Rossiya Airlines can trace its history back to 1932 when Pulkovo Airlines was founded in St Petersburg. Rossiya, meanwhile, was a separate company founded by the Russian government after the fall of the USSR in 1992. Rossiya and Pulkovo Airlines merged in 2006, retaining the Rossiya brand. In 2010, the Russian government announced that all state-owned airlines would be merged with Aeroflot, and in 2011 Rossiya was consolidated with Aeroflot, albeit operating under a separate brand.
Today, Rossiya operates a fleet of narrowbody and widebody aircraft – including Boeing 737-800, Airbus A319/A320, Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777 aircraft. They serve a route network across Russia, Europe and the Middle East, painted in their beautiful red and white livery.
Today I was flying with Rossiya on a flight from St Petersburg in Russia to London Gatwick Airport, onboard an Airbus A319. The flight cost me just £205 for a business class seat on the four-hour route.
I’d arrived into St Petersburg on a flight from Moscow with S7 Airlines. I was able to transit through to departures and get to the Aeroflot lounge.
The Aeroflot lounge in St Petersburg is huge. It has loads of seating areas and a great range of food and drink. It was also really quiet; there were only a handful of people in the lounge for the entire time I spent there. It’s a fantastic lounge, easily one of the better lounges in Europe.
After a few hours in the lounge, it was time to head down to the gate. Pulkovo Airport is very bright and spacious and never feels too busy.
I boarded the aircraft and took my seat in the small business class cabin.
Rossiya’s A319 business class cabin features two rows of four seats, in a comfortable and stylish modern leather design.
Before takeoff, we were served a drink. I chose a glass of orange juice which came in a stylish Rossiya branded glass.
Rossiya’s business class seat is very comfortable and pretty spacious too.
For such a short flight I was surprised that we were given blankets and pillows, again Rossiya branded.
We pushed back from our stand and headed off to be de-iced before takeoff.
We were joined on the deicing pan by another Rossiya A319 and, eventually, we pulled off and taxied to the runway for takeoff.
We soon broke through the low clouds into beautiful sunshine above.
As we crossed into Estonian airspace, more drinks were served. These were followed by a full lunch service.
I took the fish which came with rice and it was very delicious. It was also excellently presented.
After lunch, there was a dessert, which came with a cup of coffee.
I did have to chuckle how absolutely everything onboard this aircraft was branded. Even the soap in the bathroom had the Rossiya logo on it!
We got some great views of Copenhagen, Denmark as we flew overhead.
We routed to the north of the Netherlands and commenced our descent over the North Sea into London Gatwick.
We touched down on time and taxied into the South Terminal. I disembarked into the terminal and headed for immigration. I’d purchased fast track immigration but this wasn’t needed – there was nobody at the ePassport gates and it took me around 20 seconds to get through.
Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by Rossiya Airlines. Their business class product is far better than most European airlines, from the comfortable 2-2 seating configuration through to the excellent onboard cuisine. For £205 in business class, how can you go wrong!