Tried & Tested

Flight review: Aeroflot A330 business class

11 Nov 2017 by Tom Otley
Aeroflot Business-class-seat-A330

Background

Aeroflot flies up to four times daily from London Heathrow to Moscow Sheremetyevo (depending on the season), and has an additional daily flight from London Gatwick.

There are several different aircraft types used on the routings, both narrow body short-haul aircraft such as the A321 and widebody long-haul aircraft such as the A330-300.

Heathrow

First impressions

I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 4 at 1145 for my 1335 departure on Aeroflot SU2579 to Moscow, a flight of only three hours and ten minutes (when flown by the A330).

There is a dedicated check-in area at Zone G, where there was no queue, and then I used the fast track to go through to airside. This would have been quick had I not forgotten I had packed my iPad in addition to my laptop, so quite rightly the security check was prolonged.

Skyteam Exclusive Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4

The Lounge

As a member of Skyteam, Aeroflot uses the Skyteam lounge which is set over two floors and is still a great lounge, despite being nearly ten years old. At this time of the day it is quiet, but from habit I went upstairs which is quieter still. There was a good healthy spread for lunch including about ten salad options and some hot food as well.

I took a video of the VIP lounge in the corner while I was there. This can be booked (at extra cost) apparently by top-tier cardholders, worth bearing in mind if you are in a big group, I suppose.

Boarding

Boarding was at Gate 12, which is only a short walk from the Skyteam Lounge. There was no queue, and via the air bridge I was quickly on board. The flight was not very busy in business, though busy in economy.

Waiting at the seat was a bright blue amenity bag with a picture of a flight attendant. It had toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, hand cream, comb, shoe horn (I wish all airlines did this) and a pen. Ear plugs were brought just before take-off.

Aeroflot Amenity-bag

The seat

Aeroflot has several different versions of business class on its aircraft. On this A330-300 it is called Business Class President and is more typically used on longer flights than this three-hour service.

The business class seating is in a 2-2-2 configuration on this aircraft in five rows of six seats and then a final row – row six – with just four seats because of the galley (so 34 in total).

Aeroflot has a few different configurations of the A330-300, however, and total seating in two classes differs from 296 to 301 to 302 seats. I was in the last full row, row 5, in a window seat (5K). The seats are rust coloured with orange head rest covers (and orange leather head rests). On the aircraft these look quite pleasant – the photographs tend to make them look a little garish.

A330-business-class-seat

The seat is a good size and has a good strong table which comes out of the arm rest – it doesn’t vibrate as you work or eat on it. There was in-seat power both by USB and for a plug (US, UK or EU) which meant I could charge both my phone and my laptop while I worked on it.

The other arm contained the controls for the inflight entertainment and the seat, with some presets for quick adjustments or individual controls for smaller adjustments including raising the leg rest or extending the footrest. This isn’t a fully flat seat, more of the angled lie-flat that used to be common in European long-haul business class a few years ago.

Aeroflot Business-class-seat-A330

The IFE had a large choice of films including recent Hollywood films.

Wifi through OnAir was available, but this was highly priced – US$5 for 15 minutes up to US$50 for the entire flight or 150MB.

Aeroflot onbooard Wifi

Best seat

If you want access to the aisle without climbing over anyone, then obviously the two centre seats or the aisle seats are best. Service seems to come from the rear galley so you’d be fairly safe being close to the front of the galley in rows one or two, though I find that even if there is no noise disturbance from crew chatting there, then you get light disturbance when wanting to sleep, so I’d go for row 3 or 4. I had a window seat but no one was sitting next to me so I could spread out.

A330-business-class-seat-

The flight

When we first boarded it was hot in the cabin, and then shortly after take-off it became very cold. I was asked if I was OK with the temperature and said I was, and then it became very hot again.

Food and drink

The menu cards were given out before take-off. Some of the items are by celebrity Russian chefs, and on this flight these were Thierry Mona, Evgeny Vikentiev and Igor Grishechkin. After each item there was a protein, fat, carbohydrate and calorie count, as well as a wine recommendation.

Starter-A330-aeroflot

The options were:

  • an appetizer – fried almonds and fried cashew nuts
  • cold starter – salmon, nelma, grilled bell pepper, capers and black olives served with soft cheese with dill, or baked duck breast, venison carpaccio and duck prosciutto served with blackcurrant mustard sauce and chestnut.
  • Main course options were: beef with porcini mushrooms and parsnip puree, served with malt sauce (by Evgeny Vikentiev); Halibut with enmer wheat and snow peas, served with cream sauce and halibut caviar (by Igor Grishechkin) or Tortilla with vegetable Stroganoff.

I had the salmon followed by the halibut (pictured above), which was not at all dry and has a very tasty cream sauce with it. There was a bread basket with four options including Russian-style rye bread. I was too full to try the dessert of honey cake.

Aeroflot main meal Main-meal-A330

The wines were Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne, Langhe Arneis Blange, Cerruto, Piemont, Italy; Domaine Sainte-Claire Chablis, Jean-Marc Brocard, France; Chateau Valentin Larmande, Bordeaux, France; La Montessa, Alvaro Palacios, Spain.

I had planned to get some sleep on the flight, thinking it would be just under five hours, but since it was just over three I worked right the way through, keeping devices charged and watching the flight map, slightly amazed at how quickly the flight was passing. I also had some Chivas Regal (above) which was served in a reassuringly large measure. I resisted the refill.

Aeroflot Chivas-Regal

Arrival

We arrived on time at Moscow Shermetrova Airport, and were quickly off the aircraft. The flights from London arrive at terminal D. The terminals are connected, so if you are transferring to another flight it would be worth considering whether it is from E or F, for instance, since there are lounges in most of these locations.

I was leaving for a few days in Moscow, so there was a short walk to immigration where there was no queue, and then the baggage carousel where bags were appearing.

Aeroflot IFE-screens-A330

Verdict

Very good. Aeroflot has different aircraft types on this route including short-haul aircraft, but for a three-hour flight this was a slice of luxury. Good service, excellent food and wine and one of the few times I wouldn’t have minded the flight being a bit longer.

FACT FILE

  • PRICE Internet rates for a return business class flight from Heathrow to Moscow in February 2018 ranged between £609 and £718
  • FLIGHT TIME 3 hours 10 minutes
  • CONFIGURATION 2-2-2
  • SEAT WIDTH 20in/51cm
  • SEAT RECLINE 160 degrees
  • CONTACT aeroflot.com
A330-business-class-aeroflot
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