abrelosojos
Topic Author
Posts: 4050
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:50 am

Feedback always appreciated.




I > Background:
Seldom am I intrigued by a flying opportunity that requires a strong lobbying effort to change pre-destined plans with a bunch of friends that had been worked on for ages. Last year, a group of us did the trans-Siberian railways. I had done the loop from Mongolia to Vladivostok via Irkutsk, and the plan was this time around was to go all the way from Moscow to Vladivostok.

A week prior to the flight, an eclectic group of 10 amigos representing 10 countries had met in Moscow, drank a lot of vodka, and stocked up on more (previous experience taught me that it is almost impossible to buy vodka on the Trans-Sib). We had left Moscow and had reached the town of Irkutsk. After a great couple of days which involved a side trip to the beautiful Lake Baikal, it was time to head back on the train and continue our trip to VVO

On the road back from Lake Baikal, I noticed a weird billboard with an Antonov 24. I had never technically flown them (in Cambodia, I once flew the Xian on Phnom Penh Airways) and was intrigued. More importantly, I was keen on flying an airline that I had never heard of ... IR AERO, and was intrigued by where this airline actually flew to.

Señoras y señores, I proudly welcome you to my 125th report on A.Net - the first on IR AERO's milk-run Antonov 24 connecting Irkutsk (IKT) with Vladivostok (VVO) with stops in Chita (HTA) and Blagoveshchensk (BQS). I am pretty sure this is the first of its kind on A.Net.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
IR AERO is an airline based on Irkutsk. Little is known of the airline except that it has traditionally flown Antonov AN-24's on the most bizarre milk-run network I have encountered in my life. Those little propellers connect pretty much Kaunas in Lithuania all the way to Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. Recently, they acquired some CRJ's ... that must represent a huge leap forward for the airline.

Ir Aero's route map:


Anyways, back to my story  .

After we returned to Irkutsk, all the rest of the group of friends went out to explore some more of the city. My Israeli other-half and I decided to track down the offices of this mysterious airline. Using basic Cyrillic that the Israeli knew, we tracked an address down and found a great taxi driver willing to take us there and wait around. We were nearly convinced we were lost as we ended up in a rather dodgy neighbourhood of Irkutsk. After stopping several times to ask direction, we found a rather innocent looking building which apparently housed the global headquarters of Ir Aero. So off we went to the least secure airline HQ I had been to - and was directed to the "office". Here the Russian agents were all pretty shocked on why we were there. None of them spoke any English so we used hand gestures to understand their route network. After 30 minutes of confusion, I spotted a cigarette smoking man on a old computer and tried o see his screen. Looking at the map on the wall, I pointed to VVO and motioned him to type it on his screen. VOILA! There was a flight leaving tomorrow and there were 10 open seats. Additionally, it stopped at Chita and Blagoveshchensk - a town I had never heard of. I told my Israeli that we had to convince the group of the change in plan - working to my advantage were two things - one, some of them were getting tired of the train. Two, they all kind-of knew I was crazy  . Keeping the Israeli at the office to guard (air force duty has perks), I rushed back to our taxi and told him to take me to the center. Several "urgent" SMS later, I found the rest of the 8 who knew something was up when I excitedly told them what I wanted to do. Mark of great friendship is always when each of them basically gave a resigned sigh, found some more cabs, and headed back to the Ir Aero office. It was quite a sight as 9 of us from different parts of the world walked in back to the "reservation room". A crowd had formed along with us and now we all wanted the 10 seats on the plane. As with all such events, more drama followed. I had initially thought the price was around 100 USD per person - only payable in Rubles of course. However, the screen clearly showed that the booking class had 1 associated seat at that price - the next up (think, last minute Y fare) was around 350 USD and we definitely did not have that money. After a lot of discussion and begging, and offers to put the entire thing on credit card ("nyet"), the cigarette smoking man who I am convinced was a 1970's porn star (complete with the floral shirt) yelled something to the young woman. He said, "OK. 100 USD. Russia great"! WHAT?! For the first time in my life, I had been able to haggle an airline ticket price. It felt absolutely wonderful as the young woman started writing manual tickets (took a while - they had never seen such an eclectic group of passports) and in an hour after a profuse round of "spazeeba's", and my Israeli parting with a bottle of vodka, we left the ticket office.

That evening, over many drinks, I thanked my crazy friend circle, and looked forward to the adventure that was to follow.

b) At Airport:
I could not sleep that night and the group woke up at around 6am to arrive at Irkutsk airport at around 730am. The airport itself had two components - an old Soviet style building - impressive, and reminiscent of Budapest's old terminal, and a much more "modern" generic Ikea-type newer terminal. My SD card failed in this moment and many of my terminal pictures were inadvertently deleted. Oh well. The check-in lady was a little confused with our group of 10 explorers - or maybe, she was confused because we were the only ones making the long trek to VVO. Everyone else was either headed to HTA or BQS. Anyways, boarding passes in hand, and being viewed by the entire Russian community (they don't see much diversity here), we quickly cleared security and went to the security hold room. We clearly stood out and when the door opened, all the pushing and shoving clearly indicated that our flight was boarding. No announcement was made one way or the other.

It seems that all boarding is by staircase at IKT, and a UT Air TU 154 was boarding in front of us for the flight to Moscow. It was an interesting sight to watch as the staircase had been pushed out only to see two passengers run to the aircraft and have it pushed back in. From the airplane door, the crew shouted at them to run faster (well, that is what it seemed). In our case, Ir Aero being not cool enough meant a hidden aircraft in an obscure part of the airport using a 1960's bus. I was actually relatively excited seeing the airfield strewn with various Soviet aircraft of yesteryears.

As I tried to control my sense of excitement, my friends started getting a little nervous at the state of the Antonov and I remember one particular Mexican telling me, "No ma**s Alex". Haha. We were greeted by probably the most stereotypical image of an erstwhile Soviet airhostess. Stern and blonde sans smiles or any pleasantries whatsoever. There was zero exchange of words. I wondered how she would react flying on a Singapore Airlines, Jet Airways, or All Nippon. Y load was around 70%.

Airport - External:

(Irkutsk Airport)

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(More modern current terminal)


Check-in:

NONE



Airport - Internal:


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(Airport art-work at boarding gate)


(FIDS)
NONE
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(Post Security @ IKT)
NONE
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Scenes of the tarmac:

(UT Air to Moscow)


Lounge

NONE



Boarding:


(Gate Area)
NONE



III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
Nothing distributed while on ground. On the IKT-HTA, I was surprised to receive sweets prior to take-off (done on each leg - guess the noise is rather bad) and a choice of newspapers. Water was served post-take off along with a snack. On HTA-BQS, meal service. Nothing on BQS-VVO.

The highlight of the flight … and the reason I took it was of course the experience of stopping in random places like Chita and Blagoveshchensk. Of course, it did not disappoint. As the pictures would show, each airport was an amazing graveyard of Soviet airplanes. At each stop, we had to get off the plane, go to the terminal, wait, then get bussed back to the plane. I was yelled at several times to not take pictures - but I seem to never learn. Oops. The entire country seemed frozen in time - this was DEFINITELY not Moscow. Some of the people I encountered also were amazingly rude - a few of us got into several mini yelling fights with locals who would push and shove you at the airport - especially during the bus rides. My "darker" Mexican friend especially struggled as people who just give him really mean looks. In fact, a part of me just wanted the experience to be done with.

In terms of terminals, it seemed that Blagoveshchensk had recently undergone a renovation and was significantly more modern than the airport in Chita.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
The main reason for the trip was of course to fly the Antonov - and what an experience it turned out to be. Like the surroundings it served, Ir Aero's AN4 was stuck in a different era. While the seats were comfortable enough and provided decent legroom and recline, the entire aircraft was very poorly maintained. A few highlights included:
+ Garbage literally strewn across the aft galley and near the bathroom
+ Rust on various parts of the aircraft
+ Luggage that was supposed to be "secured" that never was

Also, at frequent interval, the aircraft would dip below 6,000 feet and I am convinced Oxygen was cut off - every one of us got nausea and sick - it was the first flight in my life where I got sick and went to the bathroom to throw up ...

... and of course, speaking of the bathroom was the highlight. The bathroom had "poop" all over it. I kid you not! Check the pictures - it was absolutely disgusting. And, not having any running water did not help. All that there was, was a water bottle with some liquid soap mix. All in all, rounding of an incredible experience, and probably the most bizarre one I have encountered in my life. One, I shall never forget.

Aircraft:
(Our good old Antonov)

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Views from Aircraft:

(Irkutsk Airport)

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(Chita Airport)

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(Post take-off from Chita)

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(Blagoveshchensk Airport: Unlike Chita, we were allowed to leave the airport terminal)

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(Near Vladivostok - and, Vladivostok)

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(As I mentioned, the plane flew very low)

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General Seat Views + Seat Legroom

(Seat)

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(Front of seat)

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(Seat controls)

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(Around Seat)
NONE
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(Legroom)
NONE



Seat Recline + Angle View:

NO RECLINE
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Cabin:

(Notice the guy was on his mobile phone, while on air - due to low altitude - who says you need expensive internet?)

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(Blanket ++)
NONE

(Bathroom: ready for my favorite pictures?)

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(Wait a minute ... is that what I think it is?!?)

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c) Meal + Beverage:
I was surprised by the sweet and water run after each take-off, and a part of me was looking forward to seeing what is served on each leg. Between IKT and HTA, we were served probably the nastiest sandwich I have EVER had. It was a combination of cheese (gone bad) and meat (gone bad). Two members of my group fell sick immediately. Between HTA and BQS, we were served a snack box that contained a mystery brown meat (see picture) which I first thought was spam. It tasted like (what I'd imagine) was cat food - and one bite and I was in the bathroom. The bread was OK and the café served with it passable - but the chocolate with the haunting face of a child was a little too disturbing for me. On the final leg, between HTA and VVO, nothing was served.

(Pre-takeoff @ IKT)

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(Just disgusting - rotten cheese and meat between IKT and HTA got some sick)

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(And the nasty main meal featuring cat food between HTA and BQS - with the creepy looking kid on chocolate)

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(Highlight was the tea service)


d) Inflight Entertainment:
Ir Aero's Antonov's come equipped with the next generation AVOD IFE - better than 1,000 movies is the ability to do unique things like read a book, chat with your seatmate (if you can hear them over the noise), and enjoy the vistas below. In-flight magazines are not provided as they would be rather bourgeois. I was surprised that they handed newspapers however ... too bad my Russian was nonexistent.

(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.: No magazine - these were given @ take-off @ IKT)


e) Crew:
I wish I could say much about Olga - our seemingly appropriately named crew member. Olga did not smile during the entire journey. In fact, I don't think I hard Olga ever talk to anyone during the entire journey. Like in the military, she had a routine, and followed the entire thing to the dot. In some strange way, I felt comforted by Olga. If there was a terrorist incident, or safety issue, I have a feeling Olga would do very well. Really don't know what more to say - Olga was part of the whole "exotic" element to this trip, and soon (sadly) became a caricature. I tried not to stereotype her, but my polite conversations were met each time with a blank stare.

Just like I type this and pass judgment on Olga, a part of me wonders what (if?) Olga thought of us. And, if she did, what did she think? Sadly, I will never know.

Olga
IV> Post-Flight:
Arriving into VVO was a much needed relief. A bunch of us were sick and were happy when our bags appeared within minutes of reaching the baggage claim area. We knew it had arrived as they were right behind us unsecured during the entire flight  .



V> Impressions + Scores:
I did not fly Ir Aero to mark its candidacy as a vetted airline for the general public. I took it to experience an exotic carrier and that took me to places I never knew existed. In this respect, Ir Aero (do they even have an IATA code?) did not disappoint. It was an amazing experience that took me back to an age where multi-stop flights were normal, and IFE involved talking to your fellow passengers and observing the scenario out of the window.

Unlike a similar journey on African Express, Ir Aero did not have any form of human interaction that I would look back on fondly. In fact, the standards on board leaving me sick is not something I can recommend for everyday passengers. However, just for the experience ONLY, a two-thumps up.



VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
9.27: JET AIRWAYS **FIRST** (110): LHR-BOM: 10/2010
9.27: THAI AIRWAYS **FIRST** (108): BKK-LHR: 07/2010
8.66: Brussels Airlines (93): FIH-BRU: 01/2010
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.63: Jet Airways (88): JFK-BRU: 10/2009
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.54: Turkish Airlines (77): GRU-DKR-IST: 04/2009
8.36: Kingfisher (98): BOM-HKG: 01/2010
8.30: Jet Airways (74): KWI-BOM: 04/2009
8.23: United Airlines (72): SFO-SYD: 03/2009
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.05: Air India (80): CCU-JFK: 06/2009
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.82: UNITED AIRLINES **FIRST** (110): SFO-ICN: 10/2010
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.66: Sri Lankan (104): DEL-CMB: 07/2010
7.64: Royal Jordanian (91): AMM-YUL: 12/2009
7.61: China Southern (103): LOS-DXB: 04/2010
7.57: Pakistan Airlines (102): ORD-BCN: 06/2010
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.38: AMERICAN AIRLINES **FIRST** (112): LHR-JFK: 10/2010
7.38: CATHAY PACIFIC **FIRST** (109): HKG-LHR: 10/2010
7.25: Iran Air (88): BOM-IKA: 12/2009
7.23: Air Pacific (120): NAN-APW-HNL: 01/2011
7.23: Virgin Atlantic (81): BOS-LHR: 07/2009
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
7.11: Aer Lingus (105): MAD-IAD: 05/2010
7.11: Austrian (79): VIE-JFK: 06/2009
7.07: Privatair (84): BOM-FRA: 08/2009
7.02: Qatar (68): DOH-JFK: 01/2009
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.88: Egypt Air (123): LHR-CAI: 03/2011
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.82: Air Burkina (106): BKO-OUA: 06/2010
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.75: Afriqiyah + Libyan (113): CAI-TIP: 11/2010
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.52: Emirates (99): LHR-DXB: 02/2010
6.39: South African (97): EZE-JNB: 01/2010
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.29: TAM Brasil (96): POA-EZE: 02/2010
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.21: Iberia (87): BOS-MAD: 10/2009
6.11: A SKY (107): OUA-COO: 06/2010
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
6.00: Gulf Air (75): BOM-BAH: 04/2009
5.88: African Express (89): DXB-NBO: 11/2009
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: SATA Azores (101): BOS-PDL: 04/2010
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.54: Ethiopian Airlines (95): ADD-BOM: 01/2010
5.46: Icelandair (83): KEF-BOS: 08/2009
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
5.21: Egypt Air (73): CAI-IST: 02/2009
5.11: Tunisair (115): TUN-ORY: 12/2010
5.07: TACA (66): JFK-SAP: 01/2009
4.89: TAAG Angola (117): TMS-LAD: 12/2010
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
7.00: LAN (94): IPC-SCL: 01/2010
6.81: STP Airways/Euro Atlantic (116): LIS-TMS: 12/2010
6.67: Air Malta (124): MLA-FRA: 04/2011
6.41: Avianca (78): JFK-BOG: 05/2009
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008
6.39: Condor (85): SEZ-FRA: 09/2009
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.11: Caribbean Airlines (119): POS-FLL: 01/2011
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.85: Spanair (69): MAD-LPA: 02/2009
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.52: Aerolineas (86): USH-AEP: 10/2009
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007
5.19: Air Europa (70): LPA-MAD: 02/2009
5.16: Iberia (71): MAD-BOS: 02/2009
5.11: Air China (82): FRA-PEK: 08/2009
4.59: Ir Aero (125): 06/2011

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.98: Air Koryo (100): PEK-FNJ: 04/2010
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.63: Jazeera (67): DAM-KWI: 01/2009
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.04: Suriname Airways (118): PBM-POS: 01/2011
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.52: Sevenair (114): TOE-TUN: 11/2010
5.37: Felix Airways (92): SCT-SAH: 12/2009
5.11: Aero Republica (76): BOG-CCS: 04/2009
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.04: Biman (121): DAC-CGP: 01/2011
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: United Bangla (122): CGP-DAC: 01/2011
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:

(Some pictures from Irkutsk and the beautiful Lake Baikal region)

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(Irkutsk: our hotel - am sure there was ton of real spy action)

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(We all need direction)

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(Mayor candidate)

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Live, and let live.
 
paris380
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:53 am

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:17 am

This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.
 
baje427
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:42 am

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:22 am

Interesting report no comment on the bathroom pic you could of given some prior warning I was eating while reading this.
 
User avatar
shamrock604
Posts: 2088
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:27 pm

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:49 am

OH.

MY.

GOD.

I'm speechless. That has to be one of the truly unique reports on this site - EVER.

Were you not absolutely pertified flying on that thing??

I really have to admire you for such an interesting journey, and for putting it on here so we can all see!

I'm still in shock though...... 
 
abrelosojos
Topic Author
Posts: 4050
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:07 am

Quoting paris380 (Reply 1):
This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.

= Haha. Come on. You gotta see the world.

Quoting baje427 (Reply 2):
Interesting report no comment on the bathroom pic you could of given some prior warning I was eating while reading this.

= Now now ... I spoke about it in the text, and warned that a picture was coming. Sorry to ruin your meal though   ...

Quoting shamrock604 (Reply 3):
OH.

MY.

GOD.

I'm speechless. That has to be one of the truly unique reports on this site - EVER.

Were you not absolutely pertified flying on that thing??

I really have to admire you for such an interesting journey, and for putting it on here so we can all see!

I'm still in shock though...... 

= Thanks mate. Ya - I found the flight/experience to be pretty unique - was a little nervous as we were flying pretty low, but overall crashes can happen at any firm. Why are you in shock though?

Thanks for stopping by.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
alsberg
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:44 am

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:37 am

I commend you for your persistance to find that airline office, and then take a whole group of friends along for such an experience. And I thank you for sharing it with all of us. I also must say you've got some guts (literally!) for trying that food. All in all great and very rare trip report!
 
BrusselsSouth
Posts: 568
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:15 am

Alex, this is simply amazing.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I noticed a weird billboard with an Antonov 24

It seems their marketing was effective since no less than 10pax immediately booked their seats at the simple sight of that billboard...

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
IR AERO's milk-run Antonov 24 connecting Irkutsk (IKT) with Vladivostok (VVO) with stops in Chita (HTA) and Blagoveshchensk (BQS).

Not another milk run report. Wait, did you say Blago...ve...shchensk ?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Ir Aero's route map:

Interestingly, I can't seem to find Vladivostok on it.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
a little nervous at the state of the Antonov

As much as I'd love to fly on the An-24, I guess that would have been my reaction too.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Airport art-work at boarding gate)

I've got nothing against art and can take cartoons and humor easily, but seriously, *that* "art" at an airport?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
After stopping several times to ask direction, we found a rather innocent looking building which apparently housed the global headquarters of Ir Aero
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
a 1970's porn star (complete with the floral shirt) yelled something to the young woman. He said, "OK. 100 USD. Russia great"!
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
the most stereotypical image of an erstwhile Soviet airhostess
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
each airport was an amazing graveyard of Soviet airplanes. At each stop, we had to get off the plane, go to the terminal, wait, then get bussed back to the plane. I was yelled at several times to not take pictures
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
a few of us got into several mini yelling fights with locals who would push and shove you at the airport
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
the entire aircraft was very poorly maintained. A few highlights included:
+ Garbage literally strewn across the aft galley and near the bathroom
+ Rust on various parts of the aircraft
+ Luggage that was supposed to be "secured" that never was
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
at frequent interval, the aircraft would dip below 6,000 feet and I am convinced Oxygen was cut off - every one of us got nausea and sick - it was the first flight in my life where I got sick and went to the bathroom to throw up ...
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The bathroom had "poop" all over it. I kid you not! Check the pictures - it was absolutely disgusting. And, not having any running water did not help
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
we were served probably the nastiest sandwich I have EVER had. It was a combination of cheese (gone bad) and meat (gone bad). Two members of my group fell sick immediately. Between HTA and BQS, we were served a snack box that contained a mystery brown meat (see picture) which I first thought was spam. It tasted like (what I'd imagine) was cat food - and one bite and I was in the bathroom.
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Olga did not smile during the entire journey. In fact, I don't think I hard Olga ever talk to anyone during the entire journey. Like in the military, she had a routine, and followed the entire thing to the dot

I still haven't stopped laughing. I can't choose between shock, disbelief and amazement. If it was April the 1st, I would immediately think this report is an April's fool joke.

What an out of this world experience!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
4.59: Ir Aero (125): 06/2011

Wow, a new all time low!

Thank you so much for

a) being brave enough to take that flight
b) sharing the experience with us

The pictures are excellent too, out of this world as I said.

Regards
BrusselsSouth
 
kiramakora
Posts: 472
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:00 am

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:39 am

Without any doubt Alex, this is the most impressive trip report I have read on Airliners for a very long time. SO many of the reports here deal with the usual flight plan and it seems none of the authors go beyond their comfort zone. With you, it amazes me that you can go from a First class binge to flying Antonov's across Russia to flying to Somaliland.

I am just stumped by the report. I LOVED everything about it, felt disgusted by the poop, and got a little nervous at the state of the aircraft and the sudden descents to 6000 feet.

By the way, I found the picture of the 9-11 attacks tremendously in poor taste. I cannot believe they were at the airport. Imagine what TSA would have said.
 
thegoldenargosy
Posts: 488
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:53 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 4):
I found the flight/experience to be pretty unique - was a little nervous as we were flying pretty low, but overall crashes can happen at any firm. Why are you in shock though?

This trip report has to be the WORST air travel experience ever reported on Airliners.Net. The aircraft was in deplorable conditions (I won't even mention the bathroom...). The cabin crew was mute. The food was so inedible that you became physically ill from having a small bite. Not to mention that the aircraft was flying at weird altitudes. The fact that someone who has flown as much as you have without getting airsick got airsick for the first time says a lot.

All that being said, I totally get why you took this trip. I think I'd take the flight to in heart beat. It seems like such a weird and truly Russian experience. Thank you for sharing this with us! I love your trip reports!

BTW Did your friends hate you for dragging them along? lol
 
paris380
Posts: 26
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:19 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 4):
Quoting paris380 (Reply 1):
This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.

= Haha. Come on. You gotta see the world.

I don't like using my money to pay for silly things and bad food and poor aircraft that crash all the time.
 
Loubert
Posts: 58
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:02 am

Great trip report, as usual. Great as usual, that is. The trip wasn't that usual at all! It's good that there are still adventures to experience in this rapidly shrinking and homogenizing world.

I've long wanted to visit that part of the world. Maybe I should stick to the train, or at least S7.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):

(Airport art-work at boarding gate)

--Funny, but they should swap those out for something a little more current. Then again, you said that part of Russia is a little behind the times.

A few questions:
-Do you think you overflew China on your BQS-VVO sector?
-How did you like the Trans-Siberian Railway?
-Do you think you'll ever be able to haggle over airline tickets again?

Thanks for the great read!
 
Burj
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:06 am

Wow...just WOW....

You have a VERY cool set of friends to let you convince them to get on that plane!

That airport artwork is just surreal! It is almost like a car accident....it is so horrific you just want to turn away and not look, but yet you just can't help but stare in disbelief...
 
debonair
Posts: 2697
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:01 am

WOW, outstanding TR... One of the best TR ever!!!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I proudly welcome you to my 125th report on A.Net - the first on IR AERO's milk-run Antonov 24 connecting Irkutsk (IKT) with Vladivostok (VVO) with stops in Chita (HTA) and Blagoveshchensk (BQS).

So, how long was the flying time in total? And how long of this in the air?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Between IKT and HTA, we were served probably the nastiest sandwich I have EVER had. It was a combination of cheese (gone bad) and meat (gone bad). Two members of my group fell sick immediately.

BE HONEST- I guess you have now 9 friends less...  
 
Quokkas
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:56 pm

abrelosojos,

What can I say? After your adventures in Libya where you didn't know whether you would ever see the light of day, could you really go back to the boredom of First Class in Swiss? After this trip "los ojos" would be well and truly open.

Your photos give a clue to another thread: where bag size restrictions for carry-ons come from. See the old-fashioned hat racks?

This is a truly amazing experience and proves that international travel can still be exciting, frightening and unbelievable. Have you considered forwarding a report to FR to see if they can gain any suggestions to improve their service?  

Interesting artwork shown there: not just the dollar twin towers but the chicken-thighed Bush. Who was the artist? I wonder if he/ she would be as free to satirise the local politicians?

More intriguing, what was the bi-plane hidden among the bushes?

Wonderful report. I am almost speechless!
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
 
kiramakora
Posts: 472
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:43 pm

I just re-read the report, and can I say one more time, "WOW". This is a legend of a report.
 
globalflyer
Posts: 724
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:01 pm

Hey Alex. WOW! What an amazing read. You are, I think, the most adventurous person out there!   Lake Baikal looks beautiful. I too am intrigued by these places that time seems to have forgotten. It really is like another world! That AN-24 does not look like she has much more life left in her! I cannot believe that you all got this for $100! That they caved is amazing! You a re correct. I think that Olga could handle any situation! Yet another wonderful read! Cheers, Will
Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
 
okapi
Posts: 161
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:27 pm

Señor! You never fail to amaze us all! Wonderful. Part of my favourite TR collection, definitely. You have a very funny way to discover the world. For sure, a different airline. Maybe you could find something similar in DR Congo...not sure though. I'm pretty sure you'll be the first one to report on any new flight from North Pole to South Pole!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Airport art-work at boarding gate)

What a dark sense of humour. Your pictures will be reviewed by the FBI!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I wish I could say much about Olga - our seemingly appropriately named crew member. Olga did not smile during the entire journey. In fact, I don't think I hard Olga ever talk to anyone during the entire journey. Like in the military, she had a routine, and followed the entire thing to the dot. In some strange way, I felt comforted by Olga. If there was a terrorist incident, or safety issue, I have a feeling Olga would do very well. Really don't know what more to say - Olga was part of the whole "exotic" element to this trip, and soon (sadly) became a caricature. I tried not to stereotype her, but my polite conversations were met each time with a blank stare.

Don't worry, the fantastic world of modern airlines is full of Olgas. Every serious airline has their own Olga, in the air or at the counter...

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(And the nasty main meal featuring cat food between HTA and BQS - with the creepy looking kid on chocolate)

By the way, how was your food on board the train?

Quoting paris380 (Reply 1):
This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.


Come on! Poor countries are full of surprises.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
All that there was, was a water bottle with some liquid soap mix. All in all, rounding of an incredible experience, and probably the most bizarre one I have encountered in my life. One, I shall never forget.

After putting so many of your friends and your beloved one, youìve become either a lonely man or a person surrounded by true friendship and love. My money on option nr 2 though!

Congrats for another fantastic trip report.

PS. One question: did you wear the (in)famous brown shoes during that flight?
 
lucce
Posts: 154
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:14 pm

Wow, that was a bit more exciting than the standard LH flights on this site! I've always wondered what is it like in that part of the world that is less under public eye than the the most remote parts of Africa. It indeed seems like another world though the landscape could seems almost identical to the Finnish one.
To be honest I would have guts to step on board one of those soviet planes but it's god that someone does.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Just disgusting - rotten cheese and meat between IKT and HTA got some sick)

By the looks of that galley I guess that has been in the warm a bit too long...

Quoting okapi (Reply 16):
Don't worry, the fantastic world of modern airlines is full of Olgas. Every serious airline has their own Olga, in the air or at the counter...

And yet some of them still don't adhere to appearance standards as well as she did. And in case of emergency it's more likely that she would carry her passengers out the aircraft three at the time than some of her western colleagues  .
 
LH4116
Posts: 1183
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:36 pm

Alex, I am speechless. Perhaps one of the most bizarre trip reports I have ever come across in my entire lifetime. Flying an exotic carrier sure is an experience, but in your case all the unpleasantness experienced really made me wonder whether this flight may have crossed the line from "charmy&authentic" to "a replication of hell taken place from the inside of a metal tube" (= I am never going to refer SAS Economy Class to that again, LOL). You must really have a special bond to your friends, as they agreed to come along on this what I assume to them nightmare trip. The multiple sickness was just awful.

However that goes without saying that this was perhaps one of the most entertaining reports I have ever read from you. You always manage to capture a story in a way that very few people on the forum seem to master, and you always manage to bring up one thing in every report that makes me burst in laughter. Keep up the good work, my friend!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Keeping the Israeli at the office to guard (air force duty has perks)

It must feel really safe to travel to those vastly remote, and exotic places with an Israeli watching your back  
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
My SD card failed in this moment and many of my terminal pictures were inadvertently deleted.

Perhaps you should consider getting a better camera, like one of those mirrorless DSLR's. Great images, and the same size as a compact… Or just replace that SD card.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Airport art-work at boarding gate)

Haha, I'm sorry but that was just hilarious. Was the artist from Russia or Venezuela?  
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
it was the first flight in my life where I got sick and went to the bathroom to throw up ...

Now that doesn't sound good at all. Then again, thank god it wasn't an explosive de-compression. I'm assuming your Antonov didn't have oxygen masks?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The bathroom had "poop" all over it. I kid you not!

= The part that made me laugh 
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Our good old Antonov)

By judging the pics, those flight attendants standing by the door look really HOT   

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Front of seat)

I really don't see a point of this feature found on practically every russian built aircraft. And the lack of recline doesn't make any sense either.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Highlight was the tea service)

WOW that really look like the dessert cart airlines roll out in Business Class!

Anyways, thanks for this fantastic report.
//Jonas
SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
 
reifel
Posts: 1534
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:45 pm

WHAT CAN I SAY... I still can't stop laughing... this was such a funny read.
The most random airline on a most random route. The plane, the FOOD, the toilet, the reservation office. Absolutely crazy and terribly funny. This report is on the top list of most interesting trip reports this year for sure  

Alex, you made my day!

That said my Antonov in Belarus was even worse. The seats look terribly modern on your Antonov. We had a nice red tone seats with green carpet. and there were no tables. Luckily there was no meal, too. Drink was water out of a 5 liter bottle that was given into the styropor plastic cups they use for coffee in the US. And the f/a was Olga 2 times older with a big fur jacket. I definitely need to write a trip report. Luckily I didn't tried the toilets  
 
abrelosojos
Topic Author
Posts: 4050
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:57 pm

Quoting alsberg (Reply 5):

I commend you for your persistance to find that airline office, and then take a whole group of friends along for such an experience. And I thank you for sharing it with all of us. I also must say you've got some guts (literally!) for trying that food. All in all great and very rare trip report!

= Thanks a lot for the kinds words man. Ya - I think I have OCD - when I really want something, it kicks in  .

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 6):

It seems their marketing was effective since no less than 10pax immediately booked their seats at the simple sight of that billboard...

= Absolutely. Quite the return on investment huh  ?

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 6):
Interestingly, I can't seem to find Vladivostok on it.

= That was what was so shady about the whole thing. VVO wasn't on the network, but they had flights to it.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 6):
I've got nothing against art and can take cartoons and humor easily, but seriously, *that* "art" at an airport?

= Isn't it weird? And it was not like a small town ... this was Irkutsk!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 6):
I still haven't stopped laughing. I can't choose between shock, disbelief and amazement. If it was April the 1st, I would immediately think this report is an April's fool joke.

What an out of this world experience!

= Haha. It was definitely quite something.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 6):
Wow, a new all time low!

= Well. To be fair to them, Air France (Business Class) 4,42 and Viva Aerobus (4,33) and Air Sahara (4,11) had poorer scores.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 6):
a) being brave enough to take that flight
b) sharing the experience with us

The pictures are excellent too, out of this world as I said.

Regards
BrusselsSouth

= Thanks a lot. Are you going to do it next  ?

Quoting kiramakora (Reply 7):
Without any doubt Alex, this is the most impressive trip report I have read on Airliners for a very long time. SO many of the reports here deal with the usual flight plan and it seems none of the authors go beyond their comfort zone. With you, it amazes me that you can go from a First class binge to flying Antonov's across Russia to flying to Somaliland.

= Thanks a lot for the kind words. I am glad you enjoyed - have a few crazy ones planned in 2012.

Quoting kiramakora (Reply 7):
By the way, I found the picture of the 9-11 attacks tremendously in poor taste. I cannot believe they were at the airport. Imagine what TSA would have said.

= Agreed.

Quoting thegoldenargosy (Reply 8):
This trip report has to be the WORST air travel experience ever reported on Airliners.Net. The aircraft was in deplorable conditions (I won't even mention the bathroom...). The cabin crew was mute. The food was so inedible that you became physically ill from having a small bite. Not to mention that the aircraft was flying at weird altitudes. The fact that someone who has flown as much as you have without getting airsick got airsick for the first time says a lot.

= Ya. I have never really got sick - even once when flying completely hangover after a night of debauchery and "activities", I felt better on board.

Quoting thegoldenargosy (Reply 8):
BTW Did your friends hate you for dragging them along? lol

= Let's just say that I had to buy them a lot of drinks - besides, I think they were a little subdued by the fact that it was the first time they had seen me sick after flying, and even I did not want to replicate the experience.

Quoting thegoldenargosy (Reply 8):
Thank you for sharing this with us! I love your trip reports!

= Thanks for reading them.

Quoting paris380 (Reply 9):
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 4):
Quoting paris380 (Reply 1):
This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.

= Haha. Come on. You gotta see the world.

I don't like using my money to pay for silly things and bad food and poor aircraft that crash all the time.

= Air France has crashed more than Ir Aero - what does that say?

Quoting loubert (Reply 10):
Great trip report, as usual. Great as usual, that is. The trip wasn't that usual at all! It's good that there are still adventures to experience in this rapidly shrinking and homogenizing world.

= Yup. This wasn't an Ikea-type flight for sure.

Quoting loubert (Reply 10):
A few questions:
-Do you think you overflew China on your BQS-VVO sector?
-How did you like the Trans-Siberian Railway?
-Do you think you'll ever be able to haggle over airline tickets again?

= Yes. We overflew China. Trans-Siberian was amazing - have you done it? Do you have any interest? And, no, I don't think I would haggle over airline tickets again - but again, never say never ...

Quoting burj (Reply 11):
You have a VERY cool set of friends to let you convince them to get on that plane!

= I do indeed  .

Quoting burj (Reply 11):
That airport artwork is just surreal! It is almost like a car accident....it is so horrific you just want to turn away and not look, but yet you just can't help but stare in disbelief...

= Ya. I was pretty stunned seeing the art work. It was right in the departure area!

Quoting debonair (Reply 12):
WOW, outstanding TR... One of the best TR ever!!!

= Thanks mate.

Quoting debonair (Reply 12):
So, how long was the flying time in total? And how long of this in the air?

= 6 hours too much  .

Quoting debonair (Reply 12):
BE HONEST- I guess you have now 9 friends less...  

= Haha. Let's just say that my "ideas" are vetted with more scrutiny these days.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 13):
What can I say? After your adventures in Libya where you didn't know whether you would ever see the light of day, could you really go back to the boredom of First Class in Swiss? After this trip "los ojos" would be well and truly open.

= I am laughing as I type this because I am about to take a LX flight today in FCL from BOS to ZRH.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 13):
This is a truly amazing experience and proves that international travel can still be exciting, frightening and unbelievable. Have you considered forwarding a report to FR to see if they can gain any suggestions to improve their service?  

= Oh come on. Is FR that bad? I have never flown them.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 13):
Interesting artwork shown there: not just the dollar twin towers but the chicken-thighed Bush. Who was the artist? I wonder if he/ she would be as free to satirise the local politicians?

= I don't know who the artist was - they were shown all over IKT airport. Thought the 9/11 tower was in poor taste at an airport location.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 15):
Hey Alex. WOW! What an amazing read. You are, I think, the most adventurous person out there!  Lake Baikal looks beautiful. I too am intrigued by these places that time seems to have forgotten. It really is like another world! That AN-24 does not look like she has much more life left in her! I cannot believe that you all got this for $100! That they caved is amazing! You a re correct. I think that Olga could handle any situation! Yet another wonderful read! Cheers, Will

= Olga might not have been winning any awards, but I do think she would take care of her wards.

Quoting okapi (Reply 16):

Señor! You never fail to amaze us all! Wonderful. Part of my favourite TR collection, definitely. You have a very funny way to discover the world. For sure, a different airline. Maybe you could find something similar in DR Congo...not sure though. I'm pretty sure you'll be the first one to report on any new flight from North Pole to South Pole!

= It is interesting that you mention the North Pole   ... I would love to go back to DRC. One day this year.

Quoting okapi (Reply 16):
What a dark sense of humour. Your pictures will be reviewed by the FBI!

= You are probably right  .

Quoting okapi (Reply 16):
Don't worry, the fantastic world of modern airlines is full of Olgas. Every serious airline has their own Olga, in the air or at the counter...

= Fair enough.

Quoting okapi (Reply 16):
By the way, how was your food on board the train?

= Food on the train itself was crap and REALLY overpriced. However, there was plenty of opportunity to get down at cities and buy yummy stuff from the platform.

Quoting okapi (Reply 16):
Quoting paris380 (Reply 1):
This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.


Come on! Poor countries are full of surprises.

= And, there is plenty of poverty in France. One should just keep their eyes open when taking the train from CDG to downtown  .

Quoting okapi (Reply 16):

After putting so many of your friends and your beloved one, youìve become either a lonely man or a person surrounded by true friendship and love. My money on option nr 2 though!

= Hehe. You're right ... but, barely  .

Quoting okapi (Reply 16):
PS. One question: did you wear the (in)famous brown shoes during that flight?

= No. They were rested.

Quoting lucce (Reply 17):
Wow, that was a bit more exciting than the standard LH flights on this site! I've always wondered what is it like in that part of the world that is less under public eye than the the most remote parts of Africa.

= Haha. Fair enough. Now you understand why I feel writing my daily commute flight from CCS to FRA is such a drag.

Quoting lucce (Reply 17):

And yet some of them still don't adhere to appearance standards as well as she did. And in case of emergency it's more likely that she would carry her passengers out the aircraft three at the time than some of her western colleagues  .

= Absolutely.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
Alex, I am speechless. Perhaps one of the most bizarre trip reports I have ever come across in my entire lifetime.

= Haha. Jonas, I am here to shock you.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
You must really have a special bond to your friends, as they agreed to come along on this what I assume to them nightmare trip. The multiple sickness was just awful.

= I have good friends.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
However that goes without saying that this was perhaps one of the most entertaining reports I have ever read from you. You always manage to capture a story in a way that very few people on the forum seem to master, and you always manage to bring up one thing in every report that makes me burst in laughter. Keep up the good work, my friend!

= Thanks a lot.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
It must feel really safe to travel to those vastly remote, and exotic places with an Israeli watching your back  

= My Israeli serves several purposes in my life  .

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
Haha, I'm sorry but that was just hilarious. Was the artist from Russia or Venezuela?  

= Haha. I don't think the public in VZ would approve.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
Now that doesn't sound good at all. Then again, thank god it wasn't an explosive de-compression. I'm assuming your Antonov didn't have oxygen masks?

= I don't think there were any O2 masks. Can someone confirm?

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
= The part that made me laugh 

=  
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
By judging the pics, those flight attendants standing by the door look really HOT  

= They were not flight attendants - they were ground staff at Chita. The only crew member was Olga.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
WOW that really look like the dessert cart airlines roll out in Business Class!

= Agreed. It kind of felt out of place.

Thanks a lot for reading everyone.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
User avatar
TupolevTu154
Posts: 1918
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:57 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Recently, they acquired some CRJ's ..

I saw one of them in DME when I was out there in November

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Mayor candidate)

I literally burst out laughing at that and had to show my housemate, who also looked shocked. Reminds me of my old school headmaster! I'm also speechless at the anti-Bush posters!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
with the creepy looking kid on chocolate)

Ahhh I came across this at some point of my travels, pretty sure it was on board an Alrosa Tu154.

Quoting paris380 (Reply 1):
This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.

How ignorant and narrow minded. Some of the most amazing things to see and do are in "poor" countries.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 13):
More intriguing, what was the bi-plane hidden among the bushes?

Antonov AN-2, of which there are still a few flying!

What an amazing report, maybe a little out of my comfort zone too, and I'll fly on anything with wings! Amazing.
 
9w748capt
Posts: 799
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:14 pm

Hahahahahaahahahahahahaa - you've done it again, Mr. Abrelosojos. I just cannot stop laughing. Everything is just beyond words. The creepy looking kid on the chocolate - OMG! The mayoral candidate who looks like he's guzzled a few too many liters of Stoli. Olga! It's funny, me and my sis were flying to India a few years ago and randomly assigned names to cute little Indian kids we saw on the flight. There was a little boy playing Grand Theft Auto on portable video game system we named Karthik. Who knows if that was his name, but to us he'll always be Karthik. But Olga is actually Olga. Wow. What an adventure of a lifetime. And the poop in the toilets!!! Good lord, every time I think you can't possibly top this, you prove us wrong. Bravo!!!
 
EL-AL
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:20 pm

Hey Alex,

Thank you for this extremely rare trip report. Very intersting!

You are braver then me, I don't think I would go so far on such a journey, at least not without a russian speaker on my side.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Airport art-work at boarding gate)

The cold war is so 1982.

Thx for shearing,
Jonathan
every day is a good day to fly
 
abrelosojos
Topic Author
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:59 pm

Quoting reifel (Reply 19):
WHAT CAN I SAY... I still can't stop laughing... this was such a funny read.
The most random airline on a most random route. The plane, the FOOD, the toilet, the reservation office. Absolutely crazy and terribly funny. This report is on the top list of most interesting trip reports this year for sure  

= Thanks a lot for the kind words.

Quoting reifel (Reply 19):
Alex, you made my day!

= I am glad I can serve a purpose  .

Quoting reifel (Reply 19):
That said my Antonov in Belarus was even worse. The seats look terribly modern on your Antonov. We had a nice red tone seats with green carpet. and there were no tables. Luckily there was no meal, too. Drink was water out of a 5 liter bottle that was given into the styropor plastic cups they use for coffee in the US. And the f/a was Olga 2 times older with a big fur jacket. I definitely need to write a trip report. Luckily I didn't tried the toilets  

= Wow! What route were you flying? You MUST write a report on it. Where are you based these days?

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 21):
I literally burst out laughing at that and had to show my housemate, who also looked shocked. Reminds me of my old school headmaster! I'm also speechless at the anti-Bush posters!

= Your headmaster in England? I wasn't as speechless at the anti-Bush posters as much as where they were located, and the subject matter of it. I did not understand the chicken part? Also, who is Condi Rice holding?

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 21):
Ahhh I came across this at some point of my travels, pretty sure it was on board an Alrosa Tu154.

= What was your routing?

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 21):
How ignorant and narrow minded. Some of the most amazing things to see and do are in "poor" countries.

= Besides, I would not consider Russia "poor".

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 21):
Antonov AN-2, of which there are still a few flying!

What an amazing report, maybe a little out of my comfort zone too, and I'll fly on anything with wings! Amazing.

= WOW! They still fly? Thoughts on how I can get aboard?

Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 22):
Hahahahahaahahahahahahaa - you've done it again, Mr. Abrelosojos. I just cannot stop laughing. Everything is just beyond words. The creepy looking kid on the chocolate - OMG! The mayoral candidate who looks like he's guzzled a few too many liters of Stoli. Olga! It's funny, me and my sis were flying to India a few years ago and randomly assigned names to cute little Indian kids we saw on the flight. There was a little boy playing Grand Theft Auto on portable video game system we named Karthik. Who knows if that was his name, but to us he'll always be Karthik. But Olga is actually Olga. Wow. What an adventure of a lifetime. And the poop in the toilets!!! Good lord, every time I think you can't possibly top this, you prove us wrong. Bravo!!!

= Haha. Any report coming?

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 23):
Thank you for this extremely rare trip report. Very intersting!

You are braver then me, I don't think I would go so far on such a journey, at least not without a russian speaker on my side.

= Thanks Jonathan. While I agree travelling with someone who speaks Russian is ideal, it is better to travel than not to do so.

Thanks again everyone.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
okapi
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:12 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
= And, there is plenty of poverty in France. One should just keep their eyes open when taking the train from CDG to downtown

What an expert traveller on board RER-B! Now what about a nice trip to Greenland on your way to Central Africa? I don't recall reading any TRs on the magic red Airbus...

Thanks again for sharing!

Wish you the best.
 
dc9northwest
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:13 am

Alex,

One of the best reports ever on A.net. Congratulations. Then again, your reports have always been top, you must be used to all the praise by now!

Still a better score than AirFrance on CDG-JNB. Impressive. I do know that it's a bit like apples and oranges, but it's still impressive.

An-24... I must say this aircraft doesn't have the best reputation in Romania after doing Romanian domestic flights for years (decades) until probably around 1995...

But, nowadays, it's hard to even get a Tu-154 for the logbook. An Antonov-24? That takes real skill... Especially without speaking any Russian. The seats look more comfortable than on more modern jets though! In economy class, of course.

Quoting paris380 (Reply 1):
This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.

You seem to have a problem with "poor countries"... which is very arrogant of you (not to mention very stereotypical).

Have you ever been to CDG 2B? Well, I have. The An-24 is sparkling clean compared to 2B circa 2001-2006. That includes the lavatory.
 
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shamrock604
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:36 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 4):
= Thanks mate. Ya - I found the flight/experience to be pretty unique - was a little nervous as we were flying pretty low, but overall crashes can happen at any firm. Why are you in shock though?

Thanks for stopping by.

I'm sorry, I did not explain myself so well!

I meant my comments in a humourous way, and was shocked because I did not actually believe that air travel like that actually existed!  
 
willzzz88
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:15 am

Nothing like Irkutsk...

The UA-CO/CX trans-polar route to HKG from JFK over the airspace seems a bit boring in "luxury" when we're half-way to China from JFK/ORD/YYZ.  

VVO sounds interesting... I may have to take a side-trip to the "Russian" far east.

BTW Vladivostok Air is MUCH BETTER and a REAL AIRLINE.

Oh and they fly VVO/KHV-PEK/ICN/NRT for East Asian and Russian Far East to North America connections (yes some-how that market exists!).

I think that's the worst airline I've ever seen.

And to think I may have been over that airspace in my life...

BTW the Sakhalin oil fields if they still exist and new East Asian business means that somehow VVO-NRT traffic seems to be exploding @ 2x a week last I've seen.

Most North America traffic to Russia Far East connects in East Asia...

Somehow Korean Air has a monopoly on a 2h45m hour ICN-VVO flight (they fly over Chinese airsapce for efficiency purposes) and somehow...

YOU CAN ESCAPE TO TOKYO in 2hours as VVO-NRT somehow is only 2 hours on a A320.

Vladivostok to Narita... 2 hours of change! Ah Russia!
 
willzzz88
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:19 am

http://www.vladivostokavia.ru/en/passengers/news/2011-10-21-01317/

VA now flies VVO-HKG-SIN...

Russia is increasingly getting into a transit corridor from East Asia to Eastern and Western Europe so I guess maybe the business is there.
 
willzzz88
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:33 am

The next time I'm in Tokyo...

I think I'm going to take a 2-2.5 hour A320 side-trip to the "European" part of "Asia".  
 
signol
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:09 am

Hi Alex,

what a report! Fascinating, to think that flying can still happen in such a way in 2011.

So, given the choice, would your friends have preferred to continue on the train?

I like the way the big sign at Irkutsk just says "Airport". No really?  

I don't know about cat food, even the rats would probably turn their nose up at such food. You really went above and beyond. And even the Swedish way with the lav photos.

Thanks for such a memorable report!

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
abrelosojos
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:51 am

Quoting okapi (Reply 25):
What an expert traveller on board RER-B!

=  .

Quoting okapi (Reply 25):
Now what about a nice trip to Greenland on your way to Central Africa? I don't recall reading any TRs on the magic red Airbus...

Thanks again for sharing!

Wish you the best.

= I don't understand - what is the magic red Airbus? TAM? Central Africa is very much in the cards VERY soon ... just need to get a visa. Greenland is as well - an ideal itinerary would connect Greenland with Nunavut. I am trying to convince a few friends in Canada to join.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 26):

Alex,

One of the best reports ever on A.net. Congratulations. Then again, your reports have always been top, you must be used to all the praise by now!

= Thanks a lot for the praise mate.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 26):

Still a better score than AirFrance on CDG-JNB. Impressive. I do know that it's a bit like apples and oranges, but it's still impressive.

= Let's not talk about that AF CDG-JNB flight. It ranks as one of the worst flight I have ever taken - unlike Ir Aero which was done from an airline dork perspective, that was a real flight. Along with a few other experiences, it totally turned me into a person who will not fly AF. It is one of the 3 airlines in the world I shall "never" fly. Actually, make that two.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 26):
An-24... I must say this aircraft doesn't have the best reputation in Romania after doing Romanian domestic flights for years (decades) until probably around 1995...

= Did they crash a lot? I don't recall major safety issues with them.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 26):

Have you ever been to CDG 2B? Well, I have. The An-24 is sparkling clean compared to 2B circa 2001-2006. That includes the lavatory.

= LOL.

Quoting shamrock604 (Reply 27):
I meant my comments in a humourous way, and was shocked because I did not actually believe that air travel like that actually existed!  

= Aah.

Quoting willzzz88 (Reply 28):
The UA-CO/CX trans-polar route to HKG from JFK over the airspace seems a bit boring in "luxury" when we're half-way to China from JFK/ORD/YYZ.  

= I don't understand.

Quoting willzzz88 (Reply 28):
BTW Vladivostok Air is MUCH BETTER and a REAL AIRLINE.

= Have you flown them? I might have a surprise for you ...

Quoting willzzz88 (Reply 29):
Russia is increasingly getting into a transit corridor from East Asia to Eastern and Western Europe so I guess maybe the business is there.

= Well, Russia has always played a strong role in the Asia - Europe air corridor and has a history dating all the way back to the 1960's. If I recall correctly, SU even had a TYO-MOW-LON flight with the same flight number. Can someone correct me?

Quoting signol (Reply 31):

what a report! Fascinating, to think that flying can still happen in such a way in 2011.

= Amazing isn't it?

Quoting signol (Reply 31):
So, given the choice, would your friends have preferred to continue on the train?

= Forget my friends ... I might stick to the train next time!

Quoting signol (Reply 31):
You really went above and beyond. And even the Swedish way with the lav photos.

= I don't understand the Swedish way reference?

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
signol
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:07 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
= I don't understand the Swedish way reference?

A certain Swedish a.netter started the trend for photos in aircraft toilets, or so I believe *cough* Jonas *cough*  
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
AF CDG-JNB flight. It ranks as one of the worst flight I have ever taken

I did JNB-CDG last month on AF (in Y) and the flight in itself was perfectly ok. It was the connection at CDG that spoilt the experience   My report is in my backlog...

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
yapple
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:24 am

What a great TR!

Though i rarely post, I always read your reports, and it's amazing once again. (I'm a big fan of exotic places and airlines) I've never even heard of this carrier (which is one of the top 10 safest Russia airlines?) or HTA and BQS before this trip report. A very interesting route on a interesting airline and aircraft with a interesting interior. Nearly every (non-living) object on board looks pretty bad (the lavatory, the food, etc.), but looks like an amazing experience.

Quoting willzzz88 (Reply 29):
VA now flies VVO-HKG-SIN...

XF does not serve SIN anymore.

Once again, a brilliant trip report. Look forward to more exotic routing, and more TRs.

Yap.
 
dc9northwest
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:59 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
Let's not talk about that AF CDG-JNB flight. It ranks as one of the worst flight I have ever taken - unlike Ir Aero which was done from an airline dork perspective, that was a real flight. Along with a few other experiences, it totally turned me into a person who will not fly AF. It is one of the 3 airlines in the world I shall "never" fly. Actually, make that two.

Hah, which are (is) the other one(s)? I won't fly Ryanair on general principle, but that's about it for me. I'm still undecided on Spirit, but probably not them either.

Air France... From a customer service perspective I'm not keen to fly them. If something goes wrong I'd rather not be in CDG. AF and UA created the two only truly unhelpful situations with regards to customer service in my 12 years flying, but the UA situation in 2000 was worse IMO. The AF agent was just rude, while the UA agent was truly unhelpful for a good couple of hours.

I have to commend AF for allowing an in-flight flight deck visit on the A380 from IAD to CDG. That was a nice touch.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
Did they crash a lot? I don't recall major safety issues with them.

Well there were about 7-8 crashes in Romania, at least according to the aviation-safety site... Which is about one every 3 years. I'm guessing most weren't due to the aircraft itself, but that record combined with a rather uncomfortable flights, loud props, etc... Meant the An-24 wasn't very popular. A stigma certainly developed.

I remember seeing an An-24 (maybe An-26?) rusting behind the scenes at BBU, in a strange yard with vegetation growing all around, a long time ago, perhaps before my first flight (which was in 1999), and wondering what it looked like inside and where it had been.

You could say the An-24 is one of the few aircraft I wouldn't feel completely safe boarding. It's probably mostly hype, so I'd do it if I had the chance. Another might be the DC-10 (but I've already flown on one). My grandfather had two tech incidents on consecutive days flying on an AZ DC-10 to Lagos in the 70s, and was delayed for a couple of days. He told me the Romanian authorities thought he had fled to the West when he didn't show up in Lagos at the embassy.

[Edited 2012-02-06 22:07:55]
 
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TupolevTu154
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:26 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 24):
Your headmaster in England?

Yes, surprisingly! Generally a very creepy guy and even the teachers cowered away from him, with a weirder west country accent to match.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 24):
I did not understand the chicken part?

Russian humour at it's best, I suppose!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 24):
What was your routing?

DME-KRR-DME, here's some shameless promotion of my trip report;

Russian Dream Pt 2: Tu154 From The Flight Deck! (by TupolevTu154 Jan 2 2012 in Trip Reports)

In the second meal photo you can just see the kids face peeking out from beneath some "crusty" bread!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 24):
WOW! They still fly? Thoughts on how I can get aboard?
http://www.classicwings.de/ have a few flying. I'm pretty sure there was a scheduled flight somewhere within Germany using an Antonov 2 in the past few years too. But here's a trip report on one for you Scenic Flight On The Antonov-2! (EHTE-Teuge) (by CrimsonNL Aug 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:44 am

Hi Alex, this is one of the most entertaining TR's I've ever read! Simply fantastic! You are sure lucky with friends that go through so much trouble to support you 

Thanks for sharing,

Martijn
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
palmjet
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:53 pm

What a brilliant report Alex - thanks so much for posting this very rare report. I really enjoyed it.

What an interesting routing as well. The pics speak for themselves and you certainly had an eye opening experience. Thanks for going the extra mile and getting some great shots. I know it must have been tricky to take photos.

That lav shot was certainly gross. Yuk! Not something I expected to see first thing in the morning but thankfully I had already had breakfast by then....

Now where's Sam Chui? I scrolled through the list of comments to see if Sam had dropped by but so far not yet. He was only saying last year how there were no longer any "interesting" trip reports on A.net and how most forum visitors were more interested in A380 trip reports...! This report is definitely a rare one and undoubtedly very interesting.

Cheers and thanks again

Palmjet
Eastern - Number One To The Sun
 
The777Man
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:17 pm

Hi Alex !

Thanks for an amazingly entertaining report with amazing pictures! WOW ! I'm very happy that you and your friends were brave enough to try this airline and route.

The whole experience seems surreal and the food is truly disgusting. I would never have tried that, don't think I would have drank the water unless it was individual water bottles to each passengers. I might have tried the tea since the water was boiled.

Bathroom is sickening just to look at the picture.

I'm very happy that you were able to do this unique experience and share with us. I don't think I would have been as brave as you.....

Thanks again for an Airliners.net report that's already a Classic!

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
abrelosojos
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:25 am

Quoting signol (Reply 33):
A certain Swedish a.netter started the trend for photos in aircraft toilets, or so I believe *cough* Jonas *cough*  

= Haha. I did not know that the pictures of the toilets started with Jonas  .

Quoting signol (Reply 33):
I did JNB-CDG last month on AF (in Y) and the flight in itself was perfectly ok. It was the connection at CDG that spoilt the experience   My report is in my backlog...

signol

= What happened @ CDG? Can you give us a preview?

Quoting yapple (Reply 34):
What a great TR!

Though i rarely post, I always read your reports, and it's amazing once again. (I'm a big fan of exotic places and airlines) I've never even heard of this carrier (which is one of the top 10 safest Russia airlines?) or HTA and BQS before this trip report. A very interesting route on a interesting airline and aircraft with a interesting interior. Nearly every (non-living) object on board looks pretty bad (the lavatory, the food, etc.), but looks like an amazing experience.

= First of all, thanks a lot for posting. Second, for your kind words.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 35):
Hah, which are (is) the other one(s)? I won't fly Ryanair on general principle, but that's about it for me. I'm still undecided on Spirit, but probably not them either.

= Curious. What is wrong with FR?

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 35):
The AF agent was just rude,

= Shocking  .

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 35):
Well there were about 7-8 crashes in Romania, at least according to the aviation-safety site... Which is about one every 3 years. I'm guessing most weren't due to the aircraft itself, but that record combined with a rather uncomfortable flights, loud props, etc... Meant the An-24 wasn't very popular. A stigma certainly developed.

= Fair enough. BTW, if I wanted to go off the beaten path in Romania, what would you recommend? It is high on my list of countries to visit ...

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 35):
You could say the An-24 is one of the few aircraft I wouldn't feel completely safe boarding. It's probably mostly hype, so I'd do it if I had the chance. Another might be the DC-10 (but I've already flown on one). My grandfather had two tech incidents on consecutive days flying on an AZ DC-10 to Lagos in the 70s, and was delayed for a couple of days. He told me the Romanian authorities thought he had fled to the West when he didn't show up in Lagos at the embassy.

= Kinda funny. A friend of mine (Denitza) - her dad worked for the Bulgarian authorities during the days of the cold war as an "attache" to Balkan. Once his flight to Africa went tech (via MLA or TIP) AFAIR, and they thought the same thing.

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 36):
Yes, surprisingly! Generally a very creepy guy and even the teachers cowered away from him, with a weirder west country accent to match.

= Haha. What is West Country? And, why is your nickname Tupolev?

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 36):
DME-KRR-DME, here's some shameless promotion of my trip report;

Russian Dream Pt 2: Tu154 From The Flight Deck! (by TupolevTu154 Jan 2 2012 in Trip Reports)

In the second meal photo you can just see the kids face peeking out from beneath some "crusty" bread!

= Great report! And, the kid is creepy!

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 36):
http://www.classicwings.de/ have a few flying. I'm pretty sure there was a scheduled flight somewhere within Germany using an Antonov 2 in the past few years too. But here's a trip report on one for you Scenic Flight On The Antonov-2! (EHTE-Teuge) (by CrimsonNL Aug 31 2010 in Trip Reports)

= Maybe something can be arranged ... wish my schedule had time  .

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 37):

Hi Alex, this is one of the most entertaining TR's I've ever read! Simply fantastic! You are sure lucky with friends that go through so much trouble to support you 

Thanks for sharing,

Martijn

= Thanks Martijn. I am reading your AN-2 report now ... neat stuff.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 38):
What a brilliant report Alex - thanks so much for posting this very rare report. I really enjoyed it.

= Thanks for stopping by.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 38):
That lav shot was certainly gross. Yuk! Not something I expected to see first thing in the morning but thankfully I had already had breakfast by then....

= Hehe. Hey, I warned you!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 39):
Thanks for an amazingly entertaining report with amazing pictures! WOW ! I'm very happy that you and your friends were brave enough to try this airline and route.

= Thanks Lars. BTW, any update on your part?

Quoting The777Man (Reply 39):
The whole experience seems surreal and the food is truly disgusting. I would never have tried that, don't think I would have drank the water unless it was individual water bottles to each passengers. I might have tried the tea since the water was boiled.

= Let's just say ... no interest in recreating this.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 39):

Thanks again for an Airliners.net report that's already a Classic!

The777Man

= You are too kind. Thanks a lot.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
dc9northwest
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:52 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 40):
Curious. What is wrong with FR?

Nothing major, just personal choice. I don't like their style (ads, local subsidies, 40 Euros per boarding pass) so I won't fly them. I guess they're good for whoever wants the cheapest flight... Furthermore, they have only one route out of Romania so it's not like I have to work hard to avoid them.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 40):
Shocking  .

Right? LOL.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 40):
Fair enough. BTW, if I wanted to go off the beaten path in Romania, what would you recommend? It is high on my list of countries to visit ...

Off the beaten path...
Culture: Well, there are many things to do, but it depends on how much time you have. My first recommendation would be to visit Bukovina. While one of the top destinations in the country, it's under-visited, as the infrastructure isn't great. Still a bit touristy in some places. The city to fly to would be SCV, and only RO flies there. You could probably see everything in a couple of days.

Nature: The Danube Delta is a more unique place, and there's a lot of personal space per visitor, but it's even harder to get there. In summer, driving on two famous mountain roads (Transalpina and Transfagarasan) is popular for Romanians (too popular, lately). One of these roads was featured on Top Gear, and called "the best driving road in the world".

Feel free to PM me whenever you want more info, as the "best" destination varies with your interests and time of year.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:18 am

Nice report Alex - something a bit different!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Ir Aero's route map:

Um, isn't VVO missing from that map??

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
"OK. 100 USD. Russia great"!

Great you could haggle the price down. I remember buying a ticket in OSS in Kyrgyzstan (also for the AN24) and had great fun trying to communicate

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Airport art-work at boarding gate)

Haha, very funny!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Highlight was the tea service)

Looks a bit business classeque. Shame about the other aspects of the catering. I haven't found Russian plane food to be very satisfying.
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-OPO-LGW,LHR-FCO-CTA-LIN-LCY,LHR-AMS-GRQ-SEN,LTN-CPH-LHR-ORD
 
BOACCunard
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RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:56 am

Wow. Just... Wow.

When I clicked on this I thought it was going to be interesting (after all, it isn't often I see a TR about an airline I've never heard of), but not this interesting.

I've been reading A.net for longer than I can remember. I'm pretty sure I've never read a trip report quite like this one. Of all the dodgy airlines I've seen on here, this one really seems to set new standards.

I often wish I had the opportunity to sample more exotic airlines/aircraft but I have to admit, I think I would have spent this whole flight very seriously second-guessing whether I wanted to be there.

Still, I'm sure it is an experience you will never forget... And neither will your friends, no doubt... You have some really awesome friends if they forgive you for this!  
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
I don't understand - what is the magic red Airbus? TAM?

Air Greenland I suppose.
Getting There is Half the Fun!
 
The777Man
Posts: 5918
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:28 am

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 40):
any update on your part?

No, nothing new; the guy was on the 787 tour that ended about a week ago. He said he definatly would be in touch but still haven't heard anyting from him.

The777M
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
lukeyboy95
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:08 pm

Hi Alex,

Particularly enjoyed this report. What an epic trip! Really unique report. . .

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
We had left Moscow and had reached the town of Irkutsk.

It is an excellent, stark part of the world. I loved your non-av photos. Never got to Vostok, but would like to in the future. The airport building in Irkutsk looks quite like the train station in style.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
"OK. 100 USD. Russia great"! WHAT?!

What an excellent price. I always thought it was so cost prohibitive. But that is cracking especially given it is a milk-run.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
we were served probably the nastiest sandwich I have EVER had. It was a combination of cheese (gone bad) and meat (gone bad).

Oh lord, it looks absolutely terrible.

The whole thing seemed perfectly soviet, and played into all the cliches. One wonders what the maintenance of these aircraft are. Suppose you can think about it a bit more now you have done the flight! It just wouldn't have been the same with a cheery little SQ-esque FA!

Thanks

Luke

Quoting kiramakora (Reply 7):
SO many of the reports here deal with the usual flight plan and it seems none of the authors go beyond their comfort zone.

Little unfair, many don't get the opportunity to do such exciting trips.

Quoting paris380 (Reply 1):
This is digusting. You should stop going to these poor countries.

Ridiculous statement
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
AirGAbon
Posts: 676
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 10:37 pm

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:38 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 20):
= Air France has crashed more than Ir Aero - what does that say?

Well compare, with the fleet size and the number of daily flights. In this case AA and many other airlines have also crashed more than Ir Aero.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
It is one of the 3 airlines in the world I shall "never" fly. Actually, make that two.

Which are the 2 other airlines? IB?

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
If I recall correctly, SU even had a TYO-MOW-LON flight with the same flight number. Can someone correct me?

Correct. At least for the NRT-SVO-CDG it is the case, same flight number. Even durring Soviet Union it was the case in il-62M then A310-300.
 
signol
Posts: 2652
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:18 pm

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:37 pm

Alex

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 40):
= What happened @ CDG? Can you give us a preview?

Sure... Route was JNB-CDG-AMS-NWI, travelling with wife and 2 children, aged 2 /12 and 3 months. Transfer from 2E to 2F, our pushchair wasn't at gate so had to carry 2 bags and a child each, massice security and passport queues (even with "priority" card), all in a 1h20 connection. Still AMS was so much better, with better staff service made the connection that was reduced to 20 mins Schengen-non Schengen.

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
okapi
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:15 pm

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:44 pm

Hello again.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
= I don't understand - what is the magic red Airbus? TAM? Central Africa is very much in the cards VERY soon ... just need to get a visa. Greenland is as well - an ideal itinerary would connect Greenland with Nunavut. I am trying to convince a few friends in Canada to join.
http://www.airgreenland.com/om_air_greenland/fly_og_helikoptere/

I did not mean The Magic Red Carpet by TAM. If I remember well, you posted something abouth a flight with TAM a couple of years ago. GL is missing from the TR forum I think although it might be wiser to pay a visit during northern hemisphere summertime.
Next destination should be part of a game, just like on your Air Malta trivia, "can you spot me?" thinggie. As you don't like AF (I've only had positive experience so far although not as good as UTA, a loooong time ago), my guess would be a combination of Royal Air Maroc to LBV or BGF. Maybe Cameroon.

No matter wherever you decide to go, I'm confident your next report will be off the beaten tracks, as usual.

Regards. (the french word ?...)
 
readyjetgo
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:24 pm

RE: IR Aero IRA 1: JUN/11: IKT-HTA-BQS-VVO: Y Cabin

Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:34 am

Congratulations on surviving that journey! The sandwich alone would've done me in! Fascinating experience and great photos. Thanks for sharing.

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