Hi fellow flyers!
I have been a member for about 9 years but due to family and work commitments its been a struggle to contribute much to the forum. But I thought that this time, I would share my recent trip to a rather unique part of the world - Svalbard - which is just 800 or so miles from the North Pole.
Four flight trips would be taken to get to and from Longyearbyen (LYR), Svalbard - with both Norwegian and SAS (the only major airlines that fly to Svalbard). Part 1 will be the outbound journey and Part 2 will be the inbound journey.
This will be my first flight with Norwegian but my 5th flight with SAS.Part 1
D82810 LGW-OSL, B738
SK4414 OSL-TOS-LYR, B738Part 2
DY397 LYR-OSL, B738
D82807 OSL-LGW, B738Great Circle Mapper
I will let the photos do most of the talking, but I will add a few notes as the trip progresses. Flight 1Date:
Saturday 10th February 2018Flight No:
Norwegian Air International D82810Route:
London Gatwick, United Kingdom (LGW) to Oslo Gardermoen, Norway (OSL)STD:
1750 GMT (1818 actual)ETA:
2055 LT (2102 actual)Seat:
1A Economy FlexAircraft:
Boeing 737-86N Registration:
We arrived at LGW relatively early for our evening 1750 departure to Oslo. We would be staying overnight in Oslo before flying to Svalbard the following morning.
Norwegian have expanded considerably at LGW over the last few years, and now operate various long haul flights to and from the United States. Check in at South Terminal Zone J was busy but not slow (thankfully!).
After security, we had some lunch which gave us a decent view of the South Terminal apron - unfortunately the weather was not good at all.
A gate number was allocated for our flight just before 1700. It was Gate 1, over at the newer part of the South Terminal.Not the best image - EI-GBB
Boarding was on time, but due to the large amount of passengers at the gate, it took the gate staff a while to process us through to the aircraft. It would be a full flight to Norway this evening, with lots of families with young children - it was the start of the school Half Term here in the UK.The view from my seat 1APushback was just before 1800 - Swiss flight to Geneva also taxiing to the runway
After what felt like an age waiting on the taxiway, we officially departed at 1818 (1918 Oslo time). The in flight snack service began about ten minutes after take off. Pretty standard stuff for economy - including an expensive box of salted crisps. The airline magazine 'n
' was ok though, with a few good articles about various topics and destinations as well as a colourful route map.
Leg room I felt was a little tight despite sitting on the front row but satisfactory for a short haul flight. A couple of comedies - Big Bang Theory etc. - were played on the overhead screens for most of the flight.
After flying for 1h 44 minutes we arrived at a cold and snowy OSL, approx 2100 local time, with an outside temperature of about -2. Taxiing to the F Gates - International areaFinal view of our aircraft
OSL was practically empty and very quiet this evening on our arrival. Passport check and baggage reclaim was a very quick and smooth process. We then got onto the airport shuttle bus and by 2215 we were settling down for the night in a nearby hotel (Comfort Hotel Runway). Tomorrow morning will be the Svalbard flight with SAS.Flight 2Date:
Sunday 11th February 2018Flight No:
Scandinavian Airlines SK4414Route:
Oslo Gardermoen, Norway (OSL) to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway (LYR) via Tromso, Norway (TOS)STD:
0955 LT (1017 actual)ETA:
1400 LT (1419 actual)Seat:
1E SAS PlusAircraft:
Boeing 737-85P Registration:
The airport shuttle bus dropped us off outside a busy OSL just after 0730 for 0955 departure to LYR via TOS. We would be flying in SAS Plus this morning and found our check in counters at Row 5.Checking in was quick and easy with no problems at all
After security, we found a nice little cafe for a quick morning tea and sandwich in the domestic terminal area. I soon found out that our gate number was not too far away at A10.The weather was overcast and quite foggy at OSL this morning, however Iceland was facing a blizzard and all flights to KEF had been cancelled this morning.
The early morning 0850 SK flight to Kirkenes KKN, in northern Norway, was currently occupying Gate A10 upon our arrival, so we had to wait for a while until that flight had left. Shortly though, we could sit down in the waiting area.
Our aircraft arrived at the gate just after 0920. Boarding began for SAS Plus passengers just after 0940. This was the best photo I could get of our aircraft - LN-RRGThe view from my seat. I would say that SAS Plus feels more like Premium Economy seat and not necessarily a business class seat. Although, the leg room was not too bad.
The ground staff did a good job of turning this aircraft around and by 0955 we were already for push back and departure. This morning flight to TOS was again full with no empty seats in sight.Push back was just before 1000De-icing due to the cold weather, which took about 5 minutesTake off at 1017. Next stop Tromso, where the captain announced that there were clear skies and quite sunny!
After about ten minutes, the thick snowy clouds over southern Norway disappeared and we were greeted by bright, clear skies all the way to TOS. The inflight service soon began and it was nothing out of the ordinary for SAS Plus passengers, just...that the snack bar was free (economy passengers had to pay for this service).
Flight was very smooth with no turbulence at all. At 1130, we began our descent into Tromso.Touchdown at 1145
All passengers, including LYR bound, had to get off at Tromso. This was because the LYR passengers had to go through an extra passport check. I found out a couple of days later, on Svalbard, that this is a relatively new procedure that was only introduced last year. We left the aircraft via the rear stairs due to the fact that jetbridge was frozen solid!
In the terminal building, we made our way to the ground floor and toward Gate 20 where the passport control was located. It was only a small area and a number of security officials were present, equipped with sniffer dogs. Due to the large amount of passengers heading to LYR this afternoon, this took a while, and our flight was delayed for about 30 minutes.
Boarding began at 1230 and in no particular order, so it was a bit of 'scrum' to get to the front.
Push back was just after 1245 and the cabin, especially up front in SAS Plus, felt a lot emptier - with only 4 other passengers occupying the seats. Economy appeared full though.Take off for Svalbard at 1250
The service on the TOS-LYR leg went exactly the same as the OSL-TOS leg, with just a free in flight snack bar again. The cabin crew were polite and friendly throughout the whole flight though, so no complaints there. The captain had mentioned to us that there was a snow storm over Svalbard but it should clear by the time we get there (with a ground temperature of about -5).Leaving the mainland behind, flying out over the Barents SeaHave you ever seen the sunset at 1330?
As you can tell by the photos, the sky gradually became darker as we flew further northwards towards Svalbard.Our first views of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) appearing below, just before 1400.We were put into a holding pattern over eastern Spitsbergen due to the ground staff at LYR clearing the runway from snow.Very bumpy touchdown at 1419 - approx. 20 minutes behind scheduleAll I can see is white!Leaving our aircraft behind - it was a cold -5 degrees here!
After exiting the aircraft via the front stairs, we made our way carefully across the frozen airport and toward the main terminal building for baggage collection. The first view of this icy world - it feels like we are on another planet!
Thanks for taking your time to read through my report. I will try and get the return trip up over the next few days (with some photos of Svalbard itself).