Aeroflot – decline you aboard while “Boarding is on”Back to Forum
Anonymous22 Feb 2016
I was boarding the 17:45hr Aeroflot flight to Hong Kong at Moscow on 17 Feb. The display board right above the gate said “Hong Kong – boarding now”.
After going through the “gate”, it turned out we needed to go downstairs two floors and catch a bus before we could reach the plane. The gate ticket checking was actually taking place right before bus boarding. Because of the wait for buses, the whole staircase was packed with people. We could only proceed to check ticket when the people in front were cleared. By the time I reached the ticket checking staff, I was told boarding for Hong Kong has already been over.
The staff waved me to go up, without telling me where to find help.
What puzzled me was by the time I went up, the “gate” display was still saying “Hong Kong –boarding now”. Only after stopping several airport staff in panic did I find my way to the Transit Area, at where 4 others going to Hong Kong joined me. We were confused and were wondering why we were declined aboard when boarding was on!
Aeroflot’s handling of the aftermath was even worse. First we were questioned why we didn’t catch our flight when there was enough time to do our transit. We were actually waiting at the gate area waiting for the front block of people to be cleared first when boarding was on. We never heard the last call for boarding. Second, Aeroflot staff seemed indifferent to our plight and proceeded slowly.
For two travelers, Aeroflot offered them tickets to catch the 21:30 hr Beijing flight, from where they could transfer to Hong Kong. For three of us HongKongers, the officer said his General Manger would decide what to offer us. We asked, and were told decision could be made in 20 min. It was 20:25hr then. 20 min would be enough for us to buy tickets and catch the Beijing flight, in case Aeroflot refused to offer free tickets. So we agreed to wait. 20 min passed and no answer. Another 5 min passed and the officer walked out of the office. We stopped him and he said he’s already informed his colleague about our cases. But it seemed his colleague had no clue on our stories and we repeated again. She called her manager, and we were told to wait again. Asked again, this time the general managers were changing shift and we needed to wait again. 21:30 passed. Then 21:45 also passed. 22:00 we asked again and we were told the next available flight to Hong Kong would definitely be in the next day.
Since we arrived at the Transit Area, other passengers kept coming in, complaining the same problem: boarding at the right gate when boarding was on (as indicated in the display board) but were declined aboard at the end. Throughout the time our requests to meet the general manager was refused as the general manager was not there, nor could he/she be reached by phone. Staff could only tell us she has called general manager three times. Apparently it’s neither the staff nor the general manager’s interest to find us the soonest flight back to HK and they didn’t care if we were stranded in Moscow airport overnight.
Finally, at around 23:45, verdict was out for us: two passengers were given free tickets for the flight next day while I needed to pay for my new ticket. Aeroflot staff didn’t even tell me when would be the next available flight, if there were available seats, or price of the ticket until I asked.
Then I needed to walk 10 min to buy ticket, of which I was asked to put three signatures on a document totally in Russian that I don’t understand.
At the beginning, the staff had no clue on the whereabout of our luggage. At one time they told us the luggage were transferred to a very special place that retrieval would be very difficult and time consuming. The next moment, they told me I could get back my luggage immediately. We were told our luggage would not leave with the original plane if we didn’t board it. It turned out one of us who was stranded in Moscow has his luggage been flew to Hong Kong.
We were forced to book hotel and stay overnight. Aeroflot didn’t provide dinner or accommodation. For those who couldn’t afford hotel, they were forced to sleep somewhere in the airport.
From the time I sought help from Aeroflot to the time I collected my luggage, it was more than 3.5 hours. I was totally worn out, and have never been so frustrated and pissed off! I can’t believe staff from an airline could be so indifferent to a customer’s need. They are only fast in passing out complaint form for us to fill in!22 Feb 2016
SojournerHK – words really fail me over your treatment. I am very grateful for your post because thanks to contributors such as yourself and others on this forum I have a growing list of airlines, who due to transit issues I will avoid and Aeroflot has just been added despite the fact they have some very good prices, my thanks and sorry for your troubles.22 Feb 2016
I am sorry to say I have heard other similar stories with regard to Aeroflot. Rather like Turkish Airlines they seem to be an organisation that is fine when things are running to plan but which has no ‘plan b’ for those occasions when problem occur. Combine this with the Russian attitude to customer service and one has a recipe for a tough trip.22 Feb 2016
SVO can be like a zoo! Sadly whilst SU has a great Business Class product in the air, on the ground it’s awful! Sorry to say it, but they seem to always look after Europeans first. If from Africa, you have 2 hopes of being dealt with promptly – Bob Hope and No Hope!22 Feb 2016
what a terrible nightmare!, reminds me of a similar incident in CDG a few years back, catching a flight back to LHR they changed the gate at the last minute, at the original boarding gate. there were about 15 of us waitimg who ran like hell to the new gate which was boarding by bus. they closed the gate even though the last bus was still parked outside the gate and only half full. instructed to go back to CS department. those who were going back as a transfer were offered hotel and flights on the next day, those of us who were just returning home were told our problem, we missed the flight so no new flight, no refund, no hotel, nothing! i then had to wait 2 hours for my offloaded bags, find a hotel and booked sleazyjet home the next morning. none of us who were refused a next day flight could understand why transfers were allowed but us not. I have flown AF a few times since and glad to say they seem to haev changed a lot since then22 Feb 2016
As it appears to be, you were not the only one having issues with Aeroflot. The same day we had almost the same experience where we had to go to Amsterdam. With us the display board said “Shanghai boarding now” while actually it was the Amsterdam flight. I’ve demanded an explanation! I am so curious in what they will come up with.22 Feb 2016
OMG…What terrible experience!!!
Sympathy to SojournerHK.
Finger crossed I don;t experience anything like that. I think i would have lost it with that sort of attitude.23 Feb 2016