The clock arms obnoxiously strike your third hours of delay on the giant clock on the lobby wall of the airport. Your body has gone sore and the feeling of hope and joy gradually starts to leave you and you just want to stay forever in your seat and fall into an eternal sleep which there is no coming back from. You’re tired and frustrated about the flights and think to yourself that this couldn’t possibly be the end to a magnificent trip to Iran. Well friends, fortunately, or unfortunately, international or domestic airports in Iran are unbelievably similar in the matter of flights and departures to their counterparts in western or eastern countries. As one of the largest nations in the Middle-East with a population of over 80 million that is geographically parked in one of the most critical points on the map of the world, roughly 320 airports in Iran play a crucial role in transporting travelers in-country or over its vast airspace.
Each day, hundreds of flights disembark these airports’ take-off pads and safely land on another in a far-distance corner of the country or other lands. This being said, air travel in Iran has its own fair share of accidents and misfortunes in the past years but don’t let that get into your mind. Despite that, booking a flight to Iran from another country or traveling inside the jewel of Middle-East via airplanes isn’t any different from anyplace else and no immediate danger or risk comes with getting on-board one of Iran domestic flights.
Domestic Flights & Airports in Iran
Iran is a vast country with 31 different provinces that each one has its own unique culture, weather, history, landmarks, and national or in case of many states World Heritage Sites. The vastness of the country, the diverse weather conditions, and the highly valued cultural and historical heritages of the country only lead up to one thing; a hotspot location for tourists to visit and stay and enjoy.To make the experience of traveling throughout Iran even more pleasurable and fast, almost every important city in Iran has its own unique domestic airport. These airports are the nests for multiple daily flights in Iran. As told before, Iran is a vast country that with only a two hour flight you can get from the diamond shores of the Persian Gulf with intense humidity to the cold blast of mountainsides of Sahand where Tabriz city and Turks of Iran reside or from the lavishing lushes of Kermanshah in the west to the dry bare lands of Sistan Baluchestan province in the east and southeast of the country. That’s why domestic flights in Iran are of great significance to either local tourists or international travelers.
Also check out: How to book Domestic flights in Iran
Out of all these 320 airports in Iran, only thirteen of them support international flights and amenities for passengers from around the world. Being the first frontier that international travelers and tourists need to cross has boosted up the overall quality of services and amenities available in international airports in Iran. The comparison between domestic airports or flights and the international ones in Iran will heavily favor the facilities and air flights designed to bring other people to this country. As the cherry on top of all international airports in Iran, Imam Khomeini Airport near Tehran outclasses others by an outstanding margin, service-wise.
Also check out: Discover Iran on Plane, Train, and Ferry
Imam Khomeini International Airport
The first question that bangs our heads about Imam Khomeini International Airport (aka IKA) as one of the most modern and facilitated airports in Iran is that why this airport so far away from such an important and busy city as Tehran. To answer this puzzle, we need to point out that there are some plans to transform this massive airport to the first air city in the region and presumably the busiest hub in the areas.
Located 40 kilometers south of Tehran, midway on Tehran-Qom road, IKA is one of the newest and probably the most modern one of Iranian airports with the capacity of moving approximately 10 million passengers yearly and handling over 70.000 tons of cargo and air freight. This newly-built airport near the capital offers its passengers all the amenities and services they could possibly wish for when their planes land on airports highway. As soon as walking through the gates into the airport’s terminal, you will face countless cubical taxi booths, gift shops, stores, unending rows of seats occupied with lingering passenger, coffee shops and fast-food/traditional restaurant all stowing IKA’s enormous interior ambiance. The same thing can be said for the outer space of the building. Since the Tehran’s ravenous appetite for urban expansion hasn’t still reached the area around the IKA airport, you can almost enjoy the quiet tranquil open area around the airport, if the long lane of curious cab drivers leaves you alone of course.
Also check out: flights from Tehran to Shiraz
IKA airport doesn’t accept any domestic flights and all of these kinds of flights are averted to Mehrabad’s Airport which used to be the main hub for all flights, domestic or international alike. Even without being named an “Exclusive International Airport”, services and food in airports all around the globe are rather expensive and overpriced which is also the case for Imam Khomeini’s Airport.
Taxi Service in IKA
There is a standard fee for taxi’s leaving the airport. The standard bill for a taxi from the airport to the urban area of Tehran closes around 85.000 Tomans which is used to cost around 20 bucks but nowadays with the drop in the value of Rial (Toman*10) compared to US dollar, it’s swirling around 8 bucks, which is fairly cheap. Another alternative for cab calling in IKA is the Persian Uber service that is called “Snapp” in Iran which is available on Google PlayStore and App Store. With Snapp, you can cut down transfer payments down into closely half the standard taxi fee but you need to make sure to call a Snapp in secrecy. One small flinch of I-don’t-have-a-freaking-idea-about-what-I’m-doing and you are easy prey, defenseless at the mercy of the wolves, so act like a pro.
Also check out: flights from Tehran to Isfahan
Metro & Bus departures
The metro (subway) and buses leaving or coming to the IKA are cheaper yet more time-consuming alternatives for taxis and cabs at this international airport in Iran. However, cheap doesn’t always mean cheap. The recently-established metro station, with the same name as the airport, is daily swamped by new trains that not long ago were introduced to Tehran’s railing system and make no mistake, they are comfortable, fast, and without funny smells filling the wagons.
As for the buses, they travel between IKA to Haram-e Motahar Metro Station and Azadi Sq, which is a square marking Tehran’s western entrance, as well as Mehrabad Airport. The buses are expected to be there on an hourly basis. If you’re traveling with a hefty amount of packages then metro and bus transits are the best way to go since there is more than enough room for your luggage on the buses or metro.
Also check out: flights from Tehran to Mashhad
Airport Exchange shops
Two banks and an exchange office are up to meet every exchanging need of incoming or outgoing passengers at the fastest paste possible. If you’re not familiar with Iranian money and don’t know anybody in the city to do the exchange for you, no worries, just walk into the exchange office and ask for help. Clerks over there are fluent English speakers and will give you a clear view on the currency market and exchange rates.
Also check out: flights from Shiraz to Tehran
If we say that Iranians don’t joke around when it comes to food and eating, that’s because we seriously mean it. Even airports in Iran, especially the international ones, look like giant food-courts packed with many restaurants for many tastes. Bergland restaurant, Tehran Café, Tout Talaee, Amir Chocolate, Land Café, Persian Café, and Tanourak are just some of the restaurants and cafes ready to serve Persian dishes or fast-food meals to the hungry and exhausted customers of international flights to Iran.
Also check out: flights from Isfahan to Tehran
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
Issued on the spot, VOA or Iran Visa on Arrival service is the next step in facilitating entry of tourists and Iran-enthusiasts from foreign countries, a procedure that used to give everybody an unpleasant headache before it was established by the local government back in 2016. Tragically, tourists from the UK, US, and Canada still are not permitted a VOA in any airports in Iran, even in the well-know IKA airport.
Other tourists just can pack up their stuff, get a ticket, fly to Tehran on an international flight, spend a couple of hours at IKA in front of a visa office, and after that, they can freely walk and roam the lands of Persia for a good amount of time. This is probably the best news for backpackers or general travelers on a tight schedule with no former information on Iran’s airports and their famous time-consuming custom procedures.