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Il-96-300 Aeroflot SU552/551 BKK-SVO-BKK  
User currently offlineLoran From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 541 posts, RR: 4
Posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Il-96-300 Aeroflot SU552/551: BKK-SVO-FRA-SVO-BKK


Dear all,

Thanks to the public holiday and continuous rain, I have found the time to write another trip report about some rare aircraft I was lucky to fly on in 2009. This one will cover a memorable round trip on Aeroflot’s Il-96-300s.


Background, Preparation & Booking

There were numerous topics on a.net about SU’s announcement to retire all Russian types at the end of the summer schedule 2009. After getting hold of the news, I was carefully observing the destinations & routes they serve, and checking the SU website until when they would appear in the booking engine to figure out their exact retirement. Being based in Melbourne, Australia, the most logical starting point was Bangkok, where I have been many times before and which was at that time the only remaining SU Il-96 destination in Asia (the only alternative was New Delhi). As I had to go to back home Germany in August 2009 anyway, I was committed to combine this journey with the SU Il-96-300.

In order to grab the best fare, I did some search on SU’s website and other booking websites. They actually advertised their ‘Hit’ fares, which were quoted at EUR 360 + taxes return for SVO-BKK-SVO during August 09. However, as I had to fly the other way and connect to a German / Swiss city, I just wasn’t able to get a comparable fare. The other strange thing was that the website would quote me different fares every time I checked, they randomly de- & increased. I also crosschecked with my travel agent in Melbourne if he was able to beat the fares on SU’s website, but he couldn’t, not even in combination with a TG connection MEL-BKK. I tried various arrival cities in Germany, but the connections and prices never worked out, so eventually I committed to the only affordable solution FRA. However the return connection was red eye extreme, departure from FRA at midnight and arrival in SVO at 5am, and then departing from SVO to BKK at 7pm the same day some 14 tiring hours later! I did a lot of research on the net regarding transiting in the old SVO terminal, which didn’t reveal very promising results. For those who have never been to SVO, it was then easily voted as Europe’s worst airport from both, transit and arriving & departing passengers for various reasons. The airport barely made a one star rating, but I will come to that later. At the time of booking I already had the idea of flying to SVO a day earlier and do some sightseeing in Moscow to avoid the long transit time. This extension would also leave enough room to catch Atlant-Soyuz’ Il-86.

In June 09 fares jumped up by another USD 70, hence I decided to book BKK-SVO-FRA-SVO-BKK for USD 1100 online. Not necessarily cheap, but cheaper than travelling all the way to Cuba to hit the only remaining Il-96-300 operator in case I missed this one. Booking with Credit Card worked fine and the system automatically allocated two great window seats to me in the front of the cabin.

Also, I was due to book a hotel for an overnight stay in BKK after arrival from MEL. I was lucky to find an awesome deal on Agoda for the BKK Novotel airport hotel for AUD 65, quite cheap considering that the regular fare is about three times as much. The departure on SU’s Il-96-300 then would be the next morning at around 10am, a very convenient connection.

Some more words on the Il-96. In 2009, Aeroflot operated a fleet of six aircraft, and only about 20 aircraft were built from 1993 onwards. Some elements of this design were based on the Il-86, however serving the long range market and built in much less numbers than its older mid-range sister. Cubana is the only remaining passenger Il-96 operator once SU will retire them. I think CU has a fleet of three Il-96. Domodedovo Airlines & Kras Air were two other Russian operators, but both went out of business in 2008. There are still unfulfilled orders for the Il-96, so there may be new operators in the future (Conviasa?).

Here are ships RA-96010 and RA-96007 which I flew on:


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Photo © Vladimir Voronov
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Photo © Mario Serrano


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Photo © Mescheryakov Dmitriy - Aviator Project
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Photo © Denis Agamalyan

Part 1: SU552 BKK-SVO

My connection flight from MEL on TG’s 777-200 on a Friday afternoon was uneventful and relatively empty. After arriving in BKK at 9pm local time I grabbed my luggage and proceeded to the pick-up point for the Novotel bus shuttle. After two minutes in the extreme humidity & heat I was lucky to sit in the shuttle bus and I was in the entrance hall of the airport hotel shortly after. Check-in was smooth and I asked for a room with view to the North due to today’s approach pattern, which I received without problems.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo01.jpg

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After falling into bed, I set the alarm for 6am to leave the hotel at 7am and be at the check-in before most people arrive, that was the plan. The next morning I woke up on time, and was greeted by this nice view.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo05.jpg

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I rode the shuttle bus back to the terminal and proceeded to check-in only to see that there were already about 50 people waiting. My first experience with a Russian airline & aircraft was about to begin. There was no counter staff yet and people kept accumulating, without lining up in a row, everyone just tried to push forward. Eventually about 2.5h before scheduled departure the counters opened and as the first instance the monitors above the counters indicating the desks for Business & Eco swapped. This resulted in total chaos, people were moving around and everything got even more confused. Luckily I was able to gain some space within the change and I got through quite quickly. The Thai check-in staff was very friendly, speaking German to me after they saw my passport. Additionally, everyone waiting in the line received an ‘Aeroflot’ sticker to be attached to your chest. No idea why this was done, maybe too many Pax got lost in the airport. And at that time, I also realized that there were a lot of non-Russian passengers checking in for this flight.

I made my way to the F concourse to make sure I see the Il-96-300 arriving from SVO at about 8:20 am. I got there on time, and I spotted one cockpit crew member waiting for the Gate to open. I walked up to him and had a quick chat. Before I could confirm equipment type, I found out that he was the flight engineer, indirectly confirming that equipment type was indeed the Il-96. He also had some golden teeth and looked like he was an experienced aviator   He was a really a very nice guy. I asked whether Aeroflot would permit Cockpit visits, but he said it is not allowed any more. Not long after the chat, I spotted the unique shape of the Il-96 on finals for a Rwy 19R approach. The aircraft produced a huge condensation cloud above the wings in the characteristic elliptical shape due to the pressure field and hence lift distribution. What a great sight, unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch it on film with the terminal windows in between. The reverse thrust of the Aviadvigatel PS-90A engines was by far the loudest I did hear the whole morning, good stuff I would say.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo07.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo08.jpg

When the Il-96 pulled into Gate F5, I was able to take a close look at the aircraft and its design. The airframe looked like it was in good shape.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo09.jpg

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The crew and most passengers had also arrived by now, and it looked like today’s flight was going to be full. I observed that the arriving and departing crews had a quick chat, I guess there must be a small circle of Il-96 crews with SU and everyone knows each other quite well.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo12.jpg

Boarding was smooth and I was curious to experience the Russian interior design. So far I had only seen a few cabin shots in the database. The different Russian cabin design also led to the fact that I embarrassed myself big time, similar to some fellow (non-Russian) pax. The Il-96 cabin has no overhead bins in the center section and hence no seat numbers above the seats. The seat numbers are found at the back of your seat, which means while seated you look at the seat number of the seat in front of you. I had been allocated seat 16A, hence I sat down where I saw the sign 16A in front of me. However that meant seat 16A was indeed the one in front of me and I was in fact sitting on seat 17A. I only found out after some person asked whether I was on his seat. Quite embarrassing but funny. Due to the many (non-Russian) pax on-board, I spotted the same scene a good dozen of times around the cabin. And this was only one of many differences in Russian cabin designs I observed.

Push-back was on time, and engine start-up was absolutely silent. No vibrations or noise at all from the PS-90A power plants. We then made our way to the holding point of Runway 19R.

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We are right before departure, so here are the flight details:

Il-96-300
Reg: RA-96010 (cn 74393201007)
Delivered to: Aeroflot
Built: 25.05.1994
Flight: BKK-SVO (SU552)
Date: Saturday 22. August 2009
Time: 10:25 – 16:42, flying time 9:50h
Seat: 16A
Load Factor: 100%.


The Il-96 turned into the runway without holding short and began to spool up for take-off thrust while lining-up with Rwy 19R. The crew stabilized the engines for a while and subsequently applied take-off thrust. The Aviadvigatel PS-90A power plants revealed a unique sound at take-off. Ship RA-96010 took almost the entire length of Runway 19R, we roughly were airborne at the second last intersection of taxiway E17. The heavy airframe combined with the high temperature guarantees for an excessively long take-off. Here is a video of the take-off run, check-out the unique sound of the fan kicking in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbKf6Ignb4E

Once airborne, we climbed straight out until above the beach, followed by a right turn flying almost over the city center of Bangkok and bound northwest.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo15.jpg

Various interesting condensation patterns developed over the wing in this phase of climb, initiated by the high humidity and the unique aerodynamic characteristics of the wing design. At some stage everything was completely fogged when I looked outside. I imagine how this must have looked like from the outside - aerodynamics at its best. It took a while to reach initial cruising altitude, and the crew was busy in constantly avoiding large thunderstorm cells around Burma and flying zic-zac patterns.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo16.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo17.jpg

I can’t specifically remember, but the service was quite good, I think we got drinks served and then later a lunch followed by a dinner in the evening. I could tell the crew tried hard to be polite and offer good service to overcome the Soviet-era service reputation, which some people claimed it still had. I have to say I was happy with the service and it was quite good.

I got into a chat with my seat neighbors, who were French and returning back home from a holiday in Thailand. I was curious as to why they were flying Aeroflot. I initially thought it was due to some ties with Skyteam, but they simply said it was the cheapest fare on Expedia. And by then I realized that there were dozens of western European tourists on-board, all due to the cheapest fare.

Due to the lack of IFE on Russian types, all experienced Russian passengers were prepared. They brought their own portable DVD players, laptops, games, books, etc. Initially it was fine, but after the fifth DVD player played a Disney movie in Russian language at full volume a few seats next to us, some people cracked it. One Russian passenger got up and almost threw headphones at them   Great entertainment, it was hilarious but useless as there were just too many people watching movies. My purpose of this flight was the plane geek experience to fly as many different types as possible. I told my seat neighbors who found that interesting, but if I was a ‘regular’ passenger, I may have been quite unhappy with the non-existent IFE, and various other circumstances such as SVO as a transit point. But I guess the rule applies ‘you get what you pay for’.

A few hours into the flight I took a walk to the back of the cabin with my SLR to check out how everything looks like. Here is the wing from a different perspective:

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo18.jpg

The Il-96 cabin is one of the most interesting design aspects. It has a single non-separated economy class seating 3-3-3. Due to the absence of the overhead bins, the oxygen masks, reading lights and fresh air vents have to be provided from the seat in front of you. Hence the seats are much thicker than in western designs. Not sure what the exact advantage is of the missing overhead bins except the more spacious cabin feeling. Seat pitch was ok but nothing special. I cannot recall the exact amount of seats as they had two seating variants in the fleet of six aircraft, but I think it was 225 in Eco and 22 in Business.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo19.jpg

This shot was from my return flight, hence the different seat number, but it demonstrates the above design features quite well. The middle seat hosts the oxygen masks for all three seats in a group, and the reading light is above the double-folded tray table. Air comes from the vent on the upper right.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo20.jpg

This shot was taken somewhere near Turkmenistan:

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo21.jpg

Once we approached the Moscow region, traffic intensified. It is hard to grasp, but down there is the unique shape of a Tupolev, although not sure if it was a Ty-134 or -154.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo22.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo23.jpg

We avoided Moscow by bypassing the city in the north, and turned in for a 07L landing. Above the threshold, I saw a sister ship holding short for a domestic flight. Touchdown was very smooth, it felt that the aircraft has good shock absorbers also due to the rough runway surface. Again as mentioned in my two earlier trip reports, I know we can’t judge pilot skills on the landings, but it felt like there were some very experienced aviators at the controls, very well done. Also at touchdown, I got to know that it is a common thing that the guests applaud at every landing – funny. We vacated the Runway and made our way to the terminal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2weLiORMm3g


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Part 2: Connection SU109/110 SVO-FRA-SVO

After we got off ship RA-96010, I was quite lucky to be seated in the front of the cabin, as a good half of the passengers were transiting as well. I was able to be off-board as one of the first. The transit desk wasn’t open and a huge queue developed. I have read about the transit procedures at SVO before, and many people were quite upset that it is inefficient and slow, combined with rude staff. Because I was at the front of the queue, I was lucky to get through and get my boarding pass in less than 10 minutes, but I would guess the rear of the queue would have waited a long time. There was another security screening and I was back in the departure hall.

I made my way to a spot where I was able to watch some landing traffic. Then, I found out why everyone hates the SVO terminal. It is indeed that the staff doesn’t really look as if they were glad to serve customers, they rather appeared to be cold and impolite. Signs were not always clear, and gates changed randomly with announcements difficult to understand. Even I had trouble in finding my gate, which never happened to me before at any airport. It was hard to find a seating place at all. Few monitors across the terminal listing the departures meant that every 20 mins I had to walk around and check for a screen and my designated departure gate but lose my seating spot. I had about 4h of transit time, more than enough and I was glad to eventually be out of there. The good thing was watching the SVO approach traffic, still featuring some Tupolevs, Antonovs, Ilyushins, and much more rare stuff. There were also plenty of military aircraft coming in.

The connection flight to FRA was uneventful and I won’t lose too many words about it here. It was operated by an A319, departing at 21:50 and arriving in FRA at 22:40. By the time I reached the designated luggage carousel in FRA, my bag was already there, quite impressive.

During my time in FRA I decided to extend my stay in Moscow and give the Il-86 a try, so I went to the SU office in FRA city to change my departure one day ahead. Although there are three SU flights daily FRA-SVO, the best connection would still result in a transit time of 14h   Talk about good connection airports... One more reason to make it an extended 14h + 24h stay was that I would have enough time to do some sightseeing around Red Square. A very good visa service got me a tourist visa within 24h and I booked a convenient hotel, so all was set.

The flight back to SVO was red-eye extreme. Departure in FRA at 00:15am and arrival in SVO at 04:50am with a flight time of 2:30h. This flight was also operated by an A319, and I was barely able to sleep. After arrival, I immediately proceeded to immigration, as there were many other European arrivals shortly after us resulting in long queues. I grabbed my luggage and avoided the many taxi drivers looking for business and headed straight outside looking for the ‘Aepoekcpecc’ train station.

After a few hundred meters of walking I was to find out that it was still closed. I waited for an hour and the ticket booth opened. The lady told me something in Russian which I didn’t understand, but I was able to communicate that I wanted a return ticket. For some mysterious reason she charged me the price of two o/w tickets, which is more expensive than a return ticket. I pointed it out and she just gave me the ‘go away’ look and shrugged her shoulders. Eventually I gave up as the fare wasn’t that high anyway. The train ride was smooth and after arriving at the train station in the city, I grabbed a taxi to the hotel. The hotel I chose was in walking distance to the Red Square and affordable. Luckily the staff allowed me to check-in at 7am without charging an early check-in fee. I went for a sleep immediately and woke up again at around 11am, due to fly on Atlant-Soyuz’ Il-86 out of VKO at 4pm with an immediate return on the same aircraft on the same day. I will write about this flight in a separate report soon. So far I can say worked out, but only just  

The next morning I got up early again to a walk around the city center, and did the basic sightseeing stuff. Here are some impressions:

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo26.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo27.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo28.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo29.jpg


Part 3: SU551 SVO-BKK

At around 2pm, I made my way back to the hotel, train station and eventually airport. Here are some impressions of the return trip to SVO airport. Check out the new train station and old terminal building.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo30.jpg

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http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo35.jpg

Arriving back in the terminal, I was due to find out that you are only allowed to enter the check-in area about 2hrs before departure, resulting in chaos in the main hall with thousands of people loitering around. I luckily found a good spot to wait 1h for a 5pm check-in and 7:50 pm departure. At check-in, again everything appeared to be unorganized and the confusing queues developed with lots of pushy people. There were simply too many flights departing and not enough check-in desks. As a consequence, there were only 2 rows open for a flight with 200+ people, resulting in a long queue jamming up the screening area, hilarious.

When it was my turn, I was due to be surprised one more time. The very impolite check-in lady said my bag is 21.4kg, and I will have to remove 1.4kg or pay an extra charge. Hard to believe but true, considering the plane wasn’t even going to be full as I found out later. I luckily packed the way that I was able to remove some heavy stuff quickly without shifting clothes in front of a long queue at the check-in desk. I got below 20kg quickly by removing my suit and some books, where she didn’t object me carrying this stuff into the cabin.

On my way to customs, again large queues developed everywhere, and it took another 30mins to move a good 15m until I proceeded through. All up I had not even moved 50m from getting into the check-in area until making it through customs, and this took about 90mins! Definitely a new experience. I went up to the departure level area, looked for my gate only to find out that boarding had already commenced (!). I was one of the first to check-in for this flight, with the majority of people still stuck at check-in and customs. I decided to skip a bathroom visit, moved to the gate and on a bus driving a few fellow pax to the remote ramps at the southern side of the airport. Boarding was from the ground using stairs, always a good opportunity to take a look at the aircraft.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo36.jpg

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I was wondering if we would be able to depart on-time, since most people were still stuck at customs. Also, I saw that the return flight was only about 60% full. The seat next to me was vacant, promising for have a good sleep and relaxed return flight. Boarding indeed took a long time due to the late arrival of everyone stuck at customs, and we departed 30 mins late to the holding point of Runway 25L just around sunset.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo39.jpg

Here are the flight details of the return flight.
Il-96-300
Reg: RA-96007 (cn 74393201004)
Delivered to: Aeroflot
Built: 1992
Flight: SVO-BKK (SU551)
Date: Friday, 28. August 2009
Time: 20:20 – 08:25, flying time 9:10h
Seat: 12A
Load Factor: approx.60%.


Again, I was looking forward to the unique feeling and sound of the Ilyushin and its PS-90A engines. The spool-up phase was interrupted by a crew announcement to fasten the seatbelts, where it was hard to distinguish which part was in Russian or English.    Luckily the crew stabilized the engines longer than the announcement took. Once takeoff thrust was set, a very annoying continuous whistling noise appeared from somewhere in the cabin, no idea why. Departure procedures called for an immediate very heavy right turn after we finally made it into the air by using almost the entire runway 25L. Check out all of the above in this take-off video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFuZhESmUYk


http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo40.jpg

Some shots during the long right turn to establish an East-bound heading.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo41.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo42.jpg

Correcting to the left to get on course.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo43.jpg

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The sun just about to set behind us.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo45.jpg

The ride through the night was uneventful and I cannot exactly recall how many meals were served, but I guess it was dinner and then breakfast before landing. I did not move around the cabin any more, but had a very interesting chat with my seat neighbor who was Canadian, living in Moscow but travelling on SU to Bangkok several times a year. He was quite surprised to hear that the Ilyushins would be gone soon, but I guess as a frequent flyer he wouldn’t mind the newer A330 equipment.

I was greeted with this view when I woke up in the morning.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo46.jpg

Here are two more cabin shots I took to highlight the Il-96 cabin design.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo47.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo48.jpg

Some more shots in flight over Thailand shortly before commencing our descend.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo49.jpg


http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo50.jpg


http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo51.jpg

Descending into Bangkok revealed the high humidity again with very interesting condensation patterns above the wings. One could tell that it was soaking wet in Thailand due to the rain season.

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo52.jpg

A wet runway also calls for some good reverse thrust action which I was looking forward to, but unfortunately the crew disengaged reversers before the water spray would be visible from my seat. Again, touchdown was extremely gentle, very well done by the crew. Here is a video with the landing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTWSCokWaJc


http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo53.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo54.jpg

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac57/chefsalat/SU552-SU551/Photo55.jpg

We taxied to Gate F6 and I think my Canadian seat neighbor and I set up a new record in disembarking and proceeding to customs. If there is a long queue at the Western customs area in BKK, I usually try the Eastern one which was mostly empty in the past. However I still had to wait for my bag to arrive, which sometimes takes a while in BKK.

Conclusion

In conclusion I was happy with the experience on my first Russian type & airline. I cannot say the same thing about SVO as a transit/arrival/departure airport; however the newly opened terminal would have solved most of the issues I had to deal with. I missed the opening of the new terminal by a few months; maybe it was a good thing to experience the Soviet-style terminal one (last) time before it was closed. Also, I was discrete with photography in Russia, hence you didn’t find any shots within the terminal or other sensitive areas as I didn’t want to get in trouble over there.

If I was a regular passenger without particular interest in flying these planes, then I think the overall product cannot yet compete against the established carriers in the Gulf area, Asia and Europe. However SU is aware (they mentioned in their magazine that they are working hard on customer service, in-flight experience, airport services, etc.) and I would assume that they will be able to catch up in the future. Also I would guess that the other SkyTeam members (like in all alliances) have an interest in having equivalent levels of service across their alliance. One part of this initiative was the retirement announcement of all Russian aircraft types.

However for all of you who may have found interest in the Il-96-300, there is still a chance to fly them in 2010 without going to Cuba. Despite all the retirement announcements, SU still seems to operate them on occasional services to Istambul, Salzburg, Antalya, etc. Check out the photo search engine here on a.net, and you will get the idea. The same actually happened to Atlant-Soyuz’ Il-86 retirement announcement in 2009. Two of their Il-86s are still operating at the moment and probably throughout the summer schedule, so take this last chance while you can.

I hope you enjoyed reading this report. I am looking forward to your comments, suggestions and feedback  

Regards,
Loran


Here are the two previous trip reports I wrote about memorable flights on the BG DC-10 and OX 747-100, both last year. Have a look:

DC-10-30 Biman - Bangladesh Airlines: BG78 DAC-HKG (by Loran Dec 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
747-100B(SR/SUD) Orient Thai 203/200: HKG-BKK-HKG (by Loran Jan 27 2010 in Trip Reports)


703 717 727 732-9 747 757 767 777 787 AB2/6 310 318-321 330 340 380 D8M D91/3/5 D1C M11 M81-90 L10 IL8/6/7/W/9/4 TU3/5/2
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27124 posts, RR: 60
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great report and nice pics of a favourite AC of mine. Shame we dont see more routes furnished by this type.

OA260


User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17672 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 32710 times:

Great trip report!

Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
I cannot say the same thing about SVO as a transit/arrival/departure airport;

I'm convinced Hitler connected through SVO on his way to hell. SVO is the most god-awful airport in the universe, including the new terminal, which in my experience is worse than the old one. I hope they blow the damn thing up and start over.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 952 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 32130 times:

Hey Loran

Great to see another report of yours again, And what an excellent one it is. A fantastic read - thank you for taking the time to share this with us (and the poor weather too, I guess   ) I haven't been on Aereflot or any Ilyushin planes so this was a real eye opener - and now I feel a pang of regret that I should have taken the IL96 out of BKK while I could  The sound the PS90A makes is certainly unique but what a long take-off run! The facilities on board certainly don't meet what travelers expect from long haul flying nowadays but then, I am certain that wasn't your concern on this flight. Very nice pictures of Moscow, but SVO really doesn't seem like a pleasant place at all.

Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
I asked whether Aeroflot would permit Cockpit visits, but he said it is not allowed any more.

Pity!

Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
The different Russian cabin design also led to the fact that I embarrassed myself big time, similar to some fellow (non-Russian) pax.

Haha I am certain I would have made the same mistake too!

Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
Not sure what the exact advantage is of the missing overhead bins except the more spacious cabin feeling.

It looks it from the picture. The headroom is enormous - though fighting for of hand baggage storage space on a full flight must have been quite a bother.

Thanks again for this unique report - you seem to be quite the specialist with them. And please keep 'em coming.  

All the best and regards
airpearl


User currently offline777ord From United States of America, joined May 2010, 516 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 30586 times:

great TR!! Certainly an aircraft and route we rarely see!!! I look forward to more.

User currently offlinesevernaya From Russia, joined Jan 2009, 1417 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 29831 times:

Hello Loran, thanks for sharing this nice trip report!

Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
Additionally, everyone waiting in the line received an ‘Aeroflot’ sticker to be attached to your chest.

Haha, like a group of children going to a museum with personal stickers. Didn't you had to write your name on it so they could identify you?  
Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
For some mysterious reason she charged me the price of two o/w tickets, which is more expensive than a return ticket.

Hmmm, isn't in the SU fare already included a trip with the Aeroexpress? I know FV's tickets between LED and MOW include this at least.

Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
The very impolite check-in lady said my bag is 21.4kg, and I will have to remove 1.4kg or pay an extra charge.

Sigh!

Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
If I was a regular passenger without particular interest in flying these planes, then I think the overall product cannot yet compete against the established carriers in the Gulf area, Asia and Europe.

Certainly they can't compete yet, however now with the 332 and 333 in the fleet it becomes more and more interesting!

Thanks once more and i'm looking forward to the ILW trip report!



Всяк глядит, да не всяк видит.
User currently offlineIL62Mdakar From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 85 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 28532 times:

Thank you for the brilliant report.

Lucky you that you got on the amazing Il-96 while it was relatively easy. Sad that this magnificent modern bird is only flown by Cubana these days.

Nice to see the close ups of the interior and while boarding.

And to top you got both Russian widebodies in one trip. That’s hard to top.

Can’t wait to read your report on the mighty Il-86 from Atlant Soyuz to Sochi. Flying that on the last chance trip to Sochi this summer would be dream.


User currently offlinesevernaya From Russia, joined Jan 2009, 1417 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 27714 times:

Quoting IL62Mdakar (Reply 6):
Lucky you that you got on the amazing Il-96 while it was relatively easy. Sad that this magnificent modern bird is only flown by Cubana these days.

SU is still flying this plane everyday to various destinations 



Всяк глядит, да не всяк видит.
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4273 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 27632 times:

Hi,
great report. I really like this aircraft, though never flown on it (yet). Your pictures are good also, I like the views on the SVO-BKK trip more, since it gives a better view on the wing/engines.



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1096 posts, RR: 32
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 27442 times:

Hi Loran.

Excellent report on an interesting bird. The cabin looks absolutely amazing without the overhead bings in the central section.... and the seats are an unusual shape too...!

How was your catering?

Good photos in Russia too... brave going for the shot of the policemen...


Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineLoran From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 541 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 27352 times:

Quoting oa260 (Reply 1):
Great report and nice pics of a favourite AC of mine

Hi oa260, glad you liked it. The Il-96 definitely became one of my favorite types after this trip, too.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 2):
Great trip report!
I'm convinced Hitler connected through SVO on his way to hell. SVO is the most god-awful airport in the universe, including the new terminal, which in my experience is worse than the old one. I hope they blow the damn thing up and start over.

Thanks Maverick!
Good to hear I wasn't the only one who thought this airport is a nightmare.   
Blowing the whole thing up sounds like a good idea   .

Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
Great to see another report of yours again, And what an excellent one it is. A fantastic read

Hi Airpearl, many thanks for your kind words. I am glad you liked the report.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
I haven't been on Aereflot or any Ilyushin planes so this was a real eye opener - and now I feel a pang of regret that I should have taken the IL96 out of BKK while I could

That is a pity to hear, it is definitely a rare type, although I guess the CU airframes will have many years to go. I don't know how many rare aircraft opportunities I missed in the past years, there are just too many types to fly on   - and don't forget to give the OX 747 classics a try while you are on site   .

Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
The headroom is enormous - though fighting for of hand baggage storage space on a full flight must have been quite a bother.

You are right, it was indeed a problem in the center section of the cabin. And those tourists went totally mad in the BKK duty free shops, so you can imagine what the cabin (and later the passengers) looked like    .

Quoting 777ord (Reply 4):
great TR!! Certainly an aircraft and route we rarely see!!! I look forward to more.

Thanks 777ord, more to follow soon in here   .

Quoting severnaya (Reply 5):
Hello Loran, thanks for sharing this nice trip report!

Thanks severnaya, good to hear you liked the report.

Quoting severnaya (Reply 5):
Haha, like a group of children going to a museum with personal stickers. Didn't you had to write your name on it so they could identify you?  

   lol, luckily we didn't, I still don't know what these stickers were for. In some way I was embarrassed to wear them in the BKK terminal, on the other side I was glad to be on this flight. It was one of the many unique experiences with SU.

Quoting severnaya (Reply 5):
Hmmm, isn't in the SU fare already included a trip with the Aeroexpress? I know FV's tickets between LED and MOW include this at least.

Oh I had no idea, this is good to know. Luckily it wasn't that expensive overall, actually the taxi ride in Moscow city was a multiple of the train fare. But on my next trip to Moscow I will find out. Thanks for letting us know.

Quoting severnaya (Reply 5):
Quoting Loran (Thread starter):The very impolite check-in lady said my bag is 21.4kg, and I will have to remove 1.4kg or pay an extra charge.
Sigh!

Nothing more to say. I expected the usual tolerance of 2-3 kgs.

Quoting severnaya (Reply 5):
Certainly they can't compete yet, however now with the 332 and 333 in the fleet it becomes more and more interesting!

I would think so, too. The connection flights to/from FRA were actually as good as equal to any European carrier in terms of service. Staff was friendly and no difference in service at all, only on this 'tourist' flight to BKK there were some discrepancies.

Quoting IL62Mdakar (Reply 6):
Thank you for the brilliant report.

Lucky you that you got on the amazing Il-96 while it was relatively easy. Sad that this magnificent modern bird is only flown by Cubana these days.

Nice to see the close ups of the interior and while boarding.

And to top you got both Russian widebodies in one trip. That’s hard to top.

Can’t wait to read your report on the mighty Il-86 from Atlant Soyuz to Sochi. Flying that on the last chance trip to Sochi this summer would be dream.

Thanks Il-62MDakar, good to hear you liked the report.

Since I missed many opportunities to catch the Il-62, DC-10 and L-1011, I was glad to ride this one at least. As mentioned by Severnaya, you can still fly on them this year on some services within Europe. Check out the photo search engine and their schedules.

I will write the ILW report next, so keep an eye on this forum   .

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 8):
Hi,
great report. I really like this aircraft, though never flown on it (yet). Your pictures are good also, I like the views on the SVO-BKK trip more, since it gives a better view on the wing/engines.

Hi Eric, thanks for your comments. You are right, the second flight was the better seat, and also more comfortable due to the vacant seat next to me. Try to catch the Il-96 this year if you can, I can really highly recommend it! It is a truly great design with an excellent safety record.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 9):
Hi Loran.

Excellent report on an interesting bird. The cabin looks absolutely amazing without the overhead bings in the central section.... and the seats are an unusual shape too...!

How was your catering?

Good photos in Russia too... brave going for the shot of the policemen...

Hi Luke, thanks for your kind words. The catering was alright, I remember they had some typical Russian influences, such as a piece of smoked salmon. I was happy with it, but I can not specifically remember what we got served. I think it was a regular hot dish, a salad, dessert, and some bread.

Now as you mention it, I said I was discrete with photography, but obviously not with this one lol. Although I have to say there were so many people around Red Square that chances were slim that they would see me. I was far away and had a good zoom, and virtually everyone over there carried a camera. And I definitely wouldn't have risked this shot in the airport terminal  

Looking forward to more comments from you and thanks again for reading.

Cheers,
Loran.



703 717 727 732-9 747 757 767 777 787 AB2/6 310 318-321 330 340 380 D8M D91/3/5 D1C M11 M81-90 L10 IL8/6/7/W/9/4 TU3/5/2
User currently onlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 805 posts, RR: 20
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 25452 times:

Hi Loran

Well done, TR about Russian A/C are always impressive and yours confirms this.

Quoting Loran (Thread starter):
but I guess as a frequent flyer he wouldn%u2019t mind the newer A330 equipment.

Changes and surprises are good sometime.

Any of the SU IL96 have PTV or In wall TV?

thanks again

East African Spotter



Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlineThai744 From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 25173 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice trip report, thanks for posting, but some pics of the inflight catering would have been a good addition.

Although, remember my past experience on Aeroflop, maybe you did better by not posting them.

I seem to remember a lot of Russian tourists getting obnoxiously drunk and abusive (and loud) on my flights. I also thought the lack of IFE wasn't good and the service was bordering on rude. I also remember crew smoking in the galleys, and finally I remember seeing cockpit crew smoking in the cockpit through the window in the departure lounge.

Not an airline I would ever fly again!

But thanks for taking the time to post, though. An interesting read.


User currently offlineThai744 From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 25172 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice trip report, thanks for posting, but some pics of the inflight catering would have been a good addition.

Although, remembering my past experience on Aeroflop, maybe you did better by not posting them!

I seem to remember a lot of Russian tourists getting obnoxiously drunk and abusive (and loud) on my flights. I also thought the lack of IFE wasn't good and the service was bordering on rude. I also remember crew smoking in the galleys, and finally I remember seeing cockpit crew smoking in the cockpit through the window in the departure lounge.

Maybe they're trying harder now, but not an airline I would ever fly again!

But thanks for taking the time to post, though. An interesting read.


User currently offlinejayeshrulz From India, joined Apr 2007, 1029 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 24679 times:

An Ultra nice TR of a very rare aircraft.
The landing seemed to be flawless.

But to be honest, flying SU is far far down in my list :P.

Thanks for sharing!



Keep flying, because the sky is no limit!
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5124 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 23038 times:

Fantastic report. I flew this (and reviewed it) on SVO-DEL and it was quite the experience! I vividly remember the take-off! Anyways, looking forward to your ILW report. Again, thanks for sharing.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1888 posts, RR: 42
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 21885 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Hi Loran, I loved your report! A truly magnificent aircraft! Thanks for sharing, and needless to say, I'm green with jealousy.  

Best regards,

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlineLoran From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 541 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 21078 times:

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 11):
Well done, TR about Russian A/C are always impressive and yours confirms this.

Hi EastAfrican, many thanks for your reply! It was truly an impressive machine. Sadly their days are numbered.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 11):
Changes and surprises are good sometime.

Any of the SU IL96 have PTV or In wall TV?

I guess almost the entire aircraft wouldn't have minded an A330, except me and possibly other plane geeks  
There was no PTV or in wall TV - there was zero IFE, not even a radio in the armrest.

Quoting Thai744 (Reply 13):
Nice trip report, thanks for posting, but some pics of the inflight catering would have been a good addition.

Although, remembering my past experience on Aeroflop, maybe you did better by not posting them!

I seem to remember a lot of Russian tourists getting obnoxiously drunk and abusive (and loud) on my flights. I also thought the lack of IFE wasn't good and the service was bordering on rude. I also remember crew smoking in the galleys, and finally I remember seeing cockpit crew smoking in the cockpit through the window in the departure lounge.

Maybe they're trying harder now, but not an airline I would ever fly again!

But thanks for taking the time to post, though. An interesting read.

Hi Thai744, thanks for your suggestions, I am glad you liked the report. I usually try to take a shot of the catering, this time I think I was too busy chatting with my seat neighbours, so I forgot about it. But you are right that it should be part of a trip report.

Regarding the crew I could tell they were trying hard, and they still have a long way to go. The tourists are definitely something you have to get used to, and the BKK duty free shops surely made some good business with them  
Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 14):
An Ultra nice TR of a very rare aircraft.
The landing seemed to be flawless.

But to be honest, flying SU is far far down in my list :P.

Thanks for sharing!

Hi jayeshrulz, thanks for your kind words. Definitely very smooth landings in both cases, I was impressed. Since the IL9 and other Russian equipment is gone and I have been on the IL9, SU is gone from my list.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
Fantastic report. I flew this (and reviewed it) on SVO-DEL and it was quite the experience! I vividly remember the take-off! Anyways, looking forward to your ILW report. Again, thanks for sharing.

Hi abrelosojos, thank you for your kind reply. I hope I can fix the ILW report in the next two weeks, so keep an eye on this forum.

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 16):
i Loran, I loved your report! A truly magnificent aircraft! Thanks for sharing, and needless to say, I'm green with jealousy

Many thanks CrimsonNL, I am very glad you liked the report. Did you fly on one of those yet? If not, you still have a chance  

Cheers,
Loran



703 717 727 732-9 747 757 767 777 787 AB2/6 310 318-321 330 340 380 D8M D91/3/5 D1C M11 M81-90 L10 IL8/6/7/W/9/4 TU3/5/2
User currently offline777way From Pakistan, joined Dec 2005, 5869 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 19305 times:

No meal service pictures? or was it too bad to post.

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