I had the chance to be accompanied to the airport by somebody who works for an iranian airline. He showed me around the campus where pilots and plane engineers receive their education.
As you enter Mehrabad airport area by car (there is now metro as well), you pass by IR headquarters.
I was then alone in terminal 2 for my departure and didn't feel too comfortable with pictures, but here are a few snaps.
Here is my old fashioned ticket by the way, obtained in a travel agency in Iran, paid in Iranian cash. 50€, which is a little more expensive than the usual fare because of Norooz (new year) holidays around the 20th of march.
As I walked around I saw Iran Air now has self-service check-in machines to print boarding passes. As I had luggage, it was not really necessary for me, but I thought I'd give it a try.
It worked :-) I could even insert my Frequent Flyer number which I have not used in 4 years, although I've heard only international flights work for mileage accrual.
Check-in for my flight then opened 1h30 before departure, which is rather short by European standards. We were asked to go to counter 11 according to the FIDS. As we got there, the employee said his computer was broken and said we should stand at counter 10. The queue rushed over in a first-come first-serve attitude making things a little stressful and unpleasant. Things didn't get better when the screen behind counter 10 indicated "Kish" as a destination confusing both passengers heading to Abadan and those heading to Kish ("Is this the queue for Kish?" - No Abadan. - But it says Kish on the Screen - Yes but the gentleman said this is for Abadan. - So where is Kish? - I don't know.). The confusion also allowed for many people to rudely jump the queue, to rush to the front etc… The granny in front of me was asked to return to the back of the queue when she tried to check-in a plastic bag which was open. Another gentleman got angry for not being in the right queue and was then punished for his rude words by being asked to remove his overweight luggage. It seems every passenger was allowed 25kg. I had 38 (2 bags). It was not a problem.
After this stressful but happy-end check-in experience, I headed straight to departures.
I was surprised how clean and modern the departures area was from the inside, as the building looks terrible from outside.
Great surprise on the airfield! Iran Air's brand new A330-200 was there!
Boarding! Kind of on time for Iranian standards.
EP-IDG. 26 YEARS OLD. Has been with IranAir since delivery according to airfleets.net
Some impressions from the bus.
Boarding via steps from the aircraft.
We were standing right be the old IR hangar where 747-SP relaxes in the sun!
Inside the plane
Sadly I was asked to leave my seat in 05A to sit in 9B (aisle) so that a granny and her daughter could sit together. So there are not many pictures of landscapes…
A flight attendant greeted us in the name of god, the merciful, the compassionate and his prophet Mohammad. Interestingly the English announcement was decently shorter than the Persian one, as they left out most religious content. Annoucements were clear and safety demonstrations professionally conducted.
Only 1h10 to Abadan. A salt lake (attempt through poor camera + dirty window)
Warm food on a 1h10 flight! Taste was pretty good for airlines.
Approach and landing in Abadan. A very interesting approach as we were very close to Iraq (the airport is basically on the border) but we still avoid Iraqi airspace. Sadly could not take many pictures.
And now the highlight! When you get off in Abadan, you basically walk on the tarmac!
I was greeted by my (far) relatives with flowers, a nice experience. Unfortunately we then waited for 30 minutes for luggage, as things are very relaxed in Abadan. The luggage loaders were walking with carriages they pull by hand…
BONUS – Abadan
Abadan is an interesting though not immensely beautiful town as it was severely bombed during the Iran Iraq war (1980-1988). The town was home to creation of British Petroleum (BP) and has many English features such as cinemas, homes for British employess etc.
But the most interesting thing for me is that you are close to Iraq.
This is Iraq. Seen from Abadan.
Tehran - THR
Abadan - ABD
A fun experience, with ups and downs. I warmly recommend Iran Air to all FRs looking for some retro fun :-)
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