Monday, February 15, 2010

A tail of two Aeroflot employees..

So it begins, in a ubiquitous Irish bar in the Moscow airport transit lounge.  My first, and only, impression of Russia was the first lady of the Aeroflod transfer desk (pictured left).  Her primary function, it seems, is to look entirely disinterested in your plight, whatever it may be.  Secondary to this in her job description, is to raise a tired finger and point at the sign on her desk, which reads: "(For) GATE NUMBER LOOK AT THE MONITOR", highlighted in several colours to aid readability.

It seems that no-one has ever asked to change seats on an Aeroflod flight before, and upon many gesticulations I got my point across to her younger minion.  It turns out that this girl was actually a diamond in the rough.  Despite the clearly taxing beaurocratic circles in which she was run on the phone, she actually came back and informed me that for the handsome sum of 700 rubbles it may indeed be possible to change my seat.  She seemed genuinely surprised at this discovery, and then decided to go into bat for a foreigner who was way out of his depth against the might of the Aeroflod seat changing procedure.  I eventually worked out that 700 rubbles equated to about 16 Euro, and was a bargain for the piviledge of 8 hours of sleep on the flight to Dehli.  I exchanged $100USD (ironically the only other currency that holds weight in this airport) for a chicken sandwich that tasted like the ashtray that it was sitting next to, and 2500 Rubbles.  After leaving me alone for a 20 minute walk with my boarding pass, and my newly exchanged cash (only slightly nerve wracking considering it also served as my Visa to be in Russia on transit), my favourite Aeroflod employee returned with a proud grin on her face, and the newly assigned 27B seat on an entirely Russian looking boarding pass.  I asked what thank you was in Russian, and promptly attempted to repeat it.

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