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The Journey Of A Persian Princess: Iran Air B747SP  
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1683 posts, RR: 52
Posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 30246 times:


IRAN AIR: هواپیمائی جمهوری اسلامی ایران
She traveled the miles in thousands, and joined borders afar. She pushed the envelopes aplenty, and many limits ajar. From Tehran to New York, nonstop and more. Thirty Six from 1976, and the SP continues to soar.

Iran Air, much like aviation in Iran, is a prime pilgrimage for all aviation enthusiasts alike. It really doesn't matter where you're from or what you like and dislike, the fact that Iran and its airlines still harbor some of the world's most exotic aircraft, will always unite us away from our usual 'I dos and I certainly don't dos'.

Naturally, this special situation is by no means customized to satisfy the most seasoned of enthusiasts. But it is a result of the unfortunate political climate that we live in today. While I do not take part in single-sided politics that have a direct impact on the most obvious non-target (in this case, the Iranian people), it is hard not to notice the mysterious byproduct it has created.

Today, Iran Air is the only airline flying its passengers on the 747SP. It is quite remarkable that this airline -the first and last operator of the special subtype- continues to operate the very same fleet that was delivered factory fresh from Boeing in 1976. Clearly, classic birds such as these may remain in operation in sanctioned Iran, but we are already seeing a wave of 'modern classics' enter the scene that will probably soon serve as direct replacements (i.e. A340s). It may not be long until those planes literally expire. So now is the time!

As always, it is my buddy Sam Chui that sets the unforgettable trends, in the very same way he kick-started this little escapade. Of course, he's done this before time and time again, but thankfully, he is always happy to do it all over again. He joins me on one part, and SR103 buys in to it on the other end of this journey. Call me Etihad Airways, and assume that I have just announced two codeshares on this route! Let's collaborate and enjoy!


A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
41 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1683 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 30768 times:

This TR will cover the following itinerary on Iran Air's Special Performance Jumbo:

- Kuala Lumpur to Tehran in Homa Class with Sam Chui
- Tehran to Kuala Lumpur in Homa Class with SR103, a.k.a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

All pictures and videos from this point forward belong respectively to the three of us, Sam Chui, SR103, and myself. Whether they’re good or bad quality, they are still copyrighted to us. No need to specifically identify them, but at least Sam’s pictures can be easily distinguished from the rest!

On one fine random day, Sam Chui embarked on an alternative type of Iran Air journey. It was far from the commercial 747SP scene, and more focused around the airline's off-radar fleet, i.e. the classic 747s. Since then, Iran Air became the latest fashion again, where everything everywhere suddenly seemed so Iran Air!

In the midst of all this, I found myself uncontrollably heading towards Iran Air's GSA office in Abu Dhabi, with my mind giving out commands -which I couldn't seem to control- to buy a roundtrip ticket in Homa Class between Kuala Lumpur and Tehran.

Sam on the other hand, was booked on the SP from Beijing but his flight got cancelled and he ended up switching to my flight from Kuala Lumpur. Why travel separately on the same airline and on the same day when you can enjoy the same experience all along?

Then there was SR103. He hadn't yet logged a flight on the 747SP, so I sold him the idea of joining me on this trip. Of course, it didn't take much to convince him, and in the end, we all had our confirmed tickets and were in full anticipation of this exciting trip.

I had arrived KL the night before on Qatar Airways, and spent just over 24 hours doing absolutely nothing –just as planned- in a hotel room downtown. This trip was one of hundreds of specific weekend ‘hops’ designed just to fly the plane and return back to work on the next day of duty. As such, rest periods in between are key to keep going.

On the day of departure, I started my activities as early as 7am on the KLIA Ekspres headed towards Kuala Lumpur International Airport, today’s port of call for my Iran Air flight. Sam was arriving from Hong Kong –on a CX flight delayed due to manic weather activity at HKG- and was to meet me at the arrivals hall so we could check-in for the flight together.

It was just past 8am when we had arrived at the Iran Air check-in counters, today located on the island housing counters G10-G14. Two desks were dedicated to Homa Class –the airline’s legendary theme for its Business Class product- and the remaining infrastructure for Economy Class. Booking class availability for this flight showed what seemed to be a light load, and the lack of queues today further elaborates on this.

Homa check-in desks


Check-in FIDS


Information printed in Farsi


All counter staff were standard MAS ground handling, apart from one lady dressed in Iran Air’s uniform. Presumably she is part of the airline’s station management staff overlooking the departure process. Nonetheless, we were attended to with the standard expectation of a typical premium product.

As this journey involves a transit through Tehran, and to Dubai as the final destination, it was only common sense I refrained from flashing my US passport as the form of identification for my travels today. Instead, I used my Jordanian passport, which isn’t necessarily good, but is the safer option for sure.

My Jordanian passport does not have any visa for the UAE, but surprisingly this was not questioned at the check-in counter. The staff was happy to know that we had a connecting flight to Dubai, and apparently that’s all they needed to know. Seats selected, boarding cards printed, and documents handed back with a smile. Life is brilliant when it’s easy like this!

My birth name, i.e. my terrorist name




While we had expected Iran Air to use the standard OAL premium lounge offering at KUL –in this case the Plaza Premium Lounge- we were pleasantly surprised when we saw that our invites were for the flagship MAS Golden Lounge instead. Iran Air has indeed paid attention to this little detail and has selected the best available option for its premium passengers.

The Golden Lounge is located in a prime location on the satellite terminal, and while it is secluded enough from any hustle and bustle at the airport, it is centrally located facing the Aerotrain docking station, the Jungle Boardwalk, and the main duty free shopping area.

MAS Golden Lounge


Our visits to this lounge this year have been far more frequent than envisaged, but at least for me I have no complaints. The experience here is always comfortable and today it is no different. Friendly staff welcomes us inside, and they even participate in making the lounge reception suitable for a ‘Facebook’ photo. Of course this part is owed to Sam and his charm that seems to always work its way positively on airline/airport staff.



Lounge activity was rather minimal this morning, with just a few passengers on a bundle of MAS flights, in addition to those on Qatar and Iran Air. Space was plenty, and so were food and comfort. While Sam used the lounge’s shower facilities, I had my quick walk-around before heading back out for my last few smokes before the flight.

Main seating area



Self-service bar


MAS still offers decent hot food in its lounges




Calm and serene at KLIA



At about 10:45am, boarding for our flight was announced in the lounge. Naturally, this was the queue for the butterfly sensations. Sam of course continued to assure that all will be smooth, but a first-timer like myself couldn’t help but anticipate a little anxiety from traveling across borders untouched. Special Performance jumbo here we come!

Approaching Gate C16, the stumpy features of the SP were clearly visible along most of the journey. The seemingly enormous width of its tail, coupled with its visibly ‘thicker’ body is hard to miss in the presence of an SP on an airfield. Thick and sharp always comes to mind whenever I see one.

Today’s Persian Princess


We were of the last few to arrive at the podium of Gate C16, where our boarding passes were ripped and we were wished a pleasant journey to Tehran.

Gate C16


Through the aerobridge, our excitement kicked in with smiles and chirps as we arrived at Door 1L of the main deck of the jumbo. Welcoming us at first contact was today’s purser and a security marshal that was standing semi-discreetly from across.

“Sobh be kheyr, khosh amadid”
“Good morning”
“Welcome sir. This way please”
“Thank you”

By 11am, we were on board Iran Air’s B747SP, our playground for the next 8 hours.


A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1683 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 30762 times:


IRAN AIR Flight Information:

KIR841 25MAR27OCT1034560 29674LKULKUL1110 1635IKAIKA J

Registration: EP-IAB
Condition: 36.5 years old, delivered to Iran Air in 1976

Remarks: NIL


Scheduled Departure: 11:10
Actual Departure: 11:15 (Pushback)

Scheduled Arrival: 16:35
Actual Arrival: 15:53 (Touchdown)

Welcome to Iran Air


Upon turning left, we arrive at our seats and are instantly made comfortable with our surroundings. The retro cabin is well preserved, and is also spotless fresh. It was not only a blast from the past, but the scene was perfectly spotless, it felt like a new cabin back in the day. Many may have their doubts that Iran Air’s planes are old, but to keep them flying until today requires exceptional skill, and today’s upkeep standards certainly tell me a positive story. TAAG’s 743 for instance, is a technically newer aircraft, but it was in a depressing state compared to this fresh beauty.

The cabin


The seats are also no different. Offering the most basic of frills, yet they can easily outdo today’s standards of basic comfort. They may not have a minibar, or convert to even an angled lie-flat position, but they do offer what seems to have been long forgotten today; pure cushiony comfort. Soft padding -and plenty of it- a cradle recline, and a simple footrest are just what I need to kick back and relax for this journey back through time. And is there no one occupying the seat next to you? No problem, simply remove the removable center armrest and you even have a seat that can challenge SQ’s Business Class offer in terms of width. Absolutely brilliant!

The seat


Leg space: short but sweet

Usually a picture like this means that ‘something’ is about to happen on this flight


On the way to settlement in our seats, we are warmly greeted by Payam, a male cabin crew –one of several that will look after us today in Homa Class- who not only performed the standard greeting recitals, but actually engaged in a proper conversation with us, seeing that we were absolutely excited to be here.

“You were on holiday in Kuala Lumpur?”
“No, we are here just to fly on Iran Air’s SP
“Please enjoy it, you are most welcome here”
“Can I get you some juices to drink?”
“Yes please”

A selection of juices –orange, lemonade, and mango- were on offer, in addition to water. Sam selected mango, and I opted for the orange juice.

Welcome drinks


Payam then returned to us with a tray offering a selection of amenity kits and Iran Air branded pens. The kits came in two different colors, dark beige and olive green, and are made from pure Mashhad leather, which is an Iranian luxury. He even ensured that we each had a different color so we can have both.

Amenity kits and pens


Meanwhile, seeing the two of us hop from one end of the cabin to the other, the sky marshal manning the boarding process was questioning our photography intentions. But Sam politely explained the situation to him with a few words that simply worked –like magic- where we were then given the green light to go to town!

Doors were eventually closed, and an announcement was made by Captain Moghadam to welcome us on board. He advised us of our flight’s routing to Tehran, and that today’s flight time would be 8 hours and 20 minutes.

At 11:10am, we pushed back rather swiftly onto the apron. The engines began their warm-up hums one after the other, and after the typical start-up checklist, we began our taxi to the active runway.

Takeoff –at 11:30am- was a noticeable difference for me when comparing to my last SP experience on Syrianair. Today’s was rather sluggish and lengthy, and perhaps we may have been loaded a little more, but I certainly did not feel that certain power of the SP that was instantly felt with Syrianair. Or, I may just be talking a bunch of bullocks because our climb was certainly steep as we shot upwards like a rocket into the skies, beginning our journey towards Iran.

The journey to cruising altitude was rather lengthy today, but most of that owed to our bypassing a storm that was looming close by. Eventually after 45 minutes, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew was released to prepare for the service. Sam and I on the other hand, burst out of our seats and the ding of seatbelt sign, and floated around the nose section of the aircraft taking in as much as possible.

Cabin after takeoff





Absorbing as much as I could


My favorite part of any classic 747


Moving map


On our crossing over the Bay of Bengal, lunch service began, and Payam was in the cabin dressing our tables.



Fresh flowers!!


A full lunch service is offered after takeoff, and on Iran Air in Homa Class, this is totally tray-less. A trolley was passed around the cabin with amenities to set up our tables. The usual china and silverware –all branded Iran Air- were neatly laid out and that included a simple salad offer, a starter plate, and an offer of bread from the breadbasket.

Lunch is served


The starter consisted of fresh salmon, grilled chicken, cream cheese over a pastry base, asparagus, boiled egg, and tomato. Everything looked exceptionally fresh, including the salad. While I pushed the salmon to the side, the salad was crunchy cool fresh, and the chicken was tender and perfectly flavored. The cream cheese was presumably meant to accompany the salmon, but I made it so for the chicken and it was all a perfect combo. A great start to an Iran Air meal!



Meanwhile Sam’s starter was identical and looked like this





As we were busy with our first courses, the crew offered soup from a tray, and today’s choice was a simple but hearty cream of mushroom soup.

My soup


Sam’s soup


The main course followed, and this consisted of Iran Air’s classic buffet service on a trolley.

Main course service




On offer from the trolley was a beef in a thick stew, grilled fish on skewers, and breaded chicken. These were accompanied by a choice between white rice, or saffron rice and also a selection of grilled vegetables and potatoes.

Sam opted for the beef, fish, rice, veggies and potato


Whereas I chose the beef, chicken, rice, and potatoes


I could not fault this meal in any form. Everything was exceptional, especially the breaded chicken, which was pure breast meat. While Sam’s view was that catering on his earlier flight to Beijing was better, for me this was Kuala Lumpur catering at its absolute best.

Fruits were offered for dessert, but we were both full and gave that final course a miss. The usual coffee and tea also followed to conclude, but were already up and about by then.

Cabin shots after the meal service



From this point forward, things happened on their own as time was no factor, and I suddenly found myself climbing the spiral staircase headed towards the upper deck and the cockpit, where we were to spend the majority of the remaining flight time. There aren’t many opportunities to fly an SP in the world today, and the chances of lounging around the cockpit of one are even slimmer.

He has invaded Iran Air again!


Upper deck is reserved as crew rest area for the marshals and the crew




Upper deck galley


Spiral staircase



Inside the cockpit, we were warmly welcomed by the three flight crew in command today, Captain Moghadam, and colleagues Karimian/Sepahi. Let us not forget that this plane requires a third person at the control room; the flight engineer!

In any case, Sam made them feel more at ease with us by showing them his photos, and telling them stories about his long history with Iranian aviation. Naturally they can relate to things like this and they took to us instantly. I on the other hand, just floated around in the background like a fly. I more or less ignored what they were all talking about –no time to really care- and was more interested in absorbing as much of my surroundings as possible. Won’t get a chance like this again, so may as well maximize the gain.

We were allowed to hang out with them, and were even offered snacks and drinks as we so pleased at anytime. It was a truly unforgettable experience that I will definitely appreciate for a long time.

The SP cockpit





Sam also did something that was even considered daring by his standards. He asked the captain –initially expecting a no for an answer- to push the B747SP speed to Mach 0.88. What was the response? YES! Mind you, this is the fastest subsonic cruising speed on the SP, and for just those few minutes on this speed, we probably chopped a few minutes on the flight time! Again, it was unbelievable!

Mach reaching 0.87 here, on its way to 0.88


Time to take pictures with the great IR flight crew!






This is how he does it!



Cockpit coffee for me


Meanwhile, we left the cockpit for a little while, as we caught wind of rumors brewing that a second mid-flight service was looming.

Mid-flight leg space for some reason?


Payam and his mates in the Homa section began the second meal service, and it consisted of a single tray service of fruit, cake, and your choice of coffee/tea, in addition to water. A very simple serving, but very suitable for an afternoon snack that is typical to the Middle East region. While the cake was a little dry, the fruit was juicy fresh and cold.

Sam asked for tea with his snack


And coffee for me


Fruit plate


For the next couple of hours, the two of us spent our times doing our own things. Sam spent his time between cockpit visits, taking naps, and touring the economy class section. Me on the other hand, did similar patterns but in different sequence and minus the nap.

It was interesting to chat with Payam and some of the other crew close to the Economy Class cabin. He has a very positive outlook on life, and is very appreciative of the many things we in the ‘outside world’ tend to simply take for granted. He is a huge fan of music, but in its purest form. Instead of following a specific artist for instance, he follows the macro level producing companies and always makes an effort to collect their work as it released.

This is also how he does it too!


Engine view


Getting closer to Tehran


Approximately just less than two hours prior to landing I was surprised to discover that the crew began preparations for yet a third meal service. This time around, while it also consisted of a single tray serving, all the trays were neatly laid out on the center table in the Homa Class cabin before distributing them individually.

Third meal service! Impressive for an 8h flight!


Resembling something a little closer to an afternoon tea service, this meal consisted of a plate of three open face sandwiches –cold cuts, cheese, and salmon- accompanied with cream cheese, olives, pickles, egg, and tomato. For dessert, there was not just one, but two items which were chocolate pudding and an apple-crumbly pie/cake thingie. As always, I push the salmon to the side and I enjoy the rest. Iran Air has scored really high with their catering on this flight as again, everything was absolutely fresh. Even the Salmon looked fresh and I am sure it tasted so too!

My meal


Sam’s meal






44 minutes to landing


As we were close to landing, the crew was busy preparing the cabin for arrival. Meanwhile, the purser summoned Sam and I to follow him upstairs as the captain had allowed us to join him and his crew for the landing! Another hit for me! Sam has done this many times but two cockpit landings for me in the span of four months is making me all the more seasoned! I couldn’t believe it! Not only was it a cockpit landing, but it was one on an SP at Imam Khomeini International Airport, so it couldn’t get any better than this!

Inside the cockpit, we settled down and silently documented every little detail around us. Who cares about the seatbelt sign, I stood up for the entire thing!

B747SP Cockpit Landing at Imam Khomeini International Airport




And if the pictures aren’t enough, here’s a video I shot of the whole experience:

And a cockpit tour video shot by Sam:


A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1683 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 30571 times:

At 3:53pm, we touched down at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport and sadly, this meant that this enjoyable experience was soon to come to a halting end. I still had the return flight to enjoy but this was a few months down the line.

Upon arrival



We thanked the flight and cabin crew for all their efforts that made this a memorable experience, and headed out for our transit connection. We only had 3 to 4 hours till our flight to Dubai, but that will be described later in another report. However, one thing to note here, is that I was pleasantly impressed with Tehran Airport. The airside arrivals part flowed easily, and was a far cry from the chaotic dump at Amman’s Queen Alia for instance.

The next portion will be about the return flight to Kuala Lumpur with SR103.


A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1683 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 30563 times:

Fast-forward many months later, it was time for me to ‘return’ back to my point of origin, as ticketed. SR103 joins me on this portion for his first ever SP bell and whistle. He’s flown quite the distance in order to get here for this, and we had initially met in Dubai before flying together to Tehran.

This report begins at the transit area of Imam Khomeini International Airport at Tehran. As the major international gateway to Iran, this facility is quite impressive in the sense that it is a far cry from many other airports in the region. It is modern, spacious, clean, and as mentioned earlier, it seems to flow well.

The transit procedure here is quite unique. It may even seem a little dodgy to the naked eye, but with just a little bit of trust, you will discover that all is really ok. Upon arrival from Dubai, we head towards a small 4-chair area just before the immigration desks –aka the transit area- and wait for an agent to pass by.

A security officer spotted us, and we informed him about our connecting flight. He took our tickets and passports, and disappeared. It is normal procedure here that you can only check-in for your connecting flight when check-in actually opens during the typical three hours before departure. Today we had 6 hours in Tehran, so we had to blindly trust giving away our passport to a stranger for at least 3 of those hours.

Furthermore, the only thing you can do during your wait is chitchat as there aren’t many facilities around either. And this is what we did. A group from central Asia (one of the ‘stans’) had already been in transit for several hours when we had arrived. They were connecting to Dubai, and were obviously concerned about having to give away their passports for this long. And arriving shortly after we did, were two Indian laborers on a unique journey from Delhi to Dubai via Tehran. Even they were struck with a streak of worry when they realized they had to give up their passports.

But, in Iran’s absolute defense, it was a very honest process that was handled as efficiently as possible. The ‘stans’ were released, and the laborers followed shortly afterwards. They were even treated with utmost respect which I bet would have been much worse had they connected through DOH, or any other similar airport.

Part of this transit procedure, is that the airline that brings you into Tehran will be responsible for checking you in to your connecting flight regardless of the connecting airline. So in our case, the airline that brought us from Dubai approached Iran Air and checked us in to Kuala Lumpur.

About two and a half hours before departure, a beautiful agent appears with our documents. She called out for our names so she could hand us our boarding passes.

“Mr. Hawi? Mr. SR103?”
“Yes, that’s us”
“To Kuala Lumpur yes?”
“Sorry, row 1 is taken, but we give you aisle and window in second row”
“That’s fine.”
“You may go ahead now. Enjoy your flight!”
“Thank you for your help”

Boarding passes to Kuala


As we had some time to kill before our flight, we headed to the premium lounge. At IKA, one premium lounge houses the facilities for all airlines including the home carriers such as Iran Air and Mahan Air. While it offers relatively basic amenities, it was very comfortable, with a decent selection of cold snacks/salads, a smoking area, WiFi, and an outstanding view that overlooked the runway and apron.

Premium lounge at IKA




Coffee and chocolates for me


And a snack for SR103


Both as we enjoyed the views outside






Killing time with coffee, snacks, Facebook, and the views of Iranian jets passing by, boarding time was nearing. At around 7:40pm, an announcement was made requesting all passengers on IR840 to Kuala Lumpur to head towards Gate 11 for boarding.

After the security checkpoint –smoothly bottlenecked with the SP’s passengers- we arrive at a very long queue formed at Gate 11. The podium was heavily staffed with agents preparing frantically for what seemed to be the boarding that wasn’t going to start soon.

Kuala Lumpur is a favored destination in Iran


Long queue


At first, passengers queued obediently and waited. But when we neared scheduled departure time without any progress, several bundles of people kept flocking to the podium to enquire about boarding. I politely approached an agent to ask the same, and was told that we had to wait for deplaning passengers from an arriving flight that happened to be using our gate.

But, eventually this was all over when boarding commenced at 7:55pm, at the scheduled departure time of our flight. We squeezed into the general queue, as there was nothing specially dedicated to premium passengers. However, once we were released, everything moved swiftly and without any annoying pushes and shoves.

Tonight’s boarding involves a bus ride to a remote stand, so combining the words SP, remote, and stand into the same sentence spells heaven for SR103 and I, so needless to say we were quite looking forward to it.

Proceeding through the queue to the ground level

Crammed inside the first bus, the doors closed and we commenced our ride to the aircraft. There was only one SP in site, and the only Iran Air Jumbo on site, so there was no guessing where we were heading.

The next TR!


Our nonstop service to Kuala


As the bus doors opened, everyone flocked from several angles and combined into a single line leading up the steps towards the aircraft. We were boarding a piece of history, 30 years in the making, and the remote stand added the perfect background to this scenario that it all somehow left me tripping while totally sober. Needless to say, it was the ultimate SP introduction for SR103!




A security marshal stopped me and very politely asked me to refrain from taking any more photographs. I politely obliged, switched off my camera and proceeded up the steps towards Door 1L of the jumbo’s main deck.

Just like the previous flight, the purser was at the door welcoming us on board, while a security marshal was silently observing from a distance.

“Asr be khayr”
“Welcome, row number two this way please”
“Thank you”

By 8:05pm we were on board.


A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1683 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 30566 times:


IRAN AIR Flight Information:

KIR8410 25MAR27OCT023450729674LIKAIKA1955 07251KULKUL J

Registration: EP-IAA
Condition: 36.7 years old, delivered to Iran Air in 1976

Remarks: NIL


Scheduled Departure: 19:55
Actual Departure: 20:30 (Pushback)

Scheduled Arrival: 07:25+1
Actual Arrival: 08:20+1 (Touchdown)

Welcome back to Iran Air


It was a good feeling to be back here, and an even better feeling to be in an interior of a slight variance. The aircraft was, again, in mint condition to the point that we felt like we were in the 70’s and inside a brand new plane. Seats were well maintained, carpets were spotless, and the side panels were flat perfect. Everything was inviting, and the slightly dimmed ambience helped with a quick relaxation whilst boarding continued. As it was quite busy during the previous flight, tonight I wanted to kick back, relax, and enjoy the flight for its reality.

Same seat, different color

Same legroom

Don’t you miss those?


Leg rest control


The flight was chock-a-block full with Iranians headed to Kuala Lumpur for the Eid al Fitr holiday. There also seemed to have been some op-ups in Homa Class tonight, so we were truly running a full house on this mini jumbo. As such, the crew effortlessly sprung into quick action with the pre-departure stuff as we needn’t be too delayed on takeoff.

Tonight, two female crew took most of the control in the Homa Class cabin, and whilst a little reserved, they were much warmer than the other crew on my previous flight. Smiles were plenty, professionalism at its best, and seconds of anything offered were on the list all throughout. All we needed to do was to simply feel at home.

Welcome drinks: OJ and AJ for us!


Pure Mashhad leather amenity kits and pens




All on board, and doors were quickly closed. The seatbelt sign was pinged on, and the captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. We were advised on our typical routing tonight, and that our flight time to Kuala Lumpur was to be 7 hours and 20 minutes; fairly quick in my books, but long enough to be on this baby jumbo.

We pushed back at 8:20pm, when the SP’s baby engines hummed into life one by one. Meanwhile, the crew quickly ensured all glasses and such were cleared from the cabin, and also distributed boiled candy for takeoff. This is perhaps the most classic offering in my lifetime that it reminded me of Alia crew back in the day, serving me the same candy onboard TriStars before takeoff. Some days I wish to revive!



Safety video



Lining up with the active runway’s centerline, we zoomed off on our takeoff. Tonight we were fully loaded so this SP needed just a little more time to get off the ground. At 8:30pm, we lifted into the skies and began our journey towards Malaysia.

We reached cruising altitude rather quick, when the seatbelt signs were switched off and the crew released to prepare for the service.

Dinner was prepared and served rather quickly in order to give passengers the most time to rest and sleep. As such, our tables were dressed with linens, and was followed by the set-up of the meal trays on the center table in the cabin. Unlike the flight from KUL, this dinner service was not tray-less.

Each tray was neatly set up with a salad plate, a starter plate, bread plate with butter and cream cheese, silverware, salt/pepper shakers, a dessert plate, hot beverage cup, and a small container with fresh flowers. Hot bread was offered from a basket, and the crew went out of their way to offer us seconds on that, if not even more.

My dinner tray


SR103s tray


The starter included a serving of chicken terrine with carrots, and a scoop of shredded tuna with vegetables, both accompanied by cherry tomato, pickles, asparagus, and olives. Brushing the stinky tuna to the side, I enjoyed the rest of the starter. While the chicken was processed quality, the terrine tasted excellent. Furthermore, the salad was farm fresh and very crunchy.

My starter, salad, and bread




SR103s starter


Drinks were offered in which I selected the lemonade


And SR103 went for a cola


Plates and glasses were promptly cleared as we finished, and seconds were offered on the drinks. Soon enough, the flagship trolley was rolled out for the main course.

Trolley service


The trolley was stacked with goodies such as white rice, rice with dill, beef (with rice), lightly breaded chicken, shrimp, and sautéed vegetables. Everything looked fantastic!

Trolley close-up


SR103 selected the chicken, rice with dill, and the shrimp


And I selected the dill rice, beef, chicken, and was given a bit of the other rice


Everything was of high quality, though –apart from the rice- I believe that the catering out of Kuala Lumpur was better. SR103 enjoyed his shrimp, and we both also enjoyed the tender breaded chicken and the succulent beef.

Dessert on the other hand, resembled ‘Halawa’ which is its Arabic counterpart. It is usually quite standard in taste, and thick in texture, and tonight this was no different.



Fruit & coffee afterwards for me


And fruit & tea for SR103



After dinner, everyone zoned out into their own space, and the crew remained the galley whilst we enjoyed the cruise control portion of this flight.

Cabin after the meal service


At this time during the flight, the IFE commenced, and this included several Iranian movies back-to-back on the overhead Sony monitor. Naturally, I am always curious about movies foreign to me so I plugged my headphones and watched away at the first movie. Just like any typical Arabic movie, this movie portrays the values and beliefs of what the general society expects out of you. Stories of exceling in school, being an engineer or a doctor when you grow up, getting married to someone from a respectable family, and being simply a ‘good’ person all seems too familiar, yet we continue to enjoy this moving picture through its English subtitles.

Sky Gift (IRs FFP) commercial





Feature movie


Mid-flight coffee for me


Cabin deep into the flight


Not much else happened throughout the flight. Passengers continued to sleep whereas SR103 and I roamed around the aircraft for the usual inspection. In due course, time passed, and the sun was soon rising.

As the crew began preparing for the next service –breakfast- we suddenly hit a deep wave of bumpy turbulence. The seatbelt sign was switched on, and the aircraft shook relentlessly that thoughts of the very old age of this aircraft only slightly haunted me for a few moments. But of course, it was just my mind pulling my leg.

Seatbelt sign on


That’s why there’s turbulence!


When things calmed down shortly afterwards, the crew continued with the morning service, which commenced with hot towels to wake everyone up.

“Good morning sir. Would you like a hot towel?”
“Yes please”
“By the way, you work for Iran Air?”
“No. why?”
“Because you are wearing Iran Air shirt”
“We are big fans of Iran Air, that’s why”
“Thank you very much, hope you are enjoying”

Hot towel


A light breakfast was served, and this included a single tray with a fruit bowl, chocolate, preserves, and a plate of spinach pastry, walnuts, white cheese, cucumbers, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Unfortunately, this breakfast serving was rather average and having had 3 meals on the previous flight, I expected something a little more substantial here. In fact, we both expected the same.

SR103s breakfast





My breakfast







When we finished, the trays were cleared promptly, and we were offered seconds to our coffee and tea, in which we both accepted.

Have to spend a few moments admiring those windows



The sun is up!

Approaching Kuala


As we were soon to arrive at Kuala Lumpur, we roamed around the cabin once more to take one last look, and to also stretch out.

Love those engines

Cabin after sunrise


Two male crew saw me taking photos, and one tapped me on my arm and asked me to take a photo of him and his colleague.

“You are photographer?”
“Not really, just a fan of this aircraft”
“Please can you take our picture?”



At 7:50am local time in Kuala Lumpur, the seatbelt sign was switched on. We returned back to our seats while the crew made final preparations for arrival. As a token of appreciation, the crew handed out gifts to all Homa Class passengers, and this was a traditional box with Iranian saffron. This is the ultimate luxury Iranian spice, and is extremely expensive on the market. The catering out of Kuala Lumpur may have been better, but flying out of Tehran definitely has its perks this way! A gift much appreciated, thank you Iran Air!



The endless palm tree hills are a signal that Kuala is imminent!



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1683 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 30536 times:

We touched down at 8:20am, some 60 minutes behind schedule. Unfortunately, this meant that our SP experience was fast ending, and I could only hope to enjoy a ride on one again in the near future.


Goodbye by Iran Air


The crew sincerely wished us a bon voyage for the rest of our journeys, and thanked us for flying with Iran Air. They were truly hospitable, and made for an unforgettable experience with Iran Air. After bidding our farewells, we hopped out of the aircraft and into KLIA for yet another transit.

At this stage, this report comes to an end, but only after a few pictures taken whilst in transit at KLIA.





Are they leaving the fleet or are they not?


KLIA does have an interesting mix of airlines



An experience like this will always remain in my memory. I had the opportunity to fly on an aircraft of the caliber that could easily be showcased at a classic museum. The B747SP will be gone real soon, and an experience such as this was a real treat. For this, I thank Sam Chui, not only for the cockpit visits and landing (!!!) experience, but for his idea to fly Iran Air and experience true Iranian hospitality onboard the B747SP. My next step is definitely to visit Iran and explore further.

I believe that an experience such as this shouldn’t be subject to the usual critiquing on the service offering and comfort. But if we were to do so, Iran Air still maintained an exceptional level anyways. These 30 year-old aircraft were in such good condition that they put many newer planes of today’s airlines to absolute shame. Furthermore, the catering was plenty and the quality was exceptional overall; and I cannot really fault much though I did expect a little more out of IKA catering. More importantly, it was Iran Air’s staff that made for the biggest part of this positive experience. From the ground agents, to the flight crew, and definitely the cabin crew, everyone was welcoming and hospitable that we truly felt like we were visiting friends at their home.

This concludes my Trip Report. I hope that you have enjoyed it; your comments are always welcome!


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Fly Roni
Please mention who you are when (and if) you want to add me as a friend

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I have a range of taxi, takeoff, landing, announcement, and safety videos posted. Feel free to view them!


A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineYirina77 From Czech Republic, joined Aug 2006, 632 posts, RR: 30
Reply 7, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 30279 times:

Dearest Roni,
my heart was beating so fast when I was reading this trip report, you know my passion for Iran very well. I love every piece of this TR, it´s absolutely amazing (as usual)!
I hope we´ll make Iran trip next year together and enjoy all pearls of aviation, which this wonderful country still offer!

One day can make your life; one day can ruin your life. All life is four or five big days that change everything...
User currently offlineSpdBrdConcorde From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 171 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 30259 times:


You are the master of TR-ing...I don't read alot of TRs here on A.net..only except when one of your gems such as this shows up.A wonderful experience that you have had on a classic jet was reiterated most wonderfully to us.A pleasure and a delight to read your works.Keep up the fantastic work..

Vivek Kaul

User currently offlineI39OO From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2012, 97 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 30257 times:

That's a classic, Roni.

Honestly, I really am speechless. I'll probably never manage to either enter Iran or fly a 747SP, so this TR is as close as I'll be to the thing, but it really felt like being with you, Sam and SR103. It was an amazing read and I subscribe everything you wrote about old fashioned, paddied and comfy seats. I'd rather have them than a modern, lie-flat thingy with seven different massage settings and all the gizmos that one could ever think of.

And the crew of Iran Air showed a level of professionalism and kindness that might teach a thing or two to other, more "premium", carriers. I hope that, in the future, this airline - and the rest of the Iranian people - shall see their skills and merits recognised as they deserve.

Congratulations again!


Also known as That Unprepared Guy on Wordpress
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1537 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 30252 times:

What an experience! Thanks so much for sharing. Especially the outbound flight with it's light load and so welcoming flight deck crew was a thrill! I believe this flying experience was worth every penny you paid!

User currently offlineCarfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2034 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 30257 times:

Thanks Roni for another fascinating trip report!

Being in the cockpit for landing is like a fantasy these days, not to mention onboard a classic jumbo.

These Iran Air Boeing 747SPs look beautiful and the inflight service looks very good. The catering from KUL to Tehran is impressive. Is it safe to presume there are not printed menus on board Iran Air? Nonetheless the amenity kits look beautiful.

Thanks for sharing again.


User currently offlineairbusa340 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 54 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 30250 times:

What a fantastic TR. Thank you.
It's people like you who make this site worth everything.
Well done.

User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1364 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 30250 times:


Just this for now, an acknowledgment this has been read (comments to follow). I thoroughly enjoyed reading the reports, pics!! Your dialogue between the FAs and you were almost gone this time, except at the time of the mention of the T-shirts!!

Thanks for sharing.

PS: You've almost become a stranger on here!!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I had arrived KL the night before on Qatar Airways

Now this got my attention right away!! Will this report ever come to surface here on a.net?lol

User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2076 posts, RR: 24
Reply 14, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 30251 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Another amazing report, Roni!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
The seats are also no different. Offering the most basic of frills, yet they can easily outdo today’s standards of basic comfort. They may not have a minibar, or convert to even an angled lie-flat position, but they do offer what seems to have been long forgotten today; pure cushiony comfort. Soft padding -and plenty of it- a cradle recline, and a simple footrest are just what I need to kick back and relax for this journey back through time. And is there no one occupying the seat next to you? No problem, simply remove the removable center armrest and you even have a seat that can challenge SQ’s Business Class offer in terms of width. Absolutely brilliant!

I totally agree with the fact that so many of the older style seats seem a lot comfier than today's standard. I would take any "cradle" type seat to any slanted flat bed Business style sleeper.

Iran Air looks really nice - how great of an experience you had! Food looks good, and being in the cockpit all that time must have been amazing!



I love to fly!
User currently offlinevivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 547 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 30252 times:

Brilliant Trip Report Roni, with some lovely photos by you and Sam!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
IRAN AIR: هواپیمائی جمهوری اسلامی ایران
She traveled the miles in thousands, and joined borders afar. She pushed the envelopes aplenty, and many limits ajar. From Tehran to New York, nonstop and more. Thirty Six from 1976, and the SP continues to soar.

Nice one! Are you a poet too?  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Friendly staff welcomes us inside, and they even participate in making the lounge reception suitable for a ‘Facebook’ photo. Of course this part is owed to Sam and his charm that seems to always work its way positively on airline/airport staff.

Ah! I got to take classes from Sam on how to do this! 
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Moving map

Interesting how they still call these cities as "Bombay" and "Madras" (instead of Mumbai and Chennai)

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
A full lunch service is offered after takeoff, and on Iran Air in Homa Class, this is totally tray-less. A trolley was passed around the cabin with amenities to set up our tables. The usual china and silverware –all branded Iran Air- were neatly laid out

Absolutely brilliant. And the food looks great too!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
He has invaded Iran Air again!

Haha.... Sam the Invader!  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 5):
That’s why there’s turbulence!

The famous Bay of Bengal turbulence!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 5):
By the way, you work for Iran Air?”
“No. why?”
“Because you are wearing Iran Air shirt”
“We are big fans of Iran Air, that’s why”

Haha... Lets see a photo of you in that Iran Air shirt!

Great report. Thanks for sharing!


User currently offlinepilotschnitzel From Australia, joined Jun 2011, 143 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 30251 times:

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
As this journey involves a transit through Tehran, and to Dubai as the final destination, it was only common sense I refrained from flashing my US passport as the form of identification for my travels today. Instead, I used my Jordanian passport, which isn’t necessarily good, but is the safer option for sure.

As I am naive when it comes to international travel especially in this area, why was it safer to not use your US passport? Would it look suspicious if I, an Australian, were to take the same flight?

User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1500 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 30249 times:

Wow fantastic. Would like to travel on this airline one day. I remember their New York office in the 1970s which was taken over from British Caledonian.

They used to fly London or Paris to New York. A missed opportunity.

I flew on a Pan Am SP in C class upper deck in the early 80s. There were only a few of them.

User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 29016 posts, RR: 60
Reply 18, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days ago) and read 30249 times:

Great report as always Roni . Fantastic photos and read.

I only flew on two IR flights but it seems they have not changed and they offer the same great service and hospitality. Also the food is pretty decent too. Love all the IR branded things always great to have. I still have my gifts from my flights.

Thanks so much for this wonderful report and for me a trip down memory lane.



User currently offlinecx777fan From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 304 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days ago) and read 30249 times:

Thanks for an excellent TR! It whet my appetite for my upcoming trip to Iran this month. Unfortunately flying into IKA on QR so no where near as exciting as a 747SP. A couple of domestic flights. I will see if I can find my way into the cockpit   What is your or Sam's charming line to the crew to gain access??

User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 783 posts, RR: 20
Reply 20, posted (2 years 11 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 30249 times:

Hi Roni,

wow, what an awesome report about a truly awesome airplane. The 747Sp is really something special. Also quite impressed by the service and the friendliness of the Iran Air crew, very nice.

What a great experience it must have been to get into the cockpit in flight, and then again for the landing at IKA. Wish something like that would be possible on more airlines. I guess the pilots were also enjoying their work a lot and loved to explain and to show it to some aviation enthusiasts.

Thanks a lot for sharing this experience

User currently offlinerogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1211 posts, RR: 19
Reply 21, posted (2 years 11 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 30249 times:

Hola Roni!

I am impressed by this report, pictures and text come at its best, house signature here but the trip itself is something out of this world. From the every beginning I though of this 70s look IR has.... seats, fabric pattern, service... impressive!

I love he table they have there, it looks so stylish and the idea of distributing meals from a full trolley is something we have not seen for ages, except for maybe some First Class cabins...

The food looked great, especially on the first sector. I wish I could fly IR some day, especially this particular plane... time to hurry I guess.

Keep them coming!


"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 989 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (2 years 11 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 30249 times:

Hi Roni.. all I can say is WOW! IR crews really do appear to be the BEST in terms of service. They seem so friendly and accomodating! I would love to fly them sometime. Thanks for sharing!

Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlinePA330X From United States of America, joined Aug 2012, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (2 years 11 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 30249 times:

I have to say I'm jealous. This trip report was definitely one of the best I have read from start to finish (saved it to my favourites). The way you present and write kept me reading non-stop and the pictures are very good. Iran Air have that X factor that is missing from todays modern airlines: class. You can fly the A380 or the 787 and have everything from a minibar to giant tv in your seat but classic service with courtesy never ceases to please. And the aircraft I must say is better kept than most of todays modern cabins, esp. a certain airline I flew with (read my TR to see what I mean). All in all keep up the good work. The 747SP represents a time where travelling was a pleasure and adventure. Like I said before, I'm jealous. Service like that is rare these day, esp. where you have the freedom to visit the flight deck. If only other airlines can look to Iran Air as an example that you do not need everything to be high-tech to enjoy an amazing flight.

User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8706 posts, RR: 53
Reply 24, posted (2 years 11 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 30249 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Roni,

Wow, what a stella stunning TR!

What a fantastic couple of flights, especially the first with the cockpit landing, makes our inagural EK A380 flight look quite a hum drum experience.

Too much to say so I'm keeping it short, man oh man I'd love to do this kind of trip for the SP, not sure my UK passport would serve me well unfortunately.

Keep the great reports coming.

Best Wishes my friend.



25 CairnterriAIR : Hi there. Wonderful job on this report. First off...in today's air travel, we see lie-flat seats, cabins with personal flat screen TV's, even A380 Air
26 Quokkas : Hi Roni, Thank you for posting another trip report. Or is that two-in-one? Buy one, get one free? As always the writing style is good, with lots of de
27 Post contains images ronerone : Dear All, Many thanks for all your comments and usual support. Yirina! Thank you for being the first one to respond to this specific TR If (and when)
28 ba319-131 : - Hi Roni, I have approval from Mrs BA319-131, just need to put the funds together, all in all not a cheap trip but at least time is on our side.....
29 jetblast : Another brilliant TR by you Roni. Always a pleasure to read - as solely a US passport holder reports like this are as close as I will ever be able to
30 triple7man : JFK-HND, LAX-HKG, LAX-SYD, JFK-BAH, were routes that at one time could not be flown nonstop because of the range. Although only 45 747SP's were built,
31 Post contains images ronerone : Indeed it is not a cheapie .. I am trying to figure this one out too Best regards to Ms. BA319! Hi Brian, I totally agree! I think i have seen a pict
32 MSS658 : Hi Roni Great trip report, thanks for sharing it with us! Interesting too see how hospitable the IR crews are, great treat to get seated in the flight
33 Post contains images ClassicLover : Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful report! I thought the whole experience came across as magical! Those cockpit shots, that awesome travel class, the foo
34 aflyingkiwi : Hi Roni, Great to see another report from you! Flying on the IR 747SP must've been an awesome experience. Even better that you were able to spend your
35 burj : Such an awesome experience! Thanks for sharing! I was amused by the first set of amenity kits being for: Iran Air, the *arir line* of..... Wonder if t
36 ojas : Hi Roni .... A brilliant TR once again ..... who needs to fly these planes when one reads your TRs? OMG!!! someones flying QR over here :P The solutio
37 Post contains images ronerone : Hi Marc, Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. Unfortunately time has already told, as IR no longer flies the PEK-NRT run. In fact, i believe t
38 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Hi Roni, what an excellent report you have presented once again! Wonderful story, great pictures, simply awesome. And I'm really jealous - I have alwa
39 okapi : Bonjour Roni! Whenever I read one of your trip report, I'm convinced it's your best ever. This time is no exception. Great pictures about a great airl
40 NWADTWE16 : I agree with whoever stated they were speechless! Simply fantastic Trip report and as i was reading then watching the video of the landing WHILE YOU W
41 B-707 : Wonderful report, thank you.
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