Airline: Air Astana
Cabin: Economy Class
Route: Dubai, UAE (DXB) – Almaty, Kazakhstan (ALA)
Flight time: 4:00hrs
Aircraft: Airbus A321-200 (P4-KDA)
This is going to be a just a short review of my economy class experience with Air Astana.
I heard a lot about Air Astana in the past and most of comments were very positive, so I was eager to try this new (for me) airline. Air Astana secured the top position in Skytrax in “The Best Airline in Central Asia and India” for eight consecutive years, so my expectations were high.
I made booking just one day before departure, therefore one way ticket from Dubai to Almaty came at around 360USD. I was bit disappointed that Air Astana, despite being partner of LH Miles and More program, does not award any miles for this particular sector. Miles and More miles can be earned only on flights between Kazakhstan and Europe
I showed up at the check in standard 2 hours prior to departure. During the process I was thinking that the flight was going to be quite empty, as I was the only person checking in at that time, however later on it turned out that flight was completely full.
Boarding was quite fast and I was positively surprised by very tidy and well groomed cabin. Even pillows were placed in the exactly same angle and there was a pleasant smell in the cabin (I am not sure if it was just a coincidence or Air Astana management decided to apply “5 Senses Marketing Theory” into use – all in all, job well done). Obviously Air Astana cares a lot about the first impression.
It appeared that most of passengers on the flight were Kazakh going back home from holidays in Dubai and the region. Boarding was completed in less than 20 minutes. The Captain announced flying time of four hours and informed us of our flight path taking us over Iran, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan all the way to the biggest city of Kazakhstan and its ex-capital Almaty.
After relatively short taxi out we were on our way to Kazakhstan. My seat was on the right side, so I could not take any photo of famous Dubai skyline, as my view was in the direction of neighboring Emirate of Sharjah.
Promptly after take off crew initiated the inflight service by giving out small kit bags. Wow, kit bags on relatively short day time flight is something you don’t usually expect. I quite liked the design and even the contents were appropriate.
Individually packaged single use headsets were given out, even though there was no in seat in-flight entertainment. Passengers have to download Air Astana’s own entertainment app called “KC TV” (this can be done directly on board during the flight), which offers fairly limited amount of movies, TV series and music. I have noticed that large part of the entertainment selection was in Russian language, however given their network, that covers mostly CIS countries, where majority of population speaks Russian as their first or second language, it kind of made sense.
KC TV was the only way how I could track the flight status as well.
Approximately half an hour after take off the meal service began. Meals were served together with fairly wide selection of drinks. Here is the menu for the flight:
I went for the pasta option, which was “ok”, but nothing to write home about. Interestingly Air Astana does not offer desert per se, but they have opted for placing small box with variety of different chocolate and fruit candies inside the box on top of meal trays.
Meal service was quite fast, but not rushed. Crew was polite and professional, I would just appreciate if they put more of their personalities into their jobs, rather than going through usually memorized polite phrases.
Half an hour before landing the Captain made another announcement telling us of the weather and temperature in Almaty of 17 degrees Celsius.
Almaty airport is not very big, therefore taxi into our stand was very fast. What I really enjoy about flying in ex-USSR countries is seeing all those rare airlines and aircraft types around airports, and Almaty did not disappoint. Unfortunately as it was raining I was not able to take any pictures after landing.
Short walk from the gate was the immigration, which we cleared within 10 minutes, as we seemed to be the only international flight that arrived at that time. As soon as we reached the baggage carousel, my bags were out. Perfect!
Overall I have to say that flying with Air Astana was very pleasant experience, in some aspects even positively surprising and at the moment it would be my first option to fly into the region of Central Asia.