was a bit uncomfortable, cramped in my seat with limited legroom (didn’t do web check-in, hence didn’t choose seat) e payat pa ako nun as compared ngayon.
We also encountered turbulence and couldn’t verify if it was that strong or if the plane was small that’s why it was so shaky (it was scary lah). I became alert that time and re-read the safety card how to wear the emergency vest thing. I don’t know how to swim noh.
The meals were warm and filling, with Filipino dishes on the menu. I remember there was Adobo and Escabeche. Watched in-flight movies including a Tagalog movie “Gimik, the Reunion.” Slept / daydreamt / drifted during the rest of the journey…
Observed that some cabin crew had different uniforms. Reading the in-flight magazine, learned they have in-flight Sky Nannies and Sky Chefs. Didn’t see any Sky Chef, but identified a Sky Nanny close to our isle, catering to the kids in the middle row.
After that flying experience with BA, I’ve learned to appreciate the Sky Nanny. Good job GF for the quiet, cry-free return flights!
NB: My brother Yano also flew via GF when he came to Bahrain in July 2010. I was worried that he might get lost during transit on a connecting flight so I booked a direct flight for him. Yano’s pers taym abroad lah. And I am the responsible big sister, pak!
I don’t know when I’m going to fly GF again, but am looking forward so I can take photos this time. I just hope no emergencies, Please.
At kung hindi man sa staff entitlement for free air tickets, OK na sa Seat Sales nalang.