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Norway In A Day: HEL-ARN-TRD-BOO-TOS-ARN-HEL  
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 19082 times:

Introduction

I used to be a big fan of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS/SK). Around 2002 to 2004 they were my primary carrier that I always preferred and tried to book most of my flights with them. If that wasn't possible, I would prefer other Star Alliance carriers over other alliances. SAS was a great airline with good service, friendly staff both on the ground and air etc. They won me over already on my first flight with them by giving me an op up to Business on an overbooked CPH-HEL flight. Of course I was (and still am) a member of their Eurobonus frequent flyer program, which had some excellent features - mainly the 12 000 point intra-Scandinavian awards, which made it possible to book some impressive itineraries for 12K points as long as you stayed within Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. For example HEL-CPH-OSL-(TOS)-LYR-(TOS)-OSL-ARN-HEL could be had for this point amount as long as there was award availability, of course. That's some serious flying for not many points! I've spent many nice days flying around Scandinavia, especially Norway with these deals.

Fast forward to year 2004 and SK started to loose it. Competition from LCCs, industrial action (this is one of the most unionized airlines in business) etc. started bringing the airline down and business wasn't so good any more. In their brilliant minds the management staff decided that "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and started ruining the inflight product by downgrading regular economy into "LCC economy" - where nothing's free anymore and introducing a third class of service on board, calling it "economy flexible" which is basically what old economy used to be like except that it costs far more. Business class stayed pretty much intact. The final insult was draconian cuts to the earning of Eurobonus points on cheap fares, which was cut to 25% of the normal economy amount - which really doesn't make it worthwhile. The only good thing about these changes was that the age-old business model based on low fares requiring a Saturday-night stay (or a minimum stay) to milk the business travelers was abolished and all fares became one-way. Too bad they weren't cheap at all!

Further confusion was added by splitting the company into three distinct business units for Denmark, Sweden and Norway (plus intercontinental as a separate one), each of which had quite a lot of freedom on deciding how to run their own business. This lead to the fact that you'd have a little different in-flight service depending on which of the units operated your flights, things like free breakfast on Swedish domestic routes, free coffee and tea on Norwegian domestic routes, nothing free ever on flights operated by SAS Denmark etc. At some point they also renamed "Economy flexible" to "Economy extra" class to match the intercontinental offering. The service concept was also harmonized a little bit, I think now all the SK flights feature free coffee and tea, but everything else should be paid for - apart from the Swedish breakfast offering still remaining. Confusing? You bet.

Anyway this caused me to start avoiding my favorite airline, booking more and more travel on various competitors and even LCCs that had started to sprung up even in Finland. From that moment on I'd fly SK if it fit my plans and my budget, but nothing more. I still retained my Eurobonus account as that is the only FFP I could credit my numerous Air Baltic flights to (and certain flaws in the system resulted in a lot of extra points being credited as well for el cheapo fares - something that still happens to this day!) and the 12K point awards were still good value. SAS even introduced something called "Point Bargains" where they would offer a 50% discount on certain routes every month. Again due to a weird way in which this discount was calculated you could actually fly much further for a lower point amount. Another huge advantage was also the fact that Eurobonus didn't charge the fuel surcharges on award tickets.

This summer SK had a Point Bargain for 50% off all intra-Scandinavian travel and I had some spare points lying around - so what better use for them than to book a daytrip somewhere. Availability was an issue as was the real crappy SK website (yeah, they still live in the early days of the Internet, award booking forces you to use Internet Explorer for example which for somebody running Mac is a bit challenging) that makes it extra hard to book anything. Anyway after enough hours of trying I managed to book a decent itinerary: HEL-ARN-TRD-(BOO)-TOS-ARN-HEL on a single day. Economy extra on the outbound legs to TOS and regular economy back. The TRD-TOS flight would also be making a stop in Bodø (BOO), which would be a new airport for me, yay! All this for 7500 points and 52 EUR in airport charges - not too bad.

This would be a trip of pure flying, no time to leave any of the airports for city visits, which suited me fine.

31.7.2009

Normal morning routine for a not-too-early flight: wake up around 6.00, shower, breakfast, catch a bus at 7.15 to the airport and arrive there around 7.35. Check in queues look horrendous, but having done online check in the day before I just waltz through the (surprisingly) completely empty security point. I have just enough time to grab a coffee to go from the coffee shop and my obligatory (for flying) bottle of water when the displays are already announcing "Go to gate".

From the OLCI seat map I know this would be one of the leased CityJet Avros, either OH-SAQ or OH-SAR as the seat configuration was 3-3 as opposed to the normal KF 3-2. Too bad I see OH-SAQ waiting at the gate - as I've flown on this one already twice but never on OH-SAR. Oh well, gives one the excuse to book more flights to try to log the evasive bird  Smile. Boarding starts just as I arrive at the gate, and being bold but subtle I manage to bypass most of the queue that had already formed there.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Avro_at_Helsinki.jpg

HEL-ARN
KF425
ARJ-85 OH-SAQ "Inarijärvi"
Seat 2A
7.57 - 7.48

Friendly crew welcomes us on board. There are 3 rows of Economy Extra on today's flight and I had selected 2A mainly due to legroom as row 1 features only two seats so at least I could stretch my legs a bit.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Avro_Legroom.jpg

The CityJet leather seats (complete with a CJ logo) are very uncomfortable as a six-abreast configuration is just too narrow for the Avro, and today's flight is completely full in both classes which makes it worrse. Especially considering that this is the premium class on KF (no business class any more). They should really block the middle seat in economy extra.

Flight time is announced as 45 minutes by our female FO. Departure 3 minutes early, 8 minutes taxi to 22R tailing an AY A320 on its way to ARN as well and a rather long take off roll follows - the full load means that were are pretty heavy. Some nice views of the capital region on climb out.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Helsinki_Departure_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Helsinki_Departure_2.jpg

I like this shot of the Avro engines:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Helsinki_Departure_3.jpg

Espoo, the large lake is Lake Bodom, infamous for some brutal murders committed in 1960 and not solved to this date:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Helsinki_Departure_4.jpg

As soon as the seat belt sign is switched off we are served a cold breakfast. This is a decent offering consisting of an open bread roll with cheese, salad and ham, yogurt and orange juice:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Breakfast_1.jpg

Too bad this is something that was served in economy on this route some years ago when business class would've gotten a full hot breakfast. Coffee and tea are offered, but I ask for champagne instead (this is a premium class, after all!). Well, I get server a bottle of bubbly, but champagne it ain't - just some sparkling wine (still French, though). No apologies or explanations are offered by the FA. The stuff tastes vile, and a look at the BOB menu confirms that this same plonk is offered for sale in economy (on longer flights, only coffee/tea on these short flights in eco) for 4.50 EUR. This is not very good in my book - the same thing happened to me on HEL-CPH in May, although then they actually had some champagne to start with but a rowdy Norwegian party drank all of that stuff during the first 20 minutes of the flight  Smile.

It may sound like I'm complaining like a spoiled brat - but the fact is that if you have a premium class and your usual service offerings include champagne, then just serving some sub-standard sparkling wine with no apologies or anything is bad customer service.

Oh well, it's a quick flight so in no time at all we are descending over the beautiful Stockholm archipelago towards Arlanda:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Stockholm_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Stockholm_Approach_2.jpg

It looks like we are going straight in for a runway 26 approach, and this is exactly what happens. It is always a bit weird to be arriving before you actually departed your origin, but that's what time differences do to you.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Stockholm_Approach_3.jpg

Some abandoned Sterling 737s:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Stockholm_Approach_4.jpg

The newest pier of T5 with SK long haul to EWR and ORD:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Stockholm_Approach_5.jpg

Arlanda airport, take 1

Landing on 26 is actually rather nice as it takes you very close to T5, so taxi is fast. We pass this beauty on the way:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Baltic_757_Arlanda_1.jpg

Once more, isn't that just lovely:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Baltic_757_Arlanda_2.jpg

We dock at the usual KF gate 9 and disembark. I have around one and half hours, and decide to kill the time by making a quick walk around the two older piers of T5. There are some nice visitors around:

JK Airbus to MAD:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Spanair_A321_Arlanda.jpg

CO 757 to EWR:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Continental_57_Arlanda.jpg

The CRJ-900 looks very smart in the SK livery:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/CRJs_Arlanda.jpg

That's what I call a delay:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Departures_1.jpg

When my departure time gets nearer I make my way to gate 1 where boarding has just started for the next flight. Here's a shot of Ramveig Viking, a new entry for my log today:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/OY_KKS_Arlanda.jpg

ARN-TRD
SK1485
B737-600 "Ramveig Viking"
Seat 1A
9.20 - 10.25

As is the case very often with SK, two elderly FAs welcome me onboard. Leg room on the bulkhead row 1 is good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/SAS_737_Legroom_Row_1.jpg

Passengers just keep pouring in and in the end the load in economy seems to be 100%. There are 4 rows of economy extra, with only a few empty seats - luckily including both ones next to me. Flight time is announced as 55 minutes. We push back right in time, but taxi to the far runway 19L takes a good 10 minutes. Then it's up, followed by a long right hand turn to point us northwest towards TRD.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Swiss_A320_Arlanda.jpg

Service is yet another breakfast - I tell the FA that this would be my third breakfast today - she rolls her eyes and asks "Where have you been?!". I explain and she just smiles and tells that it's anyway good for me. The offering today is another yogurt, orange juice and cold cuts:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Breakfast_2.jpg

Warm bread is offered separately from a basket. Once again this is something that would've been featured in economy in the not too distant past. This time my quest for champagne is successful, with a bottle of the standard SK Nicolas Feuillatte being offered.

Success, finally. I know I read weird books:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Champagne.jpg

Just as I'm downing my first sip the captain comes on and announces that we have just reached our cruising altitude, are flying above BLE and have another 35 minutes of flight time remaining. TRD weather is partly cloudy with some strong winds from the southwest.

Most of the scenery is clouded over, so no good photo opportunities. Instead I ask for another champagne, which takes some time but is delivered with a friendly smile.

Soon we start descending and once we break the clouds we are somewhere over the southwestern suburbs or Trondheim.

Looks like Norway:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Approach_2.jpg

Ski jumping, anybody?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Approach_3.jpg

Approach takes us northwards from here, over the Trondheimsfjorden where we make a right turn to line up on runway 09 of Vaernes airport. It definitely is very windy as the plane is shaking and you can feel that the captain has to do some work to keep the plane lined up. Views on final approach are great:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Approach_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Approach_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Approach_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Approach_7.jpg

Heavy landing and breaking action, quick taxi to the apron and deboarding via stairs. The elderly couple in front of me has some trouble figuring out where to go, but I overtake them and lead the posse to the arrivals door where an airport employee is already waiting.

Trondheim airport

International departures and arrivals are housed in a separate terminal annex a couple of hundred meters from the main terminal. There doesn't appear to be a way to make the international to domestic transfer completely on airside (the opposite can be done, I've done it once), so I exit the baggage claim hall, walk to the main terminal area, take an escalator upstairs and step outside for a moment to dump my unfinished bottle of water (bummer) before proceeding through security. They have a problem with my belt, and despite my objections that it is very hard to remove being a bit oversized they refuse to wand me (as happened at HEL in the morning) and I have to strip it off which takes some time.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Airport.jpg

My flight is already showing "Go to gate" but I decide to grab a quick hot dog from the convenience store to help me make it all the way to ARN where I'm planning to have the next substantial meal of the day. Once again I'm impressed by the fluent American English spoken by the teenage guy serving me, down to American-style smalltalk and expressions. Boarding starts while I'm sitting at a cafe table next to the gate and wolfing down my catch. I earn some good karma by finding a plastic bag with an intact Norwegian souvenir book (complete with a receipt) at my table and bringing it to the counter.

Then it's time to board. Norway has a funny regulation where you are only needed to prove your identity while boarding if you have checked luggage. At most (all?) Norwegian airports you can now do this by using your fingerprint - i.e. you provide your fingerprint when you check in your luggage and again at the gate while boarding so they can match you. Any luggage not matching will be offloaded from the plane. Because of this the girl at the gate asks me whether I checked in any luggage, but since my answer is "Nej" she doesn't ask for any ID and let's me board.

Today's plane has the funny registration of LN-BUG, hopefully there won't be too many on this flight. Another new reg for me.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/LNBUG_Trondheim.jpg

TRD-BOO
SK4558
B737-500 LN-BUG "Øystein Haraldsson"
Seat 10F
11.08 - 11.57

This (as all the 737 classics at SAS fleet) is an ex-BU bird, and features the BU cloth seats. Leg room at the second exit row window is unlimited as row 9 has is missing the window seats. The bad part of this is a lack of storage space for my stuff as this is a full flight and the middle seat next to me is occupied as well, so I have to keep my book, notebooks, IPod etc. all in my lap. Some carriers have a side pocket on the wall to put stuff to, this would be appreciated here as well. The comes to tell us on the exit rows that in the case of things going bad we shouldn't throw the exit door out, instead of keeping it in the cabin. That's the first time I've heard this, usually the instructions direct you to throw it away. We joke a bit about this with the American and Norwegian guys around me.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/LNBUG_Legroom.jpg

During boarding the Norwegian captain welcomes us on board, announcing a flight time of 45 minutes with good weather conditions further north. We depart pretty much on time, taxi to runway 09 for a powerful take off towards the east. Right after becoming airborne we make a left turn towards the north and soon after clouds obscure any views of the ground.

Bye TRD and these sister planes:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Departure_1.jpg

Taxiing to the active. A railway runs underneath the whole airport, with a stop serving the airport as well:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Departure_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Departure_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Trondheim_Departure_4.jpg

Service is free tea or coffee and BOB for other drinks. Yes, even though I have an economy extra ticket, there's no economy extra on domestic Norwegian flights. Whee. I decide to pass.

A quick flight, and we start our descent towards Bodø quite early - I guess we will do the full CDA as traffic shouldn't be an issue here. After we break the clouds there are some magnificent views of the rugged mountains and coastline:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Approach_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Approach_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Approach_4.jpg

Are we going to land in water?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Approach_5.jpg

Interestingly the FAs don't care about us snapping pictures and me having my IPod on until touch down, even though they definitely see it and the normal announcement about turning off electronics is made.

The official name of Bodø airport is "Bodø Main Air Station" - it is the primary base for the Norwegian Air Force (and thus Nato) in Northern Norway, half of its jet fighters being based here. As a testimony to that we pass a number of hard shelters just before touch down:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Approach_6.jpg

Touching down on slowing runway 07 we pass a number of F16s being refuelled. As soon as we vacate the runway a pair enters and takes off, what an amazing sight:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/F16_Departure_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/F16_Departure_2.jpg

We stop next to a WF Dash 8-100.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Dash_100_Bodo.jpg

An announcement is made that passengers continuing to TOS should sit tight. Around 90% of the pax deboard here. I decide to pay the lavatory a visit, but as soon as I reach the rear galley they make an announcement that the plane will be refueled (why?) and the toilets will be locked for the duration of this, so I have a small chat with the nice female FAs instead. There should be 75 passengers for the next leg, so I have a good chance of scoring an empty middle seat next to me. Soon enough the refueling is finished, I get to do my business and have to navigate upstream to my seat as passengers have already started boarding.

BOO-TOS
SK4558
B737-500 LN-BUG "Øystein Haraldsson"
Seat 10F
12.20 - 12.59

The middle seat indeed stays empty, which is good. During boarding a WF Dash 8-400 arrives from TRF:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Dash_400_Bodo.jpg

Again the captain comes on during the boarding, but the only thing I make out is a flight time of 35 minutes.

We depart after less than 25 minutes on the ground, taxi past the Norwegian Aviation Museum back to runway 07 and take off. With the light load we don't use much of the runway at all before shooting off into the sky with once again some nice views.

Turning onto 07:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Departure_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Departure_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bodo_Departure_1.jpg

Cabin view:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/LNBUG_Cabin_View.jpg

We spend around 10 minutes at cruising altitude before starting our long descent, again with very impressive views.

Bardufoss airport (BDU) at the start of descent:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Bardufoss.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_3.jpg

We were very close to this mountain, luckily the visibility was good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_5.jpg

I was hoping for landing on runway 19 at TOS as it would mean flying between Norwegian mainland and the island where the city centre is located before making a low-altitude 180 degree turn to line up - I've done this once before and it was very nice - but today we have a straight in approach to runway 01 instead. Still, this gives me a view over the city centre and the hill on the middle of the island with lots of houses around, so I'm not complaining:

The city of Tromsø spread on both banks of the Tromsesundet:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_6.jpg

The impressive Tromsø Bridge (Tromsøbrua) connecting the island to the mainland with the distinctive shape of the white Arctic Church in the background:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_7.jpg


http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_8.jpg

Heavy breaking once we touch down, a short taxi to the terminal and deboarding via a jetway.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Approach_9.jpg

DY arriving from OSL a few minutes after us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Norwegian_737_Tromso.jpg

Tromsø airport

As soon as I step into the terminal I have a strong feeling of deja-vu. The terminal layout, even down to the shops and bars at this end of the domestic terminal is exactly the same as in TRD. I guess they reused the same blueprints to save some money. On a further inspection some small differences become apparent, but still it feels a bit weird.

I have an hour here, and with Tromsø boasting the world's northernmost brewery, Mack, I just have to have a pint of the local brew. I just need to make a quick call to my banker to make sure that the second mortgage on my house went through so that I'm able to afford the ridiculous price for the beer that's the reality in Norway. This is confirmed, so I sit down and indulge. There are a lot of foreign tourists around, with a group of loud Germans sitting nearby.

Soon its time to move to the "International terminal" of TOS. Well, it's actually just a fenced off part of the WF commuter gates downstairs - considering that the only scheduled international flights at TOS are BT to RIX, this SK flight to ARN and DY to STN a few times per week this should be enough (is Barents Airlink still operating the TOS-KRN-LLA route?). Of course there's the obligatory, but tiny duty free shop - the Norwegians sure milk their non-membership in the EU to the fullest! Boarding starts as soon as I enter the gate area, but I still need to pick up some whiskey at the duty free so I join the slow queue there instead. As an impulse purchase I decide to go for a six-pack of the Arctic Beer as well. This takes ages but I'm not worried as there are other people behind me as well and we still have time before the scheduled departure.

Consumerism satisfied, it's straight through the gate and outside for a short walk to the plane. Our captain who looks exactly like younger Björn Borg is walking from the plane towards me, so I ask him "Going to shop duty free?" when he passes me - he smiles and confirms this  Smile. Last time I saw this was at MUC when the FO from my SK flight to CPH also indulged in some cheap travel value booze... That's what high alcohol taxation does for you.

Our ride would be LN-RCT. Second flight on this one, the previous one was way back in 2003 when I still loved SAS and ironically enough, was on my way to TOS as well...

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/LNRCT_Tromso.jpg

TOS-ARN
SK1492
B737-600 LN-RCT "Fridlev Viking"
Seat 10F
14.09 - 15.54

Climbing up the stairs I see the lead FA standing on the top of the stairs looking at the sun with her eyes closed and a smile in her face. I say "Hello, such a nice sunshine!" which she agrees to with a smile and welcomes me onboard. Most of the people are already sitting on their places so it's a small struggle to get myself to the 10F exit row with two large guys sitting next to me. This seat has exactly the same setup as on the previous flight (despite this being a -600), so the same great legroom and problems with my stuff applies here as well.

It's a completely packed flight once again - I don't think there are any spare seats in either classes. A flight time of 1h40min is announced and we depart a minute before the scheduled departure time.

My ride from TRD and BOO resting in the afternoon sun:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_2.jpg

We taxi to runway 01, backtrack to the very end and turn around - the captain apparently wants to make sure we have every bit of TORA at our disposal.

Backtracking:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_3.jpg

Turning:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_4.jpg

A powerful and a rather lengthy take off run follows after once again shooting up to the Arctic skies. To my disappointment we make a long and slow left turn after take off to point us towards south - I was hoping for a right hand one as it would allow me some views of the city. Anyway the views aren't bad:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Tromso_Departure_9.jpg

Unfortunately some 10 minutes into flight the sky turns overcast, staying like this for most of the flight.

This is regular economy, so service is BOB. I decide to splurge for a beer, which is lukewarm and not nice at all. Rest of the time is spent reading and watching a movie on my Ipod.

With less than 30 minutes left in flight the cloud cover breaks, and I'm surprised to see that we are actually flying above the Gulf of Bothnia, somewhere around SDL:
http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Gulf_of_Bothnia.jpg

I had somehow thought that the whole flight would be overland, but when looking at the great circle route a little closer this indeed appears to be the straighter route. Soon the captain comes on, announcing 15 minutes to landing.

We pass the Gimo air base (ESKA):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Gimo.jpg

Soon it becomes apparent that we are again landing on runway 26, where we touch down six minutes before schedule and taxi to gate 3 at T5.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Approach_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Approach_3.jpg

Our neighbor:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Approach_4.jpg

Arlanda airport, take 2

The first task after deboarding is to secure a boarding pass for the last flight of the day. For all the others I did OLCI the day before - conveniently the check-in process asked whether I want to check in for the return flights as well - selecting yes it showed all my flights and even allowed me to select my seat for this last flight. But when I printed out the boarding pass it only had four flights in it. The SK OLCI uses the same principle as their regular boarding passes nowadays - i.e. multiple flights are printed on the same BP with a barcode. It looks like the system cannot handle more than four flights at a single boarding pass - I guess they are not used to having nuts like me with crazy itineraries over a single day!  Smile. Luckily the SK transfer desk is empty and I even get a decent seat for the MD-90 home.

Having had only the hot dog since my multiple breakfasts and two and half hours at my disposal it is time to go and find something substantial to eat. I first think of the number of restaurants at SkyCity, but as that is landside and I can't be bothered with security once again I settle for a burger at the O'Leary sports bar at the southern pier of T5. That's a decent eat, but way overpriced for what you actually get - in true airport style of course.

Ethiopian B767:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Ethiopian_767_Arlanda.jpg

My ride from TOS, going to DUS next:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/LNRCT_Arlanda.jpg

LH A319 pushing back for Munich:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Lufthansa_319_Arlanda.jpg

Yes, it's the same flight, now delayed even more:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Departures_2.jpg

Then it's time to nurse another pint, finish the movie I started onboard, walk around a while and finally go to the gate 25 minutes before the departure time. The first thing I see is the tail of our MD-90 which boasts the Star Alliance logo. Bummer, this means that it will be OH-BLF, not OH-BLE as I was hoping for -that's the only KF MD-90 still missing from my log. This will be my thrird flight on OH-BLF and a fourth flight on this plane - she is actually the first MD-90 I ever flew back in 2003 with SK when she still carried the registration SE-DMH.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/OH_BLF_Arlanda.jpg

NextJet S2000 taxing behind OH-BLF:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/NextJet_S2000_Arlanda.jpg

There are lots of people around, so it looks like another full flight. Boarding is finally announced around 10 minutes before departure. There are two gate agents working, the male one starts boarding people already when the female is still making an announcement about boarding by rows. The guy doesn't seem to care too much about the rows at all, so I take my chances with him even though they are still boarding from row 20 and up. Well, boldness is rewarded once again, he doesn't look at my seat at all and just welcomes me onboard.

ARN-HEL
KF428
MD-90 OH-BLF "Ruovesi"
Seat 15F
18.34 - 20.22

Not much to say about this flight really. Almost completely full, with some spare middle seats here and there. Not next to me, though. Flight t

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6402 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 19042 times:

Excellent pictures! Amazing that you could do that trip in one day !

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 18994 times:

Hmm, something nasty happened with the rest of the post - maybe it was too long. Here's the last part. Sorry.

ARN-HEL
KF428
MD-90 OH-BLF "Ruovesi"
Seat 15F
18.34 - 20.22

Not much to say about this flight really. Almost completely full, with some spare middle seats here and there. Not next to me, though. Flight time of 45 minutes announced, departure a few minutes late, quick taxi to 19R, take-off and left turn towards Finland. Decent views until midway through the Gulf of Bothnia, when it becomes overcast.

Legroom on these MD-90s is a bit tight:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/MD_90_Legroom.jpg

Cabin view during boarding:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/MD_90_Cabin.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Departure_2_1.jpg

The white spots in the distance are actually huge ferries traveling between Sweden, Finland and the Baltics:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Departure_2_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Arlanda_Departure_2_1.jpg

Service is coffee or tea once again, decide to grab a cup of coffee. Otherwise it is the newspaper and my Ipod for entertainment.

Flight seems to take a little bit longer than usually, and sure enough we are approaching from the east which means an additional 5-10 minutes. Once we break the cloud cover somewhere over Kerava it becomes apparent it is raining cats and dogs here.

Landing on a very wet 22L, quick taxi to a gate with a jetway and deboarding.

Wet shot of the Finnair Retro A319, always a beautiful sight:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Norway_07_2009/Finnair_Retro_319_Helsinki.jpg

Our plane is going to BCN next, it looks like there's been a plane switch as we arrived right on time but the next flight is announced with an hour's delay - unfortunately a common sight for KF. I ride the bus home in the depressing rain, yet another trip having been completed.

Conclusions

SK delivered a constant and solid product - too bad that the product isn't what it used to be. The service in economy extra is what you'd get in regular economy 5-6 years ago - hardly something to justify the huge price difference between EE and el cheapo economy (when paying in real money, not with points where the difference is much more meager). The seating on the KF Avros is substandard for a premium product (just as business class on AY Embraers is with 2-2) - they should definitely block the middle seats. All the staff were very friendly, if mostly senior - as expected on SAS. All flights were pretty much in time, which is always good. Will I fly SAS/KF again? Sure, have some flights booked already. Will I still go the extra mile to choose them over other carriers? No, definitely not.


PS. In early July 2009 SAS then pulled the final plug and announced that starting in 15.7.2009 also Eurobonus awards would start charging the fuel surcharges (plus announced a hike in the current ones). Now this means that my trip would've incurred something like 100 EUR in these surcharges alone, making the total over 150 EUR with all the taxes and fees - not that good value any more. Looks like I'll be taking a closer look at how I spend my points now - maybe on upgrades as those don't incur any fees. To quote the Dallas Wayne song, "You know, you're making it pretty hard to be your biggest fan."

Had I known this beforehand I'd definitely booked economy extra on the way back as well instead of saving those few points...


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1709 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 18828 times:

Great report, enjoyed the pics!

I must agree with you on that SAS's Y+ product is just bad, and I would never ever be dumb enough to pay the regular Y+ fare (around €500-900 r/t on intra EU) and only recive a Y class meal.
Oh, and by the way that breakfast you got on the ARN-TRD flight, I got the exact same in Y when flying MMX-ARN. You should might check this report out Big grin

I Give You, SAS At Its Very Best! (pics) (by LH4116 Apr 17 2009 in Trip Reports)

Thanks for sharing!



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineSandroZRH From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 3414 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 18714 times:

Great report! I always enjoy intra-scandinavian reports, there's just something cool about scandinavian "domestic" travel, especially intra-Norwegian itineraries! I can't believe you drank three (did i count correctly?) bottles of sparkling wine/champagne in the morning. I would be totally  drunk  after that. But then again, I don't have no finnish blood runninjg through my veins  Wink The approach to TOS really never gets boring, such beautiful scenery! And last but not least, you caught my future office on cam at ARN. How would Borat say? I liiike Big grin

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
although then they actually had some champagne to start with but a rowdy Norwegian party drank all of that stuff during the first 20 minutes of the flight

 rotfl 

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
It is always a bit weird to be arriving before you actually departed your origin, but that's what time differences do to you.

You bet! When i looked for possible itineraries from ZRH to HEL a few years ago, i stumbled across an option via ARN, and for minutes I wondered why i'd actually arrive at ARN before departing HEL, when it finally grew on me that Finland is an hour ahead of Sweden Big grin

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Once more, isn't that just lovely:

Oh absolutely!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
That's what I call a delay:

 rotfl  Cancelling that flight migth actually be a releave for the pax.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Mack, I just have to have a pint of the local brew. I just need to make a quick call to my banker to make sure that the second mortgage on my house went through so that I'm able to afford the ridiculous price for the beer that's the reality in Norway

Great humor Big grin

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

We taxi to runway 01, backtrack to the very end and turn around - the captain apparently wants to make sure we have every bit of TORA at our disposal.

it probably had more to do with ASDA than TORA  Wink

Finally, I agree with your opinion that SK has deteriorated on all levels, however, to be fair, all European legacies have. On LX on short European sectors, you're served in J what used to be served in Y (especially the breakfast), and it's the same on most if not all European carriers. Still, I agree that SK has even managed to fall one step further. A real disappointement.

Again, an excellent report, and I'm looking forward for more, although with SK's latest hit at their FFP, it might not be too soon before we see one more of these trips from you  Wink

Rgds


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 18352 times:

Thanks for the comments, here are some replies:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 1):
Excellent pictures! Amazing that you could do that trip in one day !

Well, the distances aren't that great here in the North, so it's not too tough. Fortunately the flight schedules fit together very nicely.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 3):
Oh, and by the way that breakfast you got on the ARN-TRD flight, I got the exact same in Y when flying MMX-ARN. You should might check this report out

I remember that report very well, but not the photos - I guess I don't have a photographic memory! That makes it even cheaper in my opinion..

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 4):
Great report! I always enjoy intra-scandinavian reports, there's just something cool about scandinavian "domestic" travel, especially intra-Norwegian itineraries! I can't believe you drank three (did i count correctly?) bottles of sparkling

Well, I'm a Finn so upon birth they replace half of our blood with hundred proof to make is resistant to the cold and whatnot so I'm used to this... Yes, you did count correctly.

I also like flying around Norway a lot, it has partly to do with the great scenery and partly the fact that if you think of Nordics, in all the other countries have most of their air traffic in a strict hub-spoke structure between the capital (CPH, ARN or HEL) and the regions - in Norway there is a lot of peripheral traffic due to the lay of the land. Plus of course those WF milk runs sound like great fun.

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 4):
Finally, I agree with your opinion that SK has deteriorated on all levels, however, to be fair, all European legacies have. On LX on short European sectors, you're served in J what used to be served in Y (especially the breakfast), and it's the same on most if not all European carriers. Still, I agree that SK has even managed to fall one step further. A real disappointement.

That is true, but if you look at carriers like LX and OS they actually tried strict BOB in eco for a while but went back to free service. My point is still that if you charge LCC prices then by all means be LCC-like, but if you charge something more substantial like SAS (almost always), then offer at least some substance for this.

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 4):

Again, an excellent report, and I'm looking forward for more, although with SK's latest hit at their FFP, it might not be too soon before we see one more of these trips from you

Well, you know - it's hard to keep an addict from his addiction, and this applies to me and planes. Surprisingly I'm looking at a month before my next flights, but let's see if something pops up before that.

Currently booked trips for this autumn feature CRL, GVA, DRS and AGP, with more to come, hopefully. I'm getting addicted at this report writing, so I'll do those as well.


User currently offlineInfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1423 posts, RR: 33
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 18333 times:

A thoroughly enjoyable read. I love your style of writing and your sense of humour. There seems to be a real Scandanavian theme running throught the TRs at the moment, and with scenery as stunning as that, it's not hard to see why.

What a fantastic day of flying, and all for 50Euros! Just as well you were able to take advantage of it all before the rules changed. i've never flown SAS, so it was interesting to hear about how they used to be. One always associates Scandanavia with high quality, so it such a shame that they've tried to follow to LCC route. However, scrapping the Saturday night rule and offering affordable single tickets is great, LX are you listening?!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I earn some good karma by finding a plastic bag with an intact Norwegian souvenir book (complete with a receipt) at my table and bringing it to the counter.

It's always nice when someone does this. Annoying is when you do your utmost to reunite owner and lost item and they don't even say thank you. Still, I reassure myself with the thought of the evil karma they're going to get  Wink

Thanks for posting & happy flying
Infodesk



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineDebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2357 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 18333 times:



Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
This will be my thrird flight on OH-BLF and a fourth flight on this plane - she is actually the first MD-90 I ever flew back in 2003 with SK when she still carried the registration SE-DMH.



Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Not much to say about this flight really.

Lucky you...
I know this bird back from 2005, when it was operating for Swedish airline Nordic Regional aka Nordic Leisure. It was nick-named "christmas-tree", because all the warning-lights were flashing and the computer crashed on nearly every 2nd flight.
So the first row was always blocked for the SAS-engineering-departed, whose crew escorted the flights (with a spare kit& handbook)!
After leaving NRD, she was stored a long time (longer than other SAS MD90's) and especially prepared for Blue1.
BTW. Due to the seat changes from SAS to NRD, the a/c is equipped with different seat types. did you notic!?


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 18008 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report & pictures, looks like a good day's flying.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
you'd have a little different in-flight service depending on which of the units operated your flights, things like free breakfast on Swedish domestic routes, free coffee and tea on Norwegian domestic routes, nothing free ever on flights operated by SAS Denmark etc

- Silly, should be the same.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
This would be a trip of pure flying, no time to leave any of the airports for city visits, which suited me fine.

- Sounds like my kind of flying.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
It may sound like I'm complaining like a spoiled brat - but the fact is that if you have a premium class and your usual service offerings include champagne, then just serving some sub-standard sparkling wine with no apologies or anything is bad customer service.

- Not at all, if it is advertised as champage, that's what it shoud be!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
NextJet S2000 taxing behind OH-BLF:

- Err, thats an ATP

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 17771 times:

Thanks for the further comments, some replies:

Quoting Debonair (Reply 7):
Lucky you...
I know this bird back from 2005, when it was operating for Swedish airline Nordic Regional aka Nordic Leisure. It was nick-named "christmas-tree", because all the warning-lights were flashing and the computer crashed on nearly every 2nd flight.

Interesting, I didn't know this, although Nordic Regional/Leisure is a carrier I've seen tons of times at Arlanda. They operated a number of routes for SAS Sweden during the grounding of the Dash fleet, although I never manager to catch a flight with them.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 8):
- Err, thats an ATP

Sorry, you are right. I haven't seen too many ATPs at all - I think all the others have been West Air Sweden freighters. Obviously I've never flown on one either - maybe I'll give NextJet a try soon enough - a rare change to score a new type AND a new airline close to home instead of having to go to Ukraine to fly one  Smile


User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5006 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 17649 times:

Hey, P.

back from MAN, six legs in a day done and also from YYZ, nice people there, you know!

And you know also that I love this part of our world that you´ve pictured so nice.
Well done story.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
one already twice but never on OH-SAR. Oh well, gives one the excuse to book more flights to try to log the evasive bird

Oh, yes I know that situation!.

Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: Is there something new for the new countries?.
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 17617 times:

Hey Markus,

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 10):
back from MAN, six legs in a day done and also from YYZ, nice people there, you know!

I think you are getting seriously behind on your report writings!  Smile


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