It was a very early morning for me, hit the road at 4 am as my flight was scheduled to depart at 7am. It was raining but I made it quickly to Vantaa airport as the highways were deserted. SAS Self Service check-in took literally 10 seconds and I was outside the SAS Business Lounge at 05:26… It was scheduled to open at 5:45 but the guy was kind enough to let me in. Nothing was available yet in the food department, so I typed a few emails using one of the two computers with free high speed internet access. The same guy came to tell me later that the buffet and drinks are now ready – nice service. I had a few rolls and some Fanta for breakfast.
SK1719 was ready for boarding at gate 20 at around 6:40 am, I didn’t rush there as G20 is just a few steps from the lounge. Went straight onboard with a pile of newspapers and grabbed my seat in the first row behind the curtain. Legroom was good as usual and footrests were installed. The full M80 was pushed back on time and we headed to 22L for takeoff. The trusty Douglas twinjet took off after a rather long roll for the 1h45min hop down to Denmark.
The Helsinki runs seem to have always senior crews, and this morning was no exception. Everyone was friendly though and the usual breakfast box was served: some cold cuts along with warmed rolls. Nothing spectacular but adequate. The views from my window weren’t bad – the sun was just starting to rise – what a nice sight that always is. We landed on 22L at 8 am, a bit late due to the long flying time this morning and taxied all the way to the A gates.
I took the long walk to the Scandinavian Lounge, it was actually the first time I had some time to spend in this nice facility instead of just having a quick drink. I deliberately chose this longer layover instead of a very tight 50-minute connection when I booked. The Scandinavian Lounge is the nicest lounge that I have ever been to; light, spacious and offers all the amenities you would expect. I enjoyed some Baileys, typed more emails, and read some magazines next to the fireplace. Not a bad way to spend the layover.
18 January 2003
Copenhagen – Washington Dulles
Scandinavian Airlines SK 925
Boeing 767-383ER (76P)
LN-RCG ”Yrsa Viking”
Economy Class, Seat 17H (Exit Row)
1200-1500 On Time
Went through passport control at around 11:30 and headed all the way down to D40 for boarding. A 767 looking good in her new colours was waiting next to an A330 bound for Newark. I boarded almost straight away and was greeted by cheery Swedish flight attendants by the door. Stowed my roller and took my seat in the first row of economy, also the first exit row. Legroom in this row is good, however 18AB and 18GH offer even more in this department. The 767 looked very tired inside, particularly the exit doors that looked like they had been used hundreds of times. Business class on the 76P version is huge, 55 old looking seats with so-so legroom.
Soon the young crew made their final checks before pushback and we started moving at noon as scheduled. We taxied to 22R and took off with no delay for the Trans-Atlantic crossing. Menus and small amenity kits were distributed after takeoff, followed by drink service. I took a vodka coke as they had no Baileys in the trolley. However, about two minutes later, the nice Swedish lady was back with two small bottles of Baileys.
Lunch followed shortly, there is no choice on SK Transatlantics anymore. It was served on a nice big tray like on Asian airlines, not on a tiny one like Finnair, Lufthansa and AA do. First course was tomato and mozzarella and main course was ham tortellini with cheese sauce. There were some chocolates for dessert. I had white wine and a Carlsberg with my meal. Pretty good overall.
I then took out the eyeshade and earplugs from the amenity kit and successfully managed to sleep for quite a few hours. I only woke up as the second service was starting and we were near Halifax. It was a pretty substantial snack that they served, open sandwiches and coffee or tea to go with them. It was a clear day over Pennsylvania and the other Northeastern states, I had nice views as we were approaching the U.S. capital.
Approach was smooth as was the whole flight, and we landed on what I believe was 19R a few minutes early and taxied to a remote stand. Upon deplaning into one of those funny mobile lounges, sweets were available near the door – a nice touch. Immigration was an absolute madhouse with LX/AF/VS/ET arrivals before us as well as a few UA flights. The whole facility is a joke, lines started from the doors of the mobile lounges.
However, after queuing for an hour, I had the pleasure of meeting the rudest a$$hole I have ever seen in my life. He asked his questions in a very rude way and practically treated me like a big criminal. U.S. INS showing its finest here… I then took the Washington Flyer bus to the WFC Metro station and the metro to the city.
Hyatt Regency Washington DC on Capitol Hill
Check-in took maybe 15 minutes even though there was only one person in line in front of me. The agent didn’t put my Gold Passport number in the reservation and assigned a lousy room next to the elevators on the third floor with absolutely no view. The room itself was ok, but a bit noisy of course being next to the elevators. As a bonus, this Hyatt really is a conference hotel, some group decided to have their mini meeting just outside my door. I should have requested another room but headed out instead. It was ok for my Priceline rate but you seem to get third class treatment.
19 January 2003
Washington Dulles – Copenhagen
Scandinavian Airlines SK 926
Boeing 767-383ER (76P)
LN-RCG ”Yrsa Viking”
Economy Class, Seat 18B (Exit Row)
1705-0650+1 On Time
Took the same metro/bus combo back to Dulles around 2 pm and checked in at the deserted SAS counter. Agent was particularly rude and refused a pass to the Virgin Clubhouse despite the fact that SK Eurobonus U.S. has confirmed it is available to all Star Golds. I really didn’t want to argue after having only a few hours sleep the previous night and grabbed my boarding passes and went through security. Headed to one of the so called business class lounges, also known as United Red Carpet Club in the D concourse… Snack and drink selection was absolutely stunning – two jugs of water and fruit/cookies/peanuts/chips. The prison matron behind the bar managed to give me a coke, without a single smile or word. Lounge has no showers or internet access. It was just totally pathetic, not worth the effort to get there.
SK926 was boarding at gate B39 and I was one of the last to board the mobile lounge. The exact same 767 was waiting with the same cheerful Swedish crew. I had 18B this time, probably the best economy seat on this type. Legroom is very generous and the old SK seat recline isn’t bad at all. Chatted a bit with two of the ladies, they remembered me from the CPH-IAD flight. Service was flawless during the entire flight.
We pushed back on time and took off from 01L and headed north. Menus and amenity kits were delivered again, followed by drinks and dinner. It was Asian style chicken this time – very good for airplane food. A baileys and some coffee arrived later – I quite liked the way the flight remembered my choices!
As the trays were cleared, I tried to sleep again – and managed to do so until breakfast was served. It consisted of cold cuts, warmed rolls and some yoghurt – pretty good for a Transatlantic nowadays. We landed a few minutes early on 22L and taxied nest to a Singapore triple seven parked at the C concourse.
A refreshing shower in the Business Class lounge and I was ready to go upstairs to the Scandinavian Lounge. Checked my e-mails and had some rolls with some delicious Danish pork. This lounge felt like heaven compared to the UA joke. For once, I was lucky enough to have a HEL flight out of the D gates just next to the lounges instead of the A gates about a mile away.
20 January 2003
Copenhagen – Helsinki Vantaa
Scandinavian Airlines SK 1712
McDonnell Douglas MD-87
LN-RMP “Reidun Viking”
Economy Class, Seat 16A (Exit Row)
I managed to get the exit row while in the lounge for a little more room. This MD80 had 14 rows of Business Class this Monday morning and fewer rows of economy in the back. This was a very ordinary SAS European flight, good service and pretty good food. Flying time was a very short 1h10min in the air though.
We pushed back on time and followed the constant flow of SAS machines to runway 22R for takeoff. Powerful takeoff and a left turn, and I was on my way back to Helsinki once again. Legroom in the exit row was pretty good and I was lucky enough to have 16C empty next to me.
A lunchbox was served and the food this time was chicken and vegetables and rice. Chicken was particularly tasty. For some reason the rolls were cold and in the box already, however more of the warmed ones were served by the crew later. Landed after an uneventful flight on 04R ten minutes early and taxied to gate 22.
SAS was good once again, the difference in longhaul economy between Finnair and SAS is just amazing… SAS is just so much better.
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4300 times:
Actually I'm not a BA frequent flyer. My oneworld status is with AA just because BA Executive Club Europe restricts very heavily earning on discount economy fares and most of them don't count against BA status. With AA Platinum you get 100% mileage on Finnair even in discount Y and 100% Platinum bonus = 200% mileage. So for example HEL-BKK-HEL or HEL-JFK-some US city-JFK-HEL both get you around 20K, enough for a free ticket with Swiss within Europe. Right now AA has fouble miles on certain Finnair routes, so 3 discount trips to the US gets you a free Business Class on Finnair to Asia (costs about EUR 1200 this way).
LH Frequent Traveller (FTL) status is 35000 miles outside Germany and Austria where it is 50000. Once FTL, you get 25% bonus Star Alliance wide and this counts towards status, so Senator is "only" 80K actual miles. And it is automatically for two years.
Sabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4283 times:
So it is actually better to quit the BA exective club, and become a FF of another one world airline?
I have 6 BA flights booked this summer, and became a BA Ex Club member, but all the fares I booked are discounted economy fares...
I will not earn a lot I'm afraid
So with 35000 miles on LH in one year, you upgrade to the next status? Interesting, since, if you book a flight on them ex-BRU, you always get at least 4000 miles, and their fares are sometimes amazing cheap...
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4285 times:
AA is no good if you fly BA a lot - no miles on transatlantic and same restrictions for european members for BA fare classes as BA exec club has. I would take a look at Qantas Frequent Flyer - you apparently earn full mileage on all BA flights.
The777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6313 posts, RR: 56 Reply 11, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4141 times:
We apperently crossed paths! I flew LN-RCG IAD-CPH departing 18Jan03 so took the plane back to CPH same day you arrived IAD! Too bad we couldn't meet. Hope you had a nice time in Washington... The777Man
Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, LX and LH 777s
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 17, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4023 times:
I was stupid enough not to print that VS Clubhouse e-mail posted at Flyertalk with me. And there was really no point arguing with the supervisor - the check-in agent checked with her and i was told there would be NO lounge access for me. Wouldn't it have been nice to tell about the UA RCCs? Well at least I knew how to get there but probably not everybody.