Air Astana 767 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Hello from Almaty (or should I say “high five?”)! I just flew Air Astana business class from Seoul Incheon to Almaty on the roughly six hour flight, and wanted to share my initial impressions.

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This is an airline I knew virtually nothing about a few weeks ago, but already had the chance to fly. All I can say is “wow!”

Air Astana operates the world’s newest fleet of 767s. While the 767 as such isn’t exactly cutting edge anymore, Air Astana’s 767s were delivered in the past 2-3 years. I’m not talking about them getting these planes secondhand from another airline, but rather they got them brand new from the Boeing factory.

Their 767 was easily the most gorgeous 767 I’ve ever flown on. Not only did it have the updated bins and a bright interior, but the cabin was in immaculate condition.

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The plane has a staggered business class configuration, and is almost identical to Japan Airlines’ updated 767s. While it’s not my favorite business class product out there, this is as good as it gets on a 767. Given that Air Astana doesn’t operate any “true” longhaul flights, it’s a perfectly nice product.

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Not only did the cabin really impress me, but the soft product did as well.

The amenity kit was probably one of the best I’ve ever received in business class, let alone on a six hour daytime flight.

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The food was great as well.

There were nuts and an amuse bouche to start.

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Then there was an appetizer and salad.

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Then soup.

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Then a main course.

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Then dessert plus cheese.

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Then there was another snack before landing. Color me very impressed!

As far as the service goes, the crew was extremely efficient and attentive, and I’d say their attitude can best be described as professional. I wouldn’t call the crew friendly (in the sense that they weren’t very warm and didn’t do anything to go above and beyond), but they weren’t rude in the slightest either. I suspect part of my perception there might be cultural. The crew’s English wasn’t great, so perhaps that caused them to come across as somewhat timid and cold.

Speaking of the crew, I thought it was cool that the captain was Mexican. While I know airlines like Emirates and Cathay Pacific hire a ton of ex-pat pilots, I’ve been fascinated by the nationalities of the pilots on some of the smaller airlines I’ve flown lately. For example, I wasn’t expecting an American captain on my recent Fiji Airways flight, and I wasn’t expecting a Mexican captain on the airline of Kazakhstan.

Lastly, let me finish by saying how much I’m enjoying flying “random” (from a US perspective) new airlines. Sure, I love flying Cathay Pacific first class, but the reality is that I know exactly what to expect, down to a “T.”

As someone who has flown so many premium cabin products, there’s something extremely enjoyable about boarding and feeling completely out of my element. What will the crew be like? What will the cabin we like? What will the food be like? Will the cappuccino I order be the best I ever have on a plane, or just be powdered and nasty?

In that regard, airlines like Air Astana are a real treat, because their 767 business class has virtually no reviews, so I really didn’t know what to expect. And it was very pleasantly surprising.

Bottom line

I’m very impressed by Air Astana. They have the nicest 767s I’ve ever seen with great food and amenities, solid entertainment, and efficient service. What a pleasant surprise.

Comments

  1. “The amenity kit was probably one of the best I’ve ever received in business class, let alone on a six hour daytime flight.”

    Wait…that counts as a good amenity kit? There are designer collabs with Givenchy, Tumi, Eames, etc. How much are they paying for this review?

  2. Fantastic~Can’t wait for the review! I’ve flown into Tashkent, Uzbekistan, but have always stuck with Turkish Airlines from Seoul. There are a lot of beautiful and interesting places to visit in that region, and terrific values for vacationers looking to go off the well-worn path. Being based in LA, I love starting my trip by getting ultra-pampered flying to ICN via Korean Air or Asiana, and it’s a wonderful stopping off point for the rest of Asia or the Mid East. Great to get real proof of a solid alternative.

    I don’t suppose Air Astana is a part of any world group, are they?

  3. @skeptical – I believe Lucky was saying the amenity kit is good not because the brands are impressive, but because the items are good quality and – more importantly – are things you are likely to want to use on the flight. A lot of amenity kits are impressively branded and contain nice things, but not necessarily things handy on the flight itself or just after you land.

  4. That amenity kit is pretty nice, but don’t you think Emirates has a better one? They have Bulgari amenities in business.

  5. @Alvin. Good point. Don’t understand the high five reference either. Lived here 5years and yet to witness a high five… Lucky, please do explain.

    So good to see a trip report for your Airastana and Kazakhstan whirlwind tour but keep your expectations in check for the 757 hard product from the 80s.

  6. @ Navi75 @ Claus – Had to search that up to find out. Borat is some comedy documentary where this guy in a mankini goes around pretending he has no idea what American customs and high fiving is one of the inside jokes of the documentary. Search it up – don’t have time for that.

  7. Very nice review of little known Astana, hopefully you also have a review on Almaty as well. Time to change people’s perception of Kazakhstan.

    @Alvin Borat is NOT a documentary. Sacha Baron Cohen also did Bruno in a similar offensive comedy manner. It was funny 10 years when it first came out, but that formula has gotten too old now. But anyway, you need to see the film to understand the reference, and there are some pretty disturbing scenes…

  8. Lucky, thanks for reviewing an off-the-beaten-path airline. My institution does a lot of work in Kazakhstan with my second trip this year coming up in a few weeks. Our travel office works hard to keep us on “traditional” airlines but I coerced them into a non-traditional TSE>ALA>DBX>DOH>PHL routing on KC and QR. Was skeptical about the KC legs but am now looking forward to them. BTW – The whole Borat thing does not apply at all to the sophisticated urban populus that I work with — and your perception of the cultural differences is accurate.

  9. How did you know the pilot was a Mexican national? Or did you just mean he was ethnically Mexican? I’ve almost never heard a pilot state their nationality.

  10. @ Nick C — I asked the cabin crew, they said he was from Mexico. I didn’t personally ask for his papers, so can’t be 100% sure. 😉

  11. Yes, Air Astana has been excellent for many years. I first flew them about 6 years ago. At that time their business class product was angled flat – which was perfectly acceptable then. I’m glad they have gone full flat now. Crews, food and drinks were excellent all the time. No wonder, their (long serving) CEO is ex CX!

  12. Does anyone know why an airline would choose to buy a new 767 rather than something like a 787? Is it just sticker price? I would guess the operating cost might be lower with the 787’s higher efficiency.

    To those who haven’t seen Borat, you’re missing out. Crude and offensive, but one of the funniest movies of the past 10 years!

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