22 February 2003
Helsinki Vantaa – Stockholm Arlanda
Scandinavian Airlines SK 701
McDonnell Douglas MD-81
LN-RMO “Bergljot Viking“
0800-0800 – On Time
Photo © George Polfliet
Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
After a very early morning for me, I arrived at Helsinki-Vantaa at around 6:30am and had no clue why I had chosen this earlier flight instead of the 0930 one. Self Service spat out my boarding pass for Arlanda with 6C assigned in the first row of economy. SAS lounge now had some ham to go with your breakfast rolls, not only cheese like a week ago.
Boarding started on time at gate 22 and an MD-81 was waiting. The usual grandmas working on this short sector greeted me and were friendly as usual. Row 6 had excellent legroom and footrests as well. We were pushed back on time and the captain informed us that flying time will be 40 minutes and that the weather in Stockholm is about the same.
Soon the Douglas jet was thundering down 22L with no delay and made an immediate right turn after takeoff. Seatbelt sign went off after 2 minutes – must be the quickest for me. The routing took us over Mariehamn as usual but it was too cloudy to see anything really…
Breakfast boxes were distributed, these contain some cold cuts, strawberry jam and blueberry youghurt. Warmed rolls were offered a few times along with numerous coffee and tea rounds. Excellent for a 40-minute flight I think – we were 10 minutes from touchdown when the boxes were collected.
We landed on runway 26 and quickly taxied to the old part of terminal 5 – quite a dump I’d say.
SAS Scandinavian Lounge Arlanda
I got checked in for SK945 while entering the lounge with my pre-assigned seat 22A. The lounge itself was very busy and is very small compared to the nice and spacious Copenhagen Scandinavian Lounge. Pretty basic food selection: rolls and cold cuts. Drink selection was extensive but there is no hard liquor at all. Three internet terminals were available, though two of them were out of order. There are only three toilets (2 M, 1F) and no showers. Overall this lounge is a far cry from the PH / EKCH), Denmark">CPH lounge.
22 February 2003
Stockholm Arlanda – Chicago O’Hare
Scandinavian Airlines SK 945
OY-KDN “Ulf Viking“
Photo © Alexander Jonsson
Photo © Johan Kellerman
I headed early to the gate as it is quite a hike to the new F pier and I was expecting the boarding pass printers to get rather busy there . As the agent handed me 7E in “högre klass”, I had just received my second operational upgrade in a week. OY-KDN was waiting at F65 while LN-RCH was about to depart for Newark from the adjacent gate. Other than that, the F pier was absolutely deserted and the other side is still under construction. All in all, it looked just like it did about 10 months ago. One interesting aircraft I noticed taxiing by, was Varig’s 767-200ER PP-VNO, bound for Natal via Lisbon.
Boarding was more or less on time and I took my seat while the flight attendant took my jacket. The business class cabin in this version of the 767 is horribly large at 55 seats. Also the seats are a breeze from the 1980s. They are in a 2-2-2 configuration unlike for example Air Canada who has its International 767s in 2-2-1 or 1-2-2. Legroom is pretty bad considering this is SAS’s flagship product. My wild guess is around 40-42 inches. Recline is downright poor and the legrest, while there, is too short at least for me. I was of course very glad to get the upgrade but if I had paid the full fare, I’d have been very disappointed. Pre-departure drinks were again served in plastic cups like on BKK-PH / EKCH), Denmark">CPH last year.
We were pushed back about 20 minutes late without explanation and followed the Newark bound 767 to 19R for takeoff. Menus and amenity kits were given out first. Drinks and snacks followed shortly, I opted for champagne with the pretzels and a bowl of vegetables and cold cuts. Service wasn’t personal at all and rather mechanical – it’s understandable with 55/55 taken in the C cabin I guess. However, Lufthansa managed to do a fantastic job with 76/78 pax on FRA-PEK.
A snack with your drink?
Light and quick
Order a Quick Meal with your drink and we well serve you as soon as possible.
The big deal
Our menu for this flight offers these choices
- First course
Selection of canapés
- Main course
Reindeer noisettes with thyme potatoes, glazed
shallots, green beans and mushroom sauce
Grilled marinated salmon with boiled potatoes,
dill carrots and mustard sauce
Swedish meatballs with potato puree, lingonberry
relish and cream sauce
Barley grain in vegetable stock with broccoli, toasted
sunflower seeds and capers (vegetarian)
- A cheesy or sweet finish
Your selection of dessert from the trolley
Airbus A330/340 also offer a selection of cheeses.
Make yourself at home
Feel free to stroll over and help yourself to cold drinks, espresso, cappuccino, fruit or snacks at the buffet area anytime between meals.
Ask for cold drinks, fruit or snacks at any time between meals and we will serve you at your seat.
- Main course
Pastrami with salad
Coffee or tea
Table linens were distributed next and the main tray followed. SAS uses the exact same tray as they use for economy class and all the dishes had the plastic wrappings on. This tray contained the starter, salad, some cheese and the rest but not the main course. It followed later and I chose the meatballs. They were rather tasty but the portion was about half of the LH business class serving. Wine and water were offered a few times during the meal but not once did the crew say anything while LH crew always said “enjoy your drink sir” or “there you go” or whatever. For dessert, I had fruit salad, don’t remember what the other option was.
As the SAS seats on the 767 have no PTVs, Sony Video Walkman was given out to each passenger. There was a decent selection of 20 movies. The noise cancelling headsets were pretty nice. After the movie, I fell asleep right away after trying the legrest in about 10 different positions. The legroom simply wasn’t enough to have it fully up. Woke up with still two hours to go and saw on the map that we had flown right over the Faroe Islands and over the southern tip of Greenland.
I was fully expecting a second hot meal on a 9h20min flight, but instead they gave out cold meals that would hardly qualify as snacks – two slices of cold cuts with some salad. Coffee and tea was served but champagne was available at least after I asked . Dessert was fruit salad again…
We landed at O’Hare almost an hour late and we got again no explanation – passengers who had missed connections were asked to contact United ground staff. Immigration was very quick and I’m afraid I have to call this dude who stamped my passport friendly. I then made my way to the subway station and took the CTA Blue Line to the Chicago Loop area.
Hyatt Regency Chicago
This massive hotel is located by the river and North Michigan Avenue. I got checked in quickly and was given a king non-smoking on the Hyatt Gold Passport floor. This room has to be one of the nicest I’ve had anywhere. It was recently renovated and the furnishings were very nice – only problem was that it really smelled new (paint etc). The room was also absolutely huge and had a sofa, armchair, table, working desk and free high speed internet. I also really liked the colours and the nice view towards the river and NMA. The bathroom was renovated (very basic though, but that’s understandable as the hotel is quite old). So what did it cost? $35.
23 February 2003
Chicago O’Hare – Stockholm Arlanda
Scandinavian Airlines SK 946
OY-KDN “Ulf Viking“
Economy, 17B (Exit Row)
1620-0730 – On Time
Photo © Alexander Jonsson
Photo © Johan Kellerman
Took the Blue Line back to O’Hare and checked in quickly at the business class counters. Unfortunately this flight had “some empty seats in economy class”, so I got my pre-assigned 17B in the first row of economy class. Security had hardly any lines but I absolutely hate to take off shoes, belt, watch… etc there.
SAS Business Lounge Chicago O’Hare
The nice receptionist asked if I had been there before and then explained whet they have there. This lounge is of course the same IKEA style like the other ones and is pretty small. There are pretty decent views of the tarmac. Some computers with high speed internet were available and snack/food selection was again SAS standard. This lounge however had a full range of alcoholic drinks as well as some very delicious baguettes. Restrooms are outside but the receptionist had no problems watching my stuff while I went there.
Ulf Viking was again waiting at M21 and the exact same crew welcomed me onboard. I described the first exit row/bulkhead in my IAD trip report so it won’t be done here again. It is one of the best seats after the second exit row (18) though. We were pushed back a few minutes early and I noticed KLM’s PH-BUT and Iberia’s EC-GUP while we were taxiing to 32R for takeoff.
The soon-to-be-retired SAS longhaul workhorse took off after a long roll at 4:35pm for the rather long crossing to Stockholm Arlanda. Amenity kits and menus were distributed once again, followed by the usual drinks with a snack. Dinner followed shortly – pasta with salmon. Not too great but edible. I had a Baileys afterwards and took out my book for managerial accounting that I had to study for an exam the very next day. No sleep for me…
Water was offered a few times during the night and the cute Chinese girl starring in the movie made me throw away my book. Breakfast followed 1h45min before landing and was the usual assortment of cold cuts, yoghurt and warm rolls. I was about to fall asleep when we had already started our descent… Ulf Viking landed on 19R a few minutes early and taxied to the old part of T5.
I made my way to the lounge for a few minutes before proceeding to 6A where SK1704 was already boarding. There were tons of people and what did I hear the gate agent say? Yes – he was looking for volunteers to fly Finnair two hours later. Got my E-ticket printed out at the SAS service desk and was handed that with an EUR 150 voucher as well as AY booking reference a few minutes later.
24 February 2003
Stockholm Arlanda – Helsinki Vantaa
Finnair AY 636
McDonnell Douglas MD-83
1030-1225 – On Time
Photo © Andreas Stoeckl
Photo © Pekka Lehtinen
Finnair Lounge Stockholm Arlanda
Took the bus from 11X to 63C in Terminal 2 where Finnair operates from, and made my way to the lounge right away. The lady there checked me in and I tried to study in a quiet corner there – the Finnish newspapers won this time. The lounge is very big with decent snack selection as well as lots of alcohol. No internet available. There is also a Platinum Lounge, don’t know if it is for AY Platinums only or also for Oneworld Emeralds.
I went down to gate 65 at about 10 am and saw OH-LPH in the tired looking old colours waiting. Boarding started a few minutes later and I took my seat in the first row of economy. Legroom was awful compared to the SAS MD80s but luckily the middle seat remained empty. This was going to be another 40-minute hop and we were pushed back a few minutes early.
Took off from 19R and a sandwich was served shortly thereafter. Flight was very uneventful and we landed on runway 15 about fifteen minutes early.
Hope it wasn’t too long.