At one point, the Chief needed to flee the country. He sent Viktor to retrieve his plane ticket, which cost "$750 at exchange rate or $800 in cash". His exact itinerary was Kyiv-Larnaca-Rome.
Would it actually have cost that much to fly from Kyiv to Rome in
1999 1996? Why was it so expensive? Granted, it's 1500 miles from Kyiv to Rome, but there are plenty of flights of similar distance that are much cheaper.
The book did note that the ticket office was deserted at the time, and it also seemed to imply that there was corruption involved (because the ticketing agent was going to insist on seeing his passport until Viktor told her which reservation it was).
Also, why was the cash price higher than the price at the official exchange rate?
Can someone explain the details of this transaction?
Edit: The book is evidently set in 1996, not 1999 as stated in the original question. The 1999 date appears to be a typographical error in the English translation.