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.
Time to board my ride to Minsk on that frosty April morning. At least the weather was not snowing.
Aboard the Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200, nothing was particularly special…
..although leg room was barely acceptable. I was not uncomfortable.
Thank goodness for air vents. All passenger airplanes should have them.
The airplane will be full of passengers as they board while walking down the aisle with limited headroom.
The seats aboard this airplane sport the newer Belavia logo.
Part of the area where I sat did not have a window; but fortunately I was still able to photograph outside from my seat.
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.
This is a view of the Old Town area of Vilnius.
These hard candies were given out to passengers not long after taking off.
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.
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.
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.
Houses are in neighborhoods in rural areas located east of Minsk near the airport.
The terminal building of Minsk National Airport appeared after the aircraft landed.
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?
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…