Flight Report: London to Moscow on Aeroflot
October 16, 2015
Aeroflot A321 aircraft
Check in at London Heathrow Terminal 4 was quick, with dedicated premoum counter and no queuing required. A 4 minute walk to the FastTrack security, where processing took 5 minutes – luckily not a day when bags were subjected to the random secondary searches which can take an eternity here at Heathrow in busier periods. The SkyTeam lounge is a 3 minute walk from security, located by the boarding gate area 17-19.
Aeroflot business class customers can use the SkyTeam lounge at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4. Divided across 2 floors, the lounge provides a wide choice of seating but gets crowded at peak periods – if you can, head upstairs where there is often more room. Hot and cold food options are provided at a self serve buffet in both lounge sections. The food is a bit canteen style and quality is not very special – by short haul lounge standards it’s okay, but falls down when you use the lounge on long haul trips. Reception staff were quite offhand and abrupt, contrasted with the lounge maintenance staff inside who are all quite friendly and efficient. Cleanliness is a bit hit and miss, at peak periods there is often a lot of mess on tables to be cleared. Toilets are small and were not well maintained on this morning departure.
AIRPLANE & CABIN FLOWN
Airbus A321 in Business class, which was about 80% full on this flight.
Aeroflot Business Class permits 2 x 32kg checked luggage and 1 x 15kg carry-on baggage
Aeroflot business class is configured 2×2 on the A321 aircraft. Seated in an aisle seat (5D), the seat width of 21 inches and 38 inch pitch provided a comfortable trip on this 3.5 hour flight. Seat recline is good, and a footrest also helps. This Aeroflot short haul business class seat comfort puts to shame the standards offered by major European airlines on their equivalent routes.
CABIN & TOILETS
The cabin was clean and well presented, the blue leather business class seat covers providing a smart and professional appearance. A standard narrowbody type toilet at the front of the cabin was clean when checked once during this flight.
The flight pushed back on time, and despite a 15 minutes delay for Heathrow take-off slot, the arrival into Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport was on schedule.
FOOD AND DRINK
Boarding drinks were served in business class on this flight, including Champagne. Shortly after take-off, cabin staff took orders for the aperitif and distributed the lunch menu. Drink was served with a bowl of mixed nuts, with cabin staff providing a wine tasting. The table is laid with a cloth, and the meal tray is presented with the appetizer. A good choice of warmed breads was offered. The appetizer was salmon and beetroot, followed by my choice of the fish and black risotto entree, finished off with a cheesecake dessert. Coffee and tea is served with a chocolate. This meal was to a very good standard, tasty and nicely presented. For a flight of this duration I was impressed.
Aperitif served with mixed nuts
Appetiser : Salmon and beetroot
Entrée: Fish served with black risotto
This A321 does not have personal IFE fitted, and business class customers are provided with a handheld digiplayer if required. This offers a slightly condensed version of the usual Aeroflot personal IFE content, and offered a lot of movies and other programmes. It offers a good range of entertainment for a 3-4 hour flight.
A blanket and pillow is provided on each seat, and even a small amenity kit is offered on these quite short European flights. Hot towels are served on small china plates, and all in all the comfort standards were found to be excellent.
The service underlined the remarkable change and transformation that Aeroflot has undergone in recent years. Without exception, the cabin staff were welcoming, courteous and efficient, and importantly they actually seemed to be enjoying their work and looking after customers. They helped with baggage stowage, something that is quite rare nowadays, and their English language skills were really quite good. During the flight they maintained a good presence in the cabin after the meals were cleared away, and the high rating for this flight is based very much on the excellent cabin staff service. Uniforms are very nice too, and all staff were very well groomed.
Arrival into Moscow Sheremetyevo was on time. Staying in transit for an onward flight to Asia, there was no need to pass through immigration and proceeded from Terminal D across to Terminal F for the connecting flight on another airline.
An excellent trip and a pleasant surprise to find Aeroflot high standards are now challenging (in some areas above) many major airlines. The product for their European short haul flights is fabulous – a comfortable seat, great food and nice staff service all contributed to making this most enjoyable. Would certainly select Aeroflot as a favourite option in the future.