Ukraine International Airlines 737 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Good morning from Kiev! Well, our crazy ~10 days of shuttling back and forth across the Atlantic on new airlines is slowly coming to an end, so I figured I’d share another “10 pictures” installment about our most recent flight.

I’ve already written about our experiences on Aeroflot, Air Serbia, and Azerbaijan. Unfortunately the last portion of our trip is probably the least glam, as we’re flying from Baku to Kiev to New York on UIA (Ukraine International Airlines).

I’ve been intrigued by Ukraine’s Kiev to New York flight for a while, so am excited to finally try it (when this post publishes we’ll hopefully be in the air between Kiev and New York).

But I figured I’d also report briefly on Ukraine’s 737 business class product.

Our flight from Baku to Kiev departed super early, at 6:15AM. While that might seem like an early departure, the plane actually comes from Aktau, Kazakstan, so the people starting there have an even earlier start.

This flight was operated by one of Ukraine’s fairly new 737-800 aircraft, which is one of the more modern planes in their fleet.

ukraine-airlines-737

Business class was pretty standard for an intra-Europe flight, meaning it was simply economy with a blocked middle seat. On our recent Aeroflot 737 business class flight we were delighted to find they had “real” business class seats, but unfortunately that’s far from the industry standard within Europe.

Nonetheless the legroom was decent enough, and I was happy to see that the seats weren’t slimline, so they were actually comfortable to sit in.

uia-business-class-737-1

Other than that, the experience exceeded my expectataions.

Ukraine offers pillows and blankets, as well as eyeshades and earplugs.

uia-business-class-737-4

uia-business-class-737-10

There were pre-departure beverages served in glassware.

uia-business-class-737-3

What was a bit odd was that the flight attendant offered us “lunch” (as she described it), despite the flight departing at 6AM.

Service began with a drink of choice, and I selected a coffee. While I liked the coffee cup and cute chocolate that came with it, unfortunately the coffee itself was powdered. Bleh!

uia-business-class-737-6

The food was quite good, though. Service began with mixed nuts, which is a bit odd at this hour of the morning.

uia-business-class-737-7

Then there was a starter tray with fresh fruit, a plate with cold cuts and cheese, and some baklava. I was also offered a roll and a croissant.

uia-business-class-737-8

Later the main course was brought out, which consisted of a pretty good omelet. The other option was chicken with vegetables.

uia-business-class-737-9

The crew was friendly and attentive. All the flight attendants were women in their 20s, and they were all sweet and charismatic.

There was no in-flight entertainment, though the views out the window kept me occupied for much of the flight.

uia-business-class-737-5

The one part of this flight that was unfortunate was how long it was. The distance between Baku and Kiev is ~1,150 miles, so even with headwinds, that’s ordinarily a flight that would take 2hr30min. However, this flight is blocked at 3hr50min, with a flight time of 3hr30min.

That’s primarily because of the airspace that UIA avoids, so our actual flown distance was more than 25% further than the direct distance. So when I booked the flight I was thinking to myself, “oh, it’s a quick ~1,100 mile hop,” and hadn’t thought “oh, I’ll be sitting on the plane for 4hr30min from boarding till deplaning.”

ukraine-flight-route

All things considered I enjoyed our flight on UIA though. Their shorthaul business class product is at least as good as what you’ll find on Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, etc. However, the pre-flight service is virtually non-existent. There’s nowhere to pull up your itinerary online, no way to check-in online, it’s tough to get ahold of the airline, etc. The ground experience in Kiev is also quite unpleasant, but more on that later.

I’m excited to report back on our experience in Ukraine’s longhaul business class product!

Comments

  1. Haha “the airspace UIA avoids”!! How very PC of you (large Russian readership or afraid of DDoS attacks?) You mean the Russians have proclivity to shooting down helpless passenger planes. Obviously any aircraft with the least defensive capability is too much for them.

  2. “All the flight attendants were women in their 20s, and they were all sweet and charismatic.”

    And single. Sign me up!

  3. The Kiev – New York was delayed by three and a half hours. This must have been torturous for the miserably ill Ben.

    I am so looking forward to the full trip report!

  4. The air space you are talking about is not avoid only by PS. Dombass is a non fly zone.

    PS does not fly over Russia and Crimea. And the same Russia does not fly over Ukraine (including dombass).

    As I guess you know they are no more direct flights between Ukraine and Russia both way.

  5. I was able to check-in online for all of my five flights with UIA back in June through their website and their mobile app. It wasn’t easy and is very oddly structured but after a few tries I was able to get them to work. It’s definitely not as straightforward as other online check-in options from more well known carriers though. Will be flying them again in May.

  6. Agree with David. But I never check in online. Faster at the counter. The only check in works but it’s a pain.

  7. @gregorz
    Oh you mean you missed the investigation report that mh17 was shot by russians? Guess your news come exclusively from comrade putin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *