On Feb 26th our group of travellers was supposed to take the flight leaving Salalah at 11:20 am for Muscat.
But without our knowledge or any prior information the flight was rescheduled to leave already at 11:05 am. Upon our arrival at the airport at 10:03 am. (arriving rather late without own fault due a problem with the pre-arranged shuttle bus) we were informed bluntly that the check-in had already been finalized, and that we had arrived too late, as check-in closes 60 minutes prior to departure. The information about the rescheduling would not be the obligation of the airline, but of the domestic travel agency. Since it was a Sunday and our travel agent in Germany, I tend to disagree.
Respectively we had informed the airline personnel, but also mentioned that we were still in time, even by a narrow margin of 2 minutes. But the Manager on duty, who further-on displayed a mixture of indifference, arrogance and unfriendliness explained to us that our watches must be going wrong, despite the fact, that we referred to the time shown in the airport. Additionally, the flight despite the rescheduling was now shown as arriving late at 11:30 am. only, which would give us additional time to check in at the counter. But this remark was simply ignored by the Manager as such.
After this dispute the Manager disappeared for about 10 minutes. When he returned slowly, he simply repeated his accuse that the German travel agent would have been responsibly to inform us about the rescheduling. Upon our urging to find a solution now (as precious time had passed by idly), he walked away again, coming back another five minutes later escorted by his superior. This gentleman now informed us, that the flight was overbooked, so only five out of our group of eight travellers could be carried on to Muscat! Having had no other choice, we reluctantly agreed to the proposal, leaving three of us stranded at Salalah airport…
As we had to hear by the other travellers of our group later on, there were exactly three seats available on the plane. Two were left completely unoccupied during the flight, while the third seat had been given to a passenger, who was not even allowed to be on board (so much about security measures!). But after a short discussion, the staff aboard decided to carry the person nonetheless. Quite obviously, we had been denied our right to board the plane with dubious arguments. It should be mentioned, that the rest of our group checked in at 10:45 a.m. only.
After that I was asked to go to a counter of Oman Air, where a Oman Air employee dialed the number of a Call-Center, passed me the phone receiver and asked to the clarify all questions directly there, while he was watching my conversation idly and uninvolved, until after a while he left his seat, only to return about half an hour later. When I asked staff about suggestions for a hotel in Muscat for overnight stay. I was simply told that this was “my problem”. We finally took a flight past 10:10 pm, staying at the airport without any kind of care.
I have filed a complaint with Oman Air via their online feedback section twice now, since there was no direct phone or mail contact available. Needless to say, the company has not responded during the last weeks, although they highlight how much they value customer feedback...
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