6 Reasons You’ll LOVE Ukraine Airlines Business Class

Hello from New York! We just flew Ukraine International Airlines from Kiev to New York, which sure was an interesting note on which to end this trip. After being very pleasantly surprised by Aeroflot and Air Serbia, and after having a good enough experience on Azerbaijan, I was hoping that maybe Ukraine International would be a pleasant surprise as well.

Well, I try to generally be a positive person, so I guess Ukraine International was a pleasant surprise… in a different way.

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Here are six things that made our flight in Ukraine business class fantastic:

The cabin is intimate

With just 12 recliner seats, the cabin has a sense of coziness you don’t find in many other products nowadays. You’ll get to know the person seated next to you, you’ll get to know the person seated in front of you, etc. It’s hard not to.

Heck, there might even be a sense of allegiance among passengers when everyone has the same reaction of “holy %*&@, this is business class in 2016?!?”

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The seats are cozy

When Singapore Airlines introduced their new business class seat about a decade ago, one of the biggest complaints was that the seat is too wide.

That’s a problem Ukraine Airlines doesn’t have. They know passengers like to be cozy, and they’ve incorporated that into all classes of service on this plane.

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While I don’t typically travel with measuring tape, I’d estimate that Ukraine’s business class seat is between 17 and 18″, which is about average for an economy seat (that estimate comes from putting my 13″ Macbook Air on the seat, and then placing my iPhone 6 next to it; the iPhone wouldn’t quite fit).

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That width is average for an economy seat, though not average for Ukraine’s economy seat. They’re one of only a couple of airlines in the world that puts eight seats per row in 767 economy (the standard is seven).

You’ll truly be able to disconnect

Life can be busy, and often we don’t take enough time to truly disconnect. That’s easy to do on Ukraine. There’s no personal entertainment, even in business class, but rather just a monitor on the bulkhead. Furthermore, their power ports don’t work, so eventually you’ll be left time to ponder life’s greater questions.

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You’ll get a great night of sleep… on landing

On westbound transatlantic flights it can be easy to sleep the whole way if you have a flat bed, and then you’ll be wide awake when you land, and not be able to sleep at night. I can assure you that won’t happen after flying Ukraine, thanks to the tight seats, lack of recline, bright monitors at the front of the cabin, and horrible bedding.

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You won’t miss your connection in Kiev

Making a connection can be stressful, even if you plan plenty of time. Even though Kiev Airport has a pretty frustrating transfer process, the good news is that we had no trouble making our connection thanks to a short five hour delay on our flight to New York.

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You won’t overindulge

Flying premium cabins on top carriers can be downright unhealthy, thanks to the huge meals many of them serve. That won’t be a problem on Ukraine International. The starter for the first meal? Salmon. The main course? Salmon. The starter for the second meal? Salmon. The main course for the second meal? Salmon.

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Also, it can be tempting to consume a fair amount of champagne when you have access to Dom, Krug, etc. Don’t worry, Ukraine’s champagne cava selection gives China Southern a run for their money.

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So yeah, there you have it…

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. Well, you’d been dying to try it. Now you know. Were the flight attendants friendly at least?

    8 across in Y??????? On a 767? Yuck.

  2. You left out the best part: the fact that Ukraine Airlines is a redemption partner for Flying Blue, so you can actually use miles to fly this amazing product. Of course, you can’t search availability online—you have to call Flying Blue and let their agents search. Isn’t it wonderfully nostalgic to hearken back to the time when no airlines allowed you to search award availability online? What fun!

    You also forgot to mention that there are credit cards one can get to transfer miles to Flying Blue to fly Ukraine and make all your travel dreams come true. I’m sure some of your readers would appreciate learning about those cards and getting a link to apply.

  3. Very funny article Lucky! I loved it! When I first saw the title, I thought you made a mistake when you wrote it. Then, when I read the first paragraph, I realized what your experience was.

  4. Next I will be flying UIA from FIN-Kiev-WAW, with a 12 hour layover in Kiev, any recommendations on what to do on my 12 hour layover in Kiev. I plan to take the SkyBus to the city center and walk around.

  5. Flying to Georgia and Azerbaijan next year and Ukraine is $1400 in J. The more traditional airlines are all around $1k in Y so while I knew Ukraine was bad (and you just proved it) I’m no longer sure it’s worth $400 more than Klm economy.

    Or maybe I just suck it up for $2700 on Turkish. Qatar has some great deals in J on their gyd-tbs fifth freedom route so that leg is a given as nobody else flies this route nonstop.

  6. I wish I had pictures of the the flight I flew on Aerosvit in 2011. I upgraded to the emergency row for what I remember was ~$40. The seats for that row were clearly retrofitted, with one armrest having been sawed (most likely a hand saw, by the looks of the saw marks) off and installed. The projector screens and salmon buffet were memorable.

  7. @ Santastico — Ironically, I think Spirit might have a better hard product. Their economy seats have an additional 1/4″ of width, and the “Big Front” seats would be 2.25 inches wider than these.

  8. Yes it’s not great. But let’s not forget this is a country that was invaded by “Russia” in the 21st century. It is a country that is at war. It’s pretty amazing they are flying and the country is operating relatively normally given what has happened in the east of the country.

    I can’t believe you moaned about the length of the flight to Kiev given what Happened to MH17 and the obvious reasons for the extra long route.

    It’s a shame that neither of your posts so far have not really acknowledged any of this.

  9. Good God, you people are shallow. This is a country at war with Russia. Russian surrogates recently shot down a Malaysian Airlines overfly. And all you can do is giggle at the standard of business crass.

  10. Transatlantic Business class on UIA is more like economy premium on most airlines. Both price-wise and product wise.
    Economy class on European flights is ok. Nothing fancy, but it gets you from point A to point B.
    Fares are usually reasonable, especially in the last year when they started embracing low cost model.
    And airline doesn’t really receive a lot of government subsidies.

  11. You know that there are other parts of Ukraine right? like Lviv where I am right now that are served by Austria, Lufthansa and Lot and Kiev is served by other airlines too duhhhh

  12. “Ukraine — here I don’t come!”

    Nope, you should definitely come. Ukraine always ready for tourists. But use some another airlines

  13. LOL! I was going to warn you, but you wouldn’t have listened. This is Luxe Travel for Urkainians, who have been the red headed step child of the USSR for 3 generations now. Now you know! Best way to Kiev: Virgin Atlantic ATL to LHR, BA to KBP. Trust me. I make that run all the time. And DO NOT EVER USE LOT!

  14. @Pat Bertroche LOT is the best Eastern European airline and on par with almost every Western European Airline as well. Why do you use such strong language against them? Just curious…

  15. LOL – love this thread – my experience as well – though I thought the Flight Attendants were more friendly that the usual outdated AA and Delta Robots.

  16. I really liked this post about Ukraine Airlines 767 Business Class. It has a moderate amount of snark but it also offers valid criticism about modernizing both “hard” and “soft” products from the one guy who really knows (because he’s flown their competitors butt-in-seat).

    I, for one, would love to see you review business class on more not-so-aspirational airlines.

  17. “Flying premium cabins on top carriers can be downright unhealthy, thanks to the huge meals many of them serve. That won’t be a problem on Ukraine International. The starter for the first meal? Salmon. The main course? Salmon. The starter for the second meal? Salmon. The main course for the second meal? Salmon”

    This is hilarious. I love this post.
    I appreciated your sense of humor. Thanks for writing the review in this way.
    Simply amazing!!! Can’t stop laughing.

  18. Great post. I was looking to book a reward ticket on EK F suites. But now having second thoughts as to whether I should go with UIA J instead.

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