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LHR-SVO-PEK on Aeroflot (Economy)

LHR-SVO-PEK on Aeroflot (Economy)

Old Dec 18, 08, 12:13 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Beijing
Posts: 325
LHR-SVO-PEK on Aeroflot (Economy) with pictures!

Well... Let me start by saying that I tend to approach things in life with the attitude, that unless you tried things once, you will never know. Whether I now know more about Aeroflots operations remains unknown. What I do know is that I:

- paid the cheapest fare (20% below any other option)
- got there (have not taken the return leg yet)
- had an interesting experience overall
- and would probably try to avoid SVO at all costs

Leaving London seemed straight forward, but we ended up with a 50min delay due to... fog? traffic? I will never know.

beautiful London!

This delay meant that I would have about 10min to change flights in Moscow, something most people I spoke to on the flight, said would be a miracle to achieve! Despite this and asking several times to several flight attendants to see if they could ensure the connection to Beijing would wait for us (about 25PAX), we got assured on two occasions (in a direct but not overly helpfull manner) with a simple 'Da' - yes in Russian.

At one point some of the transferring passengers asked the chief FA if they could possibly ask all other passengers to remain seated so that we could disembark in order to make our slim time frame.
On arrival in SVO we had exactly 25min left, which disappeared into 10min by the time we were at the gate. Needless to no announcement was made and general mayhem to struggle off the plane ensued.

arrival in SVO at -10C

the promising sign of the next flight

Some of us had the foresight to move towards the front of the plane and got off within the first 15 or so - but not before waiting a further 5 min for the Business class PAX to disembark. Buy the time we arrived breathlessly at the Transfer Desk, we were told, and I quote: "flight to Beijing delayed, you wait. departure 02:00".

It was scheduled for 21:30!

Next we were asked to undergo some fairly stringent security (its forbidden to take water OFF the plane), and all bags were searched and shoes had to be removed... To enter the transit area (already airside!). What for!?

the second transit desk

We were given a Rubel 540.00 voucher at yet another transit desk and told we could spent that anywhere that offers food. It seemed that someone did care about us, until we found out how much one could get for 540.00 (about Euro 15.00). A oily spaghetti dish (stricly no more that 140gramms of pasta) and a pint of beer. And you better make sure you use most of the value, a no change is given.

seating at Gate 16/17 in Terminal 2 (SVO)

the one and only information for 6 hrs! (at least you would know the destination
if you can read Russion)

Luckily - despite other reports - there is plenty of seating available in the airside part of terminal 2, and some seating does even lack the horrible armrests, allowing for a good snooze. This maybe different at other times in the day however.

Russions being oblivious to armrests

When 01:30 approached there was one announcement (the only information about our flight since having been told of the delay originally), that simply said, flight is delayed to 03:00. Some time later a trusty old 767 was approaching the gate and 03:00 came and went. By 04:00 we were finally all on board.

Feeling that we should at least been told of the nature of the delay, I inquired as my boarding pass was checked and was told in the most abrupt manner: "bad weather Beijing!".

Fair enough you say, problem is that I had check the weather forecast for Beijing only 12 hrs earlier and it was said to be fine, with no wind and clear skies.

boarding to PEK at 04:00

I could not help but think something else was up with that and asked another FA when boarding the plane. Only then I was told that there had been a technical problem with the plane. I thought I ask anyhow, as to what problem she thought it was and was told: "you don't want to know..."

Perhaps I did not - in fact she had a bit of a worried look (or was it tired) on her face, and I considered my options for a moment. Stay in Moscow, pay for another ticket and hope for another voucher, or take a plane that just spent 6 hrs being fixed for something technical problem, that I did not want to know, in order to finally get to Beijing. I boarded.

As we sat down some FA's voice that reminded me of Borat came on the tannoy, announcing:

"Sorry dear passengers, we have had technical problem with plane. Please accept apologies from Aeroflot. Plane now very nice, no problem. We depart in 10 min. Thank you, have good flight!"

Considering that the plane was 'very nice', I took a look around and realized that it was indeed very nice. It had some blue seating, red head rest covers, and lovely big (and clean) windows. Nice plane!

After departure we had some more of the fairly edible dinner (lunch, breakfast?) and were on our way to PEK. The rest of the flight was uneventful and the crew was doing their best to be very nice - and I suggest, they managed to be just that.

Russian fare, with some super hot mustard

An extra meal was given without batting an eyelid and drinks (alcohol needs to be paid for) served frequently and when demanded. All their juices are freshly pressed Tropicana which makes a nice change from the sticky sugary concentrate on most other carriers.

There you have it, tried once and it was an experience.

Arrival in Peking, and no sign of bad weather

the cleaning crew waiting in the cold as we disembark

If they worked on SVO connections and communication, they could be a fab airline!

Last edited by timesnaps; Jan 23, 09 at 5:52 pm
timesnaps is offline  
Old Dec 18, 08, 1:38 pm
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Welcome timesnaps and thanks for the report.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 2:31 pm
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thanks for the trip report, that was a good read. welcome to flyertalk
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Old Dec 18, 08, 4:30 pm
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When I read the title I thought this would prove to be interesting, and it was. Thanks for posting it.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 6:13 pm
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Thanks for the report.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 6:47 pm
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Thanks for a great trip report - great details, great photos.

I had looked at a similar routing myself (big $$ savings) and wondered about Aeroflot and SVO. Now I've got something to go on.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 7:23 pm
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Thanks for the trip report - not many times do we get a chance to read a SVO-PEK report.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 7:42 pm
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timesnaps - delightful trip report! I assume from your report, that you had a scheduled 60 minute transfer time in SVO. Loved your photos, especially the pax trying to sleep. I note the B767 does not offer in-seat entertainment in Y.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 9:20 pm
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Thanks for all the comments. I thought I give something back, since I always found a lot of useful info on here. Glad some of you like the report.

Originally Posted by restlessinRNO View Post
...I assume from your report, that you had a scheduled 60 minute transfer time in SVO
yes, we had a scheduled transfer of 70min. Were due to arrive in SVO at 20:20 with departure to PEK at 21:30...
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Old Dec 18, 08, 10:39 pm
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consider yourself lucky. you should check out a rare report about nearly the exact same routing..Around the world trip report on NW & Skyteam (low content, longish, aeroflot bashing)

After these terrible stories i doubt i'll ever connect in SVO for any reason at all.
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Old Dec 19, 08, 3:26 am
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Thanks for the trip report. It all sounds pretty nightmareish.
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Old Dec 19, 08, 9:41 pm
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Originally Posted by camsean View Post
Thanks for the trip report. It all sounds pretty nightmareish.
you might say so. However it was also a stark reminder as to how much some things have changed in Russia (more expensive, good inflight service, modern planes - sort of), and how much some things have not changed much (attitude to customer service within Russia), since I last visited in 1989
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Old Dec 19, 08, 10:10 pm
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Thanks for sharing this with us. Definitely was an interesting report.
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Old Jan 4, 09, 1:46 am
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another interesting report

Originally Posted by dg4255 View Post
Definitely was an interesting report.
dare I say it... look out for another interesting report. The last few days each flight from PEK to Moscow on SU has been delayed, as far as I can make out... what gives?! mmmh
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Old Jan 9, 09, 12:53 pm
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Awesome report! You don't read about Aeroflot very often. I agree we avoid SVO at all cost. It is a dump!

Its funny the facial expressions of the gate agents are so Russian. When we were there, we used to laugh at all the curt "nyet" and the surly faces on all of them. I am sure they tried their very best to be nice. Its just they have a different idea of what "nice" is As I was reading your report, I can visualize how surly they were. You need to have been to Russian to understand this curtness...
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