Uzbekistan Airways HY511
Tashkent (TAS) – Seoul (ICN)
Monday, February 13
Arrive: 9:40AM (+1 day)
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 6A (Business Class)
My flight was scheduled to depart at 11:20pm, with boarding scheduled to begin at 10:50pm. Much to my surprise Business Class passengers are able to board directly from the lounge. At 10:50pm my flight was called to board at the lounge and I made my way to the exclusive boarding area connected to the lounge where my boarding pass and passport were verified. Once all business class passengers had been gathered together we were escorted down a corridor to a private security screening area which connected onto another private corridor that lead directly to the entrance at door L1.
I boarded through door L1, where my boarding pass was verified and I was directed to my seat.
Much to my after my last flight the aircraft was configured in the better business class configuration that I was excited to try.
This 767-300ER featured 15 business class seats in one cabin with 3 rows, in the very unusual 2-1-2 configuration. Due to the novelty of having an aisle aisle seat in business class I assigned myself seat 2C. After being shown to my seat I quickly realised how terrible the centre seats are in this configuration as there was zero privacy and no storage. Within a few minutes of sitting down in seat 2C I moved myself across to 2J on the window with the seat next to me remaining empty luckily due to the light load with only 4 out of 15 business class seats being taken.
Now to the seat. The seat is probably one of the worst business class products out there. The seat was narrow featuring a small table between the seats below which was the very limited seat control panel with the tray table extending out from the armrest. The leg room was reasonable for the configuration but my major issue was storage. The seat completely lacks storage with the only storage existing between the two seats in the form of an exposed area just big enough for shoes below and a small device above with only the seat pocket remaining. for any larger items.
Waiting at my seat was nothing no water bottle, pillow, blanket or headset.
After moving to my new seat I was offered a pre-departure drink without any menu or choices, I asked for a glass of sparkling water that was served in a plastic cup. From this point onwards there was no interaction with the crew until after takeoff.
Boarding finished at 11:20pm with business class pretty empty and economy class about half full.
Shortly after the main door was closed and the basic safety demo screened as we began our taxi to the runway.
It was pitch black outside so I didn’t really get to see any interesting aircraft on the short taxi out and soon we were airborne bound for Seoul.
After about then minutes the seatbelt sign was turned off and the curtain between the two cabins were drawn and that was it for the next half hour. I first asked for an amenity kit but was met with a blank face.
Being a redeye usually blankets and pillows are waiting at the seat but it was clear that the crew weren’t proactive so I requested a blanket and pillow. The pillow and blanket were the same as the ones distributed to economy passengers and were very poor quality.
At this pointed I headed to the single dedicated lavatory located at the front of the plane which was basic but clean.
Back at my seat I decided to check out the entertainment selection. The selection was terrible with a handful of movies and TV shows. I couldn’t find a single thing to watch at which I was offered food by the crew.
About 30 minutes after takeoff the crew came around to offer a choice between fish and chicken. There were no menus just the choice of fish or chicken. Being extremely tired and having experienced an interesting Uzbekistan Airways meal a few days earlier I decided and opted to get some rest.
Having experience the other 767 configuration I was very pleased to have a seat that looked as if it would become angle flat for this overnight flight. Having seen a picture of the seat online and the electric seat control I just assumed the seat would recline into an angle flat-bed given the flight timing I booked.
Now this was the biggest disappointment of all my Uzbekistan Airways experiences over the past few days. I began to recline me seat holding down the button when after a few seconds it just stopped. I was in shock. I tried again and again. At first i thought my seat was broken so I tried the seat next to me and yet again after a gradual recline it just stopped. At this point I tried the seat in the middle of the plane and again the same problem. Finally I asked the crew and they had no idea what I was talking about. I had been awake for hours, it was 1am and I had booked a business class seat in hope of getting some sleep. The seat had the same recline as a narrow body business class seat with a flimsy footrest that proved useless. Looking back now on the website it states that the ‘seats backs recline on 10 to 80 degree’ and that ‘the transformation of the passenger seat into lying position’ this is clearly not true and was possibly the most uncomfortable seat I have ever sat in. Despite this I napped for the next 4 hours and woke up about 45 minutes out of Seoul.
Given that we were landing in the morning I assumed I would be provided with a light breakfast but that didn’t exist. I wasn’t offered anything after waking up so I asked for a coffee and the landing cards for South Korea.
At around 9am we began our decent into Seoul. I mainly just looked up the window given the lack of entertainment and meal. The seat belt sign was then turned on as we began our approach in which the crew were seated. I still had a cup of coffee on my table and was fully reclined with the footrest extended, no attempt of a pre landing check was made which I found unusual.
We then landed smoothly into Seoul Incheon Airport. The taxi to the gate took a while but I had a great view of a Korean Air Airbus A380 and Thai Airways Boeing 747.
I was the first to leave the aircraft where I began a painfully long wait to clear immigration, collect my bags and wait to re check in for my Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong.
Uzbekistan Airways 767 business class bottom line
The experience had begun positively with the surprisingly good ground experience at Tashkent Airport but the flight left me very disappointed. There wasn’t really a single positive aspect of the soft or hard product. The service was no existant and the seat couldn’t really get any worse but despite this it was a fun and memorable experience. While I would never connect through Tashkent Airport no matter what the deal, Uzbekistan Airways provides and interesting journey from Tashkent to Seoul.