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Flying With SAS And Blue1 On HEL-OSL-LHR  
User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1796 posts, RR: 10
Posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6417 times:

Introduction

Originally my plan was to just fly Finnair to Helsinki return, but when I was browsing through sky scanner, I came across a great deal on Blue1 and SAS. I would to get to fly on 2 new airlines and 2 new aircraft types for just Singapore $122. What a bargain it was and without hesitation I booked it almost immediately. It was a good thing I did it fast because I checked again about 6 hrs later, the deal was gone! Finally, my wish of flying the Boeing 717 had finally came true! Not only that, I get to add the Boeing 737-700 to my flight logbook! The next thing I had to consider was whether to sacrifice my Finnair return sector (HEL-LHR), but in the end I choose not to. Instead, I booked on another new carrier, Norwegian, to Helsinki via Stockholm. This time I was to fly out from London Gatwick.

My itinerary goes like this (All in 4 days) :P

LHR-HEL (AY A321)
HEL-OSL (KF B717)
OSL-LHR (SAS B73G)
LGW-ARN (DY B738)
ARN-HEL (DY B738)
HEL-LHR (AY A321)

About the website

Using cheapticket (From sky scanner) to book my flight was easy. According to the ticket condition from the SAS website, I was not allowed to choose my seat unless I have a status with the airline. Browsing through SAS's website on both on my IPad and laptop, I had no problem with it, not the most user-friendly, but at least I get what I want. Unlike Emirates's website, there are not much changes I can do, such as adding the frequent miles, choosing my seats and selecting my meals (I found out later that the meal was not free. The only that I could do was to get a refund (within 24 hrs after booking) and changing of dates of my flights.(Not allowed due to ticket conditions)

The actual day

In the lovely morning, I met up with a couple of tweeters at Market Square for breakfast together with my friend, Kinny whom I met the day before. Our lady friend offered to take us to the airport, which we accepted with appreciation. Once we reached the airport, we did our own tour around the place before bidding farewell to her! Kinny was flying off the next day, but would be companying until my flight. It was definitely nice to have some company. Searching around for proper food, we decided to go into the airside since there wasn't much choices at the landside.

What I love about travelling within European Union (EU)countries is that you won't have to go through customs; just get the passport, go through security then off to the gate you go. However this doesn't applies to all European airports, England is one of them.

We had meatballs for lunch, after that it was time for plane spotting.






























































Time passed by quickly and soon it was 4pm! At that time I saw a star alliance Boeing 717 of Blue1 landed, somehow at that moment I had a feeling that was the aircraft that would be taking me to OSL. How right I was when I reached the gate. My aircraft was parking besides the beautiful Finnair's 'Silver Bird' A319, beautiful isn't it?










http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/3/0/0/1994003.jpg


http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/4/5/2/2045254.jpg


http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/2/5/7/1941752.jpg













Boarding gate of my flight





Carrier: Blue1
Flight number: KF677
Date: 29th May 2012
Routing: HEL-OSL
Seat number: 22F
Aircraft type: Boeing 717
Engine type: 2X BMW Roll Royce BR715 engines
1st time on OH-BLP (Star Alliance)
History of aircraft: Ex-Bangkok Airways and Spanair aircraft.
Line number: 5037
Plane delivered: 15th December 2010 (Delievered to Blue1)
Registration: OH-BLP
Flight duration: 1hr 15mins
Schedule departure time: 1645
Actual departure time: 1642
Gears up: 1650
Schedule arrival time: 1715
Actual arrival time: 1708
Load factor for Y class:
Departure gate: 60%
Departure gate: 14
Departure runway: 04R

My search to fly the Boeing 717 has finally ended! A normal 717 would have already make me happy, but to get to fly on the star alliance aircraft, is certainly an additional bonus! This was my 3rd time on a star alliance aircraft and previously I flew on Spanair's A320 and MD87.


Anyway, I entered the cabin not long after and the cabin is similar to any other MD80s aircraft, that makes sense after all this aircraft was supposed to be the MD-95 (Built and design from MD) until Boeing took over McDonnell Douglas and renamed it to Boeing 717. Not long after, the production of this aircraft had stopped as its competing directly against its own product, the Boeing 737-600. One unique feature about this aircraft is its the only aircraft that is powered by BMW-Roll Royce engines, a join venture between both engine manufacturers.


When I reached my row, someone was sitting at my seat and I notified him. Actually, I could have just sat the row in front, but at that time I didn't know how full the flight was. It turned out to be just 60% full, with quite a number of empty seats behind. A couple behind me was gumbling when they could not see anything out of their window as it was blocked by the engine. I had to make a guess on the seats that were not blocked by the engine and thankfully my window is just in front of the engine. If you guys want to fly the Boeing 717 of Blue1, choose row 22 for this view.




Pushed back was early and engines started up shortly. The beautiful sound of the BMW-Roll Royce engines filled the cabin, however it was not as loud as the JT8D engines on the MD87 I had taken last year on Spanair. Soon we made our way to the runway 04R for a powerful takeoff.


There is no doubt how powerful the engines are, the take off was quite bumpy but things smoothen out when we reached the assigned flight level.


For the cabin, its in a 2-3 seating configuration. The cabin width is smaller than the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 which are both in 3-3 seating configuration. This Boeing 717's fuselage is pretty short and its main competitors are the A318 and Boeing 737-600.


Cabin photos








Legroom space is quite tight but its alright for a short sector like this. Fortunately I had the middle seat free. I can't imagine flying this aircraft for more than 3 hrs on a full flight, it would be too much for me to take. If that happens, I would probably take the aisle seat.




Cabin is quite clean and pleasant to look at.



















Cabin looks pleasant right?














See the amount of dirt! Not good at all. Spotted it when the plane started descending.

As this is a short flight, the seat pitch is bearable. The leather seat is quite comfortable, no complaints about it. Somehow I do like the 2-3 seating configuration, as there is its own advantages, like choosing the window seat on the 2 seater row and if you are travelling in a couple, the 2-seater makes sense.

As for the service, drinks and food are chargeable so I gave it a miss. Since its only an hour and 15 minutes, no point really. The crews were disappeared to the front during cruising speed and the response from them when they were called, were pretty slow. Mind you the load factor of this flight was just 60%, many empty seats near the rear, not a good excuse.


Some window shots taken during the flight














Very loud but powerful take off! BR-715 engines are not as loud as the PW JT8D.



















Love the Boeing 717, really do. Its a flying experience that you would not forget easily.















Approaching Oslo
















Landing at OSL was quite bumpy, you can feel the aircraft swinging from one end to the other, this is what you call crosswind landing and the wind was pretty strong. I have thoroughly enjoyed this flight, mainly for the aircraft type. Its a pity that the time went passed so quickly and that always happens when you are having the fun of your life. There is no more Boeing 717 operators in Asia, so to catch one today is definitely one of the highlights for me.


Rating

On board service: 6/10
Seat comfort: 6/10
Aircraft: 9/10
Legroom space: 5/10
Cleanliness of aircraft: 6/10
Recommendation: Yes, just for the aircraft type.
Overall inflight experience: C+
Just for the aircraft experience: A+

[Edited 2012-06-01 14:31:46]

[Edited 2012-06-01 14:44:12]


Airliners is the wings of my life.
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6404 times:

I had a 3 hours layover at OSL airport, so I went around and did some spotting. Its a big airport, and its quite nice and pleasant. Once I got out of immigration, I saw a group of Norwegian girls cheering loudly for someone, but one thing for sure, that 'someone' is not me.   I was looking at the clock and was wondering whether should I make the trip to town, Better not take the risk, so I decided to just explore the airport.



































































Carrier: SAS
Flight number: 815
Date: 29th May 2012
Routing: OSL-LHR
Seat number: 18A (18B and 18C were empty Yeah!!!)
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-700
Engine type: 2x CFMI CFM56-7B24
1st time on LN-TUA
Line number: 33
Plane delivered: 1st October 2009
History of aircraft: Ex-ILFC and current lessor is ACG. Ex-operators are Braathens,
SAS Braathens and SAS Norge
Registration: LN-TUA
Flight duration: 1 hr 55 mins
Schedule departure time: 2015
Actual departure time: 2015
Schedule arrival time: 2135
Actual arrival time: 2120
FL: 380
Load factor for Y class: 75%
Departure gate: 50
Departure runway: 1L
Arrival runway: 09L


http://img.planespotters.net/photo/267000/original/LN-TUA-SAS-Norge-Boeing-737-700_PlanespottersNet_267330.jpg


http://img.planespotters.net/photo/193000/original/LN-TUA-SAS-Scandinavian-Airlines-Boeing-737-700_PlanespottersNet_193706.jpg


http://img.planespotters.net/photo/168000/original/LN-TUA-SAS-Scandinavian-Airlines-Boeing-737-700_PlanespottersNet_168002.jpg







I spotted my plane taxing in, wasn't too happy to see the B737-700 without winglets, but at least its a start and not some last minute equipment change which can be very annoying for aviation enthusiasts. Looking at the number of passengers at the gate, my guess was a full flight. Anyway, boarding the aircraft was fast and smooth, the crews greeted me with enthusisam. That's a good start I thought and I made my way to 18A and later on it turned out that the 2 seats beside me remained empty, that's great! I look around and saw a few empty seats behind mine, so its not a full flight after all.


Pushed back started a few minutes early. Engines fired up and flaps were set. Soon we made our way to runway 01L for departure. The take off of the 737-700 is very powerful, it seems to lift off effortlessly, very impressed with it. However, the noise level of the engine is pretty noisy for a NG aircraft, but I enjoyed every minute of the ride. The Captain and first officer of the flight kept us well updated and even cracked a few jokes or two, however in Norwegian and I was probably the only one who didn't understand. As I was the only Asian aboard, one of the crews was quite surprised to see me and asked mew where I was from. We chatted briefly as he had to work, quite a nice fellow.




On board SAS, only water, coffee and tea is free, you have to pay for the food and other kinds of drinks. Quite disappointed to be honest, was expecting a complimentary light snack and juice of your choice, similar to Finnair's.



































The seat was a bit hard and if you seat by the window, you will find it very cramp due to the lack of legroom space because of the curve of the fuselage. I am lucky to have an empty seat beside me as I can stretch my legs. The windows on this 737 seems lower than the others I have flown and I had to bend down a bit just to see what's outside. Overall, I didn't like the airline's in-flight seats and was just glad that its only a 2 hr flight and not more. Its cramp for a 6 foot 4 person like myself. If you are as tall as me, I would recommend the rows in front, probably more legroom space there.

Inflight service

The crews in general were ok, a couple of grumpy looking ones at the rear of the aircraft, they looked quite unhappy most of the time. However none of the pair pissed me off. Like what my friend had mentioned, the crews were the older ones and he's right. Can't really complain much about the service, its professional and that's it. Perhaps lack of the extra warmth and friendliness from them in general.


Window shots































Approach in London Heathrow was always not a simple affair, usually aircraft that land in this airport would need to line up in queue, for this case, put on holding pattern until they are clear for landing. Luckily for me, the holding pattern lasted on 15 minutes but the approach to London was pretty bumpy especially going through the clouds. Landed safely on runway 09L and we taxied to our gate at Terminal 3, parking besides fellow company 737-600.

Conclusion

For the cheap airfare, its definitely worth the deal. Finally got the Boeing 737-700 into my flight logbook which is satisfying. As for the seat comfort, its possibly the bottom in my list comparing with Finnair, Blue1 and Norwegian. Certainly not the worst among all the airlines I flown with, not that bad. Seat pitch was disappointing too. I have no idea how is SAS's MD80 and Airbus aircraft is like, but for me the Boeing 737-700 and possibly other variants of the 737 are to be avoided for flights longer than 2 hours.

My rating

On board service: 7/10
Seat comfort: 5/10
Aircraft: 8/10
Legroom space: 6/10
Cleanliness of aircraft: 8/10
Recommendation: Yes, for short flight sectors only.
Overall inflight experience: B+
Just for the aircraft experience: B

Thanks for reading my trip report.

Up next: Joyride on Finnair's A321 (LHR-HEL-LHR)

For my past trip reports, feel free to check it out at

My past trip reports

Best Regards

Charles Ryan Teo

[Edited 2012-06-01 14:33:41]


Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineodo From Finland, joined Jan 2005, 35 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5950 times:

Hi

Thanks for the TR!  

One point about SAS' B737-700's:

That SAS B737-700 was ex-Braathens. Their interior is horrible IMO. Other than ex-Braathens aircraft are considerably better with more legroom and much, much better seat.

//odo



Failure is always an option.
User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5891 times:

Quoting odo (Reply 2):
That SAS B737-700 was ex-Braathens. Their interior is horrible IMO. Other than ex-Braathens aircraft are considerably better with more legroom and much, much better seat.

Thanks for the highlight, didn't know that until you mentioned it.

Cheers
Charles



Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineCXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 3018 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5846 times:

Quoting 9V-SVC (Thread starter):
What I love about travelling within European Union (EU)countries is that you won't have to go through customs;

Actually, that's the countries that adhere to the Schengen Convention, so therefore non-EU countries, such as Norway and Switzerland are apart of it, while EU members such as the UK and Ireland are not.

And you still go through customs, just not immigration.

Quoting 9V-SVC (Reply 1):
I saw a group of Norwegian girls cheering loudly for someone,

Bieber-fever.....

Glad you had a decent trip.

Was your trip booked and checked all the way through (did you have boarding passes all the way to LHR and baggage checked all the way through)? If yes, did you miss the international to international transfer area? Or did you just want to go all the way through the baggage hall? I'm just curious, the transfer signs can sometimes be a bit hard to see (and for some gates you walk against the crowd).

-CXfirst



From Norway, live in Australia
User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5780 times:

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 4):
And you still go through customs, just not immigration.

Yeah, its supposed to be immigration, not customs. Thanks for the correction!

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 4):
Was your trip booked and checked all the way through (did you have boarding passes all the way to LHR and baggage checked all the way through)?

I didn't have any luggage with me, just my backpack.. This made my trip much easier, avoiding the time and hassle to carry the luggages around. For both HEL-OSL-LHR and LGW-ARN-HEL sectors, I had to exit through the baggage hall as they were international sectors (OSL-LHR and LGW-ARN).


Cheers
Charles



Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineHELyes From Finland, joined Oct 2010, 886 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5191 times:

Thanks for the TR, always interesting to read views on the Nordic aviation from a different perspective!

Quoting 9V-SVC (Thread starter):
beautiful isn't it?

The 717 in Star livery looks good indeed and great they finally changed the seats.

I just checked your website and found more interesting reports, any chance we would see reports on DY and AY here?  


User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5019 times:

Hi Helyes

Thanks for the compliment. Once I am done with my Finnair return trip report, I will post everything up here.

How did the old seats of the 717 look like?

Cheers
Charles



Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineHELyes From Finland, joined Oct 2010, 886 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4976 times:

Quoting 9V-SVC (Reply 7):
How did the old seats of the 717 look like?

Blue fabric, a bit worn out:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andreas Loenner

Quoting 9V-SVC (Reply 7):
Once I am done with my Finnair return trip report, I will post everything up here.

Great!


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6480 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4816 times:

Hi Charles !

Nice to see another report from you!

Great that you tried some new carriers and airlines! Legroon on KF does look very cramped but since I'm 'only" 180 cm/5'11 it may not be so bad for me. Seats look very comfortable as well.

SK looks okay but too bad with the tight legroom even on the 73G; you should try their 736 which is probably even much less legroom.

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4714 times:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 9):
The777Man

Luckily the flights are short! I am 192 cm tall and would have difficult with my legroom space if the flights were full.

Cheers
Charles



Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offline717Flyer From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 303 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4698 times:

Hello Charles,

Nice little trip report, really enjoyed reading it! First of all I'm sorry I never answered the private message you sent me regarding photography at HEL, I don't check my PMs very often. Hope you enjoyed your stay anyway!

Quoting 9V-SVC (Thread starter):
My search to fly the Boeing 717 has finally ended! A normal 717 would have already make me happy, but to get to fly on the star alliance aircraft, is certainly an additional bonus! This was my 3rd time on a star alliance aircraft and previously I flew on Spanair's A320 and MD87.

And even further as there is only two Star Alliance Boeing 717's in the whole world!

Quoting 9V-SVC (Thread starter):
Cabin photos

You were lucky to get on OH-BLP - the only 717 in the Blue1 fleet already fitted with the new grey seats.

Quoting 9V-SVC (Thread starter):
If that happens, I would probably take the aisle seat.

...or just choose a seat upfront! I've flown to EDI in seat 2F (2h50min flight) and it was comfortable as what! Or go for one of the exit rows during online check-in, doesn't cost you a penny!

Regards,
717Flyer


User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4562 times:

Hi 717flyer

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 11):
First of all I'm sorry I never answered the private message you sent me regarding photography at HEL, I don't check my PMs very often. Hope you enjoyed your stay anyway!

No problem at all.  
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 11):
And even further as there is only two Star Alliance Boeing 717's in the whole world!
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 11):
You were lucky to get on OH-BLP - the only 717 in the Blue1 fleet already fitted with the new grey seats.

Wow, that's amazingly lucky! Thanks for the info.

Cheers
Charles



Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 5 hours ago) and read 4392 times:

Hi

Nice trip report,
Thanks for sharing it with us today.
Personally I prefered the old seating on KF! The new seating looks so Dull IMO.


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offline9v-svc From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4344 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 13):
Personally I prefered the old seating on KF! The new seating looks so Dull IMO.

Not too sure about the old seats, the new seats aren't very comfortable but what is more important is its a 717 !!!  

Cheers
Charles



Airliners is the wings of my life.
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