(Russia): Advice on first russian flight

Old Nov 28, 18, 4:14 pm
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Question (Russia): Advice on first russian flight

Hello out there,

this is a greenhorn joining flyertalk, so please don't kill me if my questions seem dumb.
The situation is the following: I am planning to travel to PKC (Kamchatka, so not exactly the closest destination from here). Route for S7: MUC - DME - OVB - PKC. Route for Aeroflot: MUC - SVO - PKC.
There are (as far as I found out) only two airlines offering flights to PKC anyway, so the pool of offerings is limited to S7 and Aeroflot.

I am going to bring sports equipment there, both offer free skiing luggage (couldn't find out if Aeroflot considers skiing luggage as part of the regular luggage - S7 allows it for free in addition to regular baggage).
I don't have any Russia experience at all. Never been there, and the only two russian words I know are from online gaming and not appropriate here .

The obvious advantage for Aeroflot is their cheaper economic class (and skipping OVB, but that doesn't mean travel time is shorter at all. 14h are possible, but only 1:55 in SVO. For international flights with zero experience in Russia too short).

Hopefully I could get some information:
1. Which airline would you choose? I've got some buckets saved for, so Comfort in Aeroflot is an option. Worth it? S7 doesn't offer one. Business is too expensive for me.
2. Independent of Airline: If I'd like to plan a few extra hours as a buffer, should I spend them in DME or SVO? I am skeptical because of visa/passport control. Might take a while, doesn't it? Especially as the relationship between Russia and the EU didn't exactly improve during the last years.
3. If S7 wins: Is Novosibirsk (and their airport) worth a visit? S7 means always a long stop and a short stop. I can choose between long/short in DME and long/short in OVB. Which is more suitable/interesting? I would consider OVB more "originally russian" and therefore more interesting.

Info about me: 1,96, not fat, doesn't smoke, speaks english, german and italian. A bit of flying experience (but I don't count miles or sth, several intercontinental flights, some domestic), but I am too dumb to find out more about DME/SVO/OVB.

Thanks for input!
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Old Nov 29, 18, 6:07 am
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I've been to Kamchatka (part of a N Pacific cruise, so no info on flights). Russia is _very_ strict on visas - think: long questionnaire including 10 year history of countries visited, invite from local organisation, personal interview, fingerprints - depending on your nationality. So allow plenty of time for getting one, and consider using a professional visa facilitation company in your own country. Hope that helps!
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Old Nov 29, 18, 6:12 am
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The only thing I could say is that Novosibirsk seems very interesting and a destination I would like to visit (more than Moscow or St Petersburg).
I guess Moscow-Kamchatka on Aeroflot would be a widebody, while S7 is full narrow-body, if that matters to you.
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Old Nov 30, 18, 7:21 am
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I think I'll be going for S7. SU's sits in premium eco don't seem to be suitable for sleeping due to zero recline, it's costing almost twice and then there might be the issue with my sports luggage.
Extending the necessary stopover in OVB to two or three days might get interesting as well.

Eco with extra legroom might be good enough for a few hours.
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Old Nov 30, 18, 2:17 pm
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OVB is gonna be cold in winter. -15 average cold. Not sure how much sightseeing can you practically accomplish.
How is timing of the flights? Red eyes are a royal pain in my book and SVO (unlike DME) has plenty of airport hotels if you can force an overnight to mitigate misconnect risks and rest.
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Old Nov 30, 18, 6:58 pm
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I thought of visiting Kamchatka via Alaska. Yakutia operates flights in the summer. Much less crazy then going via MOW
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Old Nov 30, 18, 7:31 pm
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Timing us up to me. As I mentioned, either a short stop in OVB and a long stop in DME or the other way round. This means about 16h/4h.
Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
OVB is gonna be cold in winter. -15 average cold.
As I am aiming for snowkiting in Kamchatka - I am aware it might be winter in Russia . I'll have to get used to the temperatures anyway.
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Old Dec 2, 18, 9:56 am
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My Thoughts ó

Aeroflot: Definitely my preferred airline throughout Russia. 1:55 should be enough time to transfer planes at SVO. Youíll go through passport control and a security control. Neither one has ever delayed me too long. (US passport holder here.) Since youíll have a Russian visa, if you do misconnect, youíll get on the next flight and can stay at one of the many hotels nearby. Be careful if you do choose MUC-SVO-PKC that you the second leg is Aeroflot and not Rossiya as the former is, imho, far superior.

S7: not a terrible option, but the double stop (with a short red-eye OVB-PKC) would kill this option for me, especially if itís more expensive then the Aeroflot one stop. The trouble is that either the stop at DME or OVB will be lengthy. If you can do an overnight, then of course I recommend spending a few nights in Moscow itself. As for airport hotels at DME, the new Ibis is definitely my favorite. While itís a little further from the airport, itís brand new, the staff are friendly, and the WiFi is fast. While Novosibirsk is certainly an interesting place to visit, OVB airport is not.

Comparing SVO and DME: neither is amazing or terrible. I really wouldnít want to spend too much time at either, though. A two to three hour layover should would be ideal. Anything longer, but not long enough to leave the airport itself, will incur hours of boredom.
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Sorry I canít be any help on the baggage front.


Let us know what you decide!
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Old Dec 2, 18, 11:00 am
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Go with Aeroflot. S7 aircraft are tiny and really uncomfortable, I couldn't stand S7 after just 2.5 hours from Chelyabinsk, I'd dread to think what it's like to or from Novosibirsk (which is in itself a fairly interesting destination but nothing compared to other places).

Not to mention that Kamchatka flights may well use the new Terminal B at Sheremetyevo (which is honestly superior by all means to anything in Domodedovo)
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Old Dec 4, 18, 11:22 am
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If you try to add stopovers (usually defined as over 24 hours on international itineraries), this is likely to increase the fare.

If you end up staying in more than one hotel (even if it's due to a missed connection), be really careful that your passport/visa/stays are registered correctly. You don't want to be hit with a big fine when you leave Russia.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by korbi View Post
1. Which airline would you choose? I've got some buckets saved for, so Comfort in Aeroflot is an option. Worth it? S7 doesn't offer one. Business is too expensive for me.
SU SVO-PKC cheapest economy (flat fare B) or business. Do watch for FV operating flights (from VKO) as they have older less comfortable aircrafts. SVO Terminal B is much further from Moscow city, allow more time to get there.
Originally Posted by fransknorge View Post
I guess Moscow-Kamchatka on Aeroflot would be a widebody, while S7 is full narrow-body, if that matters to you.
exactly
Originally Posted by korbi View Post
2. Independent of Airline: If I'd like to plan a few extra hours as a buffer, should I spend them in DME or SVO? I am skeptical because of visa/passport control. Might take a while, doesn't it? Especially as the relationship between Russia and the EU didn't exactly improve during the last years.
Might take a while due to queues. German passport (+ visa) is not risky one & is slightly better than US/UK (or Georgian). On arrival to PKC they may check passport for visa too (looking for Central Asian migrants).
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you end up staying in more than one hotel (even if it's due to a missed connection), be really careful that your passport/visa/stays are registered correctly. You don't want to be hit with a big fine when you leave Russia.
AFAIK, this is not a visitor problem anymore, no fines on departure if visa/duration of stay are not expired. All fines on registration are now levied from accommodation provider or person/organization in Russia, who gave an invitation.
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