The recent sharp decline of Iranian Rials (IRR) has made flying Mahan Air Business Class even more affordable, from their already quite low base fare. One can fly Mahan Air between Europe/Middle East to Asia whilst transiting Tehran (IKA) without a visa.
I took advantage of a reasonable Business Class ticket (670 USD include tax) flying from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai via Tehran. The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tehran IKA is operated by A340-600, EP-MMH.
Mahan Air has a fleet made up of: A310, A340-300 and A340-600 to operate on their international routes. They also have the world's last B747-300 flying domestically inside Iran. The airline frequently changes aircraft so it is very hard to pin down a particular type. The best way is to closely monitor The FlightRadar24 App beforehand.
All of Mahan Air’s A340-600s were acquired second hand from a source in Kazakhstan; but they were all previously owned by Virgin Atlantic. The cabin fully retains The Virgin Atlantic design. The A340-600 can sit 45 Business Class and 263 Economy Class passengers. Virgin has Premium Economy seating on these planes but Mahan Air does not offer it, so some Economy passengers get to sit in Premium Economy.
The first half of middle seats face to the left while the rest of middle seats face to the right! Single travellers are best to select a seat from 9A to 17A, as you won’t be looking into another passenger's feet!
As all Iranian airlines flights carry a few in-flight marshals (Security), the forward Business Cabin was not used on my flight. The marshal sits in the first row, near the cockpit door.
Photography/Videography may be an issue on-board Mahan Air. I was first told “no faces of cabin crew in the photo/video” but later they were more relaxed. I was the only non-Iranian passenger on this flight. The A340-600 has a bar at the end of The Business Class Cabin. Apart from laying out the meals, it was not used at all. It is interesting as I recently flew with Saudia, again they have a special bar, but it was also not used on that flight.
Meals are excellent on Mahan Air, comparable to any international airline catering standard. There were 2 starter choices, 3 main choices and 2 dessert choices. All Iranian Airlines include Mahan Air strictly forbidden consumption of alcohol. Drink it in the lounge before you fly.
After the dinner, flight attendant helped me to "flip" the bed. There were two blankets, with one being used as a mattress. I slept well until the second meal before landing.
Sadly there was no IFE loaded. All the TV screens were blank and not used.
There was a lot of turbulence while we were flying over The Bay of Bangal, the A340-600 feels like a long narrow pencil and didn't fare the strong turbulence well, in my observation.
Overall my flight on Mahan Air A340-600 was quite interesting and fulfilling. It is fascinating to see how Iranian airline operate despite the tough sanctions on them. On-board they have a different system with the in-flight marshal being the highest authority person in the cabin. The food was lovely and I made a few Persian friends on the flight. After the flight, I was picked up by a Volvo limousine to take me to CIP Terminal for transit.
If you're interested in flying Mahan Air, the best way is to enquire the fare with the local office. Their website only quotes fares in Iranian Rials and they do not accept international credit cards, due to the sanctions imposed upon them.