The runway was littered with Russian aircraft–Tupolevs and Ilyushins as far as the eye could see. I thought that TU-134s were being phased out, but there were quite a few of them on the ground that seemed to be in active service. DME is a hub for an airline I had never heard of, S7, but it seems that they will be joining Oneworld soon and they certainly had an army of bright green aircraft on the ground. Too bad Star couldn’t snag them.
A United representative was waiting for me at the end of the jet bridge, likely because it was noted on the manifest that I was traveling without a visa. She welcomed me to Russia and directed me to the transit area, warning me not to try to go through passport control or else I would be detained and fined. Nice.
The transit process was easy. I had to go through security again and my bag was searched, but it took only a few minutes. There was a United counter amongst the transit desks, but I had already obtained my return boarding pass prior to departure at Dulles. There was some sort of immigration agent there who stamped my boarding pass, but he wouldn’t stamp my passport (no big deal since I already have a couple Russian stamps and a Russian visa in it–I just like stamps from everywhere I visit).
There were three Star Alliance lounges to choose from–Austrian, Lufthansa, and Swiss. Because time was limited and I had never been in an Austrian lounge, I chose that one. Two young Russian women were sitting at a desk near the entrance to check boarding passes and spoke only limited English, but they were friendly and welcomed me in.
I ordered an omelet from the kitchen. While certainly not of the qualiy of Lufthansa FCT omelet, it was tasty and made up for the lack of hot breakfast on the United flight. There were no other hot food options available, though it looked like later in the day a greater variety of hot food might have been available.
I was only on the ground for about 45 minutes, but that was more than enough time to observe that Domodedovo is a far superior airport (in terms of amenities and appearance) than Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo.
If you have to tranist, DME is not a bad place to do it.