Aeroflot is the major Russian airline flying international routes into and out of Moscow. Generally, that’s all you should ever need to know about them because flying on Aeroflot isn’t the most wonderful trip you’ll ever take.
To begin with, your flight will not leave on time. When I landed in Sheremetyevo for my long, long, incredibly long and boring twelve hour layover, I was trying to find my way to the proper terminal. A nice Russian lady working at the information desk called me over to help. She asked for my boarding pass which I promptly provided and pointed me in the right direction. ‘You just go through security over there, down the stairs and wait. Your flight will be late of course.’ And then off I went. I knew Aeroflot has a pretty bad track record of taking off on time. I read somewhere than less than one out of four flights leaves on time. But to see a representative say it so snidely almost as if she meant ‘Yeah they’re a bunch of bums. You’re flying on them and I work for them. We’re all in this together right?’ made me laugh. One of the highlights of my time in the airport.
Now the plane has finally arrived and it’s time to board. I hope you brought some in flight entertainment with you. You won’t find a whole lot here. The planes aren’t the newest so there are only a few TVs set up near the front of the cabin and the flight attendants will pass out headphones to plug into your armrest. They’re not that large and even if you can see them, you’ll find almost all of the movies shown are dubbed into Russian. There may be subtitles, there may not. No worries you tell yourself. In the seat pocket there is a very thick magazine that looks interesting. And I’m sure it’s very interesting. You’ll find some nice pictures. But you’ll also find that it’s all in Russian as well. Every piece of reading material other than the emergency procedure chart is only in Russian. And this is on a flight from Moscow to Washington DC. They know some Americans are on the plane. They know it’s an eleven hour flight. I guess they just don’t care.
But it’s not all doom and gloom with Aeroflot. For starters they have one of the coolest logos in the world. It just looks awesome. The food on the flights is pretty good as well. Decent fish dishes are pretty common, but if they offer you the chance to eat pancakes, grab those. They’re rolled blini that can be filled with cheese or meat. Proper Russian food and quite excellent. Unfortunately they only serve free wine and beer with lunch, not dinner on the long flights. So grab it while you can.
Wikipedia says Aeroflot is one of the most profitable airlines in the world and is 51% owned by the Russian government. I think this government ownership allows Aeroflot to fly trans-Atlantic flights that are only half full or so. Or maybe all their real money comes from flying domestically and to former Soviet states, the trans-Atlantic flights are there for prestige more than anything. Either way one great thing about Aeroflot is that you’ll have lots of room. I’ve flow on them round trip America to Russia twice and on every one of the four flights I’ve had the entire row to myself. If you’re traveling with a buddy, it might be a good idea for you to book your tickets separately. The only people I saw sharing a row were obvious couples. The chance to spread out and lie down on such a long flight is definitely a perk. And finally Aeroflot can be cheap. I booked with them and dealt with those long layover was that it saved me close to four hundred dollars compared to the next lowest fare.
I would fly Aeroflot again in a heartbeat. I’m glad I own a Kindle and brought that with me on the plane. If I didn’t I might have a much different opinion of the company. The only real downside I personally faced was the long layover in Moscow. Eight or twelve hours is far too much. Especially in an airport like Sheremetyevo.