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Off To The Northern Skies, On SAS And X2000 (pics)  
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 16193 times:

Prologue
As we all know the last couple of months have been terrible in terms of travelling. For Scandinavia in particular, the situation has been terrible. First, we had the unusually rough winter with snowstorms, humid air combined with the cold temperatures, making it almost lethal for transports such as trains, little did I know that it was also going to affect my flying.
On February 26th I was planning to make a visit to my dear friend Eric in Amsterdam, and this time I was flying on Ryanair, which meant that I had to fly from Stockholm Skavsta Airport. At the time, the entire railway network was shut down, but given the fact that airplanes aren’t affected by the cold weather in the same way as trains, I was pretty sure that It was going to work out fine… But I was wrong, dead wrong.

On that Friday morning, the high humidity had formed a dense layer of fog over the Stockholm Area, but this didn’t concern me very much. Given my newly gained knowledge about the sophisticated ILS systems that are found across all passenger airliners and major airports, landing in this weather would just be a walk in the park. As I made it to the airport, everything seemed perfectly fine, the morning flights were going according to schedule, and I was starting to believe that this would work out perfectly fine. But as the day progressed, announcements were made about flights being delayed, including mine. Still, a delay wasn’t much of an issue for me. But soon things got worse, more announcements were made about further delays, followed by flights being cancelled one by one. Very soon, I received a text message from Eric telling me that my flight had been diverted to Arlanda, and that I should expect it being cancelled soon. At first, I didn’t really believe what he said, well I didn’t want to believe what he said.

But after only a few minutes, an announcement was made across the speakers, informing us that the flight to Eindhoven was cancelled. At the same time, another fifteen or so flights had been cancelled as well, making a huge chaos break loose. In despair I tried to get in line to the service counter to get my tickets re-booked for the evening flight to Charleroi, but it was no use. With 5000 stranded passengers, it was a huge chaos, and I ended up loosing my wallet, containing 100 Euros of cash, credit cards and public transport passes. So I decided to throw in the towel, and get my tickets refunded. Luckily I had kept the (return)ticket to the airport coach in my back pocket, so I was at least able to make it back to my father’s house in Stockholm, where I spent the rest of the weekend.

As a comfort, my mother agreed on compensating me for the lost travel expenses. So in order to get myself in a better mood, I booked myself on the Inaugural flight of City Airline’s new route between Vasteras and Gothenburg, on the 19th of April.
My expectations for this flight were a bit higher now, since the winter had stopped and the weather wasn’t going to be an obstacle. Sadly, I was wrong again. The volcanic eruption on Iceland as we all know, prevented my plans from falling through. Luckily, I was given a full refund from City Airline, and SJ were kind enough to give me a full refund on my X2000 ticket, for the return segment.

With one more flight booked for the 8th of May, and given the fact that my two previous flights had been cancelled, my expectations for this trip were at the rock bottom.






Welcome to my 11th report

This time I will cover my daytrip to the City of Östersund, in the northern parts of Sweden. In this report I will cover the outbound segment on SAS in Economy Class, and the return was made on the Swedish High-Speed train X2000 in 1st Class. As Always the report will be accompanied with some decent quality pictures, that I hope you will enjoy!

Background

As a compensation for my lost travel expenses, my mom decided to let me book a daytrip for the same amount of money that was lost, so I looked though several options on where to go. At the time, I noticed that SAS were having a major sale, with flights starting at EUR 39. And given the fact that I only had around EUR 100 to spend, a trip within Scandinavia would be the most suitable option. After some intensive searching, my choices were down to either Helsinki or Östersund. HEL was very tempting, since I would get the chance to fly the ever so rare MD-90, but in the end I went for OSD, since it was a part of Sweden that I hadn’t been to yet. Since there is only one flight to OSD on Saturdays, I wouldn’t be able to return by plane, so I had to take the train back home which was more than fine for me. So I came across a ticket on the X2000 train in 1st Class, for EUR 50. Given the fact that this was the route on the X2000 network that I hadn’t covered yet, and that it was also the longest X2000 route, stretching to almost 6 hours, it was a no-brainer for me. So I booked this itinerary in an instance.

With 10 days before my day of travel, my mom told me that she was going away to Egypt for a couple of weeks, and since her flight was leaving from GOT, she asked me if I could help her with the luggage. I agreed on coming with her, so we took the X2000 to Gothenburg, in 1st Class of course. But this time I had a bad experience for the second time. The seats we were given were broken, and with the train being fully booked, there was no chance for seat change. They had also ran out of breakfast trays for 1st, so we were given a sandwich from the Bistro. In Gothenburg, the Lounge staff were very rude to me, and they didn’t even want to let me enter the Lounge despite me having paid full price for the ticket (in fact the price doesn’t matter at all), but in the end I was let in. But I was given no smiles, welcome or goodbye. Instead, the Lounge lady came up to me and told me that it was time for me to go, despite it being almost 40 minutes until the train would depart. The ride back home from Gothenburg compensated for the bad experiences I had earlier, the service from the crew was great despite them making several flaws, the friendliness made up for it.

I was feeling a very tired after the Gothenburg trip, and with only 4 days to my OSD trip I was having thoughts of cancelling it. Mainly due to the fact that I couldn’t make it to the airport on that early Saturday morning, since mom wasn’t able to give me a ride to the bus station. Luckily, my aunt in Stockholm was more than happy of having me over on Friday night, so with the transfer issue solved it seemed like I would be able to make it this time. With the previous failures in mind, my expectations for this trip were low.

Friday 7th of May 2010
It was a sunny Friday afternoon at Vasteras Central station, I was feeling a bit tired after a rough school day, having written an English exam all morning. I was waiting for the train that would be taking me to Stockholm, where I would spend the night. The train ride was pretty uneventful, I spent most of it listening to music, and despite the fact that there were lots of people in “party mood”, given the fact that they were going to Stockholm for the night, I found the ride rather relaxing.

As I arrived at Stockholm Central, I noticed that the SJ Lounge was open. My ticket to Stockholm was in 2nd Class, but I had my 1st Class ticket for tomorrow so I could at least give it a try. As I walked up the stairs to the Lounge, with the ticket in my hand and the fear from the sheer embarrassment of being rejected, I entered the doors.
As I walked in, I was warmly greeted by the attractive looking Lounge attendant in her 20’s. She was busy with making a reservation for another passenger, but she quickly waved me over to take a quick look at my ticket. With her being rather busy, she didn’t even bother to take the ticket out of its “holder”, so she only took a quick glance at the top row of text before handing it over to me, and welcoming me in.

Some pics showing an overview of the Lounge

Snacks and beverage offerings were rather decent, with several kinds of cookies and breads, a coffee machine, tea, and juice. No alcohol is offered.

I settled down for some cheese and crackers, along with a cappuccino

I personally find the Lounge to be a very nice oasis away from the hectic central hall. The snack and drink offerings are rather adequate, and in the mornings you can make yourself a small breakfast there. Wireless internet is also offered for free, btw. And if you don’t have a computer, you can use one of the surf stations.
I have a very limited experience of Lounges in general, and I wonder how the SJ Lounge will stand against most airline Lounges. But I’m guessing it’s at the same level of standard as a US airline Lounge.
Anyway, I spend around two hours there resting, and surfing the internet, before it was time to take the metro to my aunt’s house.

Saturday 8th of May 2010

I woke up at 6am after a good night’s sleep, followed by a quick shower and a strong breakfast. All of these things are essential for a successful daytrip, IMHO. After the breakfast, I packed down the last of my belongings and said goodbye to my dear relatives. By 7.04am I left the house, and headed down for the nearby metro station. As I was going to buy the ticket, I noticed that the machine didn’t work properly, so I told it to the man in the register. I also asked him if I was able to buy a ticket from him, using a credit card, but he said no. Only cash or cell phone payments are accepted, and I had neither of these. In the end he let me pass for free, but it was at my own risk in case there were any ticket controllers. The metro ride lasted for around fifteen minutes, and I arrived at Stockholm Central at 7.45am. As I was making my way over to the Arlanda Express trains, I was a bit surprised to see so many people there on an early Saturday morning. When I arrived to the dedicated tracks for Arlanda Express, I bought myself a youth ticket for EUR 12, which was very cheap, before jumping on the train at the last minute.

The Arlanda Express train

The interior of the train, which is designed by Björn Borg.

The ride on Arlanda Express was very quick, but rather uneventful. Most of the train was packed with American business travellers, a group of them were doctors heading home from a medical conference. I decided to step off the train at Arlanda North, to take a walk through terminal 5 and Sky City, I had a little less than two hours to spare before the boarding would start.
The newer part of the T5 departure hall. It was packed this morning

I really like the lavatories in this part of the terminal.

View of Sky City

Terminal 4, which is the domestic terminal.

Flight: SK072 Stockholm Arlanda ARN to Östersund Frösön OSD
Date: May 8th 2010
Departure: 10.15
Arrival: 11.10
Duration: 0h 55m
Seat and Class: 11A Economy Class
Aircraft and Reg: Boeing 737-683 LN-RRC

I arrived to a rather empty Terminal 4, and since I had already checked in online the day before, I was looking for a check-in counter so that I could print out my boarding pass in the old fashion way. But they where nowhere to be seen, in fact SAS are now checking in people via self service machines or Internet now days, and the counters are only used for bag drops. Oh well, this wasn’t much of a concern for me so I printed out my BP using a machine, and then I proceeded to security. The security check was a breeze and I was airside in no time.

Terminal 4 doesn‘t have much to offer, except from some overpriced café‘s, a bar and some tax free shops.

The gate area.

View of the empty apron.

My boarding pass and train ticket.

Very soon the boarding area filled up wit people, most of them were coming from a connecting flight arriving from Malmö, amongst them was a group of youths heading to Åre for skiing and partying. Very soon the gate agent came over the speakers announcing that the boarding was now starting, with rows of 12 and back, to begin first. Star Alliance Gold members were free to board at any time. Sadly, I had forgot to put the Star Gold tag Philip gave me, on my new Samsonite bag. But this wasn’t much of a concern really. Halfway through the boarding, I decided to stand in line. The line was moving pretty slow, but I noticed a separate line for cardholders and people using biometry boarding. So I decided to give it a try, by swiping my status less Eurobonus card, and believe it or not, I was allowed to pass with success!

Boarding the aircraft.




When I stepped onboard this B736 I was greeted by the friendly crew. For today’s flight the crew consisted of three female flight attendants all in their senior years.
As I made my way to my seat 11A, I noticed that the group of youths from Malmö had occupied my seat row, and the row behind, one of them was occupying my seat. So I kindly told them that I had reserved that particular seat. The asked me if I could sit in the aisle seat instead, but I raised them the camera and told them that I would prefer the window seat. They obliged of course, but they seemed a little bit upset for some reason. I’ve been in that situation myself, and I know how it feels, so I was feeling a bit guilty at the time. I didn’t speak to them during the rest of the flight, and neither did I get up from my seat.

Cabin during boarding.

You sure couldn‘t complain about the legroom.

Since I had selected seat 11A, I was seated right above the air condition packs which meant that it would be extra noisy, combined with the engine noise of course. This was no problem, since I only had to put on my noise cancelling headphones to get the problem solved.
Soon pushback occurred, and it was right on time, followed by a quick taxi to runway 01R/19L. The takeoff was rather long, and not so powerful considering the fact that we had a load factor of nearly 100% on this flight.

Takeoff

Climbout

The seatbelt sign was turned off only 2 minutes after takeoff, which I find pretty strange, since we hadn’t even made a turn away from the runway at ARN. Anyway, we reached cruising altitude five minutes later.

Cruising altitude

Soon after reaching cruising altitude, this beautiful voice came over the PA and started singing the song Over The Rainbow, followed by a short poem about the sky. This turned out to be the flight attendant informing us that they are now commencing the Buy on Board service. The announcement was followed by an applause from everyone in the cabin, including myself. I really like those small touches, they can really make a big difference in terms of the in-flight experience. The offer for today’s flight was coffee/tea and a special luxury Mazarin, with blueberry and raspberry filling for SEK 35

Shortly afterwards the crew reached our row, and I decided to try out one of those special Mazarin’s. This time, I could pay with cash, so I used a SEK 100 bill, they had ran out of SEK 5 coins, but that wasn’t much of a concern for me.

The in-flight snack

I was also offered a refill on the coffee

The Mazarin wasn’t much special really, it tasted just like a regular Mazarin, only a bit sweeter. The coffee was pretty tasty, though it had a hint chlorine taste, which meant that the technician who was assigned the task of disinfecting the water system was a bit lazy with washing it out the 5’ish times.   

Cabin in-flight

Soon we began our descent to Östersund Frösön Airport, and the crew began to clear our tray-tables. The descent was pretty smooth, offering some great views of the northern landscape including the ski town of Åre, and Åreskutan Peak. The descent was followed by a very smooth landing.

Overflying a frozen lake.

…Before lining up towards the runway

Landing

Soon we parked and the seatbelt sign was turned off, everyone was rushing to get their stuff from the overhead bins, so I decided to remain seated for a while, until everyone had left. On my way out of the aircraft I took some pics of the cabin, and I also made a visit to the cockpit where I had a small chat with the Captain.

Some last views of the cabin

The front office of this B737-600

I had a rather interesting conversation with the captain, and he let me take a look at the different instruments in the cockpit. I was a bit surprised to see that they still had ADF’s installed on them. The captain told me that it is almost never used, and its only purpose today is to please the authorities, and act as a backup in case the more sophisticated GPS systems are dysfunctional or if they’re operating from an airport that doesn’t support GPS. I had to leave the cockpit after a few minutes, due to the quick 20 minute turnaround time. There were no crews to greet me at the door when I left the aircraft, but I didn’t care so much.

Deplaning via air stairs.

As I was making my way inside the terminal, I took a glance at the clock, it was showing 11.27 which meant that the bus to the city centre would leave in only three minutes. Since it was the only bus of the day I started to rush. Luckily, I made it onboard the bus with 30 seconds to spare.

Exterior view of the terminal

The bus ride was very quick, lasting a little bit less than ten minutes. During the ride, I had a chat with the friendly driver, telling him about my short daytrip. He suggested that I should take a walk down the main shopping street, and then a walk along the lakeside. He also gave me a map, and pointed out where the train station was located.

An office building owned my a major insurance company.

A man walking on the main square in Östersund

Some views of the lakeside, by the lake Storsjön. Which is the Swedish equivalence of Loch Ness.

The main shopping street.

The architecture in the city was pretty interesting. With quite some contrasts between the houses, some of the are built in early 1900s style, while others look like any suburban apartment building, of the 1960s.

A church in the central parts of the city.

The Östersund courthouse

In the beginning, my expectations for Östersund were pretty low, but I must say that those expectations were exceeded by far. It turned out to be a beautiful city, situated in the rather exotic northern parts of Sweden. Still I found it to be very modern, with pretty much the same shopping malls and facilities that you would otherwise find in Stockholm or Vasteras, etc. The people seemed pretty nice too, but I didn’t get much contact with them.

After having wandered around the streets of Östersund for almost four hours, I was starting to feel a bit tired, so with 45 minutes to spare, I made my way down to the train station, where I found the X2000 already parked on the platform.

Train: SJ X2000 nr 587 from Östersund to Stockholm C, via Sundsvall.
Date: May 8th 2010
Departure: 15.47
Arrival: 21.30
Duration: 5h 43m
Seat and Class: Seat 22 in Car nr:2 1st Class

The X2000 that will be taking me to Stockholm today.

View of the Cars…

When I arrived to the train station I took a glance at the departure boards, where it said that the train will be departing from track 3, although the train was parked at track 1. So I went inside the station, where I met up with the crew for today’s X2000 service to Stockholm, who told me that they had some trouble with the signs, and that the train would leave from track 1.

So I walked down to the 1st Class car, which was nr:2. Soon people started to gather up on the platform, most of them had already formed groups, one for each car. The load from Östersund to Sundsvall was pretty low, with 1st Class around half full, and 2nd class nearly empty.

Shortly afterwards the doors were opened, and we were allowed to board the train. At the door we were greeted by the friendly train attendant dedicated specially for 1st Class. The boarding was done in less than a minute, and I was able to find my specially selected seat nr:22 in spotless condition, with both the recline function and tray table fully functional.

View of the 1st Class cabin.

View of the very comfortable seat. Seat 22 has a panorama window, which is one of the reasons to why I chose it.

The legroom was good. Though I find the 2-seaters to have slightly better legroom.

The table remained empty for the first segment to Sundsvall.

Shortly after having settled down in the comfortable seat, the train began to roll, it went very smooth and quiet so I didn’t have to use the headphones. A few minutes after departure, the t/a came over the PA welcoming us onboard this X2000 to Stockholm. He also informed us that due to railway construction between Gävle and Skutskär we had to make a short bus ride, and the board a new X2000 in Skutskär. This of course made me and some of the other passengers worried. So when the t/a came over to take a look at my ticket, I informed him about my connection to Vasteras, and also that I had a bus connection to my house outside Vasteras that I would miss if the connection in Stockholm was missed, and in case I miss that bus I would have to spend the night out on the streets. Since the bus connection wasn’t on the ticket, the t/a told me that he could see what he can do about it. Until then he told me to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Which I certainly did!

Enjoying the spectacular scenery from my train window.

Unlike any of the other X2000 routes I’ve been on this was very different, since the train was going on very old and very curvy tracks, it was going pretty slow with a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour. This did of course result in a lot of tilting back and forth, which was more than fine by me since that is what I love about the X2000. In fact the tilting system on the train was cutting edge at its time, and it still is. The hydraulic tilt is controlled to precise measurements by a dozen computers.
One example is when the train goes through an S-shaped curve, one half of the train is tilting in one direction while the second half is tilting in the opposite direction.

I spent most of the ride enjoying the scenery, which consisted mostly of mountains, lakes and people’s gardens. I also took use of the onboard wireless internet, which is free for 1st Class passengers. I was a bit surprised to see that the internet connection worked flawless, despite the train being out in the middle of nowhere.

Enjoying the ride.

After one hour or so, I got up from my seat to get something from the self-service bar. I ended up taking a cup of coffee and a brownie. While enjoying my coffee and brownie, I had a small chat with the friendly t/a in the galley. We talked mostly about the new meal concept for 1st Class, and he seemed pretty critical against it since they had cut down on quite a lot of things such as the coffee cups in porcelain and the Lindt chocolates, and at the same time raising the price from EUR 9,60 to 12,90.

He also asked me when I wanted the dinner served, which was a very nice touch in my opinion, since they always forget to serve me (It has happened a couple of times). I told him that I could take it after Sundsvall.

Some tea, and another brownie.

Soon the train arrived in Sundsvall, where we would make a 20 minute stop. During the stop I took a walk down the platform, and made a short visit to the other cars. Meanwhile the train was filling up with people, and 1st Class got packed.

Full house to Stockholm this evening

Soon the meal service began, and this time It was going to be extra exciting for me since I would get the chance to try out one of the new menus. Not too long ago SJ announced that they will enhance the dished in the three course meals served in 1st Class. The man who was given the job of composing the new dished was Master Chef Leif Mannerström who runs the Michelin restaurant Sjömagasinet in Gothenburg.

DINNER MENU

Starter: Chicken salad with crisp fried bacon, diced apples, walnuts, a cherry tomato with a curry dressing.

Main Course: Beef á la Lindström with Scanian potatoes and pickled cucumbers.

Dessert: Passion truffle tartlette.

Bread and butter: A selection of breads along with organic butter.

Drinks: A selection of non-alcoholic beverages are offered complimentary, including low-alcoholic beer. Beer and wine are available for purchase.

Coffee/Tea: A selection of Dilmah teas or freshly ground coffee from Kahls.


The meal.


The starter taster really nice and fresh, the tener bits of chicken breast fitted in perfectly with the curry dressing, combined with the apple and walnuts it tasted like heaven. The bacon on the other hand seemed a bit over excessive, but it tasted well too. My only complaint was the lack of salad. To me this was more like chicken only, I guess one could say that the tomato made it a salad.

The Main Course on the other hand was a bit of a disappointment. Scanian potatoes is just an euphemism of diced potatoes soaked in some sort of sauce, I’m guessing it was brown sauce. The two elements formed a sticky goo that seemed to stick to the walls of the bowl, but it was at least edible. The beef on the other hand was very salty, and along with the pickled cucumbers which made it even saltier. It would have been edible if It wasn’t for the sticky potatoes that helped taking down the saltiness.

The Dessert however was an absolute dream. The passion fruit custard filling, with the caramel sauce on the top and the chocolate truffle in the bottom, all put together in a semi-sweet pastry shell went together simply perfectly, one of the best desserts I’ve had on the X2000 by far, since they’ve always been boring compotes or overly sweet pastries. Sadly, I declined coffee because of the lack of porcelain coffee cup on the tray.

All in all the meal was a success, and the new meal concept had met up to my expectations despite the Main Course being almost a disaster, the starter and dessert compensated for that. I’m really looking forward to try the other menus on future X2000 trips, and hopefully there’ll be quite many of them before the end of the year.

Shortly after having finished the meal, the t/a came over the PA announcing that we would now arrive in Gävle, so he told us to gather up out belongings and prepare to disembark the train. When we arrived to Gävle, all passengers disembarked the train, and walked over to the nearby bus station. It took more than 10 minutes before the busses arrived, and by now most of the passengers had become rather upset, and many of them were complaining.

Soon it was time to get onboard the bus, which was very crowded. And sadly, the last seat got occupied by some sort of Bondinbella, so I had to sit on the floor, but it wasn’t much of a concern for me. The bus ride lasted for 20 minutes, and when we arrived, I was the first one to leave the bus. At the train station in Skutskär an X2000 train was waiting for us, and as a kind gesture they had cleaned the train and filled up the self-service bar for us.

Chillaxing on the last segment of this almost 7 hour long trip. Now we were doing 200 km/h

The train left Skutskär almost 40 minutes late, and the delay was expected to be one hour since we had to hold a reduced speed after Arlanda, due to some sort of problem with the signals.

Soon the t/a came over to my seat regarding my connections, and he told me that I was not going to make the connection in Stockholm. So I was given two options, either to leave the train in Uppsala, and take the bus to Vasteras, I had to pay for the bus ticket myself. Or I could continue on the X2000 to Stockholm where I will take the next train to Vasteras that would depart at 23.37, and from Vasteras a taxi would deliver me all the way to my home, free of charge. Of course I went for the latter.

Personally this was great service from the crew to offer me a free taxi ride, on a segment that hadn’t even been booked. But I’m pretty sure that this special treatment is only given to 1st Class, if I would’ve been travelling in 2nd, then they’d probably said “If it‘s not in your itinerary it‘s none of our business”.

Anyway I arrived in Stockholm at 22.21, almost one hour late. As I stepped off the X2000 I noticed that my connecting train was already parked on the platform nearby, so I simply walked over to it and sat there for one hour until it departed.

The ride to Vasteras was pretty uneventful, but it was at least on time. When I walked out from the station building in Vasteras I noticed one taxi driver holding a sign with my name on it, now that is what I call service they even remembered my name! The taxi ride went by very quick, and I arrived safely at my house. I thanked the driver and went inside, to find the house completely empty. I dropped my bag on the floow, threw the jacket aside and passed out on my bed, where I slept like a baby until mid-afternoon the following day.

Conclusion
I must say that this trip was a huge success for me, everything went just perfect this time. Although my expectations from both the crew on SAS and the service onboard the X2000 were low, they were exceeded by far. And I would definitely recommend them, when travelling domestic in Sweden.

But the best thing about it was the complimentary taxi ride provided by the friendly crew on the X2000. I simply can’t understand how people can hate SJ, when they’re actually doing a great job!


That will mark the end of this report, I hope you enjoyed reading it, and feel free to leave a comment.

//Jonas


SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDunaA320 From UK - England, joined Feb 2009, 614 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 16117 times:

Jonas, Excellent report and as always, fantastic pictures!

Thanks for posting,

Matt.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6816 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 15418 times:

Hi Jonas,

great report with many good pictures. Östersund looks nice.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
I’ve been in that situation myself, and I know how it feels, so I was feeling a bit guilty at the time.

No reason to feel guilty - everybody can make sure to get a window seat.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
The coffee was pretty tasty, though it had a hint chlorine taste, which meant that the technician who was assigned the task of disinfecting the water system was a bit lazy with washing it out the 5’ish times.

Sounds awful...they should have paid the money back!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 14438 times:

Hi Jonas,

Another enjoyable X2K/plane combo report by you, very nice. Östersund looks like a nice enough town, did you see the ex-fiance of Maddy there with any Norwegian hotties?  

Wow, looks like you definitely had your strike of bad luck with first the weather and then the volcano thing - a lesser person would've given up already...

That X2K ride looks like fun, although that bus segment doesn't sound like fun - was that due to the building of the Botniabanan (Gävle sounds a bit too south for that) or just some other track maintenance work? The fact that they prebooked that taxi for you is pretty impressive - how much would a regular taxi fare be for the ride to your house?

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
I booked myself on the Inaugural flight of City Airline’s new route between Vasteras and Gothenburg, on the 19th of April.

Interesting, I had no idea CF had opened such a route. Or did they, with the ash woes?

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
HEL was very tempting, since I would get the chance to fly the ever so rare MD-90, but in the

I thought you'd be delighted on one of those DY's 10 SEK fares - although they didn't offer them on the weekends and maybe you couldn't do it during the week...

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
accompanied with some decent quality pictures,

Once again, why don't you let your readers to decide the quality?  
Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
Terminal 4 doesn‘t have much to offer, except from some overpriced café‘s, a bar and some tax free shops.

Considering it is used exclusively for domestic flights, I don't think there are any tax free shops there. So called travel value for sure, but not tax free.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
The Östersund courthouse

That's an impressive building if I ever saw one!

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
I ended up taking a cup of coffee and a brownie.

Only one this time?!

Oh yes, the pictures were decent. Much more than decent actually!

Keep up the good work!


User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4270 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 13961 times:

Hi Jonas,

yes, finally you were able to write a report for us. You're more then welcome to come over another time. Try the summer, less chance for fog, more chance to get on FR operated flights  The airline was not the problem on that day, it was the airport to be blamed for. And yes, the ash is another problem. I might play evil this week again for me, when I am planning to fly to BCN. We'll see how it turns out.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
Once again, why don't you let your readers to decide the quality?

LOL. Yes let us decide  

But I think the quality is good. I know you go for the best result when it comes to photography. Also in this report. I especially like the Ostersund pix, seems a great city, especially with that weather. And, maybe we have to come over for some trainrides in Sweden some day. Maybe next year... we'll see. btw, with your particular choice for that seat in that carriage, you are similar to The man in Seat 61. We have his latest book about traintravel in Europe. Google it, you might like his website. It's very usefull for traintravel in Europe. He always takes seat 61 on the Eurostar, since it offers the best view outside, nicely alligned with the window, and first class of course.
btw, the views outside in Sweden look great. And such a beautiful weather.

Oh yes, back to the plane ride. I imagine that seat selection. It's the best one in the house. Of course others should stay away of it. No need to feel bad about this issue. And, the -600 is an always interesting subtype. I still need to fly on it...

Regards
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5170 posts, RR: 55
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13921 times:

Hey, Jonas,

great stuff and superb pictures, really good work.

Never been to Östersund myself, looks like a nice city indeed and the weather seems much better than
we had it here during the last days.
Now I know where the sun goes all the way to the north.

And also congrats to the 736, something rare here in Germany.

Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: Capital travel on schedule!.
User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27027 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 13437 times:

Hi Jonas,
Another fab report. Expected nothing less.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
Sadly, I had forgot to put the Star Gold tag Philip gave me, on my new Samsonite bag. But this wasn’t much of a concern really. Halfway through the boarding, I decided to stand in line. The line was moving pretty slow, but I noticed a separate line for cardholders and people using biometry boarding. So I decided to give it a try, by swiping my status less Eurobonus card, and believe it or not, I was allowed to pass with success!

LOL... see you dont really need a Gold card  
Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
so I was feeling a bit guilty at the time. I didn’t speak to them during the rest of the flight, and neither did I get up from my seat.

I wouldnt feel guilty at all , As they say here in Ireland ''They were chancing their arm ''. They should sit where allocated.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
I had a small chat with the Captain.

The pic under this text with the headrests if brilliant, its the kind of thing you would see in a airline brochure!! Your photography skills are really good as I have said before.


Look forward to the next report.

Philip


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 13363 times:

Hi Jonas.

This is the first time I've had the pleasure of commenting on one of your TRs and I must say I found in superb... perhaps SAS doesn't quite do your photography skills justice, but an excellent job of the airports and beautiful Sweedish countryside. I thoroughly enjoyed this - I've been a little taken by Sweedish culture after watching My Life as a Dog recently... what a film

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
As a compensation for my lost travel expenses, my mom decided to let me book a daytrip for the same amount of money that was lost,

How very kind... I know where my mum would tell me to go to!

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
took a quick glance at the top row of text before handing it over to me, and welcoming me in.

cool - it often pays to be a chancer

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
They obliged of course, but they seemed a little bit upset for some reason.

Rediculous. Really if you can't stick to your assigned seat...

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
Which is the Swedish equivalence of Loch Ness.

Well I am sure Sweden has not quite 'cashed in' to the degree we have in Scotland with our decidedly tacky tourism industry always showing grainy photos...

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 4):
It's very usefull for traintravel in Europe.

A bible! Yes, you should submit your non-aviation train TR too the gentleman at Seat 61.He'de be most welcoming of it.

I am hoping to take a Virgin Trains first class service before I go away in summer from London.... similarly, they are trying to undercut the airlines, and most of the time fail miserably at it given FR's fares. However, get a promo 1st class and its as little as £51.00, food included, and depending on your train, also alcohol. The trains are also rather lovely and new... they may tilt also!

Anyway, excellent report.

Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineDunaA320 From UK - England, joined Feb 2009, 614 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 13258 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
I am hoping to take a Virgin Trains first class service before I go away in summer from London....
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
However, get a promo 1st class and its as little as £51.00, food included, and depending on your train, also alcohol. The trains are also rather lovely and new... they may tilt also!

Luke,

I believe they do cheaper upgrades to First at the weekend. I will probably be taking the train to Manchester in summer, depending on BA strikes/fares.

Matt


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 13220 times:

Quoting DunaA320 (Reply 8):
I believe they do cheaper upgrades to First at the weekend. I will probably be taking the train to Manchester in summer, depending on BA strikes/fares.

Hi Matt - interesting you should pick up on that.... do not be conned my friend. Weekend and mid-week services on Virgin are like day and night... You don't get any services or perks, you get a measly cup of chai and limitless dry shortbread and the cheap upgrade brings in hoardes of untaimed families heading to Manchester for the day... its very substandard. Not awful, but nowhere near the quality of a weekday First service...



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineDunaA320 From UK - England, joined Feb 2009, 614 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 13202 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 9):
Hi Matt - interesting you should pick up on that.... do not be conned my friend. Weekend and mid-week services on Virgin are like day and night... You don't get any services or perks, you get a measly cup of chai and limitless dry shortbread and the cheap upgrade brings in hoardes of untaimed families heading to Manchester for the day... its very substandard. Not awful, but nowhere near the quality of a weekday First service...

Probably take the plane then... easier for me this end as I'm 15 mins from LHR opposed to a 1 hour train journey into London and tube accross to Euston.

Cheers for the heads up buddy.


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 12926 times:

Thank you guys for the replies, I'm really glad you enjoyed reading!

Quoting DunaA320 (Reply 1):
Jonas, Excellent report and as always, fantastic pictures!

Thank you Matt!  

Hello there Mr PH

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Sounds awful...they should have paid the money back!

It might sound worse than it actually is, since it's just a minor hint, but can assure you that the coffee was fully drinkable. Perhaps you should do a coffee test too, aside from your usual Ginger Ale tests  

Hey Mr FlyingFinn76!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
Wow, looks like you definitely had your strike of bad luck with first the weather and then the volcano thing - a lesser person would've given up already...

I was actually close to give up on this one, due to transfer issues from my house. But I managet to solve that.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
- was that due to the building of the Botniabanan (Gävle sounds a bit too south for that) or just some other track maintenance work?

No, the construction work on Botniabanan is already completed. Now they were only doing some maintenance, and some sort of preparatory work for the new double track that were about to be laid.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
The fact that they prebooked that taxi for you is pretty impressive - how much would a regular taxi fare be for the ride to your house?

It was in fact a regular taxi with the meter running, the price ended on EUR 49,80. But the tab was sent to SJ.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
Interesting, I had no idea CF had opened such a route. Or did they, with the ash woes?

They opened it for a brief time after the Volcano, but they had to shut it down due to the financial loss caused by the Volcano.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):

Only one this time?!

Of course not, I had several of them. It was a long ride. Sadly on the last segment someone had emptied the newly filled self-service bar in only 5 minutes. And the bad thing is that they don't re-fill them  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
did you see the ex-fiance of Maddy there with any Norwegian hotties?

No, I'm afraid that's in Åre, 100 kilometers west  

Good evening Eric.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 4):
You're more then welcome to come over another time. Try the summer, less chance for fog, more chance to get on FR operated flights

That sounds lovely!  
About Ryanair, I'll never use them again despite it not really being their fault. It was a hazzle getting to and from the airport from the beginning, even before the chaos broke out. And with all the transfer costs it turned out to be more costy than KLM, so I'll stick to them instead (and besides, they serve that free wine haha)  
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 4):
And, maybe we have to come over for some trainrides in Sweden some day. Maybe next year... we'll see.

Yes, you are more than welcome!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 4):
btw, with your particular choice for that seat in that carriage, you are similar to The man in Seat 61.

I've heard of him before and I've been to his website a few times, but it was only until you reminded me of him again that I realized how much info he's got. In Sweden we have his equivilence actually, I met him last week on the train home from Gothenburg. Though this gentleman always chose to sit in Seat 34 
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 4):
Oh yes, back to the plane ride. I imagine that seat selection. It's the best one in the house.

It's a great seat indeed. I've selected it several times before, but sadly it has always had a seat in front of it, for some reason. I guess I was pretty lucky this time.

Hi Markus!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 5):
Now I know where the sun goes all the way to the north.

Hehe, I guess it goes almost all the way up. For the midnight sun, you might have to go ever farther, across the arctic circle.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 5):
And also congrats to the 736, something rare here in Germany.

Yeah, it's not much special here you know, but thanks anyway  

Hi there Philip!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 6):
LOL... see you dont really need a Gold card

I just realized that had chosen the EB card as an identification at gate for boarding, as a preference when booking. But yes, maybe a Gold card is a bit overexcessive  
Quoting oa260 (Reply 6):
The pic under this text with the headrests if brilliant, its the kind of thing you would see in a airline brochure!! Your photography skills are really good as I have said before.

You know, that's exactly what I thought when taking it! Sadly it came out a bit blurry, bit if it wasn't, I'd might aswell have been able to sell it to them 

Hello Luke

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
cool - it often pays to be a chancer

Yeah it sure does! But they should really consider having some better opening hours at the Lounge.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Well I am sure Sweden has not quite 'cashed in' to the degree we have in Scotland with our decidedly tacky tourism industry always showing grainy photos...

I guess the thing they do have in common is that they both have monsters in them!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
I am hoping to take a Virgin Trains first class service before I go away in summer from London.... similarly, they are trying to undercut the airlines, and most of the time fail miserably at it given FR's fares. However, get a promo 1st class and its as little as £51.00, food included, and depending on your train, also alcohol. The trains are also rather lovely and new... they may tilt also!

I've seen that actually, it looks really great. The food provided looks wonderful. And the trains, well IIRC it's the Pendolino, which is a more successful equivilence to the X2000.

//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6816 posts, RR: 77
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 12915 times:

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
Perhaps you should do a coffee test too, aside from your usual Ginger Ale tests

I've actually tested some teas recently...and some of them were simply terrible.  


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineScandinavian From Sweden, joined Sep 2000, 267 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 12463 times:

Great report!

I did a similar trip last fall, but instead of a train home to Stockholm I took a rental car. I do not like X2000.



"He was a wise man who invented beer"-Platon
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1663 posts, RR: 53
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 12224 times:

Heya Jonas!

Excellent trip report my friend! .. Östersund is indeed very nice, especially with the fantastic pictures you have taken!

As with all your TRs, the train portion of your experience is always a special treat, and it is quite insightful to see how they compare with airlines! .. From the lounge, to the seating, and the meals .. It is dangerously similar and it is no wonder why airlines are freaking out!

Why did the rude lounge staff not let you in the lounge? You owned a ticked that had lounge access entitlement, so i fail to see what their problem was?

Also, sorry that you lost your wallet! .. How did you manage that?


Thanks a lot for sharing this! .. Looking forward to more soon!

Regards,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 12071 times:

Hi Jonas,

Great report and very nice pictures. Good to hear that your travel plans went well this time, after two failed journeys. The town of Östersund looks nice according to your pictures.

The X2000 looks very comfortable indeed; seems to be a great way of travelling. I also like train-rides on longer distances.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
Soon after reaching cruising altitude, this beautiful voice came over the PA and started singing the song Over The Rainbow, followed by a short poem about the sky. This turned out to be the flight attendant informing us that they are now commencing the Buy on Board service.



A very nice and personal touch indeed.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
1st Class around half full, and 2nd class nearly empty.



Interesting - here in Germany it is always the other way round: 2nd Class is often full while only few people are travelling in 1st.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
Personally this was great service from the crew to offer me a free taxi ride, on a segment that hadn’t even been booked.
Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
When I walked out from the station building in Vasteras I noticed one taxi driver holding a sign with my name on it, now that is what I call service they even remembered my name!



A very good and individual service - remarkable even for 1st Class.

Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
I simply can’t understand how people can hate SJ, when they’re actually doing a great job!



I guess it's the same in most countries: people often complain about railway companies because there simply are many things that can go wrong in a complex network. But if you are objective, many railway companies in Europe are doing a good job (don't know too much about railway companies on other continents).

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6432 posts, RR: 39
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 11923 times:

Hi Jonas,

Great report with great pictures - makes me want to travel right now! Looks like everyone in Europe has been affected by the volcano! What a shame..

I should be going on my first long haul train journey in July from Wellington to Auckland so hopefully I can give you an insight to the only train service in the North Island of New Zealand! I have 12 hours of mystery in front of me. I hope to share with everyone the wonderful scenery of the North Island if I can..

The train service in Scandinavia looks pretty good, next I'd like to see some Eurostar and TGV rides from you!  

Thanks for sharing!


Regards,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 11600 times:

Hello guys, thanks for the replies! 
Quoting Scandinavian (Reply 13):
I did a similar trip last fall, but instead of a train home to Stockholm I took a rental car. I do not like X2000.


Why don't you like the X2000?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 14):
Excellent trip report my friend! .. Östersund is indeed very nice, especially with the fantastic pictures you have taken!


Thank you Roni. I'm glad you enjoyed reading  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 14):
As with all your TRs, the train portion of your experience is always a special treat, and it is quite insightful to see how they compare with airlines! .. From the lounge, to the seating, and the meals .. It is dangerously similar and it is no wonder why airlines are freaking out!


Very true! In fact, the train have pretty much eliminated flying on the route between Stockholm and Gothenburg. And when it comes to the level of service provided, I must say that it's almost up to par with European J class, but for only a fraction of the cost!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 14):
Why did the rude lounge staff not let you in the lounge? You owned a ticked that had lounge access entitlement, so i fail to see what their problem was?


I have no idea why she didn't want to let me in. She was looking at me in strange ways, perhaps she assumed that this arab looking kid had gone wrong, and that she thought that it would be no idea of opening since he had probably gone wrong, and that he would soon realize that this Lounge isn't for people like him. I have encountered these situations on the trains as well when the staff always want to look at my ticket twice, to make sure that I haven't gone to the wrong car. Of course some of them get rather embarrassed when they find out that they're wrong, and act nice for the rest of the ride.

Hey Christoph, thank you for reading  
Quoting Contact Air (Reply 15):
The X2000 looks very comfortable indeed; seems to be a great way of travelling. I also like train-rides on longer distances.


The X2000 is indeed a great train, almost as good as the ICE, I would guess  
Quoting Contact Air (Reply 15):

Interesting - here in Germany it is always the other way round: 2nd Class is often full while only few people are travelling in 1st.


Yes, it has to do with the pricing system SJ use. Their system is more similar to what airlines use, i.e with shifting prices, compared to DB's fixed prices. This of course makes the price difference between 1st and 2nd Class very small, in fact sometimes 1st is even cheaper than 2nd. 2nd Class got packed after the train had left Sundsvall. In fact, the average Load Factor on the X2000 is 80-90%, which is very high for a train.

Hi Nicholas, thank you for reading!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 16):
I should be going on my first long haul train journey in July from Wellington to Auckland so hopefully I can give you an insight to the only train service in the North Island of New Zealand! I have 12 hours of mystery in front of me. I hope to share with everyone the wonderful scenery of the North Island if I can..


I'll be looking forward to that report then  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 16):
The train service in Scandinavia looks pretty good, next I'd like to see some Eurostar and TGV rides from you!


Yeah, I'm tempted to try out the European High Speed trains, the real ones i.e. I was planning to take a ride on Thalys to BRU in 1st, but that trip got cancelled due to the cancelled FR flights. But I'll might give Thalys a try again before the end of the year  

//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineScandinavian From Sweden, joined Sep 2000, 267 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 11429 times:

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 17):
Why don't you like the X2000?

Usually I get a little carsick when travelling with X2000. Much better with the regular trains, but I prefer of course to fly.



"He was a wise man who invented beer"-Platon
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