From Siberia to Moscow on Yamal
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 ⇒  ⇒ From Siberia to Moscow on Yamal's Boeing 737-400


amarchukov

From Siberia to Moscow on Yamal's Boeing 737-400

17.04.2014 г. amarchukov
Yamal Airlines is headquartered in Salekhard, a town in Northern Siberia. It's a regional airline which primarily operates flights within the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, one of Russia's provinces, and also makes money through supplemental odds and ends like summer trips to Sochi, charter flights, trips to foreign resorts, etc.

In Summer 2012, Yamal Airlines began offering regular flights between Moscow and Krasnoyarsk. Since I was flying from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow anyway, I decided to give this exotic regional airline a try.

The airline scheduled its new flight, YC-392, to depart Krasnoyarsk at 6:35 AM, which made it the earliest flight headed to Moscow, which would no doubt be convenient for some travelers.

Departure was from Krasnoyarsk Yemelyanovo Airport.


The terminal for domestic flights in Yemelyanovo Airport isn't very large by modern standards, built in the 1980s and remaining largely unchanged since then.

Unremarkable check-in stands:


The entrance to the secure area:


The waiting area, perpetually over-crowded in the mornings:


Our newly-arrived plane taxies through the morning mist onto the apron.
Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

Usually, Yamal Airlines uses an Airbus A320 for its Krasnoyarsk-Moscow flight, and that model of plane was even listed in the flight schedule. However, the flight actually took place aboard a Boeing 737-400, tail number VQ-BIK. The plane was made in 1997.

The airliner is prepared for departure:
Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines
Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

Departure was exactly on schedule. Boarding was done by shuttle and ramp.
Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines
Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines
Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

The Boeing 737-400's cabin has a two-class arrangement: 8 business-class seats, separated from economy class by a divider.
Passenger cabin of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

The seats in business, as well as economy class, were pretty simple. The upholstery was blue fabric. All in all, the cabin was clean and in fairly good shape for its age, but the appearance of the seats gave it something of a vintage feel.

I didn't get a good chance to photograph business class. The flight attendants were unusually aggressive towards photographers and I just barely escaped being reported to security. With three airline representatives breathing down my neck and giving me the evil eye, I decided not to risk it.
Passenger cabin of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

Economy class:
Passenger cabin of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines
Passenger cabin of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

The elbow rests contained a control panel for the audio. No earphones, however, were supplied. The airline doesn't seem overly concerned with providing its passengers with such frivolous luxuries.
Passenger cabin of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

Each seat had a reading light and AC vent.
Passenger cabin of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

The restroom. All in all quite satisfactory, no complaints.
Restroom of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

In 2012 Yamal Airlines celebrated its 15th anniversary. I learned this from the disposable covers on the headrests. The airline is evidently very proud of this fact.
Passenger cabin of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

The crew at work:
Passenger cabin of the Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

In-flight service consisted of the following:
- candy was provided before takeoff
- drinks (pre-packaged juice or water)
- a hot meal (a choice of chicken or beef)
- flight magazines
- a blanket (provided on request)
Meal on the flight Krasnoyarsk-Moscow

There were two flight magazines. One was the official magazine of the airline called "Arctic Wings magazine", and the second was some sort of local publication called Yamal Meridian. It was pretty exotic to read news from Salekhard while flying from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow.
Flight magazines of Yamal Airlines

In Moscow all Yamal flights land in Domodedovo Airport. Arrival time was on schedule at 7:45 AM.

Our airliner after the passengers have disembarked:
Boeing 737-400 Yamal Airlines

A quick walk through the arrival area, a stop by the baggage belts and we're in Moscow!



Conclusion:
In all, Yamal Airlines was about what I expected, and I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. This isn't the type of carrier that tries to impress its passengers, develop its own company style and introduce innovations. An ordinary plane, a reasonably polite crew, and all the traditional amenities offered by "full-service" airlines since the 70s and 80s.

The flight was exactly on schedule, provided reasonable comfort, without any luxury, for a low cost. That's all I remember about my flight with Yamal Airlines.
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About airline "Yamal Airlines"

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