March 23, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK707
McDonnell Douglas MD-81
LN-RON “Holmrid Viking”
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 18:25/18:25
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 18:25/18:19
Economy Class, Seat 14F
Photo © Søren Geertsen
I got to Helsinki Vantaa airport at about 5 pm for my 6:25 pm departure for Stockholm Arlanda. Check-in was quick, no lines whatsoever. I requested window seats in the first rows of economy on the MD80s and asked if SK973 is overbooked. The agent was really unhelpful and just murmured something like “I can’t see it here, I have no idea”. I then got my boarding passes and headed to the SAS ticketing counter to change my seat assignments on my upcoming LH trip to New York. Also checked the departures monitor there to see which aircraft would operate my flight: “SK707 ARN 22 RON”. Great – a new MD80 for me!
I then cleared security – it was a breeze like usually at HEL. The airside area was more or less deserted, AY73 to Narita was just being pushed back and later took off from 04. I made my way to gate 22 where SK707 would be boarding shortly. “Holmrid Viking” had just arrived from Arlanda and was being prepared for the flight back. At 6:10 pm I made my way onboard and grabbed some newspapers on my way. A friendly purser was greeting us at the door. I then took my seat, 14F, and was very pleased to have D and E empty. Legroom was excellent and the load factor today was around 70% I guess, which I find pretty high on a Saturday night.
Soon the captain welcomed us onboard and announced the estimated flying time of 45 minutes to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. A brief safety demo in Swedish/English followed and we were pushed back exactly on time, at 6:25 pm. I noticed a Futura 737-400 (EC-GNZ) next to us and another SAS MD-80 (SE-DIP) was at gate 26, operating SK719 to Copenhagen. A rather long taxi to runway 04 followed and we had to hold on taxiway ZR a while as Finnair’s OH-LPD (M80) was landing and A321 (OH-LZC) took off for the warmth of Malaga.
We started moving at 6:36 pm and took off like a rocket after a 22-second roll. A very steep climb and a left turn followed, and already three minutes later the captain switched off the seatbelt sign. Service started shortly after that and economy class meal today was a big sandwich and orange juice with a full bar service later. I opted for Coke and Baileys as usual. The flight attendants were great and service more than sufficient for a 45-minute flight. As I finished my sandwich, we were cruising over Mariehamn (MHQ) and continued towards Norrtälje and eventually Arlanda airport. The captain then announced that we had started our descent into ARN and that the weather was fine, -1*C and northern winds.
We touched down on what I believe was 01L at 6:19 pm Swedish time and taxied quickly to gate 7 where LN-RON arrived at 6:22, still three minutes early. I thanked the crew and decided to take a look at the new pier F at ARN before my connecting flight to Copenhagen Kastrup. It looked very nice but the whole airport was practically empty this evening.
March 23, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK427
McDonnell Douglas MD-87
LN-RMH “Solmund Viking”
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 19:45/20:02
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 21:00/20:58
Economy Class, Seat 8F
Photo © Peter Unmuth - Vienna Aviation Photography
Galileo listed this flight as EQV, so I was secretly hoping for an A321 especially when I saw OY-KBL taxiing in. but no such luck for me – LN-RMH would be the machine operating this service, coming in 20 minutes late from Paris CDG. I tried to do some spotting at this point but only saw a few non-SK machines, including OS F70, LH 321, AF735, DK 32S and SQ 744F. SK427 was now ready for boarding (7:45 pm) and I made my way to seat 8F. The middle seat was empty again which was great.
The captain soon came on and apologized for the short delay and announced the estimated flying time of 55 minutes. At the same time we were being de-iced by two trucks. The again friendly cabin crew was performing the safety demo and we were ready for pushback at 8:02 pm. A short taxi followed and we entered runway 08 via XA eight minutes later. A powerful takeoff followed and we lifted off after a 26-second roll. Climb was the usual steep MD80 one. The seatbelt sign went off quickly again and the flight attendants assigned for Y class, Lotta and Helena, started the service. It was the same as on my earlier flight, a sandwich flushed down with Coke and Baileys.
We were heading directly towards Malmö and Copenhagen and it was great flying weather – could see the lights of the small Swedish towns below us. After a smooth ride, we soon started our descent into Kastrup, and landed on 04L at 8:58 pm, two minutes ahead of schedule. A quick taxi followed and we were parked at gate B4 at 9:06 pm.
March 23, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK973
OY-KBI “Rurik Viking”
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 22:30/22:35
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 15:05/14:55
Economy Class, Seat 31A (Exit row window)
Photo © Alexander Holst
Photo © Nils Alegren
Photo © Lauri Huima
Copenhagen Airport was really empty on a Saturday night at 9 pm, so I went directly to gate C33 where SK973 to Bangkok and Singapore would be boarding an hour later. This was a closed gate, and a friendly lady took my boarding pass and handed back the stub as I entered. She also said “Are you looking forward to flying on our new Airbus tonight?” after seeing my SAS A340 pin I was wearing .
I then grabbed a Bangkok Post and took a seat near the jetway. The boarding lounge started to fill up and at 10:05 pm they started boarding in an orderly manner, starting from the back of the bus. I was in the first group and was pleasantly surprised when two rather young ladies greeted us at door 2L. I was expecting the usual longhaul prison matrons. I then made my way to 31A, an exit row window with great legroom. A very cute brunette was greeting me there and noticed my A340 pin too, so we chatted for a while. Bangkok-Singapore was her favorite trip; the crews spend two nights at BKK, then fly BKK-SIN-BKK, stay another night and then fly back to CPH.
Soon my seatmate showed up – a SAS Euro Bonus Gold member in his fifties as I had predicted! He said he’s flying about 180K a year but still had no clue about the PTVs etc, so I helped him. “Boarding completed” was soon announced by the purser and the big Airbus was being pushed back five minutes behind schedule, at 10:35 pm. We then taxied to runway 04R and started our takeoff roll at 10:50 pm. After a 46-second roll we finally lifted off and started our long climb up to FL330. After flying on the MD80s it seemed like we’d never get off the ground!
The estimated flying time today was 10 hours 14 minutes and as soon as the seatbelt sign went off, the crew started the service. We were offered menus, headphones and amenity kits first, later followed by dinner:
Tomato and mozzarella
Sautéed Turkey with rice and tomato concassé
Penne Carbonara with parmesan cheese
Something sweet to finish
I chose the turkey and it was excellent. My only complaint about the meal would be the cheap plastic cutlery used. I ordered Coke and water with my meal, later followed by Baileys.
I later turned on my PTV and browsed through the movies – ended up watching American Beauty. The PTV itself was very nice with touch-screen features etc. Later I listened to SAS Hitlist for a while before falling asleep. Our routing today was roughly CPH-RIX-MOW-DEL-CCT-RGN-BKK, and I woke up somewhere over India. I didn’t sleep that well, waking up every now and then but it was better than no sleep.
As we were cruising over the Bay of Bengal, the second service started. Hot towels were distributed first, followed by a tasty hot breakfast:
Omelette Paysanne with veal jus
Tomato wedges and chives
coffee or tea
Also hot rolls and croissants were offered twice. The crappy plastic cutlery was used again though.
After the crew collected the trays, we started our long descent into Don Muang. The weather was great and I had nice views of Myanmar and Thailand and also the greater Bangkok area later. Rurik Viking’s main gear gently touched the Thai soil at 2:55 pm and a couple of seconds later we firmly touched down on 21R. Full reverse followed and we quickly exited to the right and taxied to terminal one. Some of the interesting aircraft I saw included a JAS A300, IC A300, NG 763, 2 LH 744s (VU and VX), AY M11 and lots of TG/PG/9Q machines.
We parked between Thai’s HS-TGB (744) and HS-TMG (M11) at 3:04 pm, one minute ahead of schedule. I thanked the crew and made my way to immigration, which was relatively quick and no questions asked whatsoever. My bag also made it rather quickly and I was sitting in a taxi-meter in less than 20 minutes.
March 25, 2002
Thai Airways International TG110
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 12:15/12:35
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 13:25/13:54
Royal Executive Class, Seat 23A
Photo © Eddy Cuperus
I had my alarm clock on this morning, but I have no clue what happened – I woke up at 10:28 am and was obviously in a rush to get to the airport. So I packed my stuff in record time and grabbed a taxi, the driver spoke hardly any English but was doing 150 kph on the elevated airport expressway… . He made it to Don Muang in 19 minutes and suddenly I was in no hurry at all!
My bag was X-rayed as I entered the check in area and the two Executive Class counters were empty. A friendly agent quickly checked me in and gave me the last window seat available, 23A. She forgot to give me back my passport and was joking “Mee take this”. After a few laughs she explained the way to the lounge and off I went. I showed my boarding pass at the entrance and they wrote down my name in a book and welcomed me in. I took a seat, placed my carry-on there and helped myself to some sandwiches and pastries from the self service bar. I also had two Cokes to flush them down with.
The lounge itself was pretty worn but I liked the snack availability – much better than LH European Business class lounges at FRA. I then made my way to gate 61, where a huge line was already present. Boarding started at 12:05 and I simply passed the line and showed my C-class boarding pass, nice and easy! Three flight attendants were greeting us at door 2L and one showed me the way to 23A personally. Hot towels were provided to each passenger in C shortly after they boarded, along with pre-departure drinks in real glasses.
Seats on HS-TAA were big and comfortable, but of course a bit old fashioned. The walls were decorated with images of Thailand – the cabin looked very beautiful Legroom wasn’t that great, maybe around 40”, but perfectly ok for the short hops the A300s are operating. The crew announced that there were a few passengers missing – their bags would be unloaded and we would be underway in 10-15 minutes. Sure enough, at 12:35 pm, the jetway was moved away and HS-TAA started moving. I noticed Thai 737-400 HS-TDK sitting next to us.
A very long taxi past the international terminals and maintenance hangars followed and I spotted the following aircraft:
BR 744 (B-16409)
CI 742 (B-18255)
CX 773 (B-HNI and B-HN-)
CZ 320 (B-2459)
EK 777 (A6-EMN)
KL 744 (KLM Asia)
SU IL9 (RA-96005)
TK 343 (TC-JDK)
UL 330 (4R-ALA)
TG 744 (HS-TGJ/P/X/Z)
TG 773 (HS-TKF)
We followed a Thai Air Force HS-748 (11-111) to runway 21R and had to hold short for a while as an Air France 747-400 was landing. Finally at 1:01 pm we entered the runway and started our 37-second takeoff roll, followed by a powerful climb.
As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, the crew swung into action. Red table linens were distributed first, followed by hot lunch. It was chicken and noodles, very beautifully presented on a big tray with real china and cutlery (except for the knife). A selection of coke/oj/water in real glasses followed shortly. Later coffee was offered with the chocolate cake, and more drinks were available all the time.
As soon as the trays were collected, the old Airbus started its descent into Chiang Mai, and soon I had the countryside of Northern Thailand in view. We touched down rather firmly on runway 36 at 1:54 pm and quickly taxied to the terminal. I noticed a bunch of Thai Air Force helicopters, a Fokker 50 of Air Andaman (HS-KLE) and a Thai B737-400 (HS-TDJ). We used a jetway again and I was off the plane in no time at all. Luckily my bag had the “Royal Executive Class”-tag, so it was the tenth one to appear on the belt.
March 26, 2002
Thai Airways International TG107
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 13:15/13:17
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 14:25/14:30
Royal Executive Class, Seat 11K (first row window)
Photo © Ian Moy
After having a great time in Chiang Mai, I took a taxi to the airport, arriving pretty early for my scheduled departure of 2:15 pm. The check in agent was very helpful and rebooked me onto the 1:15 pm service after I confirmed it would be an A330. Got my boarding pass quickly and made my way to the lounge – it was smaller than at BKK but in better shape overall. I had some pastries and lots of the sweet TG orange juice. At this point they announced the cancellation of the HGN 737-400 service, due to bad weather in Mae Hong Son.
Shortly it was time to board TG107 to Bangkok – again a long line in front of the gate, but the purple pass was able to do the trick again . HS-TEM looked very new, and the business class cabin was very spacious and the electronically controlled seats were big and comfortable, also fitted with PTVs. Legroom was huge as well. This time cold towels were provided along with the pre-departure drinks. A Mandarin 737 (B-16805) and Bangkok Air ATR (HS-PGH) were sitting next to us.
At 1:17 pm we were pushed back – C class was really empty, maybe 10 passengers while economy was packed. We taxied to runway 36 for takeoff and started the 32-second roll at 1:29 pm. The A330 takeoff felt really powerful – simply great! A right turn followed and soon I was able to see another A330 touching down on rwy 36, this would be the aircraft for the flight I was initially booked on. Luckily it wasn’t HS-TEK, I’d have gone nuts!
The seatbelt sign went off shortly and the service started. Red table linens were distributed again followed by lunch. This time we got fried rice with shrimps etc, followed by some banana dessert. The meal was very tasty again and the presentation was the same as earlier. I had some Coke and coffee to flush it down. The airshow was on for the whole flight – we were very near Bangkok as the crew collected the trays. Our cruising altitude today was FL290.
We had a rather long approach due to heavy traffic at BKK, and touched down on 21R at 2:30 pm. The landing was smooth as silk. HS-TEM then taxied to a remote stand near the cargo terminal, and parked between HS-TAA and a Royal Nepal 757 (A) a few minutes later. I quite enjoyed the bus ride to the domestic terminal – spotted some interesting aircraft including two 9Q F28s, a Druk Air/Royal Bhutan BAe 146-100 (A5-RGE), AF 744 (F-GISD), AI 310, JL D10, SR M11 and two SQ machines.
My bag had a ROP Priority tag this time and sure enough arrived amongst the first bags again. I then took a taxi to downtown BKK again.
March 27, 2002
Thai Airways International TG207
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 10:00/10:07
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 11:25/11:15
Royal Executive Class, Seat 16G
Photo © Ito Noriyuki
No problems with my alarm clock this time, a taxi to Don Muang took about 25 minutes this morning and I arrived at around 8:30 am for my 10 am departure. Check in was quick again but sadly all the window seats were gone. I got 16G, an aisle in the middle block of 4 (business is 2-4-2 on the TG 772s). Off to the Business lounge again – this time there were no sandwiches, so I had some pastries and cookies for breakfast.
The crowd at gate 68 was huge – at this point it was clear this flight would be full. They started boarding at 9:35 am and there was no way I would be waiting at the end of the line. So up to the counter I went and showed my boarding pass and the agent waved it up in the air and yelled “business class”. Geez – you guys should have seen the faces of those 200+ Y passengers .
Was greeted with smiling stewardesses again and showed to my seat. Legroom was excellent and the seat wasn’t too narrow despite the 2-4-2 configuration. A hot towel and drinks were soon provided as usual. Soon a French family showed up and took the three seats next to me. The kid just kept playing with his toys on the aircraft floor and the attitude of the father was like they can do anything once they have paid for their ticket. They also just threw their four carry-ons on the floor without stowing them.
A few minutes later a few pax with green Y-class boarding passes showed up, economy was obviously overbooked. We were pushed back at 10:07 and the safety demo was played on the screens (same video as on the previous TG flights). Estimated flying time to the island of Phuket today was 1h 10 minutes. The Bangkok aircraft selection today included:
CX 773 (B-HNB/G)
JA D10 (JA8537)
3Q 763 (B-2568)
PG 717 (HS-PGO ”Angkor Wat” livery)
Orient Thai 747 (HS-UTP)
TG 333 (HS-TEA/D/G/K)
Other TG variety
As the crew made the final cabin checks, the French guy next to me was requested to stow their luggage and put his seat upright – sure he did this but reversed it as soon as the crew took their seats for takeoff! What a moron. We started rolling on 21R at 10:19 am and lifted off 30 seconds later. The climb was the usual 777 standard – we reached quickly our cruising altitude of 39000 feet.
This flight was designated as drinks only. Coffee, tea, Coke, orange juice and water were served using real china and glasses, I opted for two Cokes. When the flight attendant asked the French guy next to me if he’d like something to drink, he just rudely said “nothing”. It’s so hard to say “no thanks” I guess. There were many other Europeans in C class too who acted like this…
I watched the airshow on my PTV until we started our approach, our routing was just BKK-HKT direct. We soon left our cruising altitude and I was able to catch a couple of great views of the beautiful small islands before we were on final approach. This time the kid and his mother was watching DVDs until a flight attendant said “You’ll have to turn that off for landing like we announced a while ago.” No hope with the moron next to me, he simply reclined his seat again when the crew took their seats.
A firm landing occurred at 11:15 am on the very bumpy runway 27. We quickly vacated it and TG A300B4-600 HS-TAW took off as we were taxiing to the terminal. There was only one other aircraft at the terminal, a Transasia A320 (B-22602). I quickly deplaned and was happy that priority baggage worked again. Took a shared minibus to the beach – it took an eternity but I was able to save a couple hundred Baht.
March 28, 2002
Thai Airways International TG220
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 19:45/19:42
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 21:00/20:54
Royal Executive Class, Seat 22A
Photo © Bernhard Bauske
After two days in sunny and hot Phuket, it was time to fly back to BKK again. I took a limo from my hotel to Phuket International and arrived there about 50 minutes later. It was much more comfortable than the minibus but cost three times as much. I went to the Executive class check in where a guy with 16 pieces of luggage going to SIN was arguing about the excess baggage charges. About five minutes later a lady at the staff check in waved me down. I asked for a seat in the nose but unfortunately couldn’t get a First class seat but the first row of C instead. She offered to put me on the A300 half an hour earlier but I politely declined as I wanted to be on the 747-300.
Cleared security with no problems and bought a few postcards before heading to the Royal Executive lounge. It was deserted, only one passenger with me down there! I enjoyed some tuna sandwiches and chicken pastries again and drank a few Cokes while writing the postcards. Time passed very quickly and soon it was time to board TG220 bound for Don Muang. HS-TGD was waiting and I boarded with no wait whatsoever thanks to my C-class boarding pass. A300 HS-TAE was departing for Singapore Changi as TG405. Also a Phuket Air 737-200 was leaving for the City of Angels. Other departures included MI to SIN and KA to HKG as well as Premiair to Gothenburg Landvetter later, probably via Bahrain.
The crew on this B747 seemed to be older than on my previous flights but friendly again. The seats were about the same as on the A300, and my exit row didn’t have a legrest at all. Anyway, it felt great to be on a classic 747 again. A hot towel and a drink soon arrived, presented to you with a smile of course. The first class cabin looked nice with big velvet seats. I noticed an interesting plate near the galley: “This aircraft, HS-TGD, set the world record of maximum takeoff weight in 1987…”
The safety video was now played, and I noticed HS-TGY arriving at the gate next to us – it would later operate TG920 to Frankfurt via Bangkok. We were pushed back with a half-empty business cabin (upper deck wasn’t even used) at 7:42 pm and the estimated flying time this evening was one hour. We taxied to runway 09 and did a rolling takeoff – someone forgot the “cabin crew prepare for takeoff”-announcement, so the crew was in a hurry to grab their seats… oops. After a 25-second roll the classic took off like a rocket and sharp left turn followed.
This was a dinner flight, so the red table linens were distributed again. The main course this time was fish and steamed rice – very good indeed! Dessert was a bowl of fruit. I had my usual Coke to accompany my meal. The only screen visible to this row was the big one in front of the F-cabin, so I wonder what happens when the curtain is closed on longer flights with F service – no screen at all?
The flight passed very quickly and soon we left our cruising altitude of 37000 feet. Runway 21R was in use for landings again and the heavy touched down at 9:54 pm. The landing was one of the smoothest I’ve ever experienced – on par with the HS-TGR one about a month ago. As we were taxiing to the domestic terminal, I saw a Lufthansa MD11F taking off and a FedEx A310 taxiing. I also noted a JL D10, NH 777 (JA703A) and LY 777. Also the beautiful “Angkor Wat” 717-200 was present again as well as my old friend, HS-TAA. “Suchada” stopped at gate 68 at exactly 9 pm – on time. Priority baggage was fantastic again, and I was in downtown Bangkok at around 9:45 pm.
March 30, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK972
OY-KBA “Adalstein Viking”
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 00:40/00:43
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 06:30/06:24
Business Class, Seat 8A
Photo © Kok Chwee SIM
Photo © Jorgos Tsambikakis
The week passed by way too quickly and it was time to return to the north. Left my hotel at about 8:30 pm and grabbed a taxi-meter to the airport. At about 9 pm I was walking in the crowded terminal one departures hall, SAS desks were deserted though. There was only one agent working at this point and I asked her if the flight was full. She said yes, so I asked if it was overbooked and offered to volunteer. She hook my ticket and bag, handed me a meal voucher worth 200 THB, thanked me for my help and asked to come back at around 11 pm.
I went to the Burger King to use the voucher, hadn’t had dinner that night so it was perfect. I should have opted for the delicious Thai food though… As I was at the BK, my mate Bradley sent me an SMS that he had been rebooked onto TG920 to FRA as he had a major delay out of Sydney. It was too bad I couldn’t meet him as I wouldn’t get my boarding pass until at least 11 pm. I then walked around the two terminals and was amazed by the number of passengers there. Soon it was 11 pm and I went back to the SAS desk. The supervisor’s English wasn’t too great, she thought I was traveling on an ID ticket first… She was very cute though, probably in her early twenties . Anyway, she didn’t know the exact situation yet so our next meeting would be at 11:45.
At this point I finally remembered to drop my postcards to a mailbox and couldn’t believe the number of passengers checking in for Emirates to DXB. At 11:45 I went back to the counter and asked if they have any news to which she replied “yes”. Another agent checked me in and the first good sign was when she wrote 8A on the flight coupon. Next she handed me my boarding pass and said “We upgrade you to business” and asked what seats I’d like on my connecting flights. Bingo – operational upgrade to C, I wasn’t expecting this as the flight showed next to no availability in C as well. But I’m not complaining! My bag was checked all the way to HEL with an orange Star Alliance priority tag.
I thanked the ladies and made my way to the tax counter to buy my 500 baht PSC ticket. Immigration was a breeze and I headed to the Thai Royal Executive lounge in terminal 1. It was rather small and worn with no windows, but the selection of snacks and drinks was excellent – hot pastries, bread sticks, pretzels, fruit etc. This is probably nothing great in Asia but beats LH business lounge selection in Europe hands down. I had some pastries and a Bacardi cola before heading to gate 34 for boarding. OY-KBA was waiting and the gate lounge looked like a madhouse. I grabbed some newspapers and soon it was time for boarding: SIN transit pax first, followed by Business class and the very back of the bus and then gradually towards the front.
I was able to use door 1L while Y pax were using 2L. A rather young F/A was greeting me at the door. My seat, 8A, was in the second business cabin where only six seats are located. Row 8 is a bulkhead with ok legroom, it was slightly less than on the TG A330 but definitely around 50”. The captain soon welcomed us onboard and expected us to be underway on time, with an estimated flying time of 11h50min. 264 passengers onboard tonight. Hot towels were distributed at this point, followed by pre-departure drinks (water, oj, champagne), but in plastic cups??? Also amenity kits, menus and wine lists were given at this point.
OY-KBA was pushed back at 00:43, and I was surprised to see KLM ground crew handling SK flights instead of Thai. Some of the BKK variety tonight:
TK 343 (next to us)
BR M11 (B-16102, next to us)
SQ 313 (9V-STY)
CA 763 (B-2551)
CJ AB3 (B-2323)
Also tons of TG machines were present, including HS-TEK and one of the 747 rowboats.
We entered runway 21R at 00:54 and a long 47-second roll followed. Climb to our initial cruising altitude of 28000 ft was very lazy and took an eternity. About 20 minutes after takeoff, white table linens were distributed, followed by the meal about 20 minutes later as well. Here’s the menu:
Smoked salmon and sour cream with herbs
Pork fillet served with château potatoes, mixed vegetables and balsamico sauce
Grilled Siam perch with Chinese noodles and stir-fried vegetables in chili and garlic sauce
Spicy tamarind chicken with steamed rice and mixed vegetables
Singapore noodles and sautéed aubergine with mixed vegetables in toey sauce (vegetarian)
Selected cheeses and petits fours
We were given a big tray with salad, the first course and two pieces of cheese, glass filled with water and plastic cutlery, the same cheap supermarket stuff as in economy. The dishes were pre-packaged and one had to remove the plastic wrap. I opted for some Kiwi white wine with my meal and some garlic bread as well as hot rolls. More wine was offered constantly. The salad and the salmon were excellent as well as the different breads. Later the main course followed, I opted for the chicken. It was perfect and the portion was very big. Dessert selection was a bit disappointing, only two pieces of cheese and some petits fours. Anyway I was stuffed when the trays were collected and started to explore the features of my seat.
The new SAS business class seat is all electronically controlled: 6 different individual adjustments and a pre-set adjustment button for takeoff, sleeping and eating. It also features a handy reading light and power outlet for laptops. The touch-screen PTV is very big too with the same selection as in Economy Extra and Economy. I checked the airshow and listened to SAS Hitlist with the Sony noise-cancelling headphones, the sound quality was excellent. Two rounds of water/oj were served during this period and a personal water bottle was given to each business class passenger. These services used plastic cups too, which I found a bit strange.
I was very tired at this point, so I went to the lav to change into more comfortable clothes to catch some sleep. The business lavatories are huge with two windows, blue interior and the door is a big mirror. After that I reclined my seat and adjusted the legrest, headrest and lumbar support and fell asleep shortly. I only woke up a while before the breakfast service started. I quickly changed in the lavatory again and as I returned to my seat, a hot towel was provided. It was 3:34 AM Danish time now. The table linens were distributed soon and a hot breakfast followed shortly:
Fresh fruit salad
Cold cuts and cheese
Bread, croissants, butter and marmalade
Pancake with scrambled eggs, sausages, mushrooms and tomato concassé
Thai style rice noodles with shrimps and vegetables
A selection of fruit juices, coffee or tea
Breakfast was very tasty again, and they had about five styles of warm breads available. Absolutely delicious. I should add that both meal services had a quick option available.
After the trays were collected, I played some games on my PTV until we started our descent into Copenhagen Kastrup airport. At this point the headsets were collected and each passenger in business received a fresh orchid. The weather at CPH was fine but cold (+2*C), we landed smoothly on 22L at 6:24 am, ahead of schedule. Adalstein Viking stopped at gate C33 at 6:30 am, meaning an on-time arrival.
For those who are interested, our routing was BKK-Gulf of Martaban-RGN-Bay of Bengal-CCT-VNS-DEL-THR-MOW-RIX-MMX-CPH. From our initial cruising altitude of FL280, we climbed up to 350 and eventually to 380.
March 30, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK400
McDonnell Douglas MD-87
SE-DIF “Hjorulf Viking”
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 07:25/07:22
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 08:40/08:16
Economy Class, Seat 7A
Photo © Thomas Noack
I decided to try my luck to get into the SAS business lounge at CPH. The agent said “I guess it’s ok”, but when I asked about the showers, she wanted to see my CPH-ARN boarding pass (in Y). I thought that’s the end of it, but luckily she just handed me the key to shower room three. After a shower, I grabbed a glass of coke and checked my e-mails. The SAS lounge was very nice overall, one of the best lounges I have been to if not the best.
At about 7:10 am I headed to gate D1 where SE-DIF was waiting. I was one of the last passengers to board, and to my surprise I recognized half or the pax as they had been on SK972 as well. This MD87 had the old interior, and the seats looked worn and felt terrible after A340 business class. We were pushed at 7:22 am with the estimated flying time of 55 minutes. Some of the aircraft I noticed were a DM 735 (OY-APK) next to us, KE 744F and SQ 772 landing and a PK 313 at gate.
At 7:30 am the throttles were pushed forward and we started our 25-second takeoff roll on 22R. The climb was very steep again and a 360* left turn followed, giving me a great view of the airport. A SAS 767-300 was just landing on 22L as we were climbing. The seatbelt sign went off in three minutes and the breakfast service started. It was the usual lunchbox style, and included ham, cheese, youghurt and oj. Warm rolls and coffee/tea followed later. Crew was very friendly again.
As soon as the boxes were collected, we left our cruising altitude and started the approach into Arlanda. A smooth landing followed at 8:16 am on runway 1 I think (still not 100% sure about the ARN runways). Gate 3B was reserved for us and we arrived there four minutes later.
March 30, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK1708
McDonnell Douglas MD-81
LN-ROO “Kristin Viking”
Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 10:25/10:28
Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 12:20/12:10
Economy Class, Seat 8A
Photo © Viktor László
I decided to try my luck with the lounges here too – expecting to get rejected. But the lounge attendant said “You are very welcome to use this one” as I asked if she could let me in. The fact that it was practically empty probably helped too. I used the internet for about 1.5 hours and had some drinks before proceeding to gate 4A for boarding. LN-ROO had the new comfortable seats and updated interior unlike SE-DIF earlier.
The crew on this flight was very senior but still friendly. The purser asked me if I had fun in Thailand (I had that orchid and TG Royal Executive tag on my carry-on), which was a nice touch. A brief safety demo followed and we were pushed back half empty at 10:28 am for the 40-minute flight to Helsinki-Vantaa. Stockholm was pretty quiet today, only noticed a BLX 763, DK 330, OS F70, SK 763 (LN-RCF) and two 737-800s (LN-RCN and RPM).
We quickly taxied to runway 08 and entered via taxiway XA. At 10:34 am the MD-80 thundered down the runway and lifted off powerfully after a 27-second roll. The seatbelt sign went off two minutes after takeoff and the service began. A sandwich with orange juice and a bar service later. I chose to have a diet Coke and Baileys. As the trays were collected, we were cruising over Mariehamn, approaching the Finnish coast quickly. Later I had a good view of the city of Turku before we started our approach.
We landed on runway 22 at 12:10 pm, vacated the runway via ZG and quickly taxied to gate 26 where we arrived four minutes later. HEL was practically dead at this point, only noticed G-BZZB, a 737 of buzz at a remote stand and a cattle truck next to us (Finnair leisure 757, OH-LBO). I made my way quickly to the baggage claim but was surprised to see no priority tags on the first bags. All had a small orange thing visible – it looked like someone had removed the tags??? Anyway my bag appeared on the belt quickly and headed home.