Monday, 18 July 2011
flight destination uncertain
transaero is a piece of junk.
i was delighted with the tremendous amount of leg room (3x average) in row 10 of an ancient 737. and the smiles stopped here for the duration of travel.
from terrible, inedible food, emotionless flight attendants, i couldn't wait for the 4 hour journey to be over. the flight was delayed 1 hour before boarding, then sat on the plane for another hour before heading out on the tarmac. it was a long travel day and i was relieved to finally touch ground that immediately turned to confusion.
given that the pilots only communicated in russian, i was unaware that we landed in a different airport than that on my purchased itinerary and was informed by a fellow passenger. the original assumption was that the change in airport from domodedovo to sheremetyova was due to weather.
dme is in south moscow. the other is in north moscow
it took a bit of time for information dissemination so after some time of sitting in a parked plane, i learned that passengers with a final destination of moscow had the option to get off the plane now. those who didn't have russian visas (and thus, not allowed to deplane), would have to wait to fly to dme even though they already missed their connecting flights.
not wanting to commit my fate to transaero any further, i ditched my driver waiting for me at dme, gave the crew my bag number as they were hand-picking several bags from the hull since most had connecting flights, i decided to roll with it and find my own way in a city where few speak english, signs are not translated from cyrillic...and it was almost midnight. i had no idea where i was.
fortunate for me, an american texan living in moscow, married to an oil guy found me in my predicament and showed me the way to central moscow. along with a few other passengers, we finally pieced together the story of how we ended up in a different airport: the initial cause was bad weather which held us in a holding pattern over dme. for some reason, the airplane wasn't fueled enough for a 4 hour flight plus a cushion for holding patterns so this forced a landing in sheremetyova.
after starting my journey at 1030a london time, i got to my hotel 130a the following day moscow time.