MIAT Mongolian 787 Business Class: Basic But Pleasant

MIAT Mongolian 787 Business Class: Basic But Pleasant

13

Good morning from Ulaanbaatar, as I just flew MIAT Mongolian Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 business class on the eight hour flight from Frankfurt to Ulaanbaatar, as part of my current review trip.

Can I start by saying that it’s absolutely freezing here? Okay, that’s not fair. It was freezing in Frankfurt, and it’s nearly 50 degrees colder here (in Fahrenheit). I’m pretty sure I got frostbites just walking down the jet bridge here. Brrrrr… anyway…

It’s an exciting time for mighty little MIAT Mongolian, as the airline is taking delivery of two Boeing 787-9s, which are being used to replace the outdated Boeing 767-300ERs. I was looking forward to checking out this product, given that I reviewed the carrier’s old long haul business class back in the day.

So, how was MIAT Mongolian business class? It offers a competitive hard product, but a really lackluster soft product, while still being well intentioned. That being said, given the fares that MIAT Mongolian charges, I’d say the airline offers exceptional value.

MIAT Mongolian’s attractive business class fares

I have to start my acknowledging that MIAT Mongolian has very reasonable business class pricing, which is more in line with what you’d pay for premium economy on other airlines. For example, my one-way ticket from Frankfurt to Seoul Incheon via Ulaanbaatar cost $1,100. It’s not just that I got some amazing once-in-a-lifetime deal, but rather this is along the lines of the carrier’s normal pricing. Nonstop tickets on the carrier’s two long haul routes — to Frankfurt and Istanbul — regularly cost under $1,000 one-way.

So I think it’s important to judge an airline based on value, and MIAT Mongolian offers phenomenal value, if you ask me. It’s also worth addressing the type of carrier that MIAT Mongolian is — the airline serves a unique destination, and then takes advantage of some connecting traffic via its hub. But it’s not like Air France or Lufthansa, where they’re competing fiercely. MIAT Mongolian doesn’t have to offer the world’s best business class, because the airline doesn’t operate in terribly competitive markets. 

MIAT Mongolian’s business class seats are generic but comfortable

MIAT Mongolian picked up its Boeing 787-9s secondhand, as these gently used jets briefly flew for China’s Suparna Airlines. The cabin has 30 reverse herringbone seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration.

MIAT Mongolian 787 business class cabin
MIAT Mongolian 787 business class cabin

These aren’t cutting edge reverse herringbone seats, like you might find on Air France or Starlux Airlines, but rather they’re somewhat outdated, and don’t have many of the bells and whistles that airlines have added to their planes in recent years. The cabin also feels quite generic, without much personality. The most exciting design feature is the headrest covers, sponsored by Trade & Development Bank.

MIAT Mongolian 787 business class seat

But hey, this represents a massive improvement, as the airline previously had angled seats in long haul business class.

Unfortunately the airline still hasn’t improved its bedding, which is marginally better than what you might normally find in economy. This seems like an easy and fairly inexpensive investment for the airline to make, given its small fleet.

MIAT Mongolian 787 business class bedding

MIAT Mongolian’s business class meals are not great

MIAT Mongolian’s business class service felt almost more like what you’d get in premium economy than in business class. Perhaps that’s even being generous. There were no menus, and the entire service flow was mechanical, with limited interaction.

Dinner was served after takeoff. There was no initial drink service, but rather about an hour after takeoff, a cart was rolled down the aisle with drinks, followed immediately by the meals. The choices were simply described as fish, beef, or lamb. 

I selected the fish, which was served on a single tray with (sort of impressively?) two appetizers, comprised of shrimp and quinoa, as well as smoked chicken and ratatouille. The fish came with some mashed potatoes and veggies. 

MIAT Mongolian business class dining

Once the main tray was cleared, each passenger was brought a chocolate cake for dessert. 

MIAT Mongolian business class dining

Then a very basic breakfast was served before landing, consisting of fruit, yogurt, and a pastry. 

MIAT Mongolian business class dining

The crew was courteous and friendly, and they did their best to work with what they had. But that’s not a whole lot — just as an example, the airline doesn’t even have nuts or packaged snack mix, so there really isn’t much that they can offer you.

MIAT Mongolian’s hilarious 787 entertainment

MIAT Mongolian’s seat back entertainment system consists exclusively of Mongolian entertainment options. The system has roughly a dozen Mongolian films. On the plus side, the selection of Mongolian TV shows was much better — there were endless episodes of Shark Tank Mongolia, Dancing With The Stars Mongolia, The Apprentice Mongolia, and The Voice Mongolia. 

MIAT Mongolian 787 business class entertainment
MIAT Mongolian 787 business class entertainment

I had no clue what was going on, but I couldn’t help but actually watch some of these, and they were fascinating. The only other thing I watched on the seat back entertainment was the map feature, which I found interesting, given that we spent most of the flight over Russia, and that’s not airspace we usually see much of nowadays.

MIAT Mongolian 787 business class entertainment

So, what is there for non-Mongolian passengers? While MIAT Mongolian’s 787-9s have Wi-Fi domes, they don’t actually offer Wi-Fi. Instead they just offer streaming entertainment through the Wi-Fi portal. The streaming entertainment selection was quite basic, though there were a few Hollywood movies and TV shows to choose from.

MIAT Mongolian 787 business class entertainment

Unless you’re Mongolian, I’d definitely recommend bringing your own entertainment on the airline. Well, unless you’re like me, and enjoy watching the Mongolian versions of many US shows, while having no clue what’s going on.

Bottom line

I’m happy I had the chance to fly MIAT Mongolian’s new 787 business class. The hard product represents a huge improvement over the carrier’s old product, so it’s nice to see the airline evolve.

I have to say, though, this is the most boring long haul business class flight I’ve taken in a long time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, there just isn’t much to report on. The cabin is basic, there aren’t many amenities, the food is okay and simple, and the service is friendly enough.

Comparatively, MIAT Mongolian’s long haul business class soft product is weak, and perhaps even uncompetitive. However, given the carrier’s pricing, I’d actually say that the airline offers great value for money.

While I kind of wish that the airline would invest a bit more in its premium experience, I’m not sure there’s actually an ROI there? You fly MIAT Mongolian business class because you want to be comfortable, and because you’re going to Mongolia or you’re looking for a cheap connecting flight. I don’t think a more intricate service will do much to stimulate additional demand.

What’s your take on MIAT Mongolian’s 787 business class?

Conversations (13)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. chris Guest

    I will be doing the same route next month and very excited for the trip. But one question if you could reply with is do you need any sort of visa to transfer in Mongolia or just check in with my passport?

  2. Rene Guest

    The food looks almost like in Polaris. Maybe they use the same catering.

  3. Tonald "Totally not the ex-president" Drump Guest

    How do you say "you're fired" in Mongolian? Are they hiring?

    And do they have an extradition treaty with the US?

    1. JDee Diamond

      1. Ta khalagdsan!
      2. Don't know, &
      2. No

  4. NedsKid Diamond

    Timely review to read.. On an upcoming trip going round the world going from ICN to Europe, MIAT came up of course for Business Class at a fair price but the times weren't amazing on the day I needed, though it did have a more than 24 hour layover in Ulaanbaatar. But Air Astana had a Business fare for only about $300 more with a fairly good stopover so went with that option.

    I think MIAT opening up service to the US is going to be huge.

  5. VitaliU Gold

    You are a brave person. That airspace just north and east of Belarus is regularly shared with Ukrainian drones on their way to Moscow and St Petersburg.

  6. globetrotter Guest

    Mongolia is a landlocked country so there is no fresh seafood available but imports. Mongolia is a close neighbor of Russia and China. It is how Russia exports much of its oil in black market to avoid the West embargo. We spent three nights living with a local family in mid-October. In rural areas, Mongolians live without running water or electricity. They use small solar panels to power their homes. Not the lifestyle that more...

    Mongolia is a landlocked country so there is no fresh seafood available but imports. Mongolia is a close neighbor of Russia and China. It is how Russia exports much of its oil in black market to avoid the West embargo. We spent three nights living with a local family in mid-October. In rural areas, Mongolians live without running water or electricity. They use small solar panels to power their homes. Not the lifestyle that more than 95% of your readers would want to experience. It is quite silly for the customs officials to ask us the address of where we'd stay when they know damp well there is no physical address in Mongolia. LA traffic congestion pales compared to Ulaanbaatar gridlock. People still wait for buses to go home after work at 9PM. We booked with Blue Wolf Travel for our excursion in Mongolia.

    1. derek Guest

      That has to be most long-winded unrelated-to-the-article word salad post ever...

  7. Victor Guest

    Choosing seafood from catering out of Frankfurt is one thing, but would you have made the same choice out of Ulaanbaatar?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Victor -- Hah, no, that's an airport out of which I probably wouldn't choose seafood...

  8. LEo Diamond

    But it’s not like Air France or Lufthansa, where they’re competing fiercely. MIAT Mongolian doesn’t have to offer the world’s best business class, because the airline doesn’t operate in terribly competitive markets.

    Should it be:

    But it’s not like Air France, where they’re competing fiercely. MIAT Mongolian like Lufthansa, doesn’t have to offer the world’s best business class, because the airline doesn’t operate in terribly competitive markets.

  9. FlyingHippo Guest

    Lucky - Unless you’re a couple days behind on your reviews…. You missed a 4.8 Earthquake in Tokyo on Sunday (JST) which was easily felt at Haneda. Kinda wild feeling a terminal building sway like that yet everything continues operating as normal.
    Looking forward to your updates on the -1000!!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

WillM Member

And the more the better!

2
derek Guest

That has to be most long-winded unrelated-to-the-article word salad post ever...

1
globetrotter Guest

Mongolia is a landlocked country so there is no fresh seafood available but imports. Mongolia is a close neighbor of Russia and China. It is how Russia exports much of its oil in black market to avoid the West embargo. We spent three nights living with a local family in mid-October. In rural areas, Mongolians live without running water or electricity. They use small solar panels to power their homes. Not the lifestyle that more than 95% of your readers would want to experience. It is quite silly for the customs officials to ask us the address of where we'd stay when they know damp well there is no physical address in Mongolia. LA traffic congestion pales compared to Ulaanbaatar gridlock. People still wait for buses to go home after work at 9PM. We booked with Blue Wolf Travel for our excursion in Mongolia.

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT