Moscow airports: what to expect

 

If you are planning to fly to or from Moscow there are some things you should know about its airports. Moscow has three major airports: Domodedovo, Sheremet'evo and Vnukovo. They are named after the towns where they are located. Regardless of which airports you are using, there are couple things you should consider. First is Moscow traffic jams. Always give yourself an extra hour just in case. Secondly, never get a cab at Moscow airport as you will pay three to five times the market price. Ask your travel agent to arrange all airport transfers for you (Travel All Russia can easily arrange all this).

Domodedovo Airport

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Domodedovo is the largest and the most modern airport in Moscow. In terms of service and convenience it is similar to John F. Kennedy airport in New York. It features large halls, great places to eat, and convenient check-in counters. By far, this is the best airport in Moscow. It is located to the south of Moscow; it takes about one hour to reach it by car from the city center. You can also take a shuttle train from Paveletsky train station to Domodedovo which goes every hour or so. It takes about 2 hours to reach the airport by train. Domodedovo services domestic and international flights, mainly European-bound. If you are flying from North America you are probably not going to land in Domodedovo; instead, you will encounter Sheremet'evo.

The fastest and most convenient way to reach Moscow from Domodedovo Airport is to take the Aeroexpress train! In just 45 minutes you will arrive in the city at at Paveletsky Train Station or Paveletskaya metro station.

AEROEXPRESS SERVICE  
Route Domodedovo Airport - Moscow (or vice versa)
Arrival / Departure Station Paveletsky Train Station or Paveletaskaya metro station
Time schedule 06.00 - 00.00
Train intervals every 30 min (there is 1 hour interval between 12:00 and 13:00)
Price per person (Economy Class) $29.00
Price per person (Business Class) $52.00

 


Sheremet'evo I and II

Our client's story

I recall two unpleasant incidents in Sheremet'evo II. The first happened to me when I was 14. I was flying from Moscow to the US as an exchange student. A customs officer told me that I could not leave a country because I was flying alone and did not have a written permission from my parents. The officer asked me how much money I had with me and when I responded that I had 400 dollars, he told me that he would let me go if I gave him half of it, which I ultimately had to do to get on my flight. You should not worry though, customs officials are more careful when it comes to foreign travelers. If you have not violated any rules, customs offciials won't be able to extort any money from you.

Second time I encountered Sheremet'evo-style customer service was this past summer. I was on a business trip to Moscow. When checking in I had been told that I was not on "the list of passengers." Apparently, someone from my company who was in charge of making reservations mixed up my travel dates. Luckily I had another return ticket that I have unused from my previous trip (when I returned to New York via Beijing). I went to Aeroflot ticket counter to ask if I could use my second ticket which had an "open date." The ticket counter had 5 windows, 3 of them closed. Because the two which were opened had huge lines, I knocked on one of the closed windows and tried to explain that it was an emergency (it was 40 minutes before the departure). Aeroflot official refused to talk to me and told me to wait in one of the lines. Obviously, has I waited, I would have missed my flight. I am very thankful to an Italian couple who let me jump in front of them. When you go to Russia, make sure that whoever is arranging your tickets, does not mess up the dates. It is smart to book airfares with a serious travel agency like Travel All Russia to avoid any surprises.

Sheremet'evo is located to the north of Moscow. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the outskirts of Moscow from Sheremet'evo and about 1 hour to reach the city center (without traffic jams). Sheremet'evo has two terminals located about 20 minutes away from each other. There are inconvenient shuttle buses going from one terminal to another.

The first terminal is the home-base of domestic Aeroflot flights. It has a Soviet-style infrastructure, terrible counters, not enough seats and just one or two places to eat.

The second terminal - Sheremet'evo II - was designed as the main international airport of the Soviet Union and today it services most of the international flights to Russia, including those from the North America. This airport is a Soviet-era "dinosaur" that for some strange reason has not yet been renovated. Its personal matches its infrastructure very well.

The fastest and most convenient way to reach Moscow from Sheremet'evo Airport is to take the Aeroexpress train! In just 35 minutes you will arrive in the city at Belorussky train station or Belorusskaya metro station.

AEROEXPRESS SERVICE  
Route Sheremet’evo Airport - Moscow (or vice versa)
Arrival / Departure Station Belorussky train station or Belorusskaya metro station
Time schedule 05.00 - 00.30
Train intervals every 30 min (there are two 1-hour intervals between 05:00 and 06:00 / 11:30 and 12:30)
Price per person (Economy Class) $29.00
Price per person (Business Class) $52.00

 


Vnukovo Airport

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Third Moscow airport is called Vnukovo. There is really not much to say about it except that it has a service and looks of Sheremet'evo, but operates only domestic flights. You probably won't encounter it, unless you are flying on a domestic flight in Russia.

The fastest and most convenient way to reach Moscow from Vnukovo Airport is to take the Aeroexpress train! In just 35 minutes you will arrive in the city at Kievsky Train Station or Kievskaya metro station.

AEROEXPRESS SERVICE  
Route Vnukovo Airport - Moscow (or vice versa)
Arrival / Departure Station Kievsky Train Station or Kievskaya metro station
Time schedule 06.00 - 00.00
Train intervals every 30 min
Price per person (Economy Class) $29.00
Price per person (Business Class) $52.00