June 20, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK713
McDonnell Douglas MD-82
LN-RLR “Vegard Viking”
Gate Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 08:45/08:42
Gate Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 09:25/09:31
Economy Class, Seat 10A
Photo © Anton Pettersson
Photo © Ole Johan Beck
I arrived at HEL at around 7 am and quickly checked in using SAS Self Service machines. Picked up a Finnair Plus award ticket next before heading to the lounge. Security lines were non-existent even though check-in lines especially for Finnair economy looked horrible.
I had some crackers and cheese in the SAS lounge for breakfast and had a good view of all the departing aircraft. SAS MD-82 was being towed to gate 21 at around 8 am and this would be the plane operating SK713 to Copenhagen. I checked my emails before heading to the gate using one of the two free internet terminals that SAS has in the Helsinki lounge.
Gate 21 was pretty busy as I got there and there was also a big group of girls around 20 years old with Finnish gymnastics association clothes, they didn’t look bad at all. Boarding started at 8:25 and was the usual cattle call. A senior purser was greeting us at the door and I then made my way to 10A, in the first row of economy. Legroom was good but this aircraft didn’t have the legrests. While boarding, I noticed a “Scandinavian Direct” sticker by the door. Finnair MD-83 was boarding at the gate next to us, bound for Vienna Schwechat as AY765.
Boarding was completed at around 8:40 and we were pushed back a few minutes early. A quick taxi to runway 22 followed and we took off at 8:46 after a 28-second takeoff roll. A right turn followed and we headed towards the south of Sweden. The usual continental breakfast boxes were distributed but nobody cared to warm the roll this time. The box included ham, cheese, lettuce and some cold scrambled eggs as well as a cup of orange juice.
As we were approaching Copenhagen, I saw an airport with 11-29 and 17-35 runways below us, we were about ten minutes out of Kastrup at that point. LN-RLR landed on 04L at 9:20 am and taxied to gate C27, where we parked at 9:31 with Singapore’s 777-212ER 9V-SVA next to us. As this was one of the non-Schengen gates, we had to exit via the tailcone and a bus took us to the terminal.
SAS Scandinavian Lounge Copenhagen Airport
This was the first time I was able to use this lounge since SAS usually has connections of less than one hour to/from HEL. Add a little delay there and consider the fact that the lounges are near the C-concourse and you can forget about it.
This time SK547 to AMS was 10 minutes late, so I had about half an hour to spend in the lounge. Entrance was right of the Business lounge entrance and boarding passes and FF cards were checked upstairs. The lounge was very spacious, I had no trouble finding a nice chair with nobody sitting next to me. The snack selection seemed to be rolls, crackers, cheese and various biscuits as well as different coffees and other drinks.
I found the furniture to be very Ikea style and they had nice little touches like a fireplace, library etc in this lounge. At around 10 am I headed to gate B16 where LN-RRX, the first 737-600 ever was waiting.
June 20, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK547
LN-RRX “Ragnfast Viking” (B737-600 Prototype)
Gate Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 10:20/10:36
Gate Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 11:45/11:55
Economy Class, Seat 7F (exit row)
Photo © Miguel Snoep
Photo © Axel Juengerich
Boarding started at around 10:10 and I was amongst the first to board. I was lucky enough to get an exit row window with great legroom, around 38” I think. Other rows on the 737-600s seem to be tight and especially the B-seats are to be avoided at all costs. Announced flight time to Schiphol was 1h10 this morning and we’d have another delay of about five minutes due to a malfunctioning fuel indicator.
Pushback was at 10:36 am and a brief safety demo was performed before we started taxiing. SAS MD80s were occupying the nearby gates and I spotted LH A310 (D-AIDD), BT Avro RJ-70 and FI 757s as well. We followed company MD-87 LN-RMH to 04R and took off at 10:45 after a 22-second roll. Our small 737 made an immediate 180-degree right turn after takeoff and I had a view of CPH airport on my right.
Once the seatbelt sign went off, a cold meal consisting of chicken and rice was served. I had a diet coke with my meal and Baileys with ice afterwards. No rolls were served during this service. After finishing my meal, we left our cruising altitude of FL340 and started a bumpy approach to Amsterdam Schiphol. Landed on 06 at 11:50 and taxied to the B-concourse where LN-RRX parked next to an MD80 at 11:55. This particular MD-80 was still in the old Scandinavian colours. Not many exotic/interesting aircraft near these concourses, but I saw an Air Transat A310 taxiing for departure.
June 21, 2002
Gate Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 07:00/07:01
Gate Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 08:10/08:05
Economy Class, Seat 10A (exit row)
Photo © AirNikon
Photo © Dean Barnes
The LH check-in is a joke in Amsterdam, three counters (2Y+1C). The line for C-class was pretty long and I heard the agent saying to the people in front of me “this is for business and star gold only but I’ll check you in anyway”. I couldn’t use the Quick Check-in machines though as I was on an AC ticket. She was able to give me exit row on the A320 but only my pre-assigned seat for the AC leg unfortunately. There’s a good chance for an upgrade as it’s overbooked in Y she said, but I knew that business was full too. Oh well.
Globe Ground Lounge Amsterdam
Yes, I guess this can be called a lounge. I was refused entry to the bmi part of the lounge (with a Star Gold sign) and the LH side was just a few seats with potato chips for breakfast. No other snacks at all. They had jugs of juices and water available as well as a fridge full of Heineken. I asked if they have internet access and she told me to go to the bmi side and that there would be one computer. This side looked like a nice lounge but I only used the internet there. Slower than my old modem and €5.35 for ten minutes – what a bargain! I’d have been better off using the internet terminals in the public areas.
I then left for the B-concourse which is a long way from the central area. D-AIQH was parked at B11, between a Cityline CRJ and Air France 737-500. Tyrolean’s Star Alliance F70 was there too as well as the two ex-bmi F70s still wearing bmi colours but KLM titles.
They started boarding LH4461 at around 6:45 am and I was greeted by young LH ladies at the door. Row ten definitely had good legroom but a bit less than the SK 736 exit row. Announced flight time was 45 minutes and a brief safety demo was given. We were pushed back at 7:01 and taxied to runway 24 where we took off at 7:08. Takeoff roll was 30 seconds and we turned left and headed towards Frankfurt.
Service on this flight was a cheese or ham sandwich. I chose the ham one and it was big and tasty actually. Had a coke and some coffee as well. We were descending as the trash was collected and landed on 25R at 8:02 am. The A320 parked at A34 three minutes later. I saw Cathay’s B-HOX (Spirit of Hong Kong) taxiing past as we were taxiing – what a great looking aircraft.
June 21, 2002
Air Canada AC875
Gate Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 10:00/10:20
Gate Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 12:00/11:52
Economy Class, Seat 18K
Photo © Charles Falk
Photo © Felix Sieder
Since this flight was departing from B20, I headed to the LH Senator Lounge located upstairs in the B-pier. Spend a few minutes there before making my way to the UA Red Carpet Club as there wasn’t one single seat available in this Senator/First Class lounge. RCC was alright, had a drink before heading to the gate.
I asked if they were overbooked and if they’d need volunteers – she said probably not but asked me to board last. Off to the SEN lounge again, this time I managed to find a seat. I had some sandwiches and water. At around 9:30 am I went back to the gate and they were already boarding. Asked if they were still overbooked – no. Also asked if she had a bulkhead available and she said “I’m sorry sir, we don’t. And unfortunately business is full.”
I didn’t get the random search, but quite a few people did. At this point they were boarding the back of the bus as well as Star Golds and Business. I made my way to 18K and was greeted by rather surly prison matrons. Not a single one smiling. Legroom was good, around 33” I believe and the seats had PTVs covered up. Not sure if they had PTVs there or something the size of a PTV but it looked funny anyway. There were also those boxes partly blocking the legroom.
We pushed back at 10:20 and the safety video was being played at the same time. They announced the flying time of 7h40 and we were expecting an on-time arrival at Dorval. We then taxied to runway 07L and entered via taxiway Lima. The big twin started moving at 10:40 and powerfully lifted off after a 50-second roll. In my opinion the A330 was much quieter than A340 or B777 during the entire flight.
Once we reached our cruising altitude, pretzels and drinks were served. Got a cup of coke and a Baileys with ice. Prison matrons collected the trash soon but somehow forgot my row. They passed by a few times after that but didn’t make any efforts to see if passengers needed anything. Lunch followed shortly and it was a choice of pork or chicken. I chose pork and the flight attendants kept using French even though it was clear to them I spoke English. My seatmate, an elderly lady said “those stewardesses should be retired, I don’t like them”. You should have seen the face of one, guess she heard that.
I should have gone for chicken, the pork was one slice of ham and a few potatoes. Not tasty at all I might add. There was also a salad, a cold roll and some pudding for dessert. I had some red wine and water with my meal this time. The Shipping News was the first movie on this flight, I had no interest in watching it since I just saw it on UA a while ago. So I proceeded to sleep at this point and only woke up as we were cruising near Halifax!
Afternoon snack was served soon after that, it was a sandwich and a chocolate bar. The sandwich was hard as a rock and totally tasteless. Had a coke to flush it down. Soon after the trash was collected, we started our descent into Dorval and the crew mad the final cabin checks and collected the headphones. Weather was pretty bad and I didn’t see much until we were near Montreal. The A330 touched down on 24R at 1150 and quickly taxied to gate 31.
Immigration at YUL was a mess, I waited for 40 minutes to get to the counters. no problems getting through this time. When in the arrivals area, I checked the status of AF344, one hour late – oh bugger. I had to wait since my mother was coming in on that flight. Went to the public lounge upstairs and slept good two hours there. There were lots of people when I got there but most of them left after the Cubana/AOM DC10 departed.
At around 4 pm I went to the Hertz counter to pick up my rental car. I had reserved a fullsize but got an upgrade to a nice Ford Explorer. Immigration was even worse at this point I guess as it took about an hour for my mum to get through. We were on the road at around 5pm and arrived in Kingston some 2.5 hours later.
Howard Johnson Confederation Place Hotel Kingston Jun 21-24
I tried hard to get the Four Points in Kingston, it is apparently a nice new Starwood property, but their rates were too high. My friend knows someone at the HoJo and I only paid CAD 79 a night. The location is very good, right at Kingston’s waterfront and downtown shopping is just minutes away. The room was nice and spacious, newly renovated I think. Bathroom wasn’t as nice though, but acceptable. Parking was $5 a day just across the street.
Four Points by Sheraton Montreal Centre Ville Jun 24-28
We drove back to YUL via Ottawa, dropped off the car at Dorval and took a taxi to this hotel. Check in was efficient but no room upgrades for SPG Golds were available. Room was spacious and clean, with a view of Mount Royal. I used the small fitness centre of this hotel too, it was all right. Free internet was available in the business centre, I was a frequent visitor. I only had some drinks at the restaurant/bar and found the staff to be pleasant. Overall it was pretty good value in downtown Montreal I think.
June 28, 2002
Air Canada AC435
Gate Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 16:30/16:30
Gate Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 17:50/17:42
Economy Class, Seat 12F
Photo © Charles Falk
Photo © Felix Sieder
I got to Dorval early as my mother and cousin were flying AF that afternoon. AC Executive Class/Star Gold check in had quite a few people in the queue, but I was approached by a concierge after about five minutes and she checked me in using the express kiosks nearby. She addressed me by name all the time which was a nice touch. I then got my AIF ticket at one of the machines and proceeded through security. I had one euro cent in my pocket and the machine beeped… oh well. At BKK I had tons of coins and the lady just told me to put them to my pocket. No beeps. I also had to turn on my mobile phone and camera, no big deal.
I went directly to the Rapidair gates and asked if I could go standby on one of the earlier flights. The agent put me right away onto the 16:30 flight. Got seat 12F and didn’t realize that is the worst one possible on the reconfigured A320s.
Next stop was the Maple Leaf Lounge. I found it to be very nice, excellent selection of drinks but the snack section was pretty basic. The business centre had a few computers with high-speed internet, I was impressed. It was just so different from the United RCCs I visited a month ago. I left the lounge at around 4 pm for gate 1B.
They were just starting boarding of AC435, and I was one of the first ones to board. An Asian lady was greeting the pax at the door, but she wasn’t friendly at all actually. I took my 12F and realized how hot it was on the plane – at least +25 I’d say. Row 12 is truly bad, Should the J-class pax recline their seats, you’ll have no room at all (Thank god this wasn’t the case). I saw a few AC 767s and A330s next to us as well as a Tango 732.
We were pushed back at 16:30 and the safety video was being played at the same time. Flying time today was 49 minutes with an estimated 1:07 gate to gate. We taxied to 24L and started our 20-second roll at 16:42. The old A320 was rattling fiercely during take-off, which was pretty surprising. A right turn followed and we headed towards Ottawa. I had nice views of Pointe Claire and the rest of the western suburbs and Mirabel Airport on the way.
The usual pretzels+drinks service was available on this flight, I had a coke. Soon I noticed the beautiful city of Ottawa below us, the parliament buildings etc. were clearly visible. We then turned towards Toronto and started our descent at 17:09. Soon I saw Canada’s Wonderland below us and YYZ airport was on the right a few minutes later. We flew past it, made a right turn over a golf course and then turned onto finals for 06L.
The A320 touched down at 17:36 and six minutes later we were parked at gate 225. I headed to the T2 domestic MLL and it was more or less the same as the YUL one. My only complaint would be the rather rude guy at the front desk.
June 28, 2002
Air Canada AC892
Gate Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 20:30/20:46
Gate Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 10:00/09:52
Executive First, Seat 1D
Photo © AirNikon
Photo © Alan McKnight
I went to T1 via the tunnel only to face long security lines there. I was under the impression that I’d get to airside right away but oh well. Cleared security in about 15 minutes and headed to the MLL hear gate HH where my AMS flight would depart later. I asked the lady at the front desk if my seat 12A was a bulkhead (of course I knew it was). She started typing on her computer and told me Y is overbooked and told me to be at the gate by 8 pm. I was addressed by my last name all the time.
I grabbed a Molson Canadian and took a seat near the windows. This MLL offers great views of the airport like the one at YUL. Toronto T2 domestic does not. I was keeping an eye on the four computers and soon got one of those. I was chatting with friends and checking emails as well and had some more beer as well. Soon I realized it was almost 8 pm and made my way downstairs to gate HH.
The gate agents arrived at the same time and started doing their duties. A few pax were called to the desk and a few minutes later one of them said “Where’s my 12A?” followed by the announcement “Would Mr. Lufthansa747 please contact the front desk.” She than handed me a new boarding pass with the words “I have changed your seat, you’ll like this one.” This was my third longhaul upgrade this year, after getting VS Premium Eco from MCO and SK Business from BKK. I guess I’ll have to thank the lady at the lounge as there’s no way I would have got upgraded with AC*A in the system instead of LH*G (I was crediting the miles to Aeroplan). She must have done something .
Boarding started at 20:10 and I was amongst the first to board again. Stowed my roller in the overhead bin and took my seat 1D. A pillow, two blankets and headsets were already there. Pre-departure drink arrived within minutes, I opted for water. Once everybody was onboard, newspapers, menus and amenity kits were distributed and one of the flight attendants asked what we’d like for dinner.
Estimated gate to gate time today was 7h04 at FL350 most of the time. We were pushed back at 20:46 and the safety video was being played on the main screen. Lufthansa’s D-ABVH was sitting next to us. We then taxied to 24R and took off at 21:01. The 767 lifted off powerfully after a 37-second roll. As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, small bowls of cold nuts were offered as well as drinks. I had another Molson Canadian and the flight attendant later offered more nuts (as well as drinks but I declined).
Hot towels were distributed at this point and the crew then collected the nut bowls, glasses etc. Linens were placed on the traytables at this point, later followed by Executive First dinner service. Here’s the menu:
Lobster Medallions and Tiger Shrimp on Nappa Cabbage
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Mustard Butter
Roasted Parsnips, Carrots, Zucchini,
Balsamic Caramelized Onions, Grilled Red Skin Potatoes
Herb Roasted Mahi Mahi, Tomato Sauce,
Rice Noodles, Baby Bok Choy,
Roasted Butternut Squash
Vegetable Lasagna, Grilled Eggplant Roll with Asparagus,
Roasted Parsnips, Herbed Baby Carrots,
Selection of Cheese
Praline Mousse Cake
There was also a Gourmet Express option, a one-tray deal served shortly after departure.
We were first given a tray with the first course as well as a plate for bread and two glasses, I used them for water and white wine. Warm breads were offered a few times during the meal. Once finished with the appetizer, those plates were collected and the main course was served. I chose the beef and it was delicious actually. The fish option didn’t look bad at all either. After the main course, various cheeses and crackers were offered. The dessert cart came out last naturally, I chose strawberries with whipped cream – absolutely delicious too. Had some coffee and Baileys as well at that point.
After dinner, bottles of water were distributed and I decided to watch Vanilla Sky on my PTV. I was done with my water bottle after the movie was finished, pressed the call button and a new one arrived in less than a minute. At this point I decided to sleep a little bit, I wasn’t tired at all for some reason but managed to sleep for two hours or so.
At around 8:30 am CET, hot towels were distributed, followed by breakfast service:
Assorted Yogurts and Cereals
Premium “Second Cup” Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee
and a selection of Teas
I had some grapefruit juice (very good), a warm croissant, some fruit and a blueberry yogurt. It was more than enough at least for me.
After breakfast, the crew made the final checks before landing at Schiphol and collected the headsets. We were descending rather steeply I think and soon I saw the Dutch countryside from my middle seat, so we were pretty low. The 767-200 touched down on 19R at 09:44 and taxied to gate E20 past all the NWA machines (3 747s and 3 DC10s) as well as a Cathay A340-300. It was a rather long way to the SK check in but I wanted to go there instead of a transfer desk so I could choose my seat when using the self service machine.
June 29, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK552
McDonnell Douglas MD-87
OY-KHU “Ravn Viking”
Gate Departure (Scheduled/Actual): 12:20/12:30
Gate Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 13:35/13:45
Economy Class, Seat 4C
Photo © Stefan Wittenberg
Photo © Chris Sheldon
Check-in using the machine was a disaster, it didn’t have Lufthansa in the list of airlines when I put in my FF number. I got checked in but had to go to the counter as my boarding passes said FQTV/OS. The lady just crossed over OS and wrote LH there. I still don’t understand what the problem in Europe is regarding boarding passes – it seems to be impossible to get new ones printed. OS and LH both use Miles&More but how would you get retroactive credit should the miles not post, if you have, say AC printed on the boarding pass and LH written next to it??
Off to the lounge I went, the SK lounge right next to GlobeGround/Bmi is no better than the globe one – don’t get to AMS early just because you want to use one of these lounges. I had a bottle of water before leaving for gate B17 where MD87 OY-KHU was waiting. Boarding started at 11:55 and I took my seat 4C. Needless to say it felt cramped after AC J-class. Two other SAS planes were next to us and three NWA 747s thundered down the runway one after the other followed by a company DC10.
We were pushed back at 12:30 and took off from runway 24 at 12:42. Service was the usual lunchbox deal, chicken and macaroni was the main course and it was pretty good. No rolls served on this flight (I like those warm rolls!). Had a coke and a Baileys as well as usual.
We landed at Copenhagen airport at 13:39. Runway 04L was used and it was very windy, causing our approach to be rather bumpy. We taxied to a remote stand and a bus took us to the terminal. Thai’s HS-TGZ was sitting next to a Scandinavian A340 at one of the C-gates.
June 29, 2002
Scandinavian Airlines SK712
McDonnell Douglas MD-81
OY-KGY “Rollo Viking”
Gate Departure (Scheduled/Actual):14:20/14:25
Gate Arrival (Scheduled/Actual): 16:55/16:58
Economy Class, Seat 16A
Photo © Michael Kuiper
Photo © George Polfliet
I had no time to use the lounges this time and only made it to gate B15 when boarding had already started. Took my window seat 16A and noticed a cute Danish flight attendant who was on my flight to AMS just a few months ago . The guy in 16C looked like a homeless fellow and smelled like that too. He was coming from SEA and going to Tallinn, Estonia. I was lucky though as the flight attendants asked if he could move a bit further back so an elderly lady could sit next to her husband in 16D.
OY-KGY was pushed back at 14:25 and the estimated flying time was 1h25 this afternoon. A company MD80 (OY-KHF) was next to us and Atlantic Aviation BAe 146-200 taxied by. I also saw an Icelandair 757 (TF-FIK) doing charters to the Mediterranean. We took off after a 33-second roll from 22R and a 180-degrees left turn followed. Another cold meal was served once the seatbelt sign went off, this time it was ham, potatoes etc. Rather good as well. I opted for the usual drink-combo this time too.
I fell asleep after finishing my meal and only woke up as we were on approach to Vantaa. Rollo Viking landed on runway 15 at 16:53 and arrived at gate 26 five minutes later. Finnair A321 OH-LZD was occupying gate 25. I only had my roller so I was in the arrivals hall within minutes.
Hope you enjoyed this long report, please post your comments!!