If you’re ever looking for some travel inspiration, our Trip Reports forum is sure to provide it! We’re lucky on AFF to have many interesting member reviews and trip reports covering all corners of the globe.
Case in point: AFF member RooFlyer recently travelled to eastern Siberia to visit Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake. It’s a beautiful part of the world that very few Australians ever visit.
Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake, its oldest, is the seventh largest by area and contains a bit over 1/5 of the world’s liquid fresh water – more than all of the American great Lakes combined… Its also home to some unique wildlife, like the Baikal seal – a freshwater seal!
To get to Russia, RooFlyer first flew with Qantas from Australia up to Hong Kong. From there, this member redeemed Qantas points for an S7 Airlines flight to Irkutsk in Business Class.
A few months ago I was playing around with Qantas redemptions and, as I do from time to time, looked for flights to Irkutsk, the city which is the gateway to Lake Baikal. Siberian Airlines, better known as S7, flies from HKG but only once a week direct. The other days it stops over at Beijing in the middle of the night wich is distinctly unappealing to me. Anyway, up popped a business class seat on both HKG-IKT and IKT-HKG on S7, so I instinctively grabbed it. S7 isn’t an airline I would normally consider, but ya just gotta make do sometimes. 76,000 QFF points return.
A member of the Oneworld alliance, Novosibirsk-based S7 Airlines exclusively operates narrow-body aircraft. In addition to many Russian domestic services it flies several routes from destinations across eastern Asia to Siberia, as well as routes from Moscow and St Petersburg to continental Europe.
So, what is S7 Airlines Business class like? In this trip report, RooFlyer described the S7 Airlines experience as “serviceable but not fantastic”.
An Airbus A320 with just 8 Business class seats is used for the 5-hour flight from Hong Kong to Irkutsk. The recliner seats are in a 2-2 configuration – a similar setup to the Boeing 737 Business seats on Virgin Australia or Qantas. But there was no in-flight entertainment on S7 Airlines, which made the flight seem even longer than it was.
A full meal was served after take-off, but that was about the extent of the on-board service.
The meal was served quickly and after that the crew disappeared behind the curtain, but always responded to call button.
After arriving in Irkutsk, the real adventure began! RooFlyer took several tours in and around Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. The scenery looks rather spectacular… not to mention the culinary delights!
View the full trip report on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Lake Baikal, Siberia on Qantas and Siberian Airlines (S7)