Review: A flying Iranian Restaurant – Iran Air B747SP

This trip report can also be seen in Youtube video format from below link:

Introduction

At the end of 2013, I was planning another ride on the timeless classic of Iran Air B747-SP and Biman Bangladesh DC-10-30, both flies in and out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia so it is a no brainer to fly the SP in and DC-10 out of KL! It is a very intense trip with packed flying schedule and few hours in between!

The truth is that I never have enough of the B747 classic. Especially sitting right up in the nose watching it on takeoff and listen to the classic engines working hard on climbing is beyond enjoyment to me. Living in the Middle East makes me learn to appreciate Iranian food. To me, the best food representing Persian cuisine is the dinner served onboard Iran Air B747-SP! The airline still uses old school trolley in Homa (Business Class) to serve up a full buffet style meal. The Iranian fragrant/saffron rice with kebab is a trademark, guaranteed to be great! You have to see it and taste it to believe what I said here!

Connection in Tehran

I arrived on Mahan Air from Dubai and have 5 hours before the departure of my next flight, with Iran Air B747-SP to Kuala Lumpur. I have to stay in the transit area (a few empty bench) next to the passport control until the check-in of that flight open (3 hours) to receive a boarding pass, then I can proceed to the airside departure floor and the lounge. I was made to wait about 2 hours alone in the transit area until an Iran Air ground agent came to take my passport to issue boarding pass at the outside area.

At least the wait is very worthwhile, he got me seat 1K!

I love the old school Iran Air ticket jacket and own branded boarding pass!

Lounge

There seems to be only 1 CIP lounge for all airlines passenger in Tehran IKA. I’ve used it in the past numerous time, it is quite roomy and pleasant.

Tehran IKA Business Class CIP Lounge

Tehran IKA Business Class CIP Lounge

There are reasonable amount of snacks available.

Tehran IKA Business Class CIP Lounge

Tehran IKA Business Class CIP Lounge

Nice Jello!

From the window, this B747-200 EP-IAI pushed back. For a while I thought she may take me to KUL but she pushed back for Baghdad as a pilgrim flight! How’s that, a B742 classic between Iran and Iraq!

About 30 minutes prior to departure, I proceed through security check point and head to gate 25 for boarding.

Onboard

I turned left from door 1 with a warm welcome J  I will be seating at 1K, my favourite nose area.

The Original Boeing manufacturer plate is still visible at the door.

22 seat of Homa Class in the nose area.

Iran Air B747-SP Business Class cabin

Iran Air B747-SP Business Class cabin

Best leg room is definitely row 1!

A choice of juices and newspaper were served before an ontime push back for Kuala Lumpur. 18 out of 22 seats in Homa Class were filled and economy class to be completely full due to the end of the year travel season. Thank god I have an empty seat at 1H next to me. That seat became my storage seat!

The Journey

IR840

Tehran – Kuala Lumpur

EP-IAA (The only SP flying at the moment in Iran Air SP fleet)

Loads: 290/305

Loads in Homa Class 18/22

Flying time:7 hrs 20 mins

My 238th B747 flight (all variants)

Pushed back was few minutes late and with just 2-3 minutes of taxi, we reach at the end of Runway 29R and line up. The takeoff roll at night was very smooth but you do feel the B747-SP was a little heavier than usual. We climbed out pretty fast followed by a series of turn towards SE of Iran, tracking over Pakistan and over Bay of Bengal to Malaysia.

A great way of showing the route map is on the 50 inch Plasma/LCD screen! You can see our routing out of Tehran and Iran.

Cabin view

Iran Air B747-SP Business Class cabin

Iran Air B747-SP Business Class cabin

I spent good amount of time chatting with an Iranian lady who sat in 1A with her young son. She is married to a Malaysian man and going back to Malaysia. We exchanged good topics about living in the 2 countries and things going on right now……she is very open minded and friendly.

The Dinner

This is the highlight of the flight. Because I was hungry and would never miss the dinner, especially the catering from Tehran on Iran Air, is fantastic in my own views!

The crew set up all entrees using the middle table then deliver them one by one to the passengers.

Iran Air Business Class Dinner service

Iran Air Business Class Dinner service

The entrée is quiche with tuna salad. The quiche taste great, old fashion!

Iran Air Business Class Dinner Starter

Iran Air Business Class Dinner Starter

Me enjoying dining on Iran Air

The main course consists of chicken cube with cheese (fantastic taste!), Koobideh kebab, fried prawns with different type of rice.

Iran Air Business Class Dinner cart

Iran Air Business Class Dinner cart

One is not enough, I have a second serve!

Iran Air Business Class Dinner

Iran Air Business Class Dinner

After the meal service, it is tea and dessert. F/A do not mind posing for picture!

Iran Air tea service

Iran Air tea service

Iran Air tea

Iran Air tea

After the dinner, an Iranian movie is showed with English sub-title on the main LCD screen. I fell asleep on the good old recliner seat……..

When I woke up, we were already near Malaysia!

The crew came again and offer breakfast, I was very full but find myself hard to say no to them!

Iran Air Business Class breakfast

Iran Air Business Class breakfast

After the breakfast, the crew came around with gifts!

Iran Air Business Class Gift

Iran Air Business Class Gift

Expensive Saffron is inside this cute little mininature box!

Iran Air Business Class Gift

Iran Air Business Class Gift

I took a quick photo of the cabin.

Iran Air B747SP Homa Class (Business Class)

Iran Air B747SP Homa Class (Business Class)

During my photo shoot, the purser came downstairs and told me, the captain would like to see you! The siren above my head rang! I follow the purser to walk upstairs and head straight into the cockpit.

The size of the B747 cockpit is a long one. Another Iran Aseman pilot joined me together sitting behind the captains watch them perform the top of descend.

Iran Air B747SP Cockpit

Iran Air B747SP Cockpit

Iran Air B747SP Cockpit

Iran Air B747SP Cockpit

At this point, the chief of security gave his big thumb said “OK!” for permission for me to sit inside the cockpit for landing! That’s the best Christmas gift for me!

I switched to video filming for the final descend in hope to capture the sound, motion and everything!

See the video for landing into Kuala Lumpur Internatioal Airport (KLIA) Runway 32L. You can hear the engineer calls out the checklist for final preparation.

Please make sure you see the video. It is not everyday you can jumpseat inside a B747-SP for landing! I definitely treasure this precious moment and I was on an all time high for days!

The kind Iran Air captain portrait before leaving flight.

Iran Air B747SP Cockpit

Iran Air B747SP Cockpit

Iran Air B747SP EP-IAA

Iran Air B747SP EP-IAA

Conclusion

I enjoyed every minute of my flight and I was on a very high note for weeks. Iran Air is the company who understand flight enthusiast and they certainly try their best to please their customers. I appreciate Iran Air still allows genuine flight enthusiast to have cockpit access and watch their skilful pilot to fly their classics.  An experience for many to treasure all their life including me!

Thanks for reading and watching

Sam Chui

All Photo/Video Copyright Sam Chui

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