Gulf Air Logo
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LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019
Gulf Air has grown and improved quite a bit since it launched services in 1950. With the original name of Gulf Aviation Company, the airline’s original purpose was to be a small-scale commuter service. After 35 years in business, however, Gulf Air had really expanded. The company employed a staff of 4,500 individuals of 41 varying nationalities speaking 23 different languages. Today, Gulf Air is a major international airline composed of Airbus aircraft that serves more than 40 destinations around the globe. 

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The Good

  • Ticket Prices
  • Baggage
  • Check-in
  • Flight Statistics
  • In-flight Services
  • Awards

The ticket prices for Gulf Air were in the average range. For many of their destinations they were not the most expensive ticket, but also not the cheapest. They were generally closer to the cheapest tickets though and one of the best deals offered. While they were on the less expensive end for tickets, Gulf Air has a few things working against them when it comes to their tickets. They only have one Hub where flights must come or go from and only 40 destinations besides their Hub. Their small size greatly limits the number of tickets available for passengers to choose from. While they may be a less expensive option, they may not be an option at all because of their limited destinations. Gulf Air also offers a number of different deals and promotions on ticket prices to take them from average to the lowest. Customers can also become a part of their FalconFlyer club to earn miles and other discounts on tickets. Gulf Air does allow a piece of free checked baggage on their flights. On many airlines, especially the smaller ones such as Gulf Air, having one piece of free checked baggage is standard. When compared to some of the larger ones though, Gulf Air comes out better, occasionally top airlines charge for baggage unlike Gulf Air. Economy class is allowed 30kg of baggage and Gold members are allowed 40kg. Gulf air also has size restrictions on their checked baggage. Gulf Air allows passengers to choose their preferred seat from an interactive map during their check-in. This allows passengers to choose the seat they will feel most comfortable in and aids in the boarding process as each passenger knows where they are headed when they board the plane. It is also fairly standard for many airlines. The check-in process is also standard with Gulf Air. They allow check-in at the airport and even offer early check-in. This means that passengers can now check-in for their flight at the airport up to 24 hours before their departure time. They can also check their baggage at this earlier time. They must then return to the airport at least an hour before their departure and head to their gate. Gulf Air also allows passengers to check-in for their flights online. This is available from 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure time. Passengers can print their boarding pass from home although this online convenience is not available at every airport. A full list is available on the Gulf Air website. Online check-in is also standard when compared to other airlines; Gulf Air does not allow any mobile check-in though, as many other airlines do. When looking at the statistics for Gulf Air's on-time performance on their daily flights it was shown that they were on time 80% of the time as per They were late 6% of the time, very late 3%, and excessively late 7% of the time. Their flights were also canceled 2% of the time. This is a lower performance than a number of other airlines. Many of the top airlines were on time in the high 80% and had 0% of canceled flights. This can make passengers uneasy as to whether their flight will be on time or not. However, when looking at Gulf Air's most active routes, they did receive fairly good ratings in the last few months. Their top flights include: • Bahrain to Frankfurt (4.8 stars, 90% on time) • Bahrain to Delhi (4.6 stars, 90% on time) • Bahrain to Istanbul (4.6 stars, 90% on time) Their lowest flight is from Madinah to Bahrain with only two stars and 61% on time. Despite their lower on-time performance, their active routes have high ratings with many of them in the four to three-star range. This is higher than other small airline companies and only slightly lower than the top airline companies. Gulf Air offers a number of the customary in-flight services as well as some unique ones. They include: • Entertainment: With their personal screens and headsets, Gulf Air allows passengers to enjoy their own choice of entertainment. They can choose from a variety of different movies, TV shows, music, radio shows, international movies, and kid entertainment. • Dining: On the long haul flights with Gulf Air, passengers experience the luxury of having a Sky Chef specially prepare a meal for them. There is a range of different options for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. As well as a variety of soft drinks, wines, champagne and spirits. Special meals can also be ordered in advance for those with dietary restrictions. • Sky Nanny: The Sky Nanny is a unique in-flight service with Gulf Air. Sky Nannies are staff dedicated to helping those families with young children. From boarding to disembarking, the Sky Nanny is there to aid in making the journey as comfortable as possible for the young passengers. They can provide them with meals and drinks and always keep an eye on the child as the center of their attention. • Wi-Fi: Gulf Air does offer the option to purchase Wi-Fi on their flights which not all airlines offer. Especially for a smaller airline, this Wi-Fi option is a luxury. The fee depends on the duration of the use. It is $15 for 60 minutes or $30 for 24 hours. Gulf Air was one of the first commercial airlines established in the Middle East when they began their business in 1950. 65 years in business is very comparable with many other airlines. Some of the top airlines have been in business longer but a number have been in business even less time than Gulf Air. It is a significant period of time for a company to have been in operation. In the last 65 years Gulf Air has grown immensely. They are now one of the largest networks in the Middle East with their 28 modern aircraft. With their growth, came a number of different awards as well. Some of these include: • Airbus Operational Excellence Award (2000-2001) • Airline Turnaround of the Year Award (Given by CAPA in 2004) • Excellence in Quality Improvement (Skytrax Airline Excellence Awards 2004) The company originally planned to be a small-scale commuter service but has worked hard to achieve the growth and success they have gained in the past 65 years of their service.


The Bad

  • Destinations

Gulf Air flies to 40 different destinations across the world. They fly to different cities in the following areas: • Africa • Europe • Far East • GCC • Indian Subcontinent • Mena • USA (California only) Gulf Air does fly to many diverse places across the globe, but the number of destinations in these places is small. Having only 40 different destinations is much smaller than the top airlines that fly to over 300 destinations. When compared to other small airlines, 40 is still considered a low number. Many of the smaller airlines still fly to over or close to 100. Because Gulf Air is so small, many customers may not be able to choose them for their flights. While they may have the amenities or service that people want, they will not be able to provide all the destinations that the passenger may need.


The Bottom Line

Gulf Air has proven to be a hard-working, innovative company with a desire to adhere to traditional Arabian hospitality. With impressive features, such as a frequent flyer program, Sky Nanny and Wi-Fi accessibility, Gulf Air is a great option for travelers.
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