*** I see people have very specific expectations regarding a flight report. When taking this flight I was not considering a FR yet, so please understand it's incomplete, further reports will be better ***
First and foremost: this is a great value, new direct connection between Berlin and Tehran and I hope it will stay there for some time at these affordable prices. Luggage of 25kg is included, as well as a hot meal and non-alcoholic drinks. Sadly, the planes are chronically delayed because they fly in a W pattern from Dusseldorf with only 45min of turnover between each leg (DUS-IKA-SXF-IKA-DUS).
Phew, my first picture after I passed the first security gates before check-in (fear of terrorism), the check-in desk, the immigration counter, the second security gates where Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) interrogate young guys like me in a scary manner to check whether we did our military service or are potential spies (in my case the latter one was more likely, a foreigner speaking Persian…). All in all, Tehran IKA is an unpleasant airport to depart from, everyone needs to be there 3h in advance. Check in was slow because one of the conveyor belts would only work from time to time. Immigration checks are slow and a bit scary. NOW, TIME TO RELAX WATCHING PLANES ON THE TARMAC
IranAir A320 to Najaf. Couldn't read the registration, otherwise would have followed up its origin.
Iraqi Airways 737-800 was on its way to Najaf too. Najaf is one of the main destinations from IKA, because of Shi'a Pilgrims.
A320 from Zagros had arrived from Istanbul Atatürk.
After a chaotic boarding process (two planes from one gate - confusion), I'm now on the bus to the aircraft, which seems to be always parked very far from the terminal regardless of how crowded the airport is, I think Germania wants to be as close as possible to the runway because of its short turnover time.
We passed this Qeshm A320 which just arrived from Dubai.
As we board, Aseman A320 on its way to Yerevan taxies towards the runway.
boarding in the afternoon summer heat.
Take off :-)
half an hour after take off, as we head north east, we pass Qazvin.
1.5h after departure, I guess this is Mt Ararat as we were in the Turkey/Iran/Armenia border area.
Unfortunately the seat pitch is certainly no more than 30. Thus on a 5 hour flight (and the return leg was overnight!), it was not an incredibly comfortable experience.
There is entertainment via overhead screens available, if you purchase the headphone for 3€. The blanket and pillow cost 5€, but you can keep them with you. There is an online duty free shopping opportunity with decent choice, although not all items in the catalogue were available. This is a rather old Boeing 737-700W, but the interior has been revamped with moodlighting and slim leather seats. Engines are louder than on more modern Airbuses.
The meal (Veggie Lasagne) was decent, but it is not a platter with entrée and dessert, just a main course and bread, but enough for 5 hours. A little pastry was later served with tea&coffee, but on the return leg there was no more hot water available. Well, these things happen.
Landing in Schönefeld, a bit greener than Tehran :) This is it, I know plenty of things aviation geeks like are missing, next time I promise!
All in all, I think this flight is great value for money and the sheer fact they fly directly Berlin-Tehran is great. From Sep 1st, they will also offer Premium Economy service on this route which might make it more appealing to business travellers who currently suffer from the holiday plane character that is currently felt in this slightly cramped cabin.
Tehran - IKA
Berlin - SXF
A very good connection, good value for money, but (leg-)room for improvement!
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