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October 6, 2003 by AK

Aeroflot vs. Iberia

Paul Jané writes about a proposed merger between BA and Iberia:

You know, just because Air France has decided to merge with KLM doesn’t mean that BA should go off and pull a Daimler-Chrysler…

I mean, have any BA executives ever flown on Iberia (in Coach)?

They might realise that even Aeroflot looks more tempting…

To which a commenter replies: “Nothing could make Aeroflot tempting. Unless one has suicidal tendencies.”

Well, I’m not an uninterested observer here, but not that interested either. If the “suicide tendencies” are to be taken literally, the right response should be no, if you’ve got them, try TWA or whatever “budget” airline you can think of. Aeroflot actually has a decent safety record. Too bad the EU forced them to replace their good old IL-86s with Boeings because the Russian planes were deemed too noisy for the sensitive Euro ears (why couldn’t they just say “buy Airbuses”?). The IL-86, statistically speaking, may be the safest jet plane in use; only one crash caused by a technical problem in 20 years is a good number. But, of course, ILs’ flight dataset is much smaller than Boeing 7x7s’.

But since “suicidal” was only a figure of speech, it must refer to the Aeroflot Flight Experience. Well, I last took Aero a few months ago, having tried various carriers before. It is not the Flying Gulag it was once reputed to be. The attendants are not the nicest and most succoring in the air, but at least prettier than stout Lufthansa ladies. The food is standard plane fare. Nothing much, but works for me. It’s value for money as I understand it. And remembering our fight with Delta over the only baby crib on board, I tend to think there is something wrong with the idea that airlines actually care that much about passengers’ convenience despite severe competition.

Oh, by the way, BA is a dozen times more likely to lose your baggage than Aeroflot. BA’s most favorite sport is to lose your suitcases packed with tailor-made finery and pay you $200 per kilo in compensation. Great value!

I doubt Iberia can match that.


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