S7 Airlines Review – Economy Class

Posted on May 24, 2015 by in Airline Reviews

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S7 Airlines Review

S7 is a full Oneworld member and was recently named the most punctual airline in the world. It has hubs in Moscow (DME) and Novosibirsk (OVB) and mini-hubs in a number of other Siberian cities. It runs a small fleet of mostly single aisle planes all around the Siberian plains.

Fares used to be sky-high but have recently come down to a much more affordable level. If a fare is too high, then the great thing about S7 (the S stands for Siberian) is that you can use BA Avios. Most redemptions are 4,500 to 10,000 miles and almost every flight has 7 seats available for redemption in economy.

S7 also maintains business class lounges (with access for Oneworld elites) in Moscow and Novosibirsk. It provides access to contracted lounges, which in Russia usually feature separate security and a separate bus to the plane.

S7 Airlines Review – Lounge at Novosibirsk Airport

Since Novosibirsk is the second biggest hub, S7 has invested in a bit of a small lounge there.

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S7 Airlines Review Flight Review

I flew S7 on 3 segments – Novosibirsk to Irkutsk, Irkutsk to Vladivostok and Vladivostok to Seoul. I spent a total of 22,000 Avios altogether for all 3 flights.

As you may have expected, all flights left and arrived perfectly on time. This is thanks to the airline’s focus on punctuality, but also the fact that most airports in Siberia have precious little traffic and are very happy about the few planes that actually make it out there.

The A320s are 10-15 years old but in a somewhat good condition. They come in an all-leather configuration and decent seat pitch. For some reason, for every flight I ended up seated in 4A or 5A (even though I had not reserved seats beforehand). Twice I had an empty row in this ‘premium economy’, although the flight was full in the regular economy section.

The flight attendants only speak very basic English, so don’t expect anyone to react to your questions. Also, in typical Russian manner, they are super-bossy. Headphones on flight mode, iPhones are not allowed – they literally rip your Bose headphones off you if you dare to keep them on.

There is a usually a pastry and drinks service. The pastries are NOT edible and you should instead eat in the lounge or airport (though food is usually a disgrace there as well).

S7 seems to be an airline that takes safety seriously and I was under the impression that the pilots knew what they were doing as well. S7 flies planes in the middle of the Russian winter into -70 degrees Fahrenheit, to some of the coldest, remotest and darkest corners of this world. They do all this without missing the runway or misjudging approaches, day in and day out. I certainly tip my hat to the pilots of S7.

S7 is a good choice to fly, but it is a barebones product – don’t expect luxury or smiles (a smile seems more expensive than jewelry in Russia), but it gets the job done with German perfection.

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