From 2002 to 2011 TTG (Travel Trade Gazette) awarded Hong Kong airport with "TTG Travel Awards" as the world’s best airport.
It has also been named the best in the world by Skytrax 7 times since 2001. And the airport was only opened in July 1998.
Flight SU 213 took place on 08.01.2013. Departure time is 11.50. Travel time is 10, 5 hours. You can check in online on the air company’s site 24 hours before the flight.
And already at this stage Aeroflot didn’t show itself to advantage, and it wasn’t for the first time. Not in any other air company have I been faced with a problem like this. And here is the thing. If you are choosing seats at the same time with someone else and your choices coincide, you will know whether you were successful only after the registration has been completed. And it can happen that the seats on the ready to be printed out boarding passes are completely different. Moreover, the reservations system won’t even bother to seat people travelling in the same company together – on the contrary, it can easily put them every which way. The most interesting thing though, it’s impossible to change online the seats chosen by the system, not you.
This is the official version which will be confirmed if you call the Aeroflot hot line. Yet, having experienced these peculiarities of online check-in before, I knew that if four staff people say it’s impossible to do anything about the situation, the fifth one will reregister by phone. What’s that - unwillingness to work, incompetence? I really don’t know, but it leaves a bad impression. I understand there can be a lot of people trying to get good seats on a plane at the same time. But I don’t believe that it’s technically impossible to send customers back to the cabin plan with an offer to choose other seats if the desirable ones are not available.
Try buying tickets on RZD site and you’ll understand what I mean. Aeroflot can learn even from fellow nationals. And it would be even better to look at how other air companies work. Of course, if you know about the flaws of online registration you can cheat a little bit, but I doubt it’s the only possible solution.
It was a bit of lyrical digression)
Chek Lap Kok Airport is connected with the island by the train "Airport Express". It makes a couple of stops on its way at major transport interchanges. Hong Kong station of the Airport Express line was opened in July 1998 and there’s a memorial plate on the outside wall of the building.
You can check in at Hong Kong station, which seemed very convenient. There’s also a departure board where you can see which counter you need to check in for your flight.
Here you will also find a ticket counter for the Airport Express
..or you can buy a ticket from one of the automated ticket machines
The check-in counter for flight SU 213 is 19
The check in is being done in a half-empty building
I was a bit worried, of course, thinking about the extra way my luggage would have to go till it reached the plane. However, getting ahead of myself, I got my luggage safe and sound in Moscow.
The good thing is you can travel light in comfortable trains and you don’t have to worry about check-in queues at the airport.
You can get from the building to the Airport Express platform by lifts
As well as inside the building there’s a departure board on the platform
The passage to the trains
Above the door there’s a route pan to the airport
Inside the Airport Express
All necessary information is indicated on the board in a compartment (including the information about the terminal of your flight)
Aeroflot operates its flights from terminal 1
The journey to the airport takes about 25 minutes. The exit – terminal 1 (to the left) and terminal 2 (to the right)
I was, of course, curious to see how the check-in is organized at the airport
There were hardly any passengers in sector D
The airport itself is quite spacious and modern
Since the luggage has already been checked in and having the boarding passes we proceed straight to the gate
Inside the clear zone on the way to the gate
Gate number 30
Our plane in Airbus A330-300 named by A. Bakulev
Somewhere on the airfield
The boarding has begun
The plane has a typical two-cabin configuration. The economy class is in blue shades and the seats are arranged like this: 2-4-2
and there’s a rack for feet
the seat arrangement in the business class is 2-2-2
The seatbacks are equipped with the standard for this type of aircraft monitors with an entertainment program
In the seatback, predictably, there’s a safety instructions leaflet, an in-flight magazine and an entertainment program guide
Preflight instructions are given
and we are ready for take-off
The flight Moscow - Hong Kong was delayed by two hours. That’s why the fact that the plane started taxing 5 minutes after the scheduled departure time was a pleasant surprise. We took off at 12.15 local time.
And soon Hong Kong disappeared behind the clouds
After 40 minutes they started to serve the drinks
And then the main meal (pork or fish). That’s how pork looked like. Quite edible.
Flying over China. 81 km from Taiyuan and the Chinese space centre
It’s not superclean in the toilet, but it will do.
The sunset. It’s 166 km to Tobolsk in West Siberia.
2,5 hours before the end of the flight they served drinks and dinner. Beef and rice.
During the flight the captain and the crew got in touch with the passengers several times. However, the sound was of such poor quality that it was almost impossible to understand even in Russian. You can only imagine what the foreigners could hear in “the English” version.
The landing in Moscow was smooth. Yet, to be honest, I don’t feel like writing about Sheremetyevo Airport, terminal F. In contrast to Hong Kong Airport, it wouldn’t look serious at all. Maybe, next time.
On the whole, my impression of the flight is rather positive than negative. However, the 2 hour delay and the problems with on-line check-in spoil the whole picture. Well, and terminal F, you know… As for the latter, it’s not the air company’s fault, of course, but it’s impossible to review the flight without the service related to it.
As a result, it’s a four … with minus)