I have flown repeatedly with Gulf Air out to various places in Asia from India to South East Asia and the far east. These have always required a stop-off in the gulf area of the Middle East, almost always Bahrain which is the airlines hub. The airline has connections from London, Paris and Frankfurt out to Bahrain and from there there are plenty of connections out to Asia and to various places around the Middle East and Islamic countries such as Sudan and Iran. Thus it isn't the best connected airline for those trying to connect from Western Europe as it will almost always require a change over unless Bahrain is the final destination.
The main reason I have flown with Gulf Air is that they have consistently been the cheapest option on offer for flights out to Asia-perhaps because of the required change over. I have flown with them for 3 return trips (making that 12 flights given they all needed a change over) and for each of these Gulf Air was the cheapest available flight, twice when I had booked a good few months in advnace and once when I needed a relatively last minute flight. They are definitely a good option to check out if price is a pressing issue.
All bar one of my flights arrived within minutes of their designated landing time and so I would say the airline is very puntctual. One flight from New Delhi to Bahrain was delayed by around 3 hours and as a result I missed the connection from Bahrain to London. All passengers who were affeted were immediatel booked onto the next available flight which was in 12 hours time and given a free visa to Bahrain, a 4 star hotel room with 3 meals and transport to and from the hotel in the interim. Although irritating I felt that a delay can hit any airline and they did provide for us well in the meantime. The other frustration is that once in London I had missed my connection up to Scotland and as this was not with the same airline or group I had to fork out for it myself-this is very annoying and a constant frustration of having all intercontinental flights arrive in London but is not particular to Gulf Air so I can't criticise them personally for it.
The planes I have been on have always been clean with no obvious broken pieces or grubby and torn seats and carpets. The seats are also comfortable with reasonable leg room.
Staff were not the friendliest that I have come across but neither were they rude and would help out when asked. Food was served at reasonable intervals of every few hours and it was possible to request to be left sleeping or to be woken up for food during the flight. The food itself was offered with one western and one eastern dish with a vegetarian option-I would advise going for the eastern dish as I have consistently found it to be superior to the sometimes not very nice western dish. Alcohol is also served if requested despite being an Islamic airline.
The on-board entertainment I have always found to be of good quality. I have always had individual TV screens for each seat with personal control over what and when you watch films or TV. There has always been a good selection of recent films plus some classics and TV, music and games too.
Overall I am very happy with Gulf Air and providing time isn't a pressing problem and so a stopover is acceptable I would recommend them as a cheap way to get out to the east. I believe that they offer as good or a better service that many competitors and only have lower prices because of the lack of direct flights-so if you can take advantage of this!
Cabin Appearance: Clean & Presentable.
Service at Departure Airport: Efficient and Satisfactory.
Seats: Regular economy seats with but better than Qatar Airways or Emirates.
Meals: Commendable even for Economy class! Even though we were right at the back, the hostess said to me later that they sensibly stock up with more chicken options as that's what most passengers prefer. My son totally has a great time with his child meal too!
In Flight Entertainment: Good selection of entertainment with functional AVODs. In flight duty free expensive. Lots to do for kids. Wish would include a trip to the cockpit to make it perfect!
Cabin Staff: The Sky Nanny service by Gulf Air is one of a kind with the appointed hostess concentrating only on kids and regularly checking in if they were settled or needed more to play with apart from their complimentary activity packs!
Arrival Services: Gulf Air connections are via Bahrain which has a decent Airport with efficient staff and had a pleasant experience at a proper dining restaurant provided for connecting passengers with long stopovers and a choice between 2 meals served courteously. To reboard, priority was given to passengers traveling with kids.
Summary: The most preferred airline for me to date with a wonderful in air and on round crew and although Bahrain Airport could do with more comfortable waiting areas, kids play sections, once on board you can expect quality and excellence in service with an inviting atmosphere! Truly value for money with Two Thumbs Up!!
My experience travel with Gulf Air on a recent holiday to Thailand was a bit mixed. The one reason that I booked with them was because they were offering the lowest fares. I dealt with them quite a lot on a professional basis, and had found them to be OK so I decided to give them a try.
If you book a long-haul flight with Gulf Air you are likely to connect in one of their two hubs Bahrain or Muscat. These are not bad airports, all with the good facilties that you would expect from an international standard airport.
The outbound flight was not that bad. The connection was good, the planes were not that crowded, the staff were polite and the food was OK. It was with the inbound flight that the problems came.
The flight to Bahrain was fine, but when departed Bahrain for Heathrow we were in the air for about 20mins and the plane started feeling very hot with several people commenting on this. A noticeably nervous sounding captain said plane turning back for technical reasons.
Upon landing he told us that there was smoke in the cockpit and we were to get off the plane ASAP. When we got back to the airport nobody knew what was going on. We waited around for about 4 hours wondering whether we were going anywhere. The staff were rude and uncourtious, and doing nothing to calm down the situation.
Eventually we were told the plane was going nowhere today and we were being put up in a hotel for the night. The hotel was lovely 4-5 star with a nice breakfast. I arrived home in the UK nearly 24hours after I was meant to.
I ended missing a book airport taxi and a day at work, I decided to write to Gulf to reclaim this financial cost, and express my concern about the way the passengers were first treated when we arrived back at Bahrain airpiort. Eventually after about 3 months of pestering them I got a reply, they gave me some frequent flyer miles. Hardly adequate considering I wont be flying with them again!!
At times the service was good and I understand that if a plane has smoke in the cockpit it has to turn back, I just think that Gulf could have handled it differently. Im not going to tell people to fly with them as Im sure this does not happen on every flight, but I wont use them again
I flew out from Heathrow on Friday 9th December 2005 from Heathrow Terminal 3 to Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) via Gulf Air. I arrived to check in by the required 3 hours prior to take-off time - my flight was leaving at 11:00, I arrived by 07:30 as I hate leaving it till the last minute like some people and then having to rush around trying to get checked in and keep other passengers waiting. I like to check in and then sit with whoever's dropping me at the airport for a while before going airside to browse around the duty free shops.
Anyway, whilst my husband was parking the car, I joined the queue for my flight and was horrified that there were already about 100 people ahead of me in the Gulf Air queue. I waited patiently, it's now 08:30 and I'm at the front of the queue. Suddenly a Gulf Air representative stood in front of me and said "all passengers for XXXXX please proceed to the front of the queue" and there was a mad rush of about 40 or so passengers waiting to check in for the Gulf Air flight which was due to leave prior to mine. I waited patiently till these passengers all checked in and was now told by the Gulf Air rep "Thank you for waiting" I bit back the urge to say "Well I'm hardly going to get back in my car and go home now am I?" The check-in process itself was easy enough, except I was surprised when the Gulf Air rep at the check-in desk called me by my first name and not my title and surname as is commonplace when I've flown in the past! Not that I'm bothered about being called Ma'am or Ms XXX or by my first name.
Hubby was waiting for me patiently so we went and sat in the departure lounge till I decided I couldn't wait any longer and had to go check out the duty free shops airside. We said our goodbyes and I proceeded through passport control and the usual x-ray machine, etc.
Fast forward to the departure lounge (as I'm writing about Gulf Air and not Heathrow Airport facilities) and they announce that we're to board the plane and that passengers with small children or wheelchairs are to board first and then they would be calling passengers up by row numbers. So what happens? Bar a handful of people (including myself) most of the passengers took absolutely no notice of this announcement and proceeded to queue up to board the plane. This isn't the first time this has happened when I've flown and it annoys me for 3 reasons: a) passengers who are wheelchair bound and those with children and inconvenienced and have to hang around in queues for ages, b) people boarding the plane have to stand around for ages whilst people who are boarding the front part of the plane put their cabin baggage up making the boarding process slower than it should be, and c) by the time I get to my seat all the overhead cabin baggage storage areas are full up with other people's cabin baggage and I have to traipse around the plane looking for a place to stow mine The most annoying thing about this was that none of the staff had the sense to repeat the request that only certain passengers should board first.
The flight was due to take off at 11:00 and it was now 11:10 due to the muddled up order of people boarding the plane. The plane started taxi-ing down the runway and after a few minutes came to a halt with an announcement that there was a technical fault which would delay our take-off. This delay amounted to 2 hours and did nothing for certain passengers' moods. We were told it was a faulty engine part and we wouldn't be using it for this flight. For those flying for the first time (with nervous people), I can imagine the horror this announcement would have caused!
I was sat behind a woman with a 3 year old boy and 6 month old daughter, I'll come back to that later I was sat in an aisle seat next to a very nice young woman who was flying to Abu Dhabi to change flights to go to Goa for her wedding. She had had to pay £70 for excess baggage and was not best pleased. We exchanged pleasantries and I showed her the book I was reading "Diary of a Mad Bride" and we giggled at the coincidence. Eventually our flight took off and it was a fairly smooth take-off and flight except for the woman in front of me having to deal with her young baby having cried continuously from the minute the plane's engines started to when we landed in Abu Dhabi. I felt some degree of pity for her having to deal with 2 small children alone but also some degree of annoyance that I couldn't have a nap during the 9-hour flight. We stopped at Abu Dhabi for about 1½ hours whilst many passengers got off and just a few new ones boarded. I had the seat next to me empty for the rest of the hour or so flight to Muscat so had ample chance to stretch my legs as by now I was starting to feel very uncomfortable in the cramped seats.
Overall on the London to Muscat flight I found the cabin crew to be over-polite as opposed to friendly which was rather off-putting and again when boarding the plane I was surprised to be addressed by my first name when the stewardess was directing me to my seat after checking my boarding pass (note: I didn't hear them calling anyone else by their first name, so was somewhat confused by this informality). Food was served about half an hour after takeoff which was 2½ hours after we boarded the plane as I was seated in seat 21b I was near the front of Economy Class so got my food pretty quickly - spare a thought for those sitting towards the back of the plane as the cabin crew had no sense of moving quickly to feed passengers towards the rear of the plane who had been waiting patiently for food. I saw the cabin crew joking with each other and having conversations at their leisure which I thought was rather unprofessional.
Landing at Muscat 2 hours late small buses took us to the arrivals area. Here there was absolute mass confusion. Luckily I had already been given my Muscat to Kolkata boarding pass at Heathrow but this is what happened to the no so lucky other passengers. Some passengers from my flight were flying onto Cochin (another part of India) and it transpired that their flight had already taken off. I queued up for about 20 minutes at the arrivals desk and the chap at the gate didn't want to see my boarding pass but waved at me to stand in the queue. There were many irate passengers now demanding to know what was going on and why their plane hadn't waited for them knowing that the London to Muscat flight had been delayed by 2 hours. Angry faces and a lot of fist waving was taking place and I was rather confused as to what to do when I noticed another passenger who I'd overheard on the plane saying they were flying to Kolkata walked through the gate from where I'd been waved on earlier. The woman who'd been sitting in front of me on the plane was rather distressed trying to handle 2 small children so I went over to her and asked to see her ticket, she'd also been given her boarding pass for Muscat to Kolkata so I told her to come with me and grabbed a couple of her bags (as well as my own) and held her little boy's hand and walked through. As I left the arrivals area to head towards the duty free area I heard comments such as "Why are you people so damn unhelpful?" and "Doesn't anyone here know what's going on?" and "Is there a single member of staff here who can speak or understand English?"
I escorted my new found friend to the departure area and told her I was off to have a ciggy. Two cigarettes later I headed for the duty free shops. I bought 200 cigarettes, a litre bottle of Baileys and a litre bottle of Southern Comfort which came to the equivalent of about £18 in total. Pleased with my purchases I stuffed them into my hand luggage and quickly had another ciggy before joining the rest of the passengers in the departure area. There was still another 30 minutes or so to wait before we were to board the plane - although a tannoy message had announced that all passengers to Kolkata were urgently to head to the departure gate. Buses took us to the plane and somehow I ended up again behind my friend with the 2 small children. The baby cried through most of this flight too, I was too tired to notice this much, but what I did notice was a passenger behind me asking a male cabin crew member where the toilet was, "Is it that way or that way?" motioning to the front and rear of the plane and the Gulf Air chap totally lost his cool. He was shouting at the passenger "You do not point at me! This is very rude!" The passenger was stunned and started to apologise not knowing that his gestures would cause offence but the chap just ranted on. I was absolutely stunned as were the other passengers around me. The passenger who was being shouted at then got angry himself and asked for the member of staff to write down his name to which the reply was "I will write down my name with pleasure and know this, I will also take down your name!" The passengers around me (as well as myself) were horrified at this scene and we sat very quietly for fear of any of the other staff reacting at this way
I couldn't wait for the flight to be over as I'd had just about enough of Gulf Air for the time being.
My plane landed half an hour early at Kolkata and I couldn't exit that plane fast enough. The passengers seated near me barely looked at the cabin crew as they left the plane, practically tripping over their own feet to escape this plane!
I'll glaze over the rest of that journey as it has little to do with Gulf Air. Being a British passport holder I had to queue at the "Foreign Nationals" desks but as there were mostly Indian passport holders it barely took me 5 minutes to pass through immigration and to my relief my luggage came out really fast so I was out of the airport by 09:30 when my plane was due to land at 09:00.
THE RETURN JOURNEY
I arrived at the airport at 06:45 - my flight was due to take off at 10:00. I was asked to wait till 07:00 before I could go through the gate to check in. The gate opened promptly at 07:00 and I went to the Gulf Air check in desks of which there were only 2 open at this time. I was the first passenger to check in and my luggage was about 3 kilos over the limit but they said nothing (thankfully for me). I was told to go towards immigration. The staff were not at their desks so we waited about 15 minutes till the staff casually arrived here, it was a quick process.
AND SO INTO THE PRESENT TENSE
Fast forward to the bit where I'm boarding the plane at 09:30 - as I walk through the gate to board the plane a member of staff is checking everyone's boarding pass, he takes my boarding pass and staples another one to it, saying I've been upgraded to Business Class. I don't question this, as I'm still slightly annoyed about having my 2 lighters confiscated at the security desk.
I'm seated in seat 1a in Business Class and I'm offered a drink and some cashew nuts, I accept with pleasure thinking "This seems fun, I wonder if it's just for this portion of the flight or the flight from Muscat to London too?" Anyway the snacks are to keep you happy and quiet whilst the remainder of the passengers board the plane. The plane actually takes off 10 minutes ahead of schedule with no technical hitches this time. Once we're in the air and the seatbelt sign goes off a member of staff comes around asking us what drinks we'd like, I decline as I think it's a bit early for alcohol at 10:20! Shortly afterwards we're offered menus for the meal - a nice starter of salad with cheese and other stuff I can't quite recall and a choice of fish, chicken or vegetarian meal with rice for main course. There's a choice of mixed fruits, chocolate and black forest ganache with praline or Edam cheese with fig-loaf for dessert. I order the chicken as I don't like fish and am not a fan of vegetarian food and I'm told that there's no more chicken! I'm slightly disappointed but don't show this and request the vegetarian meal instead, not looking forward to it. The gentleman next to me wanted chicken too but he instead settles for the fish.
The nice man who took our order comes back and tells me there is actually a chicken meal still available so I smile and accept this offer. Within a few minutes I'm served an appetiser of cucumber with cream cheese and bits of salad (I don't realise at first that it's just an appetiser and think "this starter's a bit small?" but nibble away at it daintily nonetheless). Ten minutes later and the "real" starter arrives, lots of fresh salad with a nice tomato sauce and grated cheese sprinkled over the salad leaves. Quite tasty and I can't wait to see my main course now as I've been up since 05:00. I'm offered and accept another glass of orange juice. The main course is served and there's two healthy portions of chicken, green beans and a quite small portion of coloured rice with a small bowl of gravy. The meal is nice enough, but nothing to get excited about. The main meal in Economy Class tasted about the same I'd have to say. Now for the dessert! This is heaven on a plate as I opted for the chocolate with black forest ganache and praline! Mmmmmm it was delicious! I savour each mouthful and think that it's a perfect end to the meal. As I finish my meal I take in the view from the window and doze off for a while.
All too soon the flight is over and we land at Muscat Seeb Airport where I have 3 hours 40 minutes to kill. This is not a pleasant experience but again as it is not down to Gulf Air, I'll skip to the bit where I'm enjoying a ciggy in the smoking room and two female Gulf Air staff come in for a smoke (I can tell from their uniforms which airline they are with). They sit in the room with me for over half an hour and talk about how many days they've had off sick in the last year. Not in the least bit discreet, one of them says how she's had 12 days off sick and she was not happy as her manager pulled her up on it and how they're allowed up to 15 days off sick with a sick note and as she had a sick note they had no right to question her days off sick and there followed a lot of bad language. I try to read a few more chapters in my book but it's quite difficult as they are talking quite loud and laughing heartily every few minutes when one of them says something derogatory about management. Then the other one says she's also had lots of sick days this year and her manager has told her she maybe not be suitable for the job and she's having a close eye kept on her. Hmmmm I'm not impressed by their lack of discretion. They leave and another member of Gulf Air comes in for a smoke. He says hello and asks me where I'm travelling to. I tell him London and he smiles and asks if I've had a nice flight so far. I tell him I have indeed and ask if he knows why I would have been upgraded to Business Class. He guesses that maybe a family wanted to sit together and one of them was seated next to me, possibly there were no other seats in Economy to relocate me to and as there were spare seats in Business Class He's very pleasant and wishes me a safe and pleasant onward journey.
I board the plane with the other passengers and the plane takes off on time. After my outward journey sitting behind a crying baby throughout the flight and at the other end of the plane from the toilets I had requested a window seat away from the front (where they tend to place families with small children) and near the toilets. I've been given an aisle seat right at the rear of the plane nowhere near the toilets and am not happy about it but say nothing. The plane is full. There seems to be a lot of staff and once the plane has taken off, I wait over 2½ hours for my lunch to get to me. I'm really quite hungry by now. There are only 4 toilets available in Economy Class and as the staff are very slowly serving the food and drinks to the passengers it's very hard to even reach the toilets as their trolleys are taking up the space in the aisles. I have a glass of wine to pass the time till the food is served. The food is nice enough, but as I'm so hungry I think bread and water would have made me happy at this stage!
The one good thing about this flight is that each seat has a TV monitor so you can choose which channel to watch which I took full advantage of. The nice lady sitting next to me sleeps for most of the 8 hours of the flight not even leaving her seat to visit the toilet! Towards the end of the flight the lady sitting in front of me gets the attention of one of the stewards to lodge a complaint about one of the female members of staff. I'm not sure what the complaint is about but shortly he brings over the member of staff in question, initially she tries to placate the passenger who seems to be writing down notes in a book. Then the female staff member gets very agitated and waves her arms about saying quite loudly "I'm not apologising for anything, I have done nothing wrong, you can complain, I don't care!" and then storms off. Another five minutes passes and another female crew member (older than the previous one - I assume she is a senior crew member) comes to talk to the passenger, kneels beside her seat and apologises profusely for whatever has occurred. I am amused by this but by now I can't wait to get off this plane and as far away from Gulf Air as possible! I have found the staff in general rather unprofessional and somewhat hostile.
The plane lands 40 minutes early at Heathrow and we park up and are told that we have to wait for a free gate, we wait for about 15 minutes but as the captain points out " anyway we are ahead of schedule!" Yeah so what? "I want out of this plane!" I want to scream. My backside is sore from the horribly cramped seats and we've not been allowed to leave our seats for well over an hour now to use the toilet!
Eventually we reach the gate to disembark and I sigh with relief. I smile at the cabin crew as I leave the plane thinking to myself "If you think I'm flying with you lot again you've another think coming!"
SOME FACTS ABOUT MY FLIGHT:
My ticket cost just under £500 (from Trust Travel in Southall) departing on Friday 9th December 2005 from Heathrow Terminal 3 to Muscat with one stop at Abu Dhabi Intl on an airbus A340-300 this portion of the flight should take about 9 hours - here at Muscat there would normally be a 3 hour 40 minute wait between flights. From Muscat to Kolkata I flew on an airbus A320 which takes 3 hours 50 minutes. Returning on 28th December 2005 from Kolkata to Muscat also on an airbus A320 took 4 hours 50 minutes. With a 3 hour wait at Muscat from there to Heathrow the flight should take 8 hours 30 minutes on an airbus A330-200.
NB: originally published by myself on Ciao
I have only flown Gulf Air once, and I have to say it wasn't by choice. I simply bought the cheapest available ticket to Jakarta and it happened to be with them. The first thing to point out therefore, is that they are indeed very cheap. The second is that the reason for this is that the flights are not direct, they stop in the Middle East, in my case Bahrain. Unfortunately, I had cause to test Gulf Air's reliability more than I would have liked. In a moment of monumental stupidity, I managed to lose my passport on the flight between London and Bahrain. I realised before I left the aircraft and had the crew and cleaners looking for it, but it failed to show and I started to think it had been stolen. Either way, I wasn't allowed to board my connection to Jakarta and got stuck in Bahrain for 24 hours while I got the British Embassy to issue a new passport for me. (NB - moral of this bit of the tale is ALWAYS CARRY SPARE PASSPORT PICS WITH YOU, along with a photocopy of your passport. Without this it's ten times harder to get a new passport). I have to say though, Gulf Air were helpful. They didn't put me up or anything - it was my fault the thing had gone missing - but they did arrange for me to get on the next day's flight and didn't charge me any extra even though my ticket wasn't alterable. On the downside, it took a lot of hassling to get anything done and if I hadn't parked myself in their office and refused to move until they'd sorted everything, I'd probably still be in the departure lounge. So when it came to the difficult stuff they didn't do too well. They did redeem themselves slightly when it came to me changing my flight back at short notice (I'm an airline's walking nightmare as you can tell) - no fuss or hassle and no extra charges, just a phone call and they did my reconfirming for me. So. The flight itself. Smooth and average for cattle class. Downsides are the food
if you don't like foreign stuff, it has a strongly arab flavour, you won't find any pork tho they do serve alcohol on the flights. But they did give me a second tray when I asked cos I was starving. At least one of the (terrible) movies was in Arabic with no subtitles - again fair enough but not much fun for me. And then, of course, there's the question of praying. Many of those on board were devout muslims who are required by their faith to pray five times a day. Now, there's not much room to do the full kneel down and prostrate yourself thing on an aircraft so they all had to queue up to use the space by the loos, one by one. Not very condusive to getting to sleep - although they did draw the line at broadcasting the call to prayer on the PA system. Aside from that, it was your standard cattle truck experience. I have to say I almost prefer flying in stages rather than direct, at least you get a break, get to walk around, eat some food of (marginally) better quality in airport restaurants, breathe proper air and stock up on essentials. If you agree and also need a bargain price, Gulf Air are for you. And my passport? It was found by a passenger on the plane while on it's return trip to London - so nul points to the cleaners.
I recently travelled with gulf with two children to the middle East on what was supposed tobe a direct flight. They were many over bookins which meant we had to go on a different flight (despite the fact I had confirmed the seats). From than on I was told lie after lie and had to suffer a five hour delay. There is not problem with making mistakes a sthe best airlines make them but the way they attempt to rectify themis appalling
Gulf Air- well I had no choice but to fly with them, it was a nightmare. Initially i was told it was a stop in Abu Dhabi only to find out we had a stop in Paris as well for an hour which added to the time. Unfortunately my vegetarian meal was a very hot curry which burnt my mouth, as I ran up the galley unable to speak, I was ignored then a bottle of water was thrust into my hand. I did arrive in Nepal and got a seat to allow my injured leg some space to stretch, but however no such treatment on the way back. A delay meant our connection at Abu Dhabi would wait for us as hoardes of people looked to find the way to their connections. Not 1 member of staff helped or guided anyone. Due to my leg I could not get pre-book a seat soinformed the cabin crew of this as soon as I was on. I had to threaten to report the cabin crew supervisor before she would move me as she said there were no other seats on the plane. there were and i knew she was lying. We were all grateful to get back at the end, despite the delay just to get off the plane. This was my 2nd journey with them and hopefully my last.
I was reluctant to fly Gulf after bad experiences with arab airlines..namely Saudi and Egypt Air....but what a pleasant surprise. Cabin crew are European and Oriental...so expect a high level of efficieny and service. Food reasonable, entertainment good and alcohol supplied as requested! I was frequently flying from the Middle East to Far East and found the amount and timing of flights far superior to any other airline. So much so that on Muscat-Bangkok flights I changed to Gulf from Thai International. (it avoided that awful stop in Karachi!) Although, travelling from Europe, you will expect some long waits connecting if you are travelling onto Asia. Thats OK if you are in Dubai or Abu Dhabi as there they are good airports with opportunities for some serious duty free.But avoid Muscat if you can! Bahrain is excellent too; and I received wonderful service from Gulf in Bahrain (albeit slow -but accept it thats their way!) with a free Hotel & transport overnight. From Europe, terminating in the Middle East I found it far superior to any 'stop-off' airline. You are not waiting for incoming flights from Asia and so Gulf tend to suffer less delays. However, they were less relaible than British Airways. Prices tend to be a bit more expensive...about 15% more than Asian Airlines, but comparitive or cheaper than most European. Go for it!
I have flown Gulf Air a number oftimes in recent years - provided you book early (because they ration how many seats they sell in each price bracket) you can get some good deals to places like Hong Kong, Manila and Bangkok. Depending on the route, you have to change places in Bahrein, Abu Dhabi etc, but they are modern air-conditioned airports with all the usual facilities. Although Arab owned, a lot of the pilots are British or Australian, and the cabin crew are British, Indian and oriental.