FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31 Posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8426 times:
This small daytrip got its start after fellow a.netter Eric (airbuseric) mentioned that he was doing some segment running on Lufthansa, including visiting Stockholm Arlanda airport a couple of times. The first date I was already traveling somewhere but the second time, a Saturday in November was free for me. Blue 1 was running another fare sale, and since a perfectly timed HEL-ARN morning flight was available for under 50 EUR I decided to book it to hook up with Eric.
To make this trip more worthwhile I decided to add at least one new route to my log, so I ended up booking ARN-TLL on Estonian Air (operated by Estonian Air Regional) for around 70 EUR. The flight left around one and half hours after Eric’s LH flight to MUC, so the schedules worked perfectly.
Finally to get home from TLL I initially planned on booking one of the Finnair flights that by that time should be operated by FlyBE Dashes. Well, that deal never came into effect as AY and FC sorted out their arguments and FC keeps operating these flight for AY. Other flying options were thin on the ground - pretty much the only possibility would be BT via RIX, but I really wanted to avoid the notorious “midnight Fokker” this time so I decided to take a ferry home instead.
There are plenty of fast (and a couple of slower ones as well) ferry connections across the Gulf of Finland, and with intense competition the prices are affordable and you can score some nice deals every now and then. So I did this time, Viking Line (a company more widely known for their ferry services between Finland, Åland and Sweden) was offering a special package for 42 EUR that included the ferry ride, a cabin (just what I’m supposed to do with a cabin on a 2,5 hour trip I’m not sure, but nice nevertheless) and a buffet dinner at the ship’s restaurant. As Viking Xpress was the only ship I have yet to try on this route I booked myself on it.
Well, another Saturday, and once again I’m up far earlier than I’d like to be on a weekend. By bus to the airport, arriving at HEL T1 around 7.50 in the morning. Looks like I timed my arrival just right - the place is completely deserted, the morning rush hour has passed and there’s a bit time before the next departure wave hits. Security upstairs has more lanes open than customers so it’s a joy to pass, for once.
Gate 20 this morning, again in the official T2 territory, but that’s HEL for you nowadays. Today’s ride is parked there:
Alpha Joliet “Pyhäselkä”, an old friend of mine, this would become my fifth flight with her.
I buy my obligatory bottle of water and sit down at the gate to wait. There’s a City Airline crew sitting next to me, apparently deadheading to their home base of GOT. Two pilots and three FAs, so looks like an MD-87 crew to me - they are operating one of those for KF right now since they are a bit short of planes until more 717s arrive.
Boarding commences around quarter past eight. They even do it by rows, now that’s something you don’t see too often at HEL, hooray! Since I picked the last seat with OLCI, I board among the first pax.
It takes a bit time to get to the last row, lots of not very well seasoned travelers on this flight so simple things like finding your seat or stowing the luggage and clothes to the overhead bins takes a long time for some of them. By the time I reach my row I comment to the FA in the back galley who I remember from my previous flights with KF (well, this is my 89th flight with them...) about it and she just rolls her eyes and agrees with me.
Next to us - LH A321 D-AIRU “Würzburg” - LH has lots of capacity on the HEL-FRA route nowadays, there was an earlier 7.15 flight with an A321 and this one will depart around 9.00:
The last row has only two seats on each side, but legroom feels a bit less than on the rows more towards the front.
There are five rows of Premium class on this flight, half full or thereabouts - economy is almost completely full, I think I see two vacant middle seats and that’s about it.
The captain pops in the announce that we are ready to go but we will still need to go through the bane of winter flying at these latitudes: deicing.
The procedure ends up taking quite a long time - at least they do it at the gate instead of having us taxi to a remote deicing position. By the time we finally push back it is already 11 minutes after our scheduled departure time.
Runway 04R is in use today, taxiing there takes seven additional minutes and we take off 18 minutes late.
Not many views as the weather is so yucky this morning. Luckily it always shines above the clouds, here as well:
Service is free tea or coffee, some caffeine is desperately needed:
Half an hour or so after take off we are already descending, the Swedish weather looks just as ugly as the one we left behind. Once we break the clouds I’m a bit surprised to see some snow on the ground:
Landing is on runway 01L 45 minutes after take off.
A couple of minutes later we stop at the usual KF gates at the end of the middle pier of T5.
Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Once out of the plane as the last passenger (yeah, the curse of the last row...) I check the monitors to see where Eric’s KLM flight from AMS is arriving. Gate 11 is the first gate of the other pier, so I walk there, stopping at the SAS transfer desk to get a boarding pass for my OV flight (their OLCI is very limited and mainly works ex-TLL only). On the way I spot some planes - I like the livery on this cargo Fokker:
By the time I get to the gate the plane has just arrived, more than twenty minutes early, and a few minutes later Eric emerges among the first passengers from the jetway.
What follows is a couple of hours of interesting chat about all things possible, some coffee at Starbucks (thanks Eric and congrats on the FTL!) and some “slow food” at the Skycity McD. Far too soon it is time to head back for Eric’s MUC flight, which today is being operated by D-AIPY:
At the gate we bid goodbyes, I head to do a bit of shopping for a colleague and then to the Menzie’s lounge where I park myself in a prime position to watch Eric’s plane departing - it ends up being a bit delayed but not too much:
Bye mate, had a blast:
I nibble on some snacks, drink some glasses of beer and use the provided wifi for a while. I like this area that has a view towards the T5 apron between the two older piers:
So only employees in wheelchairs can use this facility:
Soon it is time to go to the gate and once I arrive there boarding is in full swing:
Funny how BT always manages to board their Fokkers (and Dashes) on the spot here, but we have to take a bus ride to the commuter apron:
The bus is quite well packed - mostly Swedish people but there’s a large Dutch extended family with a small baby and a couple of Estonians as well. On the way to the plane we pass this Air Sweden A320:
The bus stops in front of ES-ASN, a 21-year old bird and another old friend of mine (well, I’ve flown many times with both of the Estonian Air Regional Saabs so it’s a loosing game for me). Actually this is only my second flight on ES-ASN, but fourth flight on the bird as I flew it twice when it was still SE-KUU and operated by Golden Air for OV in the early days of that operation.
It’s actually funny how many people (Eric included!) consider the Saab to be such a rare plane - this is my 32nd flight aboard a S340 - I flew a lot with them when DC still operated domestic routes for FC in Finland...
The Dutch people let out some nervous chuckles and expletives (not that I understand Dutch) after seeing the small plane.
Onboard an almost overwhelmingly friendly and young female FA welcomes me onboard. I like the leather seats on these Saabs:
For the record this one has an onboard lavatory, so the last row has only 3 seats, unlike the Golden Air/Next Jet/FlySmåland Saab I flew a couple of months ago.
Quite a good load on this flight, 90% or so. The Dutch baby just happens to be on the lap of his father across me on the aisle seat, but he (I think it’s a he) is a good sport - only cries when we are on the ground and is completely silent throughout the flight, only crying again once we have landed at TLL. I think he is just like me - loves to fly so is completely happy and quiet as long as we are airborne...
Flight time is announced as an hour. Departure is two minutes late, followed by a taxi of five minutes or so to runway 19R (yep, a runway switch took place at some point) and take off to the murky skies. On the way we pass this DC S2000:
A NextJet ATP in this picture - I should be flying on one just three days later:
Another upcoming destination of mine in this picture - the Jumbo hostel:
Service has been downgraded since I last flew with OV Regional, that was ARN-URE on this same plane actually and we got a rather large and nice sandwich. This time it is only a muffin, although a warm one and drinks - the FA is again very friendly. The muffin is nice, but the apple juice in true Estonian style far too sugary for my tastes:
Interesting to note that she served some sort of meal trays to the pilots before starting her rounds throughout the cabin. Cabin view:
The only opening in the clouds during our cruise, showing the Baltic Sea and nothing else:
We start our descent around 45 minutes or so into the flight and soon break the clouds for the first view of Estonian soil:
Unfortunately the fact that we are turning left confirms to me that we are landing towards the west on runway 26, which means that there aren’t going to be any nice city views, at least from my side. When landing on 08 one gets some great views of the old town and the highrises of the new town from the A side, but not today.
Landing is exactly an hour after we left our parking position, after a flight time of 55 minutes.
Hmm, what’s that Russian Boeing behind the Estonian one, in front of the Estonian Air maintenance hangars - is it some sort of a government plane?
Up the stairs to the jetway, to the terminal where I notice that our plane is going back to ARN in an hour or so and quickly outside. First stop: ATM to get some Krooni (soon to become history as Estonia is joining the Eurozone next year - a remarkable achievement for them during these economically hard times!). Next stop: R-Kiosk to get a bus ticket. Too bad the one I’ve always used for this purpose is closed, but I found another one in the main check-in hall and for the equivalent of one Euro get my ticket. Ten minutes later I hop in the airport bus, which conveniently goes to the harbor via the city centre. Too bad it also serves some lakes before getting to the airport as there are a couple of old men and women who obviously have been fishing and the whole bus reeks of fish.
20 minutes later I step off in front of the Passenger terminal A. I have some time, but since the weather here is rather bad as well I’m in no mood for going for a walk and go to the terminal instead.
Quick check in at the Viking Line counters and then I go to the bar or a couple of pints while using the provided free wifi (you gotta love Estonia, thank’s to their governments “E-stonia” project you have free wifi almost everywhere!). I start having second thoughts about whether this ferry ride on a Saturday night was a good idea after watching the drunken antics of my fellow countrymen in the terminal...
An hour later it is time to get onboard, first upstairs, through the booze store - these 10-packs of vodka are nowadays firm favorites of Finnish travelers:
Then through a sort of a “jetway” to the ship:
I head to my cabin - not much but then again perfectly acceptable apart from the lack of towels - where the heck am I supposed to dry my hands?
The ferry ends up departing five minutes ahead of schedule - pretty impressive actually. A bit later I head to the buffet for my 18.15 table reservation - and with nothing better to do stuff myself silly with the offerings. First round, mainly seafood:
Second round, add some meat:
And the sinfully chocolaty dessert:
At the buffet I notice that the average age of the passengers on this ship is around 60 years or so - and everybody is more or less drunk. After the gluttony of the buffet I head to one of the numerous bars for some beers, but the general drunkenness level not to mention embarrassingly bad karaoke performances start getting to me and I spend the rest of the journey reading in my cabin.
We reach the ferry terminal at Katajanokka in Helsinki perfectly ontime, although getting off from the boat requires quite a lot of queuing. Once outside, I just manage to catch a completely packed tram to the railway station and a commuter train home from there.
Well, time spent with your mate is never time spent wrong, so this was a good trip. A couple of enjoyable flights on top of that plus a quite bad ferry ride (ok, the food was decent but I ate far too much anyway!) with drunken company - in the end I think I came out as a winner anyway!
Next trip is just a couple of days away, as mentioned to log the nowadays very rare BAe ATP doing HEL-ARN-KRF-GEV/LLA-ARN-HEL as a daytrip.
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 8132 times:
You're so quick! It was a great few hours, our meeting in ARN. Thanks for the slowfood btw, I guess those staffs were in a weekend mood or just not so motivated
Great pics of my planes, I was actually in row 4, good decision afterall, since I later on managed a 14 minute connection in MUC Further in the back would've caused problems for me during that transfer.
I envy you with that Saab 340. Missing here, you know. Time to head back and ride on one.
The ferry looks nice, but what's up with the missing towel. I'm due to sail the brandnew ship from Stena Line in December, the largest ferry in the world, they say. I'm looking forward to that.
Next meeting should be somewhere in 2011 I guess... as said, I'll try to visit HEL at some point!
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
DunaA320 From UK - England, joined Feb 2009, 614 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 8128 times:
Been looking forward to reading this one. Bears quite a resembalance to my last trip away, only kinda the opposite way round. Great you got to catch up with Eric, last time we did it was a 5 minute hi and bye in the NCL check in area.
Nice touch KF offer a drink on this short flight, although, as you probably remember from Toms report on our trip we went for Tea, not so good.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): First stop: ATM to get some Krooni (soon to become history as Estonia is joining the Eurozone next year - a remarkable achievement for them during these economically hard times!)
I still have 110 Kroon in my wallet, about 6 GBP!
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): irst upstairs, through the booze store - these 10-packs of vodka are nowadays firm favorites of Finnish travelers:
I noticed this too. Booze everywhere!
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): using the provided free wifi (you gotta love Estonia, thank’s to their governments “E-stonia” project you have free wifi almost everywhere!)
One of the things I loved about Estonia, Im a bit of an internet junkie, I don't think my iPhone had so much use. I managed to get quite alot of free WiFi in Helsinki too.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): the average age of the passengers on this ship is around 60 years or so - and everybody is more or less drunk.
Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 4): Now that is hardcore. Even to the so called excessive drinking culture here in the UK that is just, well, nuts. No wonder there are so many wasted people on the boat
Well, for around half the Finnish pax the main motivation of these trips is to a) consume as much cheap alcohol as possible and b) bring home as much cheap alcohol as possible. Where there's demand, supply will pop up as well. A similar effect can be observed in some Northern German ports where the ferries from Sweden arrive and also on the German - Danish border where all the Danes go to shop. Heck, even the state-owned alcohol monopolies in Northern Finland have a field day when the Norwegians drive over the border to buy large amounts of cheap (by Norwegian standards) alcohol.
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 5): Thanks for the slowfood btw, I guess those staffs were in a weekend mood or just not so motivated
Motivated staff at McD? I think you are dreaming.
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 5): The ferry looks nice, but what's up with the missing towel.
No idea, there weren't any towels in my room. I understand they want to save the laundry on such a short trip (these boats do overnight trips as well), but where am I supposed to dry my hands after visiting the loo? The bloody curtains?
Quoting DunaA320 (Reply 6): I still have 110 Kroon in my wallet, about 6 GBP!
Save them, maybe they will be worth something in the future!
Rogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 7835 times:
No matter the route is long or short, wide body or glider, on the air or over water... there goes FF76 and gets an interesting Trip Report out of it.
Interesting report and some interesting news you bring us from the North.
I assume competition has to be quite tight on the ferry routes between TLL and HEL to offer such bargains. I assume most people use the ferry to buy on board at discounted prices... probably this is where they make most of the moeny so they can offer such affordabletrips, 42€ for atrip including cabin and food is really a nice price.
Glad to know you took the trip to meet Eric, it is always good to know that you can find another a.netter when landing at an airport.
Love the Saab, I am looking forward to flying it ZRH-LUG... but I will get until summer to get some nice views, I assume it must be a very scenic flight.... so chances of nicer weather are better in summer.
All the best fro the coming trips.
"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
The777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6571 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 7743 times:
Hi Flying Finn!
Another vey nice trip report with very nice pictures! KF looks nice as always and at least you got in anothe ride on a RJ which I guess are gong away soon ?
OV looks nice as well and I would have loved to try the Estonian apple juice; yes I have a sweet tooth!
A ferry ride across the Baltc on a Saturday can only mean that there will be many peple there just to drink whether from Stockholm to Mariehamn or Tallinn to Helsinki, you should know that. But EUR 42 for the trip including a cabin and a meal seems like a very good deal! Do Viking Line run this servie while the ferry rests in Helsinki in between the regular service to Stockholm ?
Looking forward very much to your next report as I used o go to LLA a lot as a kid to see relatives up there.
Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 7668 times:
Hi guys, thanks for the comments.
Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 8): No matter the route is long or short, wide body or glider, on the air or over water... there goes FF76 and gets an interesting Trip Report out of it.
Thanks Roger, I do my best.
Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 8): I assume competition has to be quite tight on the ferry routes between TLL and HEL to offer such bargains. I assume most people use the ferry to buy on board at discounted prices... probably this is where they make most of the moeny so they can offer such affordabletrips, 42€ for atrip including cabin and food is really a nice price.
Yes, this is exactly so. The last few years has seen a couple of operators cease operations completely, mainly because they specialized on the smaller, faster boats and the big players introduced their own fast boats, which were much larger and thus offered cheaper fares. I think there's only one operator out of the four on the route that only operates the old style large ferries which make the crossing in four hours, all the others have mostly fast boats that take anything between one and half to two and half hours.
Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 8): Love the Saab, I am looking forward to flying it ZRH-LUG.
Yeah, although that'll be the newer 2000 model.
Quoting OA260 (Reply 9): Looking forward to the Jumbo Hostel report
Me too, due in early December.
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 10): I thought for a second that you were on the same OV S340 that I took from TLL-ARN in August, but it was her twin -ASM not -ASN.
That's the one I'm actually flown more flights with.
Quoting The777Man (Reply 11): at least you got in anothe ride on a RJ which I guess are gong away soon ?
Yeah, some of them have already left the fleet but I think the last ones will be around until next summer or so until all the 717s have been received.
Quoting The777Man (Reply 11): Do Viking Line run this servie while the ferry rests in Helsinki in between the regular service to Stockholm ?
Err no, it actually is a specially built ferry just for this route, the XPRS. It is smaller than the big ones to Stockholm and much faster as well.
Quoting The777Man (Reply 11): Looking forward very much to your next report as I used o go to LLA a lot as a kid to see relatives up there.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6811 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 7593 times:
nice report about your latest trip. It seems it gets harder and harder for you to get new registrations when flying around in the North.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): It’s actually funny how many people (Eric included!) consider the Saab to be such a rare plane - this is my 32nd flight aboard a S340 - I flew a lot with them when DC still operated domestic routes for FC in Finland...
Yes, I also consider it as rare. I was really happy that I could finally get it on a recent domestic flight in Australia.
Luxair747SP From Germany, joined May 2010, 508 posts, RR: 18
Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 7396 times:
another just awesome T/R.
You meantioned that the service on Blue1 has been downgraded, but for a 50 minute flight it is still quite okay I think.
The Estonian regional flight is also something special, because there aren't that many Saab operators around in Europe.
Thanks for sharing
CaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 686 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7182 times:
you did it again . Even though only two rather short flights this time, but really interesting plane types with the Avro and the Saab and as usual with some great pictures. I have logged two flights with the S340 a couple of years ago (with Swiss from STR to ZRH and MLH to STR, two very short hops, but I really enjoyed them with the great service from LX).
And of course your ferry ride is something we don't read about here every day, the food looked excellent. I think I saw this ship at the harbor of Helsinki during my last visit.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): I head to my cabin - not much but then again perfectly acceptable apart from the lack of towels - where the heck am I supposed to dry my hands?
That's what these yellow curtains are for Very nice you even got your own cabin for this price.
Looking forward to your report about that Jumbo Hostel...
parton87 From Sweden, joined Sep 2008, 533 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6818 times:
Thank you for another great report! I like these Avro´s in the KF livery! But they will be retired soon right?
The same about the Saab in the Estonian livery, looks really good! Nice livery och nice (Swedish) A/C !!!!
When booking the Estonian air flight, did you book on their website or via a site like expedia? I was looking on flights with Estonian once on their website, although I choose Sweden as my country and English as my language the prices still showed up in Estonian currency and there were no converter either, which was a little bit annoying!
It was a couple a years ago I looking on Estonian but now I feel like it would be nice to catch a flight with them (not in my log), especially on the S340!
I once took the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, people drank like crazy! I can tell the guard had much to do on that boat-trip
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 20, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6574 times:
Hi guys, thanks for the comments again!
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13): It seems it gets harder and harder for you to get new registrations when flying around in the North.
Well, I've been around the area a few times and flown a lot of planes here . Still there's always something new and interesting to look forward to.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13): That's Atlant-Soyuz Airlines which operates charter and scheduled flights. It is owned by private investors (75 percent) and the City of Moscow (25 percent).
Thanks PH, I know that company but I thought they did only cargo flights. It seems they have expanded into passenger operations as well.
Quoting Luxair747SP (Reply 14): You meantioned that the service on Blue1 has been downgraded, but for a 50 minute flight it is still quite okay I think.
Well yeah, one just can't keep up with the changes in their service concepts. At one point HEL-ARN was all BOB, and now it's back to coffee or tea only. Even further back you used to get a tiny sandwich or some snacks on the route and a breakfast box on these morning flights. But yeah, agree that is about what can be expected from such a flight, although it would be nice if they offered some juices and water as well (I think you can get water if you ask nicely, though).
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 16): And of course your ferry ride is something we don't read about here every day, the food looked excellent.
As I mentioned the food was more about quantity than quality really, but I've had far worse. The queues at the buffet were horrible, though and they closed the drinks service (included in the buffet price) after I had only two glasses of wine...
Oh yes, had my first and second flights on the type. Report to follow soon.
Quoting infodesk (Reply 18): Seeing the laptop next to your muffin and apple juice on board the Saab has given the game away - now I know you're busy writing your reports whilst in the air
Actually I don't for most of the time. Sometimes I do it but usually just like this time I loaded a bunch of trip reports on it using the wifi at the lounge and then read those offline.
Quoting parton87 (Reply 19): I like these Avro´s in the KF livery! But they will be retired soon right?
They are slowly leaving the fleet, but I think some of them will still be around until the next summer at least.
Quoting parton87 (Reply 19): When booking the Estonian air flight, did you book on their website or via a site like expedia? I was looking on flights with Estonian once on their website, although I choose Sweden as my country and English as my language the prices still showed up in Estonian currency and there were no converter either, which was a little bit annoying!
I booked on Estonian's site. Just use google to convert the currency (type "1500 EEK in SEK"). It is also very easy to do the calculation in your head, just divide by 15 to get the amount in Euros or 1,5 to get the equivalent in SEK.
Quoting parton87 (Reply 19): I once took the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, people drank like crazy! I can tell the guard had much to do on that boat-trip
You know, there's a good reason why those boats have many jail cells (or rather drunk tanks) in them!
The777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6571 posts, RR: 55
Reply 21, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6540 times:
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 20): You know, there's a good reason why those boats have many jail cells (or rather drunk tanks) in them
I think it's more of a rowdy crowd on the Stockholm-Turku ferries than Stockholm-Helsinki and most rowdy on Stokholm-Mariehamn ships.....It has more to do with the cost of the ticket than the destination served....
Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s