How Is Flying on Ukraine International Airlines?

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) is the flagship airline in Ukraine. They fly all over Ukraine itself, and actually have a decent size of international routes. Even including one from Kiev to New York City! With that being said, everyone is naturally apprehensive to fly with Ukraine International Airlines. And rightfully so.

Most “budget” carriers that are based in Europe have reputations for being incredibly cheap. And in these cases, you get what you pay for. These carriers have a reputation for taking your money, cramming you in a sardine can, and dropping you off at your destination in far worse condition than you left your origin.

People assume UIA is a similar deal. Understandable, given their cheap prices.

If you expat to Ukraine, or spend considerable time here, it’s a natural that you’ll probably fly UIA at some point. With that being said, we thought we’d give an honest opinion on our multiple experiences on UIA thus far.

How Is Flying on Ukraine International Airlines?

In short, we’ve had far better experiences on other airlines.

BUT, we’ve had far, far, far (emphasis, emphasis!) on a lot of other airlines. UIA is actually a relatively pleasant experience, overall.

Let’s break it down to pros and cons.

The Pros of Flying on Ukraine International Airlines

  • The low cost of tickets. You can fly almost anywhere in Ukraine for less than $50, depending on the day. International flights to New York (round trip) are usually well under $1,000. The prices are affordable.
  • They do have good service. The staff have always been nothing but excellent in our experiences. The pilots have been professional in their announcements and with apologies for any delays. The cabin crew all speak very good English and are happy to be working.
  • They do give water for free. Believe it or not, many budget carriers in Europe don’t even give you water when you buy a “business class” ticket. UIA does provide water in flights, and the food from the menu (and premium drinks) are actually very affordable compared to most airlines.
  • Prices rarely fluctuate. For one reason or another, UIA does not play yoyo with their flight prices. You can almost always expect prices to be about the same, and usually there is plenty of availability. This is likely because flying is out of the budget of many Ukrainian people.
  • It’s sort of “old-school”. And this appeals to a lot of people who come to Ukraine. The stewardesses wear heels, dresses, and are beautiful. The male cabin crew are dressed in suits and stand up tall and strong. Many Western airlines have become very lax with their employee dress standards and attitude, so it’s nice to see a flash back to the past.


The Cons

  • The timeliness isn’t great. Simply put, Ukraine is not a country where people, or events, run on time. It’s just how it is. While we haven’t had any really bad delays with UIA, a half hour here and there adds up.
  • The older planes can be in bad shape on the interior. While we don’t think we’ve seen any less safety standards on UIA than other airlines, some of the older planes are in bad shape inside. Broken seats, old fabrics, etc. However, the new planes are often quite nice.
  • Most of the airports you fly in and out of aren’t that great. Simply put, UIA probably doesn’t have the money to pony up to fly to all the nice airports. This means you’ll be flying into second-rate airports.



Ukraine International Airlines is actually not a bad experience. We would not hesitate to recommend flying on them if you need to get around or to Ukraine–though the train may be a viable alternative domestically.

There are far worse budget European carriers, such as RyanAir, WizzAir, and EasyJet. All of these airlines will pale in comparison to UIA.

Even if sometimes slow, UIA makes an effort to provide good customer service. The staff on the planes have all been top notch, and with their low prices–flying them is a smart choice for people looking to travel to or within Ukraine.

Have you flown on UIA? What was your experience?

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Mauricio Olofson

I cannot thank you enough for the article.Really looking forward to reading more. Want more.


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