This trip report covers two segments on Aeroflot, something that I have always wanted to try as I have always been intrigued by Russia and USSR since a long time, yet never had the chance to visit.
It is not always the first choice airline for most people esp when it relates to its quality of service. And to a lot of people, they also wouldn't imagine that it has its entire fleet now consisting of state-of-the western models (familiar 777s, and 330s) except for the new Sukhoi superjets. Of course, to aviation nuts like me, I could only wish that they still fly some Ilyushins but these are all gone from the fleet.
When suddenly the opportunity arose when I needed to get from Hong Kong to London recently, I jumped into it and booked myself on its Comfort Class for a reasonable S$850 or so for a one-way flight. This was also my first ever trip on Premium Economy. Naturally I was excited about this trip.Part 1: HKG-SVO
Reg: VQ-BQD (Anton Chekhov)
Class: Premium Economy (Comfort)
Load: 18/48 (37.5%)
My journey started at HKG airport Terminal 1 where I arrived by using the airport express train. I had earlier checked-in my luggage at Kowloon Station. It was a seamless experience.
The Aeroflot counters at the airport were quiet at 90 min prior to departure.
But that was deceptive because at the boarding gate, it was soon obvious that it's a fully-packed flight. It's actually doing very well on this route!
I took a snapshot of my expertflyer screen about this flight. And it looks like business class on this flight did okay at 50%, Comfort (Premium Economy) was dismal at 37.5%, and Economy did really well at almost 100%! It's popular.
And the 77W which would flew us to Moscow today
Boarding started half an hour before the flight and it was orderly but long queue on the economy side, I boarded from the SkyPriority line which had nobody. I am not even sure if Comfort Class is entitled to use that line or not.
Reached onboard and I was pleasantly surprised by the cheeriness of the cabin.
Economy is in tight 3-4-3 configuration.
My seat at the last row of the Comfort Class cabin. I am happy about it. It exceeds my expectation. But then, I am a Premium Economy class virgin and I am not sure how it compares to the other airlines. I thought this felt like SQ's regional business class except that it doesn't recline flat. Good enough for a trip of this length. I don't think I even mind it overnight.
As can be seen here, the seat doesn't recline much but it slides forward. There is calf rest. All in all I thought everything is comfortable and ergonomically I thought it's perfect, I am really happy about this design.
Checking out more features of the seat, there are no compartments but there are open storage such as these.
Amenity kit is stored at the handrest.
Just sandals and eye shades. The sandals are thin and not worth keeping. But The eye shade is nice and tight.
The fold-out table is the largest I have ever seen! Just wonder if this is a common feature to most premium economy products out there.
IFE screen is huge and is a touch screen and is responsive.
I had earlier read that the movie selection is mostly not for western taste. But I found there is a good range of western movies. I am definitely happy about it.
Crew - definitely good looking
. And I am in love with their uniform. Totally stylish, bright, and cheery. I think they nail it with this image.
Service started with a choice of cold or warm towel and I picked the cold one. The earplugs are of this type.
Preflight drink, I just requested for water. The other option was a strangely-coloured juice. It was served in a nice glass. Definitely one grade above economy class.
Once we were airborne, another round of drinks was offered. I notice the cart goes to economy after that so I guess it's the same for both classes. Not so nice cup...
Menu cart for this flight. 2 service. In both, it's either chicken or fish.
The first meal for me was fish with rice. It sounded nice: Halibut with rice and herbs, roasted sweet pepper and beans served with tomato concasse. But goodness, it tasted bland and disappointing. The salad was really good though. The smoked fish appetiser was just ok for me but I think it is more of an acquired taste issue. The bread was the worst - dry like cardboard. Overall, I thought the meal was disappointing.
After the meal service, I checked out the many magazines and reading materials in the seat pocket. Very generous but most of it (80%) is in Russian!
I only understood this bit. The fleet is entirely modernised.
And also the network map. They fly everywhere and has quite a good presence in Asia except noticeably Singapore. I wonder why. They fly to Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Phuket, Bangkok, HCMC, Hanoi, Male, and Delhi.
Inflight Map is similar to Etihad which has various view angles.
And my entertainment inflight is usually looking out the windows mostly. So we flew over the flat barren Gobi desert, and then the untouched pristine wilderness near the Altai region, then over the Siberian industrial cities, the Urals, and then the northern tundra with its many lakes before touching down in Moscow.
Just before reaching Moscow, the cabin is prepared for second meal service. It started with multi coloured ambient lighting.
And then a round of towels: hot or cold to one's preference.
And then a cup of coffee or tea.
I checked out the toilet. It's basic relative to business class but not too bad. There is hand cream, facial mist. Only the soap bottle I thought looks like something that comes from USSR-era.
Second meal service was fish again for me. It was the same issue with bland taste and dry bread. And again the salads were the best part of the meal. This time it was smoked salmon and smoked chicken. So meal service is definitely not Aeroflot's forte.
On approach to Moscow, we flew over some really beautiful landscapes!
And we landed on time at Sheremetyevo airport under a gorgeous sunny sky and a temperature of 15 degrees. My kind of perfect weather for sure. Cool and sunny.
We first taxied pastTerminal D which is newest.
But we finally disembarked from Terminal F which is the older Soviet-era terminal.
On disembarkation, passed by the business class cabin which was arranged in angled 2-2-2 layout.