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If you travel a great distance, the chances are that you will have flown at some stage.

In the pursuit of a bargain airfare, budget travellers may find themselves re-routed through Moscow on Aeroflot, and the experience can prove far from user friendly.

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Flying Through Moscow

The Irish Bar and the Heineken Terrace both wait for your dollars at the airport, while you drown away the hours upon hours with further delays mixed in for good measure. Then what's another round of hours?

If you have all day to kill, a visa can be purchased at the airport for a visit to the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral.

Those waiting overnight for their connection will be given meal vouchers and made to find a place among the sprawling Africans with their washing on the rails - who may be waiting up to a week for their deportation flights.

Accommodation is possibile, without the need for a visa, just join the jet-lagged queue at the small opening to the transfer lounge, and you have two choices: The Sheremetyevo, or The Novotel.

If you think that the Shereymetyevo is a prison, the more expensive Novotel is worse.

At the Sheremetyevo Hotel, the door is locked as you enter the hotel, and only opened when your bus is ready to transfer you to the airport again. At least in this building there is a room where you can eat and drink something (if the girls are in the right mood), and talk to others; they call it a restaurant.

In the Novotel, it is room service only. You are on the second floor, but can not use the restaurant, bar or swimming pool unless you have a visa. A visa to walk around the hotel that would have been like a morgue if it wasn't for the aircrew feeding themselves before handing out the rations to passengers?

Change your mind in the Novotel, and you can not cross the road to the cheaper Sheremetyevo Hotel on foot. You will have to sit in the rear lobby and wait another hour, for another bus to escort you one hundred yards.

All the time the airport lights can be seen from the back entrance, while delayed, de-iced, Ilyushins and Tupolevs roar up into snowy clouds. A great sigh of relief from bored passengers on board, I'm sure.

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