Review of Ukraine International flight Kiev Minsk in Economy

Flight PS 893
Class Economy
Seat 7F
Aircraft Boeing 737-500
Flight time 01:05
Take-off 12 Aug 17, 19:40
Arrival at 12 Aug 17, 20:45
PS   #134 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 81 reviews
loukas
By SILVER 446
Published on 28th August 2017
Hi again and welcome to the second part of my trip to Minsk with UIA.

This report covers a short flight from Kiev to Minsk after a day long stopover in the ukrainian capital. Let me begin with some bonus pics and story of my short and very intense stay in Kiev.

When you arrive to Boryspil airport, you should be aware that it is situated 35 km from the city center and the public transport let's say it clear: sucks. There is only a bus that can take you either to the main railway station (not recommended because you may loose much time in traffic jams) or to the nearest metro station Kharkivska (much better but not a perfect solution). We've chosen the second option and while it took us only about 15 minutes to get to the underground, we spent more than 35 minutes on the train to get to the center. Kiev is huge and the distances between the metro stations out of the center are terribly big ( avereage 5-6 mintues) reaching the maximum of 8 minutes when you cross the Dnipro river. That means that having even a long stopover in Kiev, you need to have 2 hours in total to get to the city and come back to the airport.

After a long metro ride we finally made it to the Golden Gate station.

photo img_3982photo img_3983

The station is called after the reconstructed gate that used to lead to the old town in the middle ages. Even if it is a legend, this gate is very important to Poles as it is believed that our first king Boleslaw Chrobry chipped his sword oh this gate doors in attempt to conquer Kiev. This sword was afterwards used as a coronation sword of all Polish kings and is now kept in the royal castle in Krakow. That's of course a legend as it has been proved the sword has been made many years after the battle and the gate has also been constructed later. Anyway I like this story and couldn't miss the gate while being in Kiev.

Here is the fameous Golden Gate. No traces of the sword on the doors ;)

photo img_3989

From the Golden Gate there are just a few steps to St Sofia Monastery that definitely is a must while being to Kiev. The huge Sofia's square with Bohdan Chmielnicki monument makes great impression.

photo img_3994photo img_4010

You can visit all the monastery inside, we decided to go only to the church where - unfortunately - taking photos is not allowed and more than ten elderly ladies follow you and shout in Russian, Ukrainian and even in English not to do it.

photo img_3997

On the second edge of the huge square is St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, fully reconstructed after being destroyed in 1934 by the communists.



We head to Andrijws'kyj uzwiz, perhaps the most poular street in the old part of Kiev, named after the beautiul church of St. Andrew

photo img_4017photo img_4022

The street itself is very nice, despite becoming a tourist market with new and older souvenirs….

photo img_4027photo img_4029

Some airlines never die ;)

photo img_4015

Another place not to miss: the Independence Square or Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Ukrainian



The waitress said we had probably the best table in the city :) A cold beer is necessary when there are 35 degrees Celsius

photo img_4053

The next attraction is the deepest underground station in the world: Arsenalna, 105 m under the ground level. You spend exactly 4:30 minutes on the escalator to go up.

photo img_4057photo img_4058

Close to the deepest metro station is Pecherska Lavra - a huge complex of monasteries where you could spend a whole day and we had only an hour or so. Need to come back here one day.

photo img_4083

View on the other side of the river

photo img_4060

That's the end of the bonus. Let's go back to the airport and to the main flight report ;)

After a long metro and bus ride we reach Boryspil in one hour. The terminal D where all the UIA flights depart is new and modern.

photo img_4092photo img_4093

What surprises me is that despite the airport being crowded, the safety and passport controls take not more than a few minutes. Good organisation is not something common here so it surprises me even more. Looking out of the window there's just an UIA land…



Some UIA souvenirs for incredibly high prices…

photo img_4101photo img_4102

Time for our boarding from a gate located downstairs, on the ground level. That means a bus boarding that is very common here. It's a very messy boarding to be honest, they ask us why we don't have visas and can't understand we don't need it anymore if going for 3 days only.

photo img_4109

The worst thing is that despite the flight being supposed to be operated by a 737-800, the bus simply turns around and opens its doors in front of an old 737-500 parked just a few meters from the terminal. The plane is 25 years old as I checked and is one of the oldest if not the oldest in the airline fleet… Today is the day of flying prehistoric planes. Should we have had another flight today, it would have been no doubt operated by a Tu-154 or IL-62, judging by the fact that every next aircraft is older than the one before.

Boarding the old lady UR-GAW, age 25, first flight in 1992

photo img_4111photo img_4113

The aircraft looks old inside, even though it is quite clean, you can't hide its age. However the pitch surprises me !!!!

photo img_4115

Looking out of the window I see an old wing and, what a surprise, some UIA aircrafts

photo img_4114

Oh no, wait, there's one LOT tail far, far away

photo img_4118

More UIA as we push back

photo img_4119

And a TK A330. There must be a good demand for seats on the KBP-IST route

photo img_4121photo img_4122

Sunset over the terminal

photo img_4124

More UIA on a remote stand

photo img_4130

and sunset with aircraft tails (like a painting title)

photo img_4132

We take off in the meantime. To be honest I'm so tired after this very hot and intense day in Kiev, that I don't mind flying the old lady and seem not to notice much of what happens around. I'm dreaming of the hotel shower and a room with aircondition!

photo img_4133photo img_4135

Not so fast! To enter Belarus we need to fill entry forms

photo img_4139photo img_4140

When I open the table to do it I discover a very interesting seat interior …

photo img_4143

Service: a cup of water

photo img_4144

The flight lasts only 45 minutes and shortly we fly over the woods and fields of Belarus

photo img_4148

Short finals and landing

photo img_4149photo img_4150

Our neighbour: Belavia CRJ-200

photo img_4156photo img_4157

Pax bus and Minsk terminal. For me it looks like a fortress or a nuclear power plant

photo img_4158photo img_4161

The old lady being disembarked

photo img_4160

I heard and read that Belarus tries to attract tourists (that's why visa is not needed anymore for a short stay) and everyone is very friendly. However our first Belarusian encounter is more than unfriendly. A young customs officer checking our passports showed us what a different reality means. To enter Belarus without visa you need an insurance for not less than 10.000 euro. Our insurance was for 40.000 euro and before our trip I made a call to the Embassy of Belarus in Warsaw to ask if this insurance (that I use all over the world) is accepted in Belarus and was assured that everything is fine. It wasn't. The young and agressive officer speaking almost no English, explained to me that the insurance must be in Russian or Belarussian or we can't enter the country. When I asked why I received an answer that "English and Polish (the languages our insurance was in) are not languages" …. Ok, despite being a filologist, I decided not to begin an argument about the meaning of the word "language" and simply asked, in Polish (Belarussian language is easy to understand to Poles, so is Polish to Belarussians. They are now forced to use Russian but most of them learn they mother tongue at home so that it is not yet completely dead), what should I do now. After a moment of hesitation she said: "you may enter now but next time I won't let you in". I said: "spasiba" (thank you in Russian) and this answer really pleased her. Howerver I don't think there will be any "next time" in the nearest future….

So…. welcome to Belarus!

photo img_4162

Many thanks for reading!
See more

Verdict

Ukraine International

5.9/10
Cabin5.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering5.0

Kiev - KBP

7.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access5.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

Minsk - MSQ

5.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Conclusion

UIA is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you gonna get. It may be written "cherry in dark chocolate", then you open the box and discover a peanut in the milk one. Thank God all the chocolates fly safely ;)
KBP - nice and modern, fast security and passport check but terrible access and lack of food court.
MSQ - the most unpleasant passport control ever

Related

9 Comments

  • Comment 410439 by
    AK SILVER 660 Comments

    Hi and thanks for this report. I had a similar experience for entering Belarus a few weeks ago. The policewoman starred at my insurance attestation which was written in English, and finally let me through without question. A friend was let through by showing her European Social Security card, but another (who faced another policewoman), had to buy an insurance at the airport for 2€. The passport control itself is very stressful as they really look in details to your passport with the magnfying glass and everything....

  • Comment 410445 by
    loukas SILVER AUTHOR 311 Comments

    Hi, you are right, it was the most stressful moment during my stay. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the magnifying glass. Next time it's better to spend 2 euros for the peace of mind I suppose. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Comment 410476 by
    fiftytwo GOLD 635 Comments

    Czesc

    World is small , Benoit75008 just flought with UR-GAW 10 days later .

    The fleet of PS is not TK's fleet so i also enjoyed this plane last year , but 30 mins more than you did

    Thanks for bonus

  • Comment 410494 by
    Benoit75008 GOLD 7176 Comments

    Czesc czesc!

    Crazy that we got the same seat and the same plane!
    PS is offering cheap offer but cheap prices also.

    I m really astonished as i want also to go to Belarus and i asked same question as you in Warszawa concerning insurrance..
    I m curious about your return flight and your bonus, to know if there are nice moods in Belarus or not.

    Dziękuję bardzo i do zobacenia!

    • Comment 410578 by
      loukas SILVER AUTHOR 311 Comments

      Cześć! Indeed! UIA is ok, have flown already 6 times with them and despite some aircraft being old and used, I can't say a bad word. Belarus is very interesting from many points of view, I'm working on the next report, should have it ready soon. Do zobaczenia!

  • Comment 410874 by
    Shisdu SILVER 670 Comments

    Hello Lukas,

    That was an astonishing tourism bonus.

    it is believed that our first king Boleslaw Chrobry chipped his sword on this gate doors

    In my country we have door bells. No wonder they didn’t want to open!

    St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, fully reconstructed after being destroyed in 1934 by the communists.

    Some people have that terrible habit of destroying everything they don’t agree with! IMHO, that’s the best evidence that they are wrong!

    a tourist market with new and older souvenirs….

    Oh my! Those street markets are my weakness! I would have spent the whole day there!

    FREEDOM IS OUR RELIGION

    That could be my motto!

    105 m under the ground level.

    Oh, my! :O

    Some UIA souvenirs for incredibly high prices…

    Yeah. Every time I want to get a souvenir from an airport, I take home with me is a big shock.

    every next aircraft is older than the one before.

    You might end up flying the Fred Flintstone style, on a pterodactyl!

    the pitch surprises me

    Aahh… the good old days when seat pitch was not an issue. This old lady deserves respect!

    To enter Belarus we need to fill entry forms

    Hire me! In my AEP > MVD flight I learned that I’m good at filling forms!

    Service: a cup of water

    You kidding me??

    "English and Polish (the languages our insurance was in) are not languages"

    She is a human, a woman, a Belarusian, and an airport staff, and the good reputation of all those collectives is being smeared by her stupidity. Where is this world going?!?!?

    "you may enter now but next time I won't let you in"

    Next time you shouldn’t be there, lady!!!

    Thanks a lot for sharing such an interesting, comprehensive and well written report! BTW, great cover picture!!

  • Comment 411327 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Excellent bonus pictures, it seems like you made the most of your stay in Kiev :)

    The seat pitch looked great, it may have been an older aircraft but at least another chance of flying these classics was given combined with a good amount of legroom.

    Wonderful spotting shots!

    Sorry to hear about the arrival experience at MSQ but good to know you were able to pass.

    Have a good one, see you!

Login to post a comment.