Wow: Flat Beds On Yakutia Airlines’ 737s

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Russian aviation is so fascinating to me. While I’ve flown Aeroflot (and had great experiences with them), I’m really interested in trying S7 Airlines, which is one of the only oneworld airlines I haven’t flown, as well as Rossiya, which operates some former Transaero aircraft.

There’s a third Russian airline going right to the top of my list of airlines to try, though. Yakutia Airlines is based in Yakutsk (in Northeast Russia), and operates a fleet of about a dozen planes, including Boeing 737s, Sukhoi Superjets, and some Bombardier Q400s.

Perhaps the coolest thing is the business class product that Yakutia Airlines has on their 737s. Yakutia Airlines recently introduced fully flat beds on their 737s. The airline used to have eight business class seats on these planes with standard recliner seats, while now they have a single row of four business class seats, in a 2-2 configuration.

They are now the only airline in Russia to have flat beds on narrow body aircraft, which is pretty cool. Here’s what we know about these cabins:

  • Yakutia Airlines is installing these seats on their 737-800s
  • The airline has four 737-800s — two already have the new seats, one is being reconfigured, and the last 737 is being retired in 2020, and won’t get the new seats
  • They admit to doing this because Aeroflot started flying between Moscow and Yakutsk, and the airline wants to have a superior business class product

The Yakutsk to Moscow market seems to be the carrier’s premium market, and the airline flies this with multiple daily frequencies. The flight covers a distance of over 3,000 miles and takes over six hours, so I guess it’s not surprising they’re trying to come up with something good.

It would appear that Yakutia Airlines’ business class fares on the 3,000+ mile flight from Moscow to Yakutsk are just over $1,000 one-way.

I’m feeling an epic review trip on the horizon — S7 from Vladivostok to Yakutsk, Yakutia from Yakutsk to Moscow, and Rossiya from Moscow to Vladivostok.

Does that sound like the best time ever, or what?!

(Tip of the hat to Cariverga)

Comments
  1. Just flew S7 SVO-KJA and can confirm from other commenters in the past, you are not missing anything. I know you want to cross it off your Oneworld list, but that’s the only reason to fly them. 5 hours with no IFE (excluding people watching, which in Russia is always A+) was not ideal.

    It was totally fine and uneventful.

  2. I’d gobble up these reviews so fast. If you’re up for it, it’d also be fun to hear your experiences visiting Yakutsk in the dead of winter

  3. I like everything except Rossiya to Vladivostok. Their IFE is usually broken, which might be the end of you on such a long flight. They also refrain from serving alcohol in business class, and the cutlery and plates are basically from economy. If you are going for a “horror flight” kind of review, then sure, otherwise – please don’t.
    S7 is mediocre but okay, should be acceptable.
    You can also try UTAir with their “real” business class.

  4. If you need to get to Moscow you should try BA mid haul a321 business class which I think is sometimes used on that route- they’re ex BMI planes and have fully flat beds.

  5. Hey Ben, I wonder if they have partnerships with any airline to credit the miles 🙂 , in anyway I think you should do it for fun and we will enjoy reading! Russia is cool!

  6. Hehe you also might be able to pull a JFK-Anchorage and then Anchorage to Yakutsk on one of Yakutia’s summer weekly flights if Eastern starts their plans anytime soon.

  7. So here’s an interesting twist. A few of you may remember that transaero had 3 class 737’s they used to serve select European destinations. The aircraft yakutia is using are these very same ex transaero 737-800. This can be easily seen by a quick lookup of their aircraft fleet but also can be seen by the fact that these lie flat seats are identical to the ones transaero used other than a changed head rest cover.

    Would still love to try the product but figured I would pass some info along. @lucky

  8. @Ben try flying Rossiya to Khabarovsk instead of Vladivostok – you’ll get an ancient ex-Singapore Airlines 747 that way. Bonus points if you manage to snag the one with the original SIA First Class still in the nose!

  9. But for the fact that I find Russia a thoroughly unpleasant place these days, this would awesome.

  10. I would agree with the others that S7 while perfectly fine for getting to your destination, is nothing special, I would put them below Aeroflot in service for catering, no IFE. However, they have some routes not served by other major airlines, e.g. international flights from their hub in Novosibirsk (OVB), which is the main reason to choose them if that fits your plans. Rossiya is a budget subsidiary of Aeroflot. No experience with Yakutia.

  11. While you are there, perhaps a classic Antonov AN-24 economy review of Alrosa Air would be very interesting. They fly to Mirny (MJZ) from Yakutsk.

  12. One time I flew S7 from Moscow to Ulan Ude. Most of the plan was 3-3, but my row was the exception, being 3-2, with the extra spot (next to me) occupied by a barrel of rope. I would have slept ok, except the FA tossed a scalding hot mystery meat cutlet wrapped in tinfoil onto my lap while I was sleeping. This was 2007, so maybe it’s better now.

  13. @KevinS Why do you find it unpleasant? I currently live and work in Russia, and find it to be quite normal. Of course, it has its problems, but so does everywhere else in the world. Is your comment based on personal experience or media hype?

  14. Just flew S7 from Moscow to Chita, overnight in economy. I had three seats so I guess you could call that a fully flat bed!. They advertised wifi IFE but I did not try it. Food was much better than that on my connecting Emirates flight from Dubai and Cairo (that was absolutely terrible , barely edible). By the way S7 has a number of Emirates code shares. Still waiting to see if it credits on Alaska. Overall S7 economy is better than any US carrier.

  15. @Lucky has your russian visa already expired or is it still valid? If so, for how much longer?

  16. Lucky, I think doing a trip report like this would be fantastic! I’ve flown Rossiya once (VVO-SVO), S7 a few times (between Vladivostok and Seoul), and Aurora (from Vladivostok to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Seoul, Tokyo and Khabarovsk). None of them are special, but from Vladivostok, S7 and Aurora are convenient for flying elsewhere in the Far East. Rossiya is just a miserable experience, but I decided to try it once to Moscow. Never again.

    As Alex mentioned above, Rossiya flies old 747’s to Khabarovsk from Moscow. I think it would be interesting for a review. Then you could fly Aurora to Vladivostok, S7 to Yakutsk, and Yakutia back to Moscow.

  17. Please let me know when you finalize the itinerary – I live in Yakutsk and would love to say hello!

  18. Jesse,

    Yes, I have been there 3 times in the last 15 years. I just found it dreary, depressing and the people generally unfriendly (this in Moscow and St Petersburg). Also, as a gay man it was not very welcoming…

  19. Jesse – Well that hardly means anything. I’m not comparing them in terms of severity, but millions of people also lived through Nazi Germany thinking it all seemed perfectly normal!

  20. Yakutia Airlines will be resuming their summer service from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk (on the Kamchatka peninsula) with connecting service on to Yakutsk on 3 Sundays this year – 8/18, 8/25 and 9/1. Kamchatka is a popular destination for rafting trips, etc.. Would you be up for this challenging routing, Ben?

  21. You are amateur, Comrade.
    Yakutia flies the only Anchorage – Siberia flights 3 times a week in summer only on those flatbed 737s.
    Now that’s a flight few Yankees ever take.

  22. Nice Business Class on a narrow body fleet.. Other European Airlines should follow their example.

  23. Please tell me I’m not the only one who saw the title and misread it as “Flat Beds on Baltia Airlines” at first?

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