Russian service is usually horrible. Rude, cold faces. People who expect to be paid for merely standing there rather than doing their job. However, there are always exceptions and a light at the end of the tunnel! Today, I'll tell you about my first flight experience on Russia's national carrier, Aeroflot. Working for an airline is one of the worst jobs on the planet. I know because I worked for United Airlines for six years after graduating university. Very few people are happy when they're flying. The excitement of even honeymoon travelers usually dissipates after standing in long airport queues, clearing security checks and squeezing into tiny seats on the plane. I flew Aeroflot from Frankfurt to Moscow round trip and was pleasantly surprised. Overall the airline is excellent and far superior to most U.S. carriers in some respects. After the cut, some general observations and crappy iPhone pics.
1. The first thing I noticed was the size of the seats. The aircraft for the Frankfurt/Moscow route is an Airbus 320. I've flown this model lots of times on U.S. routes but seats were much smaller and harder. Aeroflot seats big, comfortable and soft. I immediately sunk into my seat, waiting to be fed on the late night flight from Frankfurt. Before the meal, the flight attendant dropped off a wet napkin. Great! This is usually only provided in first or business class cabins on U.S. carriers.
2. Flight time on my route was only three hours yet a meal was served on both the late night flight from Frankfurt and early morning return from Moscow. Almost all in flight meals on U.S. carriers have been abolished, with the exception of long international flights and some cross-country routes. The food on Aeroflot was very good and substantial. For breakfast we had three options: (1) omelette; (2) porridge; or (3) pancakes. I picked the first option. But why pickles with eggs!?! I hate pickles, so I removed them and enjoyed the tasty omelette. Deli meats with breakfast - a distinct European feature. You will never find ham, turkey or other lunch meats served on American breakfast buffets.
3. I'm always complaining about Russian service but most of the flight attendants were pleasant, with the exception of this horrible woman. On the flight from Moscow the overhead bins in my row were full with no room for my carry-on luggage. So I asked her whether there was space in the bins at the back of the cabin. Her answer - "I don't know!" She had just returned from the back of the plane, closing bins along the way so she certainly knew. I told her she was being rude and she rolled her eyes at me. Сука! :) Another flight attendant helped me find space a few minutes later. All of them spoke perfect English and there were English language announcements during the flight.
4. My only complaint is that there was no in flight entertainment such as movies, TV shows, news programs, etc. On most U.S. carriers, there are personal screens embedded in each seat with a large variety of entertainment choices. The longer the flight, the more variety. Here are the options on my United Airlines flight from Frankfurt to Washington, DC. Perhaps on longer Aeroflot flights there's something similar? I've never flown them on a transatlantic route.
5. In America, we like to explain everything in detail. For foreign guests, United Airlines provides very helpful information about Customs, public transport, etc. for the arrival city. Passengers can read all of this information from their seat at any time during the flight.
One real horror - my mini vibrator mysteriously disappeared from my suitcase in either Frankfurt or Moscow. What's the deal? Are dildos now banned in Russia such that Aeroflot baggage personnel need to steal them from foreigners? This was a great inconvenience! Many frustrations during my Eastern Euro journey and I missed my electronic buddy. Perhaps I should sue Aeroflot for causing emotional distress? The American way! :)
What's your favorite airline and why?