(Traveled on February 14, 2016)
Day two is split into two reports as it was a very long day that included three flights and a fair bit of sightseeing. The second part of the report covers the first half of the second day of the trip – a roundtrip to Ahwaz on a 727. Besides flying the Iran Aseman Boeing 727, we also had a chance to take a quick city tour. While Ahwaz has no major tourist attractions, it offers its visitors a chance to enjoy Iran from the non-touristy point of view.
Flying on a 727 in 2016
Still tired from previous day, I woke up shortly before five in order to get ready for our 6:50AM flight to Ahwaz. While our hotel was located a three minute walk from Terminal 2, it was about a 20 minute walk to Terminal 4 from where our Iran Aseman flight would be departing.
As such, shortly after five, our group gathered and started the walk towards the terminal.
Once at the terminal, we checked ourselves in. Once again, the very friendly check-in lady allowed me to go behind the counter to see the seat map.
With boarding passes in our hands, we went to restaurant where we exchanged USD and EUR into Iranian Rials. After that, we headed through the security into the rather small waiting area.
When we arrived airside, the gate was not decided yet. As such, we settled in on one of the benches and some of us bought drinks at the store. One of our tour members even got her water paid for by another customer as she had trouble understanding the price – Iranian hospitality in action!
Shortly after 6:30AM, boarding for our flight was announced, and so we headed to the announced gate – gate 7.
Boarding was done by bus which took us by various ramps at Mehrabad. One of the aircraft we passed was another Aseman 727 – EP-ASD – which I hoped we would board. The bus, however, kept going and soon we arrived next to EP-ASA – the same 727 that I had flown twice previously.
Well, cannot complain. I was about to board a 727 in year 2016!
While boarding, one of the flight attendants became interested in our group and so I explained him we were a group of enthusiasts mostly from Japan. I also asked him if it would be possible to visit the cockpit. He immediately asked the captain, and so a couple of us was able to visit the cockpit before take-off.
After seeing the three-person flight deck, I headed to my seat 26B. Since the row in front was nearly empty, I switched my seat to 25A before take-off so that I could get window view.
Around 7:10AM, we pushed back and started our engines. We taxied to runway 29L, passing by ramps full of aircraft.
Couple of minutes later, our engines started roaring and we were up in the air, heading towards Ahwaz.
Right after take-off, meal service started. It was a simple box consisting of two pieces of pastry and milk.
The rest of the flight, we spent looking around the airplane, talking with the crew and taking the obligatory “wing+engine” shots.
About an hour after take-off, we started our descend into Ahwaz. After taking a group shot and a shot of the Iranian President and Supreme Leader (as instructed by the friendly inflight security guard), we got off the plane.
The bus ride to the terminal took us around some interesting aircraft including Naft Fokker 50.
Touring Around Ahwaz
After getting out of the airport, the first thing that struck our eyes was the beautiful airport mosque.
Once we finished taking pictures of the mosque, we found a taxi driver. Called my Iranian friend, let him talk to the taxi driver, and we were on our way. Three taxis following each other with the ten of us and showing us around the city of Ahwaz.
First, we stopped at a park next to the Karun river which flows through the city. Because of the bridges that cross the Karun river, Ahwaz is called the City of Bridges.
Next we stopped next to the Ahwaz Cable Bridge – the longest cable bridge in the Middle East.
We had enough of the river and bridges, and so we went to a street market. While not a tourist attraction, the friendliness of the people amazed me. It provided for some great opportunities to take picture of locals.
Finally, we went to the bazaar and city center which provided some more portrait as well as street photography opportunities.
After we walked around the city for a while, we headed back to the cars and drove back to the airport. The taxi drivers were extremely friendly, and showed us around as if they were guides – thanks so much!
See the Ahwaz gallery for more photos!
EP-ASA, Good to See You Again
Back at the airport, we went straight to check-in.
After getting our boarding passes, we went to a restaurant on the second floor where we got some drinks and food. Mainly, however, we went there to take a picture of our 727 arriving back in Ahwaz.
By the time everyone’s food arrived it was less than 30 minutes before the flight, and so we headed through the security where the boarding begun within a few minutes.
Onboard, we were welcomed by the same crew that flew us into Ahwaz in the morning.
As the aircraft and crew were exactly the same as on our inbound flight, after take-off, I mostly relaxed.
In no time, we landed back in Tehran and our 727 adventure was over.