Review: Air Astana Business Class 767 Incheon To Almaty

Introduction: Journey To Kazakhstan
Review: Korean Air First Class 747-8 Vancouver To Incheon
Review: Nest Hotel Incheon Airport
Review: Asiana Business Class Lounge Incheon Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class 767 Incheon To Almaty
Review: Ritz-Carlton Almaty
Review: Air Astana Lounge Almaty Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class A321 Almaty To Astana
Review: Marriott Astana
Review: Air Astana Lounge Astana Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class 757 Astana To London
Review: Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5
Review: United Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Singapore Airlines Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: United First Class 777 London To Los Angeles


Air Astana 910
Incheon (ICN) – Almaty (ALA)
Saturday, September 24
Depart: 12:55PM
Arrive: 4:45PM
Duration: 6hr50min
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 7A (Business Class)

I presented my boarding pass to the flight attendants at the door, and was pointed down the near aisle. Air Astana’s 767 business class cabin consists of a total of 30 staggered seats. They’re spread across eight rows, with seats in a 1-2-1 configuration (the last row only has seats by the windows, and not in the center section). In terms of layout, the cabin reminded me a lot of Japan Airlines’ 767s.

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Air Astana 767 business class cabin

The cabin was stunning. First of all, most airlines’ 767s are outdated, while Air Astana’s are only a couple of years old, so they feel very fresh. Beyond that, I just loved the combination of the mood lighting and the finishes on the seats, as I thought the cabin was gorgeous.

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Air Astana 767 business class cabin

I had selected seat 7A, the window seat in the second to last row of the cabin. In this staggered configuration, window seats alternate between being closer to the window and closer to the aisle. I generally prefer the seats closer to the window, since they’re significantly more private. You then have a large console on the aisle-side of your seat.

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Air Astana 767 business class seat

The entertainment screen is immediately in front of you, while the area for your feet which is essentially located next to the seat in front of you.

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Air Astana 767 business class seat

Then there are the seats closer to the aisle, which have the console on the window-side instead. These seats don’t feel as private.

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Air Astana 767 business class seat

The advantage of the seats closer to the aisle is that there’s a bit more room for your feet, since you’re not “cornered in” as much.

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Air Astana 767 business class seat

The seats in the center section are also staggered, with each pair of seats having one seat that’s more exposed, and one seat that’s more private.

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Air Astana 767 business class center seats

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Air Astana 767 business class center seats

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Air Astana 767 business class cabin

After taking a few cabin pictures I explored my seat further.

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Air Astana 767 business class seat

The seat could be controlled using a touchscreen to the right of my seat. It was easy enough to use, though my one complaint about this setup is that it’s too easy to accidentally push one of the buttons. The controls are where most people would probably rest their arms, so throughout the flight I accidentally adjusted the seat’s settings several times.

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Air Astana business class seat controls

Immediately behind the seat controls were the entertainment controls. The controller had buttons to control the volume, and then you’d scroll to choose your entertainment selection.

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Air Astana business class entertainment controls

Towards the back right of the seat was a small exposed storage area. This is also where the headphone jack and two power outlets were located (both 110v and USB).

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Air Astana business class storage compartment

Also waiting at my seat on boarding was a pillow and blanket. The pillow was pretty cool-looking, while the blanket was a bit underwhelming for business class.

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Air Astana business class pillow

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Air Astana business class blanket

There were also a basic pair of noise canceling headphones waiting at my seat, though as usual, I used my own Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones.

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Air Astana business class headphones

Overall I thought the cabin was gorgeous, and was also in immaculate condition. A staggered configuration is as good as it gets on a 767. While I prefer a reverse herringbone or Apex Suite in business class, those simply aren’t installed on 767s.

Within a few minutes of settling in, one of the flight attendants offered me a pre-departure beverage, with the choice between tomato juice, orange juice, apple juice, or water. I selected a water.

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Air Astana pre-departure beverage

After that I was offered a selection of newspapers, as well as an amenity kit.

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Air Astana business class amenity kit

I was impressed by how well stocked the amenity kit was, especially given that this was a fairly short daytime flight. The amenity kit included things like mouthwash, a toothbrush and toothpaste, eyeshades, a comb, a pen, earplugs, socks, etc.

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Air Astana business class amenity kit contents

There were even some creams from Payot.

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Air Astana business class amenity kit contents

As boarding finished up, the crew came through the cabin with a basket of candies.

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Air Astana business class candy

Boarding was extremely efficient, and the crew was hardworking. Keep in mind that on a 767 all the passengers board through the forward door, so it can be tough to provide the pre-flight service, given the number of passengers passing through the business class cabin at this time. Nonetheless they performed the service with ease.

At 12:50PM it was announced that boarding was complete. Business class was roughly half full, with most of the window seats taken, while almost all of the center seats were empty.

Around this time the captain came on the PA to add his welcome aboard and inform us of our flight time of 6hr10min, inviting us to enjoy Air Astana’s “super service.” I was intrigued by the fact that he was Mexican (I thought he was based on the accent, and later confirmed it with the crew).

By 12:55PM the door was closed, at which point the safety video began to play. Air Astana’s safety video plays in three languages, so the video took about 10 minutes to screen.

At 1:05PM the captain was back on the PA to inform us of a slight departure delay due to congestion at the airport, and he anticipated it would be about 15-20 minutes until we had our pushback clearance. However, we managed to push back less than five minutes later.

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Lufthansa A380 at Incheon Airport

Of course my eyes were glued out the window, thanks to the gorgeous Lufthansa A380 next to us.

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Lufthansa A380 Incheon Airport

I suspect we may have been given pushback clearance earlier than expected because an Air China 737 immediately pulled into our gate, so they figured they’d release us so that plane wouldn’t have to wait longer.

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Air China 737 Incheon Airport

It took us a few minutes to start up our engines, and by 1:15PM we began our taxi to the departure runway.

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Taxiing Incheon Airport

Our taxi to runway 34 was reasonably quick, and there was some interesting plane spotting enroute, including plenty of Asiana and Korean Air planes.

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Taxiing Incheon Airport

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Taxiing Incheon Airport

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Asiana A380 Incheon Airport

By 1:30PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 34.

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Taking off Incheon Airport

Our climb out was smooth, though there wasn’t much to see in the way of landscape.

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View after takeoff

About 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point menus were distributed.

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Air Astana business class menu

The menu read as follows:

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The beverage list read as follows:

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Service began with hot towels being distributed. The towels were thick and extremely fragrant, which is a nice combo.

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Air Astana business class hot towel

Service began within minutes, as the flight attendants rolled carts through the aisle with drinks and canapés.

I had a glass of champagne (Air Astana serves Taittinger) and a glass of still water, and was offered both almonds and a salmon canapé.

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Air Astana business class lunch — water, champagne, nuts, and canapés

After that the flight attendants came through the cabin with tablecloths.

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Air Astana business class table setting

A few minutes later I was served a tray with the salad and appetizer.

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Air Astana business class lunch — appetizer and salad

The appetizer consisted of a hoisin marinated scallop with black sesame seeds, mixed peppers, oven-dried tomato, kalmata olive, and mushroom salad. It was excellent.

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Air Astana business class lunch appetizer — hoisin marinated scallop

The salad was a bit untraditional as well, though very good. It had cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and feta cheese.

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Air Astana business class lunch salad — eggplant, tomato, and feta salad

I was also proactively offered a pretty plain bread roll.

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Air Astana business class lunch bread

Once the salad and appetizer plate was cleared, I was offered a roasted tomato soup, which was very good.

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Air Astana business class lunch soup — roasted tomato soup with chestnuts

Around this time the crew also came through the cabin with a basket of garlic bread, which was much more flavorful than the other bread on offer.

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Air Astana business class lunch garlic bread

After that the flight attendants individually brought out the main courses. I selected the pan-fried cod fillet, served with tomato salsa, fried polenta batons, roasted pumpkin, button mushrooms, and asparagus. It was exceptional, easily one of the best fish dishes I’ve had in business class.

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Air Astana business class lunch main course — pan-fried cod fillet

Next the crew came through the cabin with a dessert cart. I selected the chocolate and walnut brownie, which was decadent. I also ordered a coffee to go along with it, and was offered some packaged candy from a box they had on the trolley.

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Air Astana business class lunch dessert — chocolate and walnut brownie slice

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Air Astana business class lunch dessert — candy

Lastly I was offered a cheese selection.

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Air Astana business class lunch cheese course

Overall the meal service was top notch. Not only was the quality and quantity excellent, but I loved the pace at which the crew served the meal. The lunch service was done just 75 minutes after takeoff. I always find it unnecessary when airlines take three hours to serve a mediocre business class meal. In the case of Air Astana they were able to serve an excellent meal very quickly.

The crew on this sector could best be described as efficient and polite. They weren’t the warmest or most memorable, but they were extremely efficient. For what it’s worth, I found the crews on my two subsequent Air Astana flights to be significantly friendlier.

After the lunch service bottled water and immigration cards for Kazakhstan were distributed. The immigration cards felt rather unofficial, like they were copied from an original document and then cut by scissor.

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Kazakhstan immigration card

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Air Astana business class bottled water

After the lunch service the cabin lights were turned down and some mood lighting was turned on.

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Air Astana business class cabin after lunch

I decided to browse the entertainment selection, which was fairly extensive.

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Air Astana entertainment system

I first browsed the airshow, which had rotating perspectives on our flight path.

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Airshow enroute to Almaty

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Airshow enroute to Almaty

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Airshow enroute to Almaty

The TV and movie selection was better than I was expecting, though certainly not among the best out there.

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Air Astana entertainment selection

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Air Astana entertainment selection

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Air Astana entertainment selection

I ended up watching a couple of episodes of The Big Bang Theory that I had seen before. The programming all had ads, though I found it weird that the English programming had non-English ads. That seems like a lost opportunity for their advertisers…

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Air Astana entertainment selection

Eventually I opened the window and saw that the views outside were pretty awesome, which I guess isn’t surprising given the flight’s route.

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View enroute to Almaty

I briefly checked out one of the two lavatories at the front of the cabin. While the rest of the cabin felt especially modern for a 767, the lavatory was an exception, and felt like any other 767 lavatory I’ve been in.

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Air Astana 767 business class lavatory

It did have a few branded toiletries, at least.

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Air Astana business class lavatory toiletries

At that point I decided to recline my seat and take a nap. Like I said above, this hard product is as good as it gets on the 767, though the seat is certainly on the tight side.

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Air Astana flat bed business class

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Air Astana flat bed business class

The most restrictive aspect of the seat is the area for your feet, which is tiny. I can barely fit my feet in there, and certainly can’t turn them while they’re in there. Still, I’ll take this flat bed product over anything that’s angled.

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Air Astana business class legroom

I managed to get about two solid hours of sleep, which is pretty good for a daytime flight. At this point the mood lighting was turned off altogether, though many passengers still had their windows open, so the cabin wasn’t actually dark.

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Air Astana business class cabin 767

Upon waking up we were about two hours outside of Almaty, at which point a pre-landing snack service began.

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Airshow enroute to Almaty

The crew rolled some trolleys through the cabin with snacks and drinks. The snack consisted of a small plate with chicken, veggies, salmon, etc. I was also offered some bread to accompany it. To drink I just had water.

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Air Astana business class pre-landing snack

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Air Astana business class pre-landing snack

I asked if they had cappuccinos on the plane, and sure enough they did. So I ordered a cappuccino, which was excellent.

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Air Astana business class cappuccino

About 40 minutes before landing the captain came on the PA to provide us updated arrival information. He turned the seatbelt sign on right away, apparently because it was going to be a bumpy descent.

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Airshow enroute to Almaty

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Airshow enroute to Almaty

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Airshow enroute to Almaty

I decided to watch an episode of “Just For Laughs,” which I consider to be perfect airplane entertainment.

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Air Astana entertainment selection

About 10 minutes after the captain’s announcement we began our descent, at which point the crew came through the cabin to offer passengers water.

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Air Astana business class pre-landing water

My eyes were glued out the window once we were well into our descent, as the views were fascinating. I’ll let the pictures of the landscape speak for themselves.

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View approaching Almaty

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View approaching Almaty

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View approaching Almaty

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View approaching Almaty

At 4:30PM we had a smooth touchdown on runway 23, and from there it was a short five minute taxi to the gate.

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Touchdown Almaty

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Taxiing Almaty Airport

While there were several private jets parked at the airport, there wasn’t much traffic otherwise.

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Taxiing Almaty Airport

On the ground were an Air Astana 757, Fly Dubai 737, and Somon Air 737.

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Air Astana 757 Almaty Airport

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Fly Dubai 737 Almaty Airport

By 4:35PM we arrived at our gate, parking next to a Somon Air 737. It’s not often I see planes nowadays from airlines I’ve never even heard of, so that’s how I knew I was somewhere fun!

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Somon Air 737 Almaty Airport

After deplaning I headed for immigration, which was a quick process, as I was among the first people off the plane. Outside the immigration hall a representative from the Ritz-Carlton was waiting for me.

Air Astana 767 business class bottom line

Air Astana is such a cool, quirky airline. A few months ago I didn’t know anything about them, so being able to fly them so quickly was awesome. The airline greatly exceeded my expectations — the cabin was gorgeous and in immaculate condition, the food was exceptional, the pace of service was great, and the entertainment options were fairly good as well.

I’d recommend them in a heartbeat.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. That looks pretty good to be honest, I like that even for business class everything food wise was not just served on a tray and it was almost a first class dining setup.

    I would enjoy flying on them on this route, I guess its just finding the time and it not always being very practical for me.

    Great report on this one Ben.

  2. You need to learn how to edit. Do we really need to spend time looking at your dirty towel or glass of water. Or if you turned left or right?

    Ask yourself if you are looking for that special glass of water picture in other people’s review.

  3. Excellent post Ben…..not sure about others, but I especially loved the pictures of the meals. Oh, and I do want to see the water…and also which runway you taxied. These are important for any #avgeek. Thanks!

  4. Well, Mr. Ben Slappig, you’re to be congratulated for this report. Color me impressed! And that pillow is just gorge!

  5. Hmm, the water pic was my favorite, I liked to see the clarity and consistency of water served on business class. But seriously, the more pics the better. It’s so easy to scroll past the pics we don’t care about. In some of your reports, inevitably, I’ll see something you’ve captured and I’d be like, “Man, I wish he would’ve taken a close up of that (e.g. food spread at a lounge)” so don’t skim.

  6. What’s that old expression? Hmm, let me think. I think it starts with “If you don’t have anything nice to say”.

    There’s just no pleasing some people. Fortunately, they make sure you know about your failures.

    Thanks for great info and photos of an airline few of us have ever flown.

  7. I love the quantity, quality and detail of pics. When I don’t have time to read the full review, I can scroll thru, look at the pretty pictures, and get about 75% of the content in 60 seconds.

  8. I love the pics. Already told you: more pics and less talking.

    To be fair though you tell us what time the engines stared and when you took of then drop the whole precision of time thing for the rest of the report.

  9. It looks like we got some haterz and trollz
    But they’re so hard to hear when I ride in my Rolls
    They seem to have a grievance but it’s never specific
    Never see them fly first class on Cathay Pacific
    If they saw my points balance they would surely cry
    See me finish caviar before approach to Dubai
    Lucky taught me the game and how to win
    Haterz aspirational redemption is the roach motel inn
    So if you can’t show some respect to the king of our hobby
    You make as much sense as a snowball in Abu Dhabi

  10. Nice report. Loved Mjolnir’s rap too. I am interested in what others think about window shades on a daytime flight. On one hand, I know people might want to sleep, but on the other hand, how could I sleep flying over the steppes and the Gobi Desert and some of the other amazing things this flight flew over? That being said, is it rude to keep your shades open during a daytime flight such as this? Or like on a return TATL from Europe during the day? What do readers/Lucky think?

  11. I have a question regarding mileage earning on Air Astana. I see that they have some codeshares with Lufthansa(Fra) and Air India(Del). If I were to fly Almaty-Del or Almaty-Fra would I be able to credit the points to my Krisflyer account – Both Lufhthansa and Air India are parteners with Singapore Airline in Star Alliance.
    What if I flew the Flights on a Lufthansa or Air India Ticket (Air Astana Plane).

  12. I have a question regarding earning miles on Air Astana. I see they have some code shares (Lufthansa to FRA and Air India to Del). If i were to fly FRA-ALA-DEL on Lufthansa or Air India Tickets (Air Astana plane) would I be able to credit to Krisflyer?

  13. Ok wow! Much better than I expected and a truly excellent product. Good for them for not settling for a mediocre product…

  14. Not a hater. Was a lover.

    Found this review boring though.

    Sorry, it’s just not informative to know you drank a glass of water. Or that you [as we already know] preferred your Bose bladdy dady doo da wotsit headphones. The blanket was thin – yeah, it’s an airplane blanket. And the crew were PHENOMENAL or FANTASTIC or AMAZING…they’re just doing their job Ben… People pay a fuck load of money for that service. I know you don’t, and do it on your clever miles schemes etc, but you’ve devoted (or should I say sacrificed) your entire life to it…which says something…

    This blog just feels a bit sad now. I’m sorry, genuinely, because I like you as a person. But I think you need to get out of the air and hotel airports now and settle down and live a more worthwhile life. UNLESS you can offer a dramatic new slant to your blogs…but these are just not doing it anymore.

    I’m not a hater, but losing faith. Many will say “well you can just not read this blog” so I think that’s what I’ll do. Just wanted to share my 10 cents before signing off.

  15. Got a chuckle thinking of Aaron Tan and fellow cranks checking into the Roach Motel (funny poem). Ignore them, great post and you have made my travels better.

  16. “a more worthwhile life”. Wow. Do you always superimpose your values onto others, or is Ben just a special target?

  17. @Mark – I don’t think it’s rude. It’s daylight and you should be able to enjoy the view. It’s easy to wear an eye mask if you want to sleep on a daytime flight….

  18. Nice report, This was my experience with them in Y class when I flew domestic on the 767. Beautiful plane! Those candies are also passed out in economy…

  19. “Yawning”

    $ame boring format.
    Sam chui is so much better and he’s up the hersey highway as well.
    Mr slappig do you have a fetish for pre departure drinks.
    Do you beat off under the thin blankets leaving a wet mess?

  20. Great report! Thanks for those wonderful photos.. so are you gonna try that Tajikistan airline some time?

  21. I like your photos and reports. Don’t stop or settle down.

    I didn’t know you had so many mothers on this forum. What’s up with trying to get you to settle down? Better you take the trip and I read about them than me taking any of those trips. They sound exhausting. Thank god you are self proclaimed avgeek.

  22. First of all, don’t listen to them Ben, especially Aaron Tan, you’re in your 20’s! Those 10 years of your life are for exploring and having fun! Maybe try settling down for your 30’s or 40’s, keep up the good work!

  23. Is there going to have to be moderation on this blog? Jeez. I’m hoping Ben is “lucky” enough to be born with a thick skin.

  24. (Weird….half my comments didn’t post.) To continue:

    Love the blog and all the details. What I don’t need, I don’t dwell on. Frustrates me to no end the other blogs that DON’T show the food or menus or give you the minutiae. Isn’t that the whole point?

  25. Ben–I too think a moderator should be on your posts. The negative angry posters are a pain. Now, I for one love reading your posts on these unusual airlines. I live vicariously through every picture and description–yes, even the water pics. 😉 This very detailed article was wonderful. Many thanks for making my Saturday morning a delight!

  26. After the dismiss of Mexicana lots of mexican pilots (especially those with training with long haul equipment) ended in growing international airlines. I wouldn’t be surprised if your captain was ex-MX.

  27. NIce report Ben. Kinda cool little airline. Now you need to compare with Uzbekistan et al. out of FRA perhaps? A neat area of the world to experience as well (I’m old enough to remember when we never in a million years would have thought that you could fly to ALA in the former USSR over China. Wow.

    Unfortunately, it seems that you’ve invited a lot of jealous trolls these days. So many people with obviously sad, meaningless lives.Yeah your pathetic lives are so much better than Bens…ugh.

  28. You were flying over some of the most spectacular landscapes anywhere on earth: the countryside between Urumqi and Almaty, along the path of the ancient silk route is breathtakingly beautiful. Sadly because of the security situation in Xinjiang it’s now difficult to access for most foreigners ( an added bonus used to be flying on Russian planes: the Ilyushin 62, IIRC, ran the 3 X weekly Beijing-Urumqi-Almaty).

  29. Great report. Air Astana is a carrier I’d never considered before. Thanks for your trip report for highlighting its quirkiness and great product. I too love all the pics and detail. Keep it up, Lucky.

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