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    03 march, 2012

    Antediluvian modernization

    Author: Andrei Dementiev, no comments

    Yesterday I came back to our northern, cold, snow-covered country from a southern and warm…

    The «Domodedovo» airport welcome was unfriendly. I can not get used to leaving a comfortable «Boeing» and going down the abrupt air stair with my hand luggage, then getting in a cold bus to get to the premise where I can pass the passport control and get my luggage. There were accidents when people slipped and fell on the stairs, passengers with little children could not come downstairs without help…

    Foreigners that come to Moscow for the first time could hardly expect a capital airport lack simple passages to come directly to the airport from board the plane.

    In the airport building different problems start. As always you can not see trolleys used for luggage. In Russia, as you know, they like lines, but foreign guests are not used to them. However, they have to stand in line waiting for the hard-to-find trolleys. The trolleys are brought by the piece, like expensive goods given out for the coupons.

    No matter who owns the «Domodedovo» airport, the developed «Тransaerо» air company, that offers its clients excellent service on board and uses the airport quite often, for some reason does not demand the airport owners to provide adequate land comfort. If it did, the air company could become even more popular. All big international airports are much better organized.

    Only Moscow lives in the old way, without respect to passengers, neglecting their inconveniences and rights. But the passengers have paid a lot for the flight and expect good service in the airport as well as on board the plane.

    I have heard that Mr.Vakselberg wants to buy the «Domodedovo» airport, like he bought up the Faberge eggs some time ago. But the eggs do not require so much attention…

    I think a tender would do to choose the best option and release passengers from so many inconveniences. Except for mentioned above serious problems it would be great to build a direct moving staircase through the whole long concourse, so that people did not have to walk with heavy luggage to the gate specified on the boarding pass. The gate is often located in the very end of the building.

    For some reason there is no lift to the left-luggage office. You will agree with me that it is very hard to drag heavy suitcases up and downstairs, especially for elderly people and ladies… I wonder if they lacked money or imagination?

    However, if the «Domodedovo» airport was rebuilt on the place of an old airport, even more surprising is the D terminal recently opened in the «Sheremetyevo» airport. It was built up to the state of the art, as mass media announced.

    I learnt that «D» letter stands for Dom (home), home of the «Аeroflot» company, the official Russian airline company №1.

    How do we, passengers in the 21-st century, well familiar with other international airports, feel in this home? Why did we build such a modern looking airport and modernized it for so long, if we, passengers, its main consumers, are constantly irritated by this uncivilized modernization?  To continue the discussion I enclose the letter of E. Mikhaylova, Doctor of Medical Science. She sent me this letter to the Civic Chamber complaining on the «Sheremetyevo» Moscow airport staff.

    Quotation, «On 28 January 2012 my husband and I were going to fly to Mineralnye Vody from the «Sheremetyevo» airport, Aeroflot flight SU 785. Check in was in D terminal. We came up to the check in counter №26 an hour before the flight. I asked L.Talanova who was working at the counter to check us in as there wasn’t much time left. She sent us to the common line where passengers of other even later flights also were checking in. I expressed anxiety that we could be late but Mrs.Talanova sent us back to that line again. In spite of so many passengers checking in only two check in counters were operating, a bit later the third counter was opened. After spending 20 minutes in the line we came up to Mrs.Talanova’s counter, and she told us we were 4 minutes late for check in. I don’t understand what the airport staff work for, for the passengers or for their budget increase, as we were offered to take a later flight or pay a significant fine. That morning there were many such passengers «late for check in»… Check in staff have no time to process documents, as for some reason not all the counters are open and they are not enough when many people come to check in.  But no one is responsible for this. The airport service that informs about check in beginning and end is poorly organized, it is just a small indicating panel.

    I sent my letter of complaint to the airport authorities, as I believe to have suffered from illegal pecuniary loss. But I got no response».

    That is what the letter says. I’d like to add that morning I was also one of the many «late for check in» passengers of the flight to Mineralnye Vody, although I came up to the business class check in counter several minutes before check in ended (I was flying business class). I could have come earlier but lifting gate at the terminal D was broken and I lost 10 minutes through no fault of mine. I officially informed the lady processing documents at the counter about this problem. However, my words were not taken into consideration as if I was talking about something that had to do nothing with the airport, but a different commercial enterprise. As my flight boarding was announced I addressed the airport staff once again and was told that my meal hadn’t been delivered on board. Thus I was offered to take the next flight and pay a fine.

    I was barely late for an important business meeting because of this delay. Such slapdash attitude of the «Sheremetyevo» airport staff can be qualified as professional impropriety and violation of passengers’ rights. However, one lady working there (her name is Lena) was very attentive and helpful and settled all formalities.

    I have read somewhere that the «Sheremetyevo» airport is considered almost perfect according to the international rating. It is weird. People casting the airports for the rating must have never been to the «Sheremetyevo». Comfort lack in the «Sheremetyevo» is evident, and service, as I have already written, is of very low quality. The morning we were flying to Mineralnye Vody, we were driven to the plane in a cold bus, dropped out in some building, then went up a long staircase to a long corridor leading to a passage only after passing which we got on board.  I wish there was a direct passage to get on board the plane like in any ordinary, not a «perfect» airport. Instead of that we had to wander around the airport making strange stops.

    I am describing all these issues in details as the air tickets in Russia are extremely expensive and the prices tend to increase. Many our citizens with humble income can not visit their relatives living in the Far East because of the air tickets high prices, and can not even dream of going abroad. So if they had a chance to fly somewhere, I wish the time spent in the sky and especially in concourses didn’t upset and wreck passengers’ nerves…

    Simple respective attention to people is necessary.

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