Having Fun At The Aeroflot Ticket Office In Minsk

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my fascination with Rossiya Airlines, which operates ex-Transaero 777s on flights between Moscow and Vladivostok. I won’t recap everything here, though if you haven’t read the previous posts, check them out:

Anyway, one of the things that fascinates me most about Rossiya is that they have “Super Space” seats in business class, which are essentially former Transaero first class seats. The catch is that you can’t easily book these online, so I wanted to figure out the best way to maximize my odds of reserving one of these seats.

On my first post about Rossiya, one reader commented the following:

For make benefit Super Space Class reservations must be secured en suite at Rossiya offices. Look at openings and closings hours, they have like Spain the rest time in after midday.

Effective monies accepted (RUB, or if Minsk offices BYN accepted) or payment card (must meet validation requirement and do not forget for presentation on travel dates)

This offices found Moskau, Minsk, Irkutsk, Berlin, and Istanbul.

If agent say computer problem, be ready what you call tipping small amount will fix.

I just happen to be in Minsk, so you want to guess what I did earlier?

Yes, I went to the Aeroflot city ticket office, which also sells tickets on Rossiya. It has been years since I’ve been to an airline ticketing office, and suffice to say that it was fascinating.

I wasn’t actually prepared to book anything since we just visited the office while sightseeing, so I didn’t have a particular flight in mind.

The agent asked me to write down the flight/date I wanted, so I wrote down the following, and made it clear I was looking for business class:

To my surprise, she wrote down the following price:

OMG, wait, I can book this ticket for 317EUR (370USD), which is literally half the cost of what you’d pay for the same ticket online?

I wasn’t quite ready to ticket the reservation yet, but I was in disbelief that the ticket could be booked for half price in person. I know often countries have cheaper prices for those booking within the country rather than internationally, though I wasn’t expecting this flight to be so inexpensive. Does anyone know if Aeroflot has special pricing in their ticketing offices, are these prices bookable on Aeroflot’s Russian website as well, or what?

Then I asked the key question about the possibility of reserving a Super Space seat. To my surprise, the lady knew exactly what I was talking about — unfortunately the answer wasn’t what I wanted. “Super Space only at the airport.”

But my gosh, I’ll certainly take half off the ticket. I guess when I go back to actually ticket my reservation I’ll have to try the “small tip” approach.

Who knew in-person ticketing could be so fun?! So, does anyone know if Aeroflot/Rossiya flights are always this much cheaper when booking from Belarus (or maybe Russia as well?), is this special in-person ticketing pricing, or what?

Comments

  1. A relic of a former time…British Airways even had a miniature Terraces lounge for BA Golds/Silvers at their ticket office on Piccadilly in the early 2000s. Neat feature!

  2. I just went to a Qatar Airway one in the indian subcontinent a month ago. I asked them for the upgrade price from Economy to Business Class from there to JFK via DOH and they quoted me $22,000 USD. The agent was in disbelief and my son said “no thanks dad, I’d rather get a car”

  3. Agencies – even airline ticket offices – can get better deals and act as consolidators. I am pretty sure not many Russians would pay $750 for a business class seat – EVEN on such a long flight!

  4. This used to be the norm in Eastern European countries at least – and especially when airlines where “pide of nation”. Approximately 30% discount was usual, for flights originating within the country and paid locally.

    Today, it is likely just the discrepancy in google flights (or ita matrix) pulling from consolidators, when the actual airline has lower prices that are not “webified” yet. And yes, having prices for certain market that are not accessible from other points is quite normal. That is why ita matrix has “Sales city” setting in the page, while google flights assumes your origin based on your location or profile.

    Pay attention that there is also a VVO-VKO option with a connection, that might play into price.

  5. I was just in Minsk 2 weekends ago and loved the city. I walked by the Aeroflot office as well.

    I usually buy my SE Asia flights when I arrive in BKK. I once flew from BKK to CDG one way for $550.00 J on Thai.

  6. Any idea what they think of trump. Is he considered Putin’s bitch there too, like most sane Americans here think?

    Oh yeah ticketing at an agent…. hehe. Said it before. Stupid Americans kill off everything then go to Europe to fawn about stuff they killed off. Oh cute little shops and tight alleys and little scooters.

    Your great grandkids will get excited when they see living animals that are not robots. Blame it on Republican greed. Scumbags.

  7. @Marc

    I thought TG exBKK prices are insane. I used to book (online) TPE-BKK-LHR in J for about half price of just BKK-LHR. Have to try check out ticket agents next time I go to SE Asia. Do you have a specific agency you recommend?

  8. Like @Jamie I too am wondering how much a “small tip” would be, especially given your penchant to over-tip (at least in the US).

    Also, I believe the Asian ‘bucket shops’ of old are pretty much a historical footnote these days, for those thinking they may be onto something.

  9. This happened to me in New Zealand year ago. I found that a domestic ticket I needed (Auckland to Christchurch) was about half price if purchased New Zealand instead of online from the U.S. So a contacted a New Zealand travel agent, who sold me the ticket at the domestic price and securely shipped it to me for $30. So in the rare instances that I actually pay cash for a ticket, I check this out every time.

  10. The last time I was excited about a price in a ticket office, I found out that their quoted prices did not include taxes and surcharges, which were added to the bill at the very end of our (up until then) very pleasant conversation… so you really should double check that 😉

  11. This might be specific to the selling office. You know how prices might change when you “book from another country”. The price in Belarus might be different from the price in Moscow or online price. If you are ready to fly, go ahead and book it.

  12. Back in 2002 when they still had airline paper tickets , bought half price Aeroflot tickets in their office in Brooklyn.
    Only odd thing they insisted on cash only and gave me a paper receipt with paper tickets with economy seats.
    Few years later when I started using credit cards for travel…realized it a “W”. Basically they booked me mileage award redemption. No wonder half price and cash only…

  13. @Roman – I think you’re giving them too much credit for using their miles. I presume they booked you some kind of “buddy-pass” tickets.

  14. While in Minsk, visit the underground mall. It is underneath the statue of Lenin. You can buy a Putin bobblehead in a judo costume. I am 100% serious. Also the post office is amazing. Be sure to visit!

  15. I love Minsk. Where are you staying Lucky? The Marriott and Renaissance both offer fantastic redemption value! Both have great executive lounges. I’ve had some amazing room upgrades at both in the past as well.

  16. For make benefit Super Space Class reservations must be secured en suite at Rossiya offices. Look at openings and closings hours, they have like Spain the rest time in after midday.

    Effective monies accepted (RUB, or if Minsk offices BYN accepted) or payment card (must meet validation requirement and do not forget for presentation on travel dates)

    This offices found Moskau, Minsk, Irkutsk, Berlin, and Istanbul.

    If agent say computer problem, be ready what you call tipping small amount will fix.

    JAGSHEMASH, MY NAME A BORAT, I LIKE SEX, I LIKE YOU

  17. In Russia or CIS, long hauls deals can be found so lm not surprised about the price quoted. Ive purchased similar. Being state airlines, Aeroflot included, they make travel accessible to most of the general population by subsidizing tickets for long haul continental.

  18. @Frank no, they do not. They are obliged to have some seats with a subsidized rate (even so, I have regularly travelled to BKK/SIN/HKG from Moscow on airlines like SQ and EY for less than this so called accessible rate to VVO). Then they sell out these seats and the rest costs arm and leg, at least by Russian standards.
    Travelling to the Russian Far East is super expensive and is a real problem for many people because of Aeroflot and its friends being what they usually are – greedy.

  19. Mister Lucky

    I give you proper advices and tell you anything possible for make payment small amount currency wishes.

    When agent give you airport airport airport for Super Space you before leave say “I give you special prepayments of paper money” or “we make deals”

    I don’t know how you leave there without try for this. Agent has friend in other bureau department make ticket on computer entry for Super. I think you maybe still too much Western bloods but this how Slavic way otherwise no plumber, no electricity install, and run out of mayonnaise.

    Also, for Varun I do not appreci make joke how many language you know? English five language for me, in USA have maximum 2 language and Spanish easy of Romance.

  20. I wholeheartedly agree with @evgenyr (who provided some really interesting and useful information) and would like to know how solid @varun is in his/her third language. If (attempting to) put other people down makes you feel better about yourself, perhaps that time would be better spent actually improving the things about yourself for which you are trying to compensate. Just a thought.

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