Russia’s Transaero goes ‘uber-premium’ with new medium-haul Boeing 737s

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By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir

We are slightly taken aback by Transaero’s latest announcement regarding the cabin offerings on their six new 737-800 aircraft. Transaero, a Russian carrier that was fairly unheard of until a few years ago, was recently awarded by SkyTrax as ‘Most Improved Airline In the World’ and by the looks of things, quite rightly so.

In what we believe is the only carrier in the world to offer a true three-class 737. Transaero has managed to fit in a First Class, Business Class and Economy Class cabin in an airframe that low-cost carriers can fit just 189 people. So Economy is going to be a tight fit, right? Not at all! The airline is boasting 34″ seat pitch on the aircraft, equivalent to that found on Oman Air’s long haul fleet, and one of the best pitches in the air. The 152-seat aircraft will be delivered in their 2013/2014 winter schedule and will be operated on flights between Moscow and London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Pathos (Cyprus), Astana and Almaty.

Imperial Class
Transaero’s ‘Imperial Class’ is a true First Class product and interesting to see on a 737 fleet, as the aircraft realistically can only fly a 6-hour flight at its upper limit as a financially viable proposition. So to see deeply-coloured fully-flat beds is a luxury for a short/mid-haul flight, but still welcome to see. Along with the flat-bed seats and in-flight wifi from Row44, passengers are served by personal VIP service managers and are provided with VIP or Business Lounges at airports and a round-the-clock communications line.

In an intimate cabin of just 4 seats (in a 2 x 2 arrangement), passengers can expect high-level gastronomic specialties by the famous Café Pushkin on routes from Moscow and on some international routes to Moscow, an extensive wine card and exclusive tableware by the Imperial Porcelain factory, making you feel like you’ve been transported into a Tsar’s palace. Competing with mainline international carriers for premium passengers there is a free personal chauffeur service available.

Russian Tea Ceremony
What we really love (apart from the lavish surroundings), is the ornate Russian Tea Ceremony Transaero provides on certain routes in Imperial Class, in which passengers can relive a historic Russian tradition, being offered homemade jams, berries, honey, cakes with various fillings, traditional Russian open cakes, butter cookies with nuts, candied fruits and chocolate chips. Different types of teas are served with peppermint, thyme, lemon and three kinds of sugar.

Passengers can choose fantastically decadent classic porcelain teacups [image] or (if it’s all too much) just ask for a big “home-style” mug. Flight attendants don’t just bring tea for the passenger but arranges a ceremony, in which the passenger is invited to participate by choosing their tea and  sweets. According to tradition, the table setting for tea used to be very generous, as it was a measure of a family’s wealth and the hospitality of its owners. We absolutely love the ornate tea set! Transaero says it introduced this service to stress the company’s national belonging, and to create a warmer atmosphere onboard.

Olga Pleshakova, Transaero Airlines CEO, said: “We are delighted to offer our clients new enhanced comfort onboard Boeing 737-800 aircraft in a new configuration. I am sure passengers will highly appreciate luxury of Imperial class, comfort of travel in Business and wider seat pitch in Economy class comparing to traditional standards on narrowbody aircraft. Imperial class is our unique product. Since its launch five years ago more than 52,000 passengers travelled in Imperial class. Introduction of new services on medium-range routes is a part of the company’s strategy aimed at enhancing client services and fleet renewal.”

One thing is for sure, Transaero are managing to shake off the history of Russian aviation, with an excellent product, way above European standards.

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