Swoon: Rossiya’s Super Space Business Class

Filed Under: Aeroflot, Other Airlines

In May I wrote about my fascination with S7 Airlines, which is a oneworld airline based in Russia. They’re almost like a mini Russian Emirates, in the sense that they use Novosibirsk as a hub to connect people between Asia and Europe.

Okay, their 737s and A320s might not be that great, but the airline interests me nonetheless, especially as they’re the only oneworld airline I haven’t flown.

I’m still planning on taking a trip on them before my Russian visa expires next summer, though I realized that I might be able to tie this in with something that’s actually much more interesting.

Remember Transaero? This was the Russian airline that clearly consulted with Trump Hotels when it comes to decor.

Seriously, look at those interiors! In mid-2015 it even looked like the airline would take delivery of A380s (given the interiors, I bet they would have had golden showers onboard — I mean, like, literally golden showers).

But then just a couple of months later they liquidated. Oops.

What’s interesting is that while Transaero is out of business, their planes (with mostly original interiors) are still flying. Specifically, Transaero’s 777-300ERs and 747-400s are mostly flying for Rossiya, which is a Russian airline that’s 75% owned by Aeroflot.

The airline doesn’t offer first class, but it hasn’t reconfigured the planes yet, which means they have the same first class seats that Transaero did, except they muted their finishes a bit.

For example, what used to be Transaero’s 777 first class is now “Super Space Business Class,” as you can see in the below picture.

Here’s what it looks like on their seatmap (talk about a small premium cabin for a 777-300ER, with a surprisingly comfy 3-3-3 layout in economy):

I’m trying to figure out the best way to book this. The airline operates these planes on several routes. The route that probably interests me most is Moscow to Vladivostok, which is a ~4,000 mile, eight hour flight across Russia.

You can book a business class seat for just ~745UD.

The seatmap does indeed show the “Super Space Business Class” configuration, because the first row is in a 1-2-1 configuration.

What I can’t actually figure out is how to book one of those seats. When I go to Rossiya’s website to book this flight I’m redirected to the Aeroflot website. I get that Aeroflot majority owns Rossiya, though I find their whole sales system to be odd. You can book some flights directly on Rossiya’s website, but not other flights.

All of that is fine, the issue is that I can get all the way to the booking page without being able to assign seats. Of course I’d love to potentially book this, but if I do, I’d like to be able to maximize my odds of getting a Super Space Business Class seat.

Rossiya advertises these seats on their website.

When you go to the terms page, it explains that you can pay extra to assign these seats at check-in. However, it doesn’t list pricing, and for that matter I’m not confident I’d be able to assign one of these. Presumably they’ll sell up to 18 business class seats, so once they sell 14 do they just stop assigning regular seats and wait till check-in? Do I just have to show up hours and hours in advance to be sure I get one of these seats, or…? Will all of this be lost in translation on a domestic flight within Russia?

And then the cool thing is that after I fly from Moscow to Vladivostok, I can connect on S7 Airlines on the short flight to Tokyo Narita. I wouldn’t actually pay cash, but rather that flight is bookable with just 15,000 Avios.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?

I’d really like to do this later this year (what sounds more fun than Russia in winter?), I’d just like to do everything I can to maximize my odds of getting one of the Super Space Business seats.

You guys have answers to just about everything, though I’m curious if this is an area where you guys might finally be stumped, or does anyone have experience/ideas with this? And am I the only one who gets excited as an eight year old on Christmas thinking about a Rossiya flight from Moscow to Vladivostok in a former Transaero first class seat?

(Featured image courtesy of Anna Zvereva)

Comments
  1. Hey lucky I flew their 747 from VKO-VVO-VKO, all on the same plane. I did a lot of research on this, I booked business class on the upper deck, but when I went down to check out the nose, it was completely empty!! But Rossiya wouldn’t let me book those seats! They however did let me sit in the front for the last two hours of the flight. The crew thought I was crazy for doing 16 hours of flying in 18 hours (2hour layover in VVO)

  2. Lucky! Make sure to book refundable and call the Aeroflot USA customer service center to choose your seat! That’s what I had to do

  3. 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.

  4. @ John — Thanks for the report, fascinating! I’m curious, how was the experience? Found Aeroflot to be excellent, so curious how Rossiya compares. And is there another benefit to booking refundable that I’m missing?

  5. There is a lot going on right now with flights from Moscow to the Russia’s Far East (VVO, PKC, KHV, UUS, GDX). So I would suggest you to hold for a moment to see the development. Coz it’s really mark it developing right now.

    As of now Aeroflot operats the majority of flights from SVO to the Far East by SU own aircraft. Additional frequencies are also operated by Rossiya from VKO (which is considered lower cost low quality alternative to Aeroflot).

    A week ago Aeroflot announced it would cease operating flights to the Far East as of 10/28 and transfer most of them to Rossiya. Russiya is supposed to be replacing Aeroflot and operating these flights from SVO (and ceasing flights from VKO) under SU code and slots. The announcement caused a revolt from passengers which was backed by some parliament members and governors (who understandably do not want to be exposed to Rossiya service standards instead of the Aeroflot ones).

    So mark it as developing. We really don’t know at the moment how operations would look like. I think you should wait for a couple of weeks to see some certainty.

    As of now. You can get a super space seat only at a check in counter for 12,000 RUB ($200). The aircraft with those seats are EI-UNL, EI-UNM, EI-UNN, EI-UNP, EI-XLP. They operate various flight from VKO to the Far East, SIP, AER along with other aircraft with different cabin layout. So it could be today a flight VKO-VVO could be operated by an aircraft with first class seats, but tomorrow by one without them.

    Anyways if you’re going to take a flight after 10/28 you should be better waiting a bit.

  6. Hey Lucky,
    You can also try them out on a trip to Bali. Aeroflot just announced they will use Rossiya aircraft on SVO-DPS. The route is operated by 777 aircraft so I guess they will also feature first class.
    I think you have been to Bali but still SVO-DPS is a nice long leg to try out their first class! 🙂

  7. I would guess your chances of getting one of those seats depends on who else is on the flight. If there are biggies of some sort, either government or private you’re out of luck. No amount of tipping or being first in line is going to do you any good.
    Good luck. Dan

  8. Hey lucky, I’m glad I booked refundable, because I originally was booked from VKO-KHV on their 747, they changed the plane to a 777 a week prior, so it only cost me 40 bucks to change to VVO. Also, flight attendants are fantastic, food is alright but overall, don’t book business due to angle flat seats, get those super business seats! They were amazing for the 2 hours they let me sit in one

  9. @ Lucky — FYI: I’ve seen the Rossiya 744 on the ground at HKT on several occasions this year. Not sure if it’s operating to the public or if it was seasonal charter service. “1A” is easy enough to say in Thai…

    —JRL

  10. Ben,

    Your strategy on this is flawed to say the least. Russian airlines are super political so if there are VIPs on your flight, they won’t let anyone else sit in row 1. You have flown Air India’s First Class on 777-300ER aircraft–those are the exact same seats Transaero offered except with different upholstery. If you really want to maximize your chances, then choose a route operated by 744–those have 12 former Imperial Class seats (though note that the aircraft came from South African Airways back when the carrier had First Class).

  11. *Correction about my previous post: the F seats on the Rossiya 744s actually came from Singapore Airlines. Watch the url I attached and forward to 10:25.

  12. I did this summer during WC LED-SIP on 744. Nose was not opened for pax, upper deck was fine. I took a look into the nose during the flight and was fascinated. Get ready the check in agents on domestic flights may not have the best English skills and getting something from them can be a real pain.

  13. What about stretching the length of the flight and going all the way to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky? Beautiful scenery on approach. Not sure about connections to NRT though.

  14. @Denis Yeah, I read that on vl.ru recently. It kinda ticked me off. I fly Aeroflot regularly between VVO and SVO, and I love Aeroflot. I decided to try Rossiya from VVO-VKO one time. It was a horrendous experience. The planes were old and the service was subpar. There was no individual entertainment and the food was revolting. Plus, the flights in both directions were delayed due to mechanical issues. I hate the thought of being forced to take Rossiya from Vladivostok to Moscow. To add insult to injury, I read that they will begin charging the same as Aeroflot for that route, which is laughable. The only improvement would be flying into Sheremetyevo instead of Vnukovo.
    @Lucky, I am a long-time American resident of Vladivostok. Feel free to ask questions about what to do in Vladivostok. Just an FYI, VVO airport literally has nothing to do, so hopefully you will enjoy the beauty of Vladivostok for a few days rather than just transiting there.

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