Aeroflot Revokes Elite Status From Journalists and Customers Who Criticize the Airline

Earlier this year Aeroflot announced that they would revoke the elite status of passengers who behaved badly inflight. Accounts would be closed and miles forfeit.

That surprised me because there have been incidents of Aeroflot employees behaving badly towards customers and aspiring pilots acting out. And what about the drunk Aeroflot flight attendant who attacked a passenger? But the incidents I’m aware of didn’t involve elites who may pull the “Don’t You Know Who I Am Card” every now and then but in my experience are less likely to get into major conflicts on board.

Credit: Aeroflot

In practice this new policy doesn’t appear to be targeting drunk elites. Instead it’s being used to target a journalist.

Journalist Mitya Aleshkovsky’s Platinum status was revoked after tweeting an internal airline memo on use of cameras and sound recording.

Aeroflot says their policy allows them to punish a customer “for publishing false information, as well as information that ‘damages the business reputation’ of a company or degrades person.”

A business class customer had their miles and status yanked for criticizing the airline’s business class product using a profane hash tag. As Yakov Smirnoff might have said, “In Soviet Russia, elite status downgrades you!”

Aeroflot has been a long time organ of the government. I imagine my coverage of United, Delta, and American makes several executives sympathetic for Putin, it’s a wonder I still have my own miles…

Aeroflot ad from 1970

(HT: a7m)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 cost cutting measures that Scott Kirby implemented at United. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by your investors.

  2. Fun. Not that it matters what the memo is about, but just FYI it doesn’t say anything about recording onboard. It is about prohibiting the use of recording equipment in company offices by employees.

    The guy also says on his Facebook that Aeroflot took away his wife’s gold card, for good measure 🙂

    He plans to sue SU and also complain to SkyTeam. What do you think his chances of success are?

  3. Way back from Late Night with David Letterman
    Top 10 Things Aeroflot Can Do To Improve Its Image – April 7, 1993

    10. Shoo the bats out of the lavatories.
    9. Promise delivery within two days.
    8. Stop asking smaller passengers to sit in the laps of larger passengers.
    7. No longer have Moscow-to-Leningrad flight connect through Dallas-Fort
    6. Modify plane to resemble giant airborne potato.
    5. Stewardesses with necks.
    4. Water down the captain’s vodka.
    3. Remove Chernobyl-cured ham from inflight menu.
    2. Paint over Gorbachev-inspired red mark on top of fuselages.
    1. More aero, less flot.

  4. Tweet you linked talks employee policy prohibiting phone use by employees. Nothing to do with what customers do.

  5. So this is were Trump got the idea. Aerofor gives you views of the country just before it crashes into it

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