Aeroflot Review: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Looking for cheap flights to and from Europe? Then during your bargain hunting you have probably heard of Aeroflot. My first flight to Aeroflot was from Hong Kong to London and while admittedly I was a little scared after reading online reviews, I actually survived the flight.

I’ve flown quite a few times via Aeroflot and every time I say: Never Again. Still, a few days back I flew Aeroflot for the fifth time. So how bad is Aeroflot–or a better question, how can one survive Aeroflot?

Aeroflot is a Russian airline and one of the oldest in the world, founded on 1923.. During the Soviet era, it was the national airline and then the largest airline in the world. Following the USSR dissolution, it became semi-privatized with 51% still owned by the Russian government.

The Good

Aeroflot offer among the most competitive prices when it came to international flights to Europe and Asia. From HK, you can get to Europe for 25,ooo PHP to 30,000 PHP (around 500-600 USD) round trip.

While Aeroflot is known for having a poor safety record, it is worth noting that Aeroflot now has a modern fleet, with among the newest in London. Gone are the Soviet planes such as the Tupolev’s and Ilyuschin’s, as their fleet now consist mostly of Boeings and Airbuses.

A bulk of their fleet are Airbus 320s which they got in the last five years, making it among the youngest 320s in the world. Aeroflot also has brand new 777s and A330s to their fleet.

Aeroflot flies to 129 destinations and 49 countries worldwide covering all major continents except South America and Antarctica. Booking a flight on their website is very easy and convenient.

Their long-haul flights (HK-Moscow) often offer in-flight personal entertainment system with a decent media collection, but shorter flights (Moscow-London, Moscow-Paris) often don’t. The baggage allowance for Economy class flyers is 23 kg.

aeroflot russian airline

 

The Bad

While I did say that booking a flight is very easy, changing or canceling your flight is a completely different story. Most of the time you don’t have the option to do this online. You will have to call them, which requires you to talk to a Russian call center agent and is almost useless.

The flight crew in Aeroflot are very attractive, with their seductive names Anastasia, Alicia, Olga…but being a Russian airline, Aeroflot is not best known for their customer care. Russians are culturally known to be rude, but they really don’t mean to–they are just abrupt and brief like that. They will tell you ‘no’ simply, without any hint of apology. It takes the flight attendants a while to attend to your requests and even take out the food after meals. Politeness is not part of their system, as is smiling.

Food is actually decent, although their bread always tastes a bit like cardboard–moldy and hard to chew on, but I suspect that that’s how the Russians prefer their bread.

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The Ugly

If you don’t watch your flights carefully, you could end up like me: with a 16-hour layover to the Moscow Airport. It was probably one of the worst layovers of my life—As I am a Philippine passport holder, I needed a visa to leave the airport and explore Moscow (which I didn’t have).

Moscow Shermetyevo International Airport is the hub of Aeroflot, and is one of the three major airports in Moscow. In my opinion, this airport is just like a bigger NAIA. There is not much to do, wi-fi is slow and doesn’t work most of the time, and the terminals can get packed with people. Staff and crew in this airport can speak English, albeit limited. I did enjoy my vodka shopping at duty-free shops there, very cheap! (300PHP or 6 EUR for Russian vodka? Not bad!)

They do have a capsule hotel in Terminal D where you can sleep and shower while waiting for your flight. They charge you per hour use. Aside from long layovers, Aeroflot is also notorious for having almost always delayed flights. Not cool especially if you need to catch a connecting flight. I guess that’s why they have long layovers!

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The Verdict

In fairness, Aeroflot always exceed my expectations.. mainly ’cause I don’t really keep my hopes up every time. Flying Aeroflot isn’t that bad, but it isn’t great either. I would actually fly Aeroflot again for their attractive rates.

If you have an option to fly an Asian airline with a less than 5,000 PHP (100 USD) price difference, I recommend you fly the latter. You will get much better customer service. Moreover, I would not mind a layover in Dubai International Airport.

Other Alternatives

I saw China Southern and Air China offering really cheap flights to Europe too! I tried to book a China Air flight but it seems a lot more complicated on their website than Aeroflot’s.

 

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12 thoughts on “Aeroflot Review: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

  1. Nope, I haven’t heard of Aeroflot, probably because I have yet to travel to Europe.

    I’m not sure how I’d handle flight attendants that are not courteous as I am used to the very warm and all-smiling flight crew in the Philippines. Maybe I’d just remind myself that it’s part of their culture so I shouldn’t take it personally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel,

    It’s not that bad because you got exactly what you paid for. What would have been really bad would be if you paid premium prices and were treated shabbily by another airline. 🙂 It must have been horrible to staying at the airport for at least 16 hours of layover with pretty much nothing to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have an airline here that has the longest layovers and it is so hard to get around. But I always say you get what you pay for and sometimes the price is worth it to travel! It sounds like you have adopted that, too and are able to fly with them still because it is worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never been that long on a plane. Must be challenging. I don’t know these airplanes since I never flew with them. In general I think that the more you pay, the more you get and the better service it is. So maybe it’s that? However you need a certain standard in the plane to make it comfortable. Otherwise it’s just hard but doable. http://www.sofarsosabine.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As me living in the middle of the Atlantic ocean , on the Canary islands , there is no other option than flying , where ever I want to go . If I think back , flying used to be a luxury thing , you used to get a welcome baby champagne and peanuts , the meals were always included and so on . Nowadays I often think , going on a bus is more extravagant than going on a plane , I used to love flying , now I hate it . I have never flown with Aeroflot , but somehow your post reminds me of Ryanair , another cheap low budget company . A nightmare ! Wasn’t there a crash with Aeroflot some years ago ? The meals on board are always horrible , I book without meals when I fly , no matter what company . You can’t even drink their coffee , it tastes of burned cable . But with everything else in life , you get what you pay for . As long as it takes you SAFE from A to B , it serves it’s purpose !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I tried asian airlines that always give a much affordable flight rates here in our country. I can say that the flight attendants are very accommodating and courteous. It’s like experiencing good quality service just like what the other expensive flights are offering, in such affordable price.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s my first time to hear about Aeroflot. Well, I haven’t really traveled to Europe yet. If it’s a budget airline, we really should manage our expectations. Don’t expect too much so that you won’t get disappointed. What alarms me, however, is your statement about it having bad safety records. Hmnn…should we think twice before booking a flight with them?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That bit about Aeroflot exceeding your expectations made me laugh. 🙂 This is the first time I heard of this airline. I hope they start to train their crew according to international customer service standards considering that they have customers of various nationalities.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the excellent review.Russians have been through a tough patch and it would take some more time for them to match to international standards.But, the Russian girls are pretty, isn’t it?I won’t mind flirting with them as long as they return the sentiments.!

    Liked by 1 person

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