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Wrapping Up The Year: HEL-RIX-TMP-RVN/KTT-HEL  
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10238 times:

Introduction

After their expansion spree in Finland over the spring and summer airBaltic considerably slowed down their pace for the winter season. Only a couple of new routes were announced, a direct RIX-RVN service on selected days (the route was launched earlier this year with an intermediate stop at TMP) and a service to Kittilä in Lapland, operating direct from RIX on some days, and again having a stop at TMP on some days.

I wanted to fly at least the direct RIX-KTT service, with the RIX-RVN a bit lower on my “wish to fly” list. So after searching and waiting for a while until a good enough fare was available I booked HEL-RIX-KTT for a week before Christmas for the cheap fare of 72 EUR.

Arrival time was late at night, so I had to spend the night at Levi, the largest winter holiday resort in Lapland, and the main purpose the KTT airport exists, let alone has so much traffic during the winter season. To get back home, I booked the late afternoon flight on Blue1 direct to HEL for 68 EUR. As an additional bonus this would be operated by one of their new 717s.

I thought I was all set, until a month later or so when airBaltic notified me of a schedule change. The RIX-KTT flight wouldn’t be operating on my travel day, instead I was booked on RIX-TMP-KTT the previous day. Well, this didn’t really work with me so I sought other alternatives. In the end I asked to be rebooked on RIX-TMP-RVN as this flight was operating on my chosen travel day and I could always take the bus up to KTT from Rovaniemi. My request was dealt with promptly by the airBaltic customer care.

Since I was a bit disappointed by these developments I decided to treat myself and upgraded the BT flight up to RVN to business. It is only 4500 Baltic Miles, upgrades both segments as they have the same flight number and BT business class is very good even on these short hops so that sounded like a winner to me.

Finally I decided to try my luck with Optiontown on upgrading the KF flight the next day to Premium as well - domestic Finnish flights cost only 25 EUR to upgrade and with 900 EB points (next year this will be bumped up to 1200, thanks Eurobonus!) earned per segment instead of the measly 150 plus some free food and booze (or so I thought) onboard it definitely sounded worthwhile to me!

Here’s what the final itinerary ended up looking like:

.

Thursday 16.12.2010

I have some trouble leaving the office early enough, but eventually manage, drive home, pick up my gear and take the bus to the airport. Running a bit late I am at T1 only 45 minutes before departure, and additionally OLCI refused to work as it claimed I hadn’t accepted a schedule change (the departure ex-RIX was changed an hour earlier) - sure I didn’t accept it because you never told me about it! Anyway the counters are empty, so very quickly I get checked in, and ask for a Delivery at Aircraft tag for my rollaboard, it’s too large for the Fokker.

I grab some cash from an ATM, waltz my way through the empty security (well, it’s more like breakdance as I need to take off my shoes). I limp to the nearby lounge with my shoelaces undone and my belt dangling from my neck, and once inside ask one of the reception ladies “Can I come in even if not properly dressed?” - The oldest one of them seems to have a great sense of humor, so she scans me from head to toes and answers “You seem to have your pants on and apart from that there’s no dresscode, so welcome”.

The buffet features traditional Christmas foods, so after getting properly dressed I grab some ham and excellent salmon terrine, washed down with an average Cava:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_1.jpg

I manage to fit in barely ten minutes of lounge time before the flight status changes to boarding, so I grab my kit and head to the gate 15A, a bus gate. Boarding is indeed in progress, so downstairs to the bus to wait for the strugglers - have I ever mentioned how I hate bus boarding for this particular reason?

Finally we drive the short way to the apron, stopping in front of the expected Fokker 50, YL-BAS. This would become my seventh flight with her. By the way the scheduling of this flight is quite weird, the inbound from RIX arrives already just past noon, with the crew apparently sitting idle at HEL until it departs back to RIX at quarter to four.

The weather is quite miserable, snowing with a cold wind blowing. I notice a guy who doesn’t have a coat at all, just a short-sleeved shirt. I offer him the chance to board before me, saying “You look like you can’t handle it too long out here!” - He explains that his coat is in his hold luggage, he is coming all the way “from Africa” - his boarding pass is on KLM stock so I guess he flew via AMS to HEL first. I say “Well, I sure hope your luggage makes it to Riga”.

HEL- RIX
BT306
F50 YL-BAS
Seat 8A
15.55 - 17.03

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_2.jpg

Quite a good load today, over 80%. There’s a bunch of some sort of Finnish flight crew as there are some pilots, girls who look like FAs and some other guys. One of them sits next to me and I makes a phone call saying something like “Hi, I’m making a quick trip to Riga, should be back by eleven, do you mind if I come visit you after that?”. I try to chat him up but the guy is not really in a chatty mood at all, so the mystery remains unsolved. More on this later.

At our scheduled departure time the captain makes an announcement that we have just been deiced but still need to wait five minutes or so as the runway is right now being sweeped for snow.

The five minutes is more like ten, but finally ten minutes late we start our engines and start moving. A few planes are ahead of us, so take off from the nearby runway 22L is eight minutes later.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_3.jpg

It stays overcast for the whole flight and since the Fokkers cruise at quite a low altitude there’s basically nothing to see during the whole flight. I buy a beer and spend the rest of the flight reading. The cabin heater seems to have exactly two settings: on and off, so the cabin temperature alternates between uncomfortably hot and almost freezing, on a sine wave pattern.

Approach is straight in to runway 18 where we land after exactly an hour in the air. The Riga - Jurmala motorway:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Arrival_1.jpg

Luckily we get a parking position in front of the arrivals door, saving us another tedious bus trip. During deboarding my seat mate wishes me “Well, have a nice stay” - “A couple of hours in the lounge and then onward” - “Ok, for me it’s more like a couple of hours in the lounge and then back”. This certainly gets my interest up, and when his entourage leaves I notice that some of the guys have Air Finland and 757 stickers in their pilot bags - so these guys are actually an OF flight crew - now I’m really curious as to what are they doing here.

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Arrival_2.jpg

Riga Airport

Going up to the departures level via the transit elevator the doors refuse to open upstairs. Luckily the elevator still goes back down and the doors open there, so I and an older Finnish lady on her way to BRU get out. She turns out to have some sort of leg injury, hence the elevator, so I perform my good deed of the day and carry her rollaboard up the stairs and point her to the right direction for her gate. Only later I realized that I could’ve guested her to the lounge as well.

At the lounge entrance there’s none else but the OF entourage being checked in. I say to my former seatmate “Oh, you all are here!”. But he doesn’t really answer. Bugger, I’m dying to know the deal.

Anyway I settle for the couple of hours I have to wait in a comfy chair and grab some refreshments:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Arrival_3.jpg

AY E170 parked at a jetway just across from the lounge:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Arrival_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Arrival_5.jpg

Free wifi and magazines (I always nick the latest copy of the Economist from this lounge!) make the time fly and at 18.50 the lounge attendant comes to tell me that boarding has commenced. I like this personal service here. The gate is B10, a bus gate downstairs just a short way from the lounge. I stop at the Travel Value store on the way to stock up on some cheap booze. By the time I get downstairs there’s no queue anymore, and only surprisingly few people in the bus, so I guess they already sent the first one away. This turns out to be right as when the gate agent boards the bus the passenger manifest in her hand is definitely way longer than what is needed for the 30 pax in the bus.

Soon enough we drive to a number of parked 737s in the southern apron, stopping in front of the expected -300 model (well, this flight was initially scheduled to be operated by one of the new Dashes, but as always with BT, nothing is ever certain!) YL-BBI, my fourth and fifth flights with her.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_2.jpg

Wizz arriving from LTN:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_3.jpg

A horribly cold wind is blowing outside so queuing up the stairs is a bit of a chilly affair even though I’m properly dressed for the arctic. A Turkish-Finnish couple with a baby excuses themselves and passes everybody on the stair, the Turkish father explaining something like “Sorry, not enough clothes on the baby, must hurry, she will get cold!”. Geez, don’t these people ever realize that they are heading to a cold land and should dress accordingly?!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_4.jpg

RIX - TMP
BT1367
B737-300 YL-BBI
Seat 2A
19.21 - 20.15

Three rows of business class on this flight. There’s another guy on 3F as well, but he’s some sort of non revenuer as he seems to be well known by the crew, doesn’t really get any service apart from a can of beer and leaves the plane at TMP.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_6.jpg

An older Italian man sits down on 1C, saying something to his traveling partner who heads into economy. Once boarding is finished the chief FA is onto him, asking for his boarding pass and sends him back to economy where he belongs, tail between his legs. Do these guys really think they can get away with it?

Economy looks much fuller, 75% maybe.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_7.jpg

As usual with BT, predeparture drinks follow:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_8.jpg

Together with some reading material, quite a good selection of newspapers and magazines actually:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_14.jpg

Flight time today is 55 minutes. Deicing:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_9.jpg

An all-white Smart Lynx Airbus:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_11.jpg

Departure is 11 minutes late, with take off from runway 18 four minutes later.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Riga_Departure_12.jpg

The service starts with the customary hot towels:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_1.jpg

Then I’m asked for my choice of drink - I ask what the main course is and the FA says “Oh, actually I don’t know! Let me check”. She goes back to the galley and comes back saying “It’s fish, sir.” “Ok, in that case it will have to be white wine, please.” “Spanish or German” “Errr... I think I’ll have the German one, thank you.”.

It turns out to be a rather agreeable Riesling:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_2.jpg

Soon the food tray arrives:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_3.jpg

The main course is potatoes, carrots and some white fish, I think it is pollack. The sauce is very tasty, I like it a lot.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_4.jpg

The appetizer, some sort of weird concoction of cheese, aubergine and couscous:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_5.jpg

Finally the dessert - not so sure about the homemade part:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_6.jpg

It is contains very tasty (which probably equates to very fatty and sugary!) yogurt mixed with granola. I think the Americans would call it a parfait. Very good as well.

After finishing I’m asked if I want some tea or coffee. As we are already descending at this point I say “Not right now, thank you. I’m going all the way up to Rovaniemi so we’ll have time for that on the next sector.”

Candies are handed out as the cabin is readied for landing:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_7.jpg

Overcast in Tampere as well, so the first view of the ground is mere seconds before touchdown on runway 24, 50 minutes after take off. A couple of minutes later we stop in front of the terminal building:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_9.jpg

Christmas decorations, looks quite kitchy to me:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_10.jpg

I count 37 passengers deboarding. Checking for ice on the wings:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_11.jpg

I overhear the ground crew and the lead FA discussing that 20 new pax will board here. Soon new blood joins us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_12.jpg

View towards the back:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_13.jpg

TMP - RVN
BT1367
B737-300 YL-BBI
Seat 2A
21.00 - 21.55

Doors are closed after a ground stop of only 25 minutes, but another deicing follows which takes a bit of time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_15.jpg

Flight time to Rovaniemi is announced as 55 minutes. Departure is finally 45 minutes after landing. We taxi to runway 24 right past the low cost terminal, where a Ryanair bird is being boarded:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_17.jpg

Right after the seat belt sign is switched off the service commences. I’m handed another tray with “We only have a small snack for you on this sector, sir.”. Well, I’m full anyway so this is just about appropriate, I guess:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_18.jpg

Some cheese and salami, another one of those parfait desserts and warm bread from a basket. Works for me.

I ask for some champers:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_19.jpg

And some lovely peppermint tea:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_20.jpg

Finally, to wrap the flight up a nice glass of Riga Black Balsam on ice:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Enroute_to_Rovaniemi_21.jpg

Soon after this I fall asleep, only being woken a few minutes before landing by a member of the crew asking me to put my Ipod away. Landing is on runway 03 after less than 55 minutes in the air. Interesting fact of the day: The Arctic Circle actually bisects this main runway, 03/21!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_Approach_2.jpg

We get a jetway parking position (mind you, there are only two airports with jetways in Finland - HEL and RVN):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_Approach_3.jpg

The official airport of Santa Claus sign in the jetway:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_Approach_4.jpg

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_Approach_5.jpg

Rovaniemi

Outside it is freezing, only minus eleven or so but with a horribly chilly wind straight from the north it feels much worse. Luckily the airport taxi (sort of a shared van/route taxi meshup) is waiting right in front of the terminal. For a reasonable 7 EUR it delivers me right to my hotel for the night, the curiously named Hotel Aakenus. Not a very glamorous place, but quite ok with me - it’s clean, comfortable enough, has free wifi and most imporantly charges far less than the more established chain hotels in the city centre a kilometer away - the tourist season definitely has started!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_1.jpg

Hmm, I guess this is supposed to represent the wilderness of Lapland:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_2.jpg

I decide not to listen to the voice of reason and head to a local watering hole instead for a couple of pints - I love these regional cities in Finland for their general atmosphere and Lapland is a special case in itself. Some very interesting characters can be found here, are tonight is no exception! A couple of hours later I stagger back to the hotel and call it a night.

Friday 17.12.2010

With my bus up to Kittilä not leaving until 11.30 and Rovaniemi being a very familiar city to me I’m not in any particular hurry this morning, so I decide to skip the hotel breakfast (I’m not much of a brekkie person anyway) and enjoy a long sleep in.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_3.jpg

Finally I get my act together and head outside for the short stroll to the bus station. The temperature:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_5.jpg

Being just barely south of the Arctic Circle the daylight is very low on the horizon:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_7.jpg

When I see this:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_9.jpg

I just have to go there to get one of these Lordi Special kebabs - quite an epic portion I say!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_8.jpg

I guess a bit of explanation is on order here. Lordi, the 2006 Eurovision winner is a native of Rovaniemi (even though he has lived in Helsinki for many years already). After he won the song contest, the city Rovaniemi went a bit crazy and did all kinds of things in his honor, including renaming the central square of the city to “Lordi Square”. As he is known to be a big fan of kebab and he once mentioned this hole-in-the-wall kebab joint as his favorite one around they created this special portion in his favor. It comes with 220 grams of kebab meat, a very tasty sauce (even though there’s too much of it!) and your choice of garnishes, a huge dollop of potato mash in my case.

Anyway with my belly so full even standing upright hurts I somehow waddle across the road to the bus station:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_10.jpg

And after a bit board the bus, going all the way up to Enontekiö. Quite a good load on this service, and it gets funny when an entourage of seven Chinese shows up at the last minute. Apparently only one of them speaks any English and they have tons and tons of luggage - heck they even used three different taxis to get to the bus station to get all the luggage there!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_12.jpg

Luckily the bus driver is a very jolly guy, as people around here tend to be and we get a good chuckle out of the situation. I help him by acting as an interpreter to get things done. Finally we leave some ten minutes late for the two hour ride.

Christmas decorations in the bus as well:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Rovaniemi_13.jpg

The bus ride is quite special - watching all that snow covered scenery with only a few signs of human settlements dotted every now and then and listening to some sad old songs on my Ipod sure puts a guy into a very moody mindset. I think one day I will do a more epic journey all the way up to Norway to see how that would turn out to be. I manage to catch an hour of sleep, though, and that fixes things up somewhat.

Finally we pull at Kittilä Airport and I bid the driver goodbye, merry Xmas and luck in dealing with the Chinese in nearby Levi where they are getting off and head to the terminal.

Kittilä Airport

Check in is not yet open so I snap some pictures:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_2.jpg

FIDS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_3.jpg

A FirstChoice/Thomson charter from LGW has just arrived and people are being ushered to their buses. Welcome sign:



The terminal:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_4.jpg

Ice sculptures:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_5.jpg

One can actually see part of the slopes at Levi from here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_6.jpg

The tower, looking almost like a Christmas tree:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_7.jpg

The FirstChoice 757, there turned out to be three planes from then on the ground here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_8.jpg

It is quite cold outside, far more than in Rovaniemi so I head inside and nurse a pint while waiting for the check in to open. It soon does, although when I get there I learn that they have followed AY’s suit and outsourced the balance etc. calculations to Bangkok and apparently the flight is being held locked by then. This is resolved in five minutes, and I get rid of my rollaboard (it contains very dangerous liquids purchased at RIX the prior night - so pointless really!) and get my boarding pass with a sequence number of 1 - whoa, not many OLCI users up here (well, when doing a same-plane turnaround here last year my OLCI boarding pass caused massive confusion among the staff...). I ask which plane it is - “717” - “Ok, I meant the registration?” - “I think it is BLM” - bugger as that’s the only KF 717 I’ve already flown a month prior.

I head through security to the empty departure hall:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Airport_10.jpg

The free wifi and a number of pints from the bar help me pass the time. At some point I overhear the guy on the next table calling somebody about “a delay”. I check the flight statuses and sure enough, the inbound from HEL is showing a 50 minute delay. I keep monitoring the flight from the HEL airport website and it finally departs 1h4mins late from HEL.

At some point the fire alarm goes off - nobody seems to care so I decide not to either. Somehow it just brings me the creeps as this terminal extension where we are now burned down four years ago just before its grand opening. While getting another pint I ask the barmaid and she just shrugs it off “Oh, it’s been going on and off like that for the last month or so.”.

Finally I spot the inbound plane arriving at 16.25 - indeed it turns out to be Lima Mike so my second flight with her.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_2.jpg

They have set up a photo exhibition of the airport’s history, it includes a photo of the aforementioned terminal fire, how appropriate:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_3.jpg

Boarding is called at 16.45.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_5.jpg

KTT - HEL
KF294
B717 OH-BLM “Kevätsade / Spring Rain”
Seat 4F
16.55 - 18.20

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_7.jpg

Onboard I sit down on my originally assigned seat 5A and get very disappointment at seeing this:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovan<br><br></font></td></tr></table>

<table border=

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10239 times:

After boarding is finished I go up to the purser, show my boarding pass stub (or actually one of those silly, flimsy little supermarket-like receipts) and tell her that we have a problem. “Oh?” - “Yes, I upgraded myself to premium, Paying cold hard money for it and this is my seat which is back in Economy.” - “I can’t help you, it’s all handled by the ground staff here.”. Err, that’s not the kind of attitude I expected.

Luckily the gate agent comes onboard with the manifest at the very same moment, so we repeat the question to her. “Hmm, my papers here say that row 5 is still premium and that the cabin divider should be between rows 5 and 6.” - I say: “Bingo, that’s the problem. Right now it is between 4 and 5.”

The purser heads off to fix it, but doesn’t really make any effort to apologize or anything. The gate agent actually apologizes with words to the effect of “Oh, I’m sorry that the crew made a mistake.”. I tell her that it was not her fault but appreciate it anyway.

Premium has only two other passengers and five rows, so I settle down on 4F instead, just to annoy the purser a bit more (I know, I can be such a pain).

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_12.jpg

Economy load looks good, over 80%. Flight time to HEL is announced as 1h20mins. Apparently we still have a Spanish flight deck crew - wonder when will the Finnish ones will finish their training and take over.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_13.jpg

Departure is only 35 minutes late, they are catching up. We have to hold for a short while as a runway sweep is taking place:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_14.jpg

Then we backtrack all the way to the end of the runway, turn around and take off from 16:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Kittila_Departure_17.jpg

Once airborne I get a major disappointment out of the service - in Premium it consists of a cheese or ham sandwich, not very good and far worse than what for example Air Berlin gives:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_1.jpg

Only coffee, tea, water and juices are free, one has to pay for alcohol which is quite weak. Still I spend five Euros on a small bottle of wine:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_2.jpg

Not much happens during this flight. Somewhere towards the end of it I drift off to dreamland for a while. Just prior to landing the following announcement is made: “Dear passengers, we are no seeking some co-operation. There are nine passengers in this plane connecting to Copenhagen with a connection time of five minutes and four passengers heading to Frankfurt with a connecting time of 15 minutes. As we have received no information from the ground regarding these connections, we kindly ask that unless you are in a hurry, please wait a while and let these people off he plane first. The next time you might be the one needing this favor, thank you!”.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_4.jpg

Landing is on runway 22L after a flight time of 1h17mins. As this is the far runway, it takes around ten minutes to get to T1, where we dock to a jetway at gate 17.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_10.jpg

I spot an SK A321 two gates over at 15. I gather my things and head to the galley as the first pax, telling the purser “In case you didn’t see it it is gate 15 for CPH”. She is a bit suspicious about it so I continue “Yes, it’s a threetwentyone so most definitely Copenhagen” - after this she makes an announcement to the pax.

While heading to arrivals I see that they have yet to start boarding for that flight to CPH so looks like all the pax made it. As for FRA, read on...

AB to DUS heavily delayed, I guess there indeed is something rotten in the federal state of Germany:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Rovaniemi_Kittila_12_2010/Helsinki_Approach_11.jpg

The baggage hall is a zoo, tons of luggage around on the floor. Our assigned belt has some weird pieces of luggage, after a while I realize what is wrong with it - most of these bags don’t have HEL as the final destinations, rather all kinds of more or less exotic destinations around the world. The first leg on all them if FRA though, and then it dawns on me - the LH flight to FRA has apparently been canceled (later I learned that yes, Germany was hit with a bit of weather today as well!) and they have unloaded the luggage here, although not many people have bothered claiming them, though. I get a bit of a chuckle with some middle-aged lady at figuring out where certain pieces of luggage are destined to - she turns out to be quite adept at airport codes!

Well, I told the lady that “I’m keeping my eye on the other belt over there as well just to see if my bag would show up there”. She was more like “Well, the monitor says this belt!”. And of course what happens is that after waiting for 25 minutes I spot my bag on the far carousel, and tell her “I told ya!”. The monitor for the original belt is still showing “KF294 Kittilä”....

So after getting my rollaboard I head outside, luckily the bus shows up right after I get to the stop and 20 minutes later I’m home.

Conclusions

Well, in a way this trip was a pointless one as the main purpose was to fly that BT RIX-KTT service that didn’t happen. Still, I had a blast with the trip.

Air Baltic once again proved why they are my favorite carrier. Great fares, nice business class service, good lounge facilities - they’ve always treated my well and thus I keep on supporting them. It’s as simple as that.

Blue1 - quite disappointment at the cabin configuration hassle and the limited service in Premium on domestic routes. I see they have already increased the upgrade price to 36 EUR per segment for next year, but at least they are giving out more miles for it. Seriously speaking I think the mileage earnings still make the upgrade worthwhile, but the service concept along definitely not!


These were the last flights of this year for me. See below for a bit of year end statistics of this amazingly good (at least on the aviation front) year. Now it is time for a month of relaxation, Xmas and New Year celebrations etc. before returning to the European skies with the following interesting itinerary: HEL-KTT-ZRH-LGW/LHR-ARN-HEL.

Happy holidays!


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10232 times:

The year 2010 was extremely good (the best ever, in fact!) for me on the aviation front. I flew a total of 209 flights, 20 of which were domestic and all the rest intra-Europe.

Top 5 airports in take offs and landings were:

HEL 85
RIX 52
ARN 29
TXL 17
TMP 12

Top 5 airlines in segments flown:

BT 47
AB 18
FR 13
U2 11
SK 11

Top 5 plane types:

A320 28
B738 25
A319 25
F50 22
B733 19

Top 6 routes:

RIX - HEL 13
HEL - RIX 12
HEL - ARN 7
ARN - RIX 5
HEL - TXL 5
LHR - HEL 5

All courtesy of flugstatistik.de.


User currently offlineAALuxuryLiner From United States of America, joined May 2008, 38 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 10078 times:

Flying Finn, Thank you for a great year of TR's. Your reports are always a good balance of interesting and sharp photos, well written and text, and humorous observations. I especially like the mix of different aircraft photos and also seeing the nice variety of drinks you enjoy on your trips -- just like I do! I will be taking a trip to Finland in May of next year and looking forward to it!

Sincerely,
AALuxuryLiner


User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5177 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 10059 times:

Hi, P.,

congrats to that fullfilled travel year and also you´re latest story is no exception,
interesting places for me.
Believe it or not, RVN is also on my departure airport list, some years back on the good ol´ AY M80.

Nice winter pictures, I´am once more not that really impressed about Blue1 and the 717.

All the best and lots of more flights next year.
Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2460 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 10058 times:

Once more, well done...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Once airborne I get a major disappointment out of the service - in Premium it consists of a cheese or ham sandwich, not very good
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
“Hmm, my papers here say that row 5 is still premium and that the cabin divider should be between rows 5 and 6.” - I say: “Bingo, that’s the problem. Right now it is between 4 and 5.”

Well, in your case I would kindly ask for a refund... According to their web-page you can expect at least:

Premium class seating
High quality in-flight meal and bar service

But your picture are showing something totally different! At least the plastic around the sandwich should have been removed- so it looks very cheap.


User currently offlinetk747 From Australia, joined Sep 2009, 341 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 9843 times:

FlyingFinn thanks for all the fantastic TR's that you have written this year, I have enjoyed every single one. You have made me want to visit Scandanavia, a place I had no desire to visit at all.

I hope you have an even better year next year!

PS Blue1 looks terrible. There is no difference between their "premium class" and Air Berlin's economy.


User currently offlineRogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 9805 times:

Hola FlyingFinn76!

Again another interesting routing although you have stuck to the cold North this time.

Interesting to see the differences in service between two *A carriers. There is a great gap there between KF and BT, I I really think there should be some kind of consistency in service when flying members that belong to the same alliance...

The routing was quite interesting, RVN has become quite a tourist destination here, many people go there to talk directly to Santa about their presents; I guess it makes quite a difference from the Mediterranean.

Thanks for all the TRs and the enlightenment you have provided in airlines, routings and destinations. All the best for 2011!!

Hyvää joulua!   

Roger

[Edited 2010-12-18 21:42:21]


"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 9734 times:

Hi FlyingFinn,

thanks once again for writing your TR, it really seems that 2010 has been a good year for you.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

An older Italian man sits down on 1C, saying something to his traveling partner who heads into economy. Once boarding is finished the chief FA is onto him, asking for his boarding pass and sends him back to economy where he belongs, tail between his legs. Do these guys really think they can get away with it?

That's the sort of thing which makes me think "Oh dear" and act as if I were from Switzerland. However, I'm deeply impressed by Air Baltic, before reading your TRs I thought they would be more or less a white painted version of WizzAir with grey engine covers but I'm stunned to see how wrong I was. Is the Air Baltic-branded newspaper on offer in Economy as well?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Lordi, the 2006 Eurovision winner is a native of Rovaniemi (even though he has lived in Helsinki for many years already). After he won the song contest, the city Rovaniemi went a bit crazy and did all kinds of things in his honor, including renaming the central square of the city to “Lordi Square”. As he is known to be a big fan of kebab and he once mentioned this hole-in-the-wall kebab joint as his favorite one around they created this special portion in his favor. It comes with 220 grams of kebab meat, a very tasty sauce (even though there’s too much of it!) and your choice of garnishes, a huge dollop of potato mash in my case.

So Rovaniemi is the proud host city of a white-bearded man who flies the skies handing toys to good children and, at the same time, the birthplace of an heavy metal band whose members play with monster masks, what a fabolous combinations! It does makes the place worth a visit.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
They have set up a photo exhibition of the airport’s history, it includes a photo of the aforementioned terminal fire, how appropriate:

Urgh. Does the caption read "This is the terminal - where you're sitting at the moment - catching fire not so long ago"?


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8578 posts, RR: 54
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 9674 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi P,

Good final trip of the year, much more interesting than mine, if it happens with all this snow!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I decided to try my luck with Optiontown on upgrading the KF flight the next day to Premium as well - domestic Finnish flights cost only 25 EUR to upgrade and with 900 EB points (next year this will be bumped up to 1200, thanks Eurobonus!) earned per segment instead of the measly 150 plus some free food and booze (or so I thought) onboard it definitely sounded worthwhile to me!

- For that pricfe, well worth the extra miles, just a shame the service is nothing like premium.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Then I’m asked for my choice of drink - I ask what the main course is and the FA says “Oh, actually I don’t know! Let me check”. She goes back to the galley and comes back saying “It’s fish, sir.”

- And not a bad looking meal either, I'm seriously liking the look of BT.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Right after the seat belt sign is switched off the service commences. I’m handed another tray with “We only have a small snack for you on this sector, sir.”. Well, I’m full anyway so this is just about appropriate

- Not bad for a 55 minute sector in my book!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I just have to go there to get one of these Lordi Special kebabs - quite an epic portion I say!

- OMG, the size of that!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
I flew a total of 209 flights

- That is very impressive P, I've managed 62 with 2 mose sectors to go, weather permitting.

Enjoy the break, all being well I'll pick you up @ LGW for the LHR sector.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27251 posts, RR: 60
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 9621 times:

Hey another great routing and lovely photos. That kebab looks cool.  

Love the ice sculptures. The food on BT also amazes me its very good quality, would love to try them oneday.

The attitude of the FA on Blue1 was terrible, maybe he needs another job rather than one he doesn't know how to perform with professionalism and manners. I think they need to introduce performance related pay based on customer satisfaction on some crew and airlines.

Thanks for the great report.

OA260


User currently offlineparton87 From Sweden, joined Sep 2008, 533 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 9528 times:

Hello Petteri!

What a nice story and a very enjoyable read  And your pictures is really good- as always.

Rovaniemi doesn´t look like the nicest city on earth!:D Actually a working-colleague of mine is from there and I think I know way she moved to Helsinki when she was 18 

Blue1 looks really bad, I think you should never fly with them again....no matter how cheap they are.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
And some lovely peppermint tea:



and one of these lovely cups again!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The terminal:


Looks nice

And what about HEL airport, it´s Vanta in Finnish and Vanda in Swedish right? But it´s pronounce in the same way?

Greetings
Robert


User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2487 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 9468 times:

Hi P.,

I love the title of this installment of yours. Thanks for showing us that traveling in the snowy condition can be fun. I have had an enjoyable read.

As expected, you got well pampered by BT in J.

Regarding KF, they advertise their J product as cheaper than SK and KL out of AMS. But after knowing how they treated you as a premium traveler and let you pay for booze, I don't think it's really worth it

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
just have to go there to get one of these Lordi Special kebabs - quite an epic portion I say!

You just need such copious meal in that temperature. Thanks for the background story.

Thanks again for sharing. Last but not least, Hyvää joulua.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineeicvd From Ireland, joined Mar 2008, 2180 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 9419 times:

Hi FlyingFinn
Thanks for posting another excellent & interesting trip report, reading this was a nice way of passing time on this boring sunday afternoon. Thanks to the cold weather here there is no sport on so wasnt worth my time going down the local. Reading -14 as the temperature in RVN makes me feel quite warm! Looking forward to reading more of your reports in 2011. Happy Christmas & best wishes for the new year.


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 9369 times:

Hi all and thanks for the comments.

Firstly, thanks for all the wishes for merry Christmas and whatever, I collectively thank you all for those and return the same wishes, whatever your chosen deity and holiday reason might be during the season!

Quoting AALuxuryLiner (Reply 3):
Flying Finn, Thank you for a great year of TR's. Your reports are always a good balance of interesting and sharp photos, well written and text, and humorous observations.

Thanks AALL (heh). I simply write that kind of reports I'd myself like to read - so far that seems to have worked fine.

Quoting AALuxuryLiner (Reply 3):
I will be taking a trip to Finland in May of next year and looking forward to it!

Hey that's cool, man. Are you taking the new AA ORD-HEL service by any chance? Anyway feel free to drop me a private message if you need any advice or want to have a meet, I'm always happy to provide a bit of insider view to foreigners.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
Believe it or not, RVN is also on my departure airport list, some years back on the good ol´ AY M80.

Yes, I do remember your and your sons adventures. You flew back via OUL, wasn't that so? A shame that route doesn't exist any more, never got around flying it (nor KEM-RVN which was also operated as a tag on for a while).

Quoting debonair (Reply 5):

Well, in your case I would kindly ask for a refund... According to their web-page you can expect at least:
Premium class seating
High quality in-flight meal and bar service

But your picture are showing something totally different! At least the plastic around the sandwich should have been removed- so it looks very cheap

Yeah, well. I think they block the middle seat on the three-seater side and the front seats of the 717s seem to have an extra inch or two of legroom, so I guess that can be called "Premium class seating". As for the meal and bar service - they do provide this on the international routes and that is usually quite good - there's a report I wrote a bit over a month ago about flying OH-BLM in premium on LHR-HEL, that was far better apart from the bulkhead seat and completely packed plane.

They should have a special mention in the website regarding domestic flights, I agree that.

Quoting tk747 (Reply 6):
PS Blue1 looks terrible. There is no difference between their "premium class" and Air Berlin's economy.

Well, see above for an explanation. But I agree, the domestic service has gone downhill a lot.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 7):
Interesting to see the differences in service between two *A carriers. There is a great gap there between KF and BT, I I really think there should be some kind of consistency in service when flying members that belong to the same alliance...

Errr, BT isn't exactly in *A. This is actually a common misconception (even some gate agents at HEL have made that mistake), due to their previous owners SAS being a founding member and some of the flights being codeshared with SK... Which I guess makes the difference even more in-your-face  .

Quoting JL418 (Reply 8):
That's the sort of thing which makes me think "Oh dear" and act as if I were from Switzerland.

Well, don't. I've seen that kind of behavior from many nationalities, so I don't think it is anything special about the Italians.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 8):
However, I'm deeply impressed by Air Baltic, before reading your TRs I thought they would be more or less a white painted version of WizzAir with grey engine covers but I'm stunned to see how wrong I was.

Yep, BT is a lovely little airline. Many people are saying bad things about it, but at least for me they've always been very good. Sure, the ground operations at various airports, especially on outstations are often a bit lacking and haphazard - RIX seems to finally have gotten their act together, though! They offer some amazingly cheap fares and you get quite decent planes with new interiors (apart from the Fokkers), quite ok seats, assigned seating etc. Additionally they don't try to rip you off with the BOB prices, I've always found them to be quite reasonable.

And finally, ever since they launched the Baltic Miles FFP a year ago I've really become hooked.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 8):
Is the Air Baltic-branded newspaper on offer in Economy as well?

While boarding they usually spread out a selection of newspapers on row 1, these often include that paper as well. Usually the focus is quite heavily on Latvian and Russian -language papers, though.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 8):
So Rovaniemi is the proud host city of a white-bearded man who flies the skies handing toys to good children and, at the same time, the birthplace of an heavy metal band whose members play with monster masks, what a fabolous combinations! It does makes the place worth a visit.

Yes, you got that one right!  . Lapland and the people living there is a little... "special", and sometimes it manifests itself in this kind of things. I guess living there in the harsh conditions does breed special kind of people  .

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 9):
- For that pricfe, well worth the extra miles, just a shame the service is nothing like premium.

Actually it already posted as a business class flight with 200% mileage. Not bad.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 9):
Enjoy the break, all being well I'll pick you up @ LGW for the LHR sector.

Oh yeah, there might be a surprise change of plans. I'll let you know who things develop!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 10):
The attitude of the FA on Blue1 was terrible, maybe he needs another job rather than one he doesn't know how to perform with professionalism and manners. I think they need to introduce performance related pay based on customer satisfaction on some crew and airlines.

That's a good idea. I overheard her (it was a she!) complaining to the gate agent at HEL about the long day they had, apparently they overnighted at LHR, operated the morning flight to HEL from there and then up to KTT and back.

Quoting parton87 (Reply 11):
Rovaniemi doesn´t look like the nicest city on earth!:D Actually a working-colleague of mine is from there and I think I know way she moved to Helsinki when she was 18
Quoting parton87 (Reply 11):
Blue1 looks really bad, I think you should never fly with them again....no matter how cheap they are.

Well, it's usually quite an ok airline. On par with the parent company SAS.

Quoting parton87 (Reply 11):
And what about HEL airport, it´s Vanta in Finnish and Vanda in Swedish right? But it´s pronounce in the same way?

Vantaa/Vanda. Pronounced almost similarly in Finnish and Swedish.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 12):
. Thanks for showing us that traveling in the snowy condition can be fun. I have had an enjoyable read.

Yep, I've been quite amused by following the recent travel chaos in Central Europe - makes me a bit smug actually to think about the things we manage to do up here just during our winters...

Quoting akhmad (Reply 12):
Regarding KF, they advertise their J product as cheaper than SK and KL out of AMS. But after knowing how they treated you as a premium traveler and let you pay for booze, I don't think it's really worth it

As I mentioned above, the premium service on international routes is far better. And yes, the booze is free as well on those services.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 12):
You just need such copious meal in that temperature. Thanks for the background story.

Yes, actually all the largest meals I've had in Finland have been up north!

Quoting eicvd (Reply 13):
Thanks to the cold weather here there is no sport on so wasnt worth my time going down the local. Reading -14 as the temperature in RVN makes me feel quite warm!

The weather must really be something special to keep an Irishman from drinking!  


User currently offlineaivisavia From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks ago) and read 9324 times:

Thank you for yet another fantastic trip report, FlyingFinn76 ! Whenever I go on trip reports, first thing I look for is your posts   you keep me on here 

Thank you for a wonderful year of reports and hopefully next year you'll fly even more!

Take care!


User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 16, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 9216 times:

Hi FlyingFinn,

Great report about your last trip of the year - as always, I enjoyed reading. The meals on Air Baltic look really good. On the other side, Premium Class on Blue 1 doesn't look too impressive, although the price for the upgrade is moderate.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Ok, in that case it will have to be white wine, please.” “Spanish or German” “Errr... I think I’ll have the German one, thank you.”.

Interesting selection. I'm surprised they offer German wine - normally it isn't that popular, at least outside Germany.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
We get a jetway parking position (mind you, there are only two airports with jetways in Finland - HEL and RVN):

Interesting - I wouldn't have expected RVN to be the second one.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
They have set up a photo exhibition of the airport’s history, it includes a photo of the aforementioned terminal fire, how appropriate:

You could also call it courageous to place such a photo in an airport.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
The year 2010 was extremely good (the best ever, in fact!) for me on the aviation front. I flew a total of 209 flights, 20 of which were domestic and all the rest intra-Europe.

Amazing statistics!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
Happy holidays!

Thank you, the same to you.  

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineAlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9180 times:

Hi P, nice to digest your final report for this year.
What a nice and appropriate way to end the year by visiting "the home of Santa". I would love to head up North that way, maybe next year?
Service looks good again on BT in Business. I quite like the Hedsieck Blue Top as a not too expensive option when purchasing some bubbles in the supermarket.
That Kebab looks insane(but i wouldn't say no)
Its a shame the premium service with Blue1 is anything but that, but hey?

I hope you enjoy christmas mate and wish you well in 2011.

Cheers, Lee

P.S 209 segments!!!!   HARDCORE!!!! Congratulations on a record breaking year for you.


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 18, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8958 times:

Hi all and thanks for the comments. Keep them coming!

Quoting parton87 (Reply 11):
Rovaniemi doesn´t look like the nicest city on earth!:D Actually a working-colleague of mine is from there and I think I know way she moved to Helsinki when she was 18

I actually forgot to comment on this on the earlier reply.

Yeah, the biggest problem with Rovaniemi is that it was completely burnt down by the Germans in 1944, which destroyed all the old, nice wooden buildings. So after the war it was hastily reconstructed, and of course the 50's and 60's were quite grim periods when it comes to architecture. Most of it ain't pretty, but there are some nicer parts as well, like the bridges at the city centre (it lies at the confluence of two large rivers) and some newer buildings with nice architecture (the University for example).

Quoting aivisavia (Reply 15):
! Whenever I go on trip reports, first thing I look for is your posts you keep me on here

Thanks. Maybe a.net operators should share some of the ad revenue I help then to generate with me to fund more trips  .

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 16):
Interesting selection. I'm surprised they offer German wine - normally it isn't that popular, at least outside Germany.

Hey, come to think of it on all the BT biz class flights the wines, both red and white have always been Spanish and German.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 16):
Interesting - I wouldn't have expected RVN to be the second one.

Well, the weather conditions can be quite harsh and it occasionally receives widebodies from Japan so I guess it is helpful for those purposes. AY used to route a few HEL-NRT flights each winter via RVN during the MD-11 era just for this purpose - Lapland is very popular with the Japanese and nowadays increasingly the Chinese as well. I think there's an old trip report around here about such a flight.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 17):
What a nice and appropriate way to end the year by visiting "the home of Santa". I would love to head up North that way, maybe next year?

Go for it! You can always get on those "visit Santa" charter flights ex-MAN or perhaps even LBA, just your kind of thing, mate. Hahah.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 17):
P.S 209 segments!!!! HARDCORE!!!! Congratulations on a record breaking year for you.

Thanks. It did put a strain on my buttocks, back and liver. Not necessarily in that order, though.


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6648 posts, RR: 55
Reply 19, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8872 times:

Hi FlyingFinn!

Nice report with a big contrast between BT and KF; BT being so much better it seems.

209 segments is totally amazing! I don't think I ever have done more than 60 or so.

Happy New Year!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineLXM83 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 610 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8571 times:

Hello FlyingFinn!

Thanks for every one of your amazing reports during the last year, I read each one of them and enjoyed them all. Congratulations on your 209 segments, that's a lot. My 125 segments in my best year pale against that....

Looking forward to reading about your upcoming KTT-ZRH trip...... be it the Hello MD-90 or the Swiss A320.

Keep the reports coming!
Happy new year and happy landings for 2011!


User currently onlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1895 posts, RR: 42
Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 8495 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Hey FF, thanks for this interesting report. Fun facts about Lordi! The Blue1 717 is currently very high on my wishlist!

Best regards,

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1464 posts, RR: 33
Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8432 times:

Hi P,

Sorry for the late reply, I somehow missed this one. What a fitting final installment to 2010, a nice winter trip up to Father Christmas land.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“Sorry, not enough clothes on the baby, must hurry, she will get cold!”. Geez, don’t these people ever realize that they are heading to a cold land and should dress accordingly?!

It really doesn't surprise me. Some people have never heard the phrase "travel preparations". But shame on them, travelling with a baby.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Christmas decorations, looks quite kitchy to me:

oh, I don't know, I like them. Reindeers and Finland, perfect combination  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“I can’t help you, it’s all handled by the ground staff here.”. Err, that’s not the kind of attitude I expected.

Quite an appalling attitude. And what a disappointing inflight service, with that sandwich and no free alcoholic drinks. What exactly were you paying for?!

Enjoyed your shots of Kittila, in particular the illuminated ice sculpture, very classy.

Nice of the KF crew to make the announcement regarding the connecting passengers.

Glad 2010 was such a success for you flying-wise. Happy flying for 2011 and looking forward to all those TRs!
Infodesk   



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (3 years 11 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8293 times:

Hi P.!

Congrats with finalizing the year in this way. A nice trip, that's for sure. BT Business looking good, Blue1 indeed very dissappointing. Still with so far only 1 B717 ride in my books, I'm in to grab a flight on them also at some point.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Soon enough we drive to a number of parked 737s in the southern apron, stopping in front of the expected -300 model (well, this flight was initially scheduled to be operated by one of the new Dashes, but as always with BT, nothing is ever certain!)

BT will launch additional flights RIX-AMS operated by their Q400s. Quite a long sector I think.

So, I know you have already quite an interesting schedule for 2011 on the planning, so looking forward to see more of your adventures in a few weeks!

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 8164 times:

An interesting read, thanks!

The service on Blue1 in premium looks terrible. No free booze, and a cheapo snadwich. Not great!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
The year 2010 was extremely good (the best ever, in fact!) for me on the aviation front. I flew a total of 209 flights, 20 of which were domestic and all the rest intra-Europe.

Not bad going! I made 51 flights this year, down one from last year. I'll have to aim for at least 53 in 2011!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
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