Azerbaijan Airlines market up to nine flights each weekday between the capital, Baku, and Istanbul. Seven head for Ataturk, Istanbul’s principal airport. Various wide body aircraft turn up on this route, including the 767-300 I flew. The airline’s A340 and 787 also make appearances from time to time. Two flights daily are bound for Sabiha Gökçen Airport and are flown by their lower cost subsidiary, Buta Airways.
I was taking this trip to make the following video for my YouTube channel:
The airline principally flies from Terminal 1 at Baku, which is a stunning design quite unlike any other airport I’ve visited.
The airport wasn’t busy when I was using it in the early morning.
My flight was operated by one of Azerbaijan Airlines’ 767-300s, sporting their stunning blue livery. I don’t quite know why dark blue was chosen by them; the colour isn’t in the national flag (the closest is sky blue). However it’s a welcome antidote to the sea of mostly white liveries common at many airports worldwide.
Seating in economy is in a 2-3-2 configuration, with blue seats and trim. The cabin was old and a little outdated, but otherwise presentable. Seat width is fine for economy and the legroom was generous – at least six inches between the seat and my knees.
The seats feature a USB charge point and an IFE screen. Despite the short flight length of a little over two hours, entertainment was available. However, the choice doesn’t compare to Western or East Asian carriers – the options for film and TV were basic and mediocre.
After about an hour, complimentary breakfast was served. This was a very mixed bag! Azerbaijan serve economy meals on trays which wouldn’t look out of place in the late 1950s – a lovely light blue colour. It was mostly nicely presented, if basic. However, a little perspective; this is economy class and the level of catering is well above most European carriers, which are predominantly buy on board when it comes to catering.
Having said that, however, the main course for the breakfast was pretty poor. A chicken sausage with some rather stale-tasting baked beans and a bland cheese and potato dish tasted just as bad as they looked. Pictures of various poultry sausages on planes have been doing the rounds on Twitter, with some wags remarking they resemble a “boiled finger”. I don’t know what an Azeri breakfast is normally like, and perhaps what was served is more than palatable to the locals.
Catering service concluded with coffee and a refreshing wipe.
We were deposited into Ataturk Airport right on time, ready for the day ahead.
Overall, an interesting experience and one which piqued my interest in Azerbaijan’s national airline and the country – Baku is a stunning and under-visited city. I aim to return at some point and road-test their business class!
The ticket cost £105 one way (120 Euro) including bags, seats and a complimentary meal. Not too bad – although value-wise, I’ll readily accept my Turkish Airlines flight on the reverse route was both cheaper and of much higher quality. Let me know if you’ve flown Azerbaijan Airlines before, and what you made of it!