Tour Overview: Iranian Skies & Cities I (February 2016)

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Iranian Skies & Cities 2016

(Traveled on February 13-20, 2016)

After having visited Iran for two times – in 2014 and 2015, my friend Yukihiro and I decided to organize a tour for aircraft enthusiasts to give more people the chance to experience flying the Iranian classics as well as to see the beautiful country in general.

Background

I visited Iran for the first time in November 2014 with the sole purpose of flying on the 747SP sightseeing flight. However, during my visit (which lasted less than 48 hours), I fell in love with the country. The people were extremely friendly and the atmosphere reminded me of Europe five or ten years ago.

Tehran Times
A couple of minutes after I boarded my first ever Iran Air flight bound for my first ever visit to Iran. “Nuclear pact within reach…” Now, the deal has been reached, sanctions lifted and the days of Iranian classic aircraft are slowly but surely going away.
Yukihiro and I in the 747-200 cockpit during our first Iran Air flight from KL to Tehran.
Yukihiro and I in the 747-200 cockpit during our first Iran Air flight from KL to Tehran.

As such, I decided to return in 2015, this time in September. After another successful trip and after meeting more friendly Iranians and flying more classic aircraft, I was wondering when my next trip to Iran would be.

Tabiat Bridge
On Tabiat Bridge with my friend during my second visit to Iran.

Luckily, my friend Yukihiro (YK Aviation) mentioned he wanted to go to Iran again and after a bit of discussion, we decided not only to go by ourselves, but organize a tour combining flying classic aircraft and sightseeing in Iran.

Eventually, we gathered eight participants bringing the total size of the group to ten people, and so we started planning the tour and arranging all the necessary flights, hotels and so on.

We called the tour “Iranian Skies & Cities 2016”, and offered two versions of it – short and long course.

Map
Map of the tour flights.

To get to Kuala Lumpur where the tour would start, Yukihiro, his girlfriend Akiko, and I decided to take Delta Air Lines flight from Tokyo Narita to Singapore, and then another fifth freedom flight – with Oman Air – to Kuala Lumpur.

For the way back, I decided to take Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore in order to connect to the return portion of my Delta Air Lines flight back to Tokyo.

Table of Contents

Since the trip was long and included many highlights, the report is split into multiple parts. You can chose the part you are interested in reading by clicking here or by selecting from the table of contents below:

Day 1: KUL-IKA Onboard Iran Air 747-200

Report covering our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tehran with Iran Air’s Boeing 747-200, as well as a dinner with Iran Air crew members on the night of our arrival.
Day 1: KUL-IKA Onboard IR 747-200


Day 2 Pt. 1: Iran Aseman 727 to Ahwaz and Back

One of the main goals of our visit was to fly the Boeing 727 of Iran Aseman, and luckily we got to do so twice. Along the way we also got a chance to see a not so visited city – Ahwaz.

Day 2 Pt. 1: Iran Aseman 727 to Ahwaz and Back


Day 2 Pt. 2: To the Abbasi Gardens with Iran Air

After returning from Ahwaz, we spent a couple of hours in Tehran before continuing on to Isfahan where we stayed in the historic Abbasi Hotel.

Day 2 Pt. 2: To the Gardens of Abbasi with Iran Air


Day 3: Isfahan Sights & Back to THR with Qeshm

Day three was spent sightseeing in Isfahan before returning back to Tehran late at night on a Qeshm Air Fokker 100.

Day 3: Isfahan Sights & Back to THR with Qeshm


Day 4: Pouya An-74 Joyride & FARS Hangar Visit

A day filled with aviation including a joyride on a chartered Antonov An-74 and a visit to FARS – one of the largest aircraft maintenance companies in Iran.

Day 4: Pouya Air An-74 Joyride & FARS Hangar Visit


Day 5: Caspian 737 and MD-83 to Shiraz and Back

Persepolis near Shiraz used to be the centre of the Persian Empire. To take a look at it and other sights in Shiraz, we took a Caspian Airlines Boeing 737-300. Our return flight was planned with Kish Air MD-83, but we ended up taking Caspian Airlines instead.

Day 5: Caspian 737 and MD-82 to Shiraz and Back


Day 6: Mashad on Two Generations of A300

On our last full day in Iran, we did a half-day trip to Mashad in order to fly on Mahan Air’s Airbus A300-600 and Iran Air’s Airbus A300B2. In the afternoon, some of us spent a couple of hours spotting at Mehrabad airport.

Day 6: Two Generations of A300s to and from Mashad

Day 7: IKA to KUL with an Onboard Semi-Upgrade

Starting with a quick trip to Tehran’s bazaar, we continued on to spend most of the afternoon spotting at Mehrabad airport. At night, we transferred to Imam Khomeini airport to take our Iran Air flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

Day 7: From IKA to KUL with an Onboard Semi-Upgrade

Conclusion

Just like on my first two trips, I was amazed by the country. While flying classic aircraft was one of the main reasons for visiting, it is necessary not to forget the historic and people aspect of the country.

Our group was able to try a number of Iranian airlines and to fly many aircraft types including classics such as Boeing 747-200, Boeing 727-200, Antonov An-74, McDonnell Douglas MD-83, Airbus A300-600 and Airbus A300B2.

Besides that, we were able to see the beautiful cities of Tehran, Ahwaz, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashad.

Last, but not least, we were able to meet tens of Iranians all of whom shared one trait – their hospitality.

Due to the trip being a big success, Yukihiro and I are currently planning another trip to Iran which we hope to see you on!

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7 thoughts on “Tour Overview: Iranian Skies & Cities I (February 2016)”

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No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…

But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.

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