Aeroflot Airlines: A Review

Aeroflot has made improvements over the last ten years making this airline my choice for flights within Russia. Flight attendants and customer service agents are friendly and helpful. Of all the Russian carriers, Aeroflot tends to offer the most comfortable and spacious seating.

Aeroflot is the national airline of the Russian Federation based out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO). Aeroflot is also one of the oldest airline companies in the world! Aeroflot dates back to the Soviet Era but has long since undergone a modernization process.

Aeroflot is part of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance, making it easy to collect frequent flyer miles for other airlines that you fly on more often. Delta is one of the members of this alliance, so I usually collect miles towards Delta.

Two other airlines that fly many routes in Russia include S7 and Pobeda. I do not like S7, and try to pick Aeroflot over S7 and Pobeda. Booked at least a few weeks in advance and you will pay $45-$60 for a one-way ticket with Aeroflot. Pobeda and S7 often run about $20 less. Pobeda and S7 are no-frills airlines. For the extra comfort, I recommend picking Aeroflot. 

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Read on below for a review of three flight experiences with Aeroflot.

Flight Details – Flight 1

Route: Moscow (SVO) to Adler/Sochi (Flight SU 1122, Boeing 737)
Flight Duration: 2h 30m
Seat Class: Economy
Price: $59.60

Ranking
Check-in Experience and Customer Service: 3
In-Flight Service: 3
Comfort: 1
Overall: 3
Rating System 1-6 (6 is the best)

Check-in Experience and Customer Service
You can check-in online, at a self-service kiosk or a counter. For this flight, it was self-service with staff watching over the process. You have to check your luggage, weigh it, and put the luggage tags on it.

I wasn’t asked about my carry-on luggage. I noticed as I was boarding that other passengers had a tag on their carry-on luggage that said something “cabin approved.”

Most counter attendants speak English. They can be impatient (though they try to stay polite). If you have questions, the agents will probably be able to help you, but their answers will usually be the final answer (no flexibility to negotiate).

*For economy class, checked luggage (one piece) has a weight limit of 50lbs. (23kg). They pay attention to weight limits. If you are over you will have to pay. Often they do not take payment for overweight luggage at the check-in counter. You will have to visit an Aeroflot service desk to pay for the excess weight. If you think you will be overweight plan to have some cash, not all airports will accept cards. Try to be aware of your luggage weight beforehand.

In-Flight Service
I have found Aeroflot flight attendants to be friendly and helpful. On this flight, they were very nice.

As people were boarding, the flight attendants were walking around and giving small gifts to families traveling with children.

Handing out small gifts to children

We were given a (free) cold snack and beverage about an hour into the flight. I thought it was inedible, but those around me were eating it. Unfortunately, there was only one option.

I think the sandwich was made of smoked salmon. I didn’t even open the package.

While there was no entertainment on board, there were outlets between seats so that you could charge your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Outlets between the seats for charging

Comfort
This flight was extremely uncomfortable. There was absolutely no room when seated. When I looked online, I found that for an Aeroflot Boeing 737 the seat pitch is 30-32 inches. The seat pitch on this flight could not have been more than 30 inches. When the meals were served, passengers had to put their seat backs up to give the person behind them room to put down their tray table and eat.

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of space. Notice the one passenger, his knees are touching the seat in front of him.

Besides lack of space, the seats were hard, and the flight was very hot.

Overall
The flight departed and arrived on time, there were no problems with my luggage, and we reached our destination safely. However, this was not the most pleasant Aeroflot experience I’ve had. If this had been my first time flying with Aeroflot, I would probably not want to fly with them again.

Flight Details – Flight 2

Route: Adler/Sochi to Moscow (VKO) to (Flight SU 6552, Boeing 777)
Flight Duration: 2h 20m
Seat Class: Economy
Price: $47.60

Ranking
Check-in Experience and Customer Service: 3
In-Flight Service: 3
Comfort: 4
Overall: 3
Rating System 1-6 (6 is the best)

Check-in Experience and Customer Service
For this flight, I checked in at a counter. Customer service agents were friendly and polite. The customer service agents didn’t ask me any questions about my carry-on luggage.

In-Flight Service
The flight attendants were friendly and well-trained. There were several drunk men on this flight, and they were very obnoxious. The flight attendants spoke to them firmly on more than one occasion before take-off. Luckily, they calmed down. The flight attendants continued to watch the men’s behavior throughout the flight.

About an hour into the flight, a snack, and beverage were served.

Small but tasty snack

While there wasn’t any entertainment on board, there was a TV on the seat back that included a USB port. You could at least charge your cell phone.

Comfort
This flight was much more comfortable, and there was a lot of leg room. The seats were hard though.  When I looked online for seat spec for the Boeing 777, it showed the same specs as the 737. While I believe the seat pitch for the flight above was barely 30 inches, I would say that the pitch for this flight was closer to 32 inches.

Decent legroom on this flight

Overall
While this flight was a lot more comfortable than the flight above, there were still some problems. The flight departed and arrived twenty minutes late. The tray table was filthy, and by the smell, it seemed like many of the people on the plane were too. There was an overwhelming scent of alcohol and body-odor. The redeeming factor of this flight was width and pitch of the seats. The spacious seats at least allowed me to sit comfortably.

Flight Details – Flight 3

Route: Kazan to Moscow (SVO) to (Flight SU 1191, Airbus A320)
Flight Duration: 1h 30m
Seat Class: Economy
Price: $53.00

Ranking
Check-in Experience and Customer Service: 3
In-Flight Service: 3
Comfort: 4
Overall: 3
Rating System 1-6 (6 is the best)

Check-in Experience and Customer Service
For this flight, I checked in at a counter. The customer service agent was friendly but seemed a little impatient. She did ask to see my carry-on luggage. The agent asked me to put my backpack on the scale, and then changed her mind and gave me a “carry-on approved” tag. It’s quite possibly my backpack could have been a little over the weight limit, so I am glad she changed her mind.

In-Flight Service
During the boarding process, the flight attendants were handing out small gifts to families with children. Other than that there was not a lot of interaction with flight attendants on this short flight except they served a snack and drink. I was surprised that on such a short flight there would be any food and beverage service. You could tell that they were very rushed. One flight attendant was pouring drinks and saying “take it!” quite abruptly to passengers that were not fast enough.

Not sure what kind of meat was in the sandwich. I decided not to eat it.

There wasn’t any entertainment on board, nor were there any outlets or USB ports for charging.

Comfort
This flight was comfortable and spacious. The seat pitch was similar to the second flight.

However, the seats, as well as the overall condition of the plane was quite worn. One of the overhead bins wasn’t in use and had tape over it.

Out of order!

Overall
This flight departed and arrived 40 minutes late. Despite the delays, the flight was comfortable, and there was plenty of leg room. I also had no problems receiving my luggage.

While Aeroflot has improved a lot over the years, they still have some things that they need to work out. For flights within Russia, I recommend this airline. If you are flying internationally from Russia, I would recommend searching for a different airline. It would be unfortunate to find yourself on a flight longer than 2.5 hours that was like my experience mentioned above.


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