By Denise Mattia
Colleagues gasped when they learned I was flying Aeroflot from New York to Moscow with a connecting flight to Armenia. They’d remembered the former unreliable Russian planes.
Today Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship carrier, has an ultra modern fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes considered to be the youngest in Europe, and, among the major airlines, they rank as the largest as well. A member of the SkyTeam Global Airline Alliance, Aeroflot and its partners serve more than 1,000 destinations in 187 countries and are among the global leaders in aviation safety. The average age of the Airbus, Boeing and Sukhoi airplanes is between five and six years. They’ve received safety ratings of 7 of 7 from the bi-yearly Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In June 2013 SKYTRAX awarded Aeroflot the Best Airline in Eastern Europe for the second time in a row. According to FlightStats, a US-based global leader of flight data analysis, Aeroflot’s 2014 record for on time arrivals placed it ahead of SAS, KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways and Emirates.
I flew Comfort Class in an Aeroflot Boeing B777 from New York’s JFK to Moscow. The seats feature increased spacing between rows and are wider than in Economy Class. The seat’s Shell technology is outfitted with a 10.6” arm monitor, which allows passengers to create their own personal space and feel comfortable without bothering (or being bothered by) the person next to them. Additionally, the seat’s “innovative control mechanism” moves slightly forward for maximum comfort, which means the seats don’t intrude on the passenger’s area in front of or behind. The cabin modules also come fully equipped with a Thales entertainment system that accommodates personal electronic devices as well. Two multi-course Business Class meals are served with red and white wine during the main meal. Soft drinks and juices are served throughout the flight. Blankets, pillows and amenity kits are provided as well. During my flight I was able to sit back, elevate the footrest, watch a film and then fall asleep.
My experiences in Aeroflot Business Class cabins included a connecting flight to Armenia and the flights for my return to New York.
At the dedicated check-in queue, I was allowed two, 50-pound luggage cases plus a carry-on. After checking in and accessing the lounge, I boarded the plane and was welcomed with champagne, orange juice or water and an amenity kit. Having opened the pillow and a plush, full-size comforter, I tried the luxurious lie-flat bed.
Every three months Aeroflot’s chefs create new culinary delights. Depending on the flight time and length, breakfast, lunch and dinner and/or snacks are served. Porcelain dishes, linen napkins and real (not plastic) cutlery give passengers the feeling they’re in a restaurant.
Johan Strom, Executive Chef of LSG Sky Chefs, the world’s flight catering leader, created a delicious menu for my flight back to New York. The meal started with a skewer of chicken teriyaki and baked mushroom stuffed with smoked chicken and pesto. Accompanying the savory was a Le Rime Castello Banfi Toscana. The appetizer was a trio of smoked Siberian white salmon, whitefish and Norwegian salmon with Russian red caviar, served with a crisp Chateau Haut-Belian Blanc Bordeaux, followed by a Caesar salad and smoked chicken breast, which were served with another glass of Le Rime Castello Banfi. I skipped the Russian-style fish soup and chose the puff pastery with salmon, spinach and fried mushrooms served with a sour cream sauce. I couldn’t pass up the Russian rye bread with dinner or the three chocolate and St. Germain mousse with peach and raspberry coulis. The mint tea finished the meal quite nicely. Rather than watch another film, I curled up and slept while listening to music playing on my smart phone.
Aeroflot continues to strive to perfect the quality of its onboard services. All the flight attendants during my journeys were conscientious and paid special attention to the needs of passengers. The cabins and commodes were clean, well maintained and well deserving of high ratings. Aeroflot plans to purchase new aircrafts and expand the route network, which will be a boon to all travelers.
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For more information visit Aeroflot.ru. There are various types of tickets sold if booking on line. A travel agent such as Panorama (www.Panorama.com) will help you sort the differences.
About Denise Mattia
A writer and photographer, Denise Mattia’s works are published nationally and internationally and include all aspects of leisure travel: art , culture, resorts, spas, food and wine and sports’ activities. She's the founder of the soon to be launched Yum-Yum-Traveler, a site devoted to reviewing restaurants in addition to her travel articles from around the world. She lives and works in Manhattan, where she was born.