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A Few Notes about the Return Home from Moscow…and the Austrian Airlines 777 Business Class Seat

I wanted to share a few notes from the return home from Moscow yesterday. I had flown over in Premium Economy on Aeroflot, and I returned home via Vienna in business class on an Austrian Airlines 777 with their new flat seats. Here are some random pieces of information I thought I’d share from the trip:

– There is always traffic in Moscow, and now matter how early you leave your hotel, you haven’t left early enough. For example, I had a 545am flight from Domodedovo Airport, roughly 30 minutes from where I was staying in the city. It took me about an hour and 25 minutes. And I left a 3am.

– There will be crazy lines of people at that airport because they scan your bags as you enter the actual airport. My father, who is the king of this, will be proud to know that I just marched up to the front of the line and got my bags scanned.

– This is what a “glass of wine” looks like on Aeroflot:

– At the gate next to mine in Vienna, there was a flight leaving for Erbil, Iraq. Wondering who was traveling to Iraq nowadays, I sauntered over to see who was boarding. In case you were wondering, the line was composed entirely of Iraqi families, and the baddest-ass American military contractor types I’ve ever seen. There would be no trouble on that flight.

– This is what the “free newspaper assortment” looks like on Aeroflot (I was probably the 3rd person on the plane):

– This is what Premium Economy looks like:

– Which certainly seems nice enough. However, every single aspect of that seat was uncomfortable. It’s in a shell, so it slides forward, which is not the same as reclining. The window seat was too far from the window to actually lean my head on the window, so I went and gathered about 14 other pillows and blankets from the empty Premium Economy section to build a pillow tower, which actually kinda worked. Except when…

– …I tried to stretch out my feet next to me, which you really can’t do because this actually-rather-sharp piece of metal is between the 2 seats:

– We can talk all day long about First Class Suites and whatnot, blah blah blah, but I had the best sleep I’ve ever had on a plane in “intra-European business class” (ie, coach) on Austrian Airlines from Moscow to Vienna. I had stayed up the night before to catch that 3am taxi, so by the time I got on the plane, I literally passed out before we started to taxi and woke up once we landed. Any seat is comfortable if you’ve been up for 24 hours.

– This is what the Austrian business class seat supposedly looks like:

– And this is what it looks like after I’ve been in it for 30 minutes:

– Everyone always takes pristine pictures of their seats in business class, but that’s pretty much what my seat always looks like after a few minutes. I will admit here: I am a slob.

– Lucky at One Mile at a Time wrote a perfectly wonderful overview of the service on this plane, so I don’t feel the need to add anything here. Service was great, and the “coffee menu” they offer with 10 different types of coffee preparations is pretty cool. I will note (as he does as well), there are 2 slightly different types of seats in the cabin. Every other row is either a 1-2-1 configuration or a 2-2-2- configuration. I sat in the single seat in a 1-2-1 row. You have a ton of room because you have the whole thing to yourself. However, the area where your feet go when you lie down is oddly small, and after a couple of hours my feet felt, if this is possible, claustrophobic jammed into their little cubby. The side-by-side seats have, for some reason, more room for your feet. But if you’re traveling with someone you don’t know, you are a tad close to them for my own comfort. If you’re traveling alone, you’ll be left with a choice of whether to lie down with squished feet, or lie down and cuddle with someone you don’t know. Your call.

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  1. Hmm that last question is a tough one. Cuddle or cramped feet? I’d probably take cramped feet since my feet are kind of small. Is that the right answer?

  2. Vienna has a large Kurd population and I think Austrian was one of the first western carriers to fly to Kurdistan for this reason.

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