TRIP REPORT: Aeroflot, Dubai - Ljubljana via Moscow

TRIP REPORT | INDEX


Written by Erik Tomori

Date: 19.02.2020

Dubai to Moscow:
SU525
Boeing 737-800 VP-BML (A. Khachaturian)

Moscow to Ljubljana:
SU2610
Airbus A320-200 VQ-BIT (L. Landau)

There aren't any nonstop flights between Dubai and Ljubljana yet, so the only option is to connect. Turkish Airlines came to mind as the best option when I was checking the fares through Google flights, but then I saw that Aeroflot was offering tickets about €100 cheaper and also with better departure and arrival times. Furthermore, both layovers were only 2 hours long which, in my opinion, is just the right amount of time. I don’t mind longer flights with narrow body aircraft, so I decided to give Aeroflot a chance. Also, flying out from Ljubljana Airport is very convenient for me since I live about 20 minutes away. Throughout my journey, I noticed that Aeroflot offers very consistent service, in other words, all 4 flights were pretty much the same. Therefore, I decided to write about my return journey in more detail.


My flight departed from Dubai Airport at 2:30AM from terminal 1, so I was able to have another complete day in Dubai. Metro is the best way to reach the airport, but in some cases, when flights arrive and depart in the middle of the night, taxis are the only option which is not that bad since the taxi service in Dubai is very good. I arrived at the airport around midnight because I needed to get my boarding passes as I was not able to get them during online check-in, that took me about 25 minutes. Terminal 1 is home to all non-low cost carriers other than Emirates. The building itself is modern but not as impressive as terminal 3. Check-in, security and immigration are carried out in the main building and gates are reachable by train. My overall experience with terminal 1 was flawless (apart from long check in waiting time). All stores were 24/7 despite the lack of departing passengers. There were plenty of seating areas.

My less than three years old 737 named after famous Russian composer Aram Khachaturian arrived and boarding started shortly. The aircraft was equipped with the new Boeing Sky interior which looks great in my opinion. I really like the mood lighting and new baggage bins which make the rather narrow 737 look spacious. Aeroflot uses the same seat shell in their 737s as Lufthansa does on their Cityline aircraft. Overall, the seat design is better on Aeroflot since it has more padding and a really comfortable adjustable headrest. There are also 2 power outlets per row. Legroom was average (about the same as Lufthansa’s on their older A320s) but the seat was very narrow for such a long flight but that’s quite standard for a 737 which felt really cramped on my way to Dubai because the flight was fully booked. This time, the situation was the same but somehow the seat next to me remained free.


DXB only has two runways which resulted in 1h and 20min of approach on arrival, therefore I expected long waiting time before take-off but that was not the case. There was a meal service on all of my 4 flights with Aeroflot and every time it was completed quickly. Menu cards were provided and there is also an online menu on the Aeroflot website which makes it easier to decide what to order. On this flight I wasn’t too hungry because I already had dinner and it was late. But still the meal on this flight was very good, best thing was black forest cake, it is also nice to see that cakes on Aeroflot are more generous than those on Lufthansa. Flight attendants did a great job by collecting the trays as soon as possible, lights were already dimmed, and I had fallen asleep before they were completely darkened. Flight time from Dubai to Moscow is about 5 and a half hours. I was woken up by the crew after almost 4 hours of solid sleep in order to put my seat upright for landing.




Moscow Sheremetyevo airport is not the most impressive by its looks, but otherwise both of my transfers went smoothly. There are passport and security checks for transfer passengers and there was no need to wait both times. Flights to Dubai leave from concourse E which is nicer than the rather crowded concourse D from which flights to Ljubljana depart from. Aeroflot was recently named as one of the most punctual airlines, looking by the departure screen all flights were on time so the fact might be true.



The flight to Ljubljana was operated by an A320 which offers more space than the B737 and even better seats. Legroom was the best I have ever had in economy and there were also adjustable headrests. Recline was also much better than on the 737. I had fallen asleep during boarding and was woken up by takeoff turbulence. Aeroflot offers a full meal on flights to Ljubljana, there were three options for breakfast, I went for eggs which was the wrong decision (should have chosen buckwheat porridge) because the main didn’t look too appealing. This was only one of my four meals with Aeroflot which was bad and made me miss Lufthansa’s sandwiches. I can’t complain about the flight because I slept till landing again. I also had a whole row for myself as the flight was only about half full. Judging by the lengths of the two immigration queues there were mostly Russians onboard since there was no waiting time at the EU counter.



I would fly Aeroflot again but there are some things worth considering. Here are some of them: Slovenian citizens cannot leave the transit zone in Moscow so make sure not to book long layovers, second thing is that there were mostly no vegetarian options onboard so make sure to order special meal online before the flight. There are also no personal screens on A320s and 737s (there was streaming service on 737 but make sure to download their app before the flight). Also, this routing between Ljubljana and Dubai might not be suitable for someone who cannot sleep on a plane. I hope that a second daily flight to Ljubljana will bring more people to Slovenia and open new routes for us who live here. I can say that Aeroflot offers great service and there is no reason to avoid them as I did when I flew to Baku a couple of years ago. At the time, the only thing I knew about Aeroflot was that they have my favorite livery and that their planes are named after famous Russians (A. Leonov, Y. Gagarin, F. Dostoyevsky…). The problem with Aeroflot and Slovenians is that most people don’t know what to expect and there is also competition from Turkish Airlines which already has an established reputation on the Slovenian market.



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Comments

  1. Anonymous09:05

    Nice trip report, Aeroflot has indeed come a long way. Interesting to see the JP plane in the background. How come it's still there? I am surprised no one took it before corona-meltdown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I was surprised to see the JP plane too, they’ve at least moved two of them since November.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, I was surprised to see the JP plane too, they’ve at least moved two of them since November.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:16

    Nice trip report. They always pop up when I'm looking for flights but like you I kind of ignored them. Might give then a try now when things go back to normal.

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  3. Anonymous09:17

    Everything looks good except that breakfast from Moscow to Ljubljana. That just looks horrid! Are those yellow blocks supposed to be eggs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, those were eggs, but otherwise all other meals were equally good.

      Delete
  4. Khachaturian is an Armenian composer, not Russian :)

    Great trip report!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous12:23

    What a strange routing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:28

      Muy bizzaro indeed

      Delete
  6. Anonymous13:27

    Aeroflot is indeed a very good airline and has made great progress over the last 10 years. It leaves nowadays many Western airlines behind in terms of service. Their service onboard is still legacy style, standardized and one knows what to expect. Their flights are indeed very much on time, for many years of using them I witnessed a handful of delays only and most were related to weather; only one or two mechanical issues that I can recall. Unfortunately with the improvements came also slightly higher ticket prices but they are still quite competitive. Do not hesitate at all in using them; they are VERY OK.

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  7. Anonymous14:21

    Great report and an even better airline. Looking forward to flying with them again.

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  8. Anonymous14:49

    Aeroflot has the absolutely most beautiful livery

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous15:10

    Thanks for interesting trip report! It's really interesting route :) Pity you couldn't leave transit area and visit Moscow.

    I agree with you that Aeroflot is really decent airline, with nice service and livery. I'm looking forward to flying with them again :) I hope all this situation settles down soon.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous18:13

    Nice to see them do well in Ljubljana

    ReplyDelete
  11. so nice to read something from the normal days and not related to coronavirus

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous21:36

    so nice to read something not related to coronavirus

    ReplyDelete

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