Going onboard an airplane for the first time in my life I had the same excitement most described during their first flights. I arrived in Moscow safe and on time, flying on an Ilyushin Il-18. Actually, for that series of flights, I always flew by IL-18s with the exception of two flights, but more on those later.
I was scheduled to fly on to Samarkand on the same day as arriving in Moscow, but it turned out that because of the unexpected early snowfall all flights were delayed. Every three hours, there came a newer delay; I ended up waiting at the airport for three days. All seats were taken in the airport as thousands of people were stranded. I tried to get some sleep from time to time by opening my suitcase and sitting on top of my belongings, while propping my head on someone else's traveling bag. It goes without saying that I had no shower during these days.
At last we were airborne again for the five hour flight to Samarkand. To amuse myself I invented a wicked game: I told my fellow student, a girl (of course), that one of the plane's engines is malfunctioning. I managed to cause quite a panic for a few minutes. We are inclined to commit such hoaxes at the age of 23.
For the short distance between Samarkand and Bukhoro, I flew by a Yakovlev Yak-40 with a capacity of about 40 passangers. On this domestic flight, some people bought two tickets, one for themselves and one for cargo, as they were carrying boxes packed with pomegranates and other fruits, chickens, etc.
The airport in Bukhoro was actually a vineyard with one small building of about 1000 sq. feet. There were wooden benches along the walls outside, a toilet and a waiting room inside. There was a small window in one wall, and it's there where travelers could make arrangements for airplane tickets.
Waiting here two days later for our plane to Tashkent, we were sitting on the aforementioned plain benches, full of anticipation. The Yak-40 was gearing up for take off when suddenly, a mechanic turned up with a large hammer in one hand and a ladder in the other. He climbed on top of the plane and hit it at different places with the hammer. Likely it was some sort of security check, we hoped. Onboard we again had chickens as fellow passengers.
A longer flight followed from Tashkent to Tbilisi. On these long flights no food was served, only candies were distributed. Tbilisi to Yerevan (in Armenia) was again a short flight, with only a distance of about 150 miles. In Yerevan, I found that my next flightthe final one to St. Petersburgwas delayed again for six hours. After a while, already on board, the passengers were informed that due to weather conditions we will touch down instead Moscow. Then, with the diversion to Moscow, I waited a whole day for the flight back to St. Petersburg.
I enjoyed all this in spite of the difficulties. It cost me 70 Rubels; you could sell a pair of Levi's blue jeans for about $200 at that time.