A Skyteam Aeroflot experience – a guest post from Dr. John

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Best Credit Cards

landing in JFK

Hello everyone! I am RenésPoints reader Dr. John. Since René has not yet flown on Aeroflot, and I had a just booked two 125k business class award tickets from New York to Bologna, Italy (BLQ) to spend a week in Modena, I asked him if he wanted me to share my experience on the blog. He said yes so here goes!

I was so excited to get the Level 1 business class seats that I didn’t even look twice at the connection OR the airline. So, when the confirmation email came you could imagine my surprise when I saw Moscow (SVO) as our connection and on Aeroflot. Unfortunately, Delta had other plans for my outbound flight when our initial flight out of Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) was cancelled and we wouldn’t be able to fly Aeroflot (SU) from New York’s JFK to SVO after all. But, we did get to fly them on the way home and here is our review of the Aeroflot first class product from Bologna to Moscow and the review of the business lounges.

After spending a great week in Modena, it was time to go home. This starts with knowing that Aeroflot doesn’t staff a full time check-in station at Bologna, they are only there three hours before departure. The good news is that the Marconi Business Lounge is open BEFORE security.

IMG_20160605_230356892

You can get in with Priority Pass but we were invited in by the Aeroflot staff with the first class booking. The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming to the club that was basically empty at the end of the night.

IMG_20160605_213842417

The club has two big rooms with a bank of computers with a printer near the check in desk. By the time we had gotten checked in the club was basically down to one staff member and only the self-service bar was open with just a few snacks in a basket and a cooler full of drinks.

IMG_20160605_214316164

As you can see, the choices were extremely limited at 9pm.

IMG_20160605_214334538

This was the extent of the coffee available after the full service bar (with a full Italian espresso machine) was shut down.

drinks mbl

The drinks available after 9pm in the Marconi Business Lounge

fast pass

Because the lounge is before security, they offer a “fast pass” to people who enter the lounge to make their way through the lines at security much faster. Since we had the last flight of the night out of BLQ, there was no line at security.

IMG_20160605_232941662

At the time of boarding, Aeroflot followed the SkyTeam protocol of Elite Plus and Elites getting on the plane first. But, it was surprising to realize at the bottom of the stairs that everyone was going to board two buses to the plane.

IMG_20160605_234158612

As the first person on the bus, I was also the last off of it and the last up the stairs to board the plane.

IMG_20160605_234741043

First class was 2X2 and had 5 rows and there were only 6 people in first class. The seats were comparable to the other A320’s I’ve been on but the recline was much greater on this flight. The seats came with a pillow that was not wrapped and a thin blanket that was wrapped.

IMG_20160605_235204139

This is the amenity kit that was presented just after takeoff.

IMG_20160605_235044142

Inside the kit were eye shades, socks/slippers, comb, shoe horn and a pen but for some reason there was no dental kit.

IMG_20160605_235348956

Champagne and orange juice was offered pre-flight and the menus were distributed for this 3.5 hour flight that took off at midnight. Maybe Delta could learn something here?

menu

menu wine

The wine offered was decent. I love “Regaliali” and was happy to see it on board.

menu food

Everything offered was off of the lunch menu.

IMG_20160606_244205835

Warm nuts (fried is the description) that were bland and a glass of Regaliali.

IMG_20160606_244435186

A bread plate, for Noah Mark here on the blog, and Braciola that was kind of tough

IMG_20160606_245344534

The main entre was risotto with porcini mushrooms and it was bland and flavorless. The service was fast and efficient. The FAs were really polite and could communicate in English with no problem.

IMG_20160606_010433469

Desert was coffee and a vanilla pudding with chocolate shavings that was sweet, but by this time I had enough food for the trip.

IMG_20160606_243213120

One of the surprises of the night was when the FA handed out these tablets to watch movies on. The selections were decent and all were in English.. This is certainly something that’s needed when there is no wifi on the plane or any way to stream video content.

IMG_20160606_025957157

Just before landing, we were offered this packet of tea as a parting gift. Once we landed, first class was unloaded on to a small bus (we did not deplane via a gate) and that bus was immediately dispatched before the rest of the passengers to line up at passport control. But, because we were transferring to JFK, we had to go up two floors for a passport check at the international transfer desk. There was no line and we exited directly into the E concourse of SVO.

IMG_20160606_033006533

Initially we tried to enter the E concourse lounges, but because our flight was departing from D concourse we were denied entry and told to go to the Blues Lounge. Here the desk agent was as friendly as the KLM “dragons” that work at the lounge at AMS. Even after I presented my Delta Sky Club membership card, I was denied entry. This was a major drag because we had a 9 hour layover at SVO and now we were stuck at only one lounge the entire day.

IMG_20160606_094642652

After a 10 minute walk from E to D we saw the sign and went to the 4th floor to enter the Blues Lounge.

IMG_20160606_141653747

Here the desk agent was “slightly” nicer and allowed my wife and I to enter. I them asked for the availability of the shower facilities and was told they were available immediately and handed me a shower kit. So I headed over to the men’s toilets where the shower stall was located and discovered this:

shower

This was the state of the shower stall. 🙁

IMG_20160606_034454951

The shower kit included a thin orange towel, shower gel, shampoo, makeup remover, shaving kit and (finally) a dental kit. But, the most important part was the shower shoes! I made sure not to touch anything and got out as quickly as possible!

IMG_20160606_040950297

The snacks on offer were minimal at best with chips and peanuts displayed at 5am local time.

IMG_20160606_091329942

There was another counter with juice, soda and water next to some baked goods in a refrigerated cooler.

IMG_20160606_091405500

There also was a “Starbucks’ style espresso machine.

IMG_20160606_040945339

While there was no real high end vodka in the club, there were two different types of Russian beer.

Overall, the room is filled with 4 tables and chairs along with some other chairs along the wall that were old and not comfortable at all. Considering this club is open 24 hours a day, there is no “quiet room” as the club is one big area with dividers. The club is run down and the food when tasted was of the same quality. There is no reason to pay a penny to get into this club as the airport restaurants are always open 24/7 and in addition, there are two hotels attached to the terminals (one of them is located between E and D concourse). If I have to do this over again, I will certainly pay for a hotel room and avoid having to spend extended periods of time in the Blues Lounge.

That said, the best part about the experience was the end of the layover, where just getting on a Delta jet back to JFK made me feel closer to home. – Dr. John

 

my new delta amex biz card

I just got this card – did you? 🙂

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. Ughhhh that shower DUDE!

    One reason not to have a Delta SkyClub membership and instead just have the AmEx Platinum or Citi Prestige… Priority Pass!

    So in the end you’ve only flown BLQ-SVO in Aeroflot metal?

  2. The shower was nasty and you had to walk through the men’s toilet to get there.

    The original route was JFK-SVO-BLQ & the same back. But, due to the cancelled flight we ended up JFK to Naples direct on Delta (train to BLQ). The return was as planned, only BLQ-SVO on Aeroflot. SVO-JFK was always scheduled on Delta.

  3. @Dr. John, In 2015 I flew Aeroflot four times in first class on a r/t/w skymiles ticket (obtained before delta eliminated r/t/w redemptions). The flights were between Dubai, Moscow, Sofia and Amsterdam on A320-200, A320-100 and 737 aircraft.

    The service on each Aeroflot flight was top notch. Except for the seat, the experience was almost to the level of an over-the-ocean, business-class flight. The flight Attendants were excellent and did nothing to damage the popular image of Russian women. All of the flights (even the two-hour flights to and from Sofia) had full meal service and the meals must have been from the dinner menu because they were much more substantial and appetizing than the meal pictured above.

    The Aeroflot 737 had seat-back IFE in addition to the hand-held tablet. The A320 and 737 first-class seats are nicer than the A320 and 737 delta first- class seats. Intra-Europe flights on AF/KLM would have offered economy seats, leg room, and service, no IFE, and little food in first class.

    Those who elect to fly Aeroflot should be aware that there is a good chance that they will have bus gates for arrival and departure at SVO. I did not know this, and was dressed for the weather in Kenya when my SU flight from DXB arrived at SVO in a snowstorm.

    Aeroflot is a great choice for intra- Europe and especially eastern Europe travel in first class

  4. The shower negates the bread plate by miles. Couldn’t have done anything in that place but leave the entire club. Who wants chips and mildew dip!?

    Thanks for the Aeroflop heads up John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *