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You might know Russian airline Aeroflot as the super-tawdry airline that three years ago decided to take nude pictures of its flight attendants and put the photos in a VIP calendar. Or as the super-sketchy airline where the employees make their own bongs and smoke up in the galley. This is not a company known for its squeaky clean image, or its professionalism, or its squeaky clean professionalism.
So we were surprised to learn that the rest of Russia sees Aeroflot - and now we're quoting the New York Times - as "at the forefront of a broad and transformative trend in the Russian service industry." The idea is that the Russians have traditionally been staggeringly horrific at customer service. So Aeroflot began holding classes for its employees and reminding them, among other things, to say things out loud to customers. The classes worked, and other companies began to notice.
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It seems like pretty much each and every airline is considering—or at least has or had—a low-cost carrier sibling. Competition is pretty strong out there, so if you’re able to offer up a cheaper alternative it’s probably a good idea.
The latest carrier to throw their hat into the budget ring just might be Aeroflot, as there are rumors that the Russian carrier is thinking of launching an LCC beginning at some point in 2014.
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With his US passport revoked and an entire country's top intelligence attempting to locate and nab him, Edward Snowden must not be having the smoothest travel week.
Snowden, the source behind one of the biggest security leaks in history, successfully made it from Hong Kong to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on SU213, where he met with representatives from the Ecuadorian embassy this weekend. What set reporters to licking their chops, however, was Aeroflot's confirming that Snowden was booked to fly on their nonstop route from Moscow to Havana, Cuba before heading on to Caracas, Venezuela and Ecuador.
Some media actually booked themselves onto SU150, hoping for any exclusives that'd come from being stuck in a plane together for the long-haul flight, while others simply booked tickets to anywhere in order to camp out at the flight's boarding gate at SVO.
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There’s a little bit of an arms race going on in the former Soviet Union, as the country’s carriers are going all in when it comes to in-flight WiFi. Last year Transaero flipped the switch on some up in the air connectivity, and now it sounds like another carrier from Russia is getting in on the in-flight fun.
If all goes according to plan Aeroflot will be wiring the necessary bits and pieces right into their planes, as they look to get the in-flight WiFi up and running on plenty of planes before the end of the year. In total there will be like 26 planes getting the new technology, as it appears the airline will be initially focusing on some of their long-haul aircraft. Airbus A330s are up first, and then some Boeing 777s will get into the mix as well.
Will this be the winner?
Before we even start to tell you about this contest from Russian airline Aeroflot, a disclaimer: in order to win the prizes, you have to be a Russian citizen living in Russia. Booooo. BUT! If you just enjoy dreaming up artwork for airplanes, then this may be for you anyway.
Here's what's going on. This year is Aeroflot's 90th Anniversary. That's pretty excellent considering airplanes have only existed since the Wright Brothers did their thing in 1903. So this company, which is one of the oldest in aviation, is naturally going to be giving a couple of their airplanes special paint jobs to celebrate. The first is a retro livery, which has already been decided uponcheck it out. The second is up to you, via a contest.
Here's what to do:
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Last week, we showed you the unique paint jobs some airlines have slapped on their planes, specifically for these Summer 2012 Olympics. Well, that's not all of 'em as Russian airline Aeroflot has decided to get into the spirit too; they're just two years early.
You may know that the 2014 Winter Olympics will be centered in the Russian town of Sochi, so it makes sense for the airline to repaint some planes to gain some excitement for the Games while the spirit is high.
The Airbus A320 features the logo for the Sochi games as well as the three mascots, smiling to welcome passengers.
Raise your hand if you can name any Russian airlines. Wait, you didn't know there was more than Aeroflot? Well there is, and one of them has their sights firmly set on more direct routes between Moscow and the United States. We're talking about Transaero, an airline that's been around since 1990 and will now begin flying to both New York and Miami later this month.
With only 50 planes, Transaero is far from being mistaken as a huge airline, but they are pretty major over in Russia and are favorites for holiday travel, with routes like Moscow to Sharm el Sheikh and Moscow to London. The new Miami service is unique as it will make Transaero the first airline ever to have non-stop flights between Moscow and Miami.
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Flight attendants are up to their sexy mischief again, right? Wrong. On Monday we caught you up on the most recent perk being given to male Aeroflot VIPs, a calendar filled with some of the Russian airline's flight attendants being very, very naked. This gift was in some ways an implicit response to an arguably more provocative ad from Russian LCC Avianova, which involves bikini-clad stewardesses soaping down an airplane for no discernible reason (cost-cutting maybe?).
Don't worry, you can view the whole titillating commercial below, but first let's discuss how Australia's flight attendants are calling for a ban on it.
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Of all the NSFW flight attendant posts we've doneand we've done more than a couple recentlythis is by far the NSFW-iest of all. Russia's national airline Aeroflot regularly mails out gifts to its VIP loyalty program members, and this year they've settled on one perk designed to literally perk up their male customers.
The company will send out a 2011 calendar that fits nicely into the rest of Russia's sex-soaked culture, where each page has one of the airline's female flight attendants in some state of undress. And by "some state" we mean "totally, completely, unapologetically naked." Between this and last year's Aeroflot news, it seems like Aeroflot's cabin crew is perpetually just a video camera and a bong hit away from a debaucherous drug-fueled orgy. Which is kind of awesome.
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Is winter cabin fever setting in yet? Are you itching to travel before the holidays ground you with too much cranberry sauce? Well, all we can say is just be happy that you don't live in the region of Chechnya because they just had their first international flight in 15 years.
Okay, so there are other reasons why you should be thankful you don't live in Chechnya, like all that conflict and the human rights violations over the last 18-plus years. But since we've got the current state of Russian carrier Aeroflot on our minds, this bit of news made our ears perk up.
When we haven't traveled in a few weeks, we get serious ants in our pants and we begin to consider anywhere in the world so long as there's some special or deal. Finding ourselves currently in such a mood, we jumped at @airfarewatchdog's tweet that flights to Cairo, Egypt on Russian airline Aeroflot in February were showing up under $500, including all taxes and fees.
Indeed we found the promised fares right on Aeroflot's website, with departures at a "promotional fare" of $67 each way to Cairo, switching planes in Moscow. Add on taxes and fees, and the total comes to a meager $501.70. We can't even get from NYC to London for that, but Egypt? Okay!
Often we wonder why airlines still remind you, at the beginning of every flight, that "this is a non-smoking flight," because who can remember the last time open flame was welcomed in the sky? Of course, this innocent reminder goes for the flight attendants just as much as the passengers, but apparently needs to be broadened into "this is a non-bonging flight" for some Russian crew.
Thanks to Gadling, we've been turned on to this video of a possible Aeroflot crew not only smoking in the galley, but fashioning a plastic bottle into a personal bong for smoking hash. Aside from the obvious major no-nos associated with this (like setting something on fire, doing drugs on the job and doing drugs on the job when you're job is to protect the safety of others), we wonder at their stupidity to then film it and post it online.
If anyone happens to speak Russian and can translate their giggly words, which we bet are saying "oh man, this is totally going to get us fired," then let us know in the comments, because from now on, we'll be wondering what exactly is going down in the big galley in the back.