New Year and a new airline to try!
This time, a trip between Moscow and Barcelona became the perfect excuse to fly Air Moldova for the first time (and with a 8-hour stopover in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, a good opportunity to visit a new country too!)
The flight Moscow Domodedovo (DME)-Chisinau (KIV) was on an Airbus A320 while the onward leg from Chisinau to Barcelona was on an Airbus A319.
Air Moldova has two classes of service, business and economy, although at plain sight, was hard to tell the former, I think it is only the first row of seats and it is not really physically separated, at least on the A320 and A319 I flew on.
In any case, I was flying on economy
Seat pitch was not exactly huge, but ok, not that much different from the A320 on any other European hybrid airline and with more room than, for example, Vueling.
A positive: the food was simple but good - a sandwich, some milk chocolate and drinks. Some may say it is little, but I found to compare rather favourably to other European airlines' economy class (the ones that still serving free food and drinks at all!).
A small detail that, however, I found remarkable, the sandwich was excellently wrapped, which makes it easier to eat without getting your hands dirty!
And, as Moldova is a wine-country, the options on board was pretty good too, both white and red. In fact, it turns out that Air Moldova has just closed an agreement with one of the country's main wineries, Vinaria din Vale, and it is betting on this as one of its differentiation factors (Air Moldova is facing intense price competition at its Chisinau hub from upstart Flyone, started by former Air Moldova managers).
After 3 uneventful hours, we landed right in the middle of a strong blizzard, in poor visibility conditions. The airport was operating as usual, though.
Chisinau international airport is rather small - as you would expect, Chisinau is not exactly a major hub! - but modern. Two positive things if you are considering a stopover here: it is rather close to the center of town (it took me something like 20min in a taxi, regardless of the heavy snowfall), which can make for quite an interesting excursion, and it is cheap (taxi ride from the very center of the city was 100 lei, around €5!), restaurants and bars are also quite decently priced, although shops at the aiport are priced in euro.
An interesting experiment: bringing Instagram to paper, on Air Moldova's in-flight magazine
We landed at Chisinau international airport in the middle of a blizzard - all flights seemed to be operating normally, though. Here, on our side, one of Air Moldova's Embraer E190s
Our take: although frequencies and connectivity options are limited, Air Moldova appears to be a good-value option to travel between Western Europe and points further East, particularly if you can combine it with some sightseeing in this little-visited part of Europe.