Welcome everybody to my very first Flightreport!
Over the years I've enjoyed every single one of the reports on here, and it helped me a lot in choosing to fly with which airlines. Therefore it's finally time to give back to you guys. To kick things off, a rather exotic airline on a rather exotic route. Hope that you guys enjoy, and apologies in advance for the rather limited amount of pictures, to be improved!
After a quick trip through Uzbekistan (Tashkent-Samarkand-Bukhara-Khiva), it's time to return home to Belgium (with a quick stopover in Istanbul off course!). Our flight is leaving at 9:35 AM, therefore we took a taxi from beautiful Khiva at 7:30 AM. Khiva is really a gem if you love architecture, see small teaser below….
Arrival at the rather tiny terminal in Urgench. First you go through a quick security check outside the building and scan your luggage once entering the terminal. Interestingly, arrivals and departures are separate buildings here.
Check-in was a mess! Urgench sees a modest 5 to 8 departures every day, while at this very moment there was my bi-weekly Uzbekistan Airways flight Istanbul flight and the bi-weekly Turkish flight at 09:05. The facilities are not really calculated to handle two international in such short timeframe. As you can see below, the luggage belt couldn't handle the volume of checked bags. From check-in to clearing customs and security took us more than 1 hour!
Couldn't take any pictures of the departure hall, but lets say that 'being bland' is an understatement….. Rather interestingly, the station managers of TK and HY were pushing immigration officials to hurry up. Another interesting fact, a single gate at Urgench airport and they don't scan your BP here, they just rip it once your at the stairs of the aircraft. Naturally to say this can be confusing with two flights to Istanbul at the same time for people not too familiar with airlines/flying.
The two single airplanes on the tarmac, mine arrived earlier from Tashkent, registration UK-32020.
Quick Taxi out to the runway, backtrack, and power out of Urgench. In the air at 09:40, note that TK was supposed to fly out 25 minutes before us……
Quick look at the terminal
The seat itself is quite comfortable and roomy (I'm 1.90m), but no IFE or anything like their new A320NEO. Make sure to bring your own entertainment, specially on this 4 hour flight. Overhead monitors were great with the map, and one point you could listen in with your headphones to the movie that was playing in Uzbek…..
Uzbekistan airways provides a lunch service on this sector, with the choice of beef and chicken. I would let the pictures speak for it self! Quality is good, but no gourmet style. I went with the beef, being a goulash thingy. Note that HY is using boxes instead of trays, is this still an inheritance of Covid? And can we also point out how everything is branded, anybody want some HY ketchup? Tea was served afterwards.
Lunch (box) was cleared, I continued watching a movie and enjoying the scenery. FA's later past again with some water. Remember, Uzbekistan Airways = Safety, stability, comfort…..
Soon it was time for our descent into IST. Beautiful scenery and some exotic airlines!
Quick passage through the business class, very classic set-up.
Final look at the bird and the impressive airport of Istanbul! Naturally immigration lines were long!
It was a good flight in the end, and not too expensive when you consider I paid 210 euros for it. Naturally TK and HY are not in the same league at all, however it's a great way to fly and especially a rather exotic one. I enjoyed one more sunny day in Istanbul before returning home. Thank you if you made it all the way to here, and hope to see/read you soon again!
No bells and whistles, but they get basics very well done! On time arrival, good value, comfortable seat, and a quality meal. I will not go out of my way to fly them again.
Urgench airport is kind of a mess, but it has it charm! Don't come early, there is literally nothing to do here.....
Hi Bob, thank you for sharing your first FR with us!
On the bright side, if you get onto the wrong plane you will still get to the same destination^^
It looks like how service is done in China, with just a snack box and hot entree served, so it might not be a service protocol change. I would suspect these are less volume in the galley and easier trash collection. The catering itself looks good for a medium-haul flight. The little bite-sized muffin was the dessert? Might not be TK level in-flight service, but definitely not the worst either.
Overall, HY ticks all the boxes: safety, stability, and comfort. At 1.9m, it looks like a more comfortable seat than the cramped slim line seats on most European carriers.
Thanks again for taking the time to contribute this unique routing to the site!
Thanks for the comment NGO85! That might indeed make more sense that it is similar to the Chinese concept, learned something new today! And to give credit to HY, it is indeed a rather practical system.... :)
Hi Bob_V, very nice first report! And what an way to make en entrance with such an exotic carrier! Comfortable seats with a generous seat pitch and a good meal are rare on short/medium-haul these days.
210EUR for a 4h flight isn’t bad, all things considered. Very good value overall!
Ps please blur clearly visible faces using the blurring tool in the Editor (you can click edit ok the top right of your report to go back to edit mode)
A very good first flight report and I look forward to more in the future!
Salut Kevin! Thank you for the kind words, and will definitely keep your tip in mind for future FR's. Vietnam airlines is the next one on the list :)
omg omg omg Bob! Can you believe that only this morning I was studying the map of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyztan and the other -stans, and learning some words in Kyrgyz!! I read something about Samarkand as a child and all that area has been on my bucket list ever since! So this is THE trip of my dreams (along with Morocco and other places around Africa). Actually, I REFUSE to die before I visit the stans! :D
Ma - ra - vi - llo - so!
Well, it seems you'll get to the same destination even if you board the wrong plane! haha
I like that livery
I call all that "souvenirs"
I'll keep that in mind! haha Well, stability is something I value after flying with JetSmart and getting my flight schedule modified three or four times!
Oh!! Landscapes are my favorite part. Thank you!
Thanks for this beautiful report, Bob! I'll be looking forward to more from you!!
Hola Fernando! So happy to read that you've liked the FR, I'm digging your enthusiasm! The 'stans' are indeed such an underappreciated part of the world, and the variety in landscapes/culture is just so rich. I've read your Jetsmart FR, this makes HY look like a worldclass carrier..... :p. Anyway, on to the next one, Vietnam Airlines!
Thanks for sharing this exotic bird as your first review to FR. Been an interesting read, yet the chaos of the departure airport for it being too small for the amount of flights it handles is something undesirable. It has been a good read though about a carrier I know little of (I do know it's existence obviously).
Although if you happen to shoot a few more for us, I recommend to capture the photos in landscape mode on your phone rather than portrait as it's been lots of scrolling for me on my phone. Just a tip :)
Hey Thomas, thanks for the comment and the tip! Hopelijk tot snel op een KLM vlucht? :)
Eerstvolgend wordt een Singapore vlucht voor mij :)
Dank je voor deze eerste FR en welkom!
HY has always been on my to fly list especially as I'd love to visit Uzbekistan.
Funny that both flights to Istanbul depart on the same day, might be better to spread them over the week.
Nice service on-board which makes up for the lack of IFE.
Thought they'd be be using their NEOs on that route, but they probably only use them on more premium routes from Tashkent.
Bedankt voor het warme welkom KL651!
Normally there was a neo scheduled on this route, but we cannot always be lucky I guess :)
I flew into Tashkent from Riga with the neo, which was a true pleasure. With it's mondern interior/IFE I found that to some extend it was even competitive with TK.
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