This review consists of 4 parts:
1. Domodedovo International Airport
2. Boeing 777-200
3. Los Angeles International Airport
4. Boeing 777-300
The flight was a long one, so I had lots of opportunities to take photos. Anyway, let's get started.
1. Domodedovo International Airport
Transaero flights from Moscow to Los Angeles (as well as New York and Miami) leave from Domodedovo Airport.
Domodedovo is currently the busiest airport in Russia. It has only one, large terminal building, which is constantly expanding both in length and width.
Transaero, as one of the largest airlines, has its own permanent section at Domodedovo Airport, which features a customer service booth with a large aquarium that takes up the entire length of the stand.
... and a row of check-in stands, located opposite.
After getting through security, I entered the waiting area for international flights, which featured plenty of Duty Free stores.
Boarding went as usual.
2. Boeing 777-200, Moscow to Los Angeles
The Transaero Boeing 777-200 had three classes: business, economy and "tourist" class.
Business class, located towards the front of the plane, could fit 14 passengers (row configuration 2-3-2), and was equipped with special seats:
Economy class on the Boeing 777 had more leg room than I've come to expect from economy, and featured a different color of the upholstery.
Here's a picture of the economy class cabin (row configuration 2-5-2, located between business class and "tourist" class):
The cabin of the "tourist" class (row configuration 2-5-2, located at the tail end of the plane):
My flight to Los Angeles was one of the very first such flights offered by Transaero, and so there were very few people onboard. A couple of passengers in business class and 20 or so in the huge economy cabin. Only the tourist class, with the cheapest fares, was more or less one-third full.
So despite the length of the flight, it was quite comfy. Many folks stretched out on as many as 5 seats to sleep:
Transaero's Boeing 777-200 is not exactly new. The seats in the cabin seemed to be 90s style, so out of curiosity I looked the plane up online (tail number EI-UNV, a modified Boeing 777-200ER). It was made in 1999 for United Airlines, then used by Air India. Transaero purchased this jet in 2010.
The back of each seat featured a screen, probably a first generation entertainment system. During our flight, the screens showed only flight information and the map.
Controls for the music and radio were built into the armrests. You needed earphones to tune in.
Over each seat, high up on the ceiling, there were reading lights and air conditioning vents.
The carry-on compartments were arranged very conveniently in a wave-like form factor on the ceiling.
The compartments were very spacious. A lot larger than they look at first glance.
Every passenger on the Transaero flight was given a long-distance flight set: a blanket, slippers and a sleep mask.
In the pocket of each seat there was also a thick flight magazine and a movie catalog.
Since the built-in entertainment system doesn't show movies, the airline rents portable DVD players. It costs about $30 (1000 rubles) for the entire flight, including spare batteries in case it runs out.
I was pleasantly surprised by the sets of disposable toothbrushes and toothpaste. They were available in every restroom.
Speaking of which, there were quite a few restrooms on the plane. They were located in several spots throughout the cabin.
During the trip, hot meals were served twice. We were also frequently offered water, for which I'd like to give Transaero a big hand, because not very many airlines offer enough water during a flight and it's easy to get dehydrated.
A snack before the meal:
The first meal (chicken with rice, a salad and cheese):
The second meal (an omelet and dessert):
However, the greatest impression on this flight was made by the massive Pratt & Whitney engine outside my window...
... the clear skies above Canada (below I could see the city of Calgary, which I'd visited 10 years ago. It was interesting to see a familiar place from so high up)...
... and the boundless suburbs of Los Angeles (on the photo, just below the wing, are the skyscrapers of downtown):
Our airliner arriving at the Los Angeles airport:
3. Los Angeles International Airport, International Flight Terminal
Los Angeles International Airport has 10 terminal buildings, arranged in a U. The majority of foreign airlines (including Transaero) dock at the largest terminal, called simply the International Terminal. The other terminals are mostly divided up amongst the biggest US airlines, each one having its own building.
From outside, the international terminal seemed a little shabby:
Immediately upon entering I found myself in a large square hall with check-in stands. On the second floor there was a cafe and the security checkpoint, beyond which there were long hallways stretching away to the left and right, to the boarding gates.
Here is our jet, boarding was done via an extensible ramp.
4. Boeing 777-300, Los Angeles to Moscow
The main difference between a Boeing 777-300 and a 777-200 is the former's longer fuselage, capable of fitting more passengers. The cabin of Transaero's 777-300 was quite different from that of their -200. This airliner, too, had 3 classes of service, divided into 4 areas: business (in the front of the plane), economy (in the middle), and 2 cabins allocated to "tourist" class (towards the tail).
The seat configuration of seats in economy class was 3-3-3. The seats themselves were also different and a lot newer than those on the -200. In all, the cabin looked a lot brighter and better. You could tell that it was a much newer plane.
Economy class. The upholstery is red, and there's more leg room:
Tourist class. The upholstery is blue:
The seats are much more compact and lighter, the upholstery a lot fresher and newer. However, they don't lean back quite as far as their predecessors. In all, I thought they were less comfortable for long-distance flights than the old seats on the 777-200. But, that's only my opinion.
A definite plus of the newer plane is the upgraded entertainment system, featuring a larger, better screen.
During the flight, these let you watch a movie, look at the flight map, or play video games. The controls were touch-screen.
The restrooms have a more modern interior. Although this time around, I couldn't find any disposable toothbrushes or toothpaste.
Meals were similar to the ones on the first flight; first a snack (peanuts) with a drink of your choice, then the first hot meal, and the second meal about 4-5 hours later (this time around, we had pancakes). Water is available on demand in unlimited amounts. After my fourth glass, I was simply offered a whole bottle.
Finally, I think it's important to note the airline's luggage policies. I didn't read the rules, and that ended up costing me. Transaero handles baggage fees by the number of items rather than weight. You're allowed to bring one item free of charge, but any additional ones must be paid for. I didn't realize that I could've packed all my things into one big bag and instead brought two smaller bags. Because of this I had to pay $50 extra for my second bag in Los Angeles.
Conclusion: Transaero Airlines provides passengers on its long-distance flights with all the essential comforts and services. Widebody jets and a traditional service model provided an adequate level of comfort during the trip. A striking thing for me is the company's lack of a standardized look and color scheme, something that is present in such leading Russian airlines as Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, and pretty much all large commercial airline companies. During the described flights, I got the impression that I was flying with two different airlines, that's how different the planes looked and felt.