Review: Air Astana Lounge Almaty Airport

Filed Under: Other Airlines

I got to the airport about two hours ahead of my 2:30PM flight from Almaty to Astana. Before this flight I had heard that Air Astana’s lounge in Almaty was a bit underwhelming. Well, that’s an understatement…

The Almaty Airport terminal was quite small, and upon entering I turned right to follow the signage towards the domestic area.

Almaty Airport domestic terminal

Almaty Airport domestic terminal

Once there I saw a sign pointing towards the business class lounge, and I was a bit surprised to find that it was landside (before security).

Almaty Airport business class lounge signage

Air Astana signage Almaty Airport

I figured the signage was just incorrect, and that this was referring to business class check-in, given the counters near the entrance. I already got my boarding pass for the flight to Astana when I checked in at Incheon Airport. So I presented my boarding pass, and then they invited me to wait in the “lounge” until the flight was ready for boarding.

Air Astana business class check-in Almaty Airport

Hmmm, apparently this room was in fact the lounge. The “lounge” featured several couches, which were at least well padded and in decent condition.

Air Astana business class lounge Almaty Airport

While the lounge was pretty full at first, it quickly emptied out.

Air Astana business class lounge Almaty Airport

Air Astana business class lounge Almaty Airport

Air Astana business class lounge Almaty Airport

Air Astana business class lounge Almaty Airport

There was a bathroom along the wall near the entrance, which was disgusting — it smelled horrible.

Air Astana business class lounge bathroom Almaty Airport

The lounge had a surprisingly extensive food and drink selection, along with two people working the counter. However, everything had to be purchased, including water. The business class lounge was basically just couches with access to a bar where you can buy stuff.

Air Astana business class lounge food & drinks Almaty Airport

Air Astana business class lounge food & drinks Almaty Airport

The food itself looked fine, though during my time there I didn’t see anyone else buying anything, so I have to wonder how fresh the stuff was.

Air Astana business class lounge food selection Almaty Airport

Air Astana business class lounge drinks Almaty Airport

I was quite hungry, so ended up buying an ice cream.

Air Astana business class lounge ice cream Almaty Airport

Air Astana business class lounge ice cream Almaty Airport

There was also a menu with further food and drink options.

Air Astana business class lounge food selection Almaty Airport

Air Astana business class lounge food selection Almaty Airport

Air Astana business class lounge drink selection Almaty Airport

Perhaps the worst part of the lounge was that it didn’t have functioning Wi-Fi. That’s ridiculous.

Boarding was scheduled for 1:50PM (40 minutes ahead of departure), so at around 1:30PM I decided to head for security, given that I was bored. There was no queue at security, and the process was a bit of a joke. I didn’t have to take anything out of my bag, and best I could tell the person screening bags wasn’t even looking at the screen as my stuff went through.

Almaty Airport airside terminal

The terminal was bigger than I was expecting. There was one central seating area with a coffeeshop.

Almaty Airport airside terminal

Almaty Airport airside coffee shop

Then there were some other gates, though best I could tell they didn’t seem to be in use, as the area was significantly emptier than the rest of the terminal.

Almaty Airport domestic terminal

From the far end of the terminal I had a good views of the Air Astana A321 that would be flying me to Astana.

Air Astana A321 Almaty Airport

My flight was departing from gate 5, and boarding was a mess. Basically there was one “entrance” to the jet bridges for several of the gates, so they can only service passengers for one flight at a time. A flight at an adjacent gate was deplaning around the same time that boarding was supposed to start, so we had to wait until that plane was empty before we could board our flight.

At around 2:05PM boarding started. There was no boarding call, but rather the barrier was removed, at which point people pushed their way towards the jet bridge. At the front of the jet bridge was the gate agent, who checked boarding passes and passports.

Almaty boarding gate

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the airport experience was that there was a wedding party on our flight, including the bride in her dress. I’ve never seen that before…

Flying in a wedding dress…

Air Astana Lounge Almaty Airport bottom line

The domestic Air Astana business class “lounge,” if it can even be called that, was extremely underwhelming. The lack of Wi-Fi and lack of any free drinks or snacks (not even water), makes this the worst lounge I’ve ever visited. I’d certainly make an effort to cut it closer the next time I travel through Almaty Airport.

  1. The lounge is actually an airport “owned” lounge, and no airline has their own lounge in Almaty. Air Astana has their own lounge in Astana airport, which is much better

  2. They have a special vip/cip terminal on the left if you are standing in front of the terminal. They even drive you to the airplane. I was there two years ago and service and amenities were great. It comes at a price, I don’t know how much since it was paid for me. But, I guess that is why a lounge in the airport doesn’t have priority

  3. My friend, who is a local told me we shouldn’t get to the airport so early (I always try to get there at least 100-120 minutes before departure. She looked at me like I was crazy. My other friend traveling with me agreed with me, then my local friend rolled her eyes again. The minute I got to the check in counter I understood exactly why she told us this. This has got to be one of the worst airports around. Security was a joke (for domestic flights), the lounge, I couldn’t believe, the food was terrible, the coffee was terrible, everything was terrible! It was so annoying because I really enjoyed Almaty a lot and this country (and airline) have so much potential. But this experience shows that it is still in the Soviet era. Come on Air Astana, get into the 21st century!

  4. The international lounge in Almaty was indeed much worse. Even though the lounge is open at 2am, there was no one there to sell you anything, and the furniture was worn.

  5. You should have used the VIP departures area instead. WI-FI, food and they call you for your flight. I use it every time

  6. the international business lounge is a joke. There is a bar with snacks and drinks, but you have to PAY – higher prices than in other parts of the airport. e.g. a bottle of Efes beer is 2800 KZT – nearly 9 USD. some plates of cheap snacks are laid out, plus tea bags and hot water, but these are not available for passengers on Air Astana or Aeroflot. They did let me have some water though. There’s also Wi-Fi. So – a place to sit, Wi-Fi, and water. GREAT!

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