S7 is the world’s most punctual airline and we have reviewed it before. S7 has not changed much; the airline has stayed a solid member of Oneworld in this region. S7 almost exclusively operates A320 narrow-body aircraft, which is fine for a short hop, but gets tiring quickly for long segments over 5 hours.
The company runs a hub in Moscow (DME) and a secondary hub in Novosibirsk (OVB). Airports in Russia and Kazakhstan are great – there are minimal lines and everything is so small and easy. You can usually manage to get from downtown to your plane in an hour or less; the biggest risk is the traffic and not the airport lines.
Novosibirsk Airport has a new Priority Pass Lounge before security that has 6 private rooms with big TV screens, snacks, free WiFi and a sofa where you can relax or sleep. It’s a bit like the private sleeping rooms at the Al Mourjan Lounge at Doha Airport. This is a great way to spend a long layover at Novosibirsk Airport (if you want to avoid the freezing winter temperatures).
S7 recently changed to a fare structure of ‘no free bags included’. 10kg of carry-on luggage is allowed and my 12kg carry-on raised no eyebrows, so it seems it isn’t fully enforced yet.
All my flights were punctual to the minute (no surprise there), filled to capacity (that was surprising!) and featured a meal. The meals looked edible but I wasn’t hungry enough to try them on any of the flights.
The plane interiors are in decent shape, with the all-leather configuration. However, the equipment is aging and the tight seat pitch makes it a pain over longer distances.
The crew members speak just a few words of English, but there isn’t much conversation required anyways. There is no IFE on these flights and Russians seemingly haven’t discovered iPads and laptops yet. Nobody used them during my flights!
S7 feels more like Frontier than JetBlue, but the fares are low, hovering around $25 per flying hour, which is cheap – and, no doubt, that’s what the market wants.