In the Air on Aeroflot...
How it is spelled in Russian.
Back to Russia.
September 13, 2006

If at all possible, avoid this airline.

I think it is easy for people to take airplanes for granted. For some reason I thought most planes were created equally (with a few
differences here and there like seat configuration, types of movie screens and food selection). I was so very, very wrong.

These planes sure weren’t any Boeings or Airbuses…

Welcome to Aeroflot…home of no overhead storage, no air-conditioning until an hour into the flight and no beverage service for the
last six hours of a flight. It is also the home to planes that vibrate as they get ready for take-off.

The middle of the planes look very…well….empty. You know they are missing something, but what? Then you realize it – there is
absolutely nothing on top of the seats. No overhead bins whatsoever. This is one airline where I can fully understand the ‘one carry-
on’ rule.

As we were sitting on the plane getting ready for take-off, I was getting hot. Very, very hot. There was absolutely no circulation. I
could not help but think that this was very well how it might be for the next eight hours. Typically, on any other plane, I would start
fidgeting around with the air vent above me. But remember, there was
nothing above me. About an hour later, the air was turned
on. It still is a mystery as to where it was coming from…

Ahhh…and then there was the moment before take-off when the entire roof of the plane was uncontrollably vibrating and shaking.
At this point, I had already realized that these airplanes were just different from other ones and that this was a normality for this
fleet. After all, if the flight attendants did not look panicked, there was no need for me to worry.  

And you can’t forget about the domestic fleet where it is easy to tell how many unused seats there were on a flight. How is this so?
Well, all of the seats that nobody is sitting in fall forward on the landing. So you see…all you have to do is look for all of the seatbacks
that are not in the normal upright position (that airplane seats normally are) and are instead laying on the actual seat.

Ohhhh…and then there are the bathrooms. The lovely Russian bathrooms. After almost a minute, I finally figured out how to turn
on the faucet. But then it came time to turn it off. At first I waited to see if it was one of those that automatically turned off. I prayed
this was the case as I was not sure how to proceed. Unfortunately for me, this wasn’t the case and I stood there touching everything
and trying to turn anything that looked like it could move. I was still unsuccessful. I thought about leaving the bathroom with the
water still running because I was just about all out of options. Finally I knelt down a bit and looked underneath the faucet. Jackpot!
I saw a little lever and pushed it and this was the key. Victory for me in the Aeroflot bathroom! Sadly though, at this current time I
still never managed to find the button to flush the toilet. I was in there for at least a few minutes looking at all of the possible options
and things that could possibly look like a button. I was touching all of the black circles realizing that none of them served any
purpose whatsoever. I admit defeat in this department of the Aeroflot bathrooms. In the end, I came out 1-1. Not bad when you
consider what I was up against…