Reply To: Travel within, and to, IranBack to Forum
As many more members of the Forum are likely (I guess) to travel to Iran in the next year or two, here are three obsevations from a recent visit.
Internal flights. The FCO website is pretty negative about internal air travel, but is not explicit about any particular airline, our experience may help. We took three internal flights, all on airlines deemed acceptable by the international agency for whom we were working.
Mahan Air, from Tehran to Mashhad was in an elderly 747. Interesting to be in such a beast for a relatively short hop. Perfectly acceptable flight – incidentally, the many Mahan Air large airbus aircraft originally from Virgin (see the other recent Iran thread) were very much in evidence on the apron at the international airport in Tehran (IKA).
Return to Tehran was by Aseman Airlines – a very elderly and very late 727. Ages since I have been on one, quite nostalgic. Again, a perfectly acceptable fight, decent seats and decent food.
Getting back to the hotel at 01.00 made the 05.30 start to Isfahan the next morning a little tough – this was Iran Air, a fairly modern A319, not really different from any similar flight in Western Europe. (Travel back to Tehran the next day was by a very luxurious bus.)
Second observation: CIP. “CIP” is the “Commercially Important Person” service at Iranian airports – certainly available in Tehran and Marshhad. You are not a VIP, but you are met at the aircraft stairs, whisked to a separate arrival lounge, your baggage is brought to you, and so on. Departing, your passport is taken and all the check-in and baggage handled for you, and you are handed your passport back with a smile as you are taken to special transport to get you to the plane. You can just wait and eat and drink while all the work is done for you. If you are offerend CIP, accept!
Third observation: dress. The question of ties has been raised in the Forum. Iranian men do not wear ties: it is completely OK for Western visitors to wear one, but we (an all male team) were happy to fit in by being tieless. The only two big no-noes for male visitors at a business meeting, we were authoritatively told, are short sleeves (if you wear a short-sleeved shirt you must keep your jacket on) and sandles worn with no socks. Of course, there are special rules for women visitors, but nothing like as arduous as some other countries.
Our Iranian hosts and contacts were, without exception, charming, helpful, generous and positive. They are looking forward to relations returning to normal, and so am I.