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Weekend Of Delays: HEL, UME, SFT, ARN, TMP And RVN  
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 24
Posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10317 times:


There still are a couple of domestic routes opened by airBaltic this year that I've yet to fly. This weekend started as my attempt to log Tampere to Rovaniemi. I ended up booking the flight both ways, a late Saturday evening flight up to the Arctic Circle, followed by a couple of hours of sleep at the airport (didn't see it worthwhile going to a hotel for such a short period) and the same plane back to Tampere early on Sunday morning. This was booked a couple of months advance at less than 30 EUR per leg, with the idea of driving to and from TMP airport.

Early May my attempt at logging the VAA-RIX route (see here: Bumpy Times In Vaasa: VAA-HEL (by FlyingFinn76 May 8 2010 in Trip Reports) ) ended up not working (but with a very positive outcome for me) so I had to try another time. Somehow I figured out that I could do it the same weekend as the RVN flight, and ended up booking a flight for the Friday evening. HEL-RIX-(VAA)-UME was cheaper than just to Vaasa, so I booked it instead, for a total cost of around 150 EUR, paid partly by one of the vouchers. I had done the VAA-UME-VAA inaugural flights (report here: A Night In Prison: HEL-VAA-UME-VAA-HEL (by FlyingFinn76 Apr 1 2010 in Trip Reports) ), but what the heck.

To make it to TMP in time of my RVN flight was a bit harder, sure there were plenty of flights available with various routings but the prices weren't very tempting. At one point I was even considering taking an 8-hour bus ride up to Haparanda on the Finnish border, then going over to Tornio on the Finnish side and finally making my way to Rovaniemi from there and just catching the RVN-TMP part back, but somehow that bus ride didn't sound too inviting to me. It anyway got me thinking about buses and checking the nearby airports instead of just UME as well, and I found cheap flights down to ARN from Skellefteå Airport (SFT), a hundred kilometers north of Umeå with a decent bus connection (oddly enough, booked through SJ or the Swedish Railways).

I originally wanted to book the later SK flight SFT-ARN than the earlier Skyways flight (for the convenient, later departure time AND it was scheduled to be an MD-80 as well) - both were a bit under 50 EUR, but I waited a few days too long and the SK flight jumped up to almost 100 EUR so I went with JZ instead. The early departure meant that I had to catch the 5.40 bus from Umeå instead of the 8.00 one, but sleep is overrated anyway. The bus ticket through SJ was around 13 EUR.

Finally I booked airBaltic from ARN to HEL via RIX for 85 EUR, not bad at all.


While driving home from the office I make a short detour via the airport and check in using the self service kiosks. Not very good performance today either, it only lets me check in for the first leg... I sure hope that when BT's ground handling subsidiary, North Hub Services starts its operation at HEL later this year things will be improved - please give us OLCI, thank you. I arrive back at T1 with a bus around 17.50, 50 minutes before the scheduled departure time. The place is packed, even the security point has a considerable queue and the airside bars and cafes are full to the gills, so I have to drink my beer standing up for most of the time. Well it is Friday early evening and LH has an A321 and A320 departing for FRA and MUC, respectively, plus a full A321 to CPH from SK and a bunch of KF flights all departing within the next hour so I guess that explains most of the crowds.


By the time I get to the bus gate 13A ten minutes past the boarding time printed on my boarding pass the first bus has already left and there are only a few of us remaining waiting for the next one. While waiting I ask whether the gate agent could check me in for my second leg, but she says it is too late as she already closed the flight - fair enough. I spy the load as 88 passengers from her computer, a good load for a chance! She tells me to board the bus last as she described me to the bus driver as the last pax, fine - when boarding the bus I give the driver thumbs up and he sets off, driving the short distance to the expected Carpatair Fokker 100 parked on the usual BT parking spot on the main apron.

YR-FKA, my second flight on this one:



AY A333 OH-LTT - I wondered what it was doing on a Schengen gate but later it turned out it had done a holiday flight to the Med:


BT326 Operated by Carpatair
Fokker 100 YR-FKA
Seat 6F
19.24 - 20.15


Onboard there are two Carpatair FAs and one airBaltic one, just like on my previous flight with this plane a couple of weeks ago on the very same route. Boarding is completed about five minutes past the departure time and flight time is announced as 40 minutes. Then nothing happens for quite a while, I hear some noises from below us so assume that the luggage is still being loaded. After waiting for 25 minutes I'm starting to get a bit restless as my connection time at RIX is only 25 minutes and well... I'd rather make it to Umeå that evening than spend yet another night in Riga! Finally the captain comes on, announcing that "We have a small technical problem, we are investigating it, let's see how it goes."... hmm, not good at all.


Another 15 minutes passes, some mechanics run around the plane and finally the captain makes another very happy announcement that everything's been sorted and we are good to go. Departure is finally 44 minutes late, with take off from 04R followed by a right turn towards TLL and further to RIX.






It's a very quick flight, I think we were allowed to take some shortcuts as the route is bit different than normally, taking us straight over Helsinki city centre:


Route is just west of TLL, across Estonia to Pärnu and Gulf of Riga and finally past the RIX airport on the eastern side:


Followed by a right hand turn for a runway 36 landing after around 45 minutes of flight time. At this point it is 15 minutes past the departure time of my Umeå flight, so I'm sort of settled to spend a night here and request to be rerouted to ARN tomorrow.




Riga Airport

By bus to the terminal and upstairs to the transfer desk. On the way I check one of the information screens and what do I see? Vaasa/Umeå - delayed to 20.50! Yikes, looks like I will make the flight after all! I quickly head to the gate and tell the two girls there "Boy am I happy to see this flight delayed, can you please print me a boarding pass?". Boarding is scheduled to start in ten minutes or so, so I head to the toilet. Once I take a closer look at the boarding pass I notice my seat as 19A - this flight was scheduled to be a F50 and there aren't nearly enough rows on one, so looks like there's some sort of equipment change. Hmm, maybe this flight is operated by the Fokker I just flew in on, at least the delay would be explained by that...?

Back to the gate and they are just announcing a further 15 minute delay until boarding. I ask which plane it is and the gate agent smilingly announces "It is the new Dash!" - oh well, fine with me. I give her the thumbs up and tell her that I'll head to the lounge for a few minutes.

I finally made the middle elite level at Baltic Miles just the previous day (well, it would've been already over a week ago but the Baltic Miles retro registration process is a huge joke, it took two and half months to get a couple of flights credited and I now have another dozen flights that have not posted automatically..) so I want to make full use of my lounge access privileges. Of course I don't have a real plastic card yet (if ever), but my temporary card printed off the website (which by the way looks very easy to forge) is accepted just fine by the smiling lounge attendant and I'm welcomed in. I'm the only guest there at this time.



I grab some wine, snacks and Ukrainian mineral water (gotta love that water bar) and have just enough time to get a small second serving before the attendant comes to tell me that the flight is now boarding, so I hurriedly finish my snack and head back to the gate. Most of the passengers are already in the bus and I'm one of the last ones to board.

We indeed drive to YL-BAE, the first and currently only (there should be another one joining this month) one in the fleet. My second and third flights on her, then.


Dash-8 Q400 YL-BAE
Seat 19A
21.25 - 22.55



Load is quite good, most of the rows in the front are full with some vacant seats back here, luckily including the one next to me. Somewhere around 70% I think, with mostly Finnish and Swedish (or Swedish-speaking at least) passengers. The flight time to Vaasa is announced as 1h20mins with an apology (but no explanation!) for the delay. Departure is 1h25mins late, with take off from 36 a few minutes later.





I get some beer from the BOB cart


Hello, Finland:




The route takes us along the Gulf of Riga and west coast of Estonia to the Gulf of Finland, across it to near Hanko, towards Salo and then across southwestern Finland to the town of Kankaanpää:


and the nearby garrison of Niinisalo, where we start our descent after one hour of flight right. That white, scarred-looking area is an army artillery firing range:




Landing on runway 34 is very very hard, the whole plane seems to bounce back to the air a couple of times before settling - I think the captain is still trying to get to terms with the new plane. The flight time was around 1h20mins. An announcement is made asking all Umeå-bound passengers to stay put and allow the ones getting off here free access.



Vaasa Airport (from inside a plane)

Once we stop on the apron in front of the terminal building more than half of the passengers leave the plane. I need a toilet break - surprisingly there's no toilet in the back galley at all. Right when I get in the front toilet, one of the ramp agents comes in and goes to the cockpit, leaving the door open which effectively blocks me inside the toilet, unable to fully open the door, just pry it apart a bit. Luckily one of the FAs notices this and soon comes to rescue me  .

To my surprise they refuel the plane here - is it really that cheaper than in Sweden or maybe the UME airport cannot provide this service late in the evening or early in the morning? A surprisingly good number, 15, passengers soon board for the short hop across the Gulf of Bothnia to Umeå.

Dash-8 Q400 YL-BAE
Seat 19A
23.43 - 23.05



The ground stop ends up taking a good 45 minutes, somewhat longer than I imagined, before we finally start our engines again, taxi to the end of runway 34 and take off towards the northwest. Right after take off a left turn follows, taking us right over the Vaasa city centre:




They announce that if anybody wants anything from the BOB menu they should press the call button - surprisingly a few of the people who just boarded at Vaasa order some drinks during the four minutes the seat belt sign stays off.

Hejsan, Sverige:


In no time at all we are descending again towards Sweden, flying over the archipelago:


past the town of Holmsund with the port of Umeå:


and over the Ume river eastuary:



to land on runway 32 after a flight time of 20 minutes. Touch down is again very hard, I think the flight crews should take it a bit easier - after all we don't want the same thing to happen that forced SAS to give up on the Dashes...


Overnighting TF Avro and SK 736:


Taxi to an apron parking position - the very same one as last time I was here, sans the red carpet - is fast and soon I walk right through the terminal and hop on to a taxi for the ten minute drive to my hotel.



The city center appears to be one mad party zone with tons of more or less drunken people having fun, with my hotel right in the middle of it. Before getting in I stop at the Pressbyrån convenience store opposite, buying some supplies and getting my bus ticket for tomorrow - you need to pick up your SJ ticket from somewhere and I completely forgot to do it at Arlanda a couple of weeks ago... Then it's to the hotel, the Comfort Hotel Winn, a surprisingly nice hotel right in the city center. It is around twice as expensive than the prison (seriously, read the report) I stayed the last time I was in town but well, the prison bed didn't really agree with my back...

Notice the funky wallpaper:



Once again a very early start after not nearly enough hours of sleep to catch the 5.40 bus up north.

This terrace was full of partying people not too many hours ago:


The Umeå city hall:


Hmm, is there something missing from this fountain:


The green flame statue in front of the train station:


I walk the short way to the bus station that is still closed.


Around 5.30 the doors open and we can move inside to wait.


There are two buses leaving at this early time, the one going south to Sundsvall is already there and leaves right on schedule, whereas my bus is nowhere to be seen. After some time I start getting a bit worried and thinking about a back up plan - the next bus to Skellefteå leaves at 8.00, which is too late to make it to my flight. The alternatives seem to be either to find a taxi who wants to make the 100+ kilometer drive up to SFT, trying to get the money from either the bus company or my travel insurance or to go back to the hotel and online (they had a bunch of computers in the lobby) and try to find a reasonably priced flight to ARN. I'm deep in these thoughts when the bus arrives, 25 minutes late and I breath a sigh of relief.

Well, there obviously is something wrong with the bus as it has trouble starting and later the engine cuts every time the revs get too low, i.e. when leaving traffic lights or bus stops. Still, we get onto way and drive through some very pretty rural scenery on our way. A giant cheese cutter along the way - don't ask why:


I doze half the journey and just watch the passing scenery for the rest of it. Eventually we get to the small town of Bureå half an hour late just before 8.00 and I step off the bus. I figured that there's no point going all the way to Skellefteå as the airport bus is not running on weekends and the taxi fare is much more than from here, much closer to the SFT airport.

Well, Bureå turns out to be a little smaller than I imagined it to be, there's no taxi rank or phone or anything at the so called bus station. At least they have a very pretty church:

There's a large gas station/post office/supermarket/liquor store that seems to act as the centre of social life in this small town on the other side of the road so I head there. It opens at eight - there's already a queue at the door - and once inside I ask the girl a number for a taxi and call it, the guy agrees to come in around 20 minutes. I get something resembling a breakfast and head outside to have it al fresco - the morning is very beautiful but unfortunately very cold as well...


Yep, rural it is:


The one-size-fits-all-gas-station:


Soon the taxi arrives and we set off for the airport. Ten kilometers and around 25 EUR later we reach the airport, located in what looks like to be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but forest.

Skellefteå Airport

A very cute little airport, as only Swedish airports can be:


When did you last see an ATC tower with wooden paneling:

I get a boarding pass from the only open check in desk and wander around a bit. The plane seems to have overnighted here, SE-LED in the new Skyways livery, looking very perky. A new one for me:


Err, okay:

A nice tile mural in the baggage hall, although it reminds me a bit too much of the "Socialistic art" favored by the communist states:


Soon the security checkpoint is opened and boarding passes are checked while entering it. The airside area is surprisingly large and even has a duty free store in the middle:


After a bit boarding is announced and the door to the apron is remotely unlocked and we are free to walk across the apron to the waiting plane. As usual I am the very first one to board.


Fokker 50 SE-LED
Seat 12E
9.16 - 10.32

One very friendly FA is working on this flight, but there's another deadheading steward (not in uniform though, I see his Skyways ID tag) helping with her duties, though. It is free seating, so I head towards the back to have better view outside - the engines rather limit your view in the middle of the cabin. I grab a window seat on the right hand side for the views of the Swedish coast on our way down - E is actually a window seat.. a familiar numbering scheme to me from the few ex-JZ Fokkers BT has in their fleet. It's been a couple of years since I last flew on a Skyways F50 and I'd forgotten how tight the legroom actually is:




I count a total of 13 passengers, including the dead header on this flight. The captain soon welcomes us onboard, announcing a flight time of 1h20 to 25mins with little turbulence to be expected right after take off.


Departure is 4 minutes early, and we start our take off run from runway 28 right at our scheduled departure time - having backtracked a bit as there aren't any real taxiways here. It indeed is rather bumpy right after take off, all the way until our cruising altitude, from there on it is smooth sailing, though.


Okay, it's not really in the middle of nowehere if you look at this side:



Very pretty, as only rural Sweden can be:



Passing Umeå, unfortunately the city is obscured by clouds but at least the airport I landed less than 12 hours ago is visible:


Service is coffee or tea and a piece of chocolate - there's even a choice between two different brands of chocolate:


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15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10313 times:

Right after Umeå we cross the coastline and fly over the Gulf of Bothnia:



Until making landfall close to Arlanda and starting our descent almost right away after reaching it, around 1 hour into the flight.


The Forsmark nuclear power plant:


City of Uppsala in the distance:


Arlanda in the distance:


The town of Rimbo:


After turning towards the west for landing on runway 26 it gets again very bumpy during the final approach. Landing is after one hour and twelve minutes of flight and a few minutes later we stop in front of the (domestic) commuter terminal 3.

Chasing our shadow again:




The flight attendant laughs at me taking this cabin picture of the steward tidying up the cabin while she is saying goodbye to the passengers at the front door.




Arlanda Airport

Interesting registration on this Nextjet ATP:


These corridors between T3 and T4 are always so funky:




The weather is rather great, sunny and warm, so I head outside in front of Skycity to soak up the sun for an hour or so. Afterwards I head to Skycity for some lunch and then to T5.



Still having quite a lot of time in my hands I go to Starbucks (it is starting to become an expensive habit!) for another Chai Latte


Something a bit more exotic:


I didn't know PGS is starting flights to ARN:

What a beautiful bird:


Later I head to gate for my flight to RIX. It is a bit chaotic there with lots of people, including many families with lots of small children and some rerouted passengers whose FIMs the gate agent isn't really happy to accept - he can't get the computer to print them proper boarding passes so just writes down their seat numbers on a piece of paper and hands it to them.

My OLCI BP is again fubarred - seems to be the norm at ARN nowadays - I have a seat on row 20 and this flight is supposed to be a Fokker, so I ask for a proper seat. At the same time I spot the plane arriving a bit late at 13.45 from the window and it indeed is a F50. I get 6A instead, fine with me.

Boarding starts around 20 minutes later, right at our scheduled departure time so it looks like yet another delayed BT flight. Down the stairs to the tarmac and around the corner to the waiting plane, this time a relatively rare bird for me, only my second flight on this one, and first as YL-BAV (it used to be based in VNO and was carrying a Lithuanian registration LY-BAV before).


Fokker 50 YL-BAV
Seat 6A
14.37 - 16.52

This flight seems to be completely packed, only the two front seats that supposedly are in business class (not that there are any biz passengers today) stay free. Some people try to move there but the front galley FA won't let them, arguing that "It is business class and you are in economy.". Boarding is takes its sweet time as people have tons of carry on luggage that has to be gate checked and generally seem to be mostly of the inexperienced traveler category, making the whole process very chaotic.

Once everybody is seated the captain announces the flight time as 1h15mins, aided by a nice tailwind which should allow us to catch up "this small delay". Well, nothing much happens for another fifteen minutes until the captain is on the horn again, announcing that "Now we are already significantly delayed - the baggage handlers made mistake with the baggage loading and the plane was off-balance, they need to do it again. It is now mostly done, so we will start our engines within the next four minutes, we are still having that nice tailwind, so hopefully can catch up a bit.".

Departure is finally 32 minutes late, with take off from runway 19R a bit later. Some really nasty bumps right after take off, but after turning left towards the sea it gets much calmer.


Notice the Jumbo Hostel in the middle of the picture with the light blue tail:




The early morning is catching up on me so I close my eyes right after take off, and the next thing I know is the seatbelt ding and announcement of our descent one hour after take off - we are already over the western end of Jurmala, Sloka at this point:



Some connecting gate information is readout, including the gate for my flight to HEL so looks like I still have a reasonable shot at making that flight - missing it would screw up my flight to Rovaniemi, although at this point I'm feeling so tired that I'm considering skipping it anyway...



Landing is on runway 36 still 32 minutes late, so looks like we didn't exactly catch up on anything. I have 18 minutes until the next flight departs at this point, so definitely no lounge visit for me (or maybe a very long one if I miss the flight!).

Riga Airport, very briefly

Luckily we park in front of arrivals, so no bus ride needed. The crew for the next flight, looks like they've been doing some Travel Value shopping:



They are doing some construction work at the arrivals/transfer corridor and a busload of pax from AMS get in at the same time, including a large group of VERY confused Estonians who look and behave like they have never ever connected between flights in their life so it is rather frustrating fighting my way through them, up to the departures level and around the bend (hey, that's a song!) to the A gates area where most of the passengers are already waiting in the bus. The gate agent asks if I come from Stockholm, apparently there are two other pax from this flight making this same connection. Soon they show up, a young Swedish couple and we set off for our plane. Another very quick connection, actually even faster than the one I did a few days earlier on my way to ARN.

When booking this flight the scheduled equipment was the Dash, although when doing OLCI the previous day it showed a F50 seatmap, and indeed we stop in front of a Fokker, YL-BAZ this time for my fourth flight with her.


Fokker 50 YL-BAZ
Seat 10D
17.37 - 18.47

The load is around 60% or so. There's a nasty stain in my window - it looks like either blood or ketchup. I sure hope it is a tomato-based product!


Flight time is announced as 1h10mins and the engines started almost on time, but then shut down again. The captain announces "Ladies and gentlemen, as you noticed, we shut down the engines. We have a little technical problem, some of the technical staff will come and take a look at it. We apologize for any inconvenience." Oh dear, here we go again...

Soon a couple of mechanics drive to the plane, one of them stays outside and the other goes to the cockpit to talk with the captain. I hope that puddle of oil is not from our engine:


I notice some ramp agents arriving with a few pieces of luggage and loading them in - looks like they are taking advantage of the delay to get additional bags in. A bit later four new passengers board the plane as well, I guess they got lucky and didn't miss their connection after all!

Twenty minutes after the original time of departure the mechanics leave and the captain comes on: "Everything's fixed now, starting engines within one minute". Well, it takes a bit longer than that and even longer to finally depart, 27 minutes late. I've yet to log this bird, I've tried though:



While taxiing to 36 for take off I notice this Fokker with a firefighting vehicle on the wrong side of the runway standing on the grass:


Not sure what it is about, didn't see anything unusual happening. Too bad it's on the other side of the runway from my seat.



A Tallink cruise ship leaving Riga:


It's another bog standard airBaltic flight on this route - I get a cheese and ham sandwich and some ice tea from the BOB menu - a bit of overpackaging here, methinks:


The Helsinki-Porvoo motorway:




Approach to HEL runway 22L is again quite bumpy and we land around 37 minutes late - the flight ended up taking longer than the scheduled 1 hour.

On short finals over the Helsinki-Tuusula motorway:



Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Vantaa and the E3 motorway

Being in a bit of hurry I hop in a taxi to home. There I sort through my kit, change clothes and refresh up a bit, grab some food and hit the road at around 19.30 for the drive to Tampere, stopping at my local gas station to fill up. The drive is very quick, Saturday night isn't exactly a rush hour on the motorway and right at 21.00 I pull to the Tampere ring road, and arrive at Pirkkala airport less than ten minutes later.

Tampere Pirkkala Airport



I get my boarding pass from a friendly agent at the sole open check in desk, asking if the plane is on time "Oh yes, it is actually landing early in ten minutes or so.". I say that this is indeed the first airBaltic flight this weekend that is on time, she rolls her eyes at that and confirms that it indeed is the Carpatair F100.

There's an overnighting FC ATR-42 here:


I see the plane arriving while at the security queue, only one girl is working the security checkpoint all by herself so it takes a bit time - I joke with her about spending a lonely Saturday night here.

Yep, YR-FKA again - third and fourth flights with her.


BT1367 Operated by Carpatair
Fokker 100 YR-FKA
Seat 18F
22.00 - 22.59

Boarding starts fifteen minutes after the plane's arrival - I chat with the check in agent while waiting - she is (wo-)manning the gate now - she asks if I work at the Rovaniemi airport since I'm asking about the through pax load and seem to be very knowledgeable about airBaltic and this route. Nope, just a frequent traveler... She rolls her eyes when I mention that I'm flying back on the same plane the next morning.

There are around twenty of us boarding here, inside another 25 or so passengers are continuing from Riga. The cabin crew is different from the ones the previous day at least.



We are welcomed aboard "This airBaltic flight to Rovaniemi executed by Carpatair." Thank you, good execution indeed. The flight time is announced as one hour. Doors are closed at 21.55, and departure is five minutes later, another five minutes early.

Entrance to the military apron:



It is rather loud back here so close to the engine:


Take off is from runway 24, followed by a right turn taking us parallel to the airport:


And right over the city:



Some shots from the back toilet:




I decide to get a final beer from BOB:


Descent starts barely 40 minutes into the flight, I think I see some suburbs of Oulu through some gaps in the clouds at that point. Final approach into runway 03 goes right over the city of Rovaniemi for some great views:





The bridge of Jätkänkynttilä:


Ski jumping, anybody?



Landing is around 40 minutes early (the flight schedule is made for F50) - although we have to wait for almost ten minutes before the ground crew finds suitable stairs for the plane (the F50 has integral airstairs, it's bigger brother doesn't!).



RVN is the only airport apart from HEL in Finland to have jetways:


See you in less than seven hours:


Rovaniemi Airport

Time to find a place to sleep - there's a restaurant upstairs next to the check in area that of course is closed at this late hour and there's a small landing on top of the stairs leading there. Very peaceful and private, so I set my sleeping bag there and settle for the night. This picture was taken the next morning when the restaurant door was open:


Up there, my secret spot:


Not a bad place to sleep actually, the only problem is that they keep playing some music from the central radio system all through the night so I keep waking up every now and then - should've brought earplugs! Finally a bit before five the sounds of passengers arriving and checking in wake me up properly and I get up, pack my stuff and head for the check in counter. There was another guy, Estonian I think sleeping downstairs on the not-too-comfortable-looking seats.


Interestingly everything's done manually here, there's a large bunch of hand-written boarding passes on a table where the agent gets mine after taking a look at my ID - I ask about this and apparently they don't have a computer system that would be compatible with BT's systems so everything has to be done the hard way. Oh well, at least I got seat 5F without asking for it (and changing the seat could've been a bit difficult I guess).

They certainly are playing the Santa Claus and wilderness cards here:




The terminal is actually rather large:


I head to the washroom to refresh up a bit and then go outside to allow the rather chilly morning air to wake me up all the way.



Souvenirs, anybody?


At the security check the crew (same one as last night, obviously, I'm a bit curious whether this crew rest period is really legal or not) is queuing before me - I tell the agent that "Sorry I don't have one of those fancy airline IDs like those people so you can give me the normal treatment" which causes her to laugh out loud...

A surprisingly good load on this flight, judging by the many people in the waiting area:


Boarding starts at 5.45, once again I manage to be the first one walking down the stairs to the apron and further onboard my tenth airBaltic (and twelfth overall) flight this week!


BT1368 Operated by Carpatair
Fokker 100 YR-FKA
Seat 5F
6.00 - 6.58

Flight time is announced as 55 minutes, this time the flight is "operated" instead of being "executed", nice. Departure is bang on time, followed by a take off towards the northeast from 03 and a lazy right hand turn giving some views of the airport. Notice the dip in the runway:



Looks like a helicopter landing pad to me:


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10303 times:


And the city of Rovaniem, you can clearly see its position at the confluence of the Ounasjoki and Kemijoki rivers:



Actually it is the largest city in Europe - certainly not by population (around 60K) but by land area instead as it incorporated the huge former Rovaniemi county a few years ago.

The "city" of Kemi at the mouth of the Kemijoki river, even KEM airport can be seen:


Right over Simo we leave the land for a short period of flying over the northern Gulf of Bothnia:


Down to the island of Hailuoto (we are flying directly over OUL airport at this point):


Soon we make landfall again.

I get a coffee and a muffin from the sales cart - the airBaltic FA looks at me confusedly for a long time and finally asks "You were flying also yesterday?" "Yes, that's why I need the coffee - short night, just like you" I smilingly say.


Descent starts only after 35 minutes, followed by some pretty views of the lake area north of Tampere.


Now that's a tall antenna mast:



Tampere city:



The interchange between the E3 motorway to Helsinki and the Tampere ring road which I drove though only 10 hours before:




I've always wondered what an earth is that Mig-25 doing there:



Landing is on runway 24 after exactly 55 minutes of flight, again over 40 minutes early. Once we stop in front of the terminal I count around twenty five passengers disembarking here.

Until we meet again:


I get the car and hit the roads for the peaceful drive to home - still being very tired I hit a gas station for some coffee at some point, arriving home around 9.00 and getting some more sleep in the comfort of my own bed.


Out of the seven airBaltic flights (three of those being operated by Carpatair) over this weekend five were delayed - a terrible track record. I certainly hope this was just a streak of bad luck - but I have a hunch that those F50s are getting older and more fragile very fast. The Dash seems to have been plagued by lots of operational delays as well, not sure if it is just teething problems or something more serious.

On this trip the Skyways flight was positively different - early, friendly crew and service and some beautiful sights of Sweden. Too bad the legroom was so bad, though.

And finally I managed to log in another domestic route still missing from my log, only one remaining at this point - LPP-KAO will be logged by me in early July if things go they way they are supposed to go. And I of course added another new airport to my log as well, always good.

The next weekend sees me doing another trip to the UK, including a day trip to Isle of Man. The whole itinerary is HEL-MAN/BLK-IOM-MAN/LBA-LGW-RIX-HEL.

Happy contrails!

User currently offlineaivisavia From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10144 times:

Another fantastic report FlyingFinn   Loved it, and a great weather following you all around!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
When did you last see an ATC tower with wooden paneling:

Few days ago, when I was on Wikipedia.

Santa Claus airport is just amazing, from your pictures, and I really enjoyed this report, I would say best one you had. Sorry for your delays, but it adds the adrenaline I guess  

I'm jealous of your 12 flights! I need to be you!

Anyways, have fun on next route, it seems to be an exciting one, LBA- not that far away haha  

Take care.

User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2533 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10139 times:

Hi P.,

Congratulations on your well deserved BT elite membership. Another superb reports of yours! Too bad about the delays.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I'm the only guest there at this time.

The airline's treat of your tier level earning.   

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A very cute little airport, as only Swedish airports can be:

That was how airports were supposed to be in the good old days.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Some people try to move there but the front galley FA won't let them, arguing that "It is business class and you are in economy.".

Way to go!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
I tell the agent that "Sorry I don't have one of those fancy airline IDs like those people so you can give me the normal treatment" which causes her to laugh out loud...

What a hearty and enchanting encounter. Wished all agents were like that.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Looks like a helicopter landing pad to me:

Isn't it Santa's landing pad? 

Thank you for sharing this enjoyable pre-weekend read. Look forward to your next installments.


[Edited 2010-06-10 13:57:15]

Friends forever
User currently offlineparton87 From Sweden, joined Sep 2008, 533 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10009 times:

Hello flying finn! Nice report and great pictures. Nice to see I´m not the only one to write trip-reports with JZ

User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1716 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 9469 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Out of the seven airBaltic flights (three of those being operated by Carpatair) over this weekend five were delayed - a terrible track record.

Excellent trip-report again, P !!!

Amazing, how you find your ground-transportation options too  

Think, due to the fast expansion of the BT network, it's opt for (heavy) delays sofar; it figures, too, they have to wet-lease fokkers from Blueline and Carpatair to keep track...

Thanks again for sharing and looking forward to your upcoming IOM trip !!!


don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6832 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 9186 times:

Another great report with very nice pictures! Too bad that most of your flights were delayed but at least you made all the connections.

Legroom on JZ looks really bad and from what I can remember, it was very bad on Linjeflyg's F28s as well.


Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5243 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 9102 times:

Hey, P.,

what a great weekend.
That´s definitely what I like.
Love these pictures from the nordic scenery, it seems a much to low number of nordic destinations here this time.

Ah, well these prison like scenes, never been there in a plane toilet prison till now,
but some churchs and hotel rooftops, well known.

Looking for the next story now,
the IOM is also on schedule in August, but you know!.

Best wishes,
Markus (FLIEGER67)

User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 9037 times:

Hi FlyingFinn,

Fantastic report about a weekend full of flying. Good to hear that your schedule worked well after all, despite the many delays.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I finally made the middle elite level at Baltic Miles just the previous day

Congratulations! Fair enough that you finally got it, regarding the many flights you are doing with Air Baltic.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
When did you last see an ATC tower with wooden paneling


Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Notice the Jumbo Hostel in the middle of the picture with the light blue tail

Great - I have always wanted to stay there. I wonder if it is more comfortable than the prison...  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the airBaltic FA looks at me confusedly for a long time and finally asks "You were flying also yesterday?" "Yes, that's why I need the coffee - short night, just like you"

I guess the crews don't experience this very often after such a short overnight-stay.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The Dash seems to have been plagued by lots of operational delays as well, not sure if it is just teething problems or something more serious.

Interesting - AB has the same problems with their (relatively) new Dash 8-400, replacement aircraft can be seen frequently.


User currently offlineshamrock321 From Ireland, joined May 2008, 1681 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 8954 times:

Excellent report once again Flyingfinn! Seems Air Baltic had a bad week, they delayed me an hour in work last night due to a tech problem with the RIX-DUB flight, but they are normally very punctual, all airlines have bad weeks.

User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8743 posts, RR: 53
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 8830 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi P,

Another interesting trip, just amazing how you cobble these things together!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
There still are a couple of domestic routes opened by airBaltic this year that I've yet

- I though these would have been covered with all the flying ypo do.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
We are welcomed aboard "This airBaltic flight to Rovaniemi executed by Carpatair

- Wow, I've never been on an executed flight before!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
my tenth airBaltic (and twelfth overall) flight this week

- Are you going for Gold status?



User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 7100 posts, RR: 75
Reply 12, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 8818 times:

Hi FlyingFinn,

very interesting report with many nice pictures. Good to see a report about Skyways, that's a really rare carrier here. Quite disappointing to see how cramped the seating was on their F50.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Right when I get in the front toilet, one of the ramp agents comes in and goes to the cockpit, leaving the door open which effectively blocks me inside the toilet, unable to fully open the door, just pry it apart a bit. Luckily one of the FAs notices this and soon comes to rescue me

Well, you still had the emergency button...  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
When did you last see an ATC tower with wooden paneling:

Looks very nice!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The Forsmark nuclear power plant:

Nice shot. Does the facility on the bottom belong to the power plant?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

Still having quite a lot of time in my hands I go to Starbucks (it is starting to become an expensive habit!) for another Chai Latte

I try to avoid Starbucks, overpriced and overrated in my opinion.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
There's a nasty stain in my window - it looks like either blood or ketchup. I sure hope it is a tomato-based product!

Looks really nasty!


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 24
Reply 13, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8482 times:

Hi all and thanks again for the comments! Sorry for the late reply, I've been a bit busy - flying of course!

Quoting aivisavia (Reply 3):

Anyways, have fun on next route, it seems to be an exciting one, LBA- not that far away haha

Yep, was there yesterday - the whole airport bar seemed to be staffed by Latvians!

Quoting MH017 (Reply 6):
Amazing, how you find your ground-transportation options too

Well, you just need to think outside the box a little bit and you can fix up some very interesting itineraries.

Quoting MH017 (Reply 6):
Think, due to the fast expansion of the BT network, it's opt for (heavy) delays sofar; it figures, too, they have to wet-lease fokkers from Blueline and Carpatair to keep track...

It's mostly due to the delay with the Dashes, I think they were originally supposed to have 4-6 of them operational by now and have made the summer schedule based on this, and so are short of planes, hence the three wet leased Fokkers. That still explains only half of it, there have been for too many technical delays recently too.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 8):
Love these pictures from the nordic scenery, it seems a much to low number of nordic destinations here this time.

Well, go on an book some more!

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 9):

I guess the crews don't experience this very often after such a short overnight-stay.

Heh, some years ago I used to do a lot of same plane turnarounds, mostly with domestic Finncomm flights - it was fun watching the reactions of the cabin crew when I got back to the plane I just left fifteen minutes ago  . I had a bunch of standard comments I used, along the lines "Oh, it was so boring here I decided to go back.", "I got homesick" and "I think I left the oven on!".

Quoting shamrock321 (Reply 10):
Seems Air Baltic had a bad week, they delayed me an hour in work last night due to a tech problem with the RIX-DUB flight, but they are normally very punctual, all airlines have bad weeks.

Had another pair of delays yesterday plus some not very nice encounters with their ground services.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 11):
There still are a couple of domestic routes opened by airBaltic this year that I've yet
- I though these would have been covered with all the flying ypo do.

All booked, you know, just a bit far ahead.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 11):
- Are you going for Gold status?

I don't know - basically with my yet uncredited flights plus current bookings I don't really need more than ten or so segments until November to make it, somehow I have a feeling that I will end up doing it!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 12):
Good to see a report about Skyways, that's a really rare carrier here. Quite disappointing to see how cramped the seating was on their F50.

I was a bit surprised by this as well. BT has a few ex-Skyways F50 in the fleet and even though the seats look the same as the JZ ones they apparently have reconfigured them as there's more legroom.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 12):

Nice shot. Does the facility on the bottom belong to the power plant?

Yes, it does. It is their harbor where they ship the used nuclear fuel from the other Swedish nuclear plants using a special ship designed just for that purpose. Forsmark is also the place where they treat and store the waste.

User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1716 posts, RR: 29
Reply 14, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 8073 times:

Think the helicopter landing pad is a compass-swing area, as no H shown and quite big.

Thanks again for the great read: will start now with your IOM trip  

don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineMHG From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 875 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8001 times:

The MIG-25 at TMP made me curious also when i was there in 2004 ...

Still no idea, though !

I miss the sound of rolls royce darts and speys
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