Introduction: Transatlantic Insanity
Review: Aeroflot Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To Moscow
Review: Aeroflot Lounge Moscow Airport
Review: Aeroflot Business Class 737 Moscow To Belgrade
Review: Metropol Palace Hotel Belgrade
Review: Belgrade Food Tour
Review: Air Serbia Lounge Belgrade Airport
Review: Air Serbia Business Class A330 Belgrade To New York
Review: Air France Lounge New York JFK
Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class 787 New York To Baku
Review: Hyatt Regency Baku
Review: Baku Airport Lounge
Review: Ukraine International Airlines Business Class 737 Baku To Kiev
Review: Kiev Airport Lounge
Review: Ukraine International Airlines Business Class 767 Kiev To New York
Our flight from Los Angeles to Moscow was departing shortly before 5PM, so we arrived at the airport at around 3PM. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a deserted Tom Bradley International Terminal. The terminal is usually packed around noon and then packed again late at night, so I was happy to be checked in and through security within about 10 minutes, which has to be a new record for departing that terminal.
Aeroflot uses the Korean Air Lounge at LAX. I’ve reviewed that lounge before, so won’t be doing so again with this report, other than to say that I’m not a fan of it. It’s typically way overcrowded and has a limited food selection, especially compared to the Star Alliance Lounge and oneworld Lounge at LAX. It’s my second least favorite lounge in the entire terminal.
We were departing from gate 130, which was just a short walk from the center of the terminal. As we arrived the plane was still being catered, though the gate area was quickly filling up.
Boarding was scheduled to begin at 4:15PM, though was delayed slightly, and actually began at 4:25PM.
Upon presenting my boarding pass and passport I was excited for my first Aeroflot experience!
Los Angeles (LAX) – Moscow (SVO)
Tuesday, October 25
Arrive: 2:45PM (+1 day)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 5C (Business Class)
We boarded through door L2, and upon presenting our boarding passes were directed left into the business class cabin. Aeroflot’s 777-300ER business class cabin consists of a total of 30 seats, spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Aeroflot has standard B/E Aerospace Diamond seats in business classs, the same you’ll find on Aeromexico, Air China, Saudia, United, etc. These are far from my favorite business class seats out there, though they’re not bad either.
More or less all the seats in this configuration are identical. The advantage of sitting in the center section is that you have direct aisle access from both seats.
In our case we selected seats 5A & 5C, which were the window and aisle seats in the last row on the left. It’s worth noting that there’s a missing window in row five — while there’s one exactly where your face would be in the window seat, the window that would naturally be in front of it is missing.
These seats have personal televisions mounted to the seats in front of them, as well as small foot cubbies and storage “racks.”
There’s perhaps marginally more room for your feet if you’re in the window seat, as the foot space opens up to the fuselage.
It’s a little bit tighter if you’re in the aisle seat.
Regardless, personally I really struggle with fitting my feet in the cubbies, so I usually just curl up in this seat and angle my feet.
The seat controls were located on the center armrest, and were easy to use.
Underneath the center armest were two power adapters.
The entertainment controller could be removed from the center section below the seat, and was the type where you could select what you wanted to watch without even using the entertainment screen.
The tray table could also be removed from the center armrest, and folded over.
This type of seat also has a storage compartment on the back corner of the seat, which is also where the headphones and amenity kit were located.
In the center section in front of the seats were two small storage compartments, as well as USB outlets.
Already waiting at my seat on boarding was a pillow, blanket, and a mattress sheet. The pillow was nice and thick, as was the blanket, though I was a bit confused by the mattress sheet. Perhaps it was intended more in terms of having a clean surface on which to sleep, since it didn’t add much padding? I’m not sure.
There were also headphones waiting at my seat, which were decent quality, though I still used my own, as usual.
The amenity kit was Salvatore Ferragamo branded, and was pretty nice. It featured slipper socks of sorts, eyeshades, a pen, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a shoehorn, a comb, lip balm, and body lotion.
Moments after settling in, one of the absolutely lovely flight attendants, Liubov, came by our seat to offer us drinks. The choice was between water, sparkling wine, and orange juice. We both had sparkling wine, and I loved the Aeroflot-branded glassware. As we were handed our drinks the flight attendant said “enjoy your flight.”
Moments later we were offered hot towels.
I’m not sure if I was more impressed by the friendliness or apperance of the flight attendants. I’m not talking about them being attractive (though they were), but rather how immaculately put together they looked. Aeroflot must have the sharpest uniforms I’ve ever seen, as it felt like flying in a different era. The male flight attendants even had hats during boarding, similar to what you’d usually see pilots wearing.
At 4:55PM, right at departure time, the captain came on the PA to add his welcome aboard. He advised us of our 11hr25min flight, and expected it to be mostly smooth. He finished the announcement by saying “I assure you that you will enjoy your flight with Aeroflot.”
Just as the pilot made the announcement the jet bridge was also pulled, at which point the purser made her welcome aboard announcement. I was so impressed that the purser stood facing the cabin while she made the announcement, and she knew the entire announcement in both languages from memory. By departure time, 22 of the 30 business class seats were taken (though it seemed to me like we were among the few non-Russian passengers).
At that point the safety video screened, which can really only be described as seductive. Here it is (though oddly the uniforms shown in the video aren’t the ones worn by flight attendants):
Once the safety video finished we were still parked at the gate, and it became clear that we were waiting for the Singapore 777 next to us to push back first.
At this point the flight attendants distributed the menus for the flight.
Finally at 5:20PM we began our pushback, shortly after the 777 next to us pushed back.
A few minutes later we began our taxi, which was quick. We turned left to taxi towards the north side of the airport, and then turned right to taxi towards runway 24L.
By 5:30PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 24L, as there was no plane ahead of us. Our takeoff roll was long, and our initial climb out was gradual.
The views on departure were gorgeous, though at times difficult to photograph, given the glare from the setting sun.
As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment system, which was a bit problematic. While the selection itself was decent, I found the system to be highly unresponsive, and even glitchy. It’s almost as if there was some big software update for the system that they didn’t install.
As you can see below, there were some real issues with the screen, and even resetting the system didn’t solve those problems.
So in the end I decided just to watch the airshow for most of the flight.
Aeroflot has wifi on their 777s, which is cool in theory. I say “in theory” because the system is powered by OnAir, which is notoriously overpriced.
Aeroflot’s wifi in particular must be one of the most expensive versions of OnAir I’ve seen. 30MB of data costs $15, and then it’s 10 cents per 100KB of data over that. After Singapore Airlines’ A380 wifi, it’s one of the priciest I’ve seen. So as much as I value wifi as an amenity, at that pricing I didn’t use it.
Aeroflot wifi pricing
Finally about 25 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, which was a surprisingly long wait for a non-US airline.
At this point the crew came through the cabin to take dinner others.
The dinner menu read as follows:
And the wine list read as follows:
I was impressed by how meal orders were taken. The flight attendant came by our seat and kneeled, and said “My name is Liubov and I will take care of you today. How may I address you during the flight?” Personally I like when flight attendants do that, as I’d much rather be called “Ben” than by my last name. Sure enough, at almost every interaction for the rest of the flight she addressed me by name.
We placed our orders, though Liubov returned a few minutes later to apologize that they were out of fish, and asked if there was anything else I wouldn’t mind having instead.
One hour after takeoff hot towels were distributed (service was incredible, but if I had one criticism it would be that it took them too long to start the initial service… perhaps that was because the seatbelt sign was turned off only 25 minutes after takeoff).
75 minutes after takeoff drinks were served, along with canapés. I ordered a glass of champagne, which in this case was Ayala. I recognized that champagne, because I had received it as a welcome amenity at the Park Hyatt Vienna last year. I was impressed that whenever they served wine they’d bring an empty glass and the bottle to the seat, and then pour it in front of the passenger. Very classy.
In addition to drinks we were offered turkey roulade and boursin cheese on toast as a canape.
15 minutes later tables were set. This was done individually at each seat. They brought out everything they needed to set a table on a tray, and then placed it on a tablecloth. At no point was a cart rolled down the aisle. There aren’t many airlines that have that kind of service in business class.
I also loved that they had actual salt & pepper shakers, proper butter in a ramekin, toothpicks, etc.
The appetizer consisted of quail breast and smoked duck. While that’s not my favorite food, it was good for what it was.
I was also offered a selection of bread from the breadbasket.
Once the appetizer was cleared the salad was brought out. In this case it was a delicious mozzarella and sundried tomato salad. Yum yum yum.
After that we were served green pea soup with croutons, which was also very good. It was flavorful without being overpowering, and was the perfect temperature.
For the main course I ended up ordering the grilled beef fillet. While it wasn’t my first choice, it was still very good for beef on a plane. I was initially concerned about the rosemary demiglace, but it tasted better than it looked.
Tiffany enjoyed her chicken dish as well.
Once main courses were cleared the desserts were brought out. I ordered the chocolate mousse gateau, which was gone-with-the-wind fabulous.
Meanwhile Tiffany had the vanilla ice cream with chocolate shavings and mango sauce.
I finished off the meal with a coffee, which was served with some chocolate in Aeroflot packaging.
We were also offered bottled water.
The view throughout dinner was beautiful, as we watched the sun slowly set (given that we were flying more north than east due to our polar routing).
I have nothing but great things to say about the service throughout the flight. The crew was incredible. They were charming, engaging, attentive, and had an eye for detail. I would have never expected service to be so good on Aeroflot.
After dinner I quickly headed to the lavatory, which is one of my other complaints about Aeroflot’s 777 business class. There’s only one lavatory in front of the business class cabin, which really isn’t enough for 30 seats. In theory there’s also a single lavatory behind business class, but in reality it’s reserved for passengers in premium economy. The lavatory was pretty basic, though it did have proper towels, which you don’t often see in business class.
Once back at my seat I saw that they had placed earplugs at each seat.
I reclined my seat and tried to get some shut eye. While this isn’t my favorite business class hard product, I slept extremely well for nearly six hours, waking up just over three hours out of Moscow, as we were passing Greenland.
Within moments of waking up a flight attendant appeared at my seat with a snack basket, including things like pretzels and a fruit bar. She also said “maybe I could get you a coffee?” I was so impressed by how proactive the crew was.
I worked for a bit, and then 30 minutes later the flight attendant appeared and said “maybe you’d like the pre-landing snack, or a cheese plate?” I was a bit confused by the whole pre-landing snack, though for the time being I asked for a cheese plate, which was very good.
But I figured I might as well finish the meal since my tray had already been set, so ordered the whole thing.
The menu read as follows:
It’s a bit odd that Aeroflot doesn’t serve breakfast before landing on this flight. I guess that makes sense based on local time in Moscow, though based on your body clock and that you’re waking up from a night of sleep, it’s certainly a bit odd.
But the pre-landing meal, which was a combination of several different things, was excellent.
There was a plate with a turkey sandwich, a salmon tartare crepe, chocolate cake, etc.
Then there was a separate bowl with chicken tangine.
It was very good, and I continued to be impressed by how proactive the crew was. They watched carefully to see when people were waking up, so rather than turning all the lights on at once and doing a single service, they offered the pre-landing snack to passengers at their own pace.
I spent the next hour or so getting caught up on work, until about 40 minutes out when the captain announced that we’d shortly be initiating our descent.
Minutes later Svetlana, the purser, came through the cabin to individually thank each passenger for flying Aeroflot, and she offered everyone a small parting gift of tea. I was impressed that she didn’t just thank people for flying Aeroflot, but actually asked what they thought of the experience — “thank you so much for flying with Aeroflot today, did you enjoy this flight?”
At 2:35PM Moscow time the captain came on the PA to provide us with updated information, at which point he turned on the seatbelt sign (it had been a smooth flight throughout).
Our descent was smooth, and at 3PM we had a gorgeously smooth touchdown at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
This was my first time flying into SVO Airport (I had flown into DME Airport), so naturally my eyes were glued out the window, as the traffic was fascinating.
We finally pulled into our arrival gate at 3:10PM, and from there cleared transit security and headed to the lounge for our layover, before continuing to Belgrade.
Aeroflot business class bottom line
Before flying Aeroflot my assumption was that they wouldn’t be good. Boy, was I wrong. The service was flawless, and when I initially reported back on this, every single commenter who had flown Aeroflot’s business class claimed they had a similar experience, so this seems to be the norm and not the exception.
The food was excellent as well, in terms of the quality, quantity, and how everything was presented. There were no trays or carts, bottles were brought out when champagne was served, and the pace was incredibly personalized.
Aeroflot’s business class hard product is solid, though not my favorite. I don’t love these types of seats, but they’re among my favorite forward facing fully flat seats.
I appreciate that Aeroflot has wifi, though do wish it was more reasonably priced. My entertainment was glitchy, though I’m not sure if that was due to issues with my specific seat or even the specific plane, or if it’s a widespread problem.
Regardless, Aeroflot business class was terrific, and greatly exceeded my expectations. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them, and given their very reasonable business class fares, would fly them again in a heartbeat.