To Cancel or Not: Aeorflot from Bejing to Rome
May 11, 2014 4:31 AM   Subscribe

My brother and I will be flying from Beijing to Rome on the Russian airline Aeroflot. We've recently heard about Aeorflot's terrible safety rating from friends. Additionally, we will have a four hour layover in Moscow and we're a little worried because of the current Russia-Ukraine situation. Should we cancel our flight and book another on a more reputable airline?

Looking on the web results in mixed answers from "This airline is awful, the pilot flew the plane like an army craft" to "Nothing to worry about."

To cancel our flight would only return about $200 out of $650, plus booking one on a safer airline for $800, so we'd be looking at a total cost of around $1200.

Is it worth cancelling our flight due to our safety concerns? Has anyone here ever flown Aeorflot internationally?
posted by lalunamel to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
There's nothing to worry about at all. Keep your flight.
posted by turkeyphant at 4:40 AM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've flown with Aeroflot internationally a few times, with no problems. The Sheremetyevo airport is maybe my least favourite international airport (smoking indoors, quite run down), but nothing I would worry about.

If you want to be reassured you can look up the airplane type for the flight online (here) - but, it will probably be a newish Boeing or Airbus plane. There are pretty strict regulations for international airlines, so they're basically more or less all the same imho.

Aeroflot used to have somewhat scary old Russian aircraft, but I don't think they use those internationally any more, so chances are that the plane you'll take is actually pretty new. I'm sure they're still in use for flights inside Russia, so that might be where the bad reports come from.

Oh, and don't worry about Ukraine, it is not like you've got a layover on Crimea :P
posted by Baron Humbert von Gikkingen at 5:04 AM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yes, Aeroflot has a worse safety record than other major international airlines, but the odds of anything bad happening are still lower than when driving. The majority of Aeroflot-related disasters are actually from older Soviet-era aircraft that have been acquired from Aeroflot by various regional airlines.
posted by Behemoth at 5:19 AM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

With respect, your fears are predicated on two faulty assumptions. Firstly, Aeroflot's post-Soviet international safety record is excellent. Secondly, Russia's actions in Ukraine pose no increased risk to anyone in Moscow (with the possible exception of local journalists who don't uncritically support the state and other such traditional victims of heightened nationalism).
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:20 AM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

I've done Asia to Europe flights (with layover in Moscow) with Aeroflot as recently as six weeks ago. It's not my favorite airline and Moscow is not my favorite airport but it's completely fine in terms of safety. Don't worry about this and definitely don't rebook.
posted by horizons at 5:59 AM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's fine, the scare stories were from internal flights post-Soviet collapse (when nothing was working; I lived in Moscow then and everything was falling apart). It's fine now, and the international flights were actually never that bad.
posted by tinkletown at 6:03 AM on May 11, 2014

"This airline is awful, the pilot flew the plane like an army craft"

The perception of passengers has basically no relation to the safety of the flight or of an airline.
posted by kiltedtaco at 6:08 AM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

I flew Aeroflot in 2010 and it all worked out totally fine safety-wise.

HOWEVER: Double check their baggage policy and maximum allowed weight! It was part of a three-leg return home trip, and Aeroflot was the most restrictive about weight by far. I had to leave 30 pounds of books (this is how I travel..) behind at Tokyo's Narita airport to avoid paying something like $900 in overage weight fines. So that part was a bad experience.
posted by elephantsvanish at 7:04 AM on May 11, 2014

Moscow ain't Donetsk. Have fun clapping when the plane lands.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:54 AM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I flew Aeroflot when I was quite obese, they didn't have a seatbelt extension so they let me fly without it. Make of that what you will.
posted by jedrek at 7:57 AM on May 11, 2014

With only a four hour layover, you won't even be able to leave the airport. Nothing is going to happen in the airport in Moscow when there are plenty of other and far more easily accessible places for things we don't like to think about to happen.
posted by zizzle at 8:09 AM on May 11, 2014

Since you're getting conflicting information about Aeroflot's safety record from friends and this thread, I'll back up my claim above with some data.

Aeroflot has not had an international passenger fatality since the flight 593 crash in 1994, when standards were still shaky from Soviet days. (There was one bad crash since then on an internal service (flight 821 in 2008), but the gap between standards on internal and international Aeroflot flights is well-known.)

The website AirlineRatings ranks airlines by safety and gives Aeroflot a perfect 7/7 rating, putting it ahead of Air France, Austrian Airlines, El Al, Southwest, Thai and Turkish. (I've flown with several of the preceding without thinking twice.)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:36 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

My brother-in-law came back just a few days ago from a week's vacation in Moscow. It's perfectly fine.
posted by telophase at 12:04 PM on May 12, 2014

All of the above is true; youre over reacting. Honestly, the USA domestic planes and flights are a whole lot worse vs. Aeroflot from my experience. Ive flown between SVO to JFK/Beijing/Shanghai/Paris heaps of times no problem.
posted by peachtree at 9:43 AM on May 13, 2014

Result: I flew Aeroflot from Beijing to Moscow to Rome (FCL) and the experience was great. No issues with anything! Thanks all :D
posted by lalunamel at 9:23 PM on June 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

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