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Spring Break 2008 - LAX-SVO-DXB In SU Business  
User currently offlineN751PR From United States of America, joined May 2002, 1247 posts, RR: 2
Posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 18062 times:

As I'm sure along with many, Dubai has been a destination of interest for me. My seafaring uncle would recall days of when the emirate was just a sleepy little trading post in the Gulf, decades before we would picture the mirage-like skyline that comes to mind of the dynamic and diverse metropolis that it has evolved to.

From seeing pictures of a ski resort in a place where one would vainly wish for a snowday, to the engineering projects that seemed to to keep the folks at the Guiness book of records entertained, to the man-made islands that resemble palm trees and continents...and of course, the megahub of an airline that just keeps on growing, the place almost seemed like a dream in the desert that somehow found it's way to the realms of reality...a dream that I wanted to see for myself.

Though Dubai has been on the top of my "to visit" list, I didn't full-heartedly expect to have made my first visit in 2008, let alone in Spring Break. It was just this one February day that I was playing around with the NW award search function when I surprisingly found some PerkSaver business class inventory with a Skyteam partner available to DXB in all of my search inquiries. Finding a PerkSaver C ticket for dates I would desire to travel--let alone one for a Skyteam partner--can be difficult to come by, especially when the planned travel dates was a relative stone's throw away. Without little thought, I immediately cancelled my award ticket to NRT for June and reallocated the miles to DXB. I mean, DXB on your desired dates just three months away, who could resist!

Of course, there was a catch: the airline I would be flying with would have to be Aeroflot. I've read a mixed bag of reviews on the airline with the latest I've read being the TR written by Abelesojos. Praises and damnations of the airline notwithstanding, SU was a carrier I would love to experience at least once, especially prior to the opening of Terminal 3 in SVO. As a person whose experiences with business class has been primarily limited to NW's product, I was anxious to try out what SU had to offer.



Flight 322, LAX-SVO
Boeing 767-38AER, VP-BWT
4 April 2008


(Please bear with the quality of the pictures from this flight as I took them from my camcorder)

Being concerned that my FlyAway bus would be held up by the gridlock on the 110/101 interchange, I vouched to get to the airport as early as possible. My worst fears didn't materialize at that hour which left me arriving at the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) a half-hour before the counters would open. Having been cutting it close to flights before--and occasionally missing one--I still felt better to be safe than sorry!

Counters prior to opening


Checking went smooth with requests answered promply and politely by a relatively new contract agent who already seemed like he was already a few years in the job. Inquiring about loads, it turned out the C cabin was less than 1/2 full which would make in-flight musical chairs convenient!  Wink

Heading up to the recently renovated lounge proved to be a bit of a hassle as the elevators were under maintenance. Thankfully though, the SkyTeam lounge was just one flight up compared to any of the folks that would've had to hiked another flight to get to their lounge. Thankfully the elevators were long fixed when I visited the ST Lounge again when I flew KE nearly a year later!

Temp sign


The only other passenger that was alongside me in the lounge for much of my stay


FIDS


Snack spread


Lounge view





While it is shared with all alliance members operating out of TBIT, the SkyTeam Lounge is decorated in the favour of the predominant ST carrier, KE. From the matrons in the sharp KE uniforms, the familar logo in the doors, and a sign directing "Prestige Class" passengers, the experience itself made me feel like I'm gearing up to head across the Pacific instead.  Wink Food selection was limited to sandwiches, chips, and other light snacks. I presumed that they'd have a more diverse selection when the KE banks of flights roll out, but unfortunately such hope didn't materalize when I did KE18 the following year.  Sad

Aside from another passenger and the three matrons, I had much of the lounge to myself! Eventually a handful more popped in once boarding time drew closer, but it was relatively quiet during much of my stay.

Once pre-boarding was called from the lounge, we headed off to the north gates of TBIT. I was originally holding my breath back in check-in as some gates were closed off for renovation which forced some airlines to operate their flights out of the remote stands. Thankfully, SU322 didn't suffer that fate!

Renovations at full swing




Gate 120


The 763 that'll be taking me to SVO


I could still imagine the jitters of excitement I felt as I walked down the jetway. Here I was, ready to try out an exotic airline with such a colourful history. Once onboard, I was greeted and directed by the purser of the flight. Unfortunately though, it seemed like she was the only cheery one that would serve the C cabin. :/

View of the C cabin


Seat 1H


The 767s have been refurbished with angled lie-flat seats in C which are now augmented with a newer generation of seats in their new A330 fleet. The seat itself is the same type that is seen in OZ but without the collapsable armrest and provisions for PTVs. To make up for the lack of a fixed IFE system, C passengers are handed out digE portable players with an anemic selection of movies.

The digE Player in all it's glory


Once seated, I was issued the menu which had the most generous multi-course meal offerings I've seen in business class ever since I flew BR a couple years earlier. Take-off and climbing was gorgeous as we were off into the beautiful late-afternoon sky. Once in cruising altitude, the F/As issued the digE players and headphones as well as taking meal orders. A few minutes later, one of the crew would walk out and place the linens on the tray tables to prepare us for dinner.

Hot Savouries
Samosa and croquette



Bread basket
Dinner roll


Appetizer
Smoked salmon w/ capers and red onion
Spiced feta cheese w/ tomato and cucumbers
Herring fillet w/ potato salad and marinated beets
Russian devil egg w/ parsley



Soup
Cream of mushroom


Main dish
Pork loin in Carraway braised sauce with vegetable ratatouli and spinnach fettucini



Dessert
Vanilla ice cream w/ fresh berries and hazelnuts



Throughout the meal service, the F/A was seemingly cold, especially when it came to requests, but otherwise extremely professional. Drinks were quickly refilled once the glasses looked the least bit empty while plates and eventually the linens were immediately removed when finished, giving me the ability to stretch back and relax sooner than expected.

I settled to watching http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_(film)The Sun before dozing off for the bulk of the flight. After a few minutes of waking up, an F/A came up to my seat and asked if would wish for a pre-landing snack of which I obliged. Unlike the afternoon breakfasts that I usually receive whenever I fly NW to NRT  Smile-D), the snack was a couple delicious baguette slices and some garlic mashed potatoes.





Landing in SVO was one heck of a treat: seeing all these Russian-built airliners dotting the airport landscape for the first time was a sight to behold! I remember my constant thoughts as we taxied to Terminal 2 wishing that I didn't get stuck with the 767s and A320s that were regulated in my itinerary.  Wink

It's an Illyushin!


Transiting in SVO

I was prepared of what to expect after what Abelesojos experienced and pretty much received what was expected, save for that one nasty transit agent.  Wink A part of me wished that the opening of Terminal 3 wasn't delayed but another part of me wanted to try out this relic before the newer terminal opened. Well, I got my experience and I can't say it was the most pleasant.







I didn't have time to experience the SU lounge, but after hearing several reviews, it appeared that I wouldn't be missing much, especially considering that I'll be camped in there for almost half a day in my flight back to LAX.



Flight 519, SVO-DXB
Airbus A320-200
5 April 2008


Getting past security for my connecting flight was a bit frustrating as the line that served the gates, one of which where my flight would be departing of, was a lengthy one indeed. Thinking that my connection time was too short to get through that mess, I arrived at the gate realizing that they haven't boarded yet. Once the time came, I came to notice that we would be bussed off to a remote stand.

I couldn't complain much as getting down to the bus provided a gorgeous view of a couple of Il-96s, one of which we'd "tag" alongside as it taxied to takeoff as well as the riding the relatively new bus seemed to be a bit more pleasant than waiting around in the smokers-packed terminal.  Wink

Inside the bus


The IL-96 we'd be tagging alongside




Thankfully it was a beautiful day to do some outdoor boarding as I was able to watch a gorgeous sunset as I climbed up the airstairs, taking a few shots of the A320 before nearly tripping myself at one of the steps, much to the entertainment of some ground agents who witnessed it. Big grin





As I settled to my seat, I noticed that I was onboard the newest and freshest Airbus that I've ever flown in. The entire cabin interiors seemed like it was untouched ever since it left the factory, totally different than the well-used and abused A32xs that I frequent with in NW. The seat itself provided much more generous recline than what I was used to in domestic F and while it didn't have a legrest attached to the seat itself, it had a decent footrest installed in the seat forward.







Terminal 2


Terminal 3


Airborne, F/As once again came around to issue digE players. These ladies were as professional as the ones that I experienced in my preceding flight, but a lot friendlier which was greatly appreciated. The meal service itself was outstanding. I hate to admit, but the salmon main course was one of the finer seafood dishes I've had in a while!







The seat ready for me to settle in and relax


With the meal service settled with, I did what I could do best while in-flight: snooze. I was only awaken once and that was when we were approaching DXB. Unfortunately, though, I was in the "wrong" side of the plane as it appeared that passengers over in the right side of the plane seemed to have a gorgeous view of wonderful Dubai. Oh well...

Landing went smoothly and we taxied into a landscape dotted with widebodies in the signature EK tails all over the place. Here I was, finally experiencing the mega-hub of DXB.

Deplaning


This is it...this is Dubai





The immigration process was long but relatively painless, however claiming luggage proved otherwise. Following in line with my annual "Spring Break curse", it turned out that my checked luggage did not make the connection with me in SVO. Already in the wee-hours of the morning and wanting to already head to my hotel, I headed to the baggage office where I was assisted by a Filipino agent, one of the many fellow Pinoys that are a part of the larger expatriate community that makes up the majority of the emirate.

The claim


Thinking that my worries were over, I was welcomed into a long line at the taxi stands. Knowing how busy DXB can be no matter what the time, it was still a funky concept for me to see such bustle this late at night/early in the morning! After another 30 minutes, I finally was able to head off to the Dar al Sondos Apartments by Le Meridien over in Bur Dubai, thus kicking off my Spring Break in this illustrious city.

Thanks again guys for your patience in waiting for this report as well as finally checking it out!


Ladies and Gentlemen it's happy hour.You will get two approaches for the price of one.
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineShamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4118 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 17959 times:

Hmmm... SU look pretty damn good actually!

The catering looks far superior to many western carriers!

Good report, hope you enjoyed Dubai... amazing city!



Flown EI,FR,RE,EIR,VE,SI,TLA,BA,BE,BD,VX,MON,AF,YS,WX,KL,SK,LH,OK,OS,LX,IB,LTU,HLX,4U,SU,CO,DL,UA,AC,PR,MH,SQ,QF, EY, EK
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6414 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 17449 times:

Very nice report! Great pictures! Aeroflot looks pretty good! Flew them once on ARN-SVO-PEK flight in Oct01 on 734 and 777 in Y and it wasn't that great on the 777 flight.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineStarAlliance38 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1445 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 17116 times:

Thanks for sharing and great TR! DXB looks like a cool airport. SU looks great too!


Roar, lion, roar
User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17008 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 16661 times:

Great TR

Have always wondered how SU is like out of LAX.

Seems that you enjoyed your experience on SU.

Pity about your bag.



Thank you for sharing

B747forever



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineCAP2008 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 16493 times:

Great report! Looks like SU really earned their place in skyteam.

How long was the flight from LAX-SVO?



The mother of the last KC-135 pilot has yet to be born.
User currently offlineUN_B732 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 4289 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 16253 times:

Excellent trip report! I flew SU from SVO-BRU-SVO and got the same appetizer you did on your Dubai flight. I have to say I was really blown away by C on the 320, beats what any European carrier offers on routes in/out of SVO.

-A



What now?
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 15967 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report and pictures, thanks for sharing.

Those SU Business Class seats on teh 320 look very impressive, need to find an excuse to try them out!

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineDALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1662 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 15160 times:

Hi there!

Great read about a true airline in all perspectives!
I am really surprised by the quality of SU. I didn't rate them this high to be honest.

Thanks for sharing!
Joost (D-ALCE)



flown on : F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,319,320,321,333,AB6.
User currently offlineVietsky From Vietnam, joined Nov 2008, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 15108 times:

Hi N751PR,

Very very nice pics of Aeroflot. I was surprise about their service. The last time I flown Aeroflot was way back on 1998 from SGN-SVO by an old Il62 and its service back then can't even compare to today.

One question: how long it took you from LAX-SVO. It seemed that B767-300 can handle such a far distance. Does it has F class as well?

Quoting N751PR (Thread starter):
he F/As issued the digE players and headphones

I never experience the players. How do you compare to the AVOD or IFO?

Enjoy your trip in Dubai.

Vietsky


User currently offlineDeltaHolland From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 14910 times:

Great trip report!
Glad you enjoyed the flights, I usually hear that this Aeroflot is really bad.


User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1640 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 14799 times:

Great TR-lovely to see more of SU. Their product seems equally competetent and is far removed from the pre-1991 experience.
Some lovely photos, well done!
Hope you enjoyed Dubai!


User currently offlineReadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3054 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 14759 times:

That was a great report, thanks, good pics, and hey, why don't more airlines serve a samosa as a starter?


you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26521 posts, RR: 58
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 14686 times:

Great to see an SU report. They look really good. Meals were very nice also.

Looking forward to more

OA260



AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4208 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 14545 times:

Hi
SU's catering looks outstanding and good variaty! Sorry to see the old interior in the B767, an aircraft which is not my first choice for longhaul fligths, to be honest. But the seat looked good.
btw, that A320 is stunning too. What a nice seat on the narrowbody. SU offers 2-2 layout, where other European carriers mostly put 3-3 in their European aircraft. It makes such a big difference!
I heard from many Russians that SU is among the better airlines to fly on nowadays when it comes to inflight service, compared to the US and European competitors. A friend of me even rates SU longhaul Y-class at a higher level then LX Y-class. Something I wouldn't expect, to be honest.
Anyway, thanks for this report, and looking forward to your return with the longer stopover in SVO, and the lounge visit Big grin

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineUN_B732 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 4289 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (4 years 11 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 14393 times:

The Aeroflot 763 is two class. No First anymore on Aeroflot  Sad.

About Aeroflot service - I have to agree. I flew KL C AMS-SVO then SU C SVO-BRU (both free.. hehehe) one week later (I'm going to be writing a report soon.) and Aeroflot beat KLM in pretty much everything.

In Y on European flights they're just as good as any European carrier I've flown. On long haul I think the coach product on the 763 is a bit dated, so I try to avoid them, but when the A330s replace them, I think that'll be fixed.



What now?
User currently offlineN751PR From United States of America, joined May 2002, 1247 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 13323 times:

A belated thanks all for the comments!  Smile

Quoting Shamrock604 (Reply 1):
The catering looks far superior to many western carriers!

Indeed, I was EXTREMELY impressed by the offerings! As mentioned, the bulk of my int'l business class experiences are with NW which, while I am not disappointed by the offerings, is not exactly the greatest, so I was admittedly blown away with whatever I was served with in SUBig grin

Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 3):
Thanks for sharing and great TR! DXB looks like a cool airport. SU looks great too!

Walang anuman, pare.  Wink

Quoting The777Man (Reply 2):
Flew them once on ARN-SVO-PEK flight in Oct01 on 734 and 777 in Y and it wasn't that great on the 777 flight.

Really, eh? Wish I could've done the 777 myself, albeit in C.  Wink

Quoting CAP2008 (Reply 5):
How long was the flight from LAX-SVO?

The flight itself was around 12 hours. Surely didn't feel like it though!

Quoting UN_B732 (Reply 6):
I flew SU from SVO-BRU-SVO and got the same appetizer you did on your Dubai flight.

Seriously?! Was it as delicious? Big grin

Quoting UN_B732 (Reply 6):
I have to say I was really blown away by C on the 320, beats what any European carrier offers on routes in/out of SVO.

Indeed, coming out of KL to IST a few months earlier, seeing seats like these were a breath of fresh air!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 7):
Those SU Business Class seats on teh 320 look very impressive, need to find an excuse to try them out!

I do hope you could as soon as possible!  Wink

Quoting B747forever (Reply 4):
Pity about your bag.

Thanks.  Smile I'll admit the retrival experience was a bit more straightforward than what happened in the preceding Spring Break though.  Wink

Quoting DALCE (Reply 8):
I am really surprised by the quality of SU. I didn't rate them this high to be honest.

I was surprised myself! Though I've heard some shining reviews of the airline, I still was a "see it to believe it" kind of person. Save for some of the surly F/As in the LAX-SVO flight and the craptastic Terminal 2 at SVO, I'm now a believer.

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 11):
Their product seems equally competetent and is far removed from the pre-1991 experience.

Far removed indeed! While there's always going to be room for improvement, it really has gone beyond those days.

Quoting Readytotaxi (Reply 12):
and hey, why don't more airlines serve a samosa as a starter?

I dunno, but I'd seriously love to see it happen more! Big grin

Quoting OA260 (Reply 13):
Looking forward to more

Indeed, I'd love to hear more beyond my own experiences, especially that of the new A330 product!

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 14):
A friend of me even rates SU longhaul Y-class at a higher level then LX Y-class.

Now THAT speaks volumes!

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 14):
Anyway, thanks for this report, and looking forward to your return with the longer stopover in SVO, and the lounge visit

Thanks! Hopefully I'll be able to get the return finished sometime this year.  Wink



Ladies and Gentlemen it's happy hour.You will get two approaches for the price of one.
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5014 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 12482 times:

= Thanks for a wonderful trip report and a joy to read. Assuming you took these flights in 2009 and not 2008 as you say, I was in DXB at the same time and arrived 20 minutes after your arrival  Smile. LOL.

Quoting N751PR (Thread starter):
Of course, there was a catch: the airline I would be flying with would have to be Aeroflot. I've read a mixed bag of reviews on the airline with the latest I've read being the TR written by Abelesojos.

= I am glad my report helped reduce some of your concerns. It seems you were not overall disappointed. I had a lot of people PM me thinking I was crazy to rate SU's J experience higher than a lot of peer Skyteam cohorts, but it is heartening to see another good report. Of course, all bets are off until your next flight back.

Quoting N751PR (Thread starter):
C passengers are handed out digE portable players with an anemic selection of movies.

= Jaja. I like the word "anemic". I termed it as "random".

Quoting N751PR (Thread starter):
Once seated, I was issued the menu which had the most generous multi-course meal offerings I've seen in business class ever since I flew BR a couple years earlier.

= Good to see that this has not changed.

Quoting N751PR (Thread starter):
I was prepared of what to expect after what Abelesojos experienced and pretty much received what was expected, save for that one nasty transit agent. Wink A part of me wished that the opening of Terminal 3 wasn't delayed but another part of me wanted to try out this relic before the newer terminal opened. Well, I got my experience and I can't say it was the most pleasant.

= I am glad you got the experience. I am telling you ... we are going to miss these terminals once everything has become "Ikea-ized".

Quoting N751PR (Thread starter):

As I settled to my seat, I noticed that I was onboard the newest and freshest Airbus that I've ever flown in. The entire cabin interiors seemed like it was untouched ever since it left the factory, totally different than the well-used and abused A32xs that I frequent with in NW. The seat itself provided much more generous recline than what I was used to in domestic F and while it didn't have a legrest attached to the seat itself, it had a decent footrest installed in the seat forward.

= The seats look a lot like 9W's medium haul 73H offering.

Saludos and thanks for posting,
A.



Live, and let live.
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