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Midnight Sun In Svalbard: 15 Hours In LYR  
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 9882 times:

Introduction

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/title.jpg

While generally not a very generous frequent flyer program, SAS’ Eurobonus has a few things to its merit. Intra-Nordic awards are only 12K points in economy which can represent tremendous value as you can do something like OUL-HEL-CPH-OSL-KKN and back for this amount of points which is quite a lot of flying for your points. But the best kept secret is of course the fact that since the archipelago of Svalbard is part of Norway you can fly there for the same point amount - despite it lying far north of the Norwegian mainland and generally being a very pricey travel destination! SAS is the only airline to offer scheduled service to the island’s only real airport at Longyearbyen (LYR), with a daily flight from OSL via TOS. Additionally during the summer high season there’s also a direct flight from OSL a few times per week. Norwegian tried the route some years ago, but apparently it didn’t do well enough and the service has been since suspended.

Svalbard being such a special place, a visit of course had been on my cards for many years but every time I’ve had enough points I couldn’t find any suitable flights - the few award seats on these flights are usually snagged rather quickly as you can imagine! Anyway this year I decided to plan well in advance and finally managed to fix some flights for mid-May (by which time it is already a month since the sun had set the last time up there...). Outbound I’d take the seasonal direct service ex-OSL on a Sunday evening, arriving at midnight which was perfect taking the midnight sun into account! I’d spend 15 hours in Longyearbyen and depart back on the afternoon flight to OSL via TOS - perfect!

So 12 000 points and 82 EUR in airport fees got me a very nice itinerary: HEL-ARN-OSL-LYR-TOS-OSL-ARN-HEL - an excellent value for points if ever!

The itinerary:



Unortunately as part of their overhaul of Eurobonus SAS changed the award prices effective from May 2012 - now my itinerary would cost 20K points. Then again an intra-Norway itinerary costs only 10K points - so these flights still represent excellent value!

Sunday 20.5.2012

Having arrived home from my previous trip (see Greek Cypriot: ATH-SKG-ATH-FRA-HEL (by FlyingFinn76 May 30 2012 in Trip Reports)
) in the middle of the night (or more like the wee hours of the morning) I had a long, long lie-in on this Sunday - but then again with my flight departing just before six in the evening I was in no particular hurry anyway!

Not feeling like cooking I decide to start my trip with a visit to my local Nepalese restaurant for a nice meal:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_1.jpg

Then to the airport with the usual bus. There I head to the Star Alliance ticket desk to ask them about an upcoming itinerary of mine which looked quite fubarred - for some unfathomable reason BER had changed into TXL in it...

Oh well, nothing much came out of it, but at least the girls managed to convince me that there’s nothing wrong with my eticket (checkmytrip.com can be a bit funky in displaying itineraries with changes) so I’m satisfied with that and head upstairs, pass the empty security and into the lounge where I have a bit of trip report work waiting for me.

Good to see a new issue of Scanorama Portfolio out - I pick it up for later (and haven’t yet gotten around reading it, more than two weeks later...):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_2.jpg

Two hours pass by very fast - that’s what happens when you deep in flow - and I’m a bit surprised to see “Go to gate” flashing for my flight. Luckily it is gate 13 just opposite the lounge, so I gather my trash and head there, taking a look out of the window to see who am I flying with today. It turns out to be OH-BLH, the first 717 I ever flew, although she was known as EC-HNZ back then. Now having been redesignated I’ve logged an additional three flights with her so today’s flight will be my fifth.

Blue1 seems to have introduced a separate priority boarding lane for Premium:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_3.jpg

Nobody is standing in front of this counter so I start a new queue there, and two minutes later boarding is called. The agent asks “Premium?” and I answer “No, Gold” which seems to make her happy. Then when scanning my boarding pass the machine beeps and spits out the receipt with a new seat assignment. The agent takes a look and says “Looks like you have a new seat, 1A today.” so I just have to say “So I’m in Premium after all! Thank you!”. Wow, my second operational upgrade in less than 24 hours, how about that!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_4.jpg

HEL - ARN
KF847
B717 OH-BLH “Suven Lähde/Summer Spring”
Seat 1A
17.49 - 17.35

1A on this 717 is definitely more roomier than the 1A I had on the Lufthansa A321 the previous night:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_5.jpg

Speaking of Lufthansa A321s - next to us is none other than D-AISU, the one I flew ATH-FRA with yesterday - what a small continent it indeed is:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_6.jpg

The plane is completely full - well with an operational upgrade it better be! Despite this boarding is rather organized and goes fast and we even push back six minutes ahead of schedule. If there’s one thing Late1 does good it is these trunk feeder services and their punctuality (but let’s not talk about the infamous midnight flight ex-CPH and its cancellation rate!).

Tailing an AY, soon-to-be-flyBE Nordic E190 to 22L:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_8.jpg

Hmm, wonder what these two Travel Service 738s are doing here - subbing for Mech1 perhaps:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_9.jpg

An almost perfect clover interchange between Ring III and the Tampere motorway:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_10.jpg

And this is the new rail line, which will finally bring a rail connection to HEL - whoopee:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_11.jpg

The efficient all-female crew wastes no time with the service - a short hop and a full plane means busy times. During this spring the good old SAS cardboard boxes have made a return to Box1’s Premium class (well once upon a time you got these in economy, but that is of course another story..) - here’s today’s offering:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_12.jpg

Inside a rye bread smörrebröd with a piece of disgusting, raw salmon (probably squirming with tiny worms and other nasty lifeforms that a good cooking would destroy once and for all) on top, some lettuce and potato salad plus a token lemon slice:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_13.jpg

Additionally there’s a tub of water and a Fazer chocolate candy.

Luckily I’m not really hungry after the tasty meal plus some nibbles in the lounge so the half of the bread and the potato salad is more than enough for me. The potato salad is very tasty, I have to give Fish1 that.

Oh and I’m also very delighted to learn that they again have wine onboard - a month or so ago I got very disappointed on another Wine1 flight in Premium where they had no wine at all. Not very premium.

After finishing with a cup of coffee it is already time to commence our approach into Arlanda. The sight of the E18 motorway snaking between Kapelskärr and Stockholm confirms that we are coming in from the east for a straight-in approach into runway 26 where we land well ahead of schedule - well done this time, Early1!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_14.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_15.jpg

Air China triple seven at its usual gate - according to our Swedish friends it isn’t exactly the world’s most comfortable plane to fly in (Swedes seem to get all the sub-par planes, Thai uses 744s with old interiors to ARN too):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_16.jpg

There’s a bit of a hassle at the gate as the guy operating the jetway seems to have some problems getting it to the right spot:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_17.jpg

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_18.jpg

Stockholm Arlanda Airport

Being early I have more than enough time for a quick lounge stop. I’m a bit surprised to find out that my flight to OSL is departing from the F pier, most of the time the OSL flights seem to go out from a gate directly below the lounge but I guess they want to make the F pier appear at least semi busy - it isn’t exactly slot constrained, you know...

With that in mind I leave a bit earlier as there’s a bit of a trek there plus one needs to navigate an annoying choke point caused by what else than shops and more retail establishments:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_20.jpg

Finnair still piggybacking on the hockey championships. I think Jonas could use this as a poor man’s lounge instead of trying to loungehike a visit:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_19.jpg

The F pier, despite being a white elephant at least looks much nicer than the rest of Arlanda:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_21.jpg

And here’s my ride today - another 736, what else:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_22.jpg

Man, that Air China bird is filthy - worse than Air France:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_23.jpg

Boarding is in full progress so I walk directly onboard.

Catching a flight on SE-DTH would already be quite bad due to the registration but calling it “Vile” doesn’t exactly help either:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_24.jpg

Anyway I’ve done it before and survived the prospect of a vile death so I step onboard for my fourth vile flight.

ARN - OSL
SK889
B737-600 SE-DTH “Vile Viking”
Seat 10A
18.50 - 19.38

The typical SAS grandmothers are staffing this flight - the average age of the cabin crew must be over 60! The flight seems to be completely full, so I’m quite glad I picked the exit row for myself:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_25.jpg

Departure is five minutes late, take off from 19R. Now, writing this report a couple of weeks later it is interesting to see this photo of a Skyways Fokker behind us as the airline filed for bankruptcy just two days later:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_26.jpg

Not much to say about this flight - my view outside is mostly blocked by the wing:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_27.jpg

They now serve free coffee or tea:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_28.jpg

I have to admit that I’m almost agreeing with Jonas here - the newly free SAS coffee doesn’t taste good at all and is rather weak. Coffee1 and SAS Norway (where coffee and tea has always been free on domestic flights) serve much better coffee.

With my reading material up there on the overhead bin I mostly doze thru this flight, spiced with some daydreaming - a real recommendable thing to try!

My first view of Norway could be a bit more dramatic than Leto-Hallen:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_29.jpg

Ok, this is more like it:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_30.jpg

This flight by the world’s most punctual airline comes to an end when we land on 19L seven minutes ahead of schedule - what else!

Hmm, that plane looks a bit odd:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_31.jpg

Wow, it’s an SSJ - my first time seeing one in the nude:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_32.jpg

Once more - looks cute (but beware of high mountains):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_33.jpg

This is hilarious - this guy, presumably the first one off the plane and thus flying in Economy Extra took a wrong turn and ended up on the apron where the ramp agent was quick to shoo him back to the jetway:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_34.jpg

Can’t quite understand how someone might do that - instead of turning *right* towards the terminal (and up the escalator if it doesn’t happen to be on a strike that day) he turned *left* towards the apron and descended the stairs. I guess it takes all kinds.

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_35.jpg

48 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 9917 times:

Oslo Gardermoen Airport

Transiting to a domestic flight (if only had known, more on this later) at OSL is always annoying as you need to do the whole landside shuffle. Well at least there’s no third degree interrogation like in some countries and the customs agents are more interested in discussing their next salary rise than actually looking for contraband. Still it means an additional security check and a long walk, plus a chance to visit the world’s largest arrival duty free store (now there’s a reason to be proud!).

Being released into the landside arrivals I grab some NOK from an ATM - something that turns out to be a very wise decision. This machine spews out an interesting assortment of currencies - Croatia is explained by its status as a former Norwegian colony but not sure about Turkey - maybe you get a discount when buying pizza and kebabs with Turkish Lira instead of Krona:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_36.jpg

And quickly thru a security check where the agents for once aren’t striking.

The Norwegian market is weird - whereas in most other countries network carriers make their money on business travelers and loose them with leisure travelers in Norway they seem to be keen to open the most odd leisure oriented routes:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_38.jpg

I get a slight shock when I can’t find my flight on this domestic FIDS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_39.jpg

Even though the flights from Svalbard to mainland Norway are operated as international flights (due to the fact that there’s no border control in Svalbard, anyone can just walk into LYR and board a plane. Well not “just walk”, considering the harsh environment but you get the the idea - and this includes Russian citizens from the Russian colonies on the archipelago) I was under the impression that the flights on the other direction would be pure domestic flights. But maybe this only applies to the one stopper via TOS. I confirm with a security agent guarding the entrance to the international half of the terminal that yes, LYR is indeed going out there.

Bugger, as this means I could’ve saved some time and hassle going thru international transfer instead - even though you need to clear security again there it’s always been empty when I’ve been there and thus very fast.

The good part is that I can now make a quick lounge visit since it is in the international part as well:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_40.jpg

The FIDS is weird - for a long time it doesn’t say anything about the flight status (many other flights have “Go to gate” bright and early) and then suddenly turns into “Boarding” and “Gate closing” in rapid succession so I quickly gather my trash and start heading for the non-Schengen end.

Reaching the passport control I get rather annoyed and frustrated - there’s a charter flight to Antalya and thus plenty of passengers around. And exactly ONE (yes, count her!) officer working:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_41.jpg

Very frustrating watching this at the same time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_42.jpg

After ten minutes in the queue I finally get through, vent my frustration to the gate agent who says they’ve been waiting for me and head downstairs into the bus where I’m of course the very last passenger to board it and feel the nasty stares of other people on my back.

Sorry Markus, this doesn’t bode well for your favorite photo angle:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_43.jpg

Well, the way the bus boardings go we of course drive all the way to the domestic apron. This BT Dash is parked there - must be a mech as I saw a company 737 arriving from RIX a bit earlier and despite them having quite a bit of capacity on the RIX-OSL route (thanks to the many Latvian workers earning a pretty penny in Norway) they still do operate it one plane at a time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_44.jpg

And here’s our ride - a special “Markus shot” from the safety of the bus:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_45.jpg

LN-TUL is a warmly welcomed new entry for my log. This flight was originally a 737-500 but ended up being changed to a -700 at some point.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_46.jpg

As this plane is named after Haakon IV “Haakon the Old”, a Norwegian king it means this is an ex-Braathens plane instead of the Vikings of SAS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_47.jpg

OSL - LYR
SK4496
B737-700 LN-TUL “Håkon IV Håkonsson”
Seat 3F
20.50 - 23.30

The bus was relatively empty so I thought that maybe the load would be relatively low - alas this wasn’t the case. There are already plenty of passengers onboard, so looks like the first bus was dispatched when I was still stuck in that border control queue...

Row 3 has decent legroom and I’m happy that the middle seat next to me stays empty. Total load is around 80% on this all economy flight:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_48.jpg

Next to us the Norwegian’s sextusillennium (wow, a new word!) plane:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_49.jpg

Our rather chirpy captain welcomes everyone onboard and announces a flight time of 2h45mins tonight. Pushback is ten minutes late - I refuse to take blame for this, blame the border control instead!

OSL, especially the domestic pier is definitely a 737 heaven:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_50.jpg

Take off is from nearby 01L towards the north. Nice long shadows:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_51.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_52.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_53.jpg

Yes, there are three bridges here, but no, it is not the famous symbol of Ljubljana:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_54.jpg

This weather is mostly overcast, although there are some views of the snowy mountains along the way - but of course the best is yet to come:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_55.jpg

To quote a Swede who I knew years ago and who lived in Norway: “Norwegians have the most unhealthy eating habits I’ve ever seen. They eat so much pizza and other junk food that if everyone didn’t ski two hundred kilometers every weekend just because they can they’d be far fatter than the Americans!”. Keeping this in mind I’m not terribly surprised to see that the Domestic Norway menu features a hot pizza option. Well, solely for the purpose of research and this report (of course!) I decide to try one:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_56.jpg

Inside:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_57.jpg

Well, it is a thick slab of pizza dough, coated with ham and an even thicker slab of passable cheese. Pork plus greasy cheese would taste good even on top of the soles of my old boots so of course it goes down well. Was it worth the 13 EUR (including a can of lukewarm beer) admission price? No way!

The Norwegian Sea is covered in thick clouds, so no views of those hard seas below us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Outbound_58.jpg

However all of a sudden it all faded away and what do I see there in the sunshine:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_1.jpg

What follows are thirty of the most visually stunning minutes in my life - breathtaking sceneries abound. Take a look and enjoy - I’ve done some pretty amazing approaches in my life (FNC is one that I keep thinking fondly of) but nothing comes even close to this. My seatmate on the aisle seat seems to be a bit annoyed that I’m glued to the window, but I’m sorry - you should’ve asked for a window seat earlier...

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_4.jpg

Keep in mind that it is a bit over eleven in the evening - and there’s bright sunlight outside, as there will be for the next three months or so.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_6.jpg

Untouched snow:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_7.jpg

Sea and frozen fjords:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_8.jpg

The first sign of any human life - appears to be abandoned mining facilities:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_10.jpg

And that’s the airport right there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_11.jpg

Going lower and lower:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_12.jpg

Yes, there are no trees this far north. But there are houses:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_13.jpg

Hope there’s a runway as well:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_14.jpg

Oh yes, there was:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_15.jpg

We land on runway 10, bang on time at half past eleven in the night. Total flight time was around 2h35mins.

Ahh, beautiful:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_16.jpg

Right after landing the captain announces that it is minus three degrees outside but with a “frisk southeastern wind and gorgeous sunshine”.

An interesting DC-3 (?):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_17.jpg

The airport facilities:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_18.jpg

The captain was indeed right (as he oughta be), stepping out of the plane I almost loose my hat due to the wind!

No, I wouldn’t believe either that it is almost midnight:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Approach_19.jpg

Longyearbyen, Svalbard

There’s a bus connection to “town” so after everyone has received their luggage we board the crickety old bus for the short but slow ride into town. And now I’m definitely glad I withdrew the cash as this must be the only airport bus in Norway that doesn’t accept credit cards - there’s a German woman who has a small panic attack as there was no ATM on the airport and she doesn’t have any NOK - but the driver accepts Euros just fine, albeit at a rather disadvantageous exchange rate (50 NOK = 10 EUR!).

Funky seat covers - reminds me of the Swedish Flygbussarna:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_1.jpg

Eventually the bus reaches the Svalbard Guesthouse where I’m staying - it is a kilometer or two out of town, all gentle uphill so very nice for the bus ride. The reception:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_2.jpg

I get a minor shock when I find out that the reception is closed, but then I notice a mailbox next to the door and take a peek inside - yes, there are envelopes with all the arriving guest’s names on them, containing the room key and a paper with the room number and house designation as the guesthouse is spread out over many different buildings that once served as miner’s barracks. The Italians who were arriving at the same time are relieved when I point this out to them.

The abandoned mine above the guesthouse whose roughnecks once slept in our rooms:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_3.jpg

My building:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_4.jpg

And my room:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_5.jpg

Yes, it is bare bones and cost almost 70 EUR for the night (including breakfast) but this is Svalbard, not exactly a budget traveler country (actually many budget travelers reportedly have slept in the church as it is open 24H, is heated and even offers free coffee and cookies - I’m not that hardcore and besides churches and me don’t get along well...). My only gripe is the crap curtains - they hardly block any daylight which results in a bit messed up night but what can you do...


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 9784 times:

Monday 21.5.2012

After an uneasy night I have a shower in the common bathroom located on the corridor conveniently right next to my room. I’m quite surprised by the fact that the water pressure is excellent and there’s an abundance of hot water as well! If they can come up with top notch infrastructure like that here in this environment how come my hotel experience in France a couple of weeks earlier was completely different?

After grabbing some breakfast, not very good but at least it is free at the guesthouse and wondering about the novelty of having fresh cucumber and not-so-fresh tomatoes up here in the north it is time to hit the town.

This is the view towards town:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_7.jpg

There were plenty of these kinds of foils blocking the windows of residential buildings due to the sun - no, it doesn’t have anything to do with tin foil hats:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_8.jpg

Getting closer:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_9.jpg

Other species than humans can also survive on these harsh latitudes:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_10.jpg

Hello, would you like to be my lunch:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_12.jpg

But not all humans survive - this is the town’s graveyeard:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_13.jpg

And this is the church:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_14.jpg

Ugly hulks of old mines:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_15.jpg

These poles once formed a system of pulleys and cable tracks which were used to haul coal from the outlying mines here for loading onto ships.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_16.jpg

Beautiful:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_17.jpg

The local “one size fits all” shop - including a liquor store with the cheapest booze anywhere in Norway, thanks to the tax-free status of Svalbard:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_18.jpg

I think this is the town hall - the bright red color certainly cheers you up (and makes it easier to find during a snowstorm, I guess):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_19.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_20.jpg

This is the entrance to the local post office and bank - due to polar bears being a clear and present danger outside town carrying a gun is mandatory when leaving it:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_21.jpg

Mailing local postcards and getting an envelope with stamps:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_22.jpg

An Arctic Ginger Ale test as copyrighted by PlaneHunter:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_23.jpg

Unless you want to splurge on expensive excursions and activities like hiking trips there’s honestly not that much to do here - the few sights can be covered in half a day and that’s pretty much it. Of course the beautiful scenery will keep you hooked a bit more, as does the cheap pints  . Anyway after my tour of the town it is lunchtime, so I hit the Radisson Blu hotel’s (the best in town) bistro.

As is customary in Svalbard even here the guests leave their outdoor shoes here when entering the building - slippers are usually provided:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_24.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_25.jpg

A nice, cold Mack with a view:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_26.jpg

And some good food:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_27.jpg

This is the airport - it is just a couple of kilometers away:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_28.jpg

After lunch I catch the bus back to the airport - conveniently it stops right outside the hotel’s front door.

There used to be a mine near the airport so the poles extend there as well - maybe they should build a cable car for passenger use here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Svalbard_29.jpg

Looks like the West Air Europe’s cargo CRJ is dropping something off - maybe more cucumbers:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_1.jpg

The terminal:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_2.jpg

As usual I’m checked in, thanks to the free public computer in the guesthouse but need a boarding pass. So I head inside to get one from the desk - the friendly woman being a bit surprised by my lack of luggage to check in.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_3.jpg

Not terribly busy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_4.jpg

Functional and clean:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_5.jpg

Since many people asked whether I saw any polar bears this is the closest I got to one:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_6.jpg

With my plane due to land in 15 minutes I decide to head outside to see if I could snap a few photos of it landing. In front of the terminal there’s one of these ubiquitous distance sign pole things:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_7.jpg

Two of my destinations today:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_8.jpg

I find a nice place behind a fence next to the terminal. First the West Air plane takes off:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_9.jpg

A security agent in a 4x4 truck drives there, sits there for a while eyeing me, but after I pay her no attention she figures out I might be nuts but completely harmless and drives off.

Hmm, what’s that:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_10.jpg

Oh yes, looks like a plane:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_11.jpg

About to touch down:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_12.jpg

And landed:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_13.jpg

It is one of the rare 737-800s without winglets - LN-RCN “Heidun Viking” and a new friend for me, but at the end of today we will have shared two flights together so she will already be an old friend!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_14.jpg

After the plane has stopped I head back inside where there’s quite a bit of queue for the security. Interestingly there’s an extended Thai family sending off two guys dressed in the traditional yellow gowns of the Buddhist monks, probably setting off for the long journey to their homeland - this world is getting so small!

Next our crew from my inbound flight joins the queue in front of me (crew priority and all that) - the cute, bubbly young FA recognizes me after I greet her loudly with “Looks like you had just as short visit here as me!”.

Airside is packed - looks like a good load:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_15.jpg

Boarding is called soon afterwards. Interesting Dornier of the Norwegian Coast Guard:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_16.jpg

Markus style - who flew this very same bird up here on his visit some years ago:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_17.jpg

An interesting visitor from nearby Barentsburg, the only remaining Russian colony in Svalbard. Probably bringing in some passengers as there are plenty of Russians on our flight:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_18.jpg


LYR - TOS
SK4425
B737-800 LN-RCN “Heidun Viking”
Seat 3A
14.55 - 16.26

Legroom on these -800 models is definitely tighter than on the flight over:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_19.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_20.jpg

As I expected from the packed departure lounge the flight is completely full. Despite this we are ready to go some fifteen minutes before the SDT but then nothing happens for a while - I actually doze off for a while, waking up when the captain announces that we are still waiting for some paperwork which should be delivered very soon and then we are off for our 1h20mins hop to Tromsö.

Eventually the papers are finished and we depart ten minutes late.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_21.jpg

Grooved runway surface to increase friction:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_22.jpg

Take off is from 28 with more stunning views on offer:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_23.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_24.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_25.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_26.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_27.jpg

Right after take off the captain points out that we will soon be passing Barentsburg and us on the left hand side (yay!) will have an excellent view over it:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_28.jpg

Indeed, here’s Barentsburg in all its glory:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_29.jpg

You can’t see the statues of Lenin they still have there, though:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_30.jpg

The fjord which Barentsburg lies next to is not frozen:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_31.jpg

I’m gonna miss these views:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_32.jpg

Bye Svalbard - maybe I’ll be back one day:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_33.jpg

As on the flight over after leaving the archipelago it stays overcast for our flight over the Norwegian Sea and down to Tromsö. Some coffee, please:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_34.jpg

The next views of down below come only when we are already well into our approach for TOS - like ships passing in the night:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_35.jpg

The weather in Finnmark doesn’t look too good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_36.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_37.jpg

Touchdown on runway 01, 1h25mins after take off:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_38.jpg

I didn’t catch the reg but I think this is the same West Air CRJ that I saw a LYR:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_39.jpg

An announcement is made that all passengers, including those continuing to OSL need to leave the plane here, taking all their belongings with them. Getting my stuff out of the seat pocket I notice something disgusting in there - I hope it is bubble gum and not vomit:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_40.jpg

Tromsö Airport

Despite being docked to a jetway it leads into the Schengen part of the terminal so down the stairs to the wet apron we go.

Where’s the English welcome sign:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_41.jpg

The world’s cutest immigration hall:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_42.jpg

Since I have no luggage, unlike most passengers or so it seems (everyone has to clear customs here with their luggage even if continuing to OSL) I’m the first one heading down the long corridor leading to the check in hall.

FIDS - good to see a couple of WF milk runs there - I’ll be back in three months doing some hardcore flying on those:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_43.jpg

View down to check in hall from the second floor, just before security control:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_44.jpg

Airside:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_45.jpg

I won’t bother covering the return journey in much detail as it is more of the same. Instead I’ll just post a few pictures of various things along the way.

LN-RCN being serviced:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_46.jpg

The 16.10 OSL flight (i.e. an hour earlier than us) running late - it actually ended up departing after us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_47.jpg

A completely full load to OSL as well, unfortunately I’m next to a middle aged lady who instead of taking a proper bath decided to bath in her Chanel 5.

A familiar plane to Markus:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_48.jpg

These kind of houses on the hillsides is a typical sight in Norway:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_49.jpg

Bye, Tromsö, see you in August:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_50.jpg

Hopefully less snow then:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_51.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_52.jpg

More coffee please:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_53.jpg

Continental Norway is no Svalbard but can still come up with some impressive sceneries on its own right:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_54.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_55.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_56.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_57.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_58.jpg

Somewhat different scenery on finals for OSL:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_59.jpg

The “going mech in OSL” theme continues - there were two Finnair E190s in town, I think this one was kaputt:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_61.jpg

A quick “gabrielchew” in the lounge before continuing to Arlanda:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_62.jpg

SE-DOR, “Elisabeth Viking” a new entry for me. Although I first read those letters as “DDR”:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_63.jpg

Crap legroom on this bird - first I thought I had scored the only empty seat on this flight next to me but then the businesswoman walking down the aisle with me (now don’t understand that the wrong way - I mean the *plane* aisle!) has the seat next to me:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_64.jpg

I think this is the infamous Swedish domestic configuration - the last row has only two seats on the ABC side so I decided to try the B seat. Indeed there’s no seat on my left, but there’s a weird kind of storage locker which doubles as a table for my trash:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_65.jpg

And there’s a window - sort of:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_66.jpg

Approaching Arlanda 01L at sundown:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_67.jpg

After an hour in the lounge it is time to board the final flight of the day, another 717 of Night1. OH-BLP, my 3rd flight with this bird in Star Alliance livery.

After stepping onboard I immediately notice the new seats and comment on the purser - “Wow, new seats!”.

My first time with the new interior - it still has the new plane interior smell:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_68.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_69.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_70.jpg

Nice and stylish but I think Grey1 should’ve chosen a different color here. At least the seatbelts are still blue:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_71.jpg

Legroom is good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_72.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_73.jpg

Good to see a seat pocket down here as well - I dislike the LH NEK cabin for exactly this reason, there’s ridiculously little space on the top pocket they only have:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_74.jpg

I slept well on the seat, so well done Seat1. Now hurry up and get the whole fleet fitted (and give me some nice substitute planes while doing so)!.

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Svalbard_05_2012/Back_75.jpg

Conclusions

Well - what can I say. The flights are not the main point here so I won’t comment on those. Svalbard and the stunning arctic scenery plus the midnight sun on the other hand is - and indeed, what can I say. It is such a weird, stunning and completely alien place out of this world. Should you go? Yes - definitely. Should you stay for long - not sure, as I said there’s not that much to do unless you are German and thus enjoy aimless wanderings in the middle of the arctic landscape and pushing yourself to the limits. Or if you just want to relax and do essentially nothing for a couple of days Svalbard is excellent for that as well.


Next up will be an inaugural flight on Inaugural1 - and the best one I’ve had this year to boot! The simple route is LPP-CPH-OSL-HEL. Happy contrails!


User currently offlineairkas1 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2003, 4003 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9550 times:

Nice report, I really liked the photos you took there, the scenery looks great!

User currently offlinekurt From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9540 times:

Amazing report and scenery!

User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9502 times:

Hey there FlyingFinn76, great report! Really been looking forward to this one, ever since you announced your booking of that El Cheap-o award fare!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Intra-Nordic awards are only 12K points in economy which can represent tremendous value

Yes sadly that is no longer the case. Although you could've flown Economy Extra for only 3000 points more, makes a lot more worth I'd say.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
- now my itinerary would cost 20K points.

Well that's still quite good price, and remember that all SAS Economy Lowball Punishment Class tickets earn 100% mileage, so those 8K will have been compensated for in a jiffy! Heck, make a long haul to Japan and you're already there!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Not feeling like cooking I decide to start my trip with a visit to my local Nepalese restaurant for a nice meal:

Why not save the €€€ and pig out in the SAS Lounge instead, I'm sure they'd have something edible for you?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Good to see a new issue of Scanorama Portfolio out - I pick it up for later (and haven’t yet gotten around reading it, more than two weeks later...):

I still can't understand who the hell reads in-flight magazines for fun i.e not inside an aircraft!? They are perhaps the most boring and uninteresting piece of literature mankind has ever created.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Blue1 seems to have introduced a separate priority boarding lane for Premium:

Huh, separate boarding lane, ey? Now if mother SAS with their socialist jantelagen values would've found out they'd have closed it down immediately. Then again what's the point with priority boarding on short hauls anyway.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Speaking of Lufthansa A321s - next to us is none other than D-AISU, the one I flew ATH-FRA with yesterday

Haha, yes a small planet indeed. Although you could've said "this morning" which makes the planet seem even smaller  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Swedes seem to get all the sub-par planes, Thai uses 744s with old interiors to ARN too):

Yeah, well Sweden suffer from the "lack-of-competition-syndrome" due to SAS with their abysmal long haul network. Basically the airlines operating bring in their most shitful equipment and still charge top dollar for it, heck Air China charge 120 000 SEK for a return flight in cradle seat First Class on that route.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I think Jonas could use this as a poor man’s lounge instead of trying to loungehike a visit:

Ha ha, well hopefully that will not be the case anymore (I hope). And besides as a result I will never guest anybody I don't know into the lounge, except if it's a hot chick with the intention of "re-paying" the favour 
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
They now serve free coffee or tea:

LOL was it really that long ago since you last flew Scandinavian Fauxlines?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
in Norway they seem to be keen to open the most odd leisure oriented routes:

Well you see Norwegian leisure pax (unlike the Swedes, or the Danes, or the Finns, or the Brits) carry shitloads of money on their holiday. So naturally by having leisure routes, apart from SAS charging massive premiums for the "non-stop" service which holidaymakers are willing to pay, they earn massive amounts of money on aftersales.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Next to us the Norwegian’s sextusillennium (wow, a new word!) plane:

I have dibs on that plane!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“Norwegians have the most unhealthy eating habits I’ve ever seen. They eat so much pizza and other junk food that if everyone didn’t ski two hundred kilometers every weekend just because they can they’d be far fatter than the Americans!”.

Yes that's true, the norwegians I know give a perfect representation of that stereotype. And of course in addition to that they smoke tons of filter-less tobacco cigarettes and drink liters of Cognac (yes the Norwegians hold the world record for that consumption)

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, it is bare bones and cost almost 70 EUR for the night (including breakfast) but this is Svalbard, not exactly a budget traveler country (actually many budget travelers reportedly have slept in the church as it is open 24H, is heated and even offers free coffee and cookies

Hmm €70 that's a very reasonable rate for Norway, especially Svalbard and the fact that Radisson charge some five times as much. But thanks for the tip about the church, free cookies and accommodation is very "Jonas-like" will definitely try it!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
And some good food:

Okay by judging the size, that "räkmacka" did not come from the starter menu?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Looks like the West Air Europe’s cargo CRJ is dropping something off - maybe more cucumbers:

Actually those planes deliver seeds to that big seed storage they have there... Yes in case the world goes under, and all human life cease to exist that storage will still be intact, hence it being possible to re-plant all species on the planet.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
After an hour in the lounge it is time to board the final flight of the day,

How come you've stopped covering the Arlanda SAS Lounge? it's really a nice place, you know!

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 9272 times:

Hello FF - superb report ! I was very much looking forward to this one after you mentioned you were going "north" ! Those pictures were stunning. Amazing scenery from a part of the world that seems so remote.

Incredible light as well considering it was close to midnight. I would love to take a trip up there some day.

Seems like transitting at OSL is a right pain. I will have to remember that.

Great to see some WF action as well. That Dash 8 - 100 LN - ILS was my milk run aircraft from Vadso back to Tromso. I know that bird very well!

Cheers mate - good to chat with you in Berlin over the weekend too.

Palmjet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently onlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1884 posts, RR: 42
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 9182 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Hi FF, great stuff! One of the best reports I've read in a while. LYR looks absolutely stunning, and has been on my wishlist for quite a while. Next time you're around, be sure to order polar bear in the restaurant. It's good!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
An interesting DC-3 (?):

A Turbo-Dak! Very cool! There's a variety of companies who convert these old workhorses to turbo, but the most common one is the Basler BT-67. It's used by several companies that do arctic research in the North, as well as the South pole, due to it's extreme reliability and easy operation.

Brgds,

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 9011 times:

Hi there FlyingFinn,


Good to see a preview of my journey in July  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
SAS is the only airline to offer scheduled service to the island’s only real airport at Longyearbyen (LYR), with a daily flight from OSL via TOS. Additionally during the summer high season there’s also a direct flight from OSL a few times per week.

Yes, it's not exactly London or New York.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Anyway this year I decided to plan well in advance and finally managed to fix some flights for mid-May (by which time it is already a month since the sun had set the last time up there...). Outbound I’d take the seasonal direct service ex-OSL on a Sunday evening, arriving at midnight which was perfect taking the midnight sun into account! I’d spend 15 hours in Longyearbyen and depart back on the afternoon flight to OSL via TOS - perfect!

Hmmm... I also have around 15 hours in Svalbard, although I'm arriving from Tromso and departing to Oslo.

No sunsets between now and then, hehe.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“Looks like you have a new seat, 1A today.” so I just have to say “So I’m in Premium after all! Thank you!”. Wow, my second operational upgrade in less than 24 hours, how about that!

Yeah, see, it happens sometimes. Guess you can be happy about Airline1.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
raw salmon (probably squirming with tiny worms and other nasty lifeforms that a good cooking would destroy once and for all)

LOL

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Bye:

That's a really ugly gate at ARN. I've seen them before (not in real life). Really ugly design. I'd guess it's somewhere in Russia.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The typical SAS grandmothers are staffing this flight - the average age of the cabin crew must be over 60! The flight seems to be completely full, so I’m quite glad I picked the exit row for myself:

I wonder... how old were the pilots?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Once more - looks cute (but beware of high mountains):

That shouldn't have made me chuckle, but it did a little bit.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Being released into the landside arrivals I grab some NOK from an ATM - something that turns out to be a very wise decision. This machine spews out an interesting assortment of currencies - Croatia is explained by its status as a former Norwegian colony but not sure about Turkey - maybe you get a discount when buying pizza and kebabs with Turkish Lira instead of Krona:

Hmmm... Norway and its expansionist tendencies. Who will they invade next, I wonder. It'd be nicer if they had old Turkish Lira... How much for a hot dog? 200 million Lira.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The good part is that I can now make a quick lounge visit since it is in the international part as well:

What's up with no lounges for domestic flights?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Eventually the bus reaches the Svalbard Guesthouse where I’m staying - it is a kilometer or two out of town, all gentle uphill so very nice for the bus ride. The reception:

Wow, what a carbon copy, I'll also be staying at that establishment.



Thanks for the report, P. I enjoyed it very much.


User currently onlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12251 posts, RR: 35
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8614 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The weather in Finnmark doesn’t look too good:

You could see Finnmark from the TOS approach??   Tromsø is actually located in the county of Troms  



911, where is your emergency?
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6816 posts, RR: 77
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8554 times:

Hi P.,

great report with many stunning pictures! The miles were definitely well invested.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Inside a rye bread smörrebröd with a piece of disgusting, raw salmon (probably squirming with tiny worms and other nasty lifeforms that a good cooking would destroy once and for all) on top, some lettuce and potato salad plus a token lemon slice:

Ah, raw salmon!   

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Air China triple seven at its usual gate - according to our Swedish friends it isn’t exactly the world’s most comfortable plane to fly in (Swedes seem to get all the sub-par planes, Thai uses 744s with old interiors to ARN too):

The same can be said for their A343s and the 744s, though.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Man, that Air China bird is filthy - worse than Air France:

Wait until you see the CI 744 which I flew on in March.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Well, it is a thick slab of pizza dough, coated with ham and an even thicker slab of passable cheese. Pork plus greasy cheese would taste good even on top of the soles of my old boots so of course it goes down well. Was it worth the 13 EUR (including a can of lukewarm beer) admission price? No way!

Horrible, I'd say!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
An Arctic Ginger Ale test as copyrighted by PlaneHunter:

Excellent! How did it taste?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes - definitely. Should you stay for long - not sure, as I said there’s not that much to do unless you are German and thus enjoy aimless wanderings in the middle of the arctic landscape and pushing yourself to the limits.

I wouldn't do that!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
I still can't understand who the hell reads in-flight magazines for fun i.e not inside an aircraft!? They are perhaps the most boring and uninteresting piece of literature mankind has ever created.

How many different magazines have you read?

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Basically the airlines operating bring in their most shitful equipment and still charge top dollar for it, heck Air China charge 120 000 SEK for a return flight in cradle seat First Class on that route.

Always these pathetic generalizations...   


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineBAViscount From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2338 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 8296 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Norwegian tried the route some years ago, but apparently it didn’t do well enough and the service has been since suspended.

It was seeing Longyearbyen on Norwegian's route map back in 2004/2005 that made me go there in the first place! It wasn't somewhere I'd ever considered going, but with the dirt-cheap fares of the time, I couldn't resist. I remember I flew Norwegian STN-OSL, Braathens OSL-TOS (spent a few days in Tromso) then Norwegian again TOS-LYR. The return was Braathens' direct flight LYR-OSL, followed by a hop on a SAS 736 from OSL to LGW. I can't remember how much I paid in total, but I would have been on a budget, so can't have been that much!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
The local “one size fits all” shop - including a liquor store with the cheapest booze anywhere in Norway

Oh yes, I remember getting very drunk one night on a litre bottle of Absolut that I bought in there!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
Radisson Blu hotel’s (the best in town) bistro.

That's where I stayed, although it was still called the Radisson SAS back then. I had a massive room, more like a flat really, with living room, kitchen, bathroom and separate bedroom. The only weird thing was that the bedroom had bunk beds! All-in-all quite an odd experience, especially as the TV in the room got the BBC Entertainment channel and I was able to watch the latest episode of Eastenders...in Svalbard!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
As is customary in Svalbard even here the guests leave their outdoor shoes here when entering the building

What a pain that is! My room in the hotel was in a separate building from the main hotel, so even a quick visit to the main building meant heavy boots on in the lobby of my building, 20 second walk to main building, boots off again, then the whole process repeated on the way back. Still, you have to respect local etiquette.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
Indeed, here’s Barentsburg in all its glory

I did the trip to Barentsburg...God what a depressing place it is! It was great to see and I'm glad I went, but it does seem that the miners have little to with their time off than get horribly drunk on cheap vodka. Not that I myself am averse to that particular practice from time to time (see above), but I don't follow tour groups around and harass them as a consequence. Well I don't think I do anyway! However, as I said it was a great to see, but I was also glad to leave!

Thanks for the report.

Andy.



Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 8254 times:

HI P.

A fantastic instalment as you flew into the Arctic Circle for the night. . .

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
So 12 000 points and 82 EUR in airport fees got me a very nice itinerary: HEL-ARN-OSL-LYR-TOS-OSL-ARN-HEL - an excellent value for points if ever!

Great deal and sweetened by all the lounge entry you got on this trip...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Speaking of Lufthansa A321s - next to us is none other than D-AISU, the one I flew ATH-FRA with yesterday - what a small continent it indeed is:

Cracking coincidence... I really should concentrate more on the Reggies...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
raw salmon (probably squirming with tiny worms and other nasty lifeforms that a good cooking would destroy once and for all)

Oh yum - and all the tastier for it... It does look a little underwhelming.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Once more - looks cute (but beware of high mountains):

Ha.... an no disclaimers at the start...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
(actually many budget travelers reportedly have slept in the church as it is open 24H, is heated and even offers free coffee and cookies - I’m not that hardcore

Oh yes... I would have been making a bee-line there.

Gotta say some amazing vistas in Svalbard. I really enjoyed it - it was to see a place as unknown/ fuelled by rumours as Africa! It fit quite well into the image generated by Philip Pullman for me. I quite liked the old industrial mining abandonment as it gives it quite a stark/ inhabitable feel... I hear you about just enjoying the area around the town... any exploration would have been difficult/ expensive. Do the public buses run anywhere out of town at all?

Many thanks...

Luke!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 7840 times:

Hey Petteri,

I've been waiting for this report ever since you made it known that you'll be visiting Svalbard. I remember how as a kid I used to fantasize about traveling there. No idea why (perhaps its geographical isolation?) but I found Svalbard extremely fascinating. It's great that you got to go there.

What is impressive is the final cost (in points and actual money) of such a trip. Very well done.

I loved the photos of "downtown" Longyearbyen. I wonder how it's like in the winter and how people get used to life there.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
raw salmon (probably squirming with tiny worms and other nasty lifeforms that a good cooking would destroy once and for all)

Ah, sigh.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Man, that Air China bird is filthy - worse than Air France:

I've noticed that the aircraft of most Chinese carriers I've seen in the US are invariably really dirty. I don't think it's a coincidence.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Catching a flight on SE-DTH would already be quite bad due to the registration but calling it “Vile” doesn’t exactly help either:

I had to laugh out loud at this.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
This is hilarious - this guy, presumably the first one off the plane and thus flying in Economy Extra took a wrong turn and ended up on the apron where the ramp agent was quick to shoo him back to the jetway:

Wow, impressive. Even though, on second thought, I think I know of enough people that are totally capable of doing something like that.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Right after take off the captain points out that we will soon be passing Barentsburg and us on the left hand side (yay!) will have an excellent view over it:

How nice! I know that you are not the biggest fan of all things Russian but how about a future visit to Barentsburg for a photo next to Lenin's statue?


A total treat of a report. I had to read it twice.

WBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7757 times:

Hi all, good to see so many comments online! Thank you very much.

Quoting airkas1 (Reply 3):
Nice report, I really liked the photos you took there, the scenery looks great!
Quoting kurt (Reply 3):
Amazing report and scenery!

Oh yes, for stunning views you know where to head!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Hey there FlyingFinn76, great report! Really been looking forward to this one, ever since you announced your booking of that El Cheap-o award fare!

So when are you going there?

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Yes sadly that is no longer the case. Although you could've flown Economy Extra for only 3000 points more, makes a lot more worth I'd say.

No, it would've been 4000 points more and a bit pointless as I was already in Premium on the first segment, wasn't hungry nor thirsty for the short OSL-ARN-OSL hops thanks to the lounge visits and was deep asleep on the last segment. So even though it would've been reasonably cost effective IMHO those points would have been wasted.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Heck, make a long haul to Japan and you're already there!

I'm making a long haul to Japan but not earning any Eurobonus points out of it.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Why not save the €€€ and pig out in the SAS Lounge instead, I'm sure they'd have something edible for you?

Jonas, unlike you I'm not ultra cheap. I fancied some comfort food and that's exactly what I got. I love my local joint a lot, the staff are great, the food is always good and the portions generous and excellent value for money. On the other hand the lounge had some salad and bread out - decent but not exactly what I craved at that moment. And I can afford it so why not? I know *paying* for something is quite repulsive to you but that's the way the economy works.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
I still can't understand who the hell reads in-flight magazines for fun i.e not inside an aircraft!? They are perhaps the most boring and uninteresting piece of literature mankind has ever created.

Yeah, why do people actually bother reading at all? You know, you can spend your whole life watching youtube and will be entertained for the rest of your life.

Come to think of it why bother even studying - what's the point anyway? Flipping burgers at McDonald's for fifty years is a perfectly good career, isn't it? Maybe they'll promote you to the drive in cashier after twenty years.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Then again what's the point with priority boarding on short hauls anyway.

Well it is nice, I don't like queuing and sometimes it is great to have your pick of the overhead bin space. Plus I'll much rather wait for boarding to finish sitting on my window seat, reading my newspaper or whatever I happen to be reading at that time.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Although you could've said "this morning" which makes the planet seem even smaller  

No, it was 24 hours earlier.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Air China charge 120 000 SEK for a return flight in cradle seat First Class on that route.

Do they even offer First Class to ARN? Seriously doubt that.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
LOL was it really that long ago since you last flew Scandinavian Fauxlines?

Well I had one flight with them in January, but that was a Cimber plane. So the last time I flew a genuine SAS plane was in December. Plenty of Blue1 after that, though.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Hmm €70 that's a very reasonable rate for Norway, especially Svalbard and the fact that Radisson charge some five times as much.

Actually I just checked my credit card statement and it was 61 EUR. Quite okay, yes.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
Okay by judging the size, that "räkmacka" did not come from the starter menu?

The lunch menu and it is a Toast Skagen.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 5):
How come you've stopped covering the Arlanda SAS Lounge? it's really a nice place, you know!

Well how many pictures of it can a man post and still stay sane? A picture of my hat, a glass of red wine and some sinfully delicious cheese and cracker's isn't terribly interesting considering I've posted dozens of pictures of that mediocre lounge.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 6):
Incredible light as well considering it was close to midnight. I would love to take a trip up there some day.

Please do, you won't regret it!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 6):
Seems like transitting at OSL is a right pain. I will have to remember that.

Well it depends. Norway is like the US - you need to clear customs at your point of entry so that makes it a bit of a hassle. International -> International transfers are quite okay as long as the transfer security point is open and any transfers from domestic flights are a piece of cake. That non-Schengen immigration on the other hand... I certainly hope it isn't a common phenomenon here!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 6):
Great to see some WF action as well. That Dash 8 - 100 LN - ILS was my milk run aircraft from Vadso back to Tromso. I know that bird very well!

Oh, you too, my Brutus, you too!

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 7):
Hi FF, great stuff! One of the best reports I've read in a while. LYR looks absolutely stunning, and has been on my wishlist for quite a while. Next time you're around, be sure to order polar bear in the restaurant. It's good!

I know you have a soft spot for these harsh northern places so that figures. I would've liked to eat some polar bear but unfortunately it was lunch time and you had to order from the lunch menu..

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 7):
A Turbo-Dak! Very cool! There's a variety of companies who convert these old workhorses to turbo, but the most common one is the Basler BT-67. It's used by several companies that do arctic research in the North, as well as the South pole, due to it's extreme reliability and easy operation.

Ahh, good to know. Thanks for this tidbit.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 8):
Good to see a preview of my journey in July  

Oh, you are going there too? Very nice of you!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 8):
No sunsets between now and then, hehe.

Hey, this is a bit mind boggling when you start thinking about it!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 8):
That's a really ugly gate at ARN. I've seen them before (not in real life). Really ugly design. I'd guess it's somewhere in Russia.

Yeah, the jetways in the old part of T5 (heck, the *whole* old part of T5) look quite crap to be honest with you.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 8):
What's up with no lounges for domestic flights?

Well lack of competition I guess. I think during the Braathens days they had some lounges but ever since SAS took them over there's been no need. The only competition is Norwegian and since they don't offer any, SAS has no incentives to offer any either. Actually some years ago the BA Terraces at OSL was on the domestic side which meant that BA elites could have lounge access on domestic flights (BA at least used to have quite liberal access policy where you didn't have to fly with an OW airline to get access) - quite weird!

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 9):
You could see Finnmark from the TOS approach??   Tromsø is actually located in the county of Troms  

Err sorry, I thought the whole of Norway is Finnmark. I stand corrected.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):
Wait until you see the CI 744 which I flew on in March.

Do I really want to see that?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):
An Arctic Ginger Ale test as copyrighted by PlaneHunter:
Excellent! How did it taste?

Very nice! It had this raw, spicy ginger taste you don't get with the mainstream ones like Scheweppes. I liked it a lot.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):
I wouldn't do that!

Yeah, it is just the stereotype of Germans as the great outdoors people. And it is partly true, there were quite a few German tourists there, all heading for 100 kilometer hikes across the frozen planes before breakfast...  
Quoting BAViscount (Reply 11):
Oh yes, I remember getting very drunk one night on a litre bottle of Absolut that I bought in there!

Hah, very nice! Come to think of it this reminds me of one visit to TOS in late November I did (on another award ticket) - it was so cold and dark and miserable outside I ended up spending the Saturday afternoon and evening watching TV in my tiny room at the Radisson, drinking the Smirnoff I bought from the duty free at HEL  .

Hope my visit in August will not be like that.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 11):
All-in-all quite an odd experience, especially as the TV in the room got the BBC Entertainment channel and I was able to watch the latest episode of Eastenders...in Svalbard!

This planet is getting seriously small! But that is certainly something unique and a good conversation opener  .

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 11):
20 second walk to main building, boots off again, then the whole process repeated on the way back.

Oh yes, that can be frustrating indeed. But when in Rome, do as the Romans and all that...

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 11):
I did the trip to Barentsburg...God what a depressing place it is!

Yes, I've heard the same from people who've been there. There's not much in the form of entertainment there. I think Longyearbyen could partly be the same if they didn't ration alcohol to the locals. That four (or so) months of total darkness is certainly a depressing time.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 12):
A fantastic instalment as you flew into the Arctic Circle for the night. . .

Actually it is far, far north of the Arctic Circle.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 12):
I hear you about just enjoying the area around the town... any exploration would have been difficult/ expensive. Do the public buses run anywhere out of town at all?

There are no buses. The only scheduled bus is the airport one, all the rest are tourist charter buses. Heck, there are only around 50 kilometers of road on the whole archipelago (and yet that doesn't stop people from driving Chrysler 300s and other fancy cars - go figure). And when you venture out there's really nothing there but the wilderness. To get to the outlying mining posts you need to fly, take a boat or have a ski-doo.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
It's great that you got to go there.

Thanks, I think so too.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
What is impressive is the final cost (in points and actual money) of such a trip. Very well done.

Yep, that's why it indeed is the hidden gem of Eurobonus.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
I loved the photos of "downtown" Longyearbyen. I wonder how it's like in the winter and how people get used to life there.

Depressing, utterly depressing.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
I've noticed that the aircraft of most Chinese carriers I've seen in the US are invariably really dirty. I don't think it's a coincidence.

Well the Chinese skies are so polluted that it is no wonder the planes get so dirty as well.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
Wow, impressive. Even though, on second thought, I think I know of enough people that are totally capable of doing something like that.

Hehe, me too, me too! Don't we all?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
How nice! I know that you are not the biggest fan of all things Russian but how about a future visit to Barentsburg for a photo next to Lenin's statue?

Yeah, I wouldn't mind doing that at all. Besides it is one of the few Russian places where you can go without a visa.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
A total treat of a report. I had to read it twice.

Thanks, that certainly shows some dedication on your part!


User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7654 posts, RR: 18
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7738 times:

Amazing photos! Seeing the midnight sun is a bucket list item of mine! 


我思うゆえに我あり。(Jap. 'I think, therefore I am.')
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 16, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7607 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):
How many different magazines have you read?

Well I stick mostly to Newsweek when I fly, or when I'm home for that matter, and it contains articles of much better value and quality than those in-flight magazines. But I do however enjoy the last sections of the in-flight magazines containing news about the airline, fleet info, route maps, and other aviation related stuff.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):
Always these pathetic generalizations...

No, I'm stating the facts here. It's pure business logic for airlines to send in their worst piece of equipment on routes without competition. Both leisure and business travelers value the time savings and convenience over a non-stop flight way higher than fancier products, hence even justifying reason to pay an extra premium on top. There was actually a market for F class on that route, very thin though. Cabin was mostly occupied by chinese company executives and newly rich chinese expat families, at least from what I've been told.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
So when are you going there?

Well Petteri, I'm thinking of might burning off some miles on some epic journed starting either in Morocco, Israel or Turkey going all the way through Europe, and up to LYR. That way I'll get the best bang for the miles.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
Do they even offer First Class to ARN? Seriously doubt that.

Yes they did indeed. The 777-200 non ER did indeed have a small F section of 12 seats in a 6 abreast configuration. Now though they have done an equipment change to the A332 that you flew a few weeks earlier  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
of that mediocre lounge.

How dare you call it mediocre? That place is fantastic, feels like a 2nd home to me, love it!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
Flipping burgers at McDonald's for fifty years is a perfectly good career, isn't it? Maybe they'll promote you to the drive in cashier after twenty years.

Ha, ha! Funny that you say that since McD's is really at the top of the spectrum of youth jobs here, heck I'd kill for a job at McD's. A massive "plus" on your resumé, working and salary conditions are waaay better than what I have now, and you get to drink free coffee and eat the leftover burgers. Sadly though only the hot chicks get to man the register... The ones who manage to "please" the boss, LOL!  

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently onlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12251 posts, RR: 35
Reply 17, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 7490 times:
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Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
Err sorry, I thought the whole of Norway is Finnmark. I stand corrected.

  

Not quite  



911, where is your emergency?
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6816 posts, RR: 77
Reply 18, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 7431 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
Do I really want to see that?

You will have to!  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
Yeah, it is just the stereotype of Germans as the great outdoors people. And it is partly true, there were quite a few German tourists there, all heading for 100 kilometer hikes across the frozen planes before breakfast...

Crazy. And then insurance companies have to deal with high costs when they break down...

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
It's pure business logic for airlines to send in their worst piece of equipment on routes without competition. Both leisure and business travelers value the time savings and convenience over a non-stop flight way higher than fancier products, hence even justifying reason to pay an extra premium on top.

But how many airlines do that at ARN?


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineegilsml From Norway, joined Feb 2007, 25 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 7371 times:

Hello FlyingFinn76
Nice report.
Im going to Longyearbyen as well in 3 weeks with my family

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
There are no buses. The only scheduled bus is the airport one, all the rest are tourist charter buses. Heck, there are only around 50 kilometers of road on the whole archipelago (and yet that doesn't stop people from driving Chrysler 300s and other fancy cars - go figure).

There is no tax on cars in Svalbard so people can by expensive cars. On the main land there is double what it cost in Finnland f.eks. Of course we earn a bit more, but car is so expensive in Norway.

MVH
Egil Lamoey
Alta, Norway


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1730 posts, RR: 30
Reply 20, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 7211 times:
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Hi Petteri,

Excellent stuff! In fact the only reason one should go to Svalbard - in good weather conditions that is - are the amazing views. Not so keen on the midnight sun however, somehow I feel this broad daylight prevents you from sleeping, no?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Wow, my second operational upgrade in less than 24 hours, how about that!

Congrats to that. Although judging by the meal you got, not much worth foodwise.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
An almost perfect clover interchange between Ring III and the Tampere motorway

Delete the green and you could mistake it for the Brussels Ring road, don’t miss it on your takeoff to NYC, left hand side  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Air China triple seven at its usual gate - according to our Swedish friends it isn’t exactly the world’s most comfortable plane to fly in

So would you say the A332 you travelled in recently is/was much better?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The F pier, despite being a white elephant at least looks much nicer than the rest of Arlanda:

Nice use of the ‘wood’ theme. It reminds me a bit of OSL.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Once more - looks cute (but beware of high mountains):

Agree with the first: looks good and a ‘must-fly’ although I don’t know when to make that ever happen. The second is a sick joke...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I guess it takes all kinds.

An aviation enthusiast pur sang?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
a special “Markus shot” from the safety of the bus

The busdriver clearly didn’t read the sign you photographd earlier on.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
and announces a flight time of 2h45mins tonight

That’s quite lenghty. I didn’t know LYR was ‘so far away’ (which is relative as well of course)?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I think this is the town hall - the bright red color certainly cheers you up (and makes it easier to find during a snowstorm, I guess):

And it even seems to have aircon!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
good to see a couple of WF milk runs there - I’ll be back in three months doing some hardcore flying on those:

Following Markus’ and palmjet’s footsteps: ‘To baldly go where no man has ever gone before’ - hmm not quite. Still, will be excellent flying if the weather is clear, fingers crossed to that!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A familiar plane to Markus:

And to me as well if you look at the reg 

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
My first time with the new interior - it still has the new plane interior smell:

After the ‘fresh kerosene’ smell, the second best smell there is  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6577 posts, RR: 55
Reply 21, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 7125 times:

Hi FlyingFinn!

Thanks for an very nice report with amazing pictures !

Very good that you finally made it to LYR and wrote a report about it. Seem like very good deal with the miles and the hotel actually seems cheap considering it being at a very remote place in Norway. I paid about the same for a similar place in London recently.....

15h seems to be enough time to stay there. Views from the airplane are amazing!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
1A on this 717 is definitely more roomier than the 1A I had on the Lufthansa A321 the previous night:

Legroom looks great!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
aw salmon

Mmmm, l'm getting a craving for salmon..... 
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Man, that Air China bird is filthy - worse than Air France:

Always great with a picture of a 777 in a trip report although it is very dirty.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Legroom on these -800 models is definitely tighter than on the flight over:

That does look very tight!

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3284 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 7067 times:

Very nice report P...good to see some shots of Svalbard...it's high on my to do list, although hopefully for longer than 15 hours!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
So 12 000 points and 82 EUR in airport fees got me a very nice itinerary: HEL-ARN-OSL-LYR-TOS-OSL-ARN-HEL - an excellent value for points if ever!

No bad!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Wow, my second operational upgrade in less than 24 hours, how about that!

Lucky you!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Air China triple seven at its usual gate - according to our Swedish friends it isn’t exactly the world’s most comfortable plane to fly in (Swedes seem to get all the sub-par planes, Thai uses 744s with old interiors to ARN too):

I think their C class only has around 45" pitch...terrible

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

I have to admit that I’m almost agreeing with Jonas here

Whoa, you two agree on something?!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Can’t quite understand how someone might do that - instead of turning *right* towards the terminal (and up the escalator if it doesn’t happen to be on a strike that day) he turned *left* towards the apron and descended the stairs. I guess it takes all kinds.

My first time in OSL, we deplaned via steps before doing a loop and going up thru the airbirdge...werid.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Very frustrating watching this at the same time:

Were you having an "Istanbul Moment"? Lucky they waited for you if you didn't have checked bags

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Well, it is a thick slab of pizza dough, coated with ham and an even thicker slab of passable cheese. Pork plus greasy cheese would taste good even on top of the soles of my old boots so of course it goes down well. Was it worth the 13 EUR (including a can of lukewarm beer) admission price? No way!

That pizza looks poor, esp for the price. No toppings?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A quick “gabrielchew” in the lounge before continuing to Arlanda:

I hope you made it a strong one!



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 offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1459 posts, RR: 33
Reply 23, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 6969 times:

Hi P,

Well, you've surpassed yourself this time. I always said your Isle of Man report was my favourite, but now it just has to be this one.

The whole arctic landscape is just out of this world and I don't think words can do it justice. The pictures speak for themselves. What incredible beauty - it makes me realise I have to visit that region before global warming gets any worse. And to land at 2330 and to experience such sunshine, fantastic.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
for some unfathomable reason BER had changed into TXL in it...

Really can't explain that one  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Can’t quite understand how someone might do that - instead of turning *right* towards the terminal (and up the escalator if it doesn’t happen to be on a strike that day) he turned *left* towards the apron and descended the stairs. I guess it takes all kinds.

You'd be surprised, very surprised!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
After ten minutes in the queue I finally get through, vent my frustration to the gate agent who says they’ve been waiting for me and head downstairs into the bus where I’m of course the very last passenger to board it and feel the nasty stares of other people on my back

Doesn't sound like organised Norway. I feel with you, I wouldn't enjoy those stares either.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“Norwegians have the most unhealthy eating habits I’ve ever seen. They eat so much pizza and other junk food that if everyone didn’t ski two hundred kilometers every weekend just because they can they’d be far fatter than the Americans

Actually, I can see the reasoning behind that. Let's face it, a lot of Swiss food is also unhealthy, what with rösti, cheese and chocolate, but everyone is off skiing and hiking so the calories are burned off. Btw, that pizza looks absolutely vile. Daylight robbery at 13E too.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
My seatmate on the aisle seat seems to be a bit annoyed that I’m glued to the window, but I’m sorry - you should’ve asked for a window seat earlier...

No sympathy here. You're doing the flight of a lifetime, your window seat, make the most of it!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
there’s a German woman who has a small panic attack as there was no ATM on the airport and she doesn’t have any NOK - but the driver accepts Euros just fine, albeit at a rather disadvantageous exchange rate (50 NOK = 10 EUR!).

I still don't understand people who travels without any cash. I mean, I doubt that going to Svalbard was a last minute decision so surely getting a few NOK wouldn't have been too hard for her.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, it is bare bones and cost almost 70 EUR for the night (including breakfast) but this is Svalbard, not

Not a bad price for the location.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Mailing local postcards and getting an envelope with stamps:

Gorgeous stamps and postmark.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Getting my stuff out of the seat pocket I notice something disgusting in there - I hope it is bubble gum and not vomit:

Disgusting isn't it? On my flight back from TXL the guy in front of me got bubble gum all over his ipad cover thanks to some idiot who'd stuck it to the inflight magazine. He remained quite calm, not sure I would have.

Thanks again for a truly wonderful read.

Happy flying
Infodesk   



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlinePelle From Denmark, joined Apr 2012, 63 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6942 times:

Nice report!
Svalbard looks like a very interesting place, even though there isn't much to see (or do).
I would definately attempt some exploration of those abandoned mining facilities if I was to go there.



Upcoming flights: CPH-KEF, BLL-STN
25 LXM83 : Hello FlyingFinn76 Fantastic report about this most exotic of European destinations. Same here, but unfortunately will stay on my must-do list a bit l
26 Post contains images airbuseric : Petteri, great report! Won't go too much in details on this one since most is said already, but you've seen some fascinating landscapes on the groud b
27 Knightsofmalta : Hi FlyingFinn Thanks for the great report, very exotic destination. I've always wondered what it looks like up there. There doesn't seem anything much
28 roberts87 : Wow, great report and some amazing scenery! I did have to look on the map to see where Svalbard is. So it's 'only' 10.000 miles from any destination i
29 Pelle : Not correct, even Oslo, which is in the southern part of Norway, is "only" 1250 miles from Svalbard.
30 Post contains images OA260 : Hey P Lovely report and great to see your snowy reports back I link you with those so great to see you back with these. Amazing scenes and makes me wa
31 initious : Greetings FF76! What a wonderful masterpiece out there again! Blue1 looks like a pretty nice airline especially with the 717s flying around. You can't
32 Post contains images roberts87 : I meant 10.000 frequent flyer miles
33 Post contains images dkdaviator : Hi FF, Nice report there about your recent nordic wanderings. Wow, that is an amazing itinerary for that amount! Looks nice. I need to have a local Ne
34 abrelosojos : = What? Is this really true? I had no idea! = Haha. So true. I saw a bunch of them last year during my Canadian escapades. Thanks for the report. Not
35 Post contains images signol : Hi FF, excellent report as always, but like you said, in this one, the star of the show is the destination, not the journey. Like most non-A.netters I
36 Post contains links and images FlyingFinn76 : Hi folks, good to see so many comments. Thank you! Well seriously speaking if you compare it to other lounges around Europe (and let's not even speak
37 The777Man : CA used to fly PEK-MUC also with the 777 (4810mi) which is longer than PEK-ARN (4169mi). UA frequently does FRA-ORD in a non-ER 777 which is longer t
38 Post contains images CaptainRed : Hi, another great report brought to you by Finn1 ... Wow, that's indeed a good deal for 7 legs, including a flight to a somewhat exotic place. I occas
39 NDiesel : Hi Finn, Great report! The two buddhist munks dressed in yellow - now that's interesting! Given it probably aren't too many of them flying to Svalbard
40 Post contains images KaiGywer : I'm sure you'll get it right one of these times I always looked at that as 0, meaning the furthest east and west would be as close to 180 degrees eit
41 deltamartin : Hello FF! Great report as usual! Good to read about your experience at Svalbard. Sure looks like a unique place. I have long considered to do somethin
42 MSS658 : Hi Petteri Some great flying up North! I must say scenery is fantastic up in LYR. However I did had some hard time believing that it was 23:30 when yo
43 adamspotter : Hi there FlyingFinn, Another excellent report, entertaining read with great pictures. What a good way to spend some points! nice catch That's quite ex
44 Post contains images 717Flyer : Hi P., There is two main reasons behind why I am writing this reply: 1) to let you know how much I enjoyed this unusual report and 2) that I am by no
45 Post contains links and images Thule : Hey there, fellow Svalbard traveler! The Northernmost A.netter? To Svalbard And Beyond. (by Thule Sep 20 2011 in Trip Reports) Not much for me to say,
46 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi guys, Thanks for the comments here too! Wow, that is quite a steep price, you can fly to Australia or New Zealand for that amount of money! Wonder
47 FLIEGER67 : Ah, P., great stuff. You made me feel that I should go there again immediatelly. Despite I knew a few words in english these are not on my list!. Well
48 Post contains images starrymarkb : I'd love to do a similar trip. Gorgeous scenery
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