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Saha Air Lines: Iranian Visa  
User currently offlinehuntsman80 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2011, 22 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3655 times:

OK so I'm seeking out for some Iranian visa help and am looking for some experienced knowledge!

I'm doing a RTW trip in late August, and if the 707s are still operating with Saha, I hope to do a short hop with them from KIH to THR and combine this with travelling on Iran Air's old 747s (either the 747SP or the 747-100 they have).

The problem is that ordinarily I would just transit between the two flights, negating the need for a visa, but with Saha flying into THR and Iran Air flying their 747s out of IKA, I need to clear immigration to travel between the two.

I don't really want to go through the hassle and cost of applying for a full Iranian tourist visa just to transit between two flights and so I sought to find alternatives.

Checking the Timatic database (TIMS) on the Delta site, I found reference to an Airport Entry visa that Iran offer (distinct from their Visa on Arrival which is not available to British passport holders) with the following info:

Quoting TIMS:
Visa Issuance: Visa required, except a transit visa can be obtained on arrival for those continuing their journey within 48 hours, providing holding:
o A valid passport; and
o Confirmed onward ticket and all documents required for their next destination.
o Fee of USD 40-.
• Passengers are allowed to leave the airport (e.g. to transfer to Iman Khomeini airport (IKA)) for the next international flight;
• Facility not applicable to holders of Hong Kong (SAR China) passports.

This would be perfect for me and after doing some digging I found reference to the visa on various Iranian embassy websites around the world but I have yet to find a single person claiming to have received one or any further reference to the visa anywhere on the interest.

Would Saha Air Lines check in agents use TIMS data and if they did check me in and the visa wasn't still available would I just be sent back to KIH from THR?

[Edited 2011-06-08 04:53:43]

[Edited 2011-06-08 04:54:48]

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2460 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3616 times:

Quoting huntsman80 (Thread starter):
I hope to do a short hop with them from KIH to THR



Thats a DOMESTIC flight... So, yeap, you need a visa for sure.

Quoting huntsman80 (Thread starter):
Iran Air flying their 747s out of IKA



Good luck to find an airworthy B747-100 or SP. Iran Air is no longer op. the B747 into Europe, so their Asian destinations are now mostly upgraded to B742.


User currently offlinehuntsman80 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2011, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 3605 times:

Quoting debonair (Reply 1):
Thats a DOMESTIC flight... So, yeap, you need a visa for sure.

As far as I can tell, it is a domestic flight and it isn't.

Kish Island (KIH) is Iran's free trade zone and on that basis, there are no visa requirements to enter.

So I could enter Kish without a visa from Dubai, catch Saha Air Lines from KIH to THR and if this Airport Entry visa exists, purchase that, and transit to IKA.

Quoting debonair (Reply 1):

Good luck to find an airworthy B747-100 or SP. Iran Air is no longer op. the B747 into Europe, so their Asian destinations are now mostly upgraded to B742.

The information I have, is that the SP is common place with IR and as you say travels to most of their Asian destinations.

The -100 and-200s IR operate however are more illusive. According to the IR Timetable (http://www.iranair.com/Portals/_Rain...ents/TIMETABLE%20SUMMER%202011.pdf), the only 747 flights not operated by the SP are IR518 and IR519 - IKA to JED and back. However, these flights do not appear in any of the IR booking systems and as of yet I have been unable to ascertain whether or not these flights actually operate.

I also believe the -100 and 200s operate separate Hajj flights from THR to JED and checking the THR departure screens (http://213.207.200.11/dailyhd.asp), there are approx. 4-5 departures per day with the 747. Unfortunately, according to IR's office in London, these are charter flights and only bookable from within Iran

My plan thus so far has been focussed around catching IR810 from IKA to BOM after arriving from Kish, which is scheduled for a 747SP and is the cheapest offering I have seen at approx 180GBP one way.

[Edited 2011-06-08 08:02:44]

[Edited 2011-06-08 08:03:18]

User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2460 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3561 times:

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 2):
As far as I can tell, it is a domestic flight and it isn't.



True- but read this: http://www.kish.ir/HomePage.aspx?Tab...=4335&Site=DouranPortal&Lang=en-US

Those foreign nationals who wish to travel to mainland Iran after entering Kish are required to submit the following documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kish Office, which will proceed to issue a visa within 48 hours

Flown SAHA AIRLINES before and I doubt your "transit"-visa will work out..

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 2):
the only 747 flights not operated by the SP are IR518 and IR519 - IKA to JED and back.



True- but we discussed it some month before... One of the most frequent B747SP routes was Tokyo via Peking. But now it seems that only one flight out of 4 or 5 is flown by the B747SP- even though the IR timetable is stating that this route is purely B747SP operated.


User currently offlinehuntsman80 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2011, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3552 times:

Quoting debonair (Reply 3):
Flown SAHA AIRLINES before and I doubt your "transit"-visa will work out..

Thanks a lot for the input, I think this strategy might just be too risky. I don't really want to end up being deported from Iran. Even if this elusive visa is still available, it would all depend upon human judgement upon the day.

However, having a quick rethink, I may have a new plan.

How about if I was to just transit directly at THR airport, i.e. I take Saha Airlines from KIH to THR and then fly out internationally from THR? This way I would never have to clear Iranian immigration.

Unfortunately there aren't too many options to fly out internationally from THR (other than the seemingly unbookable Hajj flights) although I think I may have found a contender with Air Arabia to SHJ, flying every Tues, Thurs and Sat.

The only problem now is finding a Saha Airlines flight that connects within the 12 hours maximum transit time to the Air Arabia flight...

Also just a quick point. It seems Saha Airlines have leased a B707 today to Taban Air. Checking the THR boards, there were no Saha departures/arrivals today, however a quick scan of the KIH boards, showed Taban Air flight 6273 from Mashhad as having B703 equipment today, is this a regular occurance as it could open up some more options for me!

Quoting debonair (Reply 3):
True- but we discussed it some month before... One of the most frequent B747SP routes was Tokyo via Peking. But now it seems that only one flight out of 4 or 5 is flown by the B747SP- even though the IR timetable is stating that this route is purely B747SP operated.

Ah, I wasn't aware there was such a big substitution rate with the SP flights!

What flys instead, their Airbuses?

[Edited 2011-06-08 11:36:46]

User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2460 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3524 times:

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 4):
Ah, I wasn't aware there was such a big substitution rate with the SP flights



Nope, B747-100 or -200. The Airbus fleet is trying to stay alive for European flights- but e.g. IR722 HAM-IKA was delayed by 24hrs due to technical problems...


User currently offlineswissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 33
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3438 times:

I wouldn't rely on timatic too much. In order to avoid any problems I would apply a normal Iranian visa and enjoy the beautiful country as well and if time permits to hop on a few domestic flights which are very affordable and fun.

I did THR-ICN-NRT on their 74L which operates weekly, not its IR800 doeing IKA-PEK-NRT on Wednesdays only. Great flight. The ticket I booked via an agency in Iran who helped me to organise Hotel, Visa and Domestic Tickets (THR-MHD with Saha and some others). The only real problem was to pay them the money as most western banks can't pay into Iranian bank accounts.



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6648 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3428 times:

Quoting swissgabe (Reply 6):
I would apply a normal Iranian visa and enjoy the beautiful country as well

I think the problem is that Iran does not issue visitors visa to UK citizens and it seems the poster is a UK citizen.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinehuntsman80 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2011, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3421 times:

Quoting swissgabe (Reply 6):
I wouldn't rely on timatic too much. In order to avoid any problems I would apply a normal Iranian visa and enjoy the beautiful country as well and if time permits to hop on a few domestic flights which are very affordable and fun.

I unfortunately have limited time available in the area and really can't spend long in Iran. The costs and hassle of applying for an Iranian visa as a British citizen are just too disproportionate for the time I would be spending there.

Why would you say not to rely on Timatic data, is it often wrong?

Quoting swissgabe (Reply 6):
I did THR-ICN-NRT on their 74L which operates weekly, not its IR800 doeing IKA-PEK-NRT on Wednesdays only. Great flight.

The IKA-PEK-NRT is an interesting option for me if the 707s are no longer running with Saha in August (which many are predicting in the Flying Classic/Rare Aircraft In 2011 thread), then a Fifth Freedom flight with IR would be much more preferable to me than having to worry about transiting through Iran. The problem is this flight seems to only be bookable locally. I went into IR's office in London yesterday and the only fares showing for the flight were full IATA at 900GBP+, however the extremely knowledgeable agent I was chatting to stated that the flights are extremely popular with the Chinese community and thus he surmised that there must be special fares only bookable from within China and Japan because it is safe to say no one would be paying 900GBP+ for an Economy one way from PEK to NRT.

However, I don't think the routeing via ICN operates anymore, at least its not in the IR timetable. Can anyone confirm?

Quoting swissgabe (Reply 6):

The ticket I booked via an agency in Iran who helped me to organise Hotel, Visa and Domestic Tickets (THR-MHD with Saha and some others). The only real problem was to pay them the money as most western banks can't pay into Iranian bank accounts.

One agent I have been dealing with has their foreign customers wire funds to an account in Kuwait which has solved this issue for me thankfully. But without this, it could have been a bit of a hassle.


User currently offlineLoran From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 549 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3420 times:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 7):
I think the problem is that Iran does not issue visitors visa to UK citizens and it seems the poster is a UK citizen.

No, it is possible. I was there last year with three friends from the UK, two of them very famous forum members   If you have an invitation from a local travel agent (probably the one everyone knows and has used in here), it is doable although requires a personal visit to the embassy if I recall correctly. Luckily I was able to simply arrive at IKA airport and get a visa on-site for USD 50.

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 8):
The problem is this flight seems to only be bookable locally.

If you need a travel agent who can book the flights let me know. Last time I checked they were at USD 600 o/w, not cheap but in-line with KE or JL fares...



703 717 727 732-9 747 757 767 777 787 AB2/6 310 318-321 330 340 380 D8M D91/3/5 D1C M11 M81-90 L10 IL8/6/7/W/9/4 TU3/5/2
User currently offlineswissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 33
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3416 times:

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 8):
Why would you say not to rely on Timatic data, is it often wrong?

I didn't say they are wrong but I wouldn't rely too much on them. Especially in countries like Iran those rules and condition might depend on nationality and are subject to change very fast. For us those rules might be clear but authorities there might see that a bit different or you still might run into troubles. They are theoretical fine but practical might be something else.

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 8):
The IKA-PEK-NRT is an interesting option for me if the 707s are no longer running with Saha in August (which many are predicting in the Flying Classic/Rare Aircraft In 2011 thread), then a Fifth Freedom flight with IR would be much more preferable to me than having to worry about transiting through Iran. The problem is this flight seems to only be bookable locally. I went into IR's office in London yesterday and the only fares showing for the flight were full IATA at 900GBP+, however the extremely knowledgeable agent I was chatting to stated that the flights are extremely popular with the Chinese community and thus he surmised that there must be special fares only bookable from within China and Japan because it is safe to say no one would be paying 900GBP+ for an Economy one way from PEK to NRT.

However, I don't think the routeing via ICN operates anymore, at least its not in the IR timetable. Can anyone confirm?

Yes, the routing via ICN doesn't exist anymore. I booked the flight true an agent in Tehran and it was around 650 USD back in 2009. I don't know if IR office in PEK can assist you with a cheaper PEK-NRT ticket.

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 8):
One agent I have been dealing with has their foreign customers wire funds to an account in Kuwait which has solved this issue for me thankfully. But without this, it could have been a bit of a hassle.

I did it via a Iranian Tour Operator based in Switzerland whom I paid in Swiss Franc and he used his own Iranian account to wire the money to them at a charge of around 15-20 EUR which is quite ok I think.

Quoting Loran (Reply 9):
it is doable although requires a personal visit to the embassy if I recall correctly

This might depend on nationality. Here in Switzerland I have been able to send them the documents by mail.



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlinehuntsman80 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2011, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3415 times:

Quoting Loran (Reply 9):
No, it is possible. I was there last year with three friends from the UK, two of them very famous forum members   If you have an invitation from a local travel agent (probably the one everyone knows and has used in here), it is doable although requires a personal visit to the embassy if I recall correctly.

Correct, but unfortunately it isn't cheap and it isn't a simple affair.

For British citizens to obtain an Iranian tourist visa there are now a number of hoops to jump through including obtaining an MFA visa code from one of the local Iranian travel agents, having to file your visa application in person and having to have your fingerprints taken when you collect your visa.

Quoting Loran (Reply 9):

If you need a travel agent who can book the flights let me know. Last time I checked they were at USD 600 o/w, not cheap but in-line with KE or JL fares...

Is this 600USD from IKA to NRT or from PEK to NRT?

If it's the former, that's pretty steep and if so I think I'll just stick with IKA to BOM at 280USD  !

Quoting swissgabe (Reply 10):
I didn't say they are wrong but I wouldn't rely too much on them. Especially in countries like Iran those rules and condition might depend on nationality and are subject to change very fast. For us those rules might be clear but authorities there might see that a bit different or you still might run into troubles. They are theoretical fine but practical might be something else.

I obtained my information from the Delta site which requires you to enter your nationality before it generates the visa requirements.

I also spoke with someone in the BMI Pre Support Travel Team the other day when I was making a query about a separate booking and ran this scenario by them. The guy I spoke to said that based on the TIMS data that I have quoted above, if I was flying from LHR to IKA with them, with no visa, they would check me in for the flight. He did however bring up an interesting point, TIMS data is an IATA based system and with Saha Air Lines not being party to IATA, they may not be familiar with its concept...


User currently offlineLoran From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 549 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3401 times:

Quoting swissgabe (Reply 10):
This might depend on nationality. Here in Switzerland I have been able to send them the documents by mail.

Misunderstanding sorry, I was referring to UK nationals only. The ones I traveled with had to visit the Iranian Embassy in UK, but eventually received the visa without problems. German nationals can simply arrive at IKA and get the visa on-site, I have done it twice and was surprisingly easy. As long as you dont arrive on LH, KL, etc. there is no waiting queue. I would have thought the same on-arrival visa applies to CH nationals?

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 11):
Is this 600USD from IKA to NRT or from PEK to NRT?

Unfortunately the quote is for NRT-PEK, I was also surprised considering it is a short flight. I'd also choose IKA-BOM in that case. Since you will be in THR anyways this is no problem, but many users do not want to enter the country for obvious reasons, so we are lucky IR operates under 5th freedom rights in Asia.

Lets see how much longer the 707 operates. I don't know how many times their retirement was announced, only to be extended on short notice for another couple of months. When we went last time in June 2010, we flew them 2 days before the then scheduled retirement! I hope you will still catch them in August. Let me know if you need any more info.



703 717 727 732-9 747 757 767 777 787 AB2/6 310 318-321 330 340 380 D8M D91/3/5 D1C M11 M81-90 L10 IL8/6/7/W/9/4 TU3/5/2
User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4353 posts, RR: 35
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3377 times:

Quoting huntsman80 (Reply 4):
How about if I was to just transit directly at THR airport, i.e. I take Saha Airlines from KIH to THR and then fly out internationally from THR? This way I would never have to clear Iranian immigration.

I must warn you, I was in Iran on a $50 Visa on arrival, but boarding my Saha 707 flight back from Kish to Tehran I was really scrutinized if I had the proper visa to go to THR, even while it's a domestic flight. There is no way you can board that flight without proper documentation. They probably will not be impressed if you show a ticket for connecting flights within 12 hours as after landing in THR there are no passport controlls and you are free to enter the town and not show up on the Air Arabia flight, let alone a flight departing from IKA.



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
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