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Do you feel safe flying on a Russian carrier?

Do you feel safe flying on a Russian carrier?

Old Oct 14, 13, 6:44 am
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Do you feel safe flying on a Russian carrier?

I remember my father, who is a pioneering businessman of sort, traveling to Russia frequently in the early 90's and who would tell me of the horrifying air travel conditions the passenger has to put up with, from unannounced and frequent cancellation of flights, Soviet-style "service" onboard and the constant fear that he won't arrive at his destination in one piece, if at all.

Of course, those were in the immediate post-USSR days, when money and training were in short supply in Russia. My father would say some of the Russian pilots were paid worse than a bus driver, if at all. He has since retired but he still enjoys telling me of his traveling adventures in those early days of post-Soviet Russia. Thankfully, nowadays things have changed for the better, service-wise.

However, one thing that hasn't changed is flight safety, or the lack thereof in Russia. In 2011, Russia and the CIS region had the worst overall air safety record in the world, as tracked by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Measuring the number of hull losses (a crash that renders the aircraft irreparable) per million sectors (a flight that includes a takeoff and a landing), the Russia-CIS region suffered a total accident rate of 8.19 hull losses per million sectors, compared to 6.17 in Africa and 1.33 in North America. (http://themoscownews.com/russia/2013...ue-yonder.html)

Now in fairness, there are two classes of Russian carriers. The ones flying Western airliners (i.e. Aeroflot, S7 Airlines) are generally pretty safe. The smaller localized carriers flying Russian jets however are not (and almost all crashes in the last few years came from these carriers). The infamous Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster in 2011, which killed the entire KHL team when their Yak-42 crashed (a Soviet version of the 727), was a notorious case of Russia's poor air safety.

That being said, from your perspective, do you feel safe flying on a Russian carrier in general?

Last edited by WindowSeat123; Nov 17, 13 at 11:48 pm
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Old Oct 14, 13, 6:54 am
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Originally Posted by WindowSeat123 View Post
That being said, from your perspective, do you feel safe flying on a Russian carrier in general?
No.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 7:13 am
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your description fits perfectly the flying in the Caribbean in the 70's, 80's and 90's. does not have seemed to have stopped anyone or generated any comments.

during the same period, most tatl trips were screwed up as badly, as were european airports.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by slawecki View Post
your description fits perfectly the flying in the Caribbean in the 70's, 80's and 90's. does not have seemed to have stopped anyone or generated any comments.

during the same period, most tatl trips were screwed up as badly, as were european airports.
Are you sure?
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Old Oct 14, 13, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by WindowSeat123 View Post
That being said, from your perspective, do you feel safe flying on a Russian carrier in general?
NO.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 10:17 am
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Yes.

Statistically, I'll be at far greater risk when I get in my car to go to work in a little while.

I'm more likely to avoid certain airlines because of comfort and reliability (on-time performance).
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Old Oct 14, 13, 11:23 am
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My experience on Aeroflot, although limited, has been better than United. Safe, comfortable, friendly, and seemingly well maintained. I would fly them again without hesitation.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 11:41 am
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Yes, however I would prefer to fly Aeroflot or S7 over the smaller domestic carriers (but I would fly them if there was not a better option).

I am more concerned about the taxi ride to the airport.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by mrsyeltzin View Post
My experience on Aeroflot, although limited, has been better than United. Safe, comfortable, friendly, and seemingly well maintained. I would fly them again without hesitation.
My last aeroflot flight was about 90min delayed (from HKG) and arrived at SVO roughly 1h late giving me 40 min to get through the empty airport from F to D. The staff of aeroflot told me that was impossible and let me sit at the airport for 1h before they drove me to a hotel, served dinner 3h later than they said, breakfast 1h later than they said, picked us up to the airport (since we didn't have a visa we were in the transit zone and as such were prohibited from leaving by the armed guards) 1h late and we arrived through the customs agents we possibly couldn't make in 40min 35min prior to departure the next day.

The aeroflot agent the first day blamed me for arriving late on their plane, and didn't understand why I hadn't eaten their burnt noodles on the plane and possibly wanted food. The second one told me it wasn't her fault I arrived after a plane full of middle easterners and would have to make due and it was my problem.

So do I feel safe flying them? Maybe. Still not worth it.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by WindowSeat123 View Post
That being said, from your perspective, do you feel safe flying on a Russian carrier in general?
Perfectly.

It's not the aircraft I'm concerned about or the regional carriers or Russian model aircraft. I'd be concerned flying any regional carrier anywhere in the world that has to fly in the conditions the Russians frequently encounter. Smaller carriers have higher accident rates because they often fly into more marginal airports. The Russians just do it more often in crappier weather simply because they have to. It's that margin call on the weather that makes me nervous sometimes.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 12:12 pm
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While I don't feel unsafe, I would certainly feel less safe on Aeroflot than I would on BA. Same goes with Chinese airlines as well as a few others.

I'm well aware that it's completely irrational (and probably a bit xenophobic of me) though.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 12:14 pm
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No, but now I'm saying it less emphatically.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 12:40 pm
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Old Oct 14, 13, 12:54 pm
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A lot of Russian flights today are running on Adventure Time, like an internal flight in Southeast Asia in the 80's, or in South America in the 90's.

So you probably don't want to schedule your meeting in the destination city for 90 minutes after the published flight arrival time.

And occasionally you will get a real Soviet customer service experience.
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Old Oct 14, 13, 1:39 pm
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S7 - No
Aeroflot domestic - YES
The only time I was ever close to being terrified flying was on an Aeroflot flight within Russia. I was on one of the biggest planes I had ever been on (an Antonov something or other), the flight was delayed for several hours, it was awfully hot, the ventilation system just seemed to circulate avgas fumes as we sat on the hot smelly plane for hours, there were so many drunk Russians on the plane that at some point the flight attendants just disappeared and hid for almost the entire flight.
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