This was a Tashkent-Samarkand flight aboard an Airbus A310 built in 1983. The flight number is HY-1317 departed from Tashkent Yuzhny airport at 07:20 local time and arrived at the Samarkand International airport at 08:15.
Let's start with the Tashkent airport by night. It was 5 in the morning.
The check-in area was completely deserted… The lady at the stand was friendly and gave us the window seats we asked for. Except that she misunderstood and gave each of the four of us a window seat, so I went back to get that changed, which wasn't a problem.
The waiting area was full since there were 3 flights departing at once (to Termez, Urgench and Samarkand).
Boarding began. Our flight had no more than about 10-15 passengers onboard, so it went quickly.
We were taken to the plane by shuttle.
Ilyushin IL-114 on the airfield:
Airbus A320 of Uzbekistan Airways:
Our plane, an older A310:
After 5 minutes on the shuttle we arrived at the plane and made our way up the ramp.
174 miles (280 km) separate Samarkand from Tashkent. It's a short flight so it was both nice and a little unusual to have a wide body airliner.
Here's the cabin:
Economy class… empty
Right next to us, a Silk Road A300 cargo jet.
Here's some photos of the safety procedures card, the flight magazine and pre-takeoff drink. We had a choice of coke, Fanta and water… at 7 in the morning.
The leg room: ample but correct but not as generous as that on the 757.
It was at this point that the flight attendant ran over in a fury and told me off for taking photos… oops. She demanded that I delete the ones I had. Luckily I have a backup mode on my device. Naturally, I continued doing the flight review the old-fashioned way: discreetly.
And so I carried on… but on this plane… I was being watched from everywhere.
Security footage on the screens…
One of the screens in the cabin was missing.
A bit of pre-flight spotting
The fleet of the Ilyushin IL-76 frighters:
The empty cabin… at this time there were 10 passengers on board.
After the seatbelt sign was turned off, I headed for the tail end of the plane to check out the restrooms. There I found the anti-photography flight attendant sitting next to her friend, playing on her iPhone. She remained there for the rest of the flight.
Note that the 3 back rows were occupied by boxes! What's up with that?
Here are the restrooms, quite clean.
As I was on the sunlit side, I couldn't see out the window very well. I tried to go look out the other side, but the fascist flight attendant wouldn't let me, so I gave up on it.
Here are several pictures of the Pamir Mountains and the mountains of Zeravshan, which lie in between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Quite soon, we were descending… We hadn't received any drinks after the first round. You win some, you lose some, I guess.
Oh yes, the winglet (important)
Welcome to Samarkand
We disembarked very quickly. The flight attendant who saw us out was very cheerful.
Next to us was a Soviet-age turboprop Antonov An-24. It seems not to have moved at all since the last time I saw it more than a week earlier.
A final farewell to this lovely airplane
To collect our baggage was a whole other story… as there was no conveyor belt. They brought it to us after a wait of about 15 minutes in the departures/arrivals area.
This was the end of my domestic Uzbek flight. Finally, here are some photos of Samarkand.
The Bibi-Khanym Mosque
The legendary registan
And finally the Shar-i-Zinda necropolis which houses the mausoleum of Prophet Mohammed's cousin.
This wasn't a bad flight, but a bit stressful due to the flight attendant who took me for a potential terrorist. The service wasn't the greatest either…
Punctuality: Everything went quite smoothly.
Comfort: It was very pleasant to have a big, empty plane for such a short flight.
Personnel: Five points for the lady at check-in despite her mistake with our seating, she was very friendly. The flight attendant deserves zero points. She spent the entire flight sitting at the back of the plane.
Meals: One preflight drink and nothing more. On top of that the options weren't really geared for a morning flight. Coffee would've been welcome. Serving a total of 10 passengers at 6 in the morning can't be that hard!
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