I was flying to Hong Kong a few years back on Aeroflot (changing at Moscow) and found it absolutely unacceptable. Before I even review this in depth, DO NOT USE THIS AIRLINE!!!
I thought KLM were bad, Aeroflot tops that BIG TIME.
~~~SEATING AND PLANE LAYOUT~~~
Plane facilities were basically non-existent. From London to Moscow was a fair few hours, and they had NO working television. The seats were cramped as hell (lucky I am thin), and I thought planes were standard. This was considerably worse than any other I've been on (and I've been on a fair few!!!). Even the toilets appeared to be smaller!!
But what was even worse than the seating were the rude and uncompassionate air hostesses.
Unfortunately me and my sister both get nosebleeds easily (which last a VERY long time without stopping), and this time on Aeroflot, my sister was unfortunate in getting a big one. Added to this was that the fasten seatbelt sign was on during turbulence. So as a sensible person, I press the "call air hostess" button. No one came. My sister desperately needed tissues, ice and a drink, so I got out my seat and approached the aisle bit, only to be told off by this grumpy old air hostess and told me to get back in my seat. She didn't even ask why I got out. It was an emergency and I had no other option but to cut her off and grab those much needed tissues and the belated ice and water which I obviously could not get myself.
I was most displeased and did not respond to their "Thank yous and goodbyes". They should be apologising.
~~~THE CHANGEOVER AT MOSCOW~~~
The changeover at Moscow was boring... four hours of sitting doing nothing. We did go round the shops and saw some cool things, but nothing more of interest. Was still a bit disgruntled by the service we received and already vowed never to use this again...
We were VERY unhappy at having to leave lovely Hong Kong, but to leave it with Aeroflot! Nooo! As we checked in, we were told that the flight was overbooked, and whether we would consider taking a Virgin Atlantic plane the following morning. Hallelujah, YES!!!
Not only did we get to stay one more day in Hong Kong, at the Airport Hotel in a luxury family suite plus free buffet lunch and dinner, we got to go by Virgin!! The return flight flew by...
And upon returning to the UK, our first newspaper bought had the front page of an Aeroflot plane. What happened? The flight departing Moscow (the one after the one we would've got on) had exploded...
It has been a real experience that time- one I care NOT to repeat!! It does provide a great story to tell, but seriously, do not go on this airline. Not only might you die of their planes exploding, you WILL die of boredom, or the harsh treatment of their air hostesses.
I'm sure since the time I went on, there have been SOME improvement, but don't risk it. Your life is worth MUCH more than a good deal!
When I have had to fly to Moscow, I have avoided Aeroflot since 2005. Their flight was late arriving into Heathrow, there was no information, and by the time we were airborne, all the food was dried out when reheated in the plane because it had been sitting in the supply trucks for longer than they'd planned.
There's just something about their service I hate: if you're Russian, you can take a massive amount of luggage on the flight without any questions or penalties; if you're from any other country, forget it!
I've been charged US$60 once for an oversized bag (from London, it only cost me 15 quid), I only had US$30 on me, so they (begrudgingly) accepted that. There was some guy from their baggage handling group standing next to the check-in desk, and he just collected the money before the check-in operator took it.
They spent 3 million quid on an image update - why didn't they spend that improving their operations??!! *confused*
I'd rather gargle razor blades than go with this lot again... They do fly into Moscow Sheremtyevo 2, but that's a story for another review...
Do not even consider flying with Aeroflot. There are as bad as they have always been, & as mentioned on this site. Yes, they can be fine if all goes to plan but when it does go wrong you enter a world of pain. I was last with them November 2007 & the staff are just the worst. Not one person will help, there is no process to assist you when flights are cancelled or baggage goes missing, which happens often & has happened to me. The planes are very shabby if flying within Russia & their record for safety is the worst.
It seems their staff are hell bent on annoying you with the most atrocious service you can imagine. I asked staff at Moscow to assist me with finding my luggage they just told me to go else where, when I pushed them to help me they just walked off, an experience I have had before with Aeroflot. It is like entering some parallel universe, where everything works in reverse, where sanity ran away screaming & left the lunatics running the asylum. Pay the extra money, fly with another airline.
This airline is crooked and absolutely unsafe. If you go to www.airdisaster.com and click on "accident database," this airline has had at least one severely fatal incident (often two and three) EVERY YEAR for the past few decades. That is not normal. If the airline had more flights on average than most airlines, this figure might be half-way explainable. However, for an airline that does not fly ten times as much as any airline, they should not have ten times as many crashes. Most airlines have one fatal crash every 5 to 10 years, not EVERY year, and certainly not 2-3 a year. I've read people's comments that they have an "unfortunate and innacurate" reputation for being unsafe. How can the facts lie? Whether unsafe or just unlucky, Aeroflot is a carrier I will never use!
Hello and welvome to my review of
AEROFLT Russian International Airlines
I have used their services 6 times this year so far and on numerous occasions in past years mainly for flights between UK and Russia but also within Russia itself.
I still remember reading bad press about safety and service of this airline few years back. And some of it must have been true particularly on their internal flights. What somehow was always missing in the information is that since collapse of Soviet Union a lot of Aeroflot's older planes were sold to some doggy airlines which did not even have enough finance to repaint their planes. I remember reading that instead of 1 national airline there was suddenly well over 300 operating within ex Soviet Union territory.
Enough of history.
Today's Aeroflot is still biggest Russian Airline, which operates fleet of new, modern planes both on their internal and international flights.
Within Russia they still use older Russian build planes on some routes but those are well kept and they are getting replaced by new ones.
They offer very competetive fares and most of their fares ( even cheapest ones) can be changed. Different fees do apply though, so, always check your fare conditions.
Their flights are bookable online with online travel agents or on Aeroflot's website but because of Russian law at present they do not offer Eticketing. However, if you book directly with them you can easily collect your paper ticket at the airport before departure.
It is useful to know that if you travel on a short notice, you can simply call their office and make reservation over the phone and pay for it in full once at the airport.
There is no extra charge for that and they have cheap fares available they would offer it to you.
On my opinion, this is big advantage against other airlines (BA for example) where if you buy your ticket on the day or 1-2 days before, you always end paying huge sums of money.
For their medium hall flights (London - Moscow, Zurich - Moscow, Paris - Moscow etc) Aeroflot uses modern fleet of A320
Very well designed, clean cabins with comphortable sitting in economy and one of the best business class product in medium hall market.
Interesting to know, that Aeroflot still allows extra time after each flight for it's planes to be properly cleaned contrary to many major airlines.
In Economy you always offered choice of hot meal ( meat or fish for example) and soft drinks. Special meals are bookable in advance and since February 2006 alchogolic drinks are paid for separately.
Unfortunately there is no entertainment in medium hall flights but plenty of magazines are available.
In Business you get fantastic seats, excellent full menu service with proper Russian hospitality. A DVD player with a good selection of films is also on offer.
Aeroflot's crew is probably one of the best dressed among airlines. Rarely, you might find that their English is not of greatest standard, but you will still be able to get what you want.
I have experienced best, softest landings with this company' s pilots.
Aeroflot offers one of the most generous milege allowances in it's frequent flyer programme ("AEROFLOT BONUS). Earlier this year they have joined "Sky Team" which includes KLM, Air France and other airlines so collecting miles became even easier
Overall, I would easily reccommend this airline for anybody's use. As with any airline, there are probably days when things go wrong (delays etc) but so far I yet to experience it with them
If you like reading about airline expiriences, you might want to check my other reviews about airlines.
Thanks for checking and Happy flying!
How does a company go about shaking off a reputation which is ten years out of date? The Soviet Aeroflot of the seventies and eighties was infamous for poor service, reliability, people, which may or may not have been deserved. However, we are now in a new decade, a new century; the Soviet Union has not existed for twelve years and Aeroflot has had the same time to update itself, progress, move on. Unfortunately people's preconceptions are slower to move on. I've seen "reviews" about Aeroflot which lecture about safety, bad food, rude personnel, then the writer mentions in passing that he/she has never actually flown on them. Probably never been within half a mile of an Aeroflot plane, but having listened to a few urban myths and fifteen year old comments they feel qualified to write an "informed review". Shame really, they are probably the same people who believe that there is a World War Two bomber on the moon, and Elvis is alive and well and working at a Fish & Chip shop in Huddersfield. I?ve flown Aeroflot almost 40 times since 1998, within the CIS, to Europe and Asia, in Economy, Business and occasionally First class, on Soviet and western aircraft. My experiences have been mixed, but generally pretty positive and overall I enjoy flying Aeroflot and prefer them to several well-known European or American carriers! Good as they are, they are not Western luxury. If you want five star service then stick to European airlines. However if you want value, a reasonable level of comfort rather than luxury, then you may well be happy with Aeroflot. AIRCRAFT: Most flights within the CIS are operated by Tupolev Tu154 aircraft, a fine aircraft. Aeroflot now use only the more modern M model, built from '85 to 2001 so the planes are at most about 12-15 years old, younger than many 727s, 737s and 747s still flying in Europe and USA. Slowly Boeing 737s are replacing Tu154s on some of the b
usier internal routes. On some routes they use the smaller Tu134, which is older and more basic but they are using fewer and fewer. On some busy routes you may find the Ilyushin IL86, a lovely plane, large, spacious and comfortable. When you board there is a large area to store extra hand luggage, leaving more room in the lockers. Sadly these are mostly used on charters now. On some flights to Asia, they use an Ilyushin IL96, which is a shorter version of the IL96, built for longer-range flights (Eg to Delhi). These are roomy, spacious with very comfortable seatds in Business. To Europe and the USA Aeroflot use Boeings and Airbuses, which are basically the same as western airlines use. COMFORT The economy seats on the Tupolevs and Ilyushins seem quite old; they are reasonably comfortable but not solid so if someone sticks their knee into the back of the seat, you will feel it! On the plus side, the seat backs fold forward so if the seat in front of you is empty you can push the seat forwards and put your feet up! Legroom is okay but not generous. Leg room on the Tu134 is very tight and the table is so big that if you are on the large side you might not be able to fold it down! The Tu154s are better, but the IL86 is the most comfortable. In Business class, mostly the seats are large, comfortable and spacious. On internal flights they are now using the old First Class seats for business on many routes. On the Airbus and Boeing aircraft the seats are standard western, so the same as on most European airlines. On flights from Russia people do tend to bring on a lot of hand luggage and sometimes they just stick it on empty seats. I?ve had people try to put stuff under the seat in front of me, so I couldn't stretch out my legs. If you ask them politely to move it, generally they will. If not, just keep kicking it! FOOD & DRINK The food is generally quite good ? a salad,
cold meat or cheese starter, a hot main course, a cake or pastry for desert, and of course plenty of bread. It?s not gourmet but perfectly edible. The beef can be tough but the chicken and fish can be pretty good, if a little bland. Tea or coffee of course ? if you want tea with milk you have to ask for it (?s?malakom?) as most people in Russia drink tea black or with lemon. In First or Business the meal is similar but there is an extra starter of seafood - smoked salmon, red caviar, shrimps etc, and some fruit. I?ve never had any stomach problems after an Aeroflot meal, even seafood. The bar service before the meal offers soft drinks, beer, wine or vodka. In business there is also whiskey, gin, and brandies after the meal. SERVICE The service can be basic but is generally reasonable and sometimes good. Ironically in my experience the crews on internal flights tend to be better than on flights to Europe. The Airbus and Boeing crews to Europe tend to be the gorgeous girls, who are beautiful and know it and just go through the motions. On the Tupolevs, particularly in business, you get the 45 year old matrons who look like former wrestlers but are sweet, charming and treat you as if they were your favourite auntie! In economy there is a round of drinks after take off, then the meal service, then the duty free. In Business there is a pre-takeoff drink (juice or Russian champagne); after take off usually there is a hot towel before the bar service, then the meal. There is not much service after the meal, so if you want another drink you?ll have to ask for it. The duty free is not bad, and prices are quite reasonable, but on several flights I?ve been on they didn?t have the credit card machine so be prepared to pay cash ? dollars of course. Language ? most crew have limited english and some of the pronunciation can be so heavy that it is hard to understand some of the announcements! But then
why would we expect them to speak good English on a Russian airline! However they do try, and can get through the essentials ? just be patient and understanding! (If you are offered ?chicken or meat? then the meat is probably beef.) SAFETY On the aircraft which have video, there is a standard safety briefing video. If there is no video then they do an announcement. Cabin baggage can be excessive, and get stacked in empty seats or behind the last row, so it is reasonably secure (better than overloading the lockers). They do generally ensure that aisles and exits are clear. They also enforce the no smoking rule - all Aeroflot flights are now non smoking. The pilots generally seem to be good, they are mostly ex-air force so well trained and they land the Tupolevs more gently and smoothly than most western pilots can land a Boeing, at least on the flights I take! Ihave never felt unsafe on board, and I trust that the pilots would not fly an unsafe aircraft as I assume they want to live as much as I do! PUNCTUALITY/BAGGAGE Out of nearly 40 flights, I can remember only two delays of over an hour. No, they gave nothing special, no free food etc. So if they are late, you need to look after yourself. Once my bags didn?t arrive at London. The next morning I phoned to check if there was any news; the handling agent (Air France) denied that there was a flight that morning, even though the Heathrow website showed it had just landed! However five minutes later they admitted yes there was a flight and that afternoon my bag was delivered safely to my door. OVERALL I have had some great trips on Aeroflot, lots of average trips, no really bad ones. I think they are fine as long as you are not looking for 5***** They are cheaper than the western competition - you can get First class on Aeroflot for the price of business on another airline, or Business on Aeroflot for the price o
f economy on someone else. It is worth it!
Aeroflot is the airline that everyone really loves to hate. I like them. I ought to have a badge! It's a huge shame, really. Yes - they have their downsides, but our experience turned out OK! Take an open mind and you'll be fine. Think: "It's just a mode of transport". Fly in the face of criticism! We flew from London Heathrow to Moscow Sheremetyevo and back last year. The outward flight was on an Airbus A310 and the return flight was on a very modern Boeing 777. I might very well think twice about boarding a rickety Tupolev, but these particular aircraft were fine. No worries there! Upon arrival at Heathrow, dressed to impress and hoping for an upgrade to business class, we were disappointed to be told that there was an indefinite delay. We were checked in, and were given some vouchers for refreshments. These things happen with any airline. We made our way into the departure lounge and enjoyed some free food in the terminal before wandering over to the Aeroflot desk to see what the state of play was. Pandemonium! The flight had actually been cancelled and there was an irate mob having a go at the hapless staff. I actually managed to grab a microphone and made a witty announcement (at Aeroflot's expense) over the airport tannoy! This calmed people down considerably and eased tempers a bit. The flight was going to be delayed 12 hours, it transpired. More food vouchers. The staff tried to check people in for the next flight, in order of the serial numbers on pre-issued boarding cards. Chaos! I, again, grabbed the microphone and took control, calling people up when it was their turn. And I didn't jump the queue, before you ask! We all ended up having quite a lot of fun, as it happens. Amanda, my wife, was pregnant at the time (my fault) and the delay, naturally, was all getting a bit too much. After pointing this out to the supervisor (who was clearly grateful for my help in placating
the mob), I managed to secure an upgrade to First Class. Great! Tickety-boo! Off we went to the quiet oasis of the Air France executive lounge to await the eventual departure at midnight. Departure time finally arrived and we boarded the 'plane. We did a short taxi around the airport and then - horror of all horrors - came to a halt. Apparently, it was now too late to take off. Heathrow is not a 24 hour operation. Well, the cockpit got stormed (quite unbelievable), the captain got harangued and - would you believe it - we got a take-off slot. I sank back into my first-class armchair, finished off a vodka or three and slept soundly through the flight; something I never do. We arrived at a ridiculously early hour in the morning in Moscow and discovered the next advantage in being in row 1 on the 'plane - you get through the notoriously officious Russian customs in no time whatsoever. Inconvenient, yes, but quite an adventure. The return flight, on a very clean and comfortable B777, was rather less eventful. We'd stayed with some good friends in Moscow and they returned with us to London. Ashley did his usual trick of flying Business Class, whilst leaving us and his girlfriend (now wife) back in economy! (Apart from that, he's a great guy!). He had the decency to pay us a visit - if only to get rid of an unwanted profiterole! Was it charity - or a gloat? Who cares? We were actually quite happy in economy. As I settled down to enjoy the flight and listen to some music on my complimentary headphones, I got a nudge in the ribs from Amanda. "You just HAVE to watch the in-flight movie", she said. I tuned in to the film, entitled "You must not insult women". Dubbed into English by just one, female voice, the soundtrack was nothing short of hilarious. A factual, yet totally emotionless rendition of what was going on - no more, no less. I was in tears of laughter throughout the flight. A real experienc
e! First class was simply great and, with a film like that on the return journey, the slightly cramped conditions of economy class went entirely un-noticed. Would I recommend? Yes, I think I would. The only problem was the 12 hour outward delay - and that can happen on any airline, to be honest; the upgrade to first class more than made up for it. I understand that the delay was due to a cabin crew strike. I'm sure that in the past this would either have been unheard of, or would have resulted in a few summary executions. It must have been a first! All the best! Andrew PS - I am a member of the Aeroflot "Bonus" loyalty scheme. They sent me a birthday card this year and gave me a "present" of 1,000 miles. How cool is that?
I flew with Areoflot in 2000 and my opinion still hasn't changed and I still haven't flown with them. Areoflot were at least £100 cheaper than any other airline when I travelled to Vietnam via Moscow. For one journey I can stand being in cramped conditions for a few hours but I didn't count on the delays. On arriving in Moscow I expected to wait for a couple of hours before getting the connecting flight to Vietnam. After getting into the airport we were told to make our way to gate 21 where we would be taken to a hotel. We all assumed that this would be just for the 2 hours wait as it was the middle of the night and we the airport was closed. They loaded us on to a bus and drove us round the corner to a posh Novatel Hotel. Once in reception we were told our plane was delayed by 8 hours and we were escorted by the service lift to a transit floor. This 8 hours was extended to 20 and then to 26 hours. All this time we were kept under guard and the only time we got out of the room was to be escorted to the dining room to eat. I know we had no visa for Moscow but we should have been allowed to apply for one. After a day in the hotel room and all the different stories of how long our flight was delayed by, we didn't know when we were getting out. We also got delayed on the way back by 12 hours but were left in Moscow airport in December at -8C. This was not good as we had only summer clothes with us. In short, Areoflot is cheap but not worth missing two days of your holiday for the saving. I would never fly with them again on a journey where I have to get a connecting flight.
This year I managed to get us last minute cancellation tickets to Thailand via Moscow on Aeroflot for about £100 cheaper than I could get elsewhere. Though I?m not sure it was worth it. Although we didn?t realise it we managed to get into business class on both our flights out. We honestly didn?t realise the difference until we flew economy on the way back. I have flown hundreds of airlines in my time but never one where they have a limited supply of pillows and blankets for economy. You had to ask as you got on the plane or you didn?t get one. The seats in business class were quite spacious with plenty of leg room and wide armrests. In economy it was a different story, cramped and uncomfortable chairs with thin metal armrests and little recline. I could really have done with a pillow. On the way out we had a movie in Russian which was then translated into English by one Russian woman playing all the roles over the headphones, not exactly entertaining, and there was nothing on either of our long haul flights. It would be wise to pack more than one book if you?re going to travel this way. The food was a mixed bag. Some of the hot stuff was ok, and you did get a big wedge of salmon, but the whole thing was far from fresh and my lettuce was yellowy brown. Also be advised that if you sit further back on the plane the meat dishes will have gone by the time they get to you and you will only get one choice ? fish in white sauce. Aeroflot allows smoking in some rows, which means that the smoke circulates around the aircraft pretty quickly. Not good for an asthmatic like me for ten hours. It also means that if smoking starts in row 32 and you're sitting in 31 you're in for an especially long flight. We did experience delays in Moscow. Not the nicest of airports under any conditions and the touchdown airport for all their long haul flights from the UK. My advice would be to steal an Aeroflot cushion if you?re given one f
or your stopover and put it back when you get on the next flight. Moscow airport took a good half day off our holiday all told. During the stopover in Moscow you?ll be expected to queue to get your boarding pass for the next flight and the reason we made it into business class on the flight from Moscow to Bangkok was that the computer that should have been used to make seat allocations was broken. This meant that seating was on a first come first served basis. Good news for us but to be taken into consideration if you?re intending to fly business class with them. The best was yet to come. We flew through a storm on the way back and experienced very heavy turbulence. At times we just dropped like a stone. I have never been frightened while flying before but I have to admit I was. The Spanish girls behind us started screaming and crying and the shuddering of the rather old Ilyushin Jet did not help. The top casing and the floor seemed to be moving independently of one another with an interesting jelly effect. This magnified each and every shudder all the way back and left me unwilling to unfasten my seatbelt and make a trip to the loos. I will never forgive Aeroflot for not putting out some sort of message over the tanoy system to let us know everything was going to be ok. When your passengers are screaming in fear the least you can do is attempt to reassure them. There were some very distressed people on the flight and even being told when we were out of the worst of it would have helped. Their attitude towards their customers left a lot to be desired. I've been told that Aeroflot has one of the best safety records of any airline and I was suprised. All in all I would only fly Aeroflot again if I really had to and would consider a slightly more expensive alternative instead. You have been warned. Thanks for reading, Rowan
An airline to use only if there is nothing else available.The Russians have a lot to learn about running an airline. Practically all aspects are bad.On 3 trips within Eastern Europethey have suffered from poor punctuality, bad service, substandard food and unreliable equipment. Flights are often operated by very old (at least in appearance) and uncomfortable aircraft in a questionable state of repair. For many, once with Aeroflot is enough (and I can understand that) but on some routes there is no other choice. TheAeroflot management is aware of the shortcomings (you complain they see your point) and recognizes the need to come up to Western standards. Now at last (echoed in a couple of points here) I hear that there are some signs of improvement. In short, try something else unless you have too, don't believe the horror stories - you might have to fly with them - sadly they are probably true.
There is still a great difference between the flights in foreign countries and the flight in Russia. At foreign countries flights they must be able to produce a certain safety to e.g. be allowed to land in Europe at all. It becomes more interesting at inland flights. You really play russian roulette with your life there. At the inland flights there are often twin-engined Tupolews which aren't produced for 35 years any more. The servicemen get no more spare parts, so they had to improvise. Unfortunately, you can see the improvisation . I have got two pen-friends (one in Moscow, the other one in St.Petersburg). I decided to visit the two girls within two weeks. From Duesseldorf to Moscow and from St. Petersburg back to Germany I flew with Lufthansa (good airline company, this is however another topic). Unfortunately, you don't have the great choice in Russia. From Moscow to St. Petersburg I had to fly with Aeroflot. The flight with Aeroflot was an adventure and which isn't suitable for people with a heart complaint. At the airport Scheremetjewor Dwa in Moscow we had to walk to our plane, because they had not enough busses for all passengers. We fairly often had crossways traffic of busses, suitcase freight cars and other vehicles, too. A Russian said, that last year only 8 people were run over by busses and there would be much more dangerous things in Russia. I was then calmed, however. The outer skin of the aeroplane only consisted of patches. Inside it looked like a bad example as you shouldn't form an airplane from inside. The purchases of the seats had various colors. You couldn't move yourself any more so that if you has caught a seat in lying position, you had to eat in this lying position. I usually pack my light baggage above the seats in a small baggage storage which can be locked. But this baggage storage was full of garbage of the predecessor a
nd old newspapers. Well, I placed my baggage under the seat, which was only possible, because there was no life preserver under the seat. Seat belts didn't work and also the necessary little warning lamps. I wouldn't eat anything or do you want to try out how much the stomach can bear in extreme situations? The toilets were closed from the beginning, because somebody had forgotten to fill up fresh water. The stewardess said, that would be no problem, because the flight was short. O.K. I thought that I have still a puking bag but I didn't found one. No, natural not, as also the whole safety equipment. It was not a surprise! The airplane also seemed to have been no longer quite thick; you had to fight with the pressure balance. Entertainment on Board? No televsion, no radio, but many old newspapers. The landing still has to be mentioned here. Before the pilot try to land, he takes the airport into the visor. The nose of the airplane follows around 45 degrees below (oh, my stomach). At the last moment he put the plane into the horizontal line and then the plane "fall". It is a hard landing. You feel all yours bones. I asked the stewardess where the pilot has learned to fly. She responded: "airforce ". Everything is clear! When I finally got out of the machine, I wanted to kiss the floor like the pope! Nasdarowje!
Without doubt Aeroflot is the worst airline I have ever had the disfortune to travel on. Where shall I start??? The food is terrible, its small, bland and where it should be hot is lukewarm at best. The service by people who look more like shot-putters than stewards or or stewardesses is slow, rude and very unhelpful. The pilot was a nervous about landing as I was about choosing the airline in the first place. Last but not least in the light of the young lady who lost her life, the seats were far to closely packed together and incrediably uncomfortably and the window was too dirty to see out. A thoroughly forgetable and nightmareish experience that I and, im quite sure, anyone else who has used this service will want to forget as soon as they run out it into the terminal.
It would be true to say that Aeroflot has a less than favourable reputation amongst air travellers. It is also true to say that I have stared death in the face on three occasions, of which two were on internal Aeroflot flights! But, in spite of this I am going to stick up for them! Aeroflot have made great strides to improve their fleet and their quality of service. The first time I stepped onto an internal flight, I was greeted by a card school and drinking session, which was already in full flow. The seats had been folded down as a makeshift table, and the participants were still wandering about the plane as it was taking off! We flew without problem but when the plane began its descent, smoke started to billow furiously out of the ventilation system. The system was actually a grill which ran the length of the plane, like that found in old style coaches. Even the hardened drinkers, the regular fliers, stopped chattering and looked scared. Especially when the plane started to fly sideways, heading out to the Sea of Azov. I can clearly remember thinking, how bizarre that I should travel all this way to die! Of course, I didn't. There was an almighty roar from behind us, as the engines burst back to life, and eventually we shook hands with Krasnodarsky land. As I stepped from the plane, the warm southern air rushed to kiss my face. I have never been happier to marry my feet to the ground. Such a horror flight would not happen now. The route I travelled, from Vnukovo to Krasnodar, now runs its own airlines 'Vnukovo Airlines' and has dramatically improved its service. Although there are Airbuses in use, I believe the bulk are still Aeroflot. The international flights are really no different to British Airways, just a lot more fun. The Russian people are lovely, and much misrepresented in the western press. The traditional round of applause, when the plane touches down, always makes me feel happy and good inside. And, on touchdown,
I have often been given a small glass of vodka or gin, to be downed in one. The first time I was offered a drink I took sips, and this caused untold merriment and laughter amongst the young ladies who had presented it to me. So, remember, down in one! The food is the equal of British Airways, the service is perfectly acceptable and the price is significantly lower than BA. The main difference you will experience is with your fellow passengers. When you step on BA, at Moscow, it is like stepping back on British Soil. With Aeroflot, you travel with a variety of passengers. Sometimes there will be mostly Russians, sometimes there will be mostly Japanese or Chinese on route via Moscow. Whichever, it gives you the chance to talk to very interesting people who are happy to chat. On BA, to a large degree, everyone keeps themselves to themselves. Aeroflot is forever tainted by a reputation for crashes, but in recent history there have been far more crashes on internal American flights. If the recent Concorde tragedy had happened in Russia, there would have been huge headlines about 'the crumbling state of poor Russia' and all sorts of horror stories dredged up to disuade people from flying Aeroflot. This is grossly unfair. I value my life as much as the next person. There are lots of things I still want to do with my life. And I can honestly say that, apart from the usual nervousness, I have no fear whatsoever in stepping onto an Aeroflot plane.
Aeroflot....Aeroflop....if you have ever travelled on this you will see such a variation in service. I flew Bangkok to London via Moscow, an the difference in the services was Jeckle and Hyde. Bangkok to Moscow (via Bombay)... antiquated ex-soviet airline...stewardesses as rejects fom previous soviet shot-putt teams and stewards as escapees from the local Gulags. Stop off at Bomaby...'first class'; full of 'soviet' diplomats each with what appears to be a million tons of 'duty free' electrical goods. Service apalliing , food ...if you like beetroot and dumplings...great. Moscow - London.....new Airbuses, attractive stewardesses,meat for inflight meals!..a nice flight so long as you don't mind sharing it with umpteen Indian illegal immigrants / asylum abusers. Overall...an experience...but really cheap!
Witty Jeremy Spake's camp antics on the BBC's "Airport" programme must have done more to raise the profile of Aeroflot than an expensive advertising campaign, but under the surface little has changed since the bad old days of the hardline communists. I felt reasonably comfortable flying in a european built airbus, but the internal flights within Russia are an entirely diffrent ball game. On one overbooked flight from Moscow to Siberia, the cabin crew were taking bribes from desperate passengers to get on the plane at any cost, and there were more people than seats - we actually took off with people strap hanging from the luggage racks!