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Anonymous29 Jan 2013
My flight from Astana to Ust-Kamenogorsk on the 15th of December 2012 was delayed by several hours, but since this was due to the terrible weather in both the destination (UKK) and Astana, I have still given them ten stars for punctuality.
The temperature in Astana was -32C when we departed and -37C in Ust-Kamenogorsk when we arrived, with terrible horizontal visibility which delayed our landing by around 70 minutes whilst the pilot waited for the visibility to improve.
The pilot keept us informed in three languages (English, Kazakh and Russian) as to our status, whether we would need to return to Astana or to another airport with better visibility.
At the last minute before the plane would have to return to Astana, the pilot made the decision to land, and did so with great skill and to the applause (and palpable relief) of all the passengers.
The food was a simple “sandwich’, which was more like a flat Cornish pasty, but very nice, with all the usual juices, tea and coffee available. Before departure and before landing, the cabin crew distributed simple sweets that we could suck on to ameliorate the change in pressure for those affected.
As my first exposure to a non-mainstream airline, I was extremely impressed, the plane was clean, the cabin crew were all extremely pleasant and I will now be flying Air Astana whenever I am in Kazakhstan (3-4 times a year).
The only black mark I can place against Air Astana, is the almost incomprehensible ruling that states that passengers aged 60 or over are not allowed to check-in online … so far none of my friends or colleagues in Ust-Kamenogorsk have been able to explain it … my personal guess would be that someone has made a decision based on the life expectancy in the region and nobody has bothered to look at the reality of who is boarding their airliners.
Perhaps if someone with a degree of power at Air Astana were to read this, it would be nice to have a sensible and cogent explanation.
The only other point I might bring up would be the inability of Air Astana to fully communicate to some of the regional offices various communications and dictates … The regional offices appear to hold some “interesting” beliefs in the face of documentary evidence from the Air Astana head office …
Apart from the above two points, which really concern the management of the airline, I will continue to happily fly Air Astana.29 Jan 2013