Flying soon to London: A look inside Air Astana’s first A321LR
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Based in Kazakhstan, flag carrier Air Astana took delivery its very first A321LR aircraft last month. The long-range A321 variant, which Air Astana has taken on lease from Air Lease Corporation, will replace the airline’s aging Boeing 757 aircraft on routes to London Heathrow (LHR) and more.
The aircraft has just 166 seats on board — a light load, considering this aircraft can accommodate 240 seats. There are 16 business-class seats and 150 economy seats.
Air Astana’s business-class cabin is configured in five rows of an industry-favourite seat model, the Thompson Vantage seat, which you may have flown before with SWISS or JetBlue.
As is standard with this model, the seating configuration alternates between 2-2, and 1-1, meaning Air Astana’s A321LR has the so-called throne seat. For solo passengers, these seats in rows 2 and 4 are the ones you’ll want to target.
The cabin interior is warm, with grey and burgundy tones, along with various hints of local Kazakh designs.
The seat measures about 78 inches in its lie-flat position and has various storage options, power points and USB ports.
With the mood lighting switched on, the aircraft looks inviting, cosy and has a wide-body, long-haul feeling to it.
The entire cabin is equipped with a Zodiac (RAVE) in-flight entertainment system, which is already featured on a number of other carriers, including Philippine Airlines’ A350 XWB and A321neo.
The economy cabin features just 150 seats in a 3-3 configuration — standard for a narrow-body aircraft. The Recaro seats offer around 33 inches of pitch with a standard 18 inches of seat width.
There are foldable headrests and large seatback in-flight entertainment screens. The cabin also features Airbus’ latest generation of overhead lockers with more room for hand luggage and more headspace in the cabin thanks to the curved, drop-down design.
There are three lavatories located at the rear of the aircraft, as well as a galley.
For passengers, Air Astana’s A321LR is modern, comfortable and should ease the concerns of any travellers doubting comfort levels of a single-aisle aircraft on a long-haul route. For the London route, the one-way flight covers about 2,990 miles and takes around seven hours, depending on direction of travel.
For now, the aircraft will fly from Nur-Sultan (TSE) and Almaty (ALA) to Moscow (DME). However, the aircraft will eventually be deployed on European routes (specifically those currently served by Boeing 757), including London (LHR) and Frankfurt (FRA), as well as Asian routes to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Bangkok (BKK).
Photos by Alex Macheras/The Points Guy.