Toronto - Moscow
B 767-300 VP-BWU
Check-in in YYZ
- check-in was handled by Handlex, which were not all SU-staff (though there were about 3 SU staff managing the check-ins)
- pax were mostly Russians, with about 1/3 Indians bound for India
- check-in was generally quick and efficient. Checked passports for proper Russian visas (if deplaning in Moscow)
- aircraft arrived from Moscow at about 6pm
- noticed that the catering was done by Cathay Pacific (CLS)
- refuelling was stopped for 30 minutes because of thunderstorm, so boarding was also delayed by 30 min
- boarding was by row number, rows 27 to 38 first, then the remaining rows
[I need your help!!! I have plenty of cabin and inflight photos to share. I just don't know how to delete my older files from the trip report photo upload account to replenish new photos (because I have reached my byte limit), and I can't find the instructions to clear my files. If someone can tell me how to do it, I will gladly post lots of SU cabin and inflight photos. Until then, I can only describe...]
- Russian and english newspapers were available for the taking at the ramp
- the crew was visible throughout the aircraft to help pax settle-in
- aircraft was old, with green seats and orange head covers marked AEROFLOT in blue
- flying time was 8 hours 40 minutes
- announcements were made first in Russian, then in thickly accented english by the female purser
- female FA's were well dressed, in a white blouse and blue suit pants with an orange scarf. Male FA's were in navy blue shirt and dark blue tie, but they were most sloppy-dressed because their tie was loose, and their shirt was not buttoned at the collar
- safety instructions were made in Russian, then repeated in English (in British accent). It was a combination of acted scenes and computer cartooning. It finished with the saying of the slogan "Sincerely Yours, Aeroflot".
- lights dimmed as aircraft rolled to runway for take-off
- cabin crew did walk around to check seat belts were fastened.
- no calming music during taxiing for take-off (unlike CX)
- seat pocket had lots of magazines: Aeroflot's inflight magazine in Russian, an Aeroflot newspaper in Russian, another thick magazine in Russian endorsed by SU, air sickness bag, and the safety card.
- no PTV in economy class seats
- no movies or audio entertainment on overnight flight
- no distribution of amenity kits (although SU's website says they have eyeshades and earplugs for New York flights)
- the cabin lights were only dimly lit for the inflight services.
- service began with passing out wet serviettes
- drinks rolled out about 30 min after take-off. Complementary drinks included Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, 7-Up, Tropicana Appple, Orange, and Tomato Juice, tea, coffee, and water. Beer, and other booze were not free. There is a price chart on the trolley. All the soft drinks, water, and juice came from Russia, with cyrillic labels.
- no peanuts or any snack food with the drinks; just an orange napkin to go with.
- hot dinner was served almost 10 minutes later. Service was quite efficient. Dinner was a choice of 2 items, but by the time they got to my seat they ran out of the other choice, so I had the curry chicken which was delicious (I think CX did the catering). I have a photo of the dinner if anyone can tell me how to post it - see my question above.
- on this flight, the crew's english was passable but was limited. They are sufficient to serve what you need (i.e. ask you for tea/coffee, etc.) But, if you are looking for a friendly chat, then they will not be able to respond very well except for key words.
- normally on airlines like AC and CX, one is not allowed to open their duty-free liquor bottles and drink from it inflight, but on SU a few people drink quite liberally from their duty-free purchases.
- trays were efficiently collected, and duty free sales followed. Duty free was from Moscow Duty Free shops. Prices seem okay, not super cheap.
- lights turned off after all services completed (about 2 hours into the flight). There is nothing to do but to sleep, since there was no movie or audio. Crew also came by to ensure all the window blinds were closed, as sun will come out in about 2 hours of the remaining 6.5 hours flight.
- crew came around twice during the next five hours to give water. Otherwise, they remained in the galley. There were cups of juice and water, and lemon available for pax to help themselves. They also provided you with whatever other drinks you wanted - like tea/coffee, or pop. With their limited english, one cannot chat much with the FA's.
- the crew rest area was the last 2 rows at the back of the plane. There is a grey curtain that goes around the seats for privacy.
- this aircraft looks like it was second-hand from a chinese carrier, since it has chinese characters as labels in the washrooms. Russian and english labels also mark the toilet, along with no smoking signs.
- the exit signs in the aircraft were in both Russian and English.
- breakfast service started about 2 hours before landing in SVO. Crew offered trolley service (apple, orange, and tomato juice, tea/coffee, pop). Immediately following the drinks cart was breakfast, which was a delicious chinese fried noodles with pork and onions, courtesy of CX catering. There was no second choice offered.
- after breakfast, FA's passed out Russian customs immigration forms for those leaving the SVO airport. THe forms were all in Russian; no english. In the Aeroflot inflight magazine, there is a page that translates the Russian into English, German, French, and Italian. But the translation was not too clear for some lines, so you still have to ask the FA's what it means.
- as aircraft descends to SVO, one can see lots of trees and grass (over rural areas). You are not flying over Moscow, so there is not much to see. As you get closer to SVO, you can see suburbs, small clusters of apartment buildings.
- when aircraft touched down, some people clapped. SVO-2 airport is quite small actually. It doesn't take much taxiing to get to the terminal, and the terminal looks like it doesn't have more than 8-10 gates. Most of the aircraft there were SU's - a few SU 767, a Lufthansa A320.
I took about 6-8 cabin shots of the economy and business cabins as I deplaned the aircraft
- deplanning in SVO appeared severe and strict. It was very quite, and unlke some other airports you get the feeling that you don't dare to take any photos of the aircraft from the window. Right after you get off, there is a Russian custom guard monitoring the pax To the right of the guard are counters to check-in to the transit areas for transit passengers, and to the left going down a few steps is a small hall for passport control. There are about 8 counters, and fortunately we were the first group to arrive. Only 3 or 4 counters were opened, and the line did not move quickly. Very soon, 2 other aircraft arrived, and the passport control hall was packed to the gills. Because the custom counters were so close to each other, lines-ups became convoluted to the point that it is easy to lose your place after a while becase the line starts to form "branches". I learned later this is very common way of forming queues in Russia.
- baggage offload also took a while, so even after the 20-30 minutes line up at passport control, we still had to wait for bags to come out. You will have to fill in further custom declaration form if you bring in certain sensitive items which they list. Otherwise, you go to the "nothing to declare" line. Again, the whole process seems serious and severe, as everyone seems to be quite.
- once you get out of the customs area, you are greeted with a thong of taxi drivers with signs meeting their pre-arranged clients, or unofficial taxi drivers coming to you offering rides to the city at "discounted" prices.
I did manage a couple of discrete photos of the arrival area in SVO-2.
Anyways, that's it for now. I will post more cabin and inflight meal photos if someone can tell me how to delete my 4 photos in my upload file so I have enough bytes to add new ones for posting.