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There are a number of ways of getting to Kemerovo. You may take the train, fly, drive a car, or ride the bus - depending on where you start. In most cases you can fly to Moscow and fly from there.

Flight schedule to/from Kemerovo

As an alternative, you may fly to Novosibirsk, and take bus to Kemerovo from there. The bus will cost around 400 Roubles (13 dollars). The trip from Novosibirsk will take about 4,5 - 5 hours.

General information on air travel in Russia

Following the collapse of the Russian economy in the post-Soviet era, the airlines have had a rough time. During Soviet times, there was only one airline: Aeroflot. Aeroflot's fares were subsidised, so tickets were affordable to just about everybody. During privatisation, Aeroflot was split into many smaller, mostly regional, carriers, though a much smaller Aeroflot also survived. It is now nowhere near its former size.

Now that the subsidies have disappeared, all the airlines have to try to make a profit. That means that prices are much higher. An average ticket from Moscow to Kemerovo and back costs over 300 dollars, so not many can afford to fly. Which means that the number of daily flights has been cut way back. Kemerovo used to have as many as 45 flights per day. Now it's way way down.

The upside is that just about any airport except for Moscow is now much cleaner and much less crowded. No hurry to check in. No crowding at the gates. It's great.

Domestic flights in Russia used to use Russian-built aircraft: the Tu-154, its little brother the Tu-134, or the IL-86 big boy, but now as a matter of prestige and reliability they all switch to foreign Boeings and Airbuses. International flights might use any of those three plus Airbus or Boeing gear.

Russian-made planes aren't exactly the most comfortable, but they are just about as reliable as foreign aircraft.

Most flight attendants should be able to communicate in English as long as you keep it simple.

Flying to/from Kemerovo

The Kemerovo passengers' terminal was recently upgraded to international standards. It may not have the personality of the old terminal, but the new design, bilingual signs, and clean toilets are really nice.

A new runway has been recently finished that allows the larger Boeing and Airbus aircraft to use the airport.

Getting to the city from the airport (or back) is not a problem. Two buses, 101 or 126, arrive about every half an hour. Use the 101 bus if you need to get to or from a hotel. The bus trip is less than a dollar. You can also get a cab or a ride in a private car for about 200 Roubles (around 7 dollars).

In bad weather, planes may be sent to Novosibirsk or Novokuznetsk. Then you'll either wait for the weather to improve and then continue on your journey, or you can get a bus or a private car. It's a 4,5 - 5 hour drive from Novosibirsk, or 3,5 - 4 hours from Novokuznetsk. The bus will cost about 400 Roubles (13 dollars). The cost and trip time for a private car depends on the driver and the car!

We recommend that you do not try taking a private car unless you have a Russian person travelling with you.

Hints and tips for air travel in Russia

Make sure your papers (passport, visa, registration) are in order.

Despite any rumours you may have heard, the chance that your baggage will be lost in a Russian airport is nearly zero. The bad part is that automated baggage loaders in airports are just machines and they don't really watch out for your stuff (and, well, servicemen won't as well). It might get dumped, crushed, wet, or dirty. Make sure that your most fragile things are either in your carry-on bags or extremely well packed and locked up.

If you're tall, sitting on most seats can be pretty uncomfortable because the seats are close together. Seats are usually assigned at check in, so you can explain your situation to the person checking you in and request a seat in the first row of your cabin, near an emergency exit, or in the last row of the aircraft. These seats usually have more leg room.

This almost always works, but if it doesn't, you can always try getting on the plane, going to the back, and asking the attendant if you could please move to the last row because you are so tall. The last row often has more space even than business class.


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