Howdy all. Well, it’s nice for another Airline Review. And today it’s an airline you may not have heard of or flown – Belavia, the Belarussian National Airline. I took a morning flight back in November last year from Minsk to Barcelona. It was my first experience flying Belavia, I had a number of choices, but in the end Belavia was the most logical choice and it ended up being the right one.
So this particular flight I ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about. Initially I was hoping to use my points to get me from Minsk to Belarus but my options were basically nil. There were a number of cheaper options, but there was only one airline that flew direct. And for $163US, nothing saved me that much money. The only thing that wasn’t to my liking was the hour of the flight, leaving at 820am meaning I needed to be that the airport in Minsk, an hour or so from the city, by at least 620am I think it was but sometimes it’s three hours so anyways, I was up by 430am.
The journey was around three and a half hours, and we were on an Embraer 195. It’s not a bad little plane all said, and to have a direct flight saved an awful lot of time and honestly I don’t know why I was even considering other options. I guess I was a little cautious about an unknown airline from an ex-Soviet Republic as safety records for similar airlines are somewhat dubious, but in this case Belavia has actually been pretty good.
The check-in was simple and pleasant. As I said the Minsk airport was small, there weren’t many shops open at that time of day but there was a Burger King open for a little breakfast before the flight. I went into a terminal building to find my flight from a gate to get to I needed to go through this small door. Down a ramp to another section of the airport I was surprised to find there.
We boarded pretty much on time. We had to take a bus though to the plane, and with daily maximums of less than zero, it was minus seven or eight perhaps on the tarmac which passengers needed to walk across a little obviously to get from bus to plane.
On board, the flight was fine. No entertainment, but I wasn’t really expecting it. Some airlines it’s hard to pigeon hole as to whether they are a full-service airline or not. I feel like some offer a basic service – a light breakfast in this case – but not much more. Which I think is fine, really, unless you’re taking a long-haul flight because then you’d really want more, at least entertainment. But after getting up early all I really want is to sleep for an hour or two if I can. I got a little bit on this flight. The seat next to me was free, and the configuration was 2 – 2. There was a small business class section partially partitioned at the front of the plane.
It wasn’t full, always nice. And the service was friendly and the flight smooth. The approach to Barcelona – the airport is to the south of the city, takes you around and over docks I think they were and breaker-walls. It was one of the more memorable approaches that I can remember.
The only downside was the terminal was a far terminal from the main international terminal. It didn’t seem to be very busy, but it took a little while to process everyone as two flights it seemed arrived at once and there weren’t a lot of counters.
I had to take a bus to get to the main terminal where I had a couple of hours to wait for my wife to arrive. It was I think around ten minutes on the bus, they are not that close but also the bus isn’t very direct.
All in all, an unremarkable flight but a satisfactory one too! I would certainly consider Belavia again should I be on a route they fly depending on the options. Thanks for popping by today – May the Journey Never End.