Transaero Airlines New York-Moscow Imperial Class – Flight Review
Most airlines call their first-class cabins on three-class flights “First Class,” a clear but somewhat uninspiring designation in today’s heavily branded world. A few airlines have loftier aspirations, but nothing stuck out in my mind as much as Transaero Airlines’ Imperial Class. I had seen photos of the first-class cabin and seats and read about the service on the airline’s website, even forming images of what royalty could expect on board, but nothing prepared me for the experience that was to come.
My Imperial Class trip to Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport started with a Transaero-booked ride to John F. Kennedy International Airport in a recent-vintage Cadillac sedan. The driver was Russian (this was a coincidence although it would be great if Transaero could request Russian drivers from the car service company) who was happy to share tips on what to see in Saint Petersburg, my destination and his place of birth.
With only light traffic, the drive to JFK was quick and my travel companion and I were soon at the first-class check-in line, with only one person ahead of us. We were greeted warmly by two agents and followed with the brief check-in formalities, which included ensuring that the necessary visas were in hand. One of the agents explained he would be accompanying us through security, taking us to the lounge, and then escorting us onto the aircraft.
There was a small wait at the TSA first- and business-class security checkpoint – most international airlines do not have agreements with the TSA to provide PreCheck so that option was not available – but the wait was no more than five minutes and the Transaero agent took care of handling our carry-on bags and making sure everything went smoothly. Soon, we were off to the lounge.
At JFK, Transaero uses the Wingtips lounge, which offers great runway views as well as a selection of hot and cold dishes and beverages. Our departure time was scheduled for 2:25 p.m. and, as promised, the Imperial Class agent reappeared to escort us to the plane.
Transaero invites its first-class passengers to board first. We arrived with our escort seconds before boarding was to begin so there was no wait.