Tehran Two Ways

Matthew Woods flies from Europe to Iran and back again, putting flag carrier Iran Air up to the test against privately owned rival Mahan Air.

This Airbus A330- 243, EP-IJB (c/n 1586), forms part of the modernised Iran Air fleet.

“Iran Air and Mahan Air? They both suck. But at least Mahan has lower fares…” a young Iranian student at the University of Milan tells me, offering little optimism towards either of his country’s two major international airlines. He returns home every three or four months to visit his family and consequently has flown with both carriers numerous times. We’re at Milan-Malpensa Airport, waiting for our bags after a five-hour hop from Tehran. For me, it’s the end of two days dedicated to testing the ‘new’ Iran Air and its main competitor, Mahan Air.

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