Moscow airport

May 22nd, 2004, 04:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 55
Moscow airport

Is the Moscow airport as confusing as I have heard? We will be flying Delta from the U.S. via Paris. What is the arrival like? Are the lines really long? Is it easy to get a taxi to the hotel? Thanks! JD
judyumcer is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 427
I have not been to Moscow since 2001, but the airport was pretty bad then. When we arrived, we walked right through, because there was no one at the arrival desks, only someone who quickly stamped our passports and checked our visas. We were very relieved because the 5 of us were carrying 25 big suitcases and dufflebags. We were headed to Smolensk to work with teachers. We had a car waiting, so I do not know about taxis.

The return flight was a different story, and we were only carrying one carry-on bag each. There was no Delta desk per se; the simply rolled out a portable baggage x-ray machine, flipped some signs, and the available desks became Delta. The lines were very long and very slow. They were using very old computers that everyone's passport had to be typed into before we boarded the plane; it was taking about 5 minutes per person. Although were were at the airport 3 1/2 hours before our flight, our plane was delayed because of the long line. Again, that was 3 years ago, so things may be better now. I hope someone will give you some more up-to-date information.
marty is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 05:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 478
I fly through it regularly, and I have many clients who do as well. It is far more reliable to book your transfer in advance than rely on the taxis at the airport; although most are honest (albeit expensive), I have heard of too many problems to recommend that someone get a car there.

Lines are lengthy, but no worse than any other major airport. I assume you are flying Air France from Paris to Moscow; Delta does a good job at checking people in, but there can be delays at the passport and customs control. Allow the standard three hours for checking in for international flights and you shouldn't have a problem.

Architectually the airport is quite dated, a real relic of the 1980 Olympics. The airport authorities have done much to clean it up, and staff there tend to be friendly, although most (except airline personnel) don't speak English. When you are flying out, I recommend eating beforehand, as there are few good dining options at the airport itself.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
May 23rd, 2004, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 135
I would not use the word confusing to describe my experiences at SVO2. Arrival experience will depend upon how many other flights have managed to arrive a the same time as yours. Depending upon your arrival gate, you may or may not have to almost walk the perimeter of the Terminal to get to the stairs which lead down to Passport Control. You could be first in line at Passport control and have a very short wait to get thru. Conversely, if you happen to arrive at the "wrong" time, you may be backed up all the way to the stairs and have quite a much longer wait getting tru Passport Control. Usually it is not all that bad, and the lines move OK. Be sure to have your entry and exit form completed before you get to the Passport Control window.
Once you have had your passport stamped and cleared Passport Control, you will enter directly into the baggage claim area. After getting your bags, you will need to go thru Customs, either Red Line to declare valuables or Green Line if nothing to declare.
Upon exiting the sliding doors and entering the Arrival Terminal, you will have every taxi driver in the airport trying to offer you a taxi at the same time. As Marc mentioned they are reliable but expensive. Most of the Hotels can arrange for transportation as well, but is usually expensive too. I think Marriott Hotels even have a "transportation desk" at the far end of the arrival hall. If you can arrange for some transportation in advance it will be much less $.
Regarding the departure experience you may have at SVO2, Marc has pretty much given it to you. Again, it will depend upon how many other flights are checking in at the same time. Again, the time spent at Passport control after checking is the unknown factor. You could be first in line and be thru in seconds. You could be in a long line that takes maybe 30-40minutes,or longer.
As Marc has mentioned Delta has some great people who have been there a long time, and always to a good job. If you have any questions when you get to the airport, there is a small window which Delta and AF share and the Delta representatives can help you.
I would recommend that you get to the airport sooner rather than later, as the line for check-in starts backing up, and it does take some time to get thru the check-in process. Personally, I would rather get there early, get checked in and thru Passport Control and spend the extra time inside the airport at the extensive Duty Free shops rather than waiting in line at the end of the line to check in.
Hope you have a great time.
Firstmate is offline  
May 23rd, 2004, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 427
It sounds like things have definitely changed for the better since I was there in 2001. We were the first people in line then, and it still took more than 3 hours to get on the plane. Once we checked in, we still had to go through another line that was merging from other out-going flights. This is where everyone's passport info was put into a computer. After the final line, we only had time to go straight and board the plane that had been held, because of the backup. We got there at 10:30 for a flight that was leaving at 1, but it was actually 2 before it took off. As the other suggested, it is best to get there in plenty of time.
marty is offline  

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