Saturday, 13 December 2014

Trying Out Uzbekistan Airways On The SIN-KUL Route

In memory of 2 good buddies who left this world unexpectedly

Before I start this trip report, I like to dedicate this to a couple of good friends who unexpectedly left for heaven. It has been a big blow to all of us (families and friends).  

They have been my inspiration and have been by my side especially when things were not going well for me. 



*Aircraft photos are credited to the respective photographers from Planespotters.net

Introduction

Originally, I wanted to wait until end of the year to fly, but decided to just go ahead with my short trip. Flying with Uzbekistan Airways came into my mind for quite some time and when my friend, Wei Heng had booked himself on the SIN-KUL sector, I knew I have to do it. So, SIN-KUL with Uzbekistan and KUL-SIN with Malindo Air was a no-brainer! Furthermore, Malindo Air is operating the Boeing 737-800 on this route which was great for me as I would have then flown on all the aircraft types this carrier operates. The next airline that came into mind was Royal Jordanian as it was flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner during that period. My first booking went to this airline as I couldn't wait to fly on my 8th and 9th ride on the 787 Dreamliner which would also be my 5th airline. My previous experience was with Royal Brunei, ANA, Kenya Airways and Air India. You can check out my previous trip reports at the links below. 

Since I had some time in Thailand, I might as well do some flights. Few airlines in mind: Bangkok Airways, Tiger Smile and Nok Airways. I wanted to fly on Bangkok Airways especially on the A319 but because the fare was double of Tiger Smile, I decided to skip it and fly with WE (Tiger Smile airline code) instead. Nok Airways was a must and it was to become my 70th airline! So Chiang Mai was my destination since always wanted to visit that city and explore the treasure that many have mentioned to me. 

                                Here is the route map of my trip


1. Royal Jordanian Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner KUL-BKK trip report

2. Nok Air Boeing 737-800 DMK-CNX trip report

3. Thai Smile Airbus A320 CNX-DMK trip report.

4. Royal Jordanian Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner BKK-KUL trip report.

5. Malindo Air Boeing 737-800 KUL-SIN trip report.

My trip report on Uzbekistan Airways


When this airline announced flights to Singapore, a lot of aviation enthusiasts including myself were keen to fly with this airline without flying to its home base, Tashkent. The route is Tashkent-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore and return and aircraft was to be operated by Boeing 767-300ER. Initially, the SIN-KUL route was not bookable as there was no 5th freedom right for the airline to sell tickets on this sector. Then later, the good news for us was the airline was given the local rights, however the airfare cost was more expensive than the others, S$150 at least for the one-way sector. This airline at this time (December 2014) only flies to SIngapore, once a way. Arriving in Singapore on Thursday night and departing to KL on Friday morning so not much choice here. I wanted to do this as I won't have much time next year. So once decided, I made my booking via cheaptickets.sg. Booking through the airline's website is almost impossible - absolutely crap. The worst airline's website among the carriers flown so far, without doubt. Its workable but the language problem makes its almost impossible to book through them and some more they recommend us to book through an agent, so that's that. 

Flight route



On the day

I left the house earlier as I couldn't sleep much, guess it was due to the excitement. I left for the airport at around 5.45 in the morning and reached there around 20 minutes later. Uzbekistan Airways check-in counter is at Terminal 1 and how long will this airline fly here, we have no idea. Currently, the airline flies from Tashkent to Kuala Lumpur via Singapore on HY551 on Friday morning and Tashkent to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur on Morning morning. It operates a mixed fleet of IL114, Airbus A320, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767-300ER. If you are lucky, you can get the one of the newest Boeing 767-300ER (Less than 2 years old) and in the future, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will replace them. 

When I reached the counter, I was surprised to see quite a number of passengers at the check-in counter waiting. A mix of European and Singaporean passengers were heading to Tashkent. The Singaporean passengers were mostly elderly in a tour group and one of them thought I was part of the group, including the check-in staff. The check-in staff wasn't particularly friendly, even when I told her I was on this flight just to try out the airline, she didn't give any respond. 

Here are some of the photos: 




I am glad the boarding pass is from the airline. 





My favourite application: Flightradar24 had a record of my aircraft coming in, UK-67004: one of the newest Boeing 767 around. 



Once I entered the terminal 1 air-side, I went to grab some bite since I didn't have anything at home before leaving. 

Had the chicken macaroni, something light to start off my day. I was feeling sleepy at that point but there was no way I would want to sleep on board the flight, so I grabbed some coffee along the way. 



My last few flights out of Singapore from terminal 1 were from this gate, D46! Can I have a change of gate, please? 




My ride to KUL: UK-67004 Boeing 767-300ER





Date: 5th December 2014
Airline: Uzbekistan Airways 
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER
Registration: UK-67004
Engines: 2 X PW4062 
Delivered: 24th Feb 2012
Line number: 1021 
Route: SIN-KUL 
Terminal 1 
Gate: D46
Seat: 33A
Departure: 0910
Boarding: 0835 
Take off: 0915
Arrival: 0952 (Early)
Distance to destination: 235km 
Load: 70% (In Y class)
Flight time: 35 mins 
FL: 210 
Departure runway: 02C 
Arrival runway: 32L 

Majority of the passengers were on transit but luckily for me, the flight was not full and I had an empty seat beside mine. The Boeing 767 for this operator is in the comfortable 2-3-2 layout and its quite a nice plane to fly on. 


A friend's friend who flew with this airline on KUL-SIN sector wasn't allowed to photograph the cabin, thanks to the strict crew on his flight so I was warned to be careful. Well, taking cabin photos usually is allowed, as long as you don't photograph the crew's face, that matters. If some of them questioned you, just explain to them nicely that the photos would be for personal use or something reasonable. Usually the good ones will obliged and if not then just take it discreetly. I had a few incidents of such. 

Fortunately for me, I was able to take photos of the cabin due to the disappearance of the crew during the flight - more of this later. 

                                Here are some photos of the cabin. 


J class cabin 


I wouldn't mind flying on this to Europe! Looks pretty decent especially with the big PTV screen. 







Y class seats 



This was my seat, 33A. I find it to be quite comfortable and the legroom space is definitely adequate. It would be even better to have the seat beside yours empty if you are travelling alone. I think this airline has gotten itself a good Y class product comparing with the bigger airlines. 



There is even the USB port and look at the legroom area, no In-flight Entertainment box to obstruct your leg. 


The 3-seater seat, doesn't look too cramp but I certainly won't want to be sitting in the between 2 passengers. 



Legroom space is good enough for me. (6 foot 3)


The 'Boeing 777' style cabin! A definite improvement over the older ones. 







Now, lets have a look at the IFE system. 


The touch screen is responsive and there is no remote control for it, everything is done on the screen. The good thing is you have more space for yourself If the remote controller is located at the side of the seat or just below the IFE system. The bad thing is if the touch screen is faulty, you won't be able to use it at all. 


There is English language but it's difficult to change the setting as it is originally in the native language and it took me quite a while before I managed to change the language. The changing of language option should have been in the main page. 


Quite an impressive IFE screen if you ask me. 

I wouldn't mind flying this aircraft further, let's say, Osaka! 


Almost there! The flight was an unusual one and more on that later on in the report. 

What's inside the seat pocket? 





In-flight service


Boarding the aircraft and I saw very tired and cold-looking crew looking at me and the other passengers without much interest. Even though, they had a long flight before this sector, it wasn't an excuse for them to be so unprofessional. I got to my seat without any smiles from them. Later on, they came to serve drinks just after push back and the safety video was played. I was wondering why they served drinks on ground, was it because of the weather on route? But it wasn't the case as all as my flight turned out to be smooth. Once the drinks was served, I didn't see them until at the end of the flight, the arrival gate at KUL! The good thing is I was able to photograph the cabin. One of the passengers was lying on the 3-seater and he only got up when the plane touched down the runway. Even him was shocked that no crew came to wake him up for the landing. For the take-off and landing, the crew are required to do checks on the passengers to ensure they follow the procedure but they failed to do so in both circumstances. 


I had a choice of water, orange juice and coke. I chose the orange juice. No snack was provided. 



Here are some window-shot photos! From take-off in Singapore to arrival in Kuala Lumpur.


This flight route to KUL was different from the usual route that I take with the local airlines and Air Asia. 

The aircraft climbed to 5000 feet initially because it stayed there for a short while before turning and then climbed again to 10000 feet. Once again it stayed there for a few minutes before it went up to its assigned flight level FL210. 









At the threshold of runway 02C, clearance was given and a powerful take-off was executed! 













The aircraft was at its assigned flight level. 


Descending and doing a few more turns before its final approach to runway 32L, KUL. 






One more final turn! 








Within seconds of touching down! 





Here are some videos of the take-off (SIN, 02C) and landing (KUL, 32L), please enjoy!







My rating: 


Website: 2/10 
Singapore Changi Airport Check-in experience: 5/10 
In-flight service: 2/10 
Cabin interior: 9/10
Seat comfort: 7/10 
Cleanliness: 10/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 55/80


Conclusion: 

Even though the flight was short and the crew had a long flight before that, it wasn't a good excuse for them to behave unprofessional, forgetting their role in this industry. Apart from that, the airline's 767 less-than-3 years old aircraft are definitely nice to fly on, especially with a decent cabin in both Y and J class. For the right price, I will fly with the airline again and hopefully the service won't be as bad as this flight. So if you thinking of giving this airline a try, go ahead. Don't worry about the safety record, its safe. However, do take note that the airline also operates older 757 and 767 and those cabins are not as good and updated as this cabin. So if you get the old one, don't be too disheartened. 


Thank you for reading my trip report, hope you have enjoyed it! Feel free to ask me any questions. 

Cheers, 
Charles 





7 comments:

  1. Hi

    Is this flight still operating? I'd like to fly them, but from KUL,

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes it is, on every Tuesday HY552 flight from KUL to Singapore or you can fly to Tashkent on Friday from KUL.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,

    Uzbekistan allow to online check in ? I key in my e-ticket number into their website it did not show which terminal i have to go can you please advice ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yee Ying,

      The airline doesn't allow online check-in. If you are departing from Singapore, it would be terminal 1.

      Delete
  4. Hi Charles,

    Yes departing from Singapore. Thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am planning a trip which will include arriving in SIN on EK then flying out on either HY or WY, I don't plan on leaving the airport, as these will be on different bookings is it possible to check in with HY or WY without going through customs?

    As you have flown both, which would you suggest? I am thinking WY as they are cheaper and they looked very good in your review.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi 388,

    I am afraid you have to exit immigration and check in via land side since they are on different PNR. It doesn't take long anyway.

    Between WY and HY, WY would be a better choice since it's cheaper. You get better service, in-flight meal and cabin than HY. Besides, Mascat Airport is better for transit than Tushkent.

    ReplyDelete