The name Aeroflot still stands in our Western eyes for decrepit jets flying the Soviet skies. However, the airline has changed massively in the last few decades and has invested in new planes and modern marketing. I flew them 15 years ago and was looking forward to this experience.
Getting a boarding pass wasn't easy since the lounge attendants told me, "We do not work with or for Aeroflot". So I went down to the transfer desk to get the pass myself. This took a while as the agent called out to double-check my visa – yes, Americans can still get one. Then my ticket wasn't being issued properly so he called ticketing to get it fixed. I was curious but he wasn't exactly in the mood to chat with me. Time went by but it eventually worked out.
Boarding was exactly on-time. The flight would depart at 10.45AM and owing to the time difference would arrive at 5.30AM – though the actual flight time is just above 3 hours. Champagne was served before departure.
After take-off the cabin attendants prepared a full meal – I was counting on a small supper only. However, it was actually a full 3 course meal including wine and champagne. I had reservations about the quality of the food but it turned out to be some of the best dishes I have had on a regional business class. In fact, I felt it was up to par with my prior Virgin Atlantic flight.
The seat is comparable to what Turkish Airlines flies in Europe. It's just like a domestic first class. It's a good seat but the recline is limited.
After the sumptuous meal I managed to sleep for 2 hours and woke up to see a beautiful sunrise over Moscow.
The flight attendants spoke a good amount of English and were really friendly.
I was expecting the worst at Sheremetyevo Airport with long lines at Immigration. Not this time – I was the first in the foreigner queue and expected intensive questioning about why I was visiting Russia. No such thing – 30 seconds later I was processed and just minutes later my bag appeared! The terminal is brand new and connected to the Aeroexpress which gets you into Belorusskaya Station in 40 minutes.
So what can I say. Somewhat unexpected but this was a great, short flight – much better than I expected. It was on-time, the food was excellent, the flight attendants were friendly and spoke English and the arriving airport did its best to impress. All in all, a great surprise.