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chang
Valued Contributor

Flights over Iran

A number of people here are quite knowledgeable about airplanes and flying, so this is a serious question.

I have to fly back to the US for a couple of weeks in late February. I noted last week that Singapore Airlines [the best airline there is] has decided to divert all flights out of Iran's airspace.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-airlines-diverts-flights-iranian-airspace-1...

I read that Qantas is doing the same.

I think many, or most, flights from Southeast Asia to Europe fly over Iran. I remember several times in the past, when the skies were cloudless, looking down from 30,000 feet to stunning mountain scenery and looking at the map on the screen, which showed that we were over Iran.

Does anyone think this is a serious concern? The lowest cost option will almost certainly be Turkish Airways, which I have flown many times before, but which I doubt will avoid Iran's airspace.

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18 Replies
norbertc
Contributor ○○○

Re: Flights over Iran

Yes, I read that Turkish Airlines will continue flying over Iran.

I liked flying TA, the food and service were very good.  Once I stopped over in Istanbul for 24 hours, my first visit to the city.  But after arbitrary arrests of journalists in Turkey, I started avoiding flying via Istanbul. 

I think flying over Iran is foolish and would happily pay a little more to avoid doing it.  Aside from the risk of an errant anti-aircraft missile, what if my flight had to make an emergency landing in Tehran?  How would an American be treated?  I don't want to find out.

pudman
Participant ○

Re: Flights over Iran

Agree that Singapore Air is the best, although we are spoiled here in east and SE Asia I think, but I wouldn't be worried at all about flying over Iran. I take the contrarian approach in that they will be super duper absofriggin'lutely hyper vigilant to NOT repeat Operation F*ck Up. I believe the authorities there are already locking some poor fools up for the next 100 years. Personally I think this would be the safest time to fly over. I took the same approach when I went to Bali a month after the bombings, Thailand and Sri Lanka after the tsunami, etc. I also booked Air India flights from Japan to Europe in '85 days after those bombings. Airline might also be discounting flights for the same reason. Having said that, it wouldn't hurt, as Norbert said, to take a wee detour..

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Gary1952
Contributor ○○○

Re: Flights over Iran

Iran admitted they shot down that passenger plane "by accident". What else could they do by accident? I would not fly anywhere close to Iran. I have no special knowledge just common sense.

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GLI2019
Contributor ○○

Re: Flights over Iran

Second hand knowledge from a friend who is a retired Air Canada pilot: DON'T fly over Iran.

He never believed the Iranian story from the start (explaining how it couldn't possibly be an accident).

Safe journey.

Bob

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ElLobo
Participant ○○○

Re: Flights over Iran

I wouldn't worry too much ifn you are flying over Iran, at 35,000 feet!  Nevertheless, this is a political question, not a technical one.  But my guess is that a drastic change in US/Iran relationship is in the works this year.

Is Singapore Airlines better than Quantas?  I flew Quantas a year ago, and was very impressed!

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GLI2019
Contributor ○○

Re: Flights over Iran

ElLobo writes:

"I wouldn't worry too much if you are flying over Iran, at 35,000 feet!"

MH17 was brought down at an altitude of 33,000 feet.

Bob

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ElLobo
Participant ○○○

Re: Flights over Iran


@GLI2019 wrote:

ElLobo writes:

"I wouldn't worry too much if you are flying over Iran, at 35,000 feet!"

MH17 was brought down at an altitude of 33,000 feet.

Bob


Yup, intentionally, not 'by accident.'  As I said, it's politics, in the case of MH17, Malaysia, Holland, Russia, Ukraine, although I'm not sure the Russians intentionally targeted a Malaysian airplane.

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CarlosDS
Participant ○○

Re: Flights over Iran

I would not be concerned but, if you are, you can use companies that fly Bangkok to JFK going NE, sort ofthe opposite direction. I did it two months ago.

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norbertc
Contributor ○○○

Re: Flights over Iran


@ElLobo wrote:

@GLI2019 wrote:

ElLobo writes:

"I wouldn't worry too much if you are flying over Iran, at 35,000 feet!"

MH17 was brought down at an altitude of 33,000 feet.

Bob


Yup, intentionally, not 'by accident.'  As I said, it's politics, in the case of MH17, Malaysia, Holland, Russia, Ukraine, although I'm not sure the Russians intentionally targeted a Malaysian airplane.


They thought MH17 was a military aircraft, so it was a kind of "accident".   That couldn't happen in Iran?   Sure, the odds are low, but if I can avoid flying over Iran for a few more dollars ...

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Win1177
Participant ○○○

Re: Flights over Iran

FAA has specifically put out advisories to all US airlines directing them NOT to fly over/ near Iranian airspace. Granted, I think Iran will try to be more “careful” now, with mud all over their face, BUT  would NOT fly anywhere near Iranian airspace. Why take the risk?

Win
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GLI2019
Contributor ○○

Re: Flights over Iran

"with mud all over their face"

No.  Covered with blood--Iranian, Canadian, Ukrainian, and others.

Bob

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Win1177
Participant ○○○

Re: Flights over Iran

Also, it should be noted the FAA has put out a restriction on US airlines to avoid flights over/ near Iranian and Iraqi airspace, as well as the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf. 

Win
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pudman
Participant ○

Re: Flights over Iran

O know a guy who left Japan back in the mid-80's around the world to New York. He managed to string together a whole bunch of tickets on shady airlines that saved him a couple of hundred bucks. One of the flight legs required the plane to corkscrew down somehow into Kabul during the war to avoid missiles. Had to stay at airport overnight. Said it was quite the experience but he preferred after that to pay a bit more for the normal flights.

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FD1001
Valued Contributor

Re: Flights over Iran

I never flew (or will) fly over Iran and I also avoid Turkish Airlines which is usually the cheapest option from Atlanta to Eastern Europe and the Balkan countries (and landing in Turkey most times).  My American passport with Israel as the place of birth is a "great" combo ;-)

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Bentley
Contributor ○○○

Re: Flights over Iran

Below is the NOTAM which is part of all US Commercial Airlines' Pilots flight paper work.

 

 

KICZ A0002/20-SECURITY..UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FLIGHT PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN FLIGHTS IN THE TEHRAN FLIGHT INFORMATON REGION (FIR) (OIIX) THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) BELOW ARE PROHIBITED FROM OPERATING IN THE TEHRAN FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) (OIIX) DUE TO HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITIES AND INCREASED POLITICAL TENSIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WHICH PRESENT AN INADVERTENT RISK TO U.S. CIVIL AVIATION OPERATIONS DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FOR MISCALCULATION OR MIS-IDENTIFICATION.A. APPLICABILITY.THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO: ALL U.S. AIR CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL OPERATORS; ALL PERSONS EXERCISING THE PRIVILEGES OF AN AIRMAN CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE FAA, EXCEPT SUCH PERSONS OPERATINGU.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT FOR A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER; AND ALL OPERATORS OF AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT WHERE THE OPERATOR OF SUCH AIRCRAFT IS A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER.B. PERMITTED OPERATIONS.THIS NOTAM DOES NOT PROHIBIT PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) FROM CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS IN THE ABOVE-NAMED AREA WHEN SUCH OPERATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED EITHER BY ANOTHER AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE FAA OR BY A DEVIATION, EXEMPTION, OR OTHER AUTHORIZATION ISSUED BY THE FAA ADMINISTRATOR. OPERATORS MUST CALL THE FAA WASHINGTON OPERATIONS CENTER AT 202-267-3333 TO INITIATE COORDINATION FOR FAA AUTHORIZATION TO CONDUCT OPERATIONS.C. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. IN AN EMERGENCY THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE DECISION AND ACTION FOR THE SAFETY OF THE FLIGHT, THE PILOT IN COMMAND OF AN AIRCRAFT MAY DEVIATE FROM THIS NOTAM TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY THAT EMERGENCY.THIS NOTAM IS AN EMERGENCY ORDER ISSUED UNDER 49 USC 40113(A), 44701(A)(5), AND 46105(C).ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AT: HTTP://WWW.FAA.GOV/AIR_TRAFFIC/PUBLICATIONS/US_RESTRICTIONS/SFC-UNL, 08JAN 00:102020 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 08JAN00:072020

GLI2019
Contributor ○○

Re: Flights over Iran

Thank you, Bentley.

Bob

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chang
Valued Contributor

Re: Flights over Iran


@arriba wrote:

chang, I'm pretty sure you posted a few months ago that since Trump became president your port added another $1M and I KNOW that you recently posted that (paraphrasing) you might as well not even go back to work given that your port is tacking on about as much as your old salary.

So please explain to us how you saving a few hundred bucks or even a thousand bucks to ensure you fly in airspace that won't be targeted by Iran is "a serious question."


Because every dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Yes, it was a serious question.

If you have nothing useful to say, then say nothing.

Incidentally, it's a few thousand bucks. Turkish Airways (which confirms that they are flying over and into Iran [on scheduled flights to Teheran, I mean]) round trip BKK-BOS is around $4,000. The other options with decent connections are Swiss, Lufthansa, Singapore, ANA, or Air Canada, running at around $6,000-$7,000. Then double these fares for my spouse. So we're talking fairly serious money. 

chang
Valued Contributor

Re: Flights over Iran

Well, I booked our tickets on Cathay. I tried hard to stick with the Star Alliance network, which is where all my miles are accumulated, but the connections to Boston with Star Alliance are pretty poor, and even with two stops it would have cost me > $6K. I managed to get a very good connection with Cathay (1 stop) for $4500 each.

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