Former Ottawa Senators player Jamie Rivers played for the CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League four years ago. He said every trip he took aboard the team's plane during the five months he spent overseas left him "white knuckled."
"There were a lot of flights we went on where I put in the iPod and tried to go to sleep and just figured well, if we go down, we go down, I don't want to know about it," he said.
"Every seat that was bolted into the floor had a different distance from the seat in front of it, so some rows were kind of normal and some rows you had to sit sideways because your knees were banging into the chair in front of you," he said.
Rivers said at times when the plane was experiencing turbulence, overhead shelving would fall off and parts inside the plane would rattle.
"It really seemed like every takeoff and landing was a coin toss, really," he said.
Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Dave King became familiar with the intricacies of Russian air travel after a year coaching Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.
He said Yaroslavl Lokomotiv coach Brad McCrimmon - who was killed in Wednesday's crash - recently asked King about his experiences flying in Russia.
"He wanted all kinds of information," King said. "He'd read my book [A King in Russia: A Year in the Russian Super League] and he said 'Kinger, tell me about Pterodactyl Air.'
"I told him 'Brad, the one thing . . . that made me nervous over there was the charters. Because the planes are older, it's old equipment and I honestly don't know how sound some of it is.'
"We talked about it a few times. How uneasy I was.''