July 01, 1995

Transaero: What's all the fuss about?

Transaero: What's all the fuss about?

The international media has been full of horror about the state of Russian aviation: the break-up of Aeroflot into over 400 new airlines, several high-profile crashes, lack of oversight, funding, training, spare parts, etc. However, one new Russian airline has been consistently cited as standing above the pack in terms of service and safety ‐ Transaero. Russian Life decided to find out for itself whether this conventional wisdom held up to a very unscientific inquiry, and booked a staffer and companion on a round‐trip flight to London...

The adventure began with a little price comparison. "All other things being equal..." goes the thinking. Phone calls to the ticket agencies of various carriers revealed the following peak-season rates. For a roundtrip Moscow-London ticket, all of the major western carriers, including British Airways and Lufthansa, weighed in at around $600. Aeroflot was charging $475. And Transaero ‐ $290. It should be noted that Transaero is a bit of a pariah in the airline world for refusing to participate in international ticket-pricing schemes.

A patient, helpful, and bilingual ticket agent was at the receiving end of our reservations call. After reserving tickets by phone, it was necessary to visit Transaero’s main office downtown in the Hotel Moskva to pay for and pick them up. The office was clean and well-marked, with flight schedule brochures in both English and Russian. The ticket agent was a bit aloof, but efficient. A ‘special’ request to purchase each of two tickets with separate credit cards was, unexpectedly, handled in stride. So far, so good.

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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