Great service and a decent meal characterized a short 189-mile flight from the capital of Uzbekistan to the capital of Tajikistan on Uzbekistan Airways.
After leaving the lounge and being “chauffeured” by bus to the aircraft, we boarded via air stairs and found ourselves the first passengers onboard. Note the soldiers guarding the aircraft.
Uzbekistan Airways 717
Tashkent (TAS) – Dushanbe (DYU)
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Depart: 7:35 AM
Arrive: 8:35 AM
Duration: 1hr, 00min
Seat: 1B (Business Class)
A uniformed pilot was seated in the last row of business class, spoiling our opportunity to snap clear cabin shots, but here is the look at the seats, which were just like a standard domestic first class seat on a U.S. airline. Business class contained three rows of 2-2, for a total of 12 seats.
No IFE was provisioned on this flight though the aircraft contained drop-down screens and in-seat audio controls.
The cabin was served by Nargiza and Kristina, two lovely FAs who were friendly and provided excellent service throughout the flight. They both smiled often, which admittedly you don’t see often in Uzbekistan.
We received the identical “amenity kit” that we received on the New York to Tashkent flight. While that was paltry for an 11hr transatlantic flight, slippers and an eye mask on a 45-minute flight was a nice amenity. The same pillow was also distributed.
Kristina offered us a glass of apple juice with a moist towelette as we waited to depart. We later received a cold towel that was dipping wet.
Each business class seat featured a functioning power outlet.
The galley and lavatory were clean. Even the toilet paper was folded!
Eventually another bus pulled up to the terminal and about 30 passengers got off. It would be a lightly-filled flight.
Two passengers appeared to self-upgrade. Some discussion ensued with the flight crew in Uzbek, but they both stayed put. They were not served business class meals however…more on that in a moment.
As we taxied out, we noticed a fleet of Russian helicopters in the Uzbekistan Airways livery as well as a trio of BAe 146s. These are apparently used for charter operations, which is a shame…a MiG helicopter would have been more interesting than even the elusive IL-114.
We took off about 15 minutes late (but would still land on time in Dushanbe).
Views were quite beautiful during the flight, though Dushanbe was quite hazy–
Great Breakfast for a Short Flight
I already wrote about it in a Meal of the Week post, but I was impressed at the large hot breakfast served just minutes after takeoff.
It included a main course of crêpes, one with meat, the other with ricotta cheese. Also on the tray was raw slice cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, a whole nectarine, a bland chocolate cake, a packet of peanuts and a piece of bread with butter and “processed cheese”.
I’d rate breakfast as satisfactory. Interestingly, economy class (including the two business class stowaways) appeared to receive an identical meal as we did, just served on plastic instead of porcelain.
It was not long after the breakfast dishes were collected that we commenced our final descent into Dushanbe.
On the ground in Dushanbe we again were met by air stairs and a sign advertising $25 for VIP handling. We boarded a bus (not separate for business class) and were eventually whisked to the arrivals terminal.
We passed this exotic Tajik Air 767 on the way–
There’s not much you can screw up on a very short flight, but I was pleasantly surprised by the decent ground service and comfortable onboard experience. While Uzbekistan Airways is uncompetitive on longhaul flights service is impressive on shorthaul flights (or at least our flight).