Fast Trak service at SVO airport

Nov 2nd, 2006, 05:54 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Fast Trak service at SVO airport

Anyone used this type of service? It appears that if you pay someone, then you don't have to wait for anything - seperate customs line, seperate check-in, luggage first off, etc.

http://www.aerotour.org/fasttrack/ .. $65USD

http://www.apartmentres.com/en/pages...irport_service .. $90USD but no wait for luggage.

A related question - are lines so slow that this is even worth it or are the long regular lines exaggerated to drum up business?

bardo1 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 02:30 AM
  #2  
 
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If I have a tight connection or a meeting in Moscow I usually opt for the service when arriving (our clients who have been through Moscow's SVO before usually take it; those who have not experienced the delays usually don't). It can easily take an hour to go through passport control and customs if more than one flight is arriving. Effectively you are walked through everything, and get to the head of the line at passport and customs control on arriving flight (and check in, passport and customs control on departing flights).

An additional service that is worth it for those not traveling business class is the airport lounge, as you can otherwise easily sit for several hours in an uncomfortable terminal.

As traffic can be so bad on weekdays, if I am departing from SVO on an international flight I will usually plan on arriving 2-3 hours in advance (3 hours if I have a lot of baggage for customs inspection). Usually I don't use it for departing SVO or LED, St. Petersburg's airport, but occassionaly I will (again, if I know I am facing a time constraint (as many flights leave at 7 AM), or if there are some particular challenges at the airports, such as the Victory Day celebration last year, or the G-8 meeting this year).

Also, the 'luggage first off' is not really applicable unless your airline marks the bags priority.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 04:50 AM
  #3  
 
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I was in Sheremetyevo Airport yesterday, not using Fast Track, so I timed the trip. Taking out the 45 minutes in line at Delta (since Delta had to cancel their SVO-JFK flight as apparently one of the flight crew had a visa problem), it took me one hour and 45 minutes to get through the five lines at the airport. Had I used the Fast Track service (but NOT through Aerotour, clients have had too many problems with them) I would have saved around 75 minutes (the biggest time consumer is that every checked bag is thoroughly inspected, but I would have been brought to the top of the line). I didn't have any particularly unusual items with me this round (often I'll take artworks which require extra clearance time for processing), and there was no particular security alert in Russia and in Moscow yesterday. I also have enough Russian language skills that I can navigate myself.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 05:42 AM
  #4  
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marc,

Thanks for the update. Can I ask who you use for Fast Trak service, how to arrange it, and the cost?
bardo1 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 12:26 PM
  #5  
 
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Are there no carriers flying into Domodedovo from the US? Some European carriers have switched to DME and getting through customs and passport control is fantastic compared to SVO. Last 2 times it took 15mins to get through passport control and customs. According to my colleague who flies to Moscow every couple of weeks, this is quite usual.
Odin is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 01:53 PM
  #6  
 
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Off the top of my head, Swiss, Iberia and British Airways are the biggest European carriers serving Domodedovo (no non-stop or direct service from the US). At least for domestic Russian trips I find DME to be a bit disorganized (and there have been some shameful security lapses). Unless clients are coming through the UK, Switzerland or Madrid (we have many clients who do this) we usually recommend SVO over DME because of DME's heavier traffic issues when traveling to the major hotels and offices in the center of Moscow (which can easily negate the time savings from more efficient security lines).
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 12:25 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2007
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I have just returned from Moscow/St. Petersburg and at the time of my departure the Fast Trak service was suspended by the Russian government or airports. Although I was disappointed by this, in retrospect I am glad as I believe that this would have been wasted money.
Even without the Fast Trak service, on arrival at SVO I was processed and leaving the airport within 25 minutes (this included passport control, customs/immigration and checked baggage collection). I do not see any way that this could have been improved.
As for leaving, it may have been helpful to have a guide who was proficient in Russian to help locate gates and negotiate check-in, but only marginally. Customs and passport control posed no problems; I was basically just passed through with no questions asked.
Overall, I would suggest saving the cost of the service for something else (like the fantastically overpriced wine and alcohol).
dufby101 is offline  

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