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Well! I never... !

Aeroflot New Livery

Which airline has a brand name that is scampering up the airline brand league table?

Who has one of the youngest fleets, having, basically, consigned most of what they had before, to the scrap heap? Who has an average fleet age of 4.2 years, compared with American Airlines fleet age of 10.3 years and even a QANTAS fleet age of 9.7 years? (according to airfleets.net )

Who has risen from virtually nothing to a 6 out of 7 safety rating (so, the same as flying TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, South African Airlines or Air Mauritius)?

Well, step forward Aeroflot. Yes, them. The airline which, before, was "... the airline you only flew with if you absolutely had to"

Aeroflot have renewed their fleet with modern Airbus and Boeing aircraft, are introducing "Comfort Class" (aka premium economy) on their Boeing 777 aircraft, with a 38" seat pitch and 19" seat width, 2-4-2 configuration, meals and 2 hold bags thrown in. Economy (Coach) offers a 30-32" seat pitch with a width of 17-18" and 20" on their A330's meals and one piece of luggage and amenity kits on the long haul flights. Business Class has the obligatory full flat seats with a 58" seat pitch, 2-2-2 configuration, 21.5" inch seat width on the 777 and on the A330, have a 14 degree incline when flat. Wi-Fi, mobile phone connectivity and other improvements are being rolled out as quickly as possible across the whole fleet.

Aeroflot is a member of the Skyteam alliance, which includes Air France, KLM and Delta.

True, Aeroflot still have some issues. There is the Russian attitude which still creeps in; perhaps that is no bad thing as Russians tend to say things as they are, which may be too brusque for some. Along with which, their Flight Attendants will not tolerate fools lightly - if at all.

You have to change in Moscow, of course, A transit visa is not required as long as you remain in the transit zone, in order to connect to an onward (international) connecting flight. Like with India, China and many other places, this works well until there are over-long delays, in which case you are still stuck in the transit area. On balance, however, most connections work.

There are many reviews about Aeroflot written by passengers which vary from the horrible to the wonderful, with little in the middle. Most of the horrible ones concern matters that could, frankly, happen on any airline (e.g lost baggage) and some of the wildly super-enthusiastic ones, one does tend to take with a pinch of salt. What is clear, is that many of the reviews that are in the middle, indicate surprise at the roundness of the service and carry on the general theme of: "... this airline has come a long way".

Old Livery - old planes "Before" picture!

There have been incidents, though no fatalities for 20 years or so. The most recent one being down to extreme turbulence; which could happen to any airline. Aeroflot turbulence is no different to, say, KLM turbulence or British Airways turbulence. Russian pilots, are or rather, were, perhaps, much more "seat of the pants" pilots and tended to be a bit immune to what was going on the passenger cabin, that too has changed with a much more "user-friendly" approach.

So, no longer the airline "only to be taken if there is no alternative". It is time to view Aeroflot in a new light.

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