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LHR-SVO-ULN (Ulaanbaatar) SU in J

LHR-SVO-ULN (Ulaanbaatar) SU in J

Old Sep 3, 11, 10:42 am
  #1  
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LHR-SVO-ULN (Ulaanbaatar) SU in J

There is not a huge number of options to fly London-Ulaanbaatar. I generally prefer to fly BA, so the ideal route was LHR-PEK-ULN, but the timings of the flights essentially require an overnight in PEK. I am only going for a week, so that is too much hassle, especially as I would have needed a Chinese visa. It was also quite expensive when I came to book. That really just leaves Skyteam options - SU via SVO or KE via ICN. SU J was available for the price of KE Y, so I went with that.

Check-in - Heathrow Terminal 4

Terminal 4 is an inconvenient terminal to get to by public transport, requiring a change or a wait for a direct train, but luckily this was an 11am departure, so plenty of time. My SU departure was checking in at zone F, which was next to the other Skyteam carriers. I was directed to a machine and was able to check in and select my seat without too much difficulty, though I as required to enter all of my passport details etc. on the touchscreen, which proved a little confusing at times. The queues for bag drop were very long:

[can't work out how to insert photos, so I will add those later]

At this point I enquired whether there was a separate premium bag drop, which there was, in zone H - nicely hidden around the corner. No need to have used the machine at all. The J check-in had no queues and the experience was very pleasant, though the area was a bit of a mess, with lots of rubbish lying around. [photo]

Security was very swift, if surly. Quick stop at duty free to use my AMEX GBP10 vouchers to buy whatever I could find for slightly over GBP10 and then on to the Skyteam lounge.

Skyteam lounge, LHR terminal 4

The lounge is split over two levels. The lower level was very crowded [photo], but the upstairs, with exactly the same layout and service was virtually empty [photo]. I settled in with a nice view of the apron (including my waiting SU A321) [photo] and enjoyed the hot breakfast offering [photo]. It was probably a little early in the morning for a Diet Coke, but the guy in front of me at the bar helped himself to a triple Vodka, so I figured "what the hell?".

A good selection of newspapers, though consistent with my experience of most airlines, only right-wing titles were available! [photo]

The lounge also had private rest rooms, showers etc.

On board LHR-SVO

On board the A321, Aeroflot's "premier class" offering looked very comfortable, and certainly better than BA's SH Y which is the alternative LON-MOW. [photo] The cabin was pretty empty (6/14), but that didn't stop someone switching seats to the one in front of me and fully reclining on take-off to the injury of my knees!

SU has two business class products - Premier on the SH and MH airbuses and President on the 767 and A330 LH services, which features fully-flat cocoon seats. I chose my itinerary so as to experience President on the return journey, but more of that later.

A glass of champagne was served as soon as I reached my seat (3A) [photo] and the lunch menu was distributed [photo] along with the detailed and extensive wine list [photo]. A further drink (more Diet Coke) and warm nuts followed with a heated towel.

A portable video player was also supplied, which nestled neatly in the seat pocket in front. A small selection of films and TV programmes was offered.

When lunch arrived, the starter was a cold chicken and beef salad, which was indifferent. [photo]

The main course was Murmansk halibut, which was also pretty tasteless and a bit cold, but not awful. Certainly as you would get on many airlines for a 3.5 hour flight.

The dessert was supposed to have been a strawberry panna cotta. It never arrived, but I didn't chase, as I had already had enough to eat.

Annoyingly, the seatbelt sign came on without warning 40 minutes before landing, preventing a bathroom trip. Note to self - go easy on the Diet Coke.

SVO - arrival and lounge

The taxi to Aeroflot's new terminal D was very short and the 6 J passengers were offloaded first on to a VIP minibus to be whisked to the terminal [photo]. A nice touch.

The new terminal was very clean and impressive. On arrival, it was a little difficult to find the international transfer desk, as the signs point you in the wrong direction, but once there there was very little wait [photo]. On to passport control for a quick check and then, somewhat strangely, though security again. Surely everyone has arrived on a plane with everything they are carrying and will have been through this before?

Terminal D has two lounges Jazz and Blues. I am writing this from Jazz, which is small, but comfortable and well laid out. [photo] A good selection of sandwiches and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Only Russian language newspapers and magazines are provided, but there is a good number of internet terminals available and BBC World showing in one area. I couldn't see any showers.

SU563 is now boarding, so I will update on the next leg and add the photos soon.
mgiarc is offline  
Old Sep 4, 11, 11:47 am
  #2  
TPJ
 
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Originally Posted by mgiarc View Post
On to passport control for a quick check and then, somewhat strangely, though security again. Surely everyone has arrived on a plane with everything they are carrying and will have been through this before?
Nice report... Keep writing!

I guess this is your first time to Russia... Sometimes (fortunately less and less) Soviet way of thinking is very much alive there... (not that I want to offend anyone, this is just a statement...)
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Old Sep 4, 11, 2:34 pm
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Pictures would be nice!
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Old Sep 6, 11, 1:29 pm
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Nice... we flew ULN-SVO on SU J (Tu204) about 6 years ago.. what are they flying on that route now?
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Old Sep 6, 11, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by mgiarc View Post

On board the A321, Aeroflot's "premier class" offering looked very comfortable, and certainly better than BA's SH Y which is the alternative LON-MOW.
Bmi and Transaero also operate 4 daily flights between LHR and DME. bmi flights feature the mid haul product with cradle seats at 50 inch pitch and personal IFE.
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Old Sep 11, 11, 9:19 pm
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Originally Posted by mgiarc View Post
On to passport control for a quick check and then, somewhat strangely, though security again. Surely everyone has arrived on a plane with everything they are carrying and will have been through this before?
Originally Posted by TPJ View Post
Nice report... Keep writing!

I guess this is your first time to Russia... Sometimes (fortunately less and less) Soviet way of thinking is very much alive there... (not that I want to offend anyone, this is just a statement...)
I don't think this is Soviet - this seems par for the course in all international airports these days. Arrive at LHR for a connecting flight and you're going through security. Arrive at BOS, EWR, IAD from Europe and you're going through passport control, customs and then security. It's not unique to Russia.
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Old Sep 13, 11, 1:39 am
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Interesting reading. I'm looking forward to the rest.
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Old Aug 10, 12, 1:41 am
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Damn, not many recent SU TR's here, at least that I could find. I was looking forward to seeing what the President class has to offer. Apparently it's been changing for the better.
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Old Aug 10, 12, 3:34 am
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Originally Posted by Zoui21 View Post
Damn, not many recent SU TR's here, at least that I could find. I was looking forward to seeing what the President class has to offer. Apparently it's been changing for the better.
Hi, unfortunately I didn't get to travel President class in the end. My flight back from ULN-SVO had an equipment and timetable change, so not only was it premier class, but it arrived just in time for me to miss my connection to London and a nine-hour layover. Luckily I had enough notice that was going to happen that I could sort myself out a Russian transit visa in Ulaanbaatar - very simple overnight process. Shame that it rained non-stop in Moscow that day.

I realise now I never did add the photos to this trip report - I'll look into doing so.

Cheers
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