Maxim Kolomeytsev and his girlfriend Nazezha (pictured together) had tickets for the doomed flight but decided to change them at the last minute
Businessman Maxim Kolomeytsev, who turned 35 today, and his girlfriend Nazezha, 25, had tickets for the doomed flight.
'I lost 10,000 roubles (£125) on making the change, but we've got our lives,' he said.
'I wanted to celebrate my birthday with my relatives in Orsk,' he said.
But he also intended to buy himself a car in his home city to mark his 35th birthday.
He said: 'The car was delayed. The showroom said it wasn't ready.
'We had bought the tickets for me and my girlfriend. But when I found out the car was not ready I delayed the trip by a week.'