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Blu-Express Or Blue1? A Memorable Journey  
User currently offline717Flyer From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 303 posts, RR: 9
Posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 6622 times:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/roflbot.jpg

This trip report is dedicated to my grandfather who is now at a better place.

Hi all,
and welcome to my seventh trip report (see, I am getting used to writing these things!).

As you may notice this trip report really is a trip report, not a flight report. And it may not be very special. But for me it ended up being a journey I will not forget. And I would also like to warn you that a large percentage of the pictures in this report have Boeing 717s as their motif.

Chapter 1: The original plan

blu-express is an Italian low cost airline owned by Italian charter airline and tour operator Blue Panorama that has its hub at Rome-Fiumicino Airport (FCO). The airline operates a fleet of 737 classics, one Boeing 737-300 and two Boeing 737-400s. Meanwhile, aircraft of the mother company Blue Panorama Airlines are occasionally also used to operate the airline's flights. As of January, 2012, this intriguing airline had an on time time performance of 20 % in departing flights. Needless to continue, I knew this was an airline I had to fly on.

blu-express offers some international routes in the Mediterranean area (such as FCO-NCE). They mostly operate national flights within Italy and I knew this was the best opportunity to catch the airline. But wait, this wasn't the first time I was about to make a booking at their confusing website. Let's go back in time shall we?

My first attempt to log blu-express took place about two years ago. I had put together a nice itinerary to visit Rome for the first time. On the return journey, my intention was to fly blu-express on FCO-MXP (a route that blu-express has since shut down). Unfortunately, I had to cancel this trip because of family reasons.
Had I logged blu-express? No, I had failed.

My second attempt to log blu-express took place some months later. My family had planned to visit the island of Sicily and visit the city of Palermo. We had booked flights via Rome on the way out (including FCO-PMO on blu-express) while returning via MXP from CTA, logging Lufthansa Italia (that has also been shut down since that). blu-express notified us some weeks before departure that our flight had been cancelled and the only other available flight on the route was impossible to connect to. Ironically, Finnair, that we had planned to fly HEL-FCO on also made some drastic changes to their flights to Rome, notified us about them - and - allowed us to rebook the outbound journey via MXP. From there, a cheap easyJet ticket saved us. This meant we both landed and took off from CTA and we grounded our plans about spending our week in Palermo.
Had I logged blu-express? No, I had once again failed.

My third attempt to log blu-express got started a Saturday night in the middle of October. I remember the weather being horrible, it was pitch dark outside and I was browsing various airline websites, dreaming about escaping from the Finnish climate. As I was about to open the Blue1 website (that's a nice airline, by the way!) my web browser suggested blu-express.com instead. I had to do something about it.
After a quick chat with my parents we came to the solution that leaving on holiday to some nice location in the beginning of 2012 would be ideal. Someone suggested the island of Malta, it was tempting to catch a flight on Air Malta, but flights were quite expensive. So I suggested "What about Italy? Let's say Palermo where we did not make it last time". Indeed, it worked, we all liked the idea, we looked at the dates and settled for a week in the middle of February.

"Well, could you search the flights?". Some moments later I heard the words I wanted to hear so badly. And indeed I found very interesting flights, also priced within an acceptable range, returned to my parents and presented the schedules to them. "This looks good", was their response, "but wait, blu-express, what is that for airline?". It had come to the crucial moment.

As the saying goes, the customer is always right. As I was due to reply the question my parents had asked, I remembered the customer reviews I had read on Skytrax.

I flew on an extremely old and very badly kept 737-400. Seats in terrible condition. Toilet too.

It was supposed to be a 10.30am flight however at check-in, the girl said there was a schedule change and was now a 3.30pm flight. This made our connection tight but still ok. In the afternoon at check-in, we were told the flight was delayed a further 1.5 hrs. We had a 7.5 hr delay with no apologies.

To add insult to injury the only company representative kept telling lies, we were told several times that the plane was on the ground but since as the airport was busy there was no bus to pick us up. The price was only marginally lower than easyjet. I only took that flight because I could get to Rome earlier (supposedly).

So I told them it is an Italian low cost airline, offering flights from Rome to Palermo for an unbeatable 19 EUR. The schedule also fitted our travel plans perfectly, and I added, it would bring some excitement to our travelling as well.
The sound of the price was enough - "well, 19 EUR, that sure sounds too tempting to let go. Go ahead with the bookings!".
Had I logged blu-express? No, but I was closer than ever.

Well, an order was to be sent to the guy (see, only one, well that's because of the economic downturn) at the booking department. But wait? Why doesn't he answer on the phone? Because he has the same phone number as I have? Great, so now I need to be an office guy that has to work 15 hours per day and being very much underpaid. Fine, I kinda like his job anyway. So I attached a name tag to my shirt...

Booking Assistant
717 Solutions


... and started my work.

Norwegian Air Shuttle (I wonder about their name every time I hear it!) was willing to sell me a HEL-FCO ticket for 59 EUR, their cheapest advertised fare. Quickly grabbed without any optional extras. Then came the interesting part - the next segment to be booked was FCO-PMO on blu-express. A 14.45 timed flight fitted our plan perfectly and was quickly booked for 19 EUR.

The return journey was an interesting one. I could have booked PMO-FCO on blu-express (no thanks, not a second time) or Alitalia and continue FCO-RIX-HEL on air Baltic for 80 EUR but nope, perhaps it was the need to add another new departure airport to my log or my sympathy for the SAS Group - I soon found an evening connection LIN-ARN-HEL with SAS for some 85 EUR. As a bonus the LIN-ARN was scheduled to be operated by the MD-80 (yes, I love t-tails!) and ARN-HEL on the "drunkyard flight" was on the 737-600, a new type for my log.

Finally to connect the dots, Alitalia happily sold me a PMO-LIN ticket for 45 EUR. To add insult to the injury, or to add some excitement (you pick which one you desire!) the remark "Code Share Alitalia – Compagnia Aerea Italiana S.p.A.”?/Alitalia Express - Air One aircraft and crew" was written on my booking confirmation. So was I going to fly on Alitalia? or Air One? or Alitalia Express? Or perhaps a mix of all these? I had no clue.

Knowing me and my booking department, the composed itinerary was very exiting already until I remembered that approximately 200 kilometers south of Palermo is an island called Malta. That has an airport. And a national carrier I hadn't flown on. It didn't take long before I had booked a CTA-MLA on Air Malta for 45 EUR. For the return trip I wanted to add another new airport and indeed I found a late night flight on Ryanair (an airline I am proud to say I had never flown on before!) for the grand total of 11 EUR routed MLA-TPS. This also left me with around seven hours in Malta.

This is what my route ended up looking like:




With credits to Karl L. Swartz and Great Circle Mapper.

Of course this was too good to be true, and only some weeks after booking, I received an email from blu-express (in very bad English) saying the timing for my flight had changed from 14.45 to 16.00. Not a big deal, but sure giving a good hint of what was to come later...

...as another dark and rainy Saturday night this email had landed in my mailbox:



Damn. A quick check with my parents revealed a couple of hours change in schedule wasn't a very big matter and a city visit to Rome (or perhaps the smaller town of Ostia, also explored by another A.netter) was a good option if the time between the flights grew too big.
Moments later the booking department had clicked on the big and red button accepting these changes.
My mind spoke to me. "What have you done?"
Did I want to fail once again logging blu-express? No, they had caused me too much trouble already.
"I'm going to log that airline no matter if it forces me to wait for 10 hours in an airport without electricity to catch a smelling 737-400 with an inoperative lavatory. Yes.".

Chapter 2: Change in plans

Sometimes life takes quite surprising turns. I experienced one of these moments early evening on Sunday as I received a phone call from some close relatives of mine. Losing a dear one is never easy, but it is part of life. Hearing that my grandfather had passed away some moments earlier was of course a very chocking message.

Moreover, as my father had left on a business trip some days earlier I knew I did not want to spend my holiday alone. The first thing I did was of course to postpone my trip to Sicily & Malta as well as cancel my hotel there.

What came next was too much. As I learned that the father of my best friend was in a very critical state we decided to spend the next days together. Without any doubt, the best way of getting over such sad memories is by talking. And the next days spent together with my friend were very relieving. And as we got news that his father already felt much better I decided to visit Lapland and talk to friends and relatives there.

Initially, I had planned to travel together with my father, but he left a couple of days earlier, taking a night train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. As I started looking for option close to midnight on Tuesday I discovered that VR (our train company) had already shut down their online booking facility for the night and that all flight options were horribly expensive. Flybe wanted around 200 EUR for a one way ticket HEL-KEM and Finnair wanted me to pony up some 400 EUR for a return ticket to Rovaniemi, which was the most comfortable option. Of course I was prepared to pay a higher fare this time as the reason of the trip was so important, but when I logged onto www.blue1.com and found a 45 EUR youth ticket for a very comfortable 14.40 departure the next day on a flight to Oulu I could not help but smile.

It was only after I had booked the flight and I wanted to check in online that I discovered the seat map was showing a Boeing 717. I could not think of a more appropriate way of flying up North to share memories and thoughts with family and friends.

Because of very steep fares, scheduling reasons (and fine, a bit of financial reasons as well) I decided to take the train home on Sunday. An older express train for 2 hours and after that a 7 hours ride on an InterCity train cost my wallet 58 EUR. Sure, if I would have paid double the price (plus a train ticket plus a taxi ride) I could have flown home on Flybe but after my experience in December (see here: Flying North On The ATR! HEL-OUL/KEM-HEL (by 717Flyer Dec 30 2011 in Trip Reports)) I decided it would be a better choice to save that money for some other flights instead (for example on intriguing Italian low cost carriers!).

Chapter 3: A flight I will remember

Wednesday 22.02.2012

During online check in the evening before I noted I had flown all too many flights on the 717s without having the real experience. I had never been sitting far back in the 717 cabin, fully enjoying the thrust and power of the RR engines. So I quickly selected seat 22A. Needless to say, now I was really eagerly looking forward to my flight.

Despite having tried hard to convince my family that I knew public transportation to the airport better than my own wardrobe my mother insisted on driving me to the airport. And I am sure you all know that it is hard to overtalk caring parents. And so I arrived and stepped outside terminal 1 after a comfortable car drive of around 30 minutes.

Driving conditions were better than expected and we had arrived at the airport a bit too early for my taste, around 1 hour 20 minutes ahead of departure. So we had a final nice chat before saying goodbyes.

I was expecting quite a big rush at the airport this afternoon as this particular week was the Winter holiday of all scools in Southern Finland - but it seems like everyone had already left on vacation (just as I had planned to do on Monday!) as I stepped into an empty Terminal 1:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2757.jpg

I quickly printed my receipt, oh sorry, I mean boarding pass from a kiosk. As I looked up on the wall besides me I saw something that made me feel at home:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2758.jpg

And the slogan, Let’s do , that has by the way attracted some critical words by British passengers on the KF Facebook page as it apparently doesn’t have any meaning, later proved right, at least on my flight.

My thinking was interrupted by the sound of a group of 20-30 German teenagers just leaving the Blue1 check in counters. They did not exactly look like very experienced travellers, so I climbed the stairs to the security control quite fast to get there first (hey, those German fellows should be happy to see someone showing them what to do at the security checkpoint!).

Surprisingly, the security agent was in really good mood. A loud greeting and when he says You should appear on those videos showing step-to-step instructions what to do in security control - have a great flight! I am completely sold. Perhaps Finavia isn’t so bad after all?

As I exit the security checkpoint with a smile on my face I see this Lufthansa bird, dedicated to Jonas:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2759.jpg

I don’t need to look at a monitor because as I turn my head to the right I see my flight is departing from gate 12 some meters away. Total walking time from security to gate? 20 seconds. You’ve got to love T1 at Helsinki.

My timing was perfect as just as I arrive and sit down I see a beautiful, blue, yet colorful thing landing on runway 15 just in front of my nose.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2760.jpg

It is arriving some 10 minutes early from ARN (that by the way had experienced some heavy delays that morning due to weather conditions) and I am delighted as it pulls up to my gate.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2761.jpg

Don’t be afraid to come closer:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2762.jpg

It is OH-BLO. She is so gorgeous. And she is a new one for my log as well. At this stage a certain A.netter was almost jumping of joy...  http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2763.jpg

Despite the early arrival they waste no time in turning the plane and after the usual crossfeeding has taken place (come on, a Finnair catering truck simply CANNOT feed a 717!) boarding is called 10 minutes early.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Helsinki (HEL) - Oulu (OUL)
Airline: Blue1
Flight: KF205
Scheduled times: 14:40-15:45
Actual times: 14:25-15:24
Seat: 22A, window
Class: Economy
Equipment: Boeing 717
Reg: OH-BLO, Morning Dew




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Photo © Martin Djupenstrom
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Photo © Spotnap



As always, a friendly welcome from our purser Jaana upon boarding (sorry PH, I did not get a shot of the name of the aircraft when boarding, it was blocked by a trolley...).

As I reach 22A I am delighted with the view I am teased with:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2764.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2765.jpg

After taking this shot I am approached by a male crew member. Hi, I am Ari and crew on this flight. After boarding is completed you are free to move to another row upfront to have a better view and less noise from the engines. . I tell him that no way Jose, I specially chose this seat to get the full experience. I also mention something about my love for the 717 and other stuff. Joni just answers that I like you! as he leaves to assist other passengers during boarding.

Boarding is completed early (that is the privilege you get for flying on these business-oriented routes; despite a pretty good load everyone takes their seats in a matter of minutes) and we push back at 14.25, 15 minutes early, now that is Scandinavian punctuality for you.

Flight time is announced as 1 hour and the crew is introduced as “Jaana, Jaana (yes, there’s two of us) and Ari”.

The grey house on this picture is by the way the headquarters of Blue1.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2767.jpg

Hello Petteri(‘s airline), at least until we get Estonian Air Saabs here:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2768.jpg

Our taxi to runway 22R (seems like no other runway ever is used for takeoff when I’m in town) is very fast.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2770.jpg

And we take off 10 minutes ahead of scheduled, now that is good performance!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2771.jpg

Despite leg room is worse here than in the front rows of the 717 the pitch is sufficient for a man with my measures:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2766.jpg

A look in the comfy 717 cabin. The load was some 70 % I’d estimate, with the seat next to me remaining empty.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2769.jpg

Looking back at the last row I could not help but thinking of Markus and others: the whole row was empty. But do take my word of advice: never choose row 24 on a 717 (at least on KF) as that row is missing a window and on row 23 all you get is a lovely RR engine blocking the view. So if you ask me 22A and 22F, window seats on row 22, are the best seats in town.

I must say that I had thought the roaring of the engines would have been much more disturbing. Sure they sounded powerful (and the takeoff was a signature 717 one, always nice) but I would happily choose this seat again. Maybe it’s just me and my 717 obsession...

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2772.jpg


We experience some turbulence immediately after take off so it takes some time for the seatbelt sign to be turned off.

Safety card (and nope, I did not liberate it, because it is already part of my collection):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2774.jpg

And a spicy looking Blue1 magazine (that I took with me as reading material perhaps mostly because it contained a very interesting feature on Belgium). And don’t worry Hannah, there was an icy feature on Switzerland as well. They did not mention anything about chocolate though.  http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2775.jpg

Now dear readers, feel invited to learn something new about what makes the Boeing 717 so superior:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2776.jpg

Despite being a Finn, I must admit that I am not a big fan of coffee. And when our lovely steward reaches my row with the drink trolley I only ask for a glass of water. But nope, Ari is sure to go the extra mile as he tells me Why don’t you have a cup of coffee to go with that? I can pour you half a cup of coffee rich with milk and sugar. I am sure you will like it. . And before I have any time to turn down the offer I am presented with a rather generous cup of coffee. That is proactive service for sure.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2778.jpg

Must have a witty remark in a TR:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2779.jpg

The rest of the flight is spent wondering about the largest mysteries of life and of course, enjoying the IFE:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2780.jpg

Listening to the powerful engines I have very mixed emotions. Most of all, I feel safe. And remembering how my grandfather always shared my enthusiasm for aviation he always used to distinguish a clear difference between aircraft and flying machines. That moment I knew I were flying on the latter one.
Sure, there may have been a few scratches on the window, there were no dropdown screens, not even to talk about an IFE (or actually it had the best of all IFEs: Window(TM)).You could see the fabric on the seats wasn’t brand new and sure, the plane was lacking the “new car smell”.
But the crew had genuine smiles on their faces. All in all the flight reminded me of flying back in the good old days. Perhaps with the exception of online check in, last minute youth tickets and witty remarks.

Needless to say these thoughts, most of all the memories of my grandfather, made me quite emotional. I was woken up from my thoughts by one of the Jaana’s collecting trash. Apparently I must have looked a bit out of order because she immediately asked me Are you alright? . Those are details that I really appreciate. And they also made up a little bit of the fact that I was flying alone.

Soon captain Koljonen is on the speaker. I recognize both his name and his voice (see here if you don’t believe me: Edinburgh, Blue1 And The Boeing 717! HEL-EDI-HEL (by 717Flyer Jul 9 2011 in Trip Reports)). He tells us we are starting our descent with landing expected within 15 minutes. The weather in Oulu is expected to be half cloudy, -3°C with arrival on time (that’s hardly a surprise thinking we took off 10 minutes ahead of STD!).

Look! There’s snow!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2781.jpg

Window scratches preventing you from seeing the island of Hailuoto:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2782.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2783.jpg


Touchdown on runway 12 at 15.21 is after a flying time of 51 minutes:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2785.jpg

Hello Norwegian:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2786.jpg

We dock to a jetway at 15.24, 21 minutes early (and noone even mentions anything about it - apparently this is business as usual). After this it takes a good five minutes for the jetty to be adjusted.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2788.jpg

Petteri’s favourite airport owner:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2789.jpg

It is amusing to hear two businessmen complaining about our early arrival “The car won’t be here until quarter to four to pick me up. Typical”. Other passengers seem more grateful about our early arrival. Waiting for the door to be opened I take this chance to thank Ari for this great flight. Apparently they don’t hear the t-word (thanks) very often because he is really surprised. Really?? Well I’m super happy to hear that. .

Walking up the aisle I get an idea of what would be the perfect finale for this flight: a cockpit visit. Therefore I decide to ask Jaana (don’t know which one!) at the door. First she doesn’t say anything but then she cra

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline717Flyer From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 303 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 6622 times:

Walking up the aisle I get an idea of what would be the perfect finale for this flight: a cockpit visit. Therefore I decide to ask Jaana (don’t know which one!) at the door. First she doesn’t say anything but then she cracks a smile.. Of course! I will ask the captain right away, he’s a great fellow. . And a moment later I am allowed in.

By the time I get there the co-pilot has already left, but we have a really nice and interesting chat with Mr. Koljonen anyway. I ask him some questions about how long he has been flying for Blue1, how long he has been a qualified 717 driver and what he thinks of the 717. Turns out he has been flying for Blue1 for eight years, having started flying the Boeing 717 in June last year. He also mentions the B717 is a very nice plane to fly, saying it offers modern technology, still being a “real machine”. The pilot also tells me he’s missing the MD-90 but that it kinda feels comforting to be flying on the MD-95 now.
Finally I learn the whole crew is spending a night in Oulu before flying home the next morning. As the next set of pilots want to enter the cockpit our chat is interrupted and he presents me as “our future pilot”. Finally I wish the pilots many happy flights and he promises to do his best as long as I promise to keep flying with them. And that’s an easy choice, eh?  

Finally I ask for a photo, which is granted without any questions:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2790.jpg

As you may have understood, my day is saved. The flight I expected to be quite standard (or a flight on the Boeing 717 is never mundane but anyway) turned out to be something very special and memorable. Needless to say I thanked Jaana many times before deboarding.

In the jetway I take a final look at what could be my future office:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2791.jpg

The departure gate is absolutely packed, so looks like the return flight was carrying quite a very good load of passengers (well, they made a wise choice!).

Every time I enter the new arrivals hall at Oulu it surprises me with its size and all the light let in through the big windows. Surprisingly only a couple of persons are left there from my flight - ground handling must have been very efficient (or then my nice cockpit visit took longer than the couple of seconds it felt like.  ).

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2794.jpg

With all honor to Blue1 and the Boeing 717 but seeing my father waiting for me outside the airport building and running into his arms was the best that happened during that day. But the cockpit visit came as a close second...

A final look at Oulu Airport - a terminal I have landed at many times but never taken off from (in a couple of months I will have):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2795.jpg

Chapter 4: Snow and train rides

Below I will share a couple of wintery shots from Lapland with you - they are taken in the surroundings of the village my relatives live in.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2796.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2797.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2798.jpg

This road is some 150 kilometers long (and yes, for those of you interested - there was also some Reindeer Air equipment on the spot - I did not manage to buy a ticket though and they took off before I managed to get any decent shots):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2800.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2801.jpg


Sunday 26.02.2012

Wake up is set for 9.00 a.m. but I wake up at 7.00 a.m. so no need for a wake up call this cold and sunny morning. I am still a bit reluctant towards an 11 hours train ride, and browsing various flight options the night before I had found Finnair Plus award tickets available on the early morning flight from Rovaniemi to Helsinki on Monday but unfortunately my father doesn’t like the idea of waking up at 3.30 a.m. to catch a 6.00 a.m. flight. So I bury the ideas of making a much quicker and nicer return journey, and pack my last belongings in my backpack.

After a car drive of roughly one hour we arrive at Rovaniemi railway station.

My compartment for the two and a half hour-ride:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2804.jpg

Sunday, February 26th, 2012
Rovaniemi (ROI) - Oulu (OUL)
Airline: err... nope, VR
Train: P 710
Scheduled times: 12:40 - 15:07
Actual times: 12:40 - 15:03
Seat: 27, compartment 6 window
Class: Economy
Equipment: Pikajuna / Express Train



Cabin view; these older express trains offer quite comfortable seating even though the compartment in front of mine already was fitted with thinner, more uncomfortable seats (read on to see them).

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2805.jpg

This train ride goes quite quickly - we leave Rovaniemi bang on time and I spend the time reading a book and eating some wonderful pastries prepared by my grandmother (sorry, I had already eaten all of them when getting the idea of taking a photo...) and we arrive to Oulu some five minutes earlier than scheduled. That is schedule padding for you.

My “transfer time” at Oulu railway station is some 20 minutes, actually the next train is leaving from the platform right opposite where I arrived. I decide to walk along the train, snapping some pictures on the way and on my way back a conductor asks me Are you having trouble finding your compartment? but I tell him that nope, I am just catching some fresh air.

My train (and a bit of me as well):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2806.jpg

Sunday, February 26th, 2012
Oulu (OUL) - Helsinki (HKI)
Airline: still no luck... VR
Train: IC 58
Scheduled times: 15:35 - 22:52
Actual times: 15:36 - 22:51
Seat: 75, compartment 3 window, upper floor
Class: Economy
Equipment: InterCity


Cabin view - these are the harder seats I was talking about earlier:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2807.jpg

Leg room was NOT sufficient for a 7-hour ride, something I would discover not many hours later.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2808.jpg

We leave one minute after schedule and I snap this shot - visible here is the Oulu bus station:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2813.jpg

I also open my IFE system for this (too long) train ride, named “Where are we now (TM)":

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2812.jpg

Beautiful views are available as long as we cross the Northern parts of the country:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2817.jpg

After having some delicious home-baked rieska bread (yeah, again no photo, sorry) I decide I need something sweet so I head to the restaurant car in the train. Turns out the have a special deal - a dougnut and a cup of coffee for 3 EUR. I decided for it as they had no muffins...

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2818.jpg

After this I had planned to continue writing this report on my laptop - only to found out electricity wasn’t working in my compartment (and neither in the neigbouring cars). Boo you for not working:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2820.jpg

As a silver lining I discover that the only “entertainment” I have left in my bag having finished the book is, yes, my math book . So the next hour or so I spent studying...... …... until I fall asleep... ...and wake up to the wonderful announcement saying we are reaching our end station in a matter of minutes. Phew.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_2821.jpg


Conclusions

Had I logged a flight on Blu-Express? No, I had failed once again.

Will I stop trying to get on their flights then? Nope, my booking department is already busy planning and booking a new trip to Sicily and Malta. If everything goes well, I might be able to squeeze in a ride on the new Boeing 717 operator Volotea as they are opening quite a few new domestic routes in Italy.

Before taking off on the Blue1 flight my initial thought was not to make any verdict nor trip report. But I was wrong. I can’t come up with a single negative aspect about my flight on Blue1: the crew was very welcoming, service was great, the flight was 20 minutes early, comfort was great with an empty seat next to me and the Boeing 717 was... ...well, a Boeing 717. And the cockpit visit finally made the flight an experience I will remember for a long time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend I spent with my nearest and dearest in Lapland. After the time spent in the lovely wintery scenery you could say I got a piece of mind at least to a certain degree - my grandfather will always be in my memories, but life goes on. And as a certain A.netter put it in a very beautiful way, every time I take off I am a bit closer to him.

When it comes to our magnificent train company VR I won’t say too much. The lack of much quicker Pendolino trains between Oulu and Helsinki - two of the Finnish key cities - on a Sunday when thousands of families are returning from their winter holidays is simply unacceptable. At least the trains were on time and the compartments were relatively clean. And the train change in Oulu made it more comfortable - sitting 11 hours nonstop on one single train simply is too much for me.

Coming up next may be a business class (fine, Economy Extra) flight on the Boeing 717, a quick daytrip to the Åland Islands or a weekend in London, my booking department has many plans active at the moment.

Your thoughts, questions and comments are as always more than welcome. I would also like to thank my fellow A.netters for their kind support and patience during this difficult period.

Regards,
717Flyer

[Edited 2012-03-01 09:58:21]

User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6597 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 6480 times:

Hi Rasmus!

Sorry to hear you failed once again to log Blu-express.

At least you got to have another flight and one more on the 717.

Nice pictures from Northern Finland!

Hope you make that trip to Sicily soon!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2486 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 6403 times:

My friend 717Flyer,

Even though I never met your grandfather, I am really touched by your dedication of this report to him. There is simply no more appropriate way to honor your beloved one who shared the same passion with you and who you undoubtedly inherited the enthusiasm from. Don’t you think he just sent the 717 to collect you and was actually flying along in the clouds to watch over you while being taken care of by Captain Koljonen, Janaa twins and Ari?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
as I received a phone call from some close relatives of mine. Losing a dear one is never easy, but it is part of life. Hearing that my grandfather had passed away some moments earlier was of course a very chocking message

I had lump in my throat by reading this. It was exactly the same experience I had with my Ma Ingrid’s passing.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Needless to say these thoughts, most of all the memories of my grandfather, made me quite emotional.

I wish I could give you a hug at that very moment.


Oh dear, I got tears in my eyes again. Let’s proceed to your flight experience, shall we?


Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Booking Assistant
717 Solutions
I love your trademark. You should ask for a copyright. 


Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
At this stage a certain A.netter was almost jumping of joy...  

I am so happy for you.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
So if you ask me 22A and 22F, window seats on row 22, are the best seats in town.

I believe you.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
two businessmen complaining about our early arrival “The car won’t be here until quarter to four to pick me up. Typical”.

So you have got a car? That doesn’t impress me much.   


717Flyer, you are such a great friend. I really look forward to our meeting next June. You have been supportive to me and I will be more than happy to do the same to you.


Thank you so much for writing and sharing your feelings and joy.

Warmest regrads,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5174 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 6295 times:

Hi, R.,

what a great read, well done.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

This trip report is dedicated to my grandfather who is now at a better place.

My condolences, I know how it feels, you know.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

Well, an order was to be sent to the guy (see, only one, well that's because of the economic downturn) at the booking department. But wait? Why doesn't he answer on the phone? Because he has the same phone number as I have? Great, so now I need to be an office guy that has to work 15 hours per day and being very much underpaid. Fine, I kinda like his job anyway. So I attached a name tag to my shirt...

So funny and true.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

Looking back at the last row I could not help but thinking of Markus and others: the whole row was empty. But do take my word of advice: never choose row 24 on a 717 (at least on KF) as that row is missing a window and on row 23 all you get is a lovely RR engine blocking the view. So if you ask me 22A and 22F, window seats on row 22, are the best seats in town.

Good to know with more stuff like this coming up also here.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

Your thoughts, questions and comments are as always more than welcome. I would also like to thank my fellow A.netters for their kind support and patience during this difficult period.

You´re welcome, you know.

Looking forward to more stories from you´re hand.

Best greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6000 times:

Nice report Rasmus!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
This is what my route ended up looking like:

Looks good. Shame it didn't work out.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
After taking this shot I am approached by a male crew member. Hi, I am Ari and crew on this flight. After boarding is completed you are free to move to another row upfront to have a better view and less noise from the engines. . I tell him that no way Jose, I specially chose this seat to get the full experience. I also mention something about my love for the 717 and other stuff. Joni just answers that I like you! as he leaves to assist other passengers during boarding.

Great crew!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinestipica From Croatia, joined Feb 2011, 426 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5958 times:

Hi 717Flyer !
too much emotion for me ...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
So I told them it is an Italian low cost airline, offering flights from Rome to Palermo for an unbeatable 19 EUR. The schedule also fitted our travel plans perfectly, and I added, it would bring some excitement to our travelling as well.
The sound of the price was enough - "well, 19 EUR, that sure sounds too tempting to let go. Go ahead with the bookings!".

I laughed with tears in my eyes ... you are a master of marketing hehehheheh

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Well, an order was to be sent to the guy (see, only one, well that's because of the economic downturn) at the booking department. But wait? Why doesn't he answer on the phone? Because he has the same phone number as I have? Great, so now I need to be an office guy that has to work 15 hours per day and being very much underpaid. Fine, I kinda like his job anyway. So I attached a name tag to my shirt...

Booking Assistant
717 Solutions

hahhahhaha I imagine that scene ehhehehehe excellent description ... we all must send a letter of recommendation to the board of directors ... family 717Flyer deserve a raise ...  
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Sometimes life takes quite surprising turns. I experienced one of these moments early evening on Sunday as I received a phone call from some close relatives of mine. Losing a dear one is never easy, but it is part of life. Hearing that my grandfather had passed away some moments earlier was of course a very chocking message.

again tears in my eyes... ... you will always have the memories

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Despite having tried hard to convince my family that I knew public transportation to the airport better than my own wardrobe my mother insisted on driving me to the airport. And I am sure you all know that it is hard to overtalk caring parents. And so I arrived and stepped outside terminal 1 after a comfortable car drive of around 30 minutes.

but it's mother's job ... so ...hehehhe

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
My timing was perfect as just as I arrive and sit down I see a beautiful, blue, yet colorful thing landing on runway 15 just in front of my nose.

it is Europe's most beautiful color scheme ...ok and BD ... last summer I went to the airport a few times only to welcome "the handsome" ...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Don’t be afraid to come closer:

hehehehehhehehehhe seducer

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
It is OH-BLO. She is so gorgeous. And she is a new one for my log as well. At this stage a certain A.netter was almost jumping of joy...

me me me talalalalalal THE WINNER ... all muffins are mine hehehehe

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Listening to the powerful engines I have very mixed emotions. Most of all, I feel safe. And remembering how my grandfather always shared my enthusiasm for aviation he always used to distinguish a clear difference between aircraft and flying machines. That moment I knew I were flying on the latter one.

again tears in my eyes ... 
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
In the jetway I take a final look at what could be my future office:

really ??? ... then we all have the opportunity for captain upgrade hehehehhe I support the idea

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
With all honor to Blue1 and the Boeing 717 but seeing my father waiting for me outside the airport building and running into his arms was the best that happened during that day. But the cockpit visit came as a close second...

this is the officialy A.net treason but then again why I have tears in my eyes hmmmmm hehehhehehe

dear 717Flyer thank you for this beautiful and emotional trip report ... only the good thoughts coming from me ...
stipica or muffins1 hihihihihi  



Open your eyes and think
User currently offlineSultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1746 posts, RR: 30
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 5793 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello 717Flyer,

Thanks heaps for this wonderful, yet slightly emotional report. Nothing wrong with the latter of course. Ever since I heard the news about your beloved grandfather taking the high road to eternity, I couldn’t help but wondering how you got along. I find it very courageous to partly write and fly off your emotions. You couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate way to honor your grandfather than taking a trip in a ‘flying machine’   Oh btw, I’m sorry you missed out again on blue-express. Hopefully you succeed in flying them before to go bust...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
And I would also like to warn you that a large percentage of the pictures in this report have Boeing 717s as their motif.

I didn’t expect anything else from you  

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
And I would also like to warn you that a large percentage of the pictures in this report have Boeing 717s as their motif.
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
This trip report is dedicated to my grandfather who is now at a better place.

  

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
This is what my route ended up looking like:

Very nice and 'FlyingFinn76 inspired' routing. A bit too bad you couldn't accomplish it. I hope the cancellation didn't leave you with a deficit in your wallet.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
but when I logged onto www.blue1.com and found a 45 EUR youth ticket for a very comfortable 14.40 departure the next day on a flight to Oulu I could not help but smile.

Blue1 to the rescue   

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Reg: OH-BLO, Morning Dew

Looking out the airport window, it is not much of a 'morning dew' morning to me...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I must say that I had thought the roaring of the engines would have been much more disturbing.

Last time I was on the OV CRJ900, I was in very last row as well and found the droning engine sound quite disturbing. It overtook my love for the CRJ unfortunately...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
that I took with me as reading material perhaps mostly because it contained a very interesting feature on Belgium

What was the article about?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Apparently I must have looked a bit out of order because she immediately asked me Are you alright? . Those are details that I really appreciate. And they also made up a little bit of the fact that I was flying alone.

Nice to see genuine 'caring about pax' crew on your flight   

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The pilot also tells me he’s missing the MD-90 but that it kinda feels comforting to be flying on the MD-95 now.

Ha the MD-95, good remark of Mr Koljonen.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
With all honor to Blue1 and the Boeing 717 but seeing my father waiting for me outside the airport building and running into his arms was the best that happened during that day. But the cockpit visit came as a close second...

Sweet.

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks ago) and read 5724 times:

Hi 717Flyer,

Condolences on the departure of your grandfather. This trip report is a fitting dedication to his memory.

The original route that you had planned looks good and it is a shame that you were unable to go ahead with it. I wouldn't describe it as a failure, though. One door closes, another opens and you possibly saved yourself a lot of aggro.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
A loud greeting and when he says You should appear on those videos showing step-to-step instructions what to do in security control - have a great flight!

How nice to hear of cheerful security at the airport. It makes for a pleasant way to start the journey. And the crew, Ari and Jaana come across as genuinely warm and caring individuals.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Apparently they don’t hear the t-word (thanks) very often because he is really surprised. Really?? Well I’m super happy to hear that.

What a sad reflection on many travellers. Saying thank you doesn't take much yet can give a lot. Just the same as a friendly smile.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
seeing my father waiting for me outside the airport building and running into his arms was the best that happened during that day. But the cockpit visit came as a close second...

Yes, very wise. There is always another cockpit but as you know we only have one father or mother.

It is years since I have been on a train - 2007 Wien Südbahnhof to Bratislava Hlavná Stanica and back - so thank you also for the details of the train journey.

Thank you for sharing what must have been a very emotional time for you. Best wishes to you and your family.
Roy


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2445 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 5691 times:

Sometimes live is hitting hard...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
blu-express is an Italian low cost airline owned by Italian charter airline and tour operator Blue Panorama ... As of January, 2012, this intriguing airline had an on time time performance of 20 % in departing flights.

That is one of many reasons, why I don't understand that AZ will take over the company.
Anyway, Blu-Express seems to start many new routes from this summer- good luck!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Nope, my booking department is already busy planning and booking a new trip to Sicily and Malta.

You should have an eye on: www.volawindjet.it (soon to be taken over by AZ).

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Had I logged a flight on Blu-Express? No, I had failed once again.

Hope you requested refund of airport tax and fuel surcharges (also from the other airlines expected to fly on). Any response yet?!


User currently offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1461 posts, RR: 33
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5640 times:

Hi Rasmus,

What an mix of emotion and humour. Despite the circumstances, you had me chuckling with your one liners and then brought tears to my eyes at some points.I'm sure your grandad would be very touched at the dedication.

I had to smile at your various attempts to log blu-express, what a story! All the effort on you part, finally it looked like it was going to work, but sadly no. Fingers crossed that you do manage to catch them one day. Oh, and congratulations on the new job, but they are definitely working you too hard. Any chance of a payrise?

Once again, Blue1 came up trumps with their friendly crew, extra special coffee, attention to your wellbeing and cockpit visit. Are you ever going to have a bad flight on this carrier?!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Of course this was too good to be true, and only some weeks after booking, I received an email from blu-express (in very bad English) saying the timing for my flight had changed from 14.45 to 16.00. Not a big deal, but sure giving

That really is bad English. Mind you, Blue1 aren't far behind with their Let's do slogan!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
And don’t worry Hannah, there was an icy feature on Switzerland as well. They did not mention anything about chocolate though

How can you write an article on Switzerland and not mention chocolate?  
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Needless to say these thoughts, most of all the memories of my grandfather, made me quite emotional.

There's something about being up above the clouds, isn't there?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
and yes, for those of you interested - there was also some Reindeer Air equipment on the spot - I did not manage to buy a ticket though and they took off before I managed to get any decent shots):

They must be very strict about their timekeeping!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
My compartment for the two and a half hour-ride:

Love those old style coaches, like something out of an long forgotten era.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Turns out the have a special deal - a dougnut and a cup of coffee for 3 EUR. I decided for it as they had no muffins...

You saved the day! I was beginning to worry that there wasn't going to be a single photo of a high calorie treat!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
And as a certain A.netter put it in a very beautiful way, every time I take off I am a bit closer to him.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
Don’t you think he just sent the 717 to collect you and was actually flying along in the clouds to watch over you while being taken care of by Captain Koljonen, Janaa twins and Ari?
Quoting Quokkas (Reply 8):
Yes, very wise. There is always another cockpit but as you know we only have one father or mother.

Gentlemen, you'll have me crying in a minute.

Happy flying & all the best
Infodesk   



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27126 posts, RR: 60
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5611 times:

Hey great report and read !

Good luck with the next attempt but as others said another B717 is not to be sniffed at . I still didnt get on even one  

Thanks again .

OA260  


User currently onlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 1003 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5364 times:

Great story, great. Thanks for sharing!
Better luck with Blue-express next time, and once again, take care with the personal situation.

[Edited 2012-03-02 14:01:52]

User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6835 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 5208 times:

Hi 717Flyer,

wow, what a story! That must have been a challenging time for you. Too bad you couldn't go on the originally planned trip, but there are more important things in life! You still made a special trip including your beloved 717. I really enjoyed your pictures!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
This trip report is dedicated to my grandfather who is now at a better place.

My condolences.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
As the saying goes, the customer is always right. As I was due to reply the question my parents had asked, I remembered the customer reviews I had read on Skytrax.

Sometimes you get good impressions there, but on cannot entirely trust Skytrax. I remember reading so many negative comments about Virgin Atlantic - but my VS flights last year turned out totally different (positive!).

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Nope, my booking department is already busy planning and booking a new trip to Sicily and Malta. If everything goes well, I might be able to squeeze in a ride on the new Boeing 717 operator Volotea as they are opening quite a few new domestic routes in Italy.

That sounds very good! Hopefully Volotea will be able to build up a stable network. As for Blu-Express - I have never heard positve comments. I have booked a WindJet flight (MXP-CTA one day after the BER meeting) - hopefully it will work out.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

Coming up next may be a business class (fine, Economy Extra) flight on the Boeing 717, a quick daytrip to the Åland Islands or a weekend in London, my booking department has many plans active at the moment.

Another nice plan!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4970 times:

Hi 717 Flyer!

First of all, my condolences regarding your grandfather.

Nice report as usual!
Seems like you had a great experience on KF, your described feelings regarding the flight experience reminds me quite alot of the last couple of SK MD80 flights I've done (one of those flights will be featured in my next report).
You sure had a great seat on that 717, I got to keep that row in mind if I ever get on a KF 717...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

The grey house on this picture is by the way the headquarters of Blue1.

I saw this building when I visited HEL last Wednesday, I was thinking that it might be KF's headquarters, thanks for clearing it out!  
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
a quick daytrip to the Åland Islands

That's what my next report will cover!

Martin

P.S.
I really should book myself to fly on a KF 717...


User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4882 times:

Hi Rasmus,

I started reading your TR two days ago and now I'm finally at the end. I know, I've been extremly lazy but, hey, better late than never!

First of all, congrats - it's been a hearty read and, once again, condolemnces for your loss.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
My first attempt to log blu-express
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
My second attempt to log blu-express
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
My third attempt to log blu-express

These are messages from God, you know? The Almighty cares about you and doesn't want you to waste your time (which, according to Blue1's coffee cup, ain't recycleable) on that horribly crap airline.
My advice, if you'll ever come down to Italy and want to wander a little bit around the Peninsula, is to take a train. I see you're quite keen on those and the AV services aren't bad at all (and, if you're smart and an early bird, pretty cost efficient as well) and, soon enough, a new operator (NTV) will enter the market.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
And the slogan, Let%u2019s do , that has by the way attracted some critical words by British passengers on the KF Facebook page as it apparently doesn%u2019t have any meaning, later proved right, at least on my flight.

Oh, it relieves me to know that it's not neo Latin language speakers twisting and ruining English for the sake of doing badass slogans!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Surprisingly, the security agent was in really good mood. A loud greeting and when he says You should appear on those videos showing step-to-step instructions what to do in security control - have a great flight! I am completely sold. Perhaps Finavia isn%u2019t so bad after all?

You'd definitely do, for example on Budapest's one. It's been made by somebody's cousin dressed up as some sort of "businessman", in a room that looks very much the place where my grand dad used to build up furniture!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Listening to the powerful engines I have very mixed emotions. Most of all, I feel safe. And remembering how my grandfather always shared my enthusiasm for aviation he always used to distinguish a clear difference between aircraft and flying machines. That moment I knew I were flying on the latter one.
Sure, there may have been a few scratches on the window, there were no dropdown screens, not even to talk about an IFE (or actually it had the best of all IFEs: Window(TM)).You could see the fabric on the seats wasn%u2019t brand new and sure, the plane was lacking the %u201Cnew car smell%u201D.
But the crew had genuine smiles on their faces. All in all the flight reminded me of flying back in the good old days. Perhaps with the exception of online check in, last minute youth tickets and witty remarks.

That's the proper way of flying... I mean, cool IFEs, cabin ceilings looking like the Milky Way and all the rest of it aren't a match for some nice scenery flowing past, a cup of coffee and crew enjoying their job.

Looking forward to read frpom you again!

JL


User currently offline717Flyer From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 303 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 4776 times:

The777Man, Suryo, Markus, Gabriel, Stipica, Nils, Roy, debonair, Hannah, Philip, Robert, PlaneHunter, Martin and Fabrizio,

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving a reply.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
My condolences, I know how it feels, you know.
Quoting Quokkas (Reply 8):
Condolences on the departure of your grandfather. This trip report is a fitting dedication to his memory.
Quoting debonair (Reply 9):
Sometimes live is hitting hard...
Quoting roberts87 (Reply 12):
Better luck with Blue-express next time, and once again, take care with the personal situation.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
My condolences.
Quoting deltamartin (Reply 14):
First of all, my condolences regarding your grandfather.

Thank you for your kind words. It really means a lot to me. I may have mentioned it earlier but your support has been very important to me. It is only when such unexpected things happen that we humans realize how small we are and how big our world is. Knowing all of you has made the last weeks much nicer. Thank you.

The777Man:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 2):
Nice pictures from Northern Finland!

Thank you!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 2):
Hope you make that trip to Sicily soon!

Yeah, I will be trying to make it as soon as possible. However as the climate is so horribly hot on Sicily during the summer months it is possible I will save Sicily for the next autumn. Nevertheless, I will be sure to squeeze in one (or two) flights on Blu-Express.

Suryo:

Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
Even though I never met your grandfather, I am really touched by your dedication of this report to him. There is simply no more appropriate way to honor your beloved one who shared the same passion with you and who you undoubtedly inherited the enthusiasm from. Don't you think he just sent the 717 to collect you and was actually flying along in the clouds to watch over you while being taken care of by Captain Koljonen, Janaa twins and Ari?

You have made me cry with these words. It must be the most beautiful sentences I have ever read. Thank you so much, Suryo.

And to end with a small language lesson; the Female FAs were named Jaana , not Janaa .  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
I had lump in my throat by reading this. It was exactly the same experience I had with my Ma Ingrid%u2019s passing.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
I wish I could give you a hug at that very moment.

Aww, thank you. Sitting on that flight was perhaps the first time ever I found it awkward to be sitting with an empty seat next to me - I really would have liked someone to talk to.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
Oh dear, I got tears in my eyes again. Let%u2019s proceed to your flight experience, shall we?

Yes, let's do so! But remember there's nothing wrong about being emotional.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
I love your trademark. You should ask for a copyright.

Definitely, I already have a patent pending for all these "717 abbreviations".

Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
I am so happy for you.

Now I am one step closer to having completed my project to have flown all Blue1 717s. At the moment I still have three examples left to fly.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
So you have got a car? That doesn%u2019t impress me much.

That was exactly my thought also! And as someone has said that time is money for business travelers, shouldn't it be a nice surprise that the flight left early instead of having to sit at an airport and wait?

Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
717Flyer, you are such a great friend. I really look forward to our meeting next June. You have been supportive to me and I will be more than happy to do the same to you.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 3):
Thank you so much for writing and sharing your feelings and joy.

There's not much I can say: I am so grateful for your comments, you are such a caring person. I can't wait for June & Berlin to come!   Markus:

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
what a great read, well done.

Thank you, Markus!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
So funny and true.

Yeah, unfortunately I cannot reveal any other inside information under the circumstances my booking department is working. It's secret stuff if you understand.  
Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
Looking forward to more stories from you´re hand.

Nice to hear. As I mentioned my next trip should be in a month or so, hopefully featuring my first Boeing 717 flight in business class.

Gabriel:

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
Nice report Rasmus!

Thanks!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
Looks good. Shame it didn't work out.

I agree. On the other hand there is always a second chance - if everything goes right I'll be making a new try for Sicily in October this year. And the routing should be quite similar as well.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
Great crew!

Yeah, they once again reminded me of the fact that you don't have to fly far away on an exotic carrier to experience something memorable. I did send Blue1 some feedback about the flight some days ago as the cabin crew on my flight definitely deserves some recognition.

Stipica:

Quoting stipica (Reply 6):
I laughed with tears in my eyes ... you are a master of marketing hehehheheh

Oh, Stipica, you make me blush!  
But as one of my parents suggested the idea to visit Rome and just fly HEL-FCO-HEL; boring and overpriced flights on Finnair I had to come up with something!

Quoting stipica (Reply 6):
hahhahhaha I imagine that scene ehhehehehe excellent description ... we all must send a letter of recommendation to the board of directors ... family 717Flyer deserve a raise ...

You certainly got the point here!

Quoting stipica (Reply 6):
again tears in my eyes... ... you will always have the memories

What you are saying is so true.

Quoting stipica (Reply 6):
but it's mother's job ... so ...hehehhe

  

Quoting stipica (Reply 6):
it is Europe's most beautiful color scheme ...ok and BD ... last summer I went to the airport a few times only to welcome "the handsome" ...

Those words make me feel all warm and fuzzy! Because it's true! The worst thing I have heard to be said about the new Blue1 color scheme is that their 717s are flying banknotes . I do not know what I should think of that.

Quoting stipica (Reply 6):
me me me talalalalalal THE WINNER ... all muffins are mine hehehehe

To get you in the right mood - here is a couple of ones I baked a couple of weeks ago (some of them have blueberry as filling - others made of apple):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/ViareggioGranCanaria971.jpg

Quoting stipica (Reply 6):
dear 717Flyer thank you for this beautiful and emotional trip report ... only the good thoughts coming from me ...

Thank you for your kind words, Stipica. I hope you understand how much it means to me.  
Quoting stipica (Reply 6):
stipica or muffins1 hihihihihi

Hey, you should copyright that one! Otherwise I might use it...

Nils:

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7):
Thanks heaps for this wonderful, yet slightly emotional report. Nothing wrong with the latter of course.

Thanks!  
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7):
Ever since I heard the news about your beloved grandfather taking the high road to eternity, I couldn’t help but wondering how you got along. I find it very courageous to partly write and fly off your emotions. You couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate way to honor your grandfather than taking a trip in a ‘flying machine’  

Okay, now you made my eyes water again..
No, but I really appreciate your support, you are such a kind person.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7):
Oh btw, I’m sorry you missed out again on blue-express. Hopefully you succeed in flying them before to go bust...

Don't worry, I will keep trying. But there is one thing I cannot understand and that is why on earth Alitalia has decided to buy such a *crap* airline as Blu-Express and Blue Panorama? Hopefully Alitalia won't go bust.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7):
Very nice and 'FlyingFinn76 inspired' routing. A bit too bad you couldn't accomplish it. I hope the cancellation didn't leave you with a deficit in your wallet.

Luckily it looks like my travel insurance will cover most of what I paid for the flights, all thanks to a very sympathetic and understanding doctor.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7):
Blue1 to the rescue

... and it wasn't even the first time their youth fares rescued me! But let's save those stories for another time.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7):
What was the article about?

It was quite a comprehensive feature on how to spend a weekend in Belgium - they mentioned what to see in Brussels, Antwerpen and Brygge and quite a number of culinary sights as well. It was Brusselicious!

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7):
Ha the MD-95, good remark of Mr Koljonen.

  

Roy:

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 8):
What a sad reflection on many travellers. Saying thank you doesn't take much yet can give a lot. Just the same as a friendly smile.

Exactly, but then again one explanation is that we Finns are known to be quite silent people. But still that doesn't give us the right to not say thanks! After all cabin crew work very hard under extreme circumstances. That's why I also sent some feedback to Blue1 about my flight.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 8):
Thank you for sharing what must have been a very emotional time for you. Best wishes to you and your family.

Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate it. And all the best to you and your nearest as well!

Debonair:

Quoting debonair (Reply 9):
You should have an eye on: www.volawindjet.it (soon to be taken over by AZ).

I did look at Windjet and I actually had a possibility to choose between Alitalia and Windjet on the PMO-LIN route. But as both are new airlines to me and Alitalia had better timings (plus they were only 10 EUR more expensive) so I went for Alitalia. And according to word of mouth AZ really is the only reliable carrier on the Italian market.

Quoting debonair (Reply 9):
Hope you requested refund of airport tax and fuel surcharges (also from the other airlines expected to fly on). Any response yet?!

Well, blu-express doesn't know a thing such as "a cancelled flights". But SAS has already refunded me some 25 EUR in taxes and charges. Plus I have got news that my travel insurance should cover most of the tickets.

Hannah:

Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
What an mix of emotion and humour. Despite the circumstances, you had me chuckling with your one liners and then brought tears to my eyes at some points.I'm sure your grandad would be very touched at the dedication.

Thanks for these kind comments! I hope you know it means a lot to me.  
Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
I had to smile at your various attempts to log blu-express, what a story! All the effort on you part, finally it looked like it was going to work, but sadly no. Fingers crossed that you do manage to catch them one day. Oh, and congratulations on the new job, but they are definitely working you too hard. Any chance of a payrise?

Despite everything I have gone through with them and the bad reviews I have read I am convinced to fly Blu-Express once. Definitely not twice - that's too much - so I will be trying hard to fit them in on my upcoming Sicily trip. But then again it almost seems like faith doesn't want me to fly them?

Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
Once again, Blue1 came up trumps with their friendly crew, extra special coffee, attention to your wellbeing and cockpit visit. Are you ever going to have a bad flight on this carrier?!

I have a feeling that airline is full of people who genuinely care and love the job they are doing and all you have to do to enjoy superb service is to make a connection! Blue1 has always been seen as an underdog in the Finnish market so I am sure the crews don't always hear just nice comments. But then again only thing that matters is that I have found what is the best way to fly (sorry Lufthansa!).

Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
That really is bad English. Mind you, Blue1 aren't far behind with their Let's do slogan!

Yeah, well the first mail that only informed me about the 1h15min schedule change (without any possibility for a refund) was much worse, but I agree.

And to Blue1's defense I must say that they almost always use their slogan in ways like Let's do Zurich! or Let's do 51 EUR return tickets . Plus on my flight I found the slogan to be very fitting - the crew really was ready to do something for the passenger - very much appreciated.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
How can you write an article on Switzerland and not mention chocolate?

Don't worry, they mentioned loads of ice cream and chocolate in the article about Belgium.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
There's something about being up above the clouds, isn't there?

So true.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
They must be very strict about their timekeeping!
Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
You saved the day! I was beginning to worry that there wasn't going to be a single photo of a high calorie treat!

Belive me or not, Hannah, but I thought of you when taking the photo. And the dougnut was delicious - it was sugary, buttery, filling and yet - light.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
Gentlemen, you'll have me crying in a minute.

Hannah, you already had me crying. Thank you for your kind comments.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 10):
Happy flying & all the best

And the very same to you too!   Philip:

Quoting OA260 (Reply 11):
Hey great report and read !

Thanks, always nice to hear positive comments!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 11):
Good luck with the next attempt but as others said another B717 is not to be sniffed at . I still didnt get on even one

Well you definitely should try hard to get one - you have my guarantee that they are great aircraft!

Robert:

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 12):
Great story, great. Thanks for sharing!
Better luck with Blue-express next time, and once again, take care with the personal situation.

Thank you for leaving a comment! And I won't stop trying with Blu-Express!   PlaneHunter:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
wow, what a story! That must have been a challenging time for you. Too bad you couldn't go on the originally planned trip, but there are more important things in life! You still made a special trip including your beloved 717. I really enjoyed your pictures!

Nice to hear you enjoyed report and thank you for the support.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
Sometimes you get good impressions there, but on cannot entirely trust Skytrax. I remember reading so many negative comments about Virgin Atlantic - but my VS flights last year turned out totally different (positive!).

You are completely right on this - it seems people only write a review when things went all wrong when one should also appreciate those occasions when everything went well. Blue1 also has quite a few negative reviews on Skytrax.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
That sounds very good! Hopefully Volotea will be able to build up a stable network. As for Blu-Express - I have never heard positve comments.

Volotea's success is guaranteed first of all because they operate the Boeing 717 and secondly because the guys at Blue1 will be educating Volotea's flying crews.  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
I have booked a WindJet flight (MXP-CTA one day after the BER meeting) - hopefully it will work out.

I was very close to booking PMO-LIN on Windjet instead of on Alitalia, so it will be interesting to read about your experience. Hope they are still around in June!

Martin:

Thanks for your comments!

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 14):
Seems like you had a great experience on KF, your described feelings regarding the flight experience reminds me quite alot of the last couple of SK MD80 flights I've done (one of those flights will be featured in my next report).

Yeah, so we can come to the conclusion that there really is something special about T-tails and the SAS Group!  
Quoting deltamartin (Reply 14):
I saw this building when I visited HEL last Wednesday, I was thinking that it might be KF's headquarters, thanks for clearing it out!

Indeed, and it has a very strategic position. The Blue1 crew base is on the bottom floor so the crews only need to exit the building and walk some hundred meters to the terminal.

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 14):
P.S.
I really should book myself to fly on a KF 717...

Now I'm getting a major feeling of déjà-vu, but yes, it hasn't changed, you still should get on the SevenOneSeven! You could fly ARN-OUL-HEL so you would try out the new Oulu route at the same time when getting two 717 rides!
Or then HEL-OUL-HEL is available from 45 EUR return.

Fabrizio:

Quoting JL418 (Reply 15):
I started reading your TR two days ago and now I'm finally at the end. I know, I've been extremly lazy but, hey, better late than never!

Definitely, trip reports in general are meant to be enjoyed slowly, perhaps accompanied with some snacks?

Quoting JL418 (Reply 15):
These are messages from God, you know? The Almighty cares about you and doesn't want you to waste your time (which, according to Blue1's coffee cup, ain't recycleable) on that horribly crap airline.
My advice, if you'll ever come down to Italy and want to wander a little bit around the Peninsula, is to take a train. I see you're quite keen on those and the AV services aren't bad at all (and, if you're smart and an early bird, pretty cost efficient as well) and, soon enough, a new operator (NTV) will enter the market.

You make many good points here. It is just that I prefer aircraft over trains any day (hardly no surprise as I am writing on A.net, not T.net) and then from time to time I get wicked ideas. Such as the one to fly Blu-Express. After all the times I have failed doing so it has become a pet project of mine. But I wouldn't be surprised if they would go bust before I have a chance to try out their miserable product.

Once again thank you all for your support.

Regards,
717Flyer


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4584 times:

Hi R.

First of all my condolences of losing your grandfather! Glad you wrote this 717 trip report!
Nice to see your trip up north to Lapland, very interesting read.
However, I tought that legroom was a bit more on KF than pictured!

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinestipica From Croatia, joined Feb 2011, 426 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4560 times:

Hi 717Flyer !

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 16):
To get you in the right mood - here is a couple of ones I baked a couple of weeks ago (some of them have blueberry as filling - others made of apple):

wow myyyyyyy hehehehhe you are the master chief ... Ok ...right now I'm going to look for tickets on muffins1 ...
SPU-HEL or BER-HEL ...can I buy HEL-SPU with DY ... I never flew with them ... pleaseeee ... heheheh

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 16):
Hey, you should copyright that one! Otherwise I might use it...

I will be honored ... and I do not expect royalties heheheh everything in favor of young A.net member
stipica  



Open your eyes and think
User currently offline717Flyer From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 303 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4344 times:

Hi Marc!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 17):
First of all my condolences of losing your grandfather!

Thank you for your support. I really appreciate it.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 17):
Nice to see your trip up north to Lapland, very interesting read.

Glad you liked it!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 17):
However, I tought that legroom was a bit more on KF than pictured!

Well observed. On KF 717s leg room is more tight towards the back of the cabin and leg room is much more comfortable in front of the aircraft.

This shot is from seat 02F:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/Edinburgh388.jpg

*

Hi again Stipica  
Quoting stipica (Reply 18):
wow myyyyyyy hehehehhe you are the master chief ... Ok ...right now I'm going to look for tickets on muffins1 ...

Ooh, thank you for the compliment. And yes, you should try muffins1!

Quoting stipica (Reply 18):
SPU-HEL or BER-HEL ...can I buy HEL-SPU with DY ... I never flew with them ... pleaseeee ... heheheh

Believe me when I say Norwegian is nothing special, so I really think you should prefer the 717 on SPU-HEL.

Quoting stipica (Reply 18):
I will be honored ... and I do not expect royalties heheheh everything in favor of young A.net member

  

Regards
717Flyer


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