Transaero Airlines is preparing to outfit its fleet of A380s and says it will furnish the planes with 652 seats across three different service classes — although naturally the vast majority of the seats (616 to be precise) will be dedicated to the economy class section of the plane. To give you a comparison, most other A380s are outfitted with 470-520 seats, so the Russian carrier’s plans represent a pretty significant step up in capacity.And while a body-constricting, knee-knocking, claustrophobia-inducing experience might be tolerable on a short domestic flight, the bad news is that these sardine-can-in-the-sky planes will be flying long haul. Some of the routes being proposed by Transaero include Moscow-Thailand and Moscow-Dominican Republic. But even domestic flights can be long haul when you’re talking about a country as large as Russia. One of the routes on the table includes Vladivostok to Moscow which clocks in at 4,000 miles. That’s a heck of a long distance to be squished up between 651 other weary fliers.
What do you think? Is airplane seating getting out of control?
The Dreamliner hasn’t been such a dream thus far. Problems have been popping up with the Dreamliner since its first flight. The latest problem occurred with a Japan Airlines flight departing from Moscow. The plane had to turn around mid-flight today because of a problem in the plane’s bathroom. The plane experienced a toilet malfunction, which is said to have been caused by an electrical glitch, according to Reuters. It’s unclear what the exact nature of the toilet malfunction was, but I think we can take it for granted that the toilet wasn’t working and that a nobody wants to be on a flight with a broken toilet.
A plane operated by Russian-based charter airline I-Fly completed seven flights before maintenance workers finally noticed a dead stowaway in the wheel well, the Aviation Herald is reporting.
The industry watchdog reports that after an otherwise uneventful flight from Rimini, Italy, to Moscow, Russia, maintenance workers found bloodstains on one of the main landing gear struts. After inspecting the wheel well, the crew found the remains of a male carrying a Georgian passport, who was later identified as 22-year-old Giorgio Abduladze. An autopsy revealed the man, who was wearing only a T-shirt and shorts, had frozen to death four days prior to being found, during which the aircraft had completed at least seven flights.
“Apparently the man died from exposure to cold; we suspect that he was a stowaway,” a spokesperson for the investigation told RT.com.
Experts are fiercely debating whether or not maintenance crews should have noticed the body sooner. Some say the inner gear doors only get opened during a weekly check. Either way, sneaking into the undercarriage of a plane comes with an extremely low survival rate. In fact, a recent BBC article noted that from 1947 until September 2012, there were 96 known stowaway attempts that resulted in 73 deaths.
One of the most beautiful subway systems in the world is the Moscow Metro. The system was originally built under direct orders from Stalin to create gorgeous stations that the people of Moscow would admire for its depictions of a “radiant future.” Mariusz Kluzniak took this fantastic panorama of the absolutely beautiful Novoslobodskaya Station. The station’s architect, Alexey Dushkin, spent well over a decade on the design, eventually commissioning designs for 32 stained glass panels from famed Russian artist Pavel Korin. The result is fantastic and unlike any other public transportation station in the world.
We reached the Kazakh border before lunchtime and there was an unbelievable commotion as scores of merchants boarded the train while others threw big boxes through open windows. Two men barged into our compartment carrying boxes of produce and a vicious argument ensued as my travel companions tried to prevent the men from stacking their crates in our compartment.
Ultimately, my companions succeeded, but the corridors became impassable as wild looking women with entire rows of stainless steel teeth began to set up makeshift beds on top of the piles of luggage and cargo. Feeling trapped, I stepped over all the bodies and cargo en route to see my friends, Brian and Sherry. I bumped into them in between cars, nearly tripping over a gaggle of pitiful looking women who had laid claim to a cold, grimy little bit of floor space.
Brian had clearly lost his composure.
“The Kazakh border guards are right outside and Natasha is screwing some guy in the room!” he exclaimed.”What guy?” I asked.
“Some skinny guy; she invited him in for a drink then the next thing we know she’s running her hand up his leg and resting it on his knee,” Sherry said. “We were up on our top bunks but she must have known we would be able to see.”
“She didn’t care, cause they just started going at it,” Brian said. “Maybe they thought we were asleep up top, but we weren’t.”
“At least she has a guy now,” Sherry said. “Before she kept flirting with Brian. She flashed her boobs at him once and motioned for him to like, you know, pull his pants down.”
“Where is she going?” I asked.
“She said she was going home to Turkmenistan,” Brian said.
Turkmenistan? Prior to the trip, I attempted to ascertain what countries I’d need a transit visa for while in Moscow and had been told I only needed a Kazakh transit visa, so the news that we were going to pass through Turkmenistan was an unwelcome development to say the least. Only a decade had passed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the train routes dipped in and out of newly independent countries that some Muscovites barely acknowledged.
Brian and Sherry were paranoid that Kazakh border police would bounce them off the train, as they had no Kazakh transit visas, but the police took one look at the impassable train corridor and decided not to bother boarding the train, rendering my Kazakh transit visa an expensive passport decoration that took me half a day to get.
As we entered Kazakhstan, we left the greenery of Russia behind and entered a more or less barren landscape. Marina and Aliya brought nothing to read save a single celebrity gossip magazine, which featured an article on Britney Spears’ alleged nail-biting addiction, and Dima brought nothing at all.
We passed the time with small talk, card games and gawking at the occasional camel out the window. Before retreating to my top bunk for some rest, I popped into Brian and Sherry’s compartment to meet Natasha, their randy middle-aged drunken neighbor. She had the physique of a middle linebacker and dwarfed the skinny little man she’d been fooling around with. He still had a big smile plastered on his face and he asked to see my passport, claiming he’d never met an American before.
I handed it over and he and the others began to study each page carefully. I turned away to talk to Brian and before I knew it, my passport was being passed around amongst the gold-toothed women huddled in the corridor. On a four-day train ride, any form of entertainment will do in a pinch.