Aeroflot oftentimes offer some of the cheapest economy class fares between Europe and Asia. And, while the transfer experience at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport leaves a lot to be desired, the airline itself offers decent service.
When making my way to Europe back in December, my girlfriend and I flew from Tokyo to Moscow on Aeroflot’s Airbus A330-300, one of the two long-haul types in the airline’s fleet.
Continue reading this review to see what the economy class flight was like.
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Checking-in for Aeroflot Flight 265
We got to the airport around 10:30AM with plenty of time to spare before the 1:10PM scheduled departure time, and headed to check-in zone E where the Aeroflot flight was being processed.
While there was a long line in front of Jeju Air’s check-in desks which were in zone E as well, the Aeroflot desks were deserted as it was still quite early, and so we were able to drop off our bags and get our boarding passes in no time.
The security check took a while as there were about twenty or so people ahead of us. Interestingly, it seems like Narita introduced the “spin-yourself” scanners that I experienced in Fukuoka as well.
After clearing the security check and immigration, we headed to Delta Sky Club to have something to eat and get some work done before getting on the flight.
We left the lounge around 12:20PM and headed to gate 17 where the flight was scheduled to board at 12:30PM. On our way there, we could see the aircraft being prepared for the flight through some of the terminal’s windows.
Boarding the Aeroflot Airbus A330-300
Boarding started around 12:35PM with Sky Priority passengers, and so we headed down the jetway after getting our boarding passes scanned. However, we got caught between the gate scanners and the entrance into the jetway as the aircraft was not ready for boarding yet.
It took another ten minutes or so until we could actually walk down the jetway and into the A330.
The aircraft was equipped with blue faux leather seats with orange accents and headrest covers. The headrests were decorated with Aeroflot’s 95th anniversary logo.
Although the seats were a bit worn out, they were fairly comfortable (certainly way more comfortable than, let’s say Iberia’s seats) and offered decent legroom.
On the back of each seat were a (for today’s standards) quite small personal screen, the IFE remote control, as well as USB and ethernet ports. (Anyone knows what the purpose of the latter is?)
On each seat, a blanket and a pillow, as well as a nicely designed amenity bag – all Aeroflot branded – could be found upon boarding. Inside the bag, there were earplugs, slippers, and a sleeping mask.
Departing Tokyo Bound for Moscow
At 1PM, the captain welcomed us onboard via the PA and mentioned that our flight time would be 10 hours and 10 minutes. Not long after he finished speaking, the safety video was shown on the screens.
We were pushed back on time, at 1:11PM, and about five minutes later, we started taxiing towards our take-off runway. At 1:23PM, the captain notified the cabin crew that we were ready for take-off, and just two minutes later, we took off from runway 16R.
As soon as we took off, the in-flight entertainment screens were switched to the nose gear camera view.
After take off, we flew towards the Pacific Ocean before making a 180-degree over the coast, flying by Narita airport and setting our course for Moscow.
Aeroflot In-Flight Entertainment System
The seatbelt signs were switched off less than ten minutes after take off, and around the same time, the in-flight entertainment system was activated. And, the cabin crew distributed earphones not long after that.
As for the IFE screen, it was not the highest-resolution one out there, but it was still decent enough for watching movies, etc.
However, I found the touchscreen to be very unresponsive and Aeroflot’s in-flight entertainment system to be extremely slow overall – even when controlled with the remote. Perhaps it’s better on their newer 777-300ERs.
The system offered dozens of movies of all categories, and so – while it wasn’t exactly Emirates’ ICE – it was more than enough to keep one entertained on a flight from Asia or America to Moscow.
There were also about a dozen TV series with several episodes each, however, I gave up before scrolling through the whole selection as the system was painfully slow. It also didn’t help that each episode had its own entry and cover art in the list.
The moving map could be found within the “watch” section of the IFE as well, however, when I tried watching it, it didn’t work and only white screen showed up.
Aeroflot’s in-flight entertainment system also offered dozens of music albums to listen to. There were also some audiobooks, however, other than one teaching Russian in English, they all seemed to be in Russian language only.
Finally, there were also about 20 games to choose from.
Besides the actual in-flight entertainment system, there was also onboard wi-fi. While I didn’t try it, and so can’t comment on its performance, the pricing was as follows with the plans expiring either when the time limit is over or when the data cap is reached (whichever happens first):
- Small plan (15 minutes & 10 MB): 5 USD
- Medium plan (1 hour & 30 MB): 15 USD
- Large plan (3 hour & 100 MB): 40 USD
- Infinite plan (entire plan & 150 MB): 50 USD
Aeroflot Long-Haul Economy Class Lunch
Once I was finished with checking the IFE, I made a quick visit to the restroom. Besides soap, there were also dental kits and hand cream. All of the amenities were Aeroflot branded.
Then, I read The Four by Scott Galloway for a while before the meal service started.
On a side note, I highly recommend reading the book which details how Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple have grown beyond being just “tech giants.” You can read more about the book as well as other books I’ve read in 2018 on my new personal blog.
The meal service started about one hour after take off with a drink round. I went with a cup of Pepsi, and while I was glad to see the cup was large compared to what some other airlines offer, I was also a bit disappointed that it wasn’t Aeroflot branded.
Not that it was a big deal, but given how everything else had the airline’s logo on it, it would have been nice if the cups did too.
From there, it took another forty minutes or so until the actual meal was served.
There were two choices – fish with rice and beef with potato. I decided to try the fish while my girlfriend had the beef. Both of those came with packaged bread roll, salad with ham, some basic sushi, and a cake.
The side dishes as well as both of the mains tasted decent, and the volume of the meals was more sufficient.
After the meal service was finished, the crew went around the cabin offering tea and coffee. When I said I didn’t want either, I was offered water which I gladly accepted.
Cruising Towards Moscow
With the meal trays cleared, I went back to reading the book before falling asleep for a couple of hours. Once I woke up, I read some more, watched Tag, and worked on an article for this blog for an hour or so.
By this time, the cabin was getting quite hot. Unfortunately, there were no individual air nozzles above the seats, and so there was not much I could do about that.
Aeroflot Long-Haul Economy Class Dinner
Around 2:15PM Moscow time (8:15PM Tokyo time), the cabin crew made an announcement that there were 3 hours and 20 minutes left in the flight and that dinner would be served in a few minutes.
Given that the previous meal service took place less than six hours prior to that and that there were still more than 3 hours left in the flight, I thought it was quite early for another meal, but surely enough, fifteen minutes after that announcement, the service started with a round of drinks.
The meal followed another 40 minutes later, and this time the options were seafood pasta or beef udon (Japanese noodles). Both of those came with a side dish which included potato salad, some cold cuts, and a chicken nugget, as well as with a packaged bread roll and a small Toblerone.
After the meal service, tea and coffee were offered.
Arriving at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport
We started descending around 5PM, and the seatbelt signs were switched on at 5:08PM.
At 5:30PM, the cockpit crew informed the cabin crew that we are ready to land. They also lowered the landing gear, and at 5:33PM, we touched down on runway 06R of Moscow’s snow-covered Sheremetyevo airport.
After landing, the captain announced that it was minus 12 degrees Celsius outside at which point I jokingly noted that it would be fun to disembark by stairs.
At 5:41PM – six minutes behind schedule – we parked at a parking spot, and sure enough, as soon as we stopped, the crew announced that we would have to wait for the buses to arrive before disembarking.
We got off the aircraft and on the bus about ten minutes later, and not long after that we got off at the terminal.
Aeroflot A330-300 Economy Class Summary
All in all, Aeroflot offered more than decent service between Tokyo and Moscow. I found the seats on the A330 to be comfortable and to offer enough legroom.
Similarly, both of the meals tasted fine and were more than large enough. (Compare that with Iberia which offered only one hot meal on a flight that was three hours longer…)
That said, while I enjoyed the flight itself, that couldn’t be said about the transfer experience at Moscow airport. In fact, the terrible transfer infrastructure (especially during rush hour) is enough to make me avoid Aeroflot for the foreseeable future.
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