Airline: Qazaq Air
Cabin: Economy Class
Route: Almaty (ALA) – Nur Sultan (TSE)
Flight: IQ 357
Flight time: 1:55hrs
Aircraft: Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 (P4-QAZ)
Before heading back home I decided to hop for one night into modern capital city of Kazakhstan – Nur Sultan. There are many flights between Almaty and Nur Sultan offered by several operators, but I had chosen Qazaq Air, as departure time was quite reasonable (9:15am), so it would allow me to have most of the afternoon free to discover the city. Moreover I could try another airline that otherwise I would hardly be able to experience.
I booked ticket just the night before my departure from Almaty, however still secured quite decent price of 65USD, 20kgs bag included. Other options were more or less in the same price range or higher.
I found it bit difficult to select appropriate fare class, while making booking on my phone. There were three different booking classes, however on the phone version of their website (using Android system), it was hard to find out what was included in each fare. As I did not want to end up without being able to check in any bag or having to pay extra in the airport, I had to reopen it on my computer, where fare conditions appeared by simply hovering cursor over the fare class name. In all fairness, I discovered that all three fares have check in bag included, the difference was mostly in rebooking or cancellation terms and conditions.
Taxi ride to the airport took more or less 30 minutes and if I am not mistaken I paid around 20USD directly to the hotel. I arrived to the airport more than 2 hours before the departure time and found the check in desk for our flight still closed. Once it eventually opened it was quick process and I proceeded towards the domestic side of the terminal.
Boarding started around 25 minutes prior to departure. We boarded the aircraft parked on remote stand using a bus and thanks to the small size of the plane, entire ride plus boarding process did not last more than 20 minutes.
Aircraft type used for this sector is Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 with capacity of 76 passengers in the single class configuration. The particular aircraft flying on that day was only 4 years old and Qazaq Air is its first operator.
I booked for myself seat 18A towards the back of the aircraft. Legroom was not exactly generous, but frankly I still have to see any regional plane with ample legroom. As you can see there is no on board magazine or duty free magazine on Qazaq Air flights, so you can find obligatory safety card and sick bag only in each seat pocket.
After traditional announcements from the cockpit and from the crew, we taxied out exactly on time and off we went towards Nur Sultan.
Flight was crewed by one male and one female crew members. They appeared too serious (I don’t wanna judge them, as it might have been just a cultural thing. Kazakhstan experts, please, do enlighten me.), but they got their job done efficiently and professionally.
Service offered on board was very simple – tea or coffee. That was pretty much it. If I remember correctly there was an option to prebook some meal during booking process, but I did not pay too much attention to it, as during my travels I prefer to have proper local meals rather than airplane food.
For the first half of our journey the weather was not on our side, so I could not really see much, however later on the sky cleared up offering us some interesting views of Kazakhstan.
I tried to do some work on my computer during the flight, but got quickly annoyed by lack of space, so I spent most of the flight reading a book.
Unfortunately Nur Sultan welcomed us the same way that Almaty gave us its goodbye – with rain. Again our flight was parked on remote stand, but at least we could get full view of Nur Sultan Airport. It did not seem to be particularly busy on that day.
On our ride to the terminal we passed by these two JAK aircrafts. It’s not like you can see those regularly these days.
Overall, I was quite happy with Qazaq Air and I would comfortably recommend it to anybody flying domestic in Kazakhstan (most of their network covers domestic destinations only with exception of 2 or 3 destinations in Kyrgyzstan and Russia).
They got me from A to B on time, safely and for very good price, therefore I have no complaints.