Is Now The Time To Book Transaero First Class?

Filed Under: Other Airlines

I’d argue I’ve flown just about all of the world’s best first class products — while I won’t rank them, I’d argue that between ANA, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, Swiss, Singapore, etc., I have them mostly covered. Perhaps the one exception is Garuda Indonesia first class, which looks spectacular.

However, there are a few other airlines that have always intrigued me. And perhaps part of the reason these products intrigue me is because they’re just about impossible to fly on miles.

For example, for years TAM first class wasn’t bookable using miles. Then overnight they made virtually all seats available on miles, so I had the chance to try their product. Shortly thereafter they announced they would discontinue first class.


But the airline that has fascinated me more than any other for years and years is Transaero. In terms of bling factor, they literally put Emirates to shame.

Here’s what Transaero’s Imperial Class (first class) looks like:


Transaero doesn’t have any useful mileage partners that I know of, so I always kind of assumed they were totally off limits.

But my friend Joey recently pointed out that it looks like Transaero has lowered their first class fares lately. I’m not sure if they actually lowered fares or it’s just the benefit of Russia’s weak currency, but a one-way first class fare between New York and Moscow is under $2,000:


Meanwhile a roundtrip first class fare is ~$3,400:


Transaero’s Imperial Class webpage is hilariously fascinating.

I love how they use their site to tell you that you can’t use the VIP lounge, but just the business class lounge as an Imperial passenger:

VIP lounge for officials and delegations in Moscow “Domodedovo” airport (free of charge). Also Imperial class passengers may be served in Transaero own Business Lounge as well (included).

It seems they have decent ground services, and even “personal VIP service managers” aboard:

Imperial passengers are welcomed to the airport by a Transaero representative who guides and assists them at every stage of passing through airport formalities.

On board, Imperial class passengers are served by personal VIP service managers. These are top Transaero employees, who even have their own unique uniform created by fashion designers specifically for the Imperial class. Extraordinary cordiality, attentiveness, and flawless manners are their work style.

They also want you to know that their tableware is a big freaking deal:

The unique tableware offered to Imperial passengers is worth separate mention. This tableware was custom-made by Transaero’s partners in the project, the renowned Imperial Porcelain Manufactory and the Gus-Khrustalny Crystal Factory, using special designs and high technology. The two factories became purveyors to the Russian Imperial Court as early as in the mid-18th century.

And while it looks like they have an IFE screen in the seat, apparently they don’t?

Some of the amenities enjoyed by Transaero Imperial class passengers are:

  • On-board cinema.
  • To fill in time during your flight, we are pleased to offer you a unique opportunity to view the individual innovations of world cinema on a portable media player.
  • This multifunctional gadget allows watching movies, enjoying popular videogames, learning foreign languages, listening to music of different styles and genres.
  • Portable media player is available for free in Imperial.
  • We offer you a wide choice of media as business and entertainment, including the highest-quality printed publications.

Bottom line

While it’s far from cheap, this is the most reasonable price I’ve ever seen for Transaero’s Imperial Class. And I’m sort of kind of tempted.

Has anyone else flown Transaero, or is fascinated by them?

  1. I flown them on short trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg in economy. Nothing special – good or bad – about that trip. Though I heard the are playing their anthem before takeoff and after landing, and it is horendous

    Do it anyway

  2. Spelling FAIL: JFK is “John Eph Kennedy”? Really? I wouldn’t place a whole lot of confidence in an airline who couldn’t get that right. But then again, considering it is an airline based in Russia, I guess it’s not easy to forget the past.

  3. Are there any other Imperial Class reviews out there? I haven’t found any! It sure fits your promisse to review more airlines this year! Do it!

  4. “I won’t rank them”

    Please do. You can add whatever disclaimer you like but I for one would enjoy reading a ranking post.

  5. Even if you just do one way, this would be awesome! Would also be fascinating to see what lounges at Vnukovo are like (I’m already familiar with JEK Terminal Phour).

  6. “And while it looks like they have an IFE screen in the seat, apparently they don’t?”

    It would be truly hilarious if that’s just a cardboard mockup of a video screen like you see in furniture stores.

  7. It looks like they have chauffeur service included both in JFK and VKO for paid F. Food is supposed to be decent. There are some reviews on the internet:

  8. You always tease us these strange airlines, but never seems to go true with it Lucky.

    Please prove me wrong.

  9. Sounds like a great idea. Go for it. And Aeroflot on the return instead of Singapore. But what FF programs earn miles with Transaero flights?

  10. As you rightly point out, you’ve done pretty much the more mainstream, SQ, EK, EY, LH, etc. Now, we eagerly await TRs on the rest like UN, WY, and GA.

    So what that the first two can’t economically done with points (or at all)… this isn’t strictly a points blog, ya know 🙂

  11. Google translate is sometimes funny. I run the above linked livejournal review, and google translated “took a selfie” as “washed onion”.

  12. I give this idea a strong thumbs up. Hopefully departing from VKO so we can see the lounge. But either way I’ll be fascinated to find out if extraordinary cordiality, attentiveness, and flawless manners are their work style.

  13. Don’t. Not worth your money! Seems like a rather mediocre product.

    Try Kuwait and Garuda!

  14. Flew them on PEK-DME route… An ancient 744 with the worst experience I have EVER had on any airlines… It was coach though…

  15. Have you never been to Russia? BLING is their THING…. Actually, I had 5 economy flights booked with Transaero LAX-DME a few years ago that I didn’t make cause 5 visas nullifies the cheap flight. They refunded almost all of my money on a cheap fare. I give them high marks for that.

  16. Lucky I think your goal for reviews in 2015 should be more unusual, interesting airlines and products. I think we’ve seen enough LH and EK F trip reports for a while.
    How about Transaero J one way and F the other?

  17. I beg you to do it! There is practically no decent review of Transaero’s Imperial Class! And I am already drooling in anticipation to read your take on it.

    What an adventure it would be!

  18. Tried PEK-VKO-ORY in eco for a round-trip. For PEK=VKO, it’s a 2-5-2 layout. There would be anything special for any economy class, I guess. So, do it, Ben:)

  19. A Russian airline evoking the glory days of tzarism. Now I know who really won the revolution.

    Imperial class looks awfully similar to AA’s. No Beluga served. No Balik salmon. No pairing food with regional vodkas. CRT screens. Definitely no Duc de Paris.

    Keep your electronics at home. No sense risking malware loaded while you sleep.

  20. Ben, try the Garuda FC. I did it and was stunned. Having flown SQ and Emirates I expected something similar, this was better.

  21. I might try this in the summer but I’m really hoping the prices will still be in that range when (or if) the Transaero A380 comes to fruition. I’d love to see Imperial Class in that double decker superjumbo!!!

  22. ben, you’ve def jumped the gun on this one. transaero puts emirates to shame?? LOLOL in which bizzaro world would this antiquated, piece of shit looking “imperial” cabin beat out or remotely look better than one of the best, multiple award-winning EK F cabins out there?

  23. @ Adam — I said in terms of “bling factor.” “Bling factor” isn’t a good thing, in my book. That wasn’t a compliment to Transaero…

  24. please please do this! can’t remember if you’ve been to St. Petersburg, but that’s where I would head to immediately, and then perhaps the train to Helsinki (amazing how the Russians manage to deal with all visas during that train trip, but the Dutch can’t process passengers on an 8-hour ferry from England, so up to 1,200 pax queue up for 2 agents after landing, sometimes 1 agent if there’s a coffee break…)

  25. I love them, LHR-VKO-GUW, it’s service without a smile, efficient and good value. The food is food, there is no Transaero lounge I have found in Vnukovo. I have flown on their points and no problem booking it. There is usually space to stretch out on multiple seats, so why bother with Imperial. Favourite mid-tier airline.

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