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.
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.
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.
As you can see, the choices were extremely limited at 9pm.
This was the extent of the coffee available after the full service bar (with a full Italian espresso machine) was shut down.
The drinks available after 9pm in the Marconi Business Lounge
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the amenity kit that was presented just after takeoff.
Inside the kit were eye shades, socks/slippers, comb, shoe horn and a pen but for some reason there was no dental kit.
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?
The wine offered was decent. I love “Regaliali” and was happy to see it on board.
Everything offered was off of the lunch menu.
Warm nuts (fried is the description) that were bland and a glass of Regaliali.
A bread plate, for Noah Mark here on the blog, and Braciola that was kind of tough
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.
Desert was coffee and a vanilla pudding with chocolate shavings that was sweet, but by this time I had enough food for the trip.
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.
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.
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.
After a 10 minute walk from E to D we saw the sign and went to the 4th floor to enter the Blues Lounge.
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:
This was the state of the shower stall. 🙁
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!
The snacks on offer were minimal at best with chips and peanuts displayed at 5am local time.
There was another counter with juice, soda and water next to some baked goods in a refrigerated cooler.
There also was a “Starbucks’ style espresso machine.
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