cmatteo
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Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:00 pm

I'm getting ready to fly AMS-SVO-JFK next week on Aeroflot (as it was a price that I couldn't refuse) and noticed on ExpertFlyer that my flight from SVO-JFK on the new 77W has only like 20 people on board.

I explored other dates next week as well and saw a similar trend. Anyone know if this is a glitch in the system, or are the loads really that small? Even my flight from AMS-SVO only has about 10 people booked (according to ExpertFlyer). It makes me think they will just cancel the flight altogether and route me on Delta from AMS, or maybe not?
 
crosswinds21
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:12 pm

Interestingly enough, I flew AMS-SVO-JFK and back not too long ago myself and I can tell you that the loads were anything but low...on all four flights. The 777 from JFK to SVO was nearly 100% full in economy. However, I suspect that SU is filling these seats with very low yielding connecting traffic. When I was flying on the SVO-JFK v.v. legs, there are many connecting, non-Russian speaking passengers on board. The reason that I myself flew this route was because, like you, I also purchased this ticket for a ridiculously low price.

Additionally, just out of curiosity, I was recently also browsing SVO-JFK round trip fares (so...just O&D) and saw that on some dates, SU had sub-$400 round trip flights available.

I have also flown SU AMS-SVO a few times in general and could see that these flights have a relatively high number of connecting pax to/from Asia. SU must also sell very cheap Europe-Asia flights via SVO.
 
cmatteo
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:19 pm

For obvious political reasons, I can understand why the loads might be a bit light at the moment for Aeroflot, particularly on this route. I paid only about $350 for a one-way flight back. But if the loads are indeed as light as they are indicating, I'm wondering if they will just cancel the flight altogether. I'm pretty adventurous so I wanted to try something new like Aeroflot, rather than the traditional US carriers.

I'm also wondering how exactly the transfer in SVO will be? I've heard mixed reviews about that airport and the customer service (or lack thereof)  
 
crosswinds21
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:30 pm

Quoting cmatteo (Reply 2):
For obvious political reasons, I can understand why the loads might be a bit light at the moment for Aeroflot, particularly on this route. I paid only about $350 for a one-way flight back. But if the loads are indeed as light as they are indicating, I'm wondering if they will just cancel the flight altogether. I'm pretty adventurous so I wanted to try something new like Aeroflot, rather than the traditional US carriers.

I'm also wondering how exactly the transfer in SVO will be? I've heard mixed reviews about that airport and the customer service (or lack thereof)  

$350 for a one-way flight is good but $450 for a roundtrip flight is even better.  

SU flies to JFK twice daily and I think that due to the huge ties that Russia has with NYC (i.e. the amount of Russians living in NYC), pigs will fly before they cancel this route. If anything, they might reduce it to once daily. But again, I have flown SU a few times, including to JFK, and I have never had a flight with light loads. I doubt you will as well. But the yields of course may be a different story.

I think that Aeroflot is quite good. I have flown them a few times. They have brand new planes and very good service on board (ground service is SVO is a different matter...it is hit or miss). The transfer in SVO is quite easy and I think that the airport itself is reasonably good, compared to what some others might say. I am pretty confident that you will enjoy your flight.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:32 pm

What numbers are you seeing? Occupied seats? If so, that has nothing to do with loads whatsoever (take a look at any BA or SV flight for example - the vast majority of seats are assigned at check in with flights looking empty just days in advance). I'd be surprised if Expert Flyer gave details of the number of confirmed reservations....that's something SU don't just publish to the general public!

Similarly a flight showing F9J9Y9 etc might be fully booked. A last minute bargain flight might also be very full. Or empty. Or 50%.

I think the only time you can vaguely gauge how busy a flight will be is on an airline like easyJet where you check in *just* before OLCI closes. You can see how many seats have been assigned. Or by trying to buy a seat when they don't overbook. No seat for sale, probably = full flight.
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: AMS-RIX-BUD-VDA,ETH-TLV-FCO-LHR,STN-TXL-LCY,LTN-CPH-LTN,LGW-SZG,MUC-LHR
 
AF022
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:46 pm

I'm sure traffic has gone down with current political climate. Do they really need 2 daily flights? They could probably cut one flight out if loads were suffering.
 
SCQ83
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:55 pm

Long-haul super cheap connecting flights with Aeroflot are nothing new. The situation in Russia makes it probably worse.

It was the traditional backpacker's way to Asia (and to some extent to NYC)... now competing with Turkish, Norwegian or Icelandair/WOW.  
 
bleudefrance
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:20 pm

I would love to fly with Aeroflot, all about the Russian air industry fascinates me a lot. Go ahead and have a nice trip!
 
slcdeltarumd11
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:28 pm

I bet there are more people on there then that. If it is super low, you will have TONS of space. sounds incredible. Could be the best coach flight ever. Aeroflot delivers a nice product, should be a nice flight even in coach with so few people on board.
 
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:45 pm

Quoting cmatteo (Thread starter):

I'm getting ready to fly AMS-SVO-JFK next week on Aeroflot (as it was a price that I couldn't refuse) and noticed on ExpertFlyer that my flight from SVO-JFK on the new 77W has only like 20 people on board.
Quoting cmatteo (Thread starter):
Even my flight from AMS-SVO only has about 10 people booked (according to ExpertFlyer)

What is ExpertFlyer exactly? My father flew SVO-AMS last week and it was 100% full. I flew DME-INN last week and there was not an empty seat on the plane (with S7 though).

20 people on SVO-JFK doesn't sound even close to being correct. How does ExpertFlyer get its information that no one except for the airline or its employees really knows? Things like this don't get published in advance, you know....

Quoting AF022 (Reply 5):
Do they really need 2 daily flights?

Since DL temporarily suspended the route on its own metal, SU's 2 daily are most certainly needed.

[quote=cmatteo]

Rest assured you won't have 20 people on your flight   SVO is a mighty fine airport. The days of horror stories from when the old Terminal F was the only international area are long gone. Things only get a bit hairy for foreigners without a Russian visa when flights get cancelled without an alternative departure for an extended period of time. But that's a government issue and no fault of either SVO or SU. But even that seems to be handled well these days.

I have quite a few friends and acquaintances from the US of A that have used SU on connecting flights, and they had nothing poor to say about the transfer.
 
cmatteo
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:58 pm

Quoting Aeroflot777 (Reply 9):
Rest assured you won't have 20 people on your flight   SVO is a mighty fine airport. The days of horror stories from when the old Terminal F was the only international area are long gone. Things only get a bit hairy for foreigners without a Russian visa when flights get cancelled without an alternative departure for an extended period of time. But that's a government issue and no fault of either SVO or SU. But even that seems to be handled well these days.

I have quite a few friends and acquaintances from the US of A that have used SU on connecting flights, and they had nothing poor to say about the transfer.

I'm quite excited about flying Aeroflot! I've heard they have really stepped up their game the last few years. I ultimately opted for them because of the uniqueness of the transfer, but also because I've heard nothing but good about the service. So Terminal D is actually ok? I trust your opinion!

Quoting bleudefrance (Reply 7):

I would love to fly with Aeroflot, all about the Russian air industry fascinates me a lot. Go ahead and have a nice trip!

Thank you!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 4):

What numbers are you seeing? Occupied seats? If so, that has nothing to do with loads whatsoever (take a look at any BA or SV flight for example - the vast majority of seats are assigned at check in with flights looking empty just days in advance). I'd be surprised if Expert Flyer gave details of the number of confirmed reservations....that's something SU don't just publish to the general public!

I'm just looking at occupied seats on the aircraft map, which I totally understand, could be completely false. I think you're right in saying that perhaps SU simply doesn't publish this info to ExperFlyer.

Quoting crosswinds21 (Reply 3):
I think that Aeroflot is quite good. I have flown them a few times. They have brand new planes and very good service on board (ground service is SVO is a different matter...it is hit or miss). The transfer in SVO is quite easy and I think that the airport itself is reasonably good, compared to what some others might say. I am pretty confident that you will enjoy your flight.

I'm genuinely excited to fly them! I just hope the airport connection is ok!
 
EddieDude
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:17 pm

Quoting cmatteo (Reply 10):
I'm quite excited about flying Aeroflot! I've heard they have really stepped up their game the last few years. I ultimately opted for them because of the uniqueness of the transfer, but also because I've heard nothing but good about the service. So Terminal D is actually ok? I trust your opinion!

For what it's worth, a friend recently traveled to Russia. She flew CDG-SVO in J (must have been an A320) and she says that the catering was great and the crew was also quite attentive.
Upcoming flights:
April/May: AM MEX-SCL 788 (J), AM EZE-MEX 789 (J).
 
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:12 pm

Quoting cmatteo (Reply 10):
I think you're right in saying that perhaps SU simply doesn't publish this info to ExperFlyer.

Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think any airline publishes load information publicly prior to a flight, Aeroflot is not alone. Only people with access to the system would know, and I doubt ExpertFlyer is on the list.

Quoting cmatteo (Reply 10):
but also because I've heard nothing but good about the service. So Terminal D is actually ok? I trust your opinion!

Terminals D, E and F are all fine now and have walkways from terminal to terminal through a sterile zone. Not sure why people complain when they do. I would take an SVO layover any day of the week compared to FRA and the mess that is CDG.

I grew up flying through SVO monthly back in the glory days when Terminal F was still called Terminal 2 and was the only international terminal. Crowded, dark, those infamous circular tube things lining all the ceilings. Ah, the memories. Despite all the hate that terminal got, I would love to experience it again, truly memorable, major nostalgia and brings me back to childhood.

Scenes that seem like a very far distant past, and SVO that doesn't look or feel the same:

http://varlamov.me/img/svo_history/f3ebe4e08b40210a655fcdd85fd64df9.jpg
http://varlamov.me/img/svo_history/832148eb9a5931a6ff2ab19673c35ef5.jpg
http://varlamov.me/img/svo_history/fd4946989ac133f3b21d1b4260b81029.jpg

[Edited 2016-04-08 13:21:59]
 
cmatteo
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:29 pm

Quoting Aeroflot777 (Reply 12):
Terminals D, E and F are all fine now and have walkways from terminal to terminal through a sterile zone. Not sure why people complain when they do. I would take an SVO layover any day of the week compared to FRA and the mess that is CDG.

I grew up flying through SVO monthly back in the glory days when Terminal F was still called Terminal 2 and was the only international terminal. Crowded, dark, those infamous circular tube things lining all the ceilings. Ah, the memories. Despite all the hate that terminal got, I would love to experience it again, truly memorable, major nostalgia and brings me back to childhood.

Scenes that seem like a very far distant past, and SVO that doesn't look or feel the same:

That's good to know! CDG is quite a train wreck in most terminals, so can't get any worse! But I am definitely super stoked, Love those pictures! My first time in Russia, although I won't be seeing much of it other than Terminal D  
 
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mixalakhs
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:30 pm

On two different occasions, I flew with American Airlines last year from Athens.
My first trip was last May 2015 and I flew from Athens to San Francisco via Philadelphia return.
When I have a long trip, I have the habit of checking if the plane is full or not.
I checked with my iPad at Athens airport 45 mins prior the flight, while I was at the gate, at the US Airways homepage as it was before the merged and it was a US Airways flight and it showed that the flight was full.
It was indeed full.
The way back though, I checked again a few minutes prior the flight while I was at the gate, at the US Airways homepage and it showed that there were 30-40 empty seats from Philadelphia to Athens.
I was glad, as I thought I could change my seat and get another seat that I will have no one next to me so I will sleep.
When I got on the plane though, well I was surprised, as the plane was totally full.
My second trip was last October 2015. I flew from Athens to Saint Maarten via Philadelphia and Miami return.
The flight from Athens to Philadelphia it showed at the US Airways homepage that it was full and it was.
The way back though, it showed that there were close to 50 seats available from Philadelphia to Athens.
The majority of the empty seats that were empty on both trips were "Preferred Seats".
To my surprise, again the flight was full.
Can anyone tell me, when the official homepage of an airline, shows 45 minutes prior of a flight, that there are several seats open, how can it be so wrong?
We are talking about an airline that you can reserve your seat as soon as you book and it is not a " Preferred Seat ".
I know in some airlines, you need to buy your seat, if you do not want to reserve 24 hours before the flight.
In my case, we are talking maybe less than 45 minutes prior the flight, the homepage of the airline is showing that they are having many empty seats and when you get on the plane there are no empty seats.
Is this happening only with American Airlines?
Thank you.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:42 pm

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 4):
Or by trying to buy a seat when they don't overbook. No seat for sale, probably = full flight.

They do overbook on many routes.


Dan  
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
diesel33
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:50 pm

Quoting mixalakhs (Reply 14):
Can anyone tell me, when the official homepage of an airline, shows 45 minutes prior of a flight, that there are several seats open, how can it be so wrong?

One options are airline employees and their families/friends who are trying to get on the flight and are generally not given seats until check-in closes which is about one hour before departure. Fifty seats seems like a lot but, then again, Athens is a pretty popular destination for non-revs (employees).

Another option is that when only "Preferred Seats" are available they are also assigned after check-in closes to make sure whomever wants to purchase the seat already has and then people who still need a seat are assigned whatever is left (e.g. preferred seats).
 
miaintl
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:28 pm

We have to keep in mind that Russia-USA has always been a very small and low-yielding market. There is a reason that SU could not make any flight work outside of NYC or fly daily to any destination other than JFK. Both LAX, MIA, and IAD are doing poorly and now with the political and economic climate in Russia things will begin to affect the NYC market too. The fact that Russia has tight visa restrictions and little business ties to the USA meant that SU has to always rely on ethnic and leisure traffic to fill up those planes. Most Americans never consider traveling to Russia for vacation like they do countries in Western Europe. Russia is very low on the radar for most Americans when it comes to exotic destinations to explore. For most Americans Russia has never fully shed its former Soviet/USSR image and with Putin in office and the situation in the Ukraine that image wont be shed anytime soon. Sorry if what I say might offend some Russian posters on this sight but this is just my fallible observation.
 
stlgph
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:19 am

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 6):

Ding ding ding. Aeroflot is one of the latest entrants into the low fare trans-Atlantic fares. If you don't mind the trek to Moscow and then out and back to wherever you need to go and you're ok with coach, you can get some *excellent* fares to many points in east, central and northern Europe.

Quoting cmatteo (Thread starter):

As has been said time and time again on these boards, you can't really go with the online seat maps since a lot of seats go unassigned.
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
JAGflyer
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:32 am

Where did you find a routing from AMS to JFK via SVO? You're backtracking quite a ways.
If you flew today, thank a Flight Dispatcher!
 
YULWinterSkies
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:14 am

Quoting bleudefrance (Reply 7):
I would love to fly with Aeroflot, all about the Russian air industry fascinates me a lot.

These days they fly a lot of really exotic TU-777s and IL-330s, so that is totally worth it!
When I doubt... go running!
 
AirGAbon
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:42 am

Quoting cmatteo (Reply 13):
That's good to know! CDG is quite a train wreck in most terminals, so can't get any worse!

I think you did not transfer recently @ CDG.

I flew last week ZRH-CDG-LED on AF, and now all AF operations are at CDG 2-Terminal F (Schengen) and CDG 2-Terminal E (non-Schengen).

Terminal 2E is amazing in particular the lastest Hall L and M.

Very easy to connect, clear and fast, much more easier than FRA or LHR.
 
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:11 am

Quoting AirGAbon (Reply 21):
Very easy to connect, clear and fast, much more easier than FRA or LHR.

Recently connected SFO-CGD-SVO, had 1.5 hours and misconnected. Inefficiency of ground staff is mind-boggling. Tons of disgruntled pax coming off of my SFO flight.

Quoting miaintl (Reply 17):
There is a reason that SU could not make any flight work outside of NYC or fly daily to any destination other than JFK.

Yes, and if you think the reason is low yields, you are quite wrong. Back in those days, appropriate long-haul aircraft were simply not in the fleet to make it a reality, thus a downshift needed to happen in the US to make their rebranding an focus on Europe and Asia work.

With the downward slump in the economy, lower fares are a necessity to keep things working. When things rebound and new planes come online, expect a comeback.

Quoting miaintl (Reply 17):
Sorry if what I say might offend some Russian posters on this sight but this is just my fallible observation.

Doesn't offend anything or anyone, just shows how different various circles and groups are. I've only met a handful of people in the Bay Area who think Russia is still in the Soviet days. The opposite is true, though, many Americans are either interested in going, or know someone who has that loved the experience.

Russia doesn't do any tourist marketing in the US, nor does it need to. Far from being a priority. I will agree with you on one thing though, the visa doesn't make things easy. But neither is the American visa for Russians, so it's reciprocal.
 
SCQ83
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:25 am

Quoting Aeroflot777 (Reply 22):
Doesn't offend anything or anyone, just shows how different various circles and groups are. I've only met a handful of people in the Bay Area who think Russia is still in the Soviet days. The opposite is true, though, many Americans are either interested in going, or know someone who has that loved the experience.

I am interested in going (specially now that flying from Central Europe to Moscow is usually cheaper than the UK or Italy, to put two examples, and the ruble is much cheaper than a few years ago), but the Visa process is complicated and having a genocide (Ukraine, Syria...) in power doesn't help to convince me about going there.

[Edited 2016-04-09 02:16:00]
 
cmatteo
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:56 am

Quoting AirGAbon (Reply 21):
I flew last week ZRH-CDG-LED on AF, and now all AF operations are at CDG 2-Terminal F (Schengen) and CDG 2-Terminal E (non-Schengen).

Terminal 2E is amazing in particular the lastest Hall L and M.

True, It has been a while. The Departure Halls are fine, I think it's certain terminals that are/were a mess. The one I'm thinking of is the AA Terminal (I think 2E), but it very well could have changed since I last was there. I was also in one of the Air France Terminals (red carpets and everything) and it was quite nice.

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 23):
I am interesting in going (specially now that flying from Central Europe to Moscow is usually cheaper than the UK

Yeah, the visa situation doesn't make it easy for anyone. I think Turkey allows you to purchase a Visa on the spot for about 15 EUR and it's valid for your stay. It's too bad really, would have loved to plan a night stop or long layover and went in to Moscow.
 
eielef
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:52 am

I flew both SU and DL routes SVO-JFK a few times, and all flights were full. Last time was in September 2015, LF 100% in both segments DL has 5 weekly flights to SVO, while SU has 2 daily to JFK. DL has been thinking of creating the SVO-ATL route as well.
And yes, its an extremely cheap flight, i paid 260U$S last time (bought it 3 days in advance, return, DL).
 
lukeyboy95
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:12 am

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because Russia is on the naughty step at the moment, that her national airline is also somehow faltering, but it is not so.

SU is under excellent, motivated management at the moment, and has some of the best product I've seen among the European carriers. It is palpable that they are really making the effort. Not an overnight transformation, it must be said.

All in flight catering was excellent. Even their snack in Y for TLL-SVO was far tastier than snacks on other airlines, and the C class catering was the only time I have asked for seconds it was that delicious (lamb shank and polenta)

Quoting cmatteo (Thread starter):

I'm getting ready to fly AMS-SVO-JFK next week on Aeroflot (as it was a price that I couldn't refuse) and noticed on ExpertFlyer that my flight from SVO-JFK on the new 77W has only like 20 people on board.

No offence to you, but it is naive to trust those types of websites and instantly report findings to an aviation forum. Better you get onboard, have a snoop around the cabin and then let us know if the loads are good or bad.

For the majority of my recent six flights with SU, the loads were very healthy, although a bit weak in C class up the front for Asia flights. They get a large amount of connecting traffic.

Quoting cmatteo (Reply 10):
I'm quite excited about flying Aeroflot! I've heard they have really stepped up their game the last few years. I ultimately opted for them because of the uniqueness of the transfer, but also because I've heard nothing but good about the service. So Terminal D is actually ok? I trust your opinion!

Quite a nice experience now. The security screening can be a gentle reminder you are in Russia in terms of customer service, but it wouldn't be any fun without that. It can become busy if many Asian flights arrive at once.

Lounges are also slowly improving.
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:09 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 23):
but the Visa process is complicated
Quoting cmatteo (Reply 24):
I think Turkey allows you to purchase a Visa on the spot for about 15 EUR and it's valid for your stay. It's too bad really, would have loved to plan a night stop or long layover and went in to Moscow.

Yup, but tell that to the American gov't. As long as visas are a pain in the behind for Russians to get into the US, the same will be true for Americans into Russia. Reciprocity exists for major powers.
 
na
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:42 pm

What has become of the rumour that Aeroflot wanted to dump some 77Ws due to low loads?
 
captainmeeerkat
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:02 pm

Quoting cmatteo (Reply 24):
Yeah, the visa situation doesn't make it easy for anyone.

While it is a pain, it is not different to the requirements of other countries,

Having had probably 10 Russian visas before gettiny my residency here, they weren't difficult to get if you followed the rules and prepared in advance. It's like flying with FR, follow the rules and you won't get caught.I think it's much more difficult to get a UK or US visa for visa required nationals.

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 23):
I am interested in going (specially now that flying from Central Europe to Moscow is usually cheaper than the UK or Italy, to put two examples, and the ruble is much cheaper than a few years ago), but the Visa process is complicated and having a genocide (Ukraine, Syria...) in power doesn't help to convince me about going there.

Well we couldn't have a Russian thread without the usual slander by SCQ83! 
If you decide to come, let me know and I'll meet you and show you the real Russia, rather than that James Bond cold war fantasy in your head!
my luggage is better travelled than me!
 
eielef
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:51 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 23):
but the Visa process is complicated and having a genocide (Ukraine, Syria...) in power doesn't help to convince me about going there.

What do you mean by a genocide? Please explain!
 
awthompson
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:31 pm

Aeroflot777

Thanks for making the effort to post those old photos of SVO with Russian types parked, great stuff!

For those here who may not have tried Aeroflot in recent years, I suggest if you have the wherewithal and inclination, go for it.
A bit like THY, you will find nice new planes and great service for fantastic prices if you search.

I have flown Europe to Hong Kong return a few times with Aeroflot, up until a couple of years ago we had B763s which I really enjoyed, and more recently Airbus A333, I think now it is B773.

Read this for service; a couple of year ago I was flying with my family to Hong Kong and due to fog in UK and AMS our connection was delayed by almost 3 hours and we missed our AFL flight in SVO for Hong Kong. When we went to the transfer desk at Terminal 2, a big Russian lady addressed us by name and had already our alternative arrangements sorted and ready. She had held SU290 to Hanoi by 30 minutes for us (at the time this was the last flight out that night to the far east from SVO), presented us immediately with new boarding cards which had already been printed for us, as well as boarding cards for a connection with Vietnam Airlines onward to Hong Kong. She told us to run as fast as we could all the way from T2 to the end of the new pier where the flight was waiting for us. A nice flight it was to Hanoi, where we had a Vietnam Airlines A321 onward to Hong Kong and still arrived on time for our evening hotel booking in Hong Kong. Of course it was impossible for our checked in baggage to come on the same flight, but it arrived the next morning on an AFL flight and was waiting for us when we arrived back at HKG the next morning to check in for Manila.
On the Vietnam Airlines flight, this was my only ever economy class experience of a free wine service, where Air Steward came down the aisle with a bottle of white wine in one hand and a bottle of red in the other hand, complete with white serviette!
All of this taking into account that we only paid £415 each return from AMS to Hong Kong. That was the second time we had received this type of personal service at SVO from the same lady at the transfer desk in SVO, loved it! PS ... and we are not even Russian, I'm British/Irish and wife Filipina! We were treated personally and addressed by our names, I've not had such service anywhere in the west when things went wrong.
Coming home we had then bran new A333 VQ-VPI where we had been allocated a very comfortable spacious row at the very front of Y class with extra room for our 2 year old child. Food was very nice and they looked after us very well.
 
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RyanairGuru
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:56 pm

To the OP, if you are basing your observation on seat maps then that is a far from perfect way to figure out loads. I don't know if SU charge for seat selection, but if they do then that would definitely explain it. Look at any BA flight of your choice several days out and it will look virtually empty, but that's because BA charge for seat selection for everyone except status frequent flyers which most people don't bother paying for. Even if SU don't charge, the seat maps are still likely to be far from accurate. As a causal observation it is only the US that has a "culture" of selecting seats. EK is one airline that comes to mind that has free seat selection but again their flights often appear empty as most passengers don't know that you can select seats and still wait until checkin. The same applies for SQ, CX, EY etc. Really it is only in the USA that seat selection is universally expected. I'm not sure why more people don't do seat selection, but for whatever reason it never really became a big deal even though virtually everyone has a preference if you ask them.
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stlgph
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:02 am

Quoting Jagflyer (Reply 19):
Where did you find a routing from AMS to JFK via SVO? You're backtracking quite a ways.

Aeroflot, obviously.
As mentioned above and by the original post they have jumped into the game of offering bargain travel airfares to Europe.
If you don't mind backtracking and doing something like JFK-SVO-AMS or JFK-IST-CDG and you don't mind flying coach, you can jet overseas for $500 roundtrip with taxes to some destinations.
I am flying to Europe on LOT (why not?!) and it cost me $420 roundtrip with taxes.
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F9Animal
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:39 am

Why did Aeroflot stop flying to Seattle? Do they plan to return eventually?
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:27 am

Quoting miaintl (Reply 17):
Russia has never fully shed its former Soviet/USSR image and with Putin in office and the situation in the Ukraine that image wont be shed anytime soon.

They don't want to shed that image. From the SU logo to the stuffed mass murderer on the Red Square to whitewashing their own history, you are constantly reminded that the absurd nostalgia over "glory days" of the USSR is omnipresent.
 
eielef
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:35 am

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 35):
From the SU logo

The SU logo, which is was a logo from the Soviet Union, makes not an "absurd nostalgia over glory days" but people pride of its past. Don't do ever forget than the USSR won WW2, having lost more people than all the other powers together. They really struggled. And won. That's something no-one will ever forget, at least not in Russia. And come to Moscow or any city or even town on May the 9th and you'll see the pride of people thanking their war veterans.
Recent polls suggest than over 2/3 of Russians have good memories of the Soviet Times. So that's not an absurd nostalgia. Is the reality of most Russians, which, by the way, are the biggest consumers of SU (as not many foreigners fly on SU domestic network e.g.)
 
EL-AL
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:54 am

Quoting stlgph (Reply 18):
Ding ding ding. Aeroflot is one of the latest entrants into the low fare trans-Atlantic fares. If you don't mind the trek to Moscow and then out and back to wherever you need to go and you're ok with coach, you can get some *excellent* fares to many points in east, central and northern Europe.

Not just from Europe, but from Israel too. Aeroflot is doing very well here - SU added 2 more daily flights after the collapse of Transaero (to total of 5 daily flights, 3 operated by wide body airplanes), and they offer flights from Tel Aviv to New York for under $550, and Los Angeles for under $800. Bangkok for under $600 too. With more than one million Israelis born in the former USSR, they feel "at home" flying SU.

(We Israelis do not need visa to enter Russia, so some use long connection to see the Red square before the next flight)

Quoting Aeroflot777 (Reply 22):
Inefficiency of ground staff is mind-boggling. Tons of disgruntled pax coming off of my SFO flight.

I agree. I flew 5 months ago CPH-SVO-TLV, and while the airline was great (full meals, good IFE, 77W on the SVO-TLV route) ground crews on SVO are rude, unprofessional and barely speak English. All the international terminal (D-E-F) is very overpriced, in comparison to the city.



[Edited 2016-04-10 02:00:11]
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cmatteo
Topic Author
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:54 am

Quoting stlgph (Reply 33):
Aeroflot, obviously.
As mentioned above and by the original post they have jumped into the game of offering bargain travel airfares to Europe.
If you don't mind backtracking and doing something like JFK-SVO-AMS or JFK-IST-CDG and you don't mind flying coach, you can jet overseas for $500 roundtrip with taxes to some destinations.
I am flying to Europe on LOT (why not?!) and it cost me $420 roundtrip with taxes.

Aeroflot was significantly cheaper than the second best option, which was Royal Air Maroc (AMS-CMN-JFK), and even that was a good 200 EUR more. Plus, I would have no idea how or if it would even be possible to transit in Casablanca.

I'm pretty adventurous so I thought I'd give them a shot. I can add a decent amount of SkyMiles to my Delta account   Plus the idea of connection in Moscow sounded quite cool to me. I hope you enjoy LOT's new 787! Looks quite stunning, especially if you go in Business.
 
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:08 am

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 37):
ground crews on SVO are rude, unprofessional and barely speak English.

I was mostly referring to ground staff at CDG. I don't usually have an issue with ground crew at SVO, I find them to be much better than their colleagues at DME (a recent experience going through security at Domodedovo was dreadful at best).

I will agree with you about English, it's not as widespread. But then again, Russia isn't alone. I've met many people who don't speak even basic English working at MUC's Terminal 1, same can be said for many parts of CDG too. But then again, I don't base much of my impression off of that. I can't expect everyone to speak the language that isn't official in their country, I think people have unrealistic expectations these days. Yes, English is a universal language for the world, but it's not a required one.
 
hjulicher
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:36 pm

Quoting Aeroflot777 (Reply 39):
I've met many people who don't speak even basic English working at MUC's Terminal 1

That's surprising as after Scandinavia and perhaps the Netherlands, the Germans are the next best non-native English speakers.

Haven't flown SU in ages, but the product is very good. Real C class on short-haul flights and large cups for your drink, but remember stage lengths from SVO anywhere in Europe are long enough to warrant decent services.

Things in Russia in terms of operational efficiency and bureaucracy have improved. I'm just thinking about passport control from the 90s. And the old SVO definitely is nostalgic, but Aeroflot777, for the same reasons as you. The circular brass ceiling tiles were a mystery and always filled with dust, but it was a sure-tell sign that you were at SVO.

My last experience at DME at 6am reminding me of Russian customer service and how copying the west isn't always sucessful. At DME they installed the same baggage screening system as in Frankfurt yet installed the system either backwards or it was retrofitted for the new body scanners that the whole process (as hard as they tried) was never thought through appropriately. Any there is no place to unload your things as the rollers for the security scanner are the first part of the design. Nevertheless, I'm sure it will improve.

Also what surprises me is that the AeroExpress Trains do not run all day, as many flights leave super early or arrive very late. So without any other way of getting to or from the airport, taking a taxi is always a fun experience, or if you're really adventurous you can barter for a private ride from some person. (last time I traveled I got an old Babushka driving a Lada 5 who could squeeze through the toll-gate and not pay for the parking and had a sailors mouth). She got me home though in one piece and the nostalgia of riding in lada from that era was also a great memory.
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levg79
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:08 pm

Quoting cmatteo (Reply 2):
I'm also wondering how exactly the transfer in SVO will be? I've heard mixed reviews about that airport and the customer service (or lack thereof)

I recently did a JFK-SVO-RIX-SVO-JFK itinerary, first time flying SU and first time in SVO. The only reason I booked SU was because they were the cheapest option given that I had to make the same day emergency trip. I have to say that I was impressed with SU. Brand new A330 on the TATL sector, decent food and service. Good IFE, free headphones, slippers, etc. I was able to get extra meals on the TATL flights both ways, just asked the FA and they gladly brought it.

In regards to SVO, no visa needed if you're just transiting, both flights operated through Terminal D. You have to go through passport control and a security screening while going from one gate to another which made no sense really, especially the security screening as soon as you walk out of the plane. They don't even have any stores between the gates and security. If you're not smuggling anything no reason to be worried. The prices in the terminal are comparable to other major airports, such as JFK and the layout is very modern. Free Wi-Fi too!

I didn't even realize this when I booked but the SVO-RIX flight was operated by Sukhoi Superjet. For someone from the US this seemed like it was going to be an interesting experience. However once inside, aside from the 2-3 seating everything felt like a good ole' 737.

Overall with the exception of JFK-SVO leg the loads were relatively light. On the return trip many people had entire rows to themselves.

Best things: service, meals, price
Downside: backtracking all the way to SVO on a US-Europe trip
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
 
JAGflyer
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:16 pm

Quoting hjulicher (Reply 40):
who could squeeze through the toll-gate and not pay for the parking

Ah, only in Яussia!
If you flew today, thank a Flight Dispatcher!
 
EL-AL
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:48 am

Quoting Aeroflot777 (Reply 39):
I will agree with you about English, it's not as widespread. But then again, Russia isn't alone. I've met many people who don't speak even basic English working at MUC's Terminal 1, same can be said for many parts of CDG too. But then again, I don't base much of my impression off of that. I can't expect everyone to speak the language that isn't official in their country, I think people have unrealistic expectations these days. Yes, English is a universal language for the world, but it's not a required one.

I disagree. An airport employee, in particular in an airport trying to connect people from all over the world, must speak good english in order to get to work. Those people work daily with people who do not speak Russian and do not plan to spend any time in Russia. The only way for them to communicate is in English - how a person from Israel speaking Hebrew and English, from Germany speaking German and English or from India speaking Hindi and English supposed to talk with an airport employee speaking only Russian? It is true that you can live and work in Russia speaking only Russian, but once choosing to work in an airport - good (not basic, good!) English is a must.

Quoting levg79 (Reply 41):
Free Wi-Fi too!

I had 3.5 hours to kill in SVO, at first I thought I will buy myself lounge entrance and spend my time there, but as the terminal had Wi-Fi, electric socket and I had sandwich and drink from my flight, i didn't need it and I was just watching stuff on my phone most of the time
every day is a good day to fly
 
eielef
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:33 am

I don't think EVERY employee in every airport in Russia (or even in the four largest: SVO, DME, VKO and LED) should speak English, but at least half of them should. People at transfer desks, at security, at customs, at migrations. Specially at migrations, there is a line for Russians and a line for foreigner. 90% that i've used any of them, the employee didn't speak any English. But so is at EZE or at MAD or CDG. They don't speak English.
So is life. If you don't understand, follow what the others are doing, and if you get really lost, someone you'll find who speaks English. All the signs are in English as well. And they've improved. When I first landed in Moscow (SVO then new Terminal E) in July 2011, the migration cards should be handwritten only in the Cyrillic Alphabet. In my KL flight, they gave us, together with the migration card, a piece of paper telling us the approximate transliteration from Latin alphabet to Cyrillic alphabet.
The soft sign (Ь/ь) which is present twice in my name, I learned it after going through migrations when they ask me to fill the migrations form again, as my name was wrongly spelled.
Now, a computer does the work for you, using your passport information. That migration card still must be handwritten whenever crossing by train, or at many land crossing points. Anyway, the information one must fill in, can be done in the Latin Alphabet.
 
cmatteo
Topic Author
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:08 pm

Not that I trusted ExpertFlyer or anything, but the flights I took (both AMS-SVO and SVO-JFK) were completely full! I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by SU's product and service. Nice crew, nice service, and good value for the dollar!
 
eal
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RE: Aeroflot SVO-JFK Ridiculously Low Flight Loads?

Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:10 pm

Quoting miaintl (Reply 17):

You clearly know very little about the massive Russian diaspora in the United States or about Russian business in the United States. You constantly say that Aeroflot is on the verge of pulling out of all markets except JFK, but as far as I can see, they haven't. Hell, two months after the MIA launch in 2012 you where running to the mountain tops saying that Aeroflot was gonna cancel the route any second, well it's 2016 and they still haven't. They've been in LAX and IAD for even longer. Going daily isnt the ends all means all of a sectors success. In fact, most of this aforementioned "terribly performing routes" where operated successfully under competition with Transaero. Recent traffic has slumped because of the Russian economy, traffic tends to slump when a countries economy isn't doing too hot.

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