Grrrr Moscow

Old Oct 9, 05, 2:56 am
  #31  
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Slightly OT, but I just noticed that BA is running 4x flights DME-LHR next Saturday (15 October)--3 x A320 and 1 x 767. SU shows 3 x A321, which IIRC is their standard weekend schedule (albeit sometimes an Il-96 on 1x frequency).

Edited: The only non-stop flights showing any J availability MOW-LON on 14 October are SU's 08:45 SVO-LHR. BA and UN both show as sold out.

Last edited by chalf; Oct 9, 05 at 3:23 am
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Old Oct 9, 05, 3:35 am
  #32  
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I noticed before that there are a several dates where an extra flights is operating - a 3rd one on a weekday or a 4th one on a Saturday. Seems to be based around events planned in advance, as I noticed some extra ones in the timetable months in advance.

Really don't understand why there isn't a daily 3rd flight. I went on the 872 to DME last Wednesday, and both the flights had been sold out for a week before. This was mid-week!

Personally I wish there was a 4 or 5pm departure from LHR, getting into DME 11pm, with a morning departure from DME. It looks that that is never going to happen though. Failing that, a 7am departure from LHR, arriving 2pm, leaving DME at 3pm would at least give a bit more choice than now.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 5:14 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by simon_n10
Personally I wish there was a 4 or 5pm departure from LHR, getting into DME 11pm, with a morning departure from DME. It looks that that is never going to happen though. Failing that, a 7am departure from LHR, arriving 2pm, leaving DME at 3pm would at least give a bit more choice than now.
I hear from a friend that "Russian fashion week" starts next weekend, so that could stimulate extra demand for flights to MOW.

I agree on the desirability of the late departure from LON. The gap for a non-stop between SU/BA at 1330 and SU at 2230 is a bit extreme. The LX connection departs 1745 and arrives at 0159, but even that is somewhat late to arrive. One of the extra flights on 15 October departs DME at 1530, so it appears that your proposed timing might be viable.

The problem with the morning ex-DME is competition with SU's 0845 ex-SVO. UN flies DME-LGW departing 1010, arriving 1115, which is earlier than BA and still preserves the DME over SVO benefits. I tried UN in Y two weeks back - seating in J was BA CE style, but limited to 4 across; service in Y was ordinary but friendly and the aircraft appeared to be an ex-BA 737-300/400. The entire operation was very smooth at DME: the check-in line was short and efficient (a contrast to either Y or J at SVO!), I had a relaxing capuccino at Coffee Mania overlooking the runway (including watching one of UN's 747s navigate around all the Tu-154s and Il-86s) while awaiting departure, luggage was returned promptly on return and the boarding pass could be exchanged for a free ticket on the express train to Paveletsky Vokzal. LGW was handled by a contractor, and again very efficient.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 6:55 am
  #34  
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No, its not fashion week drawing the crowds, its because I am speaking at the Vedomosti event later in the week

Out on the 19th, back on the 21st, sadly in Y as haven't got the time to go to GVA to pick up a CE ticket for the same price.
 
Old Oct 9, 05, 7:16 am
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BA has long been wanting a morning flight from Moscow, which could well be their most profitable European route nowadays (how times change !). The 3 hours time change plus near 4-hour flight time make it difficult for a return flight to leave Moscow before mid-afternoon.

Most efficient would be to do an overnight late departure from Heathrow, getting in to DME vey early morning, turning back as an early morning departure. If they could only get an early arrival slot for it at Heathrow the whole thing could be done without an extra aircraft. The current morning Moscow 767 stands overnight at Heathrow and could be integrated nice and efficiently. The SU overnight flights seem popular with Russians in Y, and by then pushing the curtain back they could take the substantial J class demand. There is also potential for a lot of Moscow-USA connecting traffic.

Probably staff agreements are a problem, to do the whole thing as a round trip without overnighting crews. The overall round trip is well within duty hours but maybe they would be expected to put a fresh crew on at DME.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 8:12 am
  #36  
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Originally Posted by WHBM
Most efficient would be to do an overnight late departure from Heathrow, getting in to DME vey early morning, turning back as an early morning departure. If they could only get an early arrival slot for it at Heathrow the whole thing could be done without an extra aircraft. The current morning Moscow 767 stands overnight at Heathrow and could be integrated nice and efficiently. The SU overnight flights seem popular with Russians in Y, and by then pushing the curtain back they could take the substantial J class demand. There is also potential for a lot of Moscow-USA connecting traffic.

Probably staff agreements are a problem, to do the whole thing as a round trip without overnighting crews. The overall round trip is well within duty hours but maybe they would be expected to put a fresh crew on at DME.
This would also compete head-to-head with SU on times, which is probably not BA's intention (or the desire of the relevant authorities at SU's various regulators). I also would unquestionably choose SU J (with its superior seat) over CE on the overnight flight (if it's Y, then so be it).

I seem to recall that 1-2 years back, UN offered DME-LGW departing late [Friday] evenings, with an overnight return to DME departing LON ~45 min after the SU flight. If they still have this frequency, potential competition could be another restraint on BA.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 8:33 am
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The Transaero flights from Gatwick (almost without publicity in the UK, rather like the Pulkovo flights from Gatwick to St Petersburg) are now daily, and they've started using 767s on some flights instead of 737s. Most days they are 11.15 morning flights but Wednesday is done overnight leaving 21.30. Never heard any reports from anyone about them.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 9:57 am
  #38  
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Originally Posted by chalf
This would also compete head-to-head with SU on times, which is probably not BA's intention
But the lunchtime BA874 at 1305 does compete head to head with the SU flights at 1330. And the crampled A320 is still packed on the BA874.

Not sure BA could fill an overnight flight in J. Some demand, sure, but I for one would much rather leave LHR at 1600 or 1700 and arrive in DME by midnight.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 1:24 pm
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Indeed an overnight eastbound flight wouldn't sell too much in business class, though although I haven't actually taken the comparable Aeroflot flight, when taking Russian visitors to Heathrow for it I notice plenty of custom at the C class check-in.

But that's the beauty of the reconfigurable cabin layouts, that you can switch it around, and maybe offer even more C than currently on the daytime eastbound flights, diverting the lowest fare traffic onto the overnights. Maybe give it a try on a few days of the week - Saturdays are always the busiest on this route.

While we're at redoing BA's whole strategy on the route a few years ago the second flight was a 757 rather than an A320, that could do with being reinstated. And the St Petersburg A320 always seems 100% full at high fares as well, that could do with going onto a 757 too.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 1:51 pm
  #40  
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Originally Posted by WHBM
While we're at redoing BA's whole strategy on the route a few years ago the second flight was a 757 rather than an A320, that could do with being reinstated. And the St Petersburg A320 always seems 100% full at high fares as well, that could do with going onto a 757 too.
^ ^ What happened to the 757s that used to do SVO/DME? Much better on long short-haul.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 2:13 pm
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Unfortunately many of the BA 757s were sold off to DHL to haul parcels in 2002-3. Always seemed a shame. There are only 14 left in service from about 50 they had at maximum, but there don't seem to be plans to get rid of the remainder of them any time soon.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 3:02 pm
  #42  
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Originally Posted by WHBM
The Transaero flights from Gatwick (almost without publicity in the UK, rather like the Pulkovo flights from Gatwick to St Petersburg) are now daily, and they've started using 767s on some flights instead of 737s. Most days they are 11.15 morning flights but Wednesday is done overnight leaving 21.30. Never heard any reports from anyone about them.
See my brief summary report above about my experience on UN. It felt a bit more "Russian" than SU, but was a very efficient operation (e.g., on UN the level of English competency among the cabin staff is clearly more limited than SU). The food in Y was the same as my S7 charter flight this summer (i.e., inedible). The flight was 75% full in Y on the westbound and ~55% on the eastbound. I'd probably fly SU for the miles, better schedule and better network, but I would have no qualms about giving UN another try, if for no other reason than to avoid SVO. Their FF program has reasonable redemption rates and offerings, though their route network is limited.

I think the eastbound flight departs LGW at 12:45--11:15 is the arrival time from DME.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 3:25 pm
  #43  
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Someone must have been taking note !

Last time I looked the Summer schedule for 2006 was down to a double daily 320 service, with a 3rd 320 on Saturday. No 767s at all.

Just checked now. And the schedule from 26 March is now showing..... a double daily 767 service, same times as now. Unless this is a mistake, they may be ditching the unpopular 320 on the 2nd flight and having all 767 service. Yippee !! The 320 is only showing on the extra Saturday flight (the "schooltrip run"), which always seems to be full of well-healed Russian kids and teenager, being sent to "letnaya shkola".
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Old Oct 9, 05, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by simon_n10
Someone must have been taking note !

Last time I looked the Summer schedule for 2006 was down to a double daily 320 service, with a 3rd 320 on Saturday. No 767s at all.

Just checked now. And the schedule from 26 March is now showing..... a double daily 767 service, same times as now. Unless this is a mistake, they may be ditching the unpopular 320 on the 2nd flight and having all 767 service. Yippee !! The 320 is only showing on the extra Saturday flight (the "schooltrip run"), which always seems to be full of well-healed Russian kids and teenager, being sent to "letnaya shkola".
The problem with the later flight being a 767 is the time it takes to turn it round/board in DME. That flight is often late as it is - I hope they've allowed more turn around time.
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Old Oct 9, 05, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by irmster
The problem with the later flight being a 767 is the time it takes to turn it round/board in DME. That flight is often late as it is - I hope they've allowed more turn around time.
Nope. Same timings at the 320. LHR 1320 DME 2015, return DME 2105 LHR 2205. That's 50 mins for a turnaround, against 1 hour 15 for the earlier flight. I think they missed that. You are right, the incoming 875 will never get out of DME at 2105.
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