Review: MIAT Mongolian Airlines Business Class Boeing 787 (FRA-UBN)

Review: MIAT Mongolian Airlines Business Class Boeing 787 (FRA-UBN)

More From This Trip
FROM: FRA
TO: UBN
CABIN: Business
DATE: January 2024
REVIEW RATING:
SEAT MAP: 787-9
BEN SAYS: MIAT Mongolian's 787 business class features a solid hard product but a very lackluster soft product. However, the product is priced accordingly, and represents a great value.
24

For the next portion of my trip to Japan via Mongolia, I flew MIAT Mongolian Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 business class on the eight hour overnight flight from Frankfurt to Ulaanbaatar. MIAT Mongolian Airlines recently modernized its fleet, as the airline is replacing its Boeing 767s with Boeing 787s, so I was looking forward to experiencing the improvements at the airline.

How was the MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class experience? Well, the airline has a perfectly pleasant but generic reverse herringbone product, which is probably the best part of the experience. The food, drinks, entertainment, and amenities were all exceedingly basic, more in line with what you’d expect in premium economy than in business class. But then again, the airline has very attractive business class pricing, so I think the value is there.

How I booked my MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class ticket

I booked my MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class ticket using cash. Fortunately the airline has attractive fares in business class, regardless of whether you intend to travel to Mongolia, or just want to connect there. I booked the following for $1,113.40 one-way, which I’d consider to be a great deal:

1/27 OM138 Frankfurt to Ulaanbaatar departing 2:30PM arriving 5:40AM (+1 day)
1/28 OM301 Ulaanbaatar to Seoul departing 7:45AM arriving 12:05PM

Unfortunately there are no practical ways to redeem miles on MIAT Mongolian Airlines. That may change eventually, as the airline has expressed interest in becoming a oneworld Connect member, as part of its aspirations of flying to the United States.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class lounge & boarding

MIAT Mongolian Airlines sends its business class passengers to the Primeclass Lounge Frankfurt, which I reviewed in the previous installment. I had checked in online for the flight, so was able to skip the check-in counter.

I headed straight to the departure gate in Terminal 2. Gate D1 was being used. This sure is an interesting part of the terminal, as the Iran Air flight to Tehran and Turkmenistan Airlines flight to Ashgabat were both departing around the same time. Talk about a unique set of destinations!

MIAT Mongolian Airlines departure gate Frankfurt

MIAT schedules a tight turn in Frankfurt, as there’s only 90 minutes between the arrival and departure of the 787, leaving no room for delays. The inbound flight was a bit delayed, so I watched as the gorgeous 787-9 pulled into the gate — I really do like MIAT’s livery!

MIAT Mongolian Airlines Boeing 787 Frankfurt

Boarding ended up starting around 20 minutes behind schedule, at 2:05PM, with business class passengers being invited to board first.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 business class cabin & seats

MIAT Mongolian’s Boeing 787-9s are gently used, as they’ve been acquired from Suparna Airlines. This is a Chinese airline that’s part of the struggling Hainan Group, which also owns Hainan Airlines. This particular Boeing 787 was first delivered in July 2019, so it’s still a fairly new jet.

Given that MIAT acquired these 787s secondhand, the airline didn’t spend much money on the interiors. I’ll take it a step further — I don’t think these 787s could have more generic interiors, and the only splash of color in the cabin are sponsored, disposable headrests. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself…

MIAT’s Boeing 787s have 30 business class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration. These are reverse herringbone seats, and specifically are the Safran Cirrus product, which is far from the latest generation reverse herringbone seat on the market. So while MIAT has fully flat beds and direct aisle access, it doesn’t have the bells and whistles, or level of comfort, that you’d find on some other airlines.

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

Those traveling with a companion may want to select the pair of seats in the center section. While you can’t easily talk with your seat mate (due to how the seat is positioned), it’s still easier to enjoy the flight together than if seated by the windows.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seats 787
MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seats 787

Those traveling alone, or those who just like a window view, may want to select one of the solo seats by the windows. And let me note that while this wasn’t the ideal flight in terms of views (it was an overnight flight in winter), Mongolia has some of the most stunning views you’ll find anywhere, so I would recommend a window seat if possible.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seats 787

I assigned myself seat 19A, the window seat on the left side in the last row (business class goes from row 11 to row 19).

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat 787
MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat 787
MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat 787

As far as seat features go, there’s a console to the side of the seat, with a reading flight, the entertainment controller, the headphone jack, a USB-A outlet, seat controls, and an exposed storage compartment (where you can hang headphones).

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat features 787

The tray table folds out from underneath the console to the side of the seat. The tray table can be folded over in half, though that’s more a space saving mechanism for when it’s stored, rather than a practical feature for when it’s being used.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat tray table 787

Underneath the tray table you’ll find the AC power outlet, plus another small open storage area.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat outlet 787

The footwell in this seat isn’t too restrictive, which is nice, and it acts as a good ottoman even when the seat isn’t reclined.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat footwell 787

The entertainment monitor swings out from the seat in front, and is a decent size.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat entertainment 787

Then on the aisle side, there’s an armrest that can be raised, as well as a storage compartment. The armrest needs to be lowered for takeoff and landing.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat storage 787

As mentioned above, just about the only pop of color in the cabin is the headrests, which are sponsored by TDB (Trade & Development Bank).

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class seat headrest 787

Unfortunately MIAT’s Boeing 787s don’t feature individual air nozzles, not that this is terribly surprising.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 overhead console

This is a perfectly comfortable hard product, even if this is as basic as reverse herringbone seats get. Also keep in mind that MIAT’s previous aircraft were 767s with angled business class seats in a 2-1-2 configuration, so this represents a huge improvement.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class amenities

You certainly don’t fly MIAT Mongolian Airlines for the amenities, I’ll tell you that. MIAT offers business class passengers a pillow and blanket, though these have to be among the worst that I’ve seen on any airline in business class, as they’re marginally better than what I’d expect in economy.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class pillow & blanket

Shortly after boarding, each passenger was offered the choice of sparkling wine or orange juice, and I selected the former, which was served in proper glassware.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class champagne

Later on in the boarding process, amenity kits were distributed. Oddly each individual item was wrapped in plastic, which seems unnecessary (I unwrapped them for the below picture). The kit contained a comb, a dental kit, earplugs, eyeshades, flimsy slippers, mouthwash, lip balm, and lotion. The kit felt cheap, but did the trick.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class amenity kit

Each business class passenger was also offered a pair of basic noise canceling headphones.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class headphones

Lastly, bottled water was distributed.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class bottled water

From a passenger experience standpoint, I think the biggest shortfall here is MIAT’s bedding, which could easily be improved without a huge investment. Then again, I’m not sure MIAT would really see much of an ROI on improving its product, since it’s a pretty niche airline.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 business class entertainment

MIAT Mongolian Airlines’ 787 entertainment system is… strange. The seat back entertainment monitor has a variety of movies and TV shows, though none in English.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class entertainment 787

There were about a dozen Mongolian movies…

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

Much more interesting to me was the dozens and dozens of TV shows, including episodes of Dancing With The Stars Mongolia, The Apprentice Mongolia, The Voice Mongolia, and Shark Tank Mongolia.

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

For a country of just a few million people, am I the only one who finds it interesting how Mongolia has so many of these popular international TV shows? Even though I couldn’t understand a word of these programs, I couldn’t help but watch, and they were endlessly fascinating.

Fortunately the map feature was available in English, and I enjoyed keeping track of the progress of the flight, since this isn’t a route that you get to fly every often nowadays (since the flight is mostly over Russian airspace). The map isn’t very customizable — it just rotates views, so you can’t select which vantage point you want to see.

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

If you’re looking for entertainment options in English, MIAT offers streaming entertainment, so you can watch those options on your own devices.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class streaming entertainment

The selection wasn’t extensive, but was better than nothing. For example, there were a total of five new release movies, 18 classic movies, four comedy shows, six documentary shows, and five kids shows.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines streaming entertainment
MIAT Mongolian Airlines streaming entertainment
MIAT Mongolian Airlines streaming entertainment
MIAT Mongolian Airlines streaming entertainment
MIAT Mongolian Airlines streaming entertainment
MIAT Mongolian Airlines streaming entertainment
MIAT Mongolian Airlines streaming entertainment

MIAT unfortunately doesn’t offer Wi-Fi on any of its aircraft, including the new Boeing 787s.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 departure from Frankfurt

MIAT Mongolian Airlines has soothing boarding music, which I enjoyed listening to throughout the boarding process. While the main part of the boarding process wrapped up quickly, the door remained open. At 2:35PM, the first officer made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of eight hours.

He explained that we were still waiting on a few passengers, and they should arrive within 15 minutes. That ended up taking about double as long, and the last passenger finally boarded at 3:05PM, at which point the main cabin door closed. I’m curious if those were connecting passengers, or what…

There were initially 14 seats taken in business class — all the window seats were occupied, while none of the center seats were. However, there were then six upgrades of friends and family, including a family of four that sat right across from me. They obviously knew the captain (who came into the cabin to talk to them), though they ended up only getting economy meals. MIAT doesn’t seem to be very strict with its rules around who can sit in premium cabins, as I saw something similar on the connecting flight.

We finally pushed back at 3:15PM, at which point the manual safety demonstration was performed.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 pushing back Frankfurt

We had an incredibly fast taxi — it was one minute from the time that we started our taxi until we were cleared for takeoff on runway 25C.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 taxiing Frankfurt
MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 taking off Frankfurt

The views on our climb out were beautiful, as it was a (rare) gorgeous clear winter day in Germany.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 view after takeoff from Frankfurt
MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 view after takeoff from Frankfurt

The seatbelt sign stayed on longer than on most (non-US) airlines, and ended up being turned off around 20 minutes into our climb.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class dinner service

MIAT Mongolian Airlines serves dinner after takeoff on its Frankfurt to Ulaanbaatar flight. MIAT doesn’t have menus or drink lists, so unfortunately I can’t share those.

Service was really slow to get started after takeoff. There was no service for the first hour, though at that point warm towels were distributed. They were nice and thick — I was thinking of just asking for a few more of those for when it was time to sleep, since they were thicker than the provided blanket. 😉

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class warm towel

Drinks started to be served off a cart around 65 minutes after takeoff. The drink options were basic — think one red wine, one white wine, one sparkling wine, and a very limited liquor selection.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class drink cart

I decided to order a glass of sparkling wine. I asked to see the bottle, since I was curious what was being served. MIAT serves Kupferberg Sekt as its sparkling wine, which retails for under $5. For the price, it was surprisingly drinkable (or maybe I was just super bored and hoping that alcohol would help me sleep).

It would be nice if MIAT offered some sort of a snack or canapé with the initial drink service. I even asked if they had nuts or pretzels, and they said they didn’t.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class drink

A couple of minutes after drinks were served, another flight attendant was in the cabin with the meal cart. I was offered the choice of fish, lamb, or beef, with no further description of the options.

With the exception of dessert, everything was served on a single tray. This included two appetizers (which is… oddly generous?), comprised of shrimp with quinoa and asparagus, as well as smoked chicken with veggies. I selected the fish for my main course, which seemed to be some sort of a sea bass with potatoes and a very creamy sauce.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class dinner

Once the meal tray was cleared, I was offered a small chocolate cake for dessert. That was the extent of the options, as there was no fruit or cheese.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class dessert

The best part of the meal service was probably the gorgeous sunset, which would be the last daylight I’d see until after takeoff on my next flight.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 sunset

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 business class lavatories

MIAT Mongolian Airlines has two business class lavatories on the Boeing 787, located at the front of the cabin (the ones behind the cabin are for premium economy passengers). There’s one lavatory right by the cockpit, and one lavatory at the front right of the cabin.

These were your standard Dreamliner lavatories, with very limited amenities. The lavatories were okay, though the crew didn’t do much to keep them clean during the flight.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class lavatory 787
MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class lavatory 787
MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class lavatory 787

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 business class bed

After dinner, it was time to get some rest, so I reclined my seat into bed mode. Oddly the seat didn’t go fully flat — I imagine there was some issue with my seat, or something. However, I didn’t mind, since I like to sleep at a slight upward angle anyway, especially given the small pillows.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class bed 787
MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class bed 787

I ended up going to sleep with just under six hours remaining to Ulaanbaatar, just as we were entering Russian airspace…

MIAT map enroute to Ulaanbaatar
MIAT map enroute to Ulaanbaatar
MIAT map enroute to Ulaanbaatar

…and I woke up with around 2hr30min remaining to Ulaanbaatar.

MIAT map enroute to Ulaanbaatar
MIAT map enroute to Ulaanbaatar
MIAT map enroute to Ulaanbaatar

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class breakfast service

The crew turned on the lights throughout the cabin around 2hr10min before landing, and made an announcement that breakfast would be served soon. I’m not sure why, exactly, because the meal service didn’t end up starting for around 45 minutes. Usually crews love to do everything they can to keep people asleep, so I found that to be a bit unusual.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 business class cabin

A bit over 90 minutes before landing, the crew came through the cabin to distribute warm towels, followed by drinks. I ordered a cup of coffee, and asked for some more water.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class coffee

The breakfast was super simple — there was no choice, but rather it just consisted of a fruit plate, a croissant, and some chocolate yogurt.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class breakfast

MIAT Mongolian Airlines business class service

I’d say the MIAT Mongolian Airlines crew on this flight was polite and went through the motions, but that’s about it. Much like the rest of the soft product, service was more in line with premium economy than business class.

All service was performed off of carts, there wasn’t much personal interaction, and the crew wasn’t proactive with passing through the cabin to see if anyone needed anything. However, the crew did respond to the call light for situations where passengers had requests.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 arrival in Ulaanbaatar

At 5:50AM the fasten seatbelt sign was turned on, and at the same time we began a rather steep descent for Ulaanbaatar. Around the same time, the first officer made the pre-landing announcement, informing us that we’d be landing in around 20 minutes, and that the temperature in Ulaanbaatar was -27 Celsius (-17 Fahrenheit). Yikes… we’re not in Florida anymore!

MIAT map enroute to Ulaanbaatar

Our descent was quick and direct, and there wasn’t much in the way of views, as it was still dark outside. We had a gorgeously smooth touchdown on runway 11 at 6:10AM. From there we had a five minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we pulled in next to a couple of MIAT 737s, about 35 minutes behind schedule.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines 787 arrival Ulaanbaatar

I was excited to check out the MIAT Business Lounge and to also see the terminal, since this is a new airport compared to the last time that I visited Mongolia. Then it was time to continue in MIAT’s Boeing 737 business class to Seoul Incheon.

Bottom line

MIAT Mongolian Airlines has very nicely updated its business class hard product, with the introduction of new Boeing 787s. These planes have reverse herringbone seats, representing a huge improvement over the old long haul product.

Unfortunately MIAT’s soft product leaves a bit to be desired. Don’t expect much when it comes to the entertainment, amenities, food, drinks or service.

While this is objectively a weak business class product, it’s priced accordingly. I’d say MIAT has somewhere around premium economy pricing for its business class, and I wouldn’t hesitate to fly the airline again at that price.

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

Conversations (24)
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. W Gold

    @Ben - I don't know if this is new, or if this was an accident, but I couldn't find the section where you list all of the flight details in your flight reviews. I'm talking about the bolded text that states the flight number, route, duration, departure & arrival times, etc.

    I noticed because I was looking for the flight time (out of curiosity).

    I hope this isn't an intentional change because I really think it's valuable to your flight reviews.

  2. Steven E Guest

    @mt_xing so what part of $1100 don’t you understand

    1. upstarter Guest

      Methinks an unedited alteration hath occurred betwixt the moment of primary perception and that which is thine own.

  3. claude depardieu Guest

    Hasn't this review been posted before? I feel like I've already seen this??

  4. Jerry Diamond

    Did you ever figure out where to credit the flight? It's not listed on wheretocredit.

  5. Julia Guest

    "I booked the following for $one-way"

    Er...

  6. mt_xing Member

    For all the talk of value, you did not include how much you paid for the flight.

    1. A person Guest

      "I booked the following for $1,113.40 one-way, which I’d consider to be a great deal"

    2. Mark P Gold

      This was an edit after publication.

  7. RichM Diamond

    "Shortly after boarding, each passenger was offered the choice of sparkling wine or orange juice, and I selected the latter"

    The photo suggests that you selected the former!

    1. Nikojas Guest

      Amazing to note that Ulaan Baatar airport only has about 20 flights a day. Is that the least busy capital city airport in Asia?!

    2. Jerry Diamond

      Surely they have more flights than Dili?

    3. Robert Member

      I'm sure Pyongyang and Ashgabat have fewer flights. It's impressive they're considering SFO flights.

  8. Abidjan Gold

    Underwhelming, at best.

  9. dt Guest

    Is this the only airline with different options on the screen and on streaming entertainment? I thought that was a bit bizzarre as usually airlines have either one or the other? Or have I not been flying enough

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ dt -- Definitely unusual. I don't know of any other airline that has streaming entertainment in one language and then seat back entertainment in another language.

  10. Jake Guest

    I am quite puzzled at how you gave a whole 3.5 star to this airline. Plastic seats, no IFE in English (handheld doesn't count), bad service and basic food...I mean, isn't that two stars?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jake -- The 3.5 star rating is because of the value. MIAT doesn't really charge business class prices for this product, so I feel like that needs to be factored in.

    2. Creditcrunch Diamond

      @Ben would you consider breaking down your star rating system to make it more obvious where your weighting your experiences, for instance; Ground Experience, On-Board Experience, Seat, Food & Drink, Crew?

  11. adam Guest

    The most important take-away from this article is the existence of Dancing with the Stars Mongolia.

    1. Jamie Guest

      Great review as always Ben. Have to say though I do find it hilarious that whilst flying from Germany to Mongolia you were surprised to see no English speaking programmes. Lol. I’m not sure how many Mongolian programmes would be available from Seattle to Mexico ha.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jamie -- Thanks! I've never been on any airline in the world that had inflight entertainment and didn't have at least some English options...

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.

adam Guest

The most important take-away from this article is the existence of Dancing with the Stars Mongolia.

4
A person Guest

"I booked the following for $1,113.40 one-way, which I’d consider to be a great deal"

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Jamie -- Thanks! I've never been on any airline in the world that had inflight entertainment and didn't have at least some English options...

1
More From This Trip
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published