Saturday, October 01, 2011

Flight Report: Ulaanbaatar to Stockholm (Across Russia, Finale)

It's been more than 3,500 miles by train, plane, and bus from St. Petersburg, across Russia and finally over to Ulaanbaatar. It's been a great trip and now we have to head back to make sure that my mom can catch her flight back to the US.

For this flight, we've gone with Aeroflot. It's not part of my usual alliance and it's reputation is less than sterling, but how would they stack up today? Not that great, unfortunately. From a technical side, Aeroflot has shaken off the older Soviet planes, with the majority of it's fleet being newer airbus planes. In our case, we got an older Boeing 767 and a massive delay. More than 4 hours on the ground with zero explanation.

Lifting off, we're on our way out of Asia and back to Moscow before heading on to Stockholm. With such a late departure, we're going to misconnect in Moscow without a doubt. Will we make it back? What's the in-flight meal like? All this and more photos after the break.

Mongolia rolling under us. Once we were in the air things got better. The orange, hammer and sickle clad stewardesses (yes, the hammer and sickle is still part of their logo and uniform) were alright and soon enough it was time for a bite. Beef with mashed potatoes, plus a ham and chicken salad? Eh. The beef was ok, but the "salad"? I don't know about that.

The in-flight entertainment was a little disappointing. On the A330s, there's audio video on demand, but in the 767 it's still just a single old school screen overhead. The main entertainment was looking through all the options that we would have had if we were on the A330. Comrade Winnie the Pooh? Yup. Nu, Pogodi? Yup. There was a collection of old soviet films and cartoons that looked like they would have been an interesting window into that era, but instead we got some generic American blockbusters.

McMansions in the Moscow Suburbs

Welcome to Moscow, 4 hours past due.
Touch down in Moscow and on to find out our fate. Eventually, we worked our way through the line and were rebooked on a SAS flight leaving in an hour or two, much to our relief. If we had been forced to stay in Moscow, there's a chance that my mom would have missed her flight the next day back to Seattle and that would have been a disaster. As it was, we were just left to fend for ourselves with $8 sandwiches and $4 cokes before we caught our final flight.

Some old Tu-154 on the ground here, plus an Il-62 above with the four engines.

Once in the air, it ended up being a fairly standard flight with SAS. A couple of nice skyscapes and another plane skimming across the clouds. No food service on this flight, unfortunately, but soon enough more familiar landscape was beneath us with the telltale shapes of Swedish cities. This was the end of the trip from Sweden, but soon something new would be starting: The week after, I move back to the United States.

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