Though the Vnukovo Airport is one of Moscow’s three main airports, it is still unfamiliar to many tourists and foreigners. For a long time it went unnoticed because of its old-fashioned approach to service, and as a result of some accidents in the past. It is curious that even many Muscovites do not know about its enticing history, but are only aware of its unique national status.
Though it is modest in comparison to some of the city’s larger airports, it is modern and clean, and is considered to be the international airport. For over 60 years it has been the airport serving the official Russian and international delegations and administration. The president of Russia is among its clients.
Its story began in 1937. At the time, the main objective was to unload some of the city’s bigger airports. Technical work commenced in spite of a huge lack of cement, and the complex was completed in 1941, after a major delay. There was no official opening at the time, since the country was sadly at war.
Vnukovo is the closest airport to the city center, at only 27 km (about 17miles), away. It is also located at a higher level than other Moscow airports. This is a significant feature that helps to stabilize the flight schedule in conditions of fog, strong winds and rain. It also lowers the inside temperature marginally.
Some legendary visitors to the airport include the first man to fly around the Earth, Yuri Gagarin, who was taken straight from the landing point to the airport in 1961.
Over the past decade, the airport services and image have improved, with the airport becoming cleaner and more client friendly.
There are not as many visitors here as it is common to see at other international airports. The waiting zone is equipped with a limited number of seats, and there are a handful of sockets scattered within the halls (alert for iPhone addicts).
Rest zones are not too spacious, but there are plenty of hotels of different levels in the area. (Please note that a Russian visa is required to leave the airport.)
The complex features the usual food corners, including cafes with sandwiches and blintzes (some of them only open during the day). There also vending machines in some visible spots. The snacks from these machines are obviously cheaper, but be warned, they only accept small change.
Wi-Fi is free but a bit unstable, so you may get disconnected from time to time. There is also an internet cafe in Terminal A. Common services like ATMs and parenting rooms are also available. Some passengers confirm that luggage services in Arrivals can take a bit longer than usual.
There is one lounge for international departures in terminal A, which has a separate security and passport control. The issue with business lounges remained controversial for some time, but the official details can now be obtained at this link: http://www.vnukovo.ru/en/at-the-airport/vip-and-business-class/
In harmony with state law, smoking is only permitted in designated smoking rooms.