(Traveled on February 13, 2016)
This is the first part of a megareport about the Iranian Skies & Cities 2016 tour organized by me and YK Aviation. It covers the first day of the tour including spotting in Kuala Lumpur before our departure, the flight from KL to Tehran, and a dinner in Tehran with Iran Air crew members.
Spotting in KL
Since we had time after our arrival from Singapore, Yukihiro, Akiko and I met with one of our friends in KL and went to the runway end to take some photos. At the runway end, we met Nabe-san and Suzuki-san who would be joining the tour.
In about one hour, we were able to capture, among others an Iraq Airways 777-200, Mahan Air A340-300 and Iran Air 747-200. It was especially nice to catch the Iran Air – the aircraft that would be taking us to Tehran later on.
Meeting the group
We arrived at the Iran Air check-in counter at around 10:35. Within a couple of minutes the whole group of 10 assembled. As one of the participants made special T-shirts for the tour, we distributed those, and then nine of us (except for one person that checked-in earlier) proceeded to check-in.
The very nice station manager allowed our group to skip the line and so we were at the counter in no time.
With boarding passes in our hand, we exited the check-in area, but decided to wait for our crew to arrive to say greet them. They arrived in no time, and it was great seeing Captain Shadmani again – the one that took me to Tehran for the first time back in 2014.
A “see you on board” to the crew and a “good bye” to our KL friend Mr. Ong later, we were on our way through immigration.
To Tehran Onboard the 747-200
After having a quick tea with Yukihiro and Akiko, we headed to our gate where we met with the rest of the group.
After taking photos of our aircraft through the windows, we were one of the last people to board. Once onboard, we asked one of the cabin crew to mention our presence to the cockpit crew.
After I settled in my seat next to Yukihiro and Akiko, we received a positive answer – two people could go into the cockpit for take-off. As such, one of our participants – Ryo and I headed upstairs. Ryo settled in the front jump seat, and I stayed in the rear one.
Within a couple of minutes, we pushed back and all four of our GE engines were started up. A short taxi to runway, and we were ready to take off.
V1, rotate! You can watch the video of our take-off below.
After we took-off and started climbing, we started talking with the crew. Once again, they had stories from Tokyo. Furthermore, the flight engineer explained the flight information sheet to us and gave us blank copies to keep.
As a lunch is served shortly after take-off, once we left the cockpit and went back to our seats.
The choice for lunch was either chicken or beef. While Akiko and I ordered chicken, Yukihiro decided to go with beef. As you can see below, both of the meals were exactly the same – except for the meat.
We finished the fairly tasty lunch, and then the real “party” started. Talking with the cabin crew. Taking turns to visit the cockpit, taking wingshots, you name it.
With that much fun onboard, the flight time passed really fast, and soon another meal was served – this time a fruit plate consisting of an apple and grapes.
A bit of relax in my seat, and once again – for the third time… Another meal was served. This time, a simple croissant. Impressive! Now at this point, I need to point out that the meals were exactly the same as the last time I flew this flight. However, unless you fly the flight every week, that is not a problem.
Once the third meal was finished, with only a couple of hours left, it was time to roam around the cabin once again. Wingshots, photos of cabin, photos with fellow passengers, you name it. Even though it was a regular flight, it felt like a special enthusiasts flight!
At about 4:15PM Iranian time we started our descend into Imam Khomeini airport, and way too soon – at 4:40PM, we touched down – bringing this awesome flight to an end.
Dining with Iran Air Crew
Just outside the immigration at Imam Khomeini airport, our driver was waiting for us. We headed straight to Mehrabad Airport hotel.
A quick shower later, we were on our way to Orkideh where we had a dinner with Iran Air crew members scheduled.
It was a great evening full of aviation (and other) talk. Besides our group of 10, three Iran Air 747 captains and two first officers participated. Also, I am very thankful that Mr. Mosaferi – the purser from our flight to Tehran – came for the dinner in spite of being very tired after working the flight from KL!
After the dinner was finished and a group photo taken, the two first officers and Mr. Mosaferi offered to drive us to the hotel instead of having to take the taxi – how nice!