For my next leg of the journey home, I flew Gulf Air from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain on an A320-200 in business class. The short flight featured drama onboard and the meal fell woefully short of my expectations.
Gulf Air A320-200 Business Class Review (AUH-BAH)
I chose to fly Gulf Air instead of Etihad into Bahrain (BAH) because Gulf Air had scheduled its new Airbus A320neo on the route. However, upon arrival in Abu Dhabi (AUH) I noticed (using FlightRadar24) that my aircraft had been swapped for an older A320, a plane and cabin I have already reviewed.
Nevertheless, we are talking about 281-mile flight, so it was not a big deal.
Boarding was delayed, commencing only about 20 minutes before scheduled departure. Then we hit drama onboard.
Gulf Air 547
Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Bahrain (BAH)
Thursday, April 7
Depart: 11:40 PM
Arrive: 11:45 PM
Duration: 01hr, 05min
Distance: 281 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Seat: 3A (Business Class)
You might recall that a young man decided he was entitled to business class and self-upgraded. Drama ensued. But with remarkable patience and restraint, order was restored and we pushed back, though now late.
> Read More: The Self-Upgrading Imbecile On My Gulf Air Flight…
The cabin is quite tired on the A320-200, with the seats and cabin showing wear and tear and the fluorescent light hard on the eyes.
In the 16-seat business class cabin, seats are configured 2-2 with 45 inches of legroom and:
- Seat back 10-inch screen
- 7-inch seat recline
- Adjustable footrest
- 6-way adjustable headrest
- universal power port
The flight was lightly booked with business class less than half full (another reason why the idiot should have just taken his own row in economy class).
Not only was the seat showing wear, but the windows were filthy…cleaning windows make a big difference!
Each seat onboard had an individual monitor with a selection of movies, TV shows, games, music, and a moving flight map. However, headphones were not offered on this short service, so consider bringing your own.
Food + Drink
Prior to departure, Arabic coffee and a date was offered to business class passengers. That was followed by water.
No alcohol was served on this short sector, though I was told this was not due to Ramadan.
After takeoff, a “snack” was offered that included a trio of sandwiches and a cake.
While I appreciate that Gulf Air serves a meal on such a short flight, it was terrible. The sandwiches were stale and just unbecoming of a carrier and country with a rich culinary tradition. Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar all manage to serve a far superior meal on shorthaul flights…Gulf Air must do more (and recall that back in the day Gulf Air was the leading carrier in the region).
I had a glass of sparkling water to drink and the meal tray also included a glass of still water.
Kudos to the crew on this sector, which provided charming and excellent service. Unlike on my connecting Gulf Air flight to London (stay tuned).
Arrival Into BAH
The new terminal at Bahrain International Airport is gorgeous and upon landing, I followed the line for connections, re-cleared security (dedicated line for business class) and made my way to the lounge, where I would spend the night.
On the one hand, the self-upgrader and poor meal onboard, plus the aircraft swap, made this a disappointing flight. On the other hand, the crew was warm and kind and I landed safely in Bahrain. I’m happy to fly business class on these very short flights when I can include it as part of my connecting itinerary. But if I were just traveling this sector alone, I would save my money and fly economy class.
Even old an tired it still looks better the American airlines domestic.
If this was on a US domestic or euro flight then people would cheer the great service and offerings but Gulf Air is sandwiched between two unbeatable giants (and Etihad right at home) with a higher level of service, lounges, catering, hard product, etc.
I think in general Gulf Air is just a second or even third option when flying to the UAE but not the first or preferred choice.
Just had three short haul and one long haul on GF in J.
The poor food really stood out. In one case, the chicken ‘salad’ was three slices of compressed chicken on top of some lettuce, although it was given a fancy name. All of the GF employees – check-in, gate, FAs, etc. were awesome on all flights. And the BAH lounge was A-OK. And the capability of using Aeroplan for these flights outweighs the poor food.