My parents have been joking about Aeroflot since their lovely experience with the airline way back in 1978, when they were flying to Russia for my dad to do research at Moscow General University, if this is what MGU stands for. I'm not sure.
Anyway, my mother had some friend who was a stewardess in Air France, and as they had just gotten married, she thought it would be a lovely wedding gift to give the newlyweds first-class tickets to Moscow on Air France, and a short stay in a hotel that was included as some bonus with the tickets. They boarded the plane in New York, bathing their poor grad student eyes in the luxury around them. Alas, once they got to Orly Airport (Charles de Gaulle was just a twinkle in a construction crew's eye at that point) they discovered that there was a strike of the airport workers, and the line to the check in counter was NOT moving. The mob screamed and pushed, but the one poor picket breaking woman simply could not do the job. They missed their flight.
There was, however a flight to Moscow on Aeroflot, and faced with the prospect of being stuck in Paris indefinitely, they took that. Those were the days before Aeroflot had Boeings-- I believe that the airplane were recycled from the military or something, and the stewardesses were impeccable in maintaining the stereotypes of good Soviet women-- bulging muscles, mustaches and all. (For those of you who took offence, realise that this is just how my parents told the story. For all I know they were tall, slim flowers of the Volga, walking the aisles to kill time in between fashion shows.)
So yes, between that rather pointless story and many other run-ins, my parents have always laughed at Aeroflot. My dad burst out laughing when he heard I was flying it, but quickly quieted after a sharp glance from my stepmother, and said, "Well, I guess they have Boeings and stuff now. You can't go that
side note: there is a very ugly, nerdy guy speaking on the phone in English next to me. Part of me wants to talk to him, simply because we share a language, but the other part is scared by the acne and the fact that he looks like Pat from the SNL skit.
Anyway, I boarded my Aeroflot flight 600 in Incheon airport in Seoul. First stumbling block-- Aisle and seat numbers on the back of the seats. A lovely woman took pity on me, and I showed her my ticket. Turned out I was her seatmate. Good. Alas however, no chance of sneaking into Business out of pure stupidity and not-language-speaking.
My seatmate took one look at me and went to sleep, dashing all my hopes for lovely conversations where I could inform her that by jove, I am
an Amerikanka studentka, planning on studying v Peterburge (without actually knowing how to say the whole planning on studying part) and yes, I can't really say anything other than that, unless one has a fetish for getting into conversations about soap and blackboard chalk. Ah well. Opportunity lost.
The stewardess gave her safety talk. "Oxygen masks will be in the seatback in front of you, unless you are in the front row of a cabin, in which case they are in the compartment above you."
I look up. I am in the front row of my cabin. Solid bulkhead stretches for-- count 'em-- seven rows. Not even one panel for oxygen masks to pop out of. My normal vague fear of taking off-- spawned by Say Anything
, and I will curse John Cusack forever for tempting me into seeing that, with his lovely lovely... loveliness-- turns into fervent prayer that nothing untoward will happen. I tighten my industrial-size safety belt-- a hunk o'metal that will double as a weapon, should misguided terrorists decide to hijack the plane-- and cling to the armrests.
The plane levels off, I relax into my seat, note there's no screen for movies, which is actually fine, since I hate airline movies and have a good book anyway, though that is rendered slightly problematic by the lack of overhead lighting, and as the stewardess comes around to bolt the table into my seat, I'm feeling just grand.
Yes, bolt the table into my chair. Fortunately, though, the meal was actually quite good for an airplane, and they had yummy chocolate, and cheap duty-free. Unfortunately, however, halfway through the flight, as the plane convulses through yet another patch of turbulence, I look out the window and think, "You know, I'm sitting above the wing. If it were to fall off, I would die pretty immediately. Let's hope that doesn't happen." I promise, I'm not as paranoid a flyer as I'm coming off.
All in all though, it was the smoothest landing I've ever had. My parents know NOTHING.