During my recent trip to India earlier this year, I had to re-position to Cairo to start my revenue ticket from Cairo to Vancouver. Hence, I found myself flying Gulf Air Business Class from Mumbai to Bahrain.
My travel plans were constantly in flux, and at the last moment, we decided to take a family vacation to Goa. From Goa, I used 45,000 Aeroplan Points to fly the following flights:
- Goa to Mumbai on Air India Business Class
- Mumbai to Bahrain on Gulf Air Business Class
- Bahrain to Cairo on Gulf Air Business Class
Other parts of my India travel from earlier this year are summarized in the series of articles below:
- Flying to India in Air Canada Business Class using a combination of my E-Upgrade credits on Air Canada and the Worldwide Companion Pass.
- St Regis Goa
- Fairfield by Marriott Mumbai International Airport
- Mumbai to Bahran on Gulf Air
Booking Gulf Air Business Class from Mumbai to Bahrain
I made the booking about a week prior to departure during an unusually busy season for flights departing from India. Ultimately I paid 45,000 Aeroplan Points + taxes and fees.
The only availability I found was through Gulf Air, with an overnight layover in Mumbai and a long layover in Bahraun. Unfortunately, none of my flights from Goa to Cairo consisted of flat bed seat. Rest assured, it was a very long travel journey.
Arrival at Mumbai Airport
I had booked a car transfer from Fairfield by Marriott Mumbai International Airport. The driver dropped me off outside the terminal. As is the case in India, we had to do an ID and ticket check before entering the terminal. Despite being the middle of the night, Mumbai Airport was busy as always.
Check-In at Mumbai Airport
I was dropped off at the beginning of the terminal. I had quite a long way to walk to reach the Gulf Air check-in counter. As I approached the counter, I asked for Business Class check-in, and was promptly re-directed back to the beginning of the terminal. This was the first instance I saw where there were multiple airlines checking in business and first class customers exclusively, away from the Economy Class check-in area. I believe I have seen something similar in Singapore, however, that was a proper sit down check-in area.
At check-in, there was a baggage porter who would take your bags from the trolley and place it on the belt.
I asked for a lounge invitation, however, declined. The check-in counter let me know that since I am on an award ticket issued by Air Canada, I was ineligible for lounge access. This was aligned with what I had been told in Delhi the prior year. While it was unfortunate, I did not have much time to enjoy the lounge anyways. I headed straight to the gate for imminent boarding.
Boarding and Cabin
Business Class and frequent flyers were called first to board the aircraft.
From Mumbai to Bahrain, the seat next to me was empty. When you cannot get flat bed business class seats, the next best alternative is when there is an empty seat next to you. In fact, on a day flight, where I might be working, a recliner business class seat with an empty seat next to me might be more comfortable than flat bed business class.
These were the same seats that would take me later that evening from Bahrain to Cairo.
I find the Lemon Mint juice on Gulf Air to be fantastic. I kept that as my drink of choice throughout the flight.
Prior to take-off, the crew walked around offering Arabic Coffee, Towels and Dates to Business Class passengers.
As we left the gate and headed towards the runway, you could see a very busy Mumbai despite the early morning departure.
Food & Beverage
The menu was as follows:
I always opt for an Asian Vegetarian meal. However, I find the vegetarian meal on the menu on Gulf Air to be quite delicious. As always, I asked the crew if I could be served the meal from the menu. They said they would try their best after everyone else has selected their entree. While some airlines tend to limit the onboard food & beverage option, I find Gulf Air to always have sufficient extra meals on board.
After the meal was served, I dozed off. I woke up just a few moments before the seatbelt sign was turned on.
I love flying Gulf Air. The entire travel experience in-flight and at Bahrain airport is amazing. Despite the regional business class seats, I was able to catch up on my sleep after a very exciting Goa vacation.
My only issue with Gulf Air is that lounge access is not extended to award customers traveling from India. This is not a problem in Bahrain or Frankfurt, the other two cities I have boarded a Gulf Air flight.