|For those of my Australian readers who have never seen an Aeroflot plane, this is what one looks like.|
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
I grew up in the Cold War.
If one ignores the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, things were much simpler then. There was us in the West (the Good Guys) and them in the East (the Bad Guys). I suppose if one lived in Moscow there was us in the East (the Good Guys) and them in the West (the Bad Guys). That’s pretty straightforward and easy to understand as far as international politics goes.
Of course, us in the West took great delight in ridiculing anything to do with them in the East. That we knew almost nothing at all about what we were ridiculing didn’t matter in the slightest.
The Russian national airline, Aeroflot (Air Fleet) was always a fine target. Perhaps in part because the name of the airline was just so easy to joke around with – ‘Aeroflop’. We would imagine worn-out aircraft with wooden benches; cranky, dumpy flight attendants tossing miserable passengers a boiled potato; pre-flight safety instructions consisting of ‘shut up and keep still’; together with a 50% chance or less of actually arriving at the destination.
With that sort of mental baggage, I was apprehensive about my first Aeroflot flight. In fact, I hadn’t actually seen an Aeroflot plane until we came to Moscow. They don’t venture any closer to Australia than Bangkok.
Having now flown with the airline several times since arriving in Moscow, I can assure anyone who may be considering or concerned about flying with Aeroflot that it is a perfectly good modern airline, no different to flying with any other air passenger service. It runs modern Airbuses, the staff are generally courteous (some of the check-in staff still have a little to learn about customer service, though the flight attendants are always nice); the interior decor of the aircraft is a pleasant dark blue (no, not red!), and it meets modern safety standards – which is a hell of a lot safer than being on the roads.