November 25, 2001
Photo © Thomas Fischer
Took the bus back at 8AM for my 10:05 departure to Frankfurt Rhein-Main airport. The journey took about 25 minutes and as soon as I got to the airport, I checked the viewing terrace (too bad weather for pics again), and then went to the Lufthansa lounge. There was someone with SAS EuroBonus gold-card trying to get to the Senator lounge and almost started a fight with the agent. I was welcomed to the Business/Star Gold lounge again. Had some diet Coke and snacks for breakfast and checked the lounge terrace – would have been perfect for pics as well!
After about half an hour in the lounge, I went to gate B40 for boarding. Another A300, D-AIAU this time, was waiting. Boarding was on time and we ended up being about half full. Seat 23K was mine this time. This aircraft had the newer style Recaro leather seats, and looked clean and nice inside. The crew was wonderful again – I guess they check where FTL/SEN passengers are seated because I felt like I always got an extra smile.
The big bus was pushed back at 10:06AM, on time. Next to us was another A300 (AIAR). Other planes that I spotted include an Onur Air A321, Condor 757-300, LH Cityline Avros and CRJs and a Sun Express B737-800 (TC-SUK). We taxied to runway 23 and entered via alpha. At 10:15AM we started moving and another very powerful takeoff took place.
Service was the standard domestic, one drink service. I opted for some diet Coke again. The flight was rather smooth, even though some strange shaking was experienced at some point. FRA weather was as miserable as on Saturday, I couldn’t see anything before we were just about to land. Touched down at 10:56 on 25L and D-ABVY (744) was on it’s takeoff roll on 25R. It was quite a nice sight to see the huge 747 lifting off right next to you!
We taxied to concourse A, and parked at A18 at 11:15, next to D-AIBA (the Star Alliance coloured A340-200). I spotted CX/TG/AC/SQ/QF 744s on the way as well as tons of LH metal. A Royal Brunei 763 and Variglog DC10 were present too. Later I spotted two US 330s, a CO 762ER and Varig’s MD11 (PP-VQX).
November 25, 2001
Photo © Peter Unmuth - Vienna Aviation Photography
I had planned to go to the terraces to take some pics during my layover, but even though there were some rumors about the re-opening, they remained closed. Also the weather was terrible. So off to the LH Transfer counter, praying they could move me on the 1:30PM LHR service. No way – I should have paid GBP40 for that (the original fare was GBP62). I tried several counters, the LHR gate and two lounge desks before I finally gave up.
So with five hours at FRA, I tried some of the LH Business lounges, the one in concourse A lower level was more crowded than the gate areas, so I went upstairs and found a nice and quiet Business lounge. Some snacks and drinks and free Internet made the time pass by quickly. A gate change from A53 to A60 had occurred, and there was a delay of ten minutes due to D-AIAS arriving late from Rome FCO. Gate agents were friendly and apologized the delay.
At 4 PM they were ready for boarding and I was amongst the first to board again. A pleasant surprise at door 2L, the absolutely gorgeous F/A from one of my flights yesterday was greeting me at the door! Interior of this aircraft was exactly the same as D-AIAU. I had seat 27K this time – another window of course! Business cabin was pretty big on this flight, which surprised me a bit.
We were ready for push at 16:25, fifteen minutes late. Taxied all the way past LH Technik and Cargo and I spotted some of the B747-230Bs there. D-ABZE was near Technik, ABZD and ABYP were next to the cargo hangars and ABYX occupied remote stand F239. South African special scheme 747-300 was at F232. We were ready for takeoff from the far runway at 4:42 PM. What surprised me was that no flaps were used! I enjoyed this (again) powerful takeoff and hopefully it wasn’t my last A300 takeoff…
Our cruising altitude was 35000 feet today, and we were routed over BRU and Ostend direct to London Heathrow. The Very friendly crew served a sandwich and two rounds of drinks. The sandwich ex-LHR was much better, but this one was ok as well. Sooner than I realized, we had already started our approach into Heathrow airport, the weather was –again – terrible. Heavy rain and clouds at just a couple hundred feet. The A300 kept shaking quite a bit and at 4:55PM finally touched down on 27L.
A quick taxi to T2 and I was ready to go catch my SK flight to CPH. I used the flight connections- thing this time instead of exiting the terminal. Took a bus to T3 and SK transfer desk checked me in for SK504 and SK716.
November 25, 2001
Scandinavian Airlines SK504
McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30
SE-DMF “Heidrek Viking”
Photo © Paul Dopson
I hate LHR terminal three – the departure lounge was packed and the monitors just showed that horrible “wait in lounge” thing. There were two AA services departing (JFK/BOS), UA to BOS, JL to KIX/NRT and CX to HKG just to mention some of them. Finally at around 18:15 SK504 switched from “wait in lounge” to “go to gate 5”. Walked to the gate and noticed Malaysia’s 9M-MPM next to my MD90 – same MH plane as on Saturday.
I hoped SK would have needed volunteers as this service was full even in full fare C, but of course no such luck for me. Boarding started at 18:20 and I was greeted by a young blonde at the door. The interior was just like the refurbished MD80 one but had the slim seats with footrests and decent legroom. The crew was the usual SAS mix of an older purser and young F/As. They kept joking all the time and took pictures of each other. I don’t know if the purser was retiring or something, but it seemed sort of strange.
A Sudan A300 was departing from the gate next to us and that beautiful MAS B747 was on the other side. We were ready for pushback exactly on time at 18:45, 100% full in Y and C classes. Taxied past the hangars on our way to 27R, and I noticed Cathay’s “Same team – same dream” 747 there. The captain informed us that we were tenth in line for takeoff and that our turn would be in about 15 minutes.
Sure enough, 15 minutes after that announcement the MD90 started its very powerful takeoff roll on runway 27R. Our climb rate was very impressive despite the full load! A sharp right turn followed and I took the last glance at all the London area lights. As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, the dinner service started. The usual SK meal boxes were distributed, today’s menu was cold chicken with cold macaroni salad. A warm roll and some pineapple cake accompanied this rather tasty meal. Washed it down with diet Coke as usually.
The MD90 was very quiet during cruise, much better than the M80s. After the meal boxes were collected, people had the choice to use SAS flightshop. Hardly anybody bought anything though. As soon as the cart was put away, the crew served us some delicious Danish chocolates. After this we started our descent into Copenhagen Airport. Weather wasn’t much better than at LHR, and we were about to land as I saw the ground for the first time. At 21:40, five minutes behind schedule, we landed on runway 22L and quickly taxied to one of the C-gates. On our way I noticed a Singapore Airlines Cargo B747-412F Mega Ark. We were parked next to a good old DC9-41 (SE-DAS) that looked rather tired. Soon it will be time for her to take the long hop to California I guess.
November 25, 2001
Scandinavian Airlines SK716
McDonnell Douglas MD-87
OY-KHI “Torkel Viking”
Photo © Chris Waser
As United Kingdom isn’t in the Schengen system, I had to go through passport control before getting to the B-concourse to catch my eight and final flight of this trip. Passport control was a breeze, and I was at my HEL gate at 22:00. Five minutes later they were ready for boarding. Another MD87 for me, OY-KHI this time.
This flight was surprisingly full, maybe 75% I’d say. Crew was great again and legroom rather generous in row 9. No updated interior though. We were pushed back at 22:27, more or less on time. Austrian’s Fokker 70 (OE-LFQ) was sitting next to us. A quick taxi past some SK planes and a KF Avro RJ85 followed. We were sitting at the end of 22R at 22:40 and took off right away. The announced flight time today was 1h30min.
Soon after takeoff another cold SK meal followed, two sandwiched and some warm rolls flushed down with the usual black soft drink . Two delicious FazerMint chocolates for dessert were offered. On the F/A side, one stunning Danish lady worked on this flight too . I slept for a while after the meal service and woke up as we were approaching Helsinki.
Runway 04 (04R after the new runway opens) was in use for landings. OY-KHI touched down exactly at 1 AM, five minutes ahead of schedule. No reverse thrust was used and we more or less rolled all the way till the end of the runway. Maybe due to one of the wonderful noise restriction things… Taxied to gate 26 and I quickly deplaned and ran to catch the last bus to Helsinki at 1:10 AM.
All in all I was very happy with the flights, they were all very good if not excellent. Lufthansa was better this time but SK wasn’t far behind. Hope you enjoyed these trip reports! Comments please!!