“Sincerely Yours. Aeroflot”
Skytrax rating: 3 stars
Skyteam Alliance member
- About 100 destinations
- Domestic flights
- No flights
- Previously ex Johannesburg – search flights for more information
Aeroflot was the national airline of the Soviet Union and therefore the largest airline internationally. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the airline has become somewhat privatized, but the Russian government still has a 51% stake in it. Aeroflot aircraft still carry livery in the colors of the Russian national flag. Aeroflot is a shareholder in five subsidiary airlines. Nowadays it competes with the likes of Air France.
Aeroflot provides three cabin classes:
- President Class
- Premier Class
- Economy Class
It is hard to determine to what extent these classes are similar to Western-style airline cabin classes, but the catering is excellent. Economy Class passengers are served two hot meals and may also be able to book Comfort+ seats, which have more legroom but which are not part of a distinct premium economy class, which Aeroflot does not offer.
The frequent flyer program is known simply as Aeroflot Bonus.
Aeroflot historically operated a fleet of Soviet-built aircraft such as Tupolevs and Ilyushins. However, in recent times the fleet has come to consist largely of Airbus aircraft, with some Boeing 767s. The present modernization program has seen the order of more than 200 aircraft, including 22 Boeing 787s and 16 Boeing 777s, in addition to 18 Airbus A350s. This is in keeping with the route network of a long-haul international airline but also one which operates in a country of the size of Russia. It takes several hours to cross Russia from east to west by air, so even a domestic flight may not be short-range in nature.
Another interesting aspect of the Aeroflot fleet is the order for 50 Irkut MS-21s, which is a prototype Russian plane. The only remaining Russian-built planes currently in operation are the six Ilyushins which are used on the trans-Atlantic Moscow-USA route. The 30 Sukhoi Superjet 100s started to be introduced in 2011. Aeroflot therefore has included many locally manufactured aircraft in its fleet, which is an example for Chinese airlines to follow once COMAC begins production of its own planes.
An issue that may be raised about Aeroflot or any Russian airline is the safety of the aircraft. This is unfortunate for two reasons – the Soviet Union was negatively portrayed during the Cold War, and Aeroflot mostly makes use of Western-built planes. The airline does have a long list of accidents to its name, but the vast majority of those happened prior to 1994. If you are concerned about the safety of Aeroflot’s planes, consider that they are the same models of Airbus (Airbus A320 and Airbus A380-800) and Boeing that are used throughout the world, and also that the airline has a 3-star rating. Also, if Aeroflot was deemed to be too unsafe, it would have been banned from operating in Europe and would probably not be a member of an international airline alliance.
In the Soviet era, commercial passenger aircraft in Russia were sometimes flown by military-trained pilots who had a reputation for very smooth take-offs and landings. This may no longer be the case, but if you are interested in flying to or in Russia, please contact us at our partner travel agency, MilesAway, for professional assistance in Russian or English.