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S7 Trip Report: Observations on three segments

S7 Trip Report: Observations on three segments

Old Jul 4, 19, 9:28 pm
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S7 Trip Report: Observations on three segments

I recently flew three S7 segments within a week, and since they don’t have much coverage online I thought I’d post some observations for others searching in the future. With my wife I flew three 4-5 hour segments on HKG-IKT (Hong Kong to Irkutsk, A320neo), IKT – VVO (Irkutsk to Vladivostok, red eye domestic, A320) and then VVO-HKG (Vladivostok to Hong Kong, A320neo). One flight was paid (2000 miles meant it earned 140TPs on BA), the other two were Avios bargains (less than £20 taxes).This gave me a chance to experience both domestic and international flights, as well as the newest planes in the S7 fleet (the A320neo), at least when you consider that their B737max is grounded.

Check-in: You can do mobile check-in, but unless you print it out you can’t get through Russian security checks, they really do want something to stamp. Hence you should enjoy the experience of checking in online, but still have to head to the desks for a relatively short queue or perhaps try home printing.

Lounges: Very poor in Russia, at HKG I was given the HK Airlines lounge (right next to the S7 gate), but instead I visited the Cathay First class Pier, where they were slightly surprised to see an S7 pass but let me in. IKT check-in staff failed to tell us that the (poor) business lounge was a completely separate entrance to the lounge, which meant going through security, exiting, then re-entering. I guess at least the lounge existed, we were told we should have been given some invite to get free drinks from the lady there, though she was "nice" enough to give us water, hence maybe they didn't expect us to go there. The VVO lounge was nicer and right next to the gate, though seemingly the alcohol was paid for (?), since we were on a midday flight I wasn't drinking so didn't try that out.

Boarding: Short priority queue in HK, a completely separate business class bus from IKT straight from the lounge, nothing in VVO. You were welcomed with a soft drink, though being last (row 2...) meant you may not get your choice of water or juice.

Seat: Large American First class style seats in 2x2 format. However – no entertainment, no footrest and a seat recline of about 10 degrees. The seats were big and comfortable enough for the daytime, but the night flight wasn’t a pleasant four hours. We reserved our seat in advance via the telephone call centre, the website wouldn’t let you, but our fellow passengers didn’t do that I think, hence we got what we wanted (row 2).

Food & beverage: Good quality mains, small portions, a variant on beef/chicken or vegetarian on real pottery and a tray. Drinks were fairly poor quality and varied (e.g. prosecco on HKG-IKT, but not on VVO-IKT). They don’t load enough meals to allow each passenger to have their first choice, and I had a menu on only one of the three flights. I didn't get my first or second choice meal on the VVO-HKF route as we were served last, though we were OWE, slightly sad to see two kids get the meal I wanted then pretty much left it uneaten :P

Entertainment: The domestic A320 had nothing, the A320neos had WiFi provided entertainment on an S7 App. I had a glance and the international selection was reasonable, if not brand new releases. I didn’t appreciate that business class didn’t get headsets or a tablet – it was bring your own. In actual fact economy was slightly better as the seats had space in front of the seat to put in a tablet, but not in business, so you had it in your hands or on the table.

Service: The flight attendants preferred to communicate in Russian via my wife, but had clearly been on customer service training – they smiled and were helpful and friendly, and kept my glass filled up throughout the trips. Each trip, even the domestic, gave us a small goodie bag, similar to a pencilcase, with mouthwash, eyemask and similar. We also got slippers. I thought this was the best part of the flights actually and credit to S7 for this.

Arrival: I appreciated that when we arrived in IKT we had a separate business class bus, this got us to immigration first, saving a lot of time. This was the best part of the service. Amusingly the equivalent bus on departure meant we were last onto the plane, mainly as we arrived about the same time as the main bus, but we were kept on the bus till everyone else was onboard. This would have been nice in the cold, but it was unnecessary in summer.

Priority recognition: Zero, considering we’re both one world emeralds there was no recognition, personal welcome or anything that made me feel that they appreciated our business. On the VVO-HKG flight we didn’t get our first meal choices as the orders were taken in row order and we were in 2DF.

Overall I’m not going to be choosing S7 if I had an alternative higher quality carrier available, and I’m surprised that people are willing to do longer flights with them. For direct flights I would tolerate them if necessary (preferably using Avios), but probably look for an alternative indirect option like Korean airlines when paying money. At least the price of business class was both consistent and unchanging even nearer the date, at about £400 per segment. My view of S7 is that they are a good European, but a poor Asian airline in terms of their offering across the board. I’ve spent too long in the last few years on the likes of Cathay Pacific and not BA (against who, S7 would be a reasonable offering as the same basic plane set-ups would then have perks like the better business class seats and some entertainment).

Last edited by littlevoices; Jul 4, 19 at 9:33 pm
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Old Jul 16, 19, 4:49 pm
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Priority recognition: Zero, considering we’re both one world emeralds there was no recognition, personal welcome or anything that made me feel that they appreciated our business. On the VVO-HKG flight we didn’t get our first meal choices as the orders were taken in row order and we were in 2DF.
I just flew S7 from Moscow to Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy), a 4-hour flight in their First/Business on the A320. Most of what you wrote mirrors what I had experienced. The lounge in DME, their flagship hub, is average. It can be pleasant if you are lucky and it's not full, but since S7 serves a lot of leisure destination, the prevalence of little loud kids makes for an experience that is far from relaxing. The alcohol selection is limited to draft beer (and Zhiguli Export at that, which is horrible).

From a loyalty recognition standpoint, you're right, there is virtually no acknowledgment. Last time I flew them (Moscow - Dusseldorf), we were upgraded from economy to business because of my American ExPlat status, so that's something. Otherwise, if you fly in J, you get a VIP van to take you to the plane (and to greet you when you arrive). This sort of helps, except that it doesn't, because upon return, there is virtually no prioritization of what luggage comes out, so we got our suitcases towards the end, after most of the Economy pax got theirs.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 5:43 pm
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Originally Posted by gosha83 View Post
Most of what you wrote mirrors what I had experienced.
....
From a loyalty recognition standpoint, you're right, there is virtually no acknowledgment.
Good to know they're consistently average then! We travelled with hand luggage only so I had no experience of their baggage handling. Thanks for sharing your thoughts
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Old Jul 18, 19, 3:17 am
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That was an all-round information for me. Thanks! @littlevoices
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Old Jul 30, 19, 9:26 pm
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Just returned from Russia and the family used Qantas points to get 4 Business class seats on S7. LED-OVB , OVB ĖKJA Unfortunately this was in economy as they donít have J class on that flight and IKT ĖPEK. We flew 3 segments with S7. We also flew Angara Airlines in an Antonov An-24. !

At Pulkovo airport they have separate line for Business class check in. The Business lounge is spacious here with plenty of chairs and the selection of food and drink was good.

However no priority boarding for business class passengers. They offered a menu on the flight however some of the items on the menu were not available. The food offerings were average. However plenty of leg room as we were in Row 1.



When we landed at OVB , I did observe the( 2 ) Boeing S7 737 Max planes parked in mothballs on the tarmac.

Our last flight, Irkutsk to Beijing was good (we all slept) however the experience at the International terminal here was not. The Terminal is from the Soviet time and it has passed itís used by date. You queue for Customs clearance first and then when that is open for your flight you run to get to the check in counter and here is where the fun starts. There is no proper line at the check in counter, everyone just tries to get as close as possible to the counter. They have a small sign on the counter saying business class passengers get priority, however you need to be near the front of the counter to get recognition. There was 2 desks manned and another S7 staff member whom I guess was the supervisor.

We were assisted by the Supervisor who saw we were J Class and he took over and issued our boarding passes and interlined our baggage through to Singapore. However I was grabbed by the arm from another passenger as I was putting my luggage on the scale. I vented my displeasure at him however he didnít speak English, but he got my message. After we checked in and had left the queue we observed roughly 3 or 4 passengers fighting and yelling at each other for about 10 seconds. They quickly sorted themselves out.

We then found the Business class lounge and we were issued passes that entitled us to 350 roubles each worth of food and drink. They only have a small selection of choice here but it was enough. The lounge is small here, however there was only 6 people in the lounge and the staff here was friendly. They had a separate bus to the plane for J Class passengers however we were taken to the plane last. Our flight to Beijing was uneventful, we were asked if we wanted food however at 2am no one wanted to eat. Through our flights the S7 Staff were friendly and assisted us when needed. Their J class seats are comfortable, with plenty of leg room. There was no IFE screens. We were given small amenity packs with mouthwash, Slippers and Eyemasks in them.


Business Lounge in Pulkovo

Business Lounge in Pulkovo

S7 Boeing 737 Max - In Limbo

Business Lounge in Irkutsk

Business Lounge in Irkutsk
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Last edited by joffaa; Jul 31, 19 at 12:18 am Reason: add photos
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Old Aug 4, 19, 11:50 am
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Great reports both, thank you.

1) IFE via wifi was rolled out last month across the entire Boeing/Airbus fleets (not E170 though)
2) Mobile BPs are now accepted in DME and some other airports and should be available across the country by the end of the year. Previously, you used to have to scan your phone at the machine next to security, which prints out the BPs. This probably took 10 seconds or so. You never had to visit the desk, or print at home.
3)S7 elite recognition is really good when you fly Y. Frequent op ups, free seat selection (including Extra Space seats), free baggage on HBO fares, priority boarding and delivery to the a/c by a J cl minibus for anyone Ruby or above. Flying in J however, I am not sure what kind of recognition did you expect.
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Old Aug 4, 19, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by joffaa View Post
Just returned from Russia and the family used Qantas points to get 4 Business class seats on S7. LED-OVB , OVB –KJA Unfortunately this was in economy as they don’t have J class on that flight and IKT –PEK. We flew 3 segments with S7.
Thanks for sharing, I recognise that IKT lounge and the pictures - seems like at least your check-in staff knew to give you the voucher, though a 5USD voucher seems a bit cheap!
Originally Posted by Rami Tamimi View Post
Flying in J however, I am not sure what kind of recognition did you expect.
I guess Cathay and others in the alliance have set my expectations as follows:
  1. Personal welcome/thankyou for oneworld loyalty (Cathay, JAL)
  2. Food ordering done by status priority rather than row number (i.e. I get to choose my food before others) (Cathay, BA etc)
  3. Priority seating in row 1, that I don't care about, but some people like (BA, JAL etc)
So not much, but a small amount of recognition, that mainly involves me getting my first food choice :P. It is both easier and harder with a tiny cabin - since #2 would be pretty obvious, but that's the motivating factor for regular flying.

Otherwise, interesting to know about the mobile boarding passes, that clearly hasn't made it as far as VVO yet.
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