Review of Azerbaijan Airlines flight Baku Istanbul in Economy

Airline Azerbaijan Airlines
Flight J277
Class Economy
Seat 22L
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 03:05
Take-off 13 Jul 22, 19:20
Arrival at 13 Jul 22, 21:25
J2 13 reviews
Published on 12th March 2024


Hello everyone!

In this report I want to present you the newest widebody in the fleet of Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) which is a Boeing 787-8 (there are 2). To be honest, I can hardly call them brand new as they will have turned 10 by the end of this year but still that's quite a breakthrough for this region. These frames usually serve routes to Istanbul, London and Dubai.
Another widebodies in AZAL's fleet are 2 A340-500s (on one of them I was on my previous flight from Moscow), both have been inactive for around a year, and 2 B767-300s (quite modern ones, built in 2011 and 2012 respectively).

Baku Heydar Aliyev airport, Terminal 1

Baku Airport consists of two runways (16/34 and 17/35), two terminals (T1 and T2), a cargo complex and a VIP terminal.

Terminal 1 was opened in 2014 and has 15 gates, 12 of which are jetbridges and 3 are bus gates. The total area is 65,000 square meters. In 2018, this terminal was nominated for 5 stars by Skytrax agency. It serves international flights.
Terminal 2 was built in 1989. It serves all domestic and several international flights of low-cost carriers, including AZAL's flights which used to belong to a low-cost branch Buta Airways, but now this brand disappeared so it's quite difficult to distinguish between "low-cost" and "premium" flights.
At the moment of this flight all flights were operating out of Terminal 1 exclusively.

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So, having passed a very quick and smooth security check for connecting passengers, I head towards departures area.

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There are bus gates one level below:

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It's interesting to mention that this transfer corridor was converted from the one belonging to gate 6, so passengers of aircrafts at that gate access it through the neighboring gate 5.

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At our future gate 7 an A320 of AZAL was about to depart to Antalya:

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Here we are in front of this majestic futuristic terminal built in quite an interesting shape:

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Although this terminal is quite compact, its departures hall is really impressive and spacious, there are no crowds, and you breathe so easily:

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So, let's take a glance at the local timetable - gate 7 is promised to our flight which is right the next here:

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And at the next gate 9 we see our majestic A340-500 from the previous flight. In a few hours she departed to another airport in Moscow - Domodedovo:

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As my layover is quite long (4:15), I decided to spend it in one of the lounges above. I made a first attempt to visit them but they said they don't accept euros - only manats (AZN):

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So my first step was this quite large duty free area where I managed to get a change in manats:

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Then I walked deeper to explore the terminal with all its design features. Right after the duty free area there is a plenty of different boutiques:

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And the main feature of this airport - a large cocoons area. Those cocoons are used to handle cafés, shops and even library:

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There is also a large rest area with armchairs and tables with sleeping pods behind it:

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From here you can see the ground floor which is shared by check-in and arrivals area. You can also notice local cabs outside which were made after local president's visit to London:

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So, now let's head back to lounges:

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While going upstairs I noticed this B767-300 of AZAL heading to Moscow Vnukovo and an SSJ-100 of Rossiya Airlines in the left:

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When you turn right, you'll find AZAL Business lounge - but it is reserved specially to its passengers:

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To the left there is an airport Business Lounge. The reception is shared for this lounge and Absheron Lounge:

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It actually looked nice but all the passengers with paid access are asked to go to Absheron lounge located opposite in the "core" of upper floor, so there are no terminal or apron views from there. By the way, it is named after Absheron peninsula in Azerbaijan where Baku is located.

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At first the lounge was quite crowded, as there was a bulk of flights departing. Though it was still possible to find some free seats:

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All in all, the lounge is quite stylish. I settled down in these nice designer chairs:

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By the way, sometimes birdsong could be heard from the open ceiling - and especially when the lounge got empty, there was a feeling of complete relaxation and being in some benign oasis.

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After most of the flights have departed, I managed to take photos of other seating areas:

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The buffet was not very varied - only pancakes, pastries, vegetables and boiled eggs were available, so you can't get a full meal here:

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Some apples were available as well:

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There was a quite good amount of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beveraged - some of the latter were isolated on the bar desk:

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This atmosphere of privacy allowed me to have a sufficient rest and work on my laptop (including uploading the latest footage to Lightroom), and a little less than an hour before the flight I move towards my gate 7:

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Boarding began 50 minutes before the departure time, and the board at the gate wasn't even turned on and no boarding announcement wasn't made - as a result I was the second to board:

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Let's have a glimpse at our aircraft of the day - it is the second (as well as the newest) B787-8 in AZAL's fleet:

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There was a PIA A320 at the next gate 8 - quite a rare sight:

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So, let's go down to the jetbridge:

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Baku - istanbul aboard azal b787-8

Information about the aircraft:
Type: Boeing 787-8
Registration and name: VP-BBS "Ordubad"
First flight: 17.11.2014
Delivery date: 24.12.2014
Test registration - N8570Z

Notably, unlike most B787-8s of that period, this aircraft was produced at a second factory in Charleston (CHS) instead of Everett (PAE). Now, however, the entire line has been moved to Charleston.

The aircraft has a layout of 18 business class seats (2-2-2), 35 comfort class seats (2-3-2) and 157 economy seats (3-3-3).

Flight Info:

The route goes via the cities of Shemakhi (Azerbaijan), Tbilisi and Batumi (Georgia), then along the Black Sea coast of Turkey near the cities of Samsun, Sinop and Zonguldak, and on descent the flight enveloped Istanbul from the Asian side. Flight distance is 1895 km.

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After getting on board I pass by this Comfort class cabin. It was sold together with business class from Moscow. As I figured out later from Noel Philips's trip report on YouTube, this cabin is sold as business class on shorter flights like this one to Istanbul, while the real business class cabin remains abandoned. The IFE is hidden in the armrests there, by the way.

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Then I proceed to the economy class cabin in a typical 3-3-3 layout. Due to a quite large amount of Business and Comfort class the first of two economy class cabins is tiny while the second one is bigger.

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Here is my seat 22L in the second row of the second cabin. I opted for the second cabin to have my outside view unobstructed by the wing. It was quite unusual to see leather seats in a widebody. On the other hand, they don't fly further than London.

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The legroom was quite sufficient:

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Due to enormous window size there was quite an interesting shadow play in the cabin:

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Of course, the headrest was adjustable:

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Armrests and buckle covers are somewhat wore off. By the way, the width of the seats according to my measurements was 17.3 inches (43.94 cm), which is 2 cm narrower than in the A340-500 - and for the B787, by the way, this is already the maximum width. The difference was quite noticeable when I sat down. The problem here is that the B787 has a denser layout by default with a fuselage width slightly exceeding the A330 with a 2-4-2 layout. Unfortunately, the B787 with a 2-4-2 economy can only be found in JAL.

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During the boarding an advertising video about Azerbaijan was played on the screens, accompanied by folk music - unfortunately, I could not find it in open sources.

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When boarding was completed, this music video got switched to corporate IFE wallpaper:

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By the way, the IFE here is similar to the newer B737-800 and A321SL of Turkish Airlines, except that there is not such a variety of languages, and only Azerbaijani and English are available:

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After boarding was completed, the crew handed out such corporate style candies:

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Exactly at the estimated departure time the safety video begins:

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And a few minutes later the pushback begins, so here we notice a B767-300 and an A319 standing at next gates:

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Here was our stand - right at the "peak" of terminal:

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The A340-500 from our previous flight was still at the gate, ready for its upcoming departure to Moscow Domodedovo. This frame (4K-AZ85) has currently not made any flights since December 2022:

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And here is the full overview of this part of the terminal:

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A perfect formation of cargo B747s can be seen. Baku is definitely the biggest cargo crossroad in this region:

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We set off to RWY17. That means we are going to take off in the south direction. From the start position we take a glimpse of the terminal once again:

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We don't wait a second and set off immediately. An A320 of PIA can be seen here - certainly not a frequent visitor in Europe.

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During takeoff we enjoy a spectacular view of both terminals:

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The airport quickly stays far behind us, and now only the road leading there is visible:

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We climb above the suburbs of Baku and make a sharp right turn then:

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Then we enjoy a mesmerizing view of Baku downtown - of course, if I had more time at my disposal, I would definitely make a short walk through the city. But on the other hand, the weather that day did not favor leaving the airport at all, as it was unbearably hot.

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Right after Baku very interesting hills appeared, which are the end of the Great Caucasian Ridge - unfortunately, I could not find their designation on the map. From there we also get a last glimpse of the city:

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Quite soon we reached our cruising altitude. Here we pass Akhsu river in Azerbaijan:

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Caucasus mountains on the border with Russia covered with a thin clouds layer. Somewhere around there is the southernmost point of Russia - Mount Bazadüzü.

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Then I decided to test the main feature of the B787 - blackout portholes instead of curtains. The main disadvantage of this feature is that it can be forcibly locked by the crew, and it will not be possible to unnoticeably raise the blinds to take pictures of overboard views.

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Next I decided to walk around the cabin and make some pictures of it. Due to the small number of seats (157), it feels quite private, what isn't typical for a wide-body aircraft - the cabins themselves are quite tiny:

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Luggage bins and overhead panels are well-known primarily thanks to Sky Interior in B737s:

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The entertainment system has a pretty good selection of films - of course, as it is conventional for Azerbaijan, a considerable proportion of international films are Turkish, but the music section has found an approach to fans of Western music, Azerbaijani, and fans of Russian pop music are not deprived either. ?

As it was the case on my previous flight. shortly before the beginning of service the crew handed out hot towels:

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Soon we were over Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the local airport and the Tbilisi Reservoir were also seen as well. Unfortunately it was under a strong haze, so I needed to do my best in Lightroom to remove it for a bit at least):

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All in all, that day we weren't lucky enough to enjoy views of Georgia from above. Only several peaks of Caucasus were visible over the horizon. Somewhere below there was a town of Borjomi, famous for its mineral water in the whole ex-USSR:

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Luckily we caught this mesmerizing view of piles of clouds lit with setting sun:

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A bit later we passed Batumi located on the Georgian coast - unfortunately it wasn't visible of all because of a thick cloud layer:

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Here came the meal service, which was again at a high level, at which AZAL has already succeeded in.

1) Appetizers - cucumber and tomato salad and turkey and cheese cuts;
2) Hot meal - chicken with mashed potatoes (the alternative was meat with rice, the last portion of which one of my seatmates managed to grab);
3) Dessert - cream mousse with strawberry jam.

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All in all, the meal was delicious. I opted for water and white wine from the drinks selection:

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After the meal service was finished, packs of roasted hazelnuts were handed:

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And then they served hot drinks, from which I chose coffee with cream. Surprisingly, the cream was from Luxembourg (!), and the sugar for the coffee was in packed cubes. This is the first time I've seen such a sugar pack on board!

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When the service got finished, we have already passed more than a half of Turkish Black Sea coast, and dusk was at its full:

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Then we finally approach Turkish mainland, already immersed in a mysterious twilight:

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And we continued our way along the Bosphorus:

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Next, the Golden Horn Bay in the heart of Istanbul showed up - here you realize that approaching Istanbul from the east is truly a gift in terms of views. There is just one condition - you have to sit on the right.

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We make a sharp right turn over the sea of Marmara and enjoy the view of the city centre:

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Asian side of Istanbul is left behind at the same time:

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The very heart of Istanbul was revealed in all its splendor - you imagine yourself in these streets filled with unforgettable atmosphere, with the shouts of street vendors, the hum of the walking crowds of amazed people and the ringing of local trams:

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In the area of the old Atatürk Airport we turn on the glide path and the whole Old City and the Bosphorus with the Golden Horn show up again:

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Istanbul is truly endless:

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We were on our glide path flying over the town of Arnavutköy - that meant there was just a couple of minutes left before the arrival:

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The so-called "bloody moon" is visible on the horizon - that evening there was a so-called supermoon:

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We fly past the airport routes O-7 and D020 - their combination, of course, is a kind of urban aesthetics:

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And we land on the runway 36 20 minutes behind the schedule:

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Then we promptly leave the runway and turn around in the direction of terminal:

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And begin our relatively short taxiing:

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Due to extreme humidity our windows immediately get misted, so we can hardly see anything:

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There was only a tiny strip of unmisted surface left, and through it we see a B787-8 of Royal Jordanian parked at the next gate D8:

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In a few minutes disembarkation begins. We sedately leave the aircraft as there was no need to hurry:

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Then we pass already deserted Comfort class which fully resembles short-haul business class seats. As it is the case for Turkish A321ceo and B737NG, screens are hidden in the armrests.

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Being 2 steps from the exit, I asked the chief cabin flight attendant to have a glimpse of business class. It is identical to earlier Turkish A330s and B777s, but the IFE is newer. However my camera didn't focus the right way, and further I was told off by flight attendant for taking a photo with crew members on it. So here we have what we've got.

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Istanbul airport

After saying goodbye to the crew, we leave the aircraft by jetbridge:

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Although the way out is to the left, I decide to take my time and walk the other way to get a better shot of our B787-8:

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The departure area below was quite deserted - from 9 to 10 PM it is certainly not a peak hour at IST.

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There I catch our B787-8 with his Jordanian brother leaving to Amman:

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At the gates E (located directly in main terminal area) we see Air Astana A321LR, Belavia B737-800 and Oman Air B737 MAX 8 docked together. Belavia the had to make a notorious detour via Kazakhstan making the flight lasting almost 6 hours.

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Even the beginning of the pier, right next to main terminal area, was deserted as well:

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Then we head down to the corridor leading to passport control:

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However I didn't know about the other passport control area in the eastern part of the terminal, so I turnes right and headed to the western one.

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When I reached passport control, it was also mostly empty. Probably I was the one of passengers of our flight who had lost the way. ?

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Having flawlessly passed it (as it is always the case in Turkey), I take a long corridor and reach the stairway to baggage claim area:

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Here I am greeted by a huge duty free where I bought some goods, including sunscreen for the upcoming beach holiday:

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And here I realize my mistake of taking a wrong path as my luggage belt is one of the furthest from this point:

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So we finish our healthy walk through the enormous baggage claim area:

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My luggage belt was 11 while I entered this are between belts 20 and 21. All the bags had been delivered by that time so I quickly catch both of my bags:

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I grabbed my suitcases and took the familiar route to the terminal exit. I had to wait at customs, though, because the luggage of arriving passengers was screened, but it didn't take long. In half an hour after getting off the plane, I found myself in the arrival hall.

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Then I turn to the exit to catch a taxi to the separate entrance of Turkish Domestic Business Lounge. The route was not long and costed around 7 euros.

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See more


Azerbaijan Airlines

Cabin crew7.5

Absheron Lounge - 1


Baku - GYD


Istanbul - IST



At this point we stop, and it's time to summarize the results of this flight:

Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport, Terminal 1 - 5+. The airport is a hidden gem for those who prefer calm and fearless connections. It is a spacious and stylish terminal without any queues at transfer security checkpoints and with placid departures area, and it is not even necessary to pay for a business lounge.
Azerbaijan Airlines - 5. The flight was very decent, the aircraft was in good condition, featuring modern entertainment system. The only disadvantage was that the crew forgot about the request to bring headphones, as during their distribution I left my seat, and then the service started. However, it is not such a big trouble when you have your AirPods.
Istanbul Airport - 5. What else to expect from this wonderful airport? Maximum convenience for passengers, prompt passage of all formalities and a huge modern terminal.

Information on the route Baku (GYD) Istanbul (IST)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 3 avis concernant 2 compagnies sur la ligne Baku (GYD) → Istanbul (IST).


La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Turkish Airlines avec 8.1/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 3 heures et 8 minutes.

  More information


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