Why Aeroflot DOESN’T Suck

Posted: March 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

and why Delta does…

When I had to fly home quickly, I was a little nervous when I saw the only quick and affordable flight was on Aeroflot. One of my friends traveled to Russia in high school and told me of the horrors of her flight on Aeroflot. My Russian professor in college also told me some scary stories of the airline, so I admit that I was a little biased. In the end, I was completely wrong and am willing to admit the mistake of condemning Aeroflot before actually flying on it.

For the Moscow-New York route, Aeroflot flies new Airbus A330 airplanes, which are quieter than the Boeing 767 of Delta. On the Delta planes, I had a rough time hearing my ipod or watching movies without having the volume at a dangerously high level. Furthermore, I could not head any announcements made on the Delta flight, while they were crystal clear on the Airbus.

I generally prefer Boeing planes to those of Airbus, but that’s when they are newer. I don’t like flying like it’s 1995. Been there, done that. I don’t know how I survived on flights as a child without ipods and on demand movie systems.

The Aeroflot flight also had better entertainment than Delta. I was particularly annoyed on my return flight to Russia on Delta because the plane was really old and did not have the updated entertainment systems. I was forced to watch whichever film was on the screen. I disliked pretty much every film choice and spent about 6 hours of the flight going out of my mind with boredom. This was only made worse when after two or three movies were done, Delta essentially forced me to watch commercials for an hour or two. I absolutely hate commercials. I’m known as a spastic channel changer at the house because the second a commercial comes on, I’m looking for something else to watch. I was two or three rows behind the giant tv screen at the front of my section, so unless I had my eyes closed or turned my head to stare out the window, I was being force fed commercials. All I had to endure on Aeroflot was a quick 20 or 30 second commercial about frequent flier miles each time I started a movie or program. On Delta, these commercials were longer and more annoying.

Another difference between the two flights was that the people on the Aeroflot flight were better behaved than those on Delta. On the Delta flights, there were fights between passengers and the crew members when it came to putting things in the overhead bins and being seated for take-off and landing. Furthermore, there were multiple announcements made on both Delta flights threatening the passengers with the confiscation of their duty free purchases if they kept drinking them during the flight. On Aeroflot, there was just a quick announcement at the beginning of the flight that said the drinking of non-Aeroflot provided alcoholic beverages was forbidden. For the most part, I didn’t see too many people drinking on the Aeroflot flight, but on Delta everyone was drinking the free alcohol like it was the elixir of life.

An additional plus to the Aeroflot flight was that it was less crowded than the Delta flight. There were a good number of open seats on the plane. The man in the middle row next to me was completely alone. Before take-off, he brought out a bottle of beer (okay, so not everyone paid attention to the rules), downed it, and spent basically 7 hours of the flight lying across the whole row snoring. He must have taken some sort of pill or something to knock him out that deeply.

The smaller crowd on the flight meant that the overhead bins were not completely stuffed to the gills. However, this is probably also a result of another plus for Aeroflot. If I read their website correctly, passengers on Aeroflot are allowed two free checked bags on the Moscow-New York route. And, the smaller crowd also worked to my advantage when I had to get off the plane and get through passport control. Furthermore, I think many Americans are scared to fly on Aeroflot. There were not many people at all who got off of the plane with American passports, unlike when I flew on Delta. The result was a very quick stop at the passport station. The only thing that took a long time was waiting for my bag, but that’s a requirement of traveling through JFK. They seem to have a policy of one bag every five minutes for the first 30 minutes and then they put out all of the luggage in a free for all.

Finally, what is probably the coolest thing about Aeroflot is that they still are proud of their Soviet heritage. While they are now “Aeroflot Russian Airlines,” they still have the winged hammer and sickle symbol. I think it’s cool that the flight crew has the symbol on their uniforms.

Everything is better with a hammer and sickle.

All in all, I should have realized that basically any airline is better than an American airline. Let this be a warning note to American airlines – you know you suck when Aeroflot, long the source of many flying jokes and scares, becomes light years better.

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Comments
  1. joe says:

    Except now Aeroflot operates 777-300ER’s on their JFK-SVO route, and they have decided that adding an extra seat per row in economy class is acceptable. So, what was normally a comfortable 3-3-3 seating configuration is now a cramped 3-4-3 config.

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  4. BlueLagoon says:

    I second your views. Aeroflot was indeed a good choice for me. I was really afraid when I decided to travel via Aeroflot between NY-JFK-Delhi route. It was about $800 cheaper than the next airline, so the risk seemed worth it. Plus, my close Russian friend had praised Aeroflot. They have improved he said — and he was right.

    I was pleasant surprised. It was a new plane. The entertainment system was pretty good, as opposed to old single-TV-at-the-top Air france/Delta and other cranky american flights. The flight itself was on time, which was good for a snowy day.

    Although, one aspect they can improve significantly is being a bit more considerate about different cultures. I had “Hindu Vegetarian meal” as my meal choice. I first received Ham, then chicken, then fish and after explaining them all of it was meat — finally buckwheat. I felt this was a fault of the airline and not the hostess. She seamed to be doing her best. Vegetarians are rare in Russia, so a bit of education would do wonders to the airline reputation. Another aspect they can hugely improve upon is customer service, for which I don’t expect a lot but a faster email response, and some guy to talk to over phone for common ticketing problems.

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