S7 Business Class Review to/from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) Airport
Updated: 4 days ago
I originally wrote this review in 2018 after taking two S7 flights in Business Class to and from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. I took a 3rd flight on S7 in Business at the end of 2019 from DME to Rome FCO. Most of what I originally reviewed is the same. I will just update their Wi-fi and Inflight Entertainment (IFE) as well as some more recent photo's.
At the end of last year (Nov. 2017) my wife and I flew from Munich to Moscow Domodedovo Airport on S7 Airlines in Business Class. I wasn’t going to review that flight as I thought there wouldn’t be enough interest in S7. However, I flew them again earlier this month (May 2018) from Larnaca, Cyprus (LCA) to Moscow (DME) and as I was booking the tickets (used miles) with American Airlines (S7 is a member of the oneworld Alliance) the agent told me she had never even heard of S7 prior to this year, but because of the World Cup being in Russia this year, she had received several inquiries. So one month before the World Cup begins I thought it was worthwhile to review S7’s Business Class.
S7 is Russia’s largest domestic carrier. It was formally known as Siberia Airlines, but changed their name around 2005. They are headquartered in Novosibirsk, which is their main hub (Tolmachevo Airport, OVB) and also have hubs at Moscow’s DME Airport and
Irkutsk IKT Airport (much smaller operation). Their fleet consists of 101 aircraft (all western). Airbus A319, 320 & 320neo, A321 & 321neo, Boeing 737-800’s and Embraer 170’s. The A319’s and E-170’s are all Economy Class (they recently converted 2 A319's into what they call "Extra Edition" which does have Business Class) while the other aircraft (A320, A321, and B737) all have eight seats in Business Class in a 2 row 2×2 configuration (Extra Edition has 6 rows of Business). The MUC – DME & DME - FCO flights were on an A320 and the LCA – DME flight was on a B737. Not to make things confusing, but the flight from Larnaca was operated by Globus Airlines. Globus is a subsidiary of S7 and operates flights to their leisure destinations. All three flights had the same seats and same service. So I do not think there is any difference flying a Globus operated flight compared to S7. This is much like an airline having another company operate some routes and branding it under their name – all commuter airlines in the US operate this way.
Check-in on all flights was uneventful. There was a separate line for Business Class/Priority. The agents were pleasant and we had access to a Business Class Lounge. In Munich we used the unimpressive Atlantic Lounge and in Larnaca, the Aspire Lounge, which was nice. It had an outside patio and good selection of food and drinks. The S7 Business Lounge at DME is nice with hot food buffet, a bar (Beer is free, but other alcohol at a fee), free Wi-Fi plus desktop computers. Boarding was more chaotic in Munich without a priority lane, than LCA, which had one. One of the more impressive things flying S7 in Business from DME is you are taken out to the plane in a private vehicle. Even on a flight I took in Economy from DME to Krasnodar (I am oneworld Emerald) I was driven to the plane. You receive the same treatment on arrival. On our flight from LCA all Business Class passengers were driven separately to the terminal. S7 only uses bus gates at DME so the rest of the passengers are shuttled in a regular bus.
The flight from Munich was empty. My wife and I were the only passengers in Business Class. The flight from LCA was full as was the flight to FCO. The flight attendants for the most part were professional, engaging and helpful, however my only experience in Economy was more in line what people would expect from a Russian Airline. But to be honest that stereotype is no longer true. I have flown Aeroflot several times and the service has improved greatly over the past ten years. To the point where Aeroflot along with Turkish Airlines may have the best flight attendants in Europe (at least in Business Class), and it is not just because SU has such great uniforms 😉 S7's service is not at the same level as Aeroflot's but I did notice the more friendly flight attendants had a much better command of English. There was a nice blanket and pillow at the seat as you arrived and a pre-departure drink of either Water or Orange Juice was offered. A bottle of San Benedetto Water was handed out with a menu and a surprisingly nice Amenity Kit (L’occitane products) & Slippers while we were on the ground.
Unlike most European Airlines, whose Business Class seats are the same as Economy with the middle seat blocked, S7’s Business Class seats are actually wider and more plush. Much like US Airline’s Domestic First Class seats or Asian/Middle Eastern Airline’s Business Class seats on narrow-bodies. We sat in both rows on the three flights. The A320 had a little more legroom than the B737 in the bulkhead seats. In fact, the B737 was slightly cramped. There was a decent amount of leg room in row 2 (maybe 38" of pitch). The only issue with row 2 is there is a generous amount of seat recline so if the passenger in front of you was fully reclined it infringes on your space. The seats are leather with a unique color scheme of purple with florescent green accents. There is a small headrest, but there are no power ports, footrests, or in-seat entertainment screens. Because there are only eight seats there is plenty of overhead space. All planes were relatively new (S7's average fleet age is under 10 years)
Shortly after take-off a hot towel was given (in a dish) and the meal order was taken. The meal service was identical on all flights. Drinks were served prior to the start of the meal. Then a good sized salad with bread. Either Russian brown bread or a white roll. The salad was ok and I remember the bread being better from Larnaca. Three entrée choices were available. On the MUC flight the choice was Caucasian Baked Chicken, Algerian Style Beef, or Roasted Edmond Vegetables. From LCA; Faustino Beef, Baked Salmon in Orange Sauce, or Hash Browns served with fried vegetables and to Rome; Salmon, Turkey w/Polenta or Veal. The MUC & FCO flights were 2hr & 45min while the LCA flight was 3hr
& 30min. So the meal was appropriate for time of day and flight time. I was happy with the menu as I had read S7 served cold meals in Business, but this must have been in the past or on shorter routes. I ordered the Beef on two flights and Turkey to FCO (I also ate some of my wife's Chicken). The presentation of all dishes is very appealing. My only complaint is I thought maybe in fact they didn’t serve hot meals, as two of the meals were lukewarm at best. Now, I like my food hotter than most, and while this is a pet peeve of mine (I have experienced this on Swiss recently as well https://www.patstravelreviews.com/post/swiss-a320-a321-business-class-review) I did finish all entrees (portions were not that big). It was a shame, because they actually were appetizing and outside the temperature were quite good. That being
said, on the LCA flight it was a little of the opposite. The Beef was very hot, but the taste didn’t quite live up to the presentation. I will say I have had much worse in the air and would order the same meal again if on S7. My Mother-in-Law had the Salmon and said it was ok, but liked her meal on Aeroflot much more on the way to LCA. Maybe the most impressive aspect of the meal service was the quality of the silverware. After dinner, dessert was served with coffee or tea. Again, the presentation was spot on. Cheesecake was served from Germany, a Fruit Tart from Cyprus, and Panna Cotta to Italy. In addition to the Dessert, a Russian Chocolate Bar was also served. All three were very tasty and I really liked the Tea. I am not a fan of Russian Chocolate so did not eat the Candy Bar. A second hot towel was offered after the meal and on the longest flight (LCA) some kind of a Cucumber drink was served prior to landing. They take their time on the meal service (over 1 hour from start to finish). There was one flight attendant assigned to Business Class and she was available throughout the flight for tea, coffee, or additional drinks. An additional flight attendant helped prepare the meals before assisting in Economy.
When I originally wrote this review not only was there no seat-back entertainment, but there wasn’t any IFE at all. This was slightly disappointing as on the flight to LCA Aeroflot provided a personal tablet loaded with entertainment. S7 doesn't have overhead screens nor Wi-Fi. I could live with this on a 3 hour flight and as most European Airlines do not provide IFE within Europe I was not really expecting it. In fact, on the first two flights after the meal service I was actually able to do a little reading and took advantage of the nice pillow and blanket and slept a little on both flights. However, on the latest S7 flight I took they did have own device entertainment (much like US Airlines and saw no sign of there being a cost). Unfortunately, I was unaware of this and did not download the S7 app prior to take-off so I was unable to access the content. There appears to be a decent selection of movies (mostly Hollywood & some Russian), TV, and music. While there is a connection for entertainment I could not find any for Wi-Fi. I was only able to watch the moving map (which was at least something ;)) I have researched to see if S7 has added Wi-Fi since I took this last trip, but it looks like just the connection for the IFE. Now that I know, I will download the app in advance and hopefully this will give a heads-up to those reading this and flying S7.
I did see they were serving a hot meal in Economy on the flight from LCA which was certainly an upgrade from the meal I was served on the DME to KRR. The flight from Moscow to Krasnodar was a little over 2 hours and the meal service was quick. Boxed chicken or cheese sandwich with either juice, water, coffee or tea. The announcements are in both Russian and English (broken). There is one lavatory in the front of the plane for Business Class. The flight attendants are very protective of other passengers accessing this toilet.
While I think S7 has a ways to go to catch up to Aeroflot I will say that compared to most other European Airlines they are a favorable alternative. Outside of British Airways, Turkish & Aeroflot no other airline to Moscow will have this seat comfort. Their service may be inconsistent, but it is still more personal than most. Plus their Oneworld Alliance participation makes them a good choice for American AAdvantage and British Airways Avios members. I must say while I was happy with S7, I asked my wife and her mother which of the two flights to/from Lanarca they liked more? They both answered "Most definitely Aeroflot" I had a review of Aeroflot's Business Class within Europe & Russia, but can't seem to be able to retrieve it from my old site so I will write a new one soon ().