To fly Aeroflot, or not fly Aeroflot…that is the question.
Review: Aeroflot Business Class JFK to SVO to BRU
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Most people would be skeptical to fly Aeroflot in this day and age, and I can’t say I don’t blame them. However, when researching ways to use 100,000 Delta SkyMiles pre June 1 devaluation, my only options getting to Brussels was via Moscow. Eh, what the hell? Might as well try it out.
I flew up from Washington DC to JFK in New York to have breakfast with some family before heading back to the airport. Check-In was in Terminal 1, and there was a dedicated Business Class check-in to the left of the economy queue.
Checking in was fairly simple, and I was able to select my seats for both the JFK to SVO and SVO to BRU legs. Prior to this trip, I had been unable to select seats as Delta’s system was unable to view Aeroflot’s seat map. I ended up with seat 3C to SVO, and then 3D to BRU, both aisle seats.
After check-in, I proceeded through security to the KAL Business Lounge. Aerfolot uses Korean’s Lounge at JFK. Unfortunately, the Korean lounge was outdated with limited food and beverage offerings. Closer to the departure of the Korean flight, the lounge was almost too crowded for comfort, and there was a lack of usable power outlets to charge devices. Overall, not my favorite lounge.
40 minutes prior to departure, boarding began onto the Aeroflot A330.
Business Class and SkyTeam Elite Plus were invited to board first. The aircraft had a 2x2x2 seating in Business Class with angle flat seats (not my favorite). The legroom, however, was very decent, and very comfortable. Once on board, champagne was served. The flight attendants were all dressed with white gloves, which was a nice touch, setting a standard of professionalism on board. There was a bit of a language barrier communicating as you could tell English was not their first language, however there was a consistent effort to assist, which was great. They were even able to remember my name, and that I spoke English and reference me by my first name throughout the flight.
Service was very attentive throughout the flight, and the food was surprisingly tasty. I guess I was expecting something more Russian, but the food, all American in appearance, was delightfully delicious. One thing that I enjoyed about Aeroflot’s service was that once you were done one course, the next course was brought out immediately, even if others in the cabin were eating slower or faster. This made the meal period go by faster, and maximized on sleep opportunities for later.
Entertainment on the large tv screen by each seat was terrific, and there was a good amount of recently released movies and programs to watch. I do wish that the Russian movies were placed in a separate section, however, because there was a few times that I clicked on what I thought would be an interesting movie, only to find it just had English subtitles.
My only major gripe about the flight was the cabin temperature. It was unusually warm, and there didn’t seem an air vent nearby for circulation. This made for a not so restful sleep, although surprisingly the angle flat seat felt much more flatter than the KLM World Business Class seat I had sat in to Amsterdam last November.
Overall, I don’t have any major complaints about Aeroflot that I wouldn’t have about an American carrier. They’re safety seemed fine, service on par, and amenities equal to that of other carriers. It’s a longer way to get to western Europe, sure. However, when placed in a pinch for SkyMiles, it does the trick nicely.
After landing in SVO, I was invited to use a privately operated business class lounge, prior to boarding for Brussels.
At the gate, a group of about 20 Russian school children cut the line to try to board in the Sky Priority lane, however one of the gate agents told their leader in Russian to move to the regular queue. I’m very pleased they did this, as I was worried that there was going to a hoard of school children clogging up the boarding process.
Seating onboard was similar to a US domestic first class seat, however I think the recline was a bit more generous. The business cabin was mostly empty, with only about 4 of the 12 seats filled. It was great since I got an empty seat next to me, and no one in front or behind, to maximize on the recline.
Menus were distributed for breakfast.
I had the meat and cheese plate followed by berry pancakes. Overall, good for airline food.
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