September 13, 2002 “friday the thirteenth”
Finnair AY 2714
Rhodos (RHO/LGRP ) – Helsinki (HEL/EFHK)
Boeing 757-200 OH-LBR “Ugliest livery in the sky”
Economy Class, Seat 5 A
Photo © Remi Dallot
I had two wonderful weeks behind me in Rhodos. Weather was awesome and Greek cuisine is something special… I propably gained 5 kilos!
My girlfriend came a week before to join me for the other week so I had someone to travel with back home.
Day before our return flight we phoned to our travel agency and checked the schedule. They told us that we should come to the airport 3 hours before the time which was on the tickets due to aircontrollers strike in Greece.
So we headed to Rhodos airport at 9.00 in the morning. Check-in was fast because we were the first Finns at the airport. Security was also fast and at 9.15 we were already on the transit-hall of Rhodos airport. Our flight was scheduled at 11.20 becouse we had to be out from the Greek airspace before noon. The strike lasted from 12.00 until 16.00. Our bird from Finland landed at 10.20 and everything looked normal.
So we did some shopping in the shops and suddenly we had 5 plastic bags full of booze, cigarettes, oliveoil and some greek sweets etc. We thought that it would be easy to carry them just to the plane and then out again – after all our friend was waiting in Helsinki.
Some interesting aircrafts came to the airport that morning:
This old beauty from Athens
Photo © Mixalis Koukias
This one from Luxemburg:
Photo © Frank Zahorik
This one from another Greek island:
Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
Photo © Pekka Lehtinen
Seemed that there would be quite a rush in the airport…
We were sure that we would be airborne before the strike, after all Finnair had changed it’s departure time from Helsinki so we would be on time.
Well, we thought wrong. At 10.50, just minutes before boarding was supposed to start they told us that our new time was 16.20!!!
At the same time I saw the Luxair boarding…weird because it landed after Finnair….
I got really pissed and after 3 cigarettes they made a new announcement; Finnair was going to offer us lunch in a restaurant 5 kilometres outside the airport.
A quick look at my girlfriend and to our bags + 5 plastic bags full of stuff ,I actually started to laugh…
We took all our stuff ( about 30 kg’s ) and headed to a bus which took us to the restaurant.
So, we ate and chatted with an elder couple from North Finland for 3 hours and then headed back to the airport.
“The ugliest livery in the sky” as I call this Finnair bird waited there and boarding finally started at 15.55.
16.20 we took off from rw 25 and after we reached 6000 ft we started our turn towards Helsinki.
Our flight-time was 3hours and 40 minutes.
Departure from any Greek island is very beautiful because you can see hundreds of islands and the blue sea from the window.
This time it was again weird for me to fly because I wasn’t afraid…!!!??!!
We played cards with my gf and took some drinks from the drink cart.
Then they showed us news from Finnish TV and soon after they started the meal service.
F/A’s were once again very friendly although the food was a disaster again.
The piece of bread we got was so hard that if I would have thrown it to the window it would have gone through it easily.
The cake was so sweet that I had to count my teeth afterwards. Horrible but nothing new.
Weather in Europe was pretty clouded that afternoon so we didn’t see anything from the window.
Time passed pretty fast as we played cards and I was concentrating in not being afraid of the flight.
Only once I read TNBoy’s e-mails that I had printed home. ( They were about relaxing and not being afraid). And it helped as it did on my first flight.
Flight was pretty uneventful and after 3 hours and 15 minutes we started our approach to Helsinki.
There was a very thick cloud layer above Estonia and the Finnish Gulf so the plane was shaking quite a bit. First time in this flight I started to feel uncomfortable… As we got closer to Helsinki weather got worst and the plane actually bounced from side to side quite a bit. About 3 minutes before touchdown when Captain told the F/A’s to prepare to land I saw the ground and we had gone through all the clouds.
My mind rested at once. Touchdown was very smooth and soon we taxied to the gate.
Weather was veeeery cold in Helsinki and I started to regret the fact that I had decided to wear shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Well, last day of your summerholiday you are always supposed to wear summerstuff…
After we got our luggage it was time to go through the customs with about 100 kg’s of stuff…
When my friend saw us at the lounge he started to laugh because of our bags and plastic bags. He also reminded that he didn’t come with a truck to pick us up…
So, holiday ended, frustrating day had come to it’s end and in a few hours we were home.
Finnair took good care of us and I was especially pleased to informing of the passengers.
People are more understanding when they are told why the plane is late.
Both aircrafts were nice and clean but the food was again horrible.
I hope Finnair-catering offers better food on routeflights because they start to lose customers fast if they offer this crap…
Comments are very welcome!