TRIP REPORT: Moscow - Belgrade via Istanbul


Written by D. Radojević

Flight date: 02 March 2023
Flight #: SU 2132
Routing: SVO-IST
Aircraft: A321 (RA-73163)
A/C Age: 9.4 years

Folks, this is my first review so please forgive me if something goes missing or is out of specs; I am not much of a photographer either but I tried my best to bring you some pictures. My intention is to bring to you some info on Aeroflot since it has undergone major schedule changes lately and kind of operates in a shadow of major aviation news due to the flying ban imposed by the EU and other countries in the West. Aeroflot this year celebrates 100 years of it’s existence and of civil aviation in Russia so they are one of the oldest carriers in the world. The plan was to visit Istanbul for five days then continue on to Belgrade. I had two separate return tickets for this journey one on Aeroflot and the other one on Air Serbia. This report will be emphasizing the Aeroflot’s flight while at the end I will add just a few comments concerning Air Serbia’s flight that took place on 07 March from IST to BEG.

I reached the airport some 3 hours prior to the flight. All international flights are conducted from the newest terminal in Sheremetyevo i.e. Terminal C. The same was open some 2 years ago and it was meant to serve all Aeroflot international flights. Sheremetyevo has 5 general public terminals but right now, due to lower volume of traffic, only two of them are in operation, with Terminal C used for all international flights and Terminal B domestic flights. Both of these terminals were the last additions to the airport complex and they are both very modern, spacious and bright.

View of Terminal C after arriving at the airport

Due to increased security measures, the security check at the entrance into the building is as elaborate as is in the pre-flight zone. There was no major queue so the first check was done within 5 minutes, however, I was asked to take out my laptop and to start it in front of the security officer. Incoming taxis arrive and drop off passengers at the adjacent building located where the garage is so the walk to the main terminal is across the pedestrian bridge and takes about 2-3 minutes.

View of the world's largest flight information board

This flight info display is located centrally in the building and is said to be the largest in the world. It truly is magnificent and very difficult to take a picture of both sides in one camera shot but looking at one side gives you the general idea of the magnitude of the entire display when you expand and visualize this by two folds.

View of the check-in area

Although there were several international flights in the morning, there was no rush or queuing at the check in desks. I headed to the check in area dedicated to business class passengers where they had 5 desks open and dedicated only for business class passengers. Basically, there was no wait at all and the check in process took less than 5 minutes. Note that Sky Priority and Business class check-in counters are located in the building area adjacent to the general exit that leads to security and passport checks. Overall good planning and thinking in terms to facilitate high revenue passengers to reach the boarding area with least effort and pain.

Security and passport checks were efficient and both took less than 15 minutes. Again, I had to start my laptop which is annoying because the same is a corporate device that starts acting as it tries to reach the corporate network but c’est la vie … There are over 50 booths for passport checks and about half of them were staffed so waiting in line was not long as most of them had 3-4 passengers in line. Overall, I was in the general boarding area in less than 30 minutes after arriving to the airport.

General view of the duty free

As one can see, the duty free is located as soon as you walk into the departure zone, similar to Belgrade Airport, and you are kind of obliged to walk through it as you are making your way into the building. The duty free is of course much larger than the one in Belgrade and consist of two sections which are both well stocked. I took a couple of pictures to show that all luxury products are still available and awaiting buyers despite Western proclaimed sanctions concerning luxury brands.

International departures board on 2 March, 2023

One can see that a number of companies still fly to Moscow and that international air traffic is far from dead. Do not forget that Moscow is also served by Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Zhukovskyi airports which all have scheduled international flights. Noteworthy is that ticket prices on all airlines went significantly up compared to pre-pandemic times; in other words, and to give an example, to fly nonstop to Belgrade costs now in average about 1200 euros for a standard economy fare!

Lounge "Lisitskyi"

This is the only one of the three lounges in Terminal C that currently handles passengers from Aeroflot and other airlines. One can also purchase entry up to 4 hours for 3500 rub (roughly 40 euros). This lounge is currently the only one in use as the other larger lounge with fantastic views of the tarmac and runways is closed. There is a well-stocked bar and a decent selection of buffet self-service food that is rotated several times during the day, depending on the time of the day. There are several sitting areas available, relax chairs next to the windows and overall it looks very modern and spacious. It also features shower facilities, kids zone, meeting room but I didn’t use those.

Some pictures of the tarmac area with some nice birds

Our bird

To my surprise, boarding was done from a remote stand so we were bussed to the aircraft stand. That is not usual when departing Moscow but it happened due to unknown reason to me. Aeroflot implemented a strict rule several years ago for boarding where it starts 50 minutes prior to the flight departure time and ends strictly 20 minutes prior to departure time. This flight was not an exception and all passengers were on board and seated some 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure time. I took a couple of pictures of the cabin during boarding the aircraft but they turned out blurry so I omitted them from this report. I was seated in seat 1F and upon boarding the flight attendant came to take my coat and asked about offering a pre-take off drink where I had a choice between water, orange juice or sparkling wine (Prosecco). Push back was on the minute and soon after we were taxing towards runway 24R for take-off.


Sheremetyevo has 3 runways with two are currently in use. Menus were distributed while taxing and within some 15 minutes after push back we were in the air for our 4 ½ hrs. flight to Istanbul. As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, the purser came to introduce herself and to take the orders. Both flight attendants (purser and her colleague) were very cordial, polite and smiling at all times when addressing passengers. Seating in Business class is in a 2 x 2 layout for a total of 28 seats. On this particular flight, 27 business class passengers were flying and I was the lucky one to have 2 seats all to myself. Seats are large and very similar to the business class seats that Air Serbia initially had after rebranding. Cabin was clean and immaculate for a 9 years old plane … window was clean and not scratched and honestly, I could not find a single remark related to the look / maintenance of the cabin.


Aeroflot used to have a separate printed wine list that was handed out to passengers but that is not the case anymore. Starters were served first, but, to my surprise, service didn’t start until 1 hour after take off . That was never the case before and it must be due to the fact that 2 flight attendants are not sufficient to serve a full cabin with 28 seats or perhaps it could be due to poor organization and coordination between the two flight attendants serving the front galley.


A selection of warm nuts + I opted for some Chivas 12 years old and water as aperitive.


My selection was the rabbit with olive puree, pickled mushrooms and lettuce served with Burrata sauce. They served some fresh crispy bread on the side and butter. The presentation of the meal was good and it all tasted very fresh and nice. This was a new selection on the menu as catering selection on Aeroflot flights changes every quarter.

Main course

My selection was salmon fillet fish with baked vegetables served with olive oil with parsley and garlic accompanied by some Italian red that proved to be light and delicious so I asked the purser to take a photo for those having the possibility to taste it I highly recommend to give it a try. I skipped desert which was ice cream and I ordered coffee that came with a small Aeroflot dark chocolate which I find is a nice touch. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture. Throughout the meal service, it was visible that the purser who was serving us was over stretched; she was literally flying back and forth the cabin to please everyone with their respective orders and she was very kind and smiley despite being so busy and overworked. Refills of drinks were coming without asking and her attention to detail was remarkable throughout the entire flight. I can’t understand why her colleague was not helping her with the service in a better and more efficient manner.

After about 4 hrs. of flying time we started our descent towards Istanbul Airport where we landed about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Taxiing took a bit longer since the airport is huge but we arrived at the designated gate still some 10-15 minutes ahead of time. Based on my extensive flying history with Aeroflot I must say that it is very common that their flights arrive ahead of schedule to destination as they have sufficient flying block times coupled with a strict and efficient boarding policy. So, to summarize, overall it was a good and pleasant flying experience where everything worked out smoothly from start to finish. Aeroflot provides good in-flight service with regards to both comfort and catering and their crews are fully dedicated to their profession by trying to please and provide attention to the smallest details.

And before closing, as promised, I will provide some info on my flight from IST to BEG on 07 March 2023 with Air Serbia. AC was an Airbus A319 registered YU-APE. Flight completely full to the last seat. Departed the gate on time but at holding point on runway 18L we waited almost 20 minutes before takeoff clearance was given and this resulted in a 15 min late arrival in Belgrade. No explanations were given for such a long wait especially since I saw several aircraft that were behind us taking off ahead of us. Cabin interior condition (view from seat 11A) is represented on the following pictures and remains without further comments ...

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  1. Anonymous09:58

    Wonderful report.

    1. Anonymous12:04

      Thank you, as I mentioned my aim was to bring to readers somethiing a bit different. This is the first review of Aeroflot on this blog I beloeve.

  2. Anonymous10:00

    Out of curiosity is IFE still usable on Aeroflot flights? I read somewhere it isn't due to lack of providers under current circumstances.

    1. Anonymous17:47

      IFE works on their widebody fleet only I believe.

  3. Anonymous10:18

    Wow, I didn't know the Aeroflot maintains such a good level of quality for such a short flight. Definitely on my list of airlines to fly in the future.

    1. Anonymous12:04

      Yoi will not be disapointed!

    2. Anonymous19:40

      Well, 4hours is not so short :)

  4. Anonymous10:45

    It's great that we now have the opportunity to read a trip report on Saturday and Sunday

  5. Anonymous10:48

    Great report, much appreciated!
    The condition of Ju A319s is very sad.

    1. Anonymous12:01

      Yes indeed! unfortunate that they let it operate in such condition

  6. Anonymous12:07

    Great report👍👏🏼 good job!

    1. Anonymous14:00

      Thanks much appreciated...I wish photos were a bit better. Still learning!))

  7. Anonymous13:19

    Very interesting report!

  8. Boris13:50

    Thanks for the report.
    If you would published this trip report anywhere in the West the wouldn’t believe you even with presented photos.
    General public in North America believes there are no luxury goods available ( i see clearly Hennessy cognac LOL) , that there are no international flights anymore, and anywhere and that before remaining domestic flight is conducted Aeroflot takes missing wheels, panels, joystick from the aircraft sitting at the next gate in order to fly LOL

    1. Anonymous13:58

      Yes indeed they believe that but the true is somewhat different and one can buy Louis XIII that costs almost 4000e!)))

    2. Anonymous19:41

      But it's a bit sad to see that one (two) monitors cover all international flights for a whole day. Definitely a far scratch from pre-invasion times.

    3. Anonymous21:22

      True that as in good times 2 monitors would rather show 2-3 hrs of operations.

    4. Anonymous15:15

      US citizens are uneducated and ignorant so not representative to what you call “the West”. That said give it another 6-10 months and we will see the state of Russian airline fleet…

  9. Anonymous16:59

    Thank you for nice trip report :) I should take similar trip in May, so this is very useful for me.

  10. Anonymous18:51

    Great report, thank you!

  11. Anonymous19:42

    Funny that they still use the SkyTeam logo, as well as SkyPriority tags.

    1. Anonymous21:10

      Well they're still part of the alliance, just suspended.

    2. Anonymous21:20

      Officially their membership is temporary suspended not revoqed.


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