Introduction: One “Stan” At A Time
Review: Wingtips Lounge New York JFK Airport
Review: Uzbekistan Airways Business Class 787 New York To Tashkent
Review: Hyatt Regency Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Review: Uzbekistan Airways Lounge Tashkent Airport
Review: Uzbekistan Airways Business Class A320 Tashkent To Dushanbe
Review: Hyatt Regency Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Review: Dushanbe Airport Lounge
Review: Somon Air Business Class 737 Dushanbe To Dubai
Review: Saudia First Suite 777 Dubai To Riyadh
Review: Saudia Business Class Lounge Riyadh Airport
Review: Saudia First Suite 777 Riyadh To Los Angeles
Uzbekistan Airways 717
Tashkent (TAS) – Dushanbe (DYU)
Tuesday, August 15
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 1A (Business Class)
At the forward door we were greeted by two very friendly flight attendants. Uzbekistan Airways’ A320 business class cabin consists of 12 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2 configuration. The legroom was roughly what you’d get in first class on US airlines, and I thought the plane still appeared to be in pretty good shape, even though it was far from new.
The bulkhead had a decent amount of legroom, I’d say roughly comparable to the legroom in other rows.
We were told we’d be the only passengers in business class, though on boarding there was a pilot seated in business class as well. I’m not sure why they’d have an extra pilot on an hour-long flight that’s a direct turnaround, but it made it a bit awkward to take pictures, given that technically the airline doesn’t allow pictures (though we were never asked to stop taking pictures on this flight).
The seats in economy looked pretty comfortable. They weren’t the most modern, but that’s a blessing nowadays, since that meant legroom and padding were better than the slimline seats you typically find nowadays.
The recline could be controlled by a single button on the interior armrest, and there was also an audio control there.
In front of and underneath the center armrest were two power outlets.
Also on the center armrest was a small tray that could be extended.
The tray table itself folded out of the side armrest.
Waiting at our seats on boarding were pillows, which were nice enough. So many airlines have cut pillows on shorthaul flights, so having one at all was a nice surprise.
In the seatback pocket were slippers, eyeshades, and a shoehorn. Funny enough these are exactly the same amenities we were offered on the 11 hour flight from New York. So I’d consider that to be impressive for a 40 minute flight, but not so impressive for an 11 hour flight.
Within a couple of minutes of settling in, a flight attendant appeared at our seat to offer us towels. They were soaking wet, to the point that they couldn’t really be used.
We were then offered pre-departure beverages. We were asked what we wanted, and both ordered apple juice, which was served in plastic cups, along with cute Uzbekistan Airways towelettes.
Before boarding continued I checked out the lavatory at the front of the cabin, which was in decent condition.
There was a big air freshener bottle, as well as some towelettes.
I was surprised by the lack of other passengers, so spent a bit of time looking out the window. At the stand next to us was another Uzbekistan Airways A320.
As mentioned in the previous installment, there were also several people in military uniforms walking around the tarmac.
I actually had no clue that Uzbekistan Airways has BAE146 aircraft, though three of them were parked nearby (which is apparently their entire fleet of them).
At around 7:30AM a bus finally showed up, though most passengers boarded directly through the rear door. The door closed at 7:35AM, for an on-time departure. This was a fairly empty flight, as there were fewer than three dozen passengers on the whole plane.
Oddly by the time we departed, six of the 12 business class seats were taken — there were two pilots in uniform, as well as two people not in uniform who still seemed to work for the airline (or something). They wore high visibility vests on the ground, talked to the people in military uniforms, etc. Does Uzbekistan Airways have air marshals, or does anyone know who they might have been?
A minute after the door closed, the purser made an announcement informing us of our flight time of 40 minutes, and cruising altitude of 29,000 feet. A moment later she screened the safety video, which played in three languages and took forever. This was played on the overhead screens that dropped down.
At 7:40AM we started our engines and began our taxi. Since we were at a remote stand between taxiways, there was no need to push back.
We passed a few Uzbekistan planes, a Turkish A330, and some military planes (I assume?), and before I knew it we were at the runway.
We crossed runway 8L, and by 7:45AM were cleared for takeoff on runway 8R.
We had a quick and bumpy takeoff roll, and then a steep climb out of Tashkent.
While the seatbelt sign stayed on the entire flight, five minutes after takeoff the crew came through the cabin and closed all the window shades, which seemed unnecessary for such a short flight. Five minutes later they distributed tablecloths and napkins.
At that point breakfast was served, which was impressive for such a short flight. No, it wasn’t at all gourmet, but was decent enough. There was a (stale) bread roll, fruit, chocolate cake, a salad with cucumbers and tomatoes, and two hot crepes (one had meat, and the other ricotta cheese).
There was also a pack of peanuts.
We were also offered drinks. We both ordered coffee, and I also ordered some water. The coffee tasted decent but was powdered, while the water was served in a cup.
The purser was a delight, and kept checking on us and offering drink refills, despite the short flight time.
We were treated to some gorgeous views of mountains enroute to Dushanbe.
About 25 minutes after takeoff we began our descent into Dushanbe.
I was so excited to explore Dushanbe after seeing it from above.
We touched down in Dushanbe at 8:25AM, and then had to back taxi on the runway to get to our arrival stand.
It was just a short five minute taxi to our arrival stand, where we parked next to a Somon Air 737 (which we’d be flying to Dubai the next day).
As we got off the plane there were a bunch of people waiting, including a guy with a sign that said “CIP $25.” In addition to the main bus there were a couple more buses, presumably for those who chose to take advantage of the service. Frankly I’m surprised there’s a market for that, as Dushanbe Airport is small.
Our bus ride to the terminal took about five minutes.
There was some interesting plane spotting during the drive, including a Tajik Air 767. It looks like Tajik Air has business class on their 767s, though I can’t find anything online about it. Does anyone know what kind of a business class product they offer? It looks like this 767 used to fly for Kabo Air, and for Delta before that.
Once in the arrivals hall we saw the visa on arrivals desk, but the lights were off and there was no one there. So we made some of the nearby airport agents aware, and they made a few phone calls. We ended up having to wait for 40 minutes before someone showed up. In the meantime there was another person (who was the only other person who needed a visa on arrival) who we had a brief conversation with. He was a Brit who lived in Dallas, and was in Tajikistan because he was “country counting.”
By the time we had our visas there was no line at immigration, since no other flight had landed in the meantime.
After witnessing four fights, we got in a car to the Hyatt Regency Dushanbe.
Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class bottom line
I was impressed by Uzbekistan Airways’ shorthaul business class product. The cabin wasn’t the newest, but otherwise was similar in terms of comfort to what you’d find in the US. However, otherwise I was very impressed, given that this was a 40 minute flight. The purser was friendly, the food plentiful, and amenities good. The lounge in Tashkent was great as well.