While I love Ukraine to death, there’s one thing that I absolutely detest: flying on Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA). It’s Ukraine’s flag carrier, and it absolutely sucks.
Since then, I have flown UIA to many destinations, both inside Ukraine, around Europe, as well as to America.
Here are some things I don’t like:
While it has certainly gotten better over the last several years, it definitely leaves a lot to be desired. There’s still this feeling that UIA’s flight attendants are complete robots that don’t really care about your experience and well-being.
On many occasions, I have requested an extra water or tea only to be refused that they can’t do it.
Furthermore, it’s rare that the flight attendants are actually friendly. Most of them appear like they hate genuinely hate their jobs and are projecting this mystery out on you.
Verdict: don’t expect much service.
Perhaps the food has improved since Soviet Union times, but I wasn’t taking many flights back then, so I can’t really compare.
But, compared to other airlines, it seems like UIA is trying to save a lot of money by serving you poorly-prepared food with tiny portions.
The portions are smaller than I remember on any other airline. Each meal is about one or two spoon fulls and after you’re done, you’re hungry in 20 minutes tops.
Moreover, while other airlines are constantly innovating and creating memorable dishes (even in coach), UIA is serving completely boring and uninspired food.
Verdict: Bring your own sandwich.
This is my biggest beef with UIA. I’m not a huge man (5’9”, 188lbs), but whatever I do, I just can’t completely fit into the seats.
The seats are just too damn narrow!
So, when the food comes and it’s time to eat, I can’t extend my elbows far enough in order to eat the food with the utensils.
I feel as though if I continue eating, I will eventually start eating from the neighbor’s table, out of fish little plate instead of my own.
Thus, I’m forced to sit sideways while eating, a rather painful experience that I don’t remember ever doing on other airplanes.
Verdict: don’t be a grown man
Why do I keep flying UIA?
Probably because I’m some kind of a masochist. The actual reason is that UIA usually has the lowest fares to American cities, where I often fly for business.
That, and it’s usually the only direct flight out of this charming Eastern European country.
Then again, you’re much wiser and smarter than me, and if you want to do yourself a favor, don’t fly UIA and pick a better carrier like Lufthansa or Air France.