In Baghdad, everything is really calm.
Introducing the report, just a few words about the place where I flew from. Photos will serve as a reinforcement.
I spent a week there, but even a couple of days would be enough to realize that numerous consulting companies (such as Mercer) are not cunning, placing Baghdad at the very bottom of the ratings of world cities in terms of comfort and quality of life .
Yes, I've been to Iraq before, but that was Erbil - a prosperous, and sometimes luxurious, city in the northern, Kurdistan part of the country, not affected by the recent war or ISIS. Therefore, I subconsciously expected relative comfort from Baghdad, especially since it is the capital. But the reality turned out to be very, very depressing. I have never seen such trash even in long-suffering Africa..
A few photos will suffice to understand the picture. The sidewalks look something like this:
A roundabout on one of the central streets:
The Tigris River embankment in a place where luxury hotels are concentrated:
A block from the central market:
Street with elements of old but abandoned architecture:
Areas and streets where the local rich people live:
This is also filmed in the area where wealthy people live:
And I didn't specifically look for garbage dumps and I didn't end up there by accident, it's just like that everywhere. Therefore, it becomes clear that I left Baghdad without much longing and regret.
But there is also a positive nuance in Baghdad. Despite the depressing picture of the city, the security there is full of openwork. Now, both the capital itself and other parts of the country are completely safe for the average tourist. Day and night. And this applies to any area of We still associate Iraq with something disturbing, but this danger is more global (terrorism, war) and past. If we consider Iraq and, in particular, Baghdad, from the point of view of crime (street crime, theft, rudeness, deceit, etc.), then I can repeat with confidence that everything is calm in Baghdad. The chances of running into trouble, for example, getting a bream somewhere in the Russian back alley (it doesn't matter in Moscow or in conditional Uryupinsk) are much higher than on the filthy lanes of Baghdad. The people there are friendly and kind. So feel free to go.
2. Getting to the airport.
My flight IA 241 Baghdad - Moscow was operated by Iraqi Airways. Departure time is scheduled at 17:50. Online check-in is not possible, only at the airport. Baghdad International Airport is located in the western part of the city, about 30 km from the center of the metropolis. The territory of the city is huge, I would say that it is comparable to Moscow within the Moscow Ring Road. Due to a combination of factors, such as: a) the only available way to get to the airport is a taxi, b) traffic jams there are always 10 points, c) checks are possible at numerous checkpoints, d) the military often and suddenly block the main streets, it was decided to leave for the airport 6-7 hours before departure. The city is rife with taxis. Naturally, no Ubers and calls through the application, everything is simpler and the old fashioned way - just go out on the road and they will taxi you right away. The cost of the trip depends not only on the distance, but also on the class of the car. Old, dead Iranian-made torpedoes are carried for a penny. Auto decent - a little more expensive, but still not expensive. Well, there is a separate story, but more on that below in this, as well as in the next review. When leaving the hotel, I asked the reception to call a taxi - the hotel calls only the so-called business class and it costs 45 thousand IQD (2250 rubles). But the waiting time was 40 minutes, so I refused, being afraid to be late for the flight. Went outside. In less than 10 seconds, a sob taxied up. There was only one problem with taxis in Iraq: taxi drivers do not know English (and Russian too), and I speak Arabic. Therefore, I learned in advance the pronunciation of the word "airport" in Arabic and, calling it to the taxi driver, handed over the phone with the included calculator. The taxi driver poked me 15, which meant 15,000 IQD. Wow, how cheap, I thought. Sat, let's go. But not everything turned out to be so simple.]
Surprisingly, there were almost no traffic jams, even though it was the first working day of the week (and this is not Monday). What are Baghdad traffic jams, I felt on my own experience, as I rented a car and cursed everything in the world, losing 3-4 hours daily on the highways of the Iraqi capital. Less than an hour later we were already on the highway leading directly to the airport:
Ahead appeared the first perimeter of the airport with a checkpoint. Everything is as it should be - concrete blocks, military men in dark glasses in helmets and body armor with machine guns at the ready, coils of barbed wire. I already took this picture for granted, so no adrenaline rush. In general, the catch was not expected. But the catch appeared where they didn’t expect it .. The taxi driver began to slow down and at that moment a brand new crossover from my side caught up with us, and its driver began to shout something to us on the go through the open window. To whom to us? Me or the driver? The taxi driver stopped, and the crossover also stopped. The driver got out of it, dressed in a brand-new suit, and said in English - now I'll take you. He opened the back door, unceremoniously took my suitcase and carried it to his car. I was somewhat taken aback by the situation, and then even more taken aback when the new driver turned down my price: 30 thousand dinars! The taxi driver rydvana somehow explained on his fingers - I can’t go further, only to the first perimeter. There it is, Mikhalych! And then I was glad that I would get to the airport almost for free! Having given the taxi driver 15 thousand, I approach the new driver, on the way transferring extra dinars and other currency from my wallet into my trousers pocket, leaving only 12 thousand IQD in it. I still had plenty of Iraqi dinars, but I would like to spend them in duty free (moreover, I just looked forward to this during the trip in the first taxi that ended so ingloriously), and not give it to some impudent businessman. Sitting in a new car, he became indignant - 30 thousand for the remaining 5 km is too much, I simply do not have such an amount. At this time, he had already started and went. To reinforce his words, he opened his wallet and, showing all the pockets, showed him the remaining 12 thousand. Either drive for 12 or stop, I'll go on foot! He was surprised at my impudence (however, like me, too), assuming that a rare foreigner in these places would not particularly argue and suggested an alternative - if I'm not in a hurry, he will take me for 12, but then he will take someone else, since the tax from this place to the airport is 30 thousand. I didn't mind. He asked me to immediately give him the 12 thousand, perhaps thinking that I could deceive him. The driver rushed further towards the airport, but turned onto the understudy, bypassing the checkpoint, in order to turn around further.
After a couple of kilometers we made a circle and returned back to the checkpoint. Immediately we saw a standing taxi, from which two men were pulling suitcases. They took these two. Now I understand what explained such a cheap price from the first taxi driver - you can’t get to the airport by a simple taxi, and to get to it, you either need to order a decent one right away (which the hotel offered me) or go by two with a change. After all, I knew about this nuance, but flew out of my head .. We drove up to the checkpoint, everyone got out of the car. All bags were left in the cabin. They inspected the car, opened the trunk, the glove box .. All of us (except the driver) were tapped, slapped, apparently for weapons. The whole procedure took less than a minute. Let's go further. I started filming the road:
When they saw that I was filming, the passengers in the back seat began to say excitedly - you can’t shoot inside the airport perimeters, but the driver calmly retorted - you can, take it off.
We drive up to the last checkpoint before the airport, already without armed military men and barbed wire stretch marks, I take a photo:
But now the driver himself abruptly quit - here it is forbidden! Passing through this checkpoint, the driver put some kind of open crust into the checker's nose through the window and they let us through without inspection.
As soon as we passed the checkpoint, the driver said - you can shoot again. BR]
3. Baghdad International Airport
Baghdad Airport consists of three terminals forming a semicircle. The road approached the terminals along the inner edge of this semicircle.
The first terminal in the direction of our movement is the Samara terminal, the next (it is located in the middle) is Babylon, and the last is Nineveh.
The driver stopped at the first terminal and dropped off my fellow passengers first. They took me further. I didn’t tell him what flight I had and where I was flying to, but he confidently took me to another terminal - it turned out to be the Nineveh terminal - he stopped and said - you are here, now they will come to you. He helped me get my suitcase out and left. I noticed that there were very few passengers, and people in general:
I wanted to take a suitcase to head inside the terminal, but they called me. I looked around and saw a military man with a dog on a leash. He asked me to put all the bags that I have next to the suitcase and move away from them. And so he did. The military man came up with his dog, let her near my things, she sniffed them and walked away. After that, he waved his hand at me, gesturing that I could pick up my things and enter the terminal building. Before entering, I took a farewell picture of the airport from the open space towards the Babylon terminal:
Immediately after entering, a suitcase and hand luggage scanner, screening through the frame. Everything went well here, no questions were asked.
First of all, I found a scoreboard to find out information about my flight:
Everything seems to be in order, there is no delay. But before the flight still as much as 5 hours. On the board, the terminals were coded with letters: B, which meant terminal Samara, C, Babylon, and D, my terminal, Nineveh. I also noticed that Moscow was the only European city on the list of departures for today. Most likely, Moscow is the only European destination of Iraqi Airways, not only today, but in principle.
The airport building was built in the early 1980s and it seems that nothing has changed since then. But the first dominant impression of the airport was that it seemed empty:
The approaches to the check-in desks were fenced off with glass partitions and gates. Through the glass it was clear that the check-in counters were empty - no passengers, no staff.
There was a lot of time ahead, so I decided to familiarize myself with the terminal. To the left of the entrance, there were Iraqi Airways ticket counters that employees missed:
Further, at the end of the terminal there was a small shop and cafe:
Taking pictures on the phone, I noticed that I used half the charge. It was necessary to find somewhere an outlet to recharge the battery. I went back to the seats, naively believing that I could find the connectors in them, but of course there was nothing. I heard that two people sitting on the seats spoke Russian. I asked them about check-in for the flight - when, where. They answered that they had already learned this from the employee, and they would let us go to the check-in counters at 15 o’clock, i.e. in two hours. This meant that there was still a lot of time ahead and it was necessary to charge the phone somewhere. Having gone around all the corners of the terminal, two sockets were found, their appearance showing that the last time a plug was inserted into them twenty years ago. Naturally, they were not working. Headed towards the transition to the Babylon terminal:
The transition looked more like a hospital one, with hanging rags covering non-working offices:
Roughly in the middle of the transition I saw another socket, with all its appearance saying that it was not working. Having stuck the plug from charging, I was pleasantly surprised - the phone began to show the charging process. Decided to stay here, sitting right on the floor. Good thing the floor was clean. Rare passengers and employees passing by did not pay the slightest attention to me. I sat in this place for almost an hour so that the phone was charged properly. Here is a cozy place:
After an hour I decided to check the situation. I went to the nearest board and saw that check-in was open for my flight and the counters were indicated:
I collected my things and returned to the Nineveh terminal:
The passengers who had said that check-in would start at 3 o'clock were still sitting in their seats. I told them that the scoreboard shows: registration is open, but they were already aware, saying that despite the information on the scoreboard, they are still not allowed to register.
I decided to have a bite to eat. I went to the cafe, the photo of which I posted above. Approaching the display window, I saw a meager assortment, which, however, could perfectly saturate. Already used to the fact that there are no price tags in Baghdad.
I bought myself a decent-sized burger at a reasonable price.
To drink it with me was Iraqi airan Slemani, bought in advance in a supermarket in Baghdad. A very tasty, refreshing drink, which I became addicted to in Iraq like a drug. Even on my first trip there I appreciated it:
After having a bite, I went to the waiting area, to the seats. Bypassing them, I tried to immediately go for a landing, but the employee, asking what flight I had, turned me around, saying that the passengers of the flight to Moscow would be launched at exactly 15 o'clock. I sat down on the seat and took a picture of the employee. Here it is, a stronghold of impregnable defense of the entrance to the check-in area:
On the opposite side there are smoking and prayer rooms:
Check-in for my flight has begun. After entering the registration area, another scanner, after driving my suitcase through it, questions arose. I took with me a lot of locally produced products, including olive oil in an iron can, so they demanded to pull it out. Olive oil, it turns out, is not allowed in luggage. While I was unpacking my suitcase, looking for a jar in it and then trying to pack it back, a queue formed for registration. Two desks were open:
I asked for a window seat further away, they gave me 21 rows on the right:
I went to passport control and looked back at the check-in counters. In addition to the flight to Moscow, there was a check-in to Erbil at counters 427-428:
Then I go through passport control, there was no queue:
Immediately after passport control, there is an exit to a clean zone, to duty-free shops. That is, the inspection was before registration, but after passport control it was not. But, as it turned out, the screening before registration was not the last. And I drew attention to one more nuance - the passengers who checked in to Erbil also ended up in this clean zone, which was strange, since the flight is internal. However, I did not see whether they passed passport control or not. In the middle of the waiting area, soft seats were placed, occupied by passengers of two flights: to Moscow and Erbil:
The duty free itself, surprisingly, turned out to be decent:
Finally I saw the price tags in Baghdad, even if they indicate the cost of goods in dollars. I asked the sellers - as it turned out, they knew Russian - how many dollars I can count on, having the remaining amount in Iraqi dinars. Having received an answer, he went to the wine and vodka department:
I left the store with a sealed bag, having spent all the dinars:
There was not much in the clean zone passengers, some of them were sitting in a cafe:
On the right - a transition to another terminal.
He went to the transition, on the left hand was 45- th gate. Then I did not know that from this gate there would be a landing on my flight:
I go into the passage leading to the Vavilon terminal, and through it to Samara:
On the left, the passageway is completely glazed, offering a view of the endless airfield with rare aircraft:
On the right, the business lounge:
Going to the end of the transition:
And I find myself in the Babylon terminal, the absolute twin of the Nineveh terminal. The next terminal, Samara, also resembles the first two in form and style, so they are all triplets together. I noticed that here, in Babylon, there are soft chairs covered with velor fabric. On the one hand, it is not hygienic, but on the other hand, it is very pleasant and comfortable to sit on them. The only thing that distinguished the Babylon terminal was the greater number of passengers:
There is also a duty-free shop here. I went into it, but only to take a picture of a Boeing 777 standing opposite. It turned out unsuccessfully, but there is no other way, on the contrary there are a lot of window frames and structures:
The alcohol assortment of duty-free in the Babylon terminal was somewhat different from that in the Nineveh terminal with an emphasis on vodka, some of which is Russian:
I went to the toilet. Everything is not very good there: dirt, hanging cabin doors:
I am passing through the Babylon terminal, heading to the next - Samara:
But before I didn't make it to Samara, as I had already moved far enough away from my terminal, and it was time to go back. In the transition between the terminals of Vavilon and Samara I took photos of the airfield:
View towards Vavilon:
View towards Samara:
I'm going back:
I'm passing empty gates:
I'm back at the Babylon terminal. Here I saw a kiosk for connecting the Internet. By the way, Wi-Fi at the Baghdad airport is of very decent quality: firstly, it has never been interrupted since the moment of connection, and secondly, it allowed making video calls via WhatsApp. And it connects intuitively easily and simply. Here is his logo:
While passing through the next passage, I saw an Iraqi Air Force board land in the distance (filmed at maximum zoom, the quality let us down):
I also saw a Boeing-737 of the Iraqi low-cost airline FlyBaghdad, which was preparing to fly either to Istanbul or Dubai:
I read somewhere that they have plans to open a flight to Moscow. It would be nice, probably, because Iraqi Airways does not have cheap tickets.
Having returned to the Nineveh terminal, I saw the plane on which I was supposed to fly through a transparent teleporter:
I already have a flight to Moscow boarding has begun:
I'm getting in line, I'm approaching the entrance to the gate area:
Here is another inspection of things through the scanner. All bags, including the duty-free bag, were sent through the scanner, this time nothing was taken away.
The waiting area inside the gate looked more decent than in the clean area:
Outside the window sunset was coming, the sun was beautifully setting against the backdrop of my plane in the dusty atmosphere of the Iraqi capital:
While I was sitting in my gate area, I estimated the number of passengers. They kept coming and coming. There were unexpectedly many of them, the loading of the board was expected to be about 80 percent.
They began to launch into the plane:
On the right side, the A-220 was clearly visible, going to Erbil:
It's good that the air bridge was made entirely of glass, which made it possible to take a few pictures. View of the transition to the Babylon terminal and part of it from the side of the airfield:
After turning, the terminal from which I flew, Nineveh, became visible, through the reflection from the windows of which I saw our plane and myself in the air bridge :
I'm approaching my plane, the sun has almost touched the horizon:
On the other side you can see the very nose of the plane with the inscription "Iraqi"
I enter the plane in the forefront:
And yet, the luggage racks above my row were already packed to capacity. I had a small bag with me, I took it with me on the seat, throwing it under my feet. If I'm lucky and no one sits next to me, I'll put it on an empty seat.
View from my window:
In the distance in the parking lot I saw a Boeing 747 in the livery of Iraqi airlines. I did not even expect that they have such a board. I tried to shoot at the maximum zoom, it didn't work out very well:
Passenger boarding is over. On my row, in seat D (on the edge), an Iraqi sat down, the middle seat was empty, which is already good. The board was not packed to capacity, empty seats were visible in some places, but nevertheless, the occupancy of this flight was surprising - I did not expect that so many people fly in this direction.
A demonstration of safety instructions began: it was announced on the radio in Arabic and then in English, accompanying the speech with a cartoon showing on the screen of the seatback:
At this time, the plane was pulled by a tug from the air bridge and turned to the right so that the airport terminals appeared from my side:
Further at the Nineveh terminal, another aircraft of Iraqi Airways was seen, it seems to be an A-321:
We started to move independently, and reached the Babylon terminal:
turned left, away from the terminals.
The Emirates Boeing 777 has already left. All that remained at the terminals was (in addition to the A-321 and A-220 mentioned above, which stood nearby, going to Erbil) two more Boeing-737s, one of which was FlyBaghdad, and the other Iraqi Airways, i.e. only 4 aircraft .
At a distance from the terminals, there were two small planes - either private or UN ones:
There are two lanes at Baghdad Airport, one 3300 meters long, the other 4000. We turned to that , which is longer and to the right of the terminals:
We went out to the taxiway and again turned to the right - this meant that we had to drive along it for almost 3 km out of 4 to the beginning of the runway. During a long taxi, we passed the fire brigade, Iraqi Airways Cargo hangars:
I also noticed an old Boeing 727, dressed in the livery of Iraqi Airways, standing behind buildings, and did not have time to take a picture.
We drove to the start and began to pick up speed without stopping. It seemed that they were accelerating for a long time. We broke away from the lane and a view of Baghdad began to open:
It was already getting dark, and besides, Baghdad is always in a state of eternal haze, smog and dust, so it was problematic to view the city from a height. The situation was somewhat improved by the fact that immediately after takeoff the plane turned sharply to the right, which provided a better view for some time:
Then we crossed the Tigris River:
Well, then everything disappeared in the haze and the approaching night and nothing interesting happened outside the window.
The cabin of the aircraft, or rather, the seats had dirty blue color, seat upholstery - leather. I had another flight with this airline and this type of aircraft, and, in order not to repeat myself, I will dwell on the condition of the cabin and seats in more detail in the next review. selling perfumes on board.
Started serving meals. But before that, each passenger was given a small plastic bottle of water. And again, a funny situation came out in terms of nutrition. On both flights, this airline served an absolutely identical set of hot and salads. I should have picked the chicken at least once. But I chose beef. This is what the untouched set looks like:
The salad, upon closer examination, did not represent anything unusual:
I ate the whole dinner, it tasted good, the vegetables were fresh, not weathered.
After dinner, tea and coffee were served:
I chose coffee. Oh, and he turned out to be strong!
After eating, of course, the toilet. It turned out to be simple, clean:
I'm returning from the lab. The interior is highlighted in cold blue:
Flying at night is always a burden and boredom. So in this review, I have almost nothing to tell about the flight itself, except for a few touches. After returning from the toilet, I began to study the information about the flight, which I displayed on the screen of the back of the seat in front. from Baghdad to Moscow is quite intricate. For some reason, the plane does not fly from Baghdad directly through Iran and Azerbaijan, which would be closer, given that now all planes heading from the south to the capital of the Russian Federation fly around the area adjacent to the Russian-Ukrainian border. It flies due north, enters Turkish airspace and flies almost to the Black Sea, then makes a sharp turn to the east, flies over Georgia and a piece of Russia, and then follows to Kazakhstan, from which it flies again into Russian territory. The trajectory turns out to be similar to a squiggle, resembling the letter S in reverse.
The next two hours passed for viewing information on the phone. It was possible not to charge the phone at the Baghdad airport, since this option was available on the plane.
An hour and a half before landing, we flew over the Volga near Samara:
We began to descend. Solid clouds. Moscow is not surprising. In this city, seeing the sun or a clear sky in winter is considered a great success.
Just before landing, it was shaking a lot. It felt like the earth was about to appear, but everything was hidden behind a veil of clouds. And it appeared only when the plane had almost reached the runway. When landing, the stewards probably forgot to dim the lights, as the plane landed with the lights on in the cabin. First time I've watched this. I took a photo when landing, in the reflection of the window you can see that the light is on in the cabin:
Taxied to gate 20:
I had to hurry, so I tried to get out of the plane as quickly as possible. Prudent Iraqis dressed themselves in winter at the Baghdad airport, but I was dressed in summer, and I had to get my luggage and get a warm jacket out of it.
I am passing by the business class. I wonder how much the ticket costs in it. I'm even afraid to imagine, because I paid a decent amount for the economy.
I get off the plane, then the air bridge, opaque, unlike Baghdad:
Next - a long walk through the galleries inside Vnukovo. I had to go very far.
At the border control, the border guard asked - what the hell was I doing in Iraq? And how long was he absent from Russia? Lord, what do you care, I thought, but I didn’t dare to speak out loud, I only answered - leaf through your passport, you will find the answer to your questions there, because I can say anything. When I arrived in Iraq, the local border guards did not even ask me a question about the purpose of the visit, and this despite the fact that for them I am a foreigner who arrived in a country that had just recovered from all its hardships. And ours here ask a lot of questions to their own..
I go down the stairs to the baggage claim area:
And of course, the horse was not lying on the tape either:
I've been waiting for my suitcase for half an hour! Not only me, but all the passengers of our flight. When I finally received it, I thought - well, now it's freedom, but no! A queue lined up through the green corridor, which moved slowly.
When it came to me, they forced literally everything to run through the scanner - luggage and hand luggage, and even a small purse. I encountered such difficulties for the first time at the Moscow airport. Either because the flight is from Iraq, or it has become the norm.
I'm done with this, because I see no point in talking about the Vnukovo arrivals zone.
In conclusion - the flight path of my flight from Flightradar.com:
Thanks to everyone who made it to the end! Have a nice flight and see you on new reviews!
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