Review: Air Astana Business Class 757 Almaty To London

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 941
Astana (TSE) – London (LHR)
Monday, September 26
Depart: 3:00PM
Arrive: 5:10PM
Duration: 7hr10min
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Seat: 4A (Business Class)

I boarded through door L2, where I was greeted by the lead flight attendant, who escorted me to my business class seat. While Air Astana’s 767s are just a couple of years old, their 757s are significantly older. Despite that, the cabin was in excellent condition.

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Air Astana 757 business class cabin

Air Astana’s 757 business class seats are angled flat, and actually the first generation of angled seats that there were. While the seats are in great condition and look fresh, the technology behind them is way outdated, as the seats slant all the way down to the floor.

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Air Astana 757 business class seats

On the plus side, the seats are extremely comfortable for lounging around in, as there’s as much legroom as you could want.

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Air Astana 757 business class legroom

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Air Astana 757 business class legroom

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Air Astana 757 business class cabin

You may notice that Air Astana doesn’t have seatback entertainment on their 757s. That’s pretty underwhelming, as they instead just hand out tablets, which I’ll talk more about later. I assume the tablets are somehow supposed to slide into the seatback in front, but if so, I couldn’t figure out how. In the center section between seats were magazine pockets and small pouches that could hold bottled water.

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Air Astana 757 business class legroom

The seat controls are easy to use, to the point that the functions are very limited, as you can’t control individual aspect of the seat. You can only recline the seat up or down, without the ability to individually control the legrest or the seatback.

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Air Astana 757 business class seat controls

In the center section between seats were reading lights, though unfortunately there wasn’t any sort of a privacy partition between seats. These seats would be quite awkward if you’re sleeping next to a stranger.

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Air Astana 757 business class reading lights

The center console was on the small side.

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Air Astana 757 business class console

There were two power outlets conveniently located underneath the center console.

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Air Astana 757 business class power outlets

Waiting at my seat was a pillow, and later on in the flight I was also offered a blanket.

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Air Astana business class pillow

Once I was settled in, the cabin crew came around with pre-departure beverages. When departing Kazakhstan they also offer alcohol, so I had a glass of champagne.

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Air Astana business class pre-departure champagne

Shortly thereafter I was offered an amenity kit.

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Air Astana business class amenity kit

I was impressed by the lead flight attendant, who came around to each business class passenger to introduce herself by name. On top of that, the other two flight attendants working business class were exceptionally friendly.

Boarding was quick, as the flight seemed to be less than half full. In business class seven of the 16 seats were taken, and I had the seat next to me empty.

The lady seated across from me was fascinating. I had no clue who she was, but another business class passenger seemed to recognize her, so I sort of overheard their conversation from there. If I understood the situation correctly, she was some sort of a Kazakh celebrity.

She was gracious in talking to him, as he wouldn’t shut up. She explained to him she was going to London because she had just bought a townhouse “because Brexit.” He explained that he was also working on moving to the UK, “because if you put two million pounds in the bank with them they’ll give you citizenship.” Hmmm…

By 2:50PM boarding was complete, at which point Captain Ricardo came on the PA to add his welcome aboard, and inform us of the flight time of 6hr10min, which he anticipated would put us into London ahead of schedule.

By 2:55PM the door closed, at which point the safety video began to play. About 10 minutes later we began our pushback and taxi.

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Taxiing Astana Airport

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Astana Airport terminal

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Taxiing Astana Airport

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Taxiing Astana Airport

As we taxied out to the runway, the crew distributed candy to business class passengers.

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Air Astana business class candy

By 3:15PM we made it to runway 22, where we were immediately cleared for takeoff.

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Taking off Astana Airport

It was once again a beautiful day, so I looked out the window for the entire climb out.

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View after takeoff from Astana

Five minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. Within a few minutes the crew came through the cabin with warm, scented towels.

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Air Astana business class hot towel

After that the cabin manager distributed menus.

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Air Astana business class menu

Moments later tablets and headphones were distributed.

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Air Astana business class headphones and tablet

I’m not a huge fan of airline-sourced inflight entertainment to begin with, and am even less a fan when it’s a clunky portable device. The main thing I like about a personal television is the ability to watch the progress of the flight on an airshow, though that’s not possible on these portable devices. So I briefly browsed the selection, though didn’t otherwise use the tablet.

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Air Astana business class tablet

As far as tablets go, I thought the entertainment selection was surprisingly decent.

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Air Astana business class tablet

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Air Astana business class tablet

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Air Astana business class tablet

Shortly after the menus and tablets were distributed, meal orders were taken.

The menu read as follows:

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The beverage list read as follows:

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The meal service began with a cart being rolled down the aisle with drinks and canapés. I had a gin & tonic and still water to drink. In terms of the canapés, they had both a fish and cheese option. I selected the cheese option, and was also offered some almonds.

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Air Astana business class lunch — canapés and nuts

About 15 minutes later the crew distributed tablecloths and the starter tray, which had the appetizer, salad, and bread.

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Air Astana business class lunch — salad and appetizer

The appetizer consisted of smoked duck with a cherry tomato and cucumber salad.

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Air Astana business class appetizer — smoked duck

There was a small side salad with beetroot, carrot, and cherry tomatoes.

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Air Astana business class salad — with beetroot, carrot, and cherry tomatoes

In addition to the bread initially on the tray, the crew separately came through the cabin with a basket of fresh garlic bread.

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Air Astana business class bread selection

After that I was served the spiced lentil soup, which was excellent.

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Air Astana business class soup — spiced lentil soup

For the main course I was feeling pretty boring at this point, so ordered the tortellini. It was one of the better pasta dishes I’ve had on a plane in a while.

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Air Astana business class main course — quattro formaggio tortellini

After that the crew came through the cabin with the coffee & dessert trolley.

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Air Astana business class dessert trolley

I had the cherry crumble cake for dessert, which was very good.

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Air Astana business class dessert — cherry crumble cake

I also ordered a cappuccino.

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Air Astana business class cappuccino

After lunch, bottled water, landing cards for the UK, and fast track cards were distributed.

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Air Astana business class bottled water and landing card

The entire meal service took about 75 minutes. Once again I was impressed by the pace of service and quality of the food. This crew in particular was excellent, as they were extremely attentive and friendly throughout the meal.

After lunch the mood lighting was turned on, which looked pretty snazzy, despite the 757’s overall outdated interior.

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Air Astana business class cabin

I checked out the lavatory at the very front of the plane, which had the same design as virtually every other 757 lav, down to the way the toilet flushes (with blue liquid, rather than the typical suction noise).

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Air Astana 757 business class lavatory

I was super tired after lunch, given what a whirlwind trip it had been. I reclined my seat and tried to get some rest. As stated above, this is the first generation of angled business class seat, and it’s super uncomfortable. You basically slide all the way down the seat, except unlike other angled seats, the footrest doesn’t have something you can “push” yourself up against. So I felt like I kept sliding down.

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Air Astana business class cabin

I’m not sure I actually got any sleep, but I decided to rest for a few hours, though I spent most of my time tossing and turning. About 90 minutes before landing the cabin lights were turned up for the snack service, at which point I put my seat back in the upright position.

Air Astana seems to be consistent with the meal offerings on their flights. Much like on my Incheon to Almaty flight, the snack consisted of a bread roll and a small snack plate. This included sliced smoked duck fillet, parsley couscous, and a chicken kebab.

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Air Astana business class pre-landing snack

I didn’t like these snacks quite as much as the ones on the last flight, though that’s mostly a function of personal preference.

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Air Astana business class pre-landing snack

I got some work done for about 30 minutes, and then eventually the captain provided us with updated arrival information, informing us that we were ahead of schedule, though would likely have to hold for about 10 minutes, and then would have a 15 minute taxi upon landing.

One thing I found a bit annoying is that the crew already prepared the cabin for landing at this point, while we were still at cruise altitude. It would be another 45 minutes until we landed, though electronics had to be turned off, windowshades up, seats in the upright position, etc.

We began our very gradual descent about 40 minutes before landing, and then entered a couple of brief holding patterns.

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View approaching London

As we began our final descent, the views of London were fantastic, definitely among the best I’ve had in a long time.

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View approaching London

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View approaching London

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View approaching London

We touched down on runway 27R at Heathrow at around 4:25PM.

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View approaching London Heathrow

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Touchdown London Heathrow

From there we had a roughly 15 minute taxi to our arrival gate at Terminal 4, which is located at the other end of the airport. This included taxiing past Terminal 3, where I saw a British Airways A380, Cathay Pacific 777, Emirates A380, and lots of American and Virgin Atlantic planes.

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Taxiing London Heathrow

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British Airways A380 London Heathrow

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Virgin Atlantic planes London Heathrow

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Emirates A380 London Heathrow

Eventually we had to cross runway 27L.

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Crossing runway London Heathrow

A couple of minutes later we pulled into our arrival gate at Terminal 4, right next to an Alitalia A321.

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Arriving Terminal 4 London Heathrow

We arrived at 4:40PM, about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. As we waited for the door to open, the one business class passenger again approached the passenger across from me and suggested they share a car into the city. She nicely tried to suggest it didn’t make sense (they were going to different places, she’d be out faster since she has a British passport, etc.), but he kept insisting. Oy!

Air Astana 757 business class bottom line

While Air Astana’s 767s are brand new, their 757s are outdated. Despite the outdated seats, the cabin was in great condition, with beautiful finishes and fun mood lighting.

Much like on my previous Air Astana flights, the food and service were excellent. As a matter of fact, the service on this Air Astana flight was the best of all three.

So after three flights on Air Astana, I’d recommend flying them in a heartbeat. They’re a fun, cool, quirky airline with a solid product. However, I’d go out of my way to fly their 767 over their 757.

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About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I can’t wrap my mind around how nice the cabin and seats looks on the pictures. Looks like it’s brand new, despite being quite outdated.

  2. They take pride in their product, and not because they have to (limited competition) but because they want to. None of that exists here in the USA

  3. How do you know which runways the planes land and take off from ?
    Do you have a runway map or each airport or do you just ask?

  4. @mike p: I suspect he looks out the window. You can see the numbering either on the runway itself or on the signage approaching/leaving the runway.

  5. Small point (I’m not a troll… 🙂 ). Title says Almaty to London. It’s Astana – London.

    I hate the tablet entertainment too. The cover hangs over the strap on top of the pouch in the seat in front but cos it’s a long way from the seat it’s a real pain to change programs etc and the head phone cord is about 2-3m long. 767 is much better product, totally aligned with you on that.

  6. This is the same product Aer Lingus used to have on the 757s before they put the vantage seat on it, except EI’s had IFE

  7. Lucky should no forget to mention that AirAstana has a ridiculous free baggage allowance. Just 30K in C-class, which is what most airlines between Asia and Europe now offer in Y-class already, and 20KG in Y-class. That is why I don’t fly them (baggage allowance is very important to me on my twice yearly trips back home to Europe from Asia) even though their fares are reasonable and the product is good.

  8. “and lots of American and Virgin Atlantic planes.”

    DIdn’t see even one picture with a glimpse of an American plane

  9. Do you speak Kazakh now or was the conversation with the pushy guy and the local celebrity all in German?

  10. Lucky,

    Have you ever considered airport reviews instead of just lounge reviews? Even the tiny minority of us who have lounge access privileges still care about the airport as a whole. A nice airport can make traveling that much more tolerable. For example, I love to fly into and out of Raleigh because the terminal makes me realize that flying can be fun. I will also try to connect in certain airports over others because I like the dining options better or even just the “feel” of the airport if that makes sense.

    Thanks,
    Gray

  11. Lucky,
    Did you fly out of Almaty or Astana, because the title says Almaty, but the pictures say Astana.

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