This Bizzare thing Actually Happened On my Flight! - Ukraine International Airlines Review
I always tend to take the off-beaten path, I get to discover the unknown, unravel mysteries and experience magic. This holds true until I decided to take an off-beaten flight experience. Yes, I planned a journey from Amsterdam to New Delhi aboard Europe’s worst-rated full-service carrier. I am talking about ‘Ukraine International Airlines!’ (UIA). Indeed this was a journey through the times, not less than a roller coaster ride, filled with nostalgia, adjourned with a fascination of the less ordinary, and teeming with frustration over missing all the wondrous luxuries. I am sure you will enjoy my Ukraine International Airlines Review!
I am writing this review as I sit in a massive and old metallic vessel, 10000 meters above the Ukrainian countryside. The dated Boeing 767-300 is transporting me. The captain looks to be too generous in announcing about the flight information, where he told how we would be flying over Ukraine, Albania, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and finally India. I can hear the roar of the old engines fitted in the B767, while something which I hear quite less in my frequent flights aboard B777-200. Let me narrate the experience so far:
Boarding and Seating
After sitting on the overused and worn-out seats, the flight crew made some generic announcements about the journey. Undoubtedly it was a somewhat chaotic boarding in the overbooked flight where Ukraine International Airlines leaves a dent in its first chance to impress me. Nonetheless, I am easy to convince, and the history geek in me jumped with nostalgia, after seeing the rectangle windows, segmented walls, interiors stained in hues between white brown and cream.
The rectangular overhead bins and the grooved ceiling told a similar tale. For a few moments, I believed to have been transported in the 90s, when plane travel was a flashy affair! The presence of personal TV screens was the last thing we would have expected. It was a delight seeing CRT monitors the hanging above our heads. Above all, The constant chit-chat of the crowd suggested a consensual discontent over the interiors.
And then this happened on my flight…
Finally, the plane started taxiing for the take-off. Boy, I am serious! I am not out my mind, neither am I dreaming. I got to witness a real power outage on an airplane. We are in a new decade, things like Corona have started to exist, and entrepreneurs are proposing hyper loops and the circular runways. A power cut was the last thing that I would have ever imagined on an airplane.
Amid all the commotion, distress, and anxiety, when the plane was in its wee hours, happily strolling along the tarmac, god forbid, it was all black! The large screens atop displaying random maps, the flickering lights in different shades of white, and the loud noise of the engines, all had ceased to exist, at least for a few seconds. This was followed by a light chuckle by 250 passengers, altogether sounding like a mockery to this mismanaged dated metallic capsule.
Take off – Story continued…Live review as I was typing this blog while experiencing everything.
I had lost all the hopes of having being lifted by this ancient aircraft, especially after the power outage and the constant vibration of the machinery beneath the cabin. Yes, it roared louder on the runway, it took a long run, but it is in air. Nothing special, nothing extraordinary. Just like any other aircraft, it is in air, waving proudly at Kyiv. Within a few minutes, it attained an altitude of 10000 meters.
The captain looks to be generous in announcing about the flight information, where he told how we would be flying over Ukraine, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and finally India. Soon, the cabin crew takes rounds of the cabin, instructing every passenger to wait for the seat-belt sign to turn off before they can start breathing again. The next hour was uneventful with passengers taking turns to the lavatory and bumping me on the aisle seat.
Meal Review on Ukraine International Airlines
There is a meal service, which is notoriously slow and tardy. Indeed, I anticipate meals on a 7-hour long flight. It was inevitable that I would not get a meal cooked by a Michelin starred chef, so I had to convince my taste-buds for a bland pasta or pre-heated vegetables in some curry. The crew serves two options, one being chicken and the other being Vegetarian.
I had pre-selected my meal option as a Vegetarian. In hunger, I see the food cart coming nearer to me by every inch. It was my turn, finally! But the stewardess bluntly informs me that vegetarian meals are over and all they have is chicken. They placed the meal tray with usual airplane meal accompaniments such as a stale piece of bread, some butter, lettuce, and a muffin. The beverage options were limited to apple and tomato juice. There were no free alcoholic options available.
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The airline also sells certain moderately priced food items such as wraps, sandwiches, and protein bars. With limited vegetarian options available. I expected that Ukraine International Airlines would compensate for my displeasure over lack of complementary food with one of the vegetarian items which they otherwise had in store. But to my dismay, none of this happened. To avoid any unnecessary arguments, I decided to bear the gruelling stomach for the next 5 hours.
The pre-landing meal was a small wrap that tasted just fine. It was a relief from eating nothing to eating something. The overall meal service onboard Ukraine International Airlines is exceptionally awful.
Cabin Service on Ukraine International Airlines
The disorganised meal service hints towards the inhospitable nature of the crew. Undoubtedly, I tried to limit my interactions. I couldn’t afford more misery in an already mismanaged flight. But, to my surprise, besides the meal mishap, the crew were just normal throughout the flight. General duties were fulfilled but none went out of their way to assist passengers with their needs. Yes, now I realised the difference between a Motel and a Marriott!
Kiev Boryspil International Airport – The Hub
The best part about my journey would be Kiev Boryspil Airport. It is more than average at its best. Being a mid-sized airport, it has one linear terminal building with all essential facilities under the roof. The Italian restaurant didn’t fail to impress me and occupied much of my layover. The gates had comfortable seating arrangements; in fact, one of the comfiest I have ever seen in an airport. However, the wifi was a big disappointment, as it was unorganised throughout the terminal, as my phone had to reconnect multiple times. Overall, the airport was quite good, compared to other European ones where I have had terrible experiences.
In conclusion, Ukraine International Airlines is like the Ryan Air of full-cost airlines with highly limited services. I can either classify it as a premium low-cost national carrier or full-service rip-off. It depends on how you see. To be frank, I really liked the ancient charm in the cabin, but the service was disappointing considering UIA is a full-service carrier. The airport was actually decent, and the price I paid for this ticket was ridiculously low around 250$! But yeah, the airline does deserve the title for Europe’s worst-rated full-service carrier!
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