Review: Uzbekistan Airways Business Class A320 Tashkent To Dushanbe

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
Depart: 7:35AM
Arrive: 8:35AM
Duration: 1hr
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.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class cabin


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class cabin

The bulkhead had a decent amount of legroom, I’d say roughly comparable to the legroom in other rows.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class seats


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class legroom

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.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 economy cabin

The recline could be controlled by a single button on the interior armrest, and there was also an audio control there.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class seat recline & audio control

In front of and underneath the center armrest were two power outlets.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class power outlets

Also on the center armrest was a small tray that could be extended.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class tray

The tray table itself folded out of the side armrest.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class tray table

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.


Uzbekistan Airways business class pillow

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.


Uzbekistan Airways business class slippers, eyeshades, and shoe horn

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.


Uzbekistan Airways business class towels

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.


Uzbekistan Airways business class apple juice and towels

Before boarding continued I checked out the lavatory at the front of the cabin, which was in decent condition.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class lavatory

There was a big air freshener bottle, as well as some towelettes.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 business class lavatory air freshener

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.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 Tashkent Airport

As mentioned in the previous installment, there were also several people in military uniforms walking around the tarmac.


Tashkent Airport 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).


Tashkent Airport tarmac

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.


Uzbekistan Airways safety demo

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.


Uzbekistan Airways A320 Tashkent Airport

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.


Taxiing Tashkent Airport


Fascinating traffic at Tashkent Airport

We crossed runway 8L, and by 7:45AM were cleared for takeoff on runway 8R.


Taxiing Tashkent Airport

We had a quick and bumpy takeoff roll, and then a steep climb out of Tashkent.


View after takeoff from Tashkent


View after takeoff from Tashkent


View after takeoff from 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.


Uzbekistan Airways business class table setting

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).


Uzbekistan Airways business class snack

There was also a pack of peanuts.


Uzbekistan Airways business class nuts

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.


Uzbekistan Airways business class water & coffee

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.


View enroute to Dushanbe


View enroute to Dushanbe

About 25 minutes after takeoff we began our descent into Dushanbe.


View enroute to Dushanbe


View enroute to Dushanbe


View enroute to Dushanbe

I was so excited to explore Dushanbe after seeing it from above.


View approaching Dushanbe


View approaching Dushanbe

We touched down in Dushanbe at 8:25AM, and then had to back taxi on the runway to get to our arrival stand.


Taxiing Dushanbe Airport

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).


Taxiing Dushanbe Airport


Somon Air 737 Dushanbe Airport

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.


Arrival stand Dushanbe Airport


Arrival stand Dushanbe Airport


Uzbekistan Airways A320 upon arrival in Dushanbe

Our bus ride to the terminal took about five minutes.


Dushanbe Airport bus

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.


Tajik Air 767 Dushanbe Airport

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.”


Visa on arrival window at Dushanbe Airport

By the time we had our visas there was no line at immigration, since no other flight had landed in the meantime.


Immigration at Dushanbe Airport

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.

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Comments

  1. Was a bit worried when I read the flight time at the top and it said 11 hours, thought it was going to be a review of a disaster flight!

  2. Wow, that Somon Air 737 looks very similar to the Sólyom Hungarian Airway, that never took off after painting one 737 to its colors.

  3. Um…did I miss something?

    Are we not going to have the pleasure of reading reports of your time in Uzbekistan?? No report on your exploration of Tashkent? Or of the sidetrip to Samarkand? Or an insight as to why you and Matthew chose Samarkand over Bukhara?

    I sense we’re being punished.

  4. @ Lucky- “He was a Brit who lived and Dallas”, I think you meant to say he was a Brit who lived IN Dallas.
    I can’t find anything about their Business class but it seems like they fly their 767s mostly to St. Petersburg and Moscow. When looking on the Tajik Air website for dates in September economy round-trip to Moscow is around 450EUR, but when I look up for business class it says it is unavailable.

  5. The planes you don’t have identified are Il-76s, or something closely related. Soviet-era heavy airlift plane. They’re pretty common in civilian service, too, for the niches where you need a military-style cargo plane. (Attempts to do the same with western airlifters have not fared well.) Uzbekistan Airways used to fly them, presumably for cargo.

  6. @Lucky: The $25 VIP arrival service is very useful if you arrive at 3am on a full TK A321. Immigration is a complete mess then and arriving at the hotel by 3:45am instead of 5:30am is truly worth it …

  7. This is an airline at the bottom of my list of airlines to fly. Your reviews just reassured me of that !!!

  8. I agree that older planes have more legroom in Economy. Yesterday I flew from Jacksonville (Florida) to Dallas-Fort Worth on an American MD-80. I hadn’t flown one in 5 years and the legroom was quite good (for ecomomy) and it had wifi. It also had power ports but they were DC power ports (not that most people need it for a nightime 2hr flight

  9. The visa-on-arrival – did you arrive with the online e-visa completed and an approved form, or just with nothing at all?

    Also – recently flew Uz airlines Tokyo-Tashkent-Tokyo. I sat in the back of economy, where there was a lot of room, except for several full 3-seater middle sections taken up by one Uz airlines staff – apparently the return flight crew flies out with the plane, takes up space in the back in free seats, usually full rows they lay in, usually having taken off their uniform clothes once the plane is airborne. One stewardess for the return flight plopped herself clear in the middle of the 3-seat empty middle section (preventing me from having it) and took herself a meal tray, opened the tray table, and proceeded to eat is as we took off from Tashkent.

    Yep, that’s Uz airways culture for you.

  10. Uzbekistan Airways has no pilots traveling in the passenger cabin on the short flights – there were not a pilots, but the engineering staff. Also UzbAir has sky marshals too on some of the routes, so Your guess about them was true.

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