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 Unfortunately, the Korean lounge was outdated with limited food and beverage offerings.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 over-seat storage was perfect for my Tumi Alpha 2 backpack, and the overheard bins stow my Rimowa suitcase without any issue.
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.
Upon arriving into Brussels, I headed to the Steigenberger hotel thanks to a special discount rate I received as part of my Founders Card, which is one of the memberships I have that help me save money.
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Awesome report! I flew Aeroflot back in February JFK-SVO and had a similar experience — except I was in economy with my own row of seats! 😉 For some reason JFK-SVO flights are cheaper than JFK-LHR.
Anyway, I am not a skyteam elite plus member so I never went inside the KAL lounge. I’ve been to the Air France lounge in JFK Terminal 1 and also thought it was so-so (but it looks like AF lounge is a lot larger than KE’s.)
For some reason a lot of airlines prefer to keep the air temperature warm. Not sure why. Do you think that the temperature helped the seat feel flatter than KLM’s business class seat? 😉
Too lazy to rotate these pictures to make your blog slightly readable? Pathetic!
James Larounis says
Scott, the pictures are right side up. I’m not having any issues, and I’ve even checked with some folks in other locations — everything appears to be showing up normal.
@James, some of the seat and menu photos look like they should be rotated but overall those didn’t bother me.
Would you fly Aeroflot again?
James Larounis says
Hmm…interesting. What browser are you using? I’d like to investigate, just to be sure that doesn’t happen again,
I would fly Aeroflot again. To be honest, they had better service than many other international carriers I’ve flown, including Air France, which i did on my return. While I wish the product was lie-flat, the food was great, service above par, and the experience well above what many other competing carriers offer. The one downside is that via transiting through SVO, you’re at a time disadvantage, and you do loose out on several hours rather than transiting through LHR, CDG, etc.
I’m having similar results with your pics. I have to turn my phone to see them. If I didn’t see the previous comments I would have thought it was pretty lazy of you. I’m using an iPhone 5S and reading via newsblur
James Larounis says
Hi Adam! This was a previous issue that’s since been fixed. It apparently has to do with the way the pics are uploaded, so you’ll find that newer posts have the corrected imaging format. Sorry for the trouble on this one, but thanks for reading!
Carl Stewart says
I liked your review because my best option for a flight from JFK to Barcelona on business is with Aeroflot.
And absolutely no issue with your photos. They are all in the correct position and I think that the comment that your site was “pathetic” sadly shows how intolerant and unpleasant many people have become in the age of instant gratification. Whether your photos are correctly aligned for him or not, he certainly should apologize for his rudeness
Similar results via Twitter. Pictures are sideways
Daniel Boone says
I would like to know whether there are noise cancelling headphones provided with the business class seats from JFK to SVO. If there are (like many other business classes of other airlines), then I would not need to take mine. Thank you.
James Larounis says
There are not. They are only regular headphones but not noise canceling. Bring your own.
Daniel Boone says
Many thanks for your superfast reply! I will definitely take my headphone. Best wishes
Daniel Boone says
We have just returned from Tel Aviv, where we flew with Aeroflot on business class (from JFK changing at SVO). I loved your extremely detailed description, everything was as you described. I was truly amazed by the excellent and very attentive (personalized) service we received on board on each and every segment we flew. The flight attendants were GENUINELY helpful and extremely nice. I personally thanked them for providing such a great service. We have flown before business class on Air Canada, Lufthansa, AirBerlin, Delta, Air France, but we all agreed that Aeroflot’s service was the best (for us).
As for my original question on the headphone, the one they gave was very good, I felt as if it was a noise cancelling one (even though it wasn’t). Therefore I did not even use my own headphones.
Thanks again for all the useful information you provide us with.
Awesome Blog! It’s great to have such honest reports!
Have a nice day and take care