Belavia Belarusian Airlines: My First Flight

I n order to take advantage of the new relaxed visa requirements of Belarus effective as of Sunday, February 12, 2017, I booked a flight operated by Belavia Belarusian Airlines from Vilnius to Minsk to test out the experience, as detailed in this article.

Belavia Belarusian Airlines: My First Flight

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

There was a flight which left at 9:30 in the morning. Getting to the airport in Vilnius was rather easy, as I traveled by bus and paid one euro. The ride was only approximately 30 minutes.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Time to board my ride to Minsk on that frosty April morning. At least the weather was not snowing.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Aboard the Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200, nothing was particularly special…

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

..although leg room was barely acceptable. I was not uncomfortable.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Thank goodness for air vents. All passenger airplanes should have them.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The airplane will be full of passengers as they board while walking down the aisle with limited headroom.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The seats aboard this airplane sport the newer Belavia logo.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Part of the area where I sat did not have a window; but fortunately I was still able to photograph outside from my seat.

Vilnius

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

After departure, I was treated to a spectacular view of Vilnius and the Neris River which winds through it. The bridge in the top center of the photograph is a pedestrian bridge known as the White Bridge; while the next bridge towards the right is known as the Green Bridge. Other landmarks — such as what is known as Cathedral Square — are visible in the photograph shown above.

Vilnius

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

This is a view of the Old Town area of Vilnius.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

These hard candies were given out to passengers not long after taking off.

Belavia

Photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

In addition to the passenger safety card, Belavia has its own magazine called OnAir.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

During the flight of 35 minutes from Vilnius to Minsk, a bar of dark chocolate was given out with a beverage of either coffee, tea or water. I chose water.

Due to the short flight — for which I paid a total of $48.20 through the official Internet web site of Belavia Belarusian Airlines — there was very limited interaction with the members of the flight crew; but service was good.

This flight was a short “regional” flight; but I became curious as to the experience of the full-service mainline product of Belavia Belarusian Airlines. Its largest airplane is the Boeing 737-800; and at approximately three hours and 45 minutes, its longest route is between Minsk and Tel Aviv.

Belavia Belarusian Airlines has its own frequent flier loyalty program called Belavia Leader — but its list of partners is extremely limited and not worth joining as a member, in my opinion.

Not long after the chocolate bars were served, the airplane started its initial descent into Minsk; but while aboard the airplane prior to landing, I filled out the migration card — actually, a thin piece of paper — twice once it was handed to me by a member of the flight crew: one half was for arrival; while the other half was for departure.

Belarus Visa

Photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Shown in the photograph above is both sides of the second — or B — half of the migration card. A stamp from the hotel property at which I stayed must be signed and dated prior to leaving Belarus.

Minsk

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

On approach to the airport, I was treated to this view of the northeastern portion of Minsk. In the bottom center of the photograph is Victory Square.

Near Minsk National Airport

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Houses are in neighborhoods in rural areas located east of Minsk near the airport.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The terminal building of Minsk National Airport appeared after the aircraft landed.

Belavia

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

After leaving the airplane, I strolled across the tarmac and into the terminal building; but I was stopped by a member of the Belarusian military when I photographed the entrance to the terminal. “No photo”, he said.

I complied — but why would a photograph of a terminal building not be permitted?

Summary

Although the process went smoothly under the new relaxed visa requirements of Belarus, I would recommend traveling by either train or bus instead from cities such as Vilnius which are relatively nearby in proximity to Minsk, as the schedules are more convenient and no security checkpoint procedures are necessary — but the visa will cost $160.00 if entering or leaving the country through anywhere other than the airport.

As for flying as a passenger of Belavia Belarusian Airlines: it was nothing outstanding; but the flight was on time and I would not hesitate to travel on airplanes operated by it again…

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

3 thoughts on “Belavia Belarusian Airlines: My First Flight”

  1. Svetlana says:

    You can’t take pictures in London airports when walkibg from a plane to the building as well – I was stopped when walking into the London City airport building. It’s a universal security measure.

  2. Ang says:

    Actually, I like it much more than British Airways..

  3. Rohit Rao says:

    I’d actually guess that their longest route is ALA-MSQ, which is much further than MSQ-TLV. I don’t have a map handy, so they might even fly somewhere further than that.

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