Review of Ukraine International flight Athens Kiev in Economy

Flight PS 354
Class Economy
Seat 22F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:40
Take-off 19 Mar 17, 15:00
Arrival at 19 Mar 17, 17:40
PS 85 reviews
loukas
By 1189
Published on 31st March 2017
Hi everyone,

Welcome to this flight report covering my trip back to Warsaw from a business weekend stay in Athens.

You can find the first leg report here: http://flight-report.com/en/report/23084/Aegean-Airlines-A3-863-Warsaw-WAW-Athens-ATH

Despite flying to Athens onboard Aegean, my way back home was supposed to be done with Ukraine International - an airline I haven't flown before and the one that in Poland is either underestimated as a post-Soviet dangerous one or chosen frequently as a cheap and reliable solution. I don't know why but some people still have this complete lack of trust towards eastern european airlines. Here in Poland it may be a result of the fact that soviet aircrafts (IL-62 and TU-154) were involved in the most severe aircrashes, yet it doesn't explain to me why a modern airline with mostly modern fleet should be considered dangerous. On the contrary, the airline with 100% trust here is always LOT as if the letters "Polish airlines" on the fuselage guaranteed a safe flight. It's pure madness I won't understand.

Anyway a dialogue I had at home before leaving to Athens made me feel sure that people's believes are stronger than facts:
- What airline do you fly to Athens?
- Aegean
- And back?
- UIA
- Are you kidding me?
- Why?
- It's dangerous.
- No it's not. (a list of our friends who flew with UIA came here)
- I bet you could have chosen another airline but you just had to fly something new and I will be here worrying all Sunday long!
- So don't. I'm ok so you shouldn't worry. I could have chosen Ryanair but you wouldn't be able to pick me up from Modlin so I had no choice, you see :)
- Sure, make me think it's all my fault!

My weekend in Athens was short and full of work so when I came to the airport for the flight back it all seemed as if I made myself a short nap after arriving and was now flying back home. All I did or saw seemed just a dream. The ride on the underground was long and boring as hell. ATH is definitely too far from the city (33 km or something) and no matter what you choose your trip will last ages. The metro ride guarantees 25 minutes spent under the ground in a train that is always terribly crowded no matter what time of day or night you travel and then additional 20 minutes on the ground. I think Greeks chose the longest possible route for their airport railway connection so it can serve as suburban train for those living in the south-east outskirts of Athens instead of being a fast city to airport line.
I arrived to the airport early enough to have coffee outside as it was warm and sunny and see the airport museum located over the departures level on the way to MC Donald's. ATH is perhaps the only airport in the world with an archeological museum.

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My flight departing at 15:00 wasn't even listed when I came to the terminal.

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I made an online check-in but needed to queue to check-in my luggage and have my boarding passes for both flights printed. When I came to UIA desks the queue has already been formed and only the desk for business class was on (others were supposed to be open later as I was told)

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UIA allows you to take 7 kg of hand luggage in economy and 12 in business class. I had only a small hand bag as I put all the stuff in the luggage I wanted to check-in.

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With both boarding passes and no suitcase I headed to the A gates that are the non-Schengen ones. It's been a while I flew from the non-Schengen zone in Athens and what surprised me was the fact it was much less crowded than the B gates zone with fast security check, less people in shops and a lot of space to wait for the flight. By now flying a non-Schengen country airline was a good choice.

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There were not many spotting opportunities but I think I should fly Cobalt soon as I see it everywhere here :)

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Boarding started on time and there was rather no delay danger as the inbound flight from Kiev arrived as scheduled 13:35 so almost 1,5 hours before the flight back.

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The gates was located on the ground level so a buss boarding was coming. I hope it will allow me take some photos.

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Our aircraft for today is a 17-year old 737-800 UR-PSH flying for UIA from 2013.

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I like this fuselage view you can have from the stairs

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CC consists of 5 nice young girls dressed in blue and yellow, very nice uniforms I must say. All the announcements both by CC and pilot are made in Ukrainian, then English and Russian. Seems a little bit strange regarding current situation but I understand still a lot of people mostly in eastern Ukraine speak rather Russian than Ukrainian. Our flight seems almost full but I'm lucky to have the middle seat next to me empty.

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Pitch is not as good as in the Aegean economy front rows, yet still it is not LCC standard.

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I must say the aircraft looks decent inside, some its parts are definitely used but it's clean and well maintained. Time to see the seat pocket contents.

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UIA fleet facts from the onboard magazine: 4 x 767-300, 4 x 737-900, 18 x 737-800, 8 x 737 classic and 5 x E190. Not bad at all.

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Our neighbour seems to be Egypt Air 737-800

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View of the terminal as we begin to taxi

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Austrian retrojet somewhere there

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It's Aegean kingdom with a small EK addition

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I like this green grass you won't see here during summer as it will be completely burnt by very strong sun. Spring in Greece is a very beautiful time.

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Austrian retro taking off before us

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And Ryanair to follow

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Up with some airport views

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and airport area with main motorway called Attiki Odos (Athens road)

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We took off westwards toward the Argosaronic bay, Athens are visible in the right corner

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The bay with its islands

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Cape Sounio area as we turn left

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The city of Lavrio (known from the antiquity for its mines) and the island of Makronissos (which stands for "long island" in Greek)

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The island of Kea in the background

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The south part of Euboea island

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I couldn't find what this strange small roads are for

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The island of Andros

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Flying along the Turkish coast

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and Marmara island

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Time for some BOB as the only thing UIA offers is a glass of water. I heard they had a very nice service in economy reduced to a glass of water as a result of the cost cut. Now I'm sure that nothing compares to Aegean.



This is my favorite page of the BOB menu: you can have a large beer for a price lower than this of water :)

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The prices are generally ok but I decided to take only tea as I wasn't hungry and didn't feel like having a beer.

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A big part of this flight was over the Black Sea that was covered with clouds. Finally we reached the Ukrainian shore near Odessa

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The weather was getting worse as we approached Kiev

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Dnipro river is really huge, I was lucky to spot it between the clouds just minutes before touchdown

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Short finals

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And here I am. Looks like it was raining here :(

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We stop at a remote stand which is good becuase I will be able to take some photos but on the other hand there are only 3 degrees Celsius in Kiev comparing to 20 in Athens! Good to have my jacket with me.

My aircraft during deboarding

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Another UIA 737-800

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We are taken to the airport by bus. I'm completely OK with my 2,5 hours for the next flight and ready for long transfer queues as I saw in some reports are quite common in KBP.

To be continued in the next report.

Many thanks for reading.
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Verdict

Ukraine International

6.0/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering3.5

Athens - ATH

8.4/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

Kiev - KBP

6.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access5.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

UIA is ok. Nothing special but definitely nothing to be afraid of. A modern airline with decent fleet and nice cabin crew. It would be good though to be served something more than water on a 2-hours international flight, even a small sweet or salty snack. I can't say anything bad about ATH, it seems well maintained, full of shops and places to eat. The access to the airport is not my favorite considering 45 minutes spent on a crowded train for 10 euro.

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