having been to all Finland away games (football) since last season I thought I could skip the Denmark game at Parken, Copenhagen - I been to the city a few times and this was a friendly anyways. but hey, at the end of the day couldn´t resist the pull of away travel. also I had some SAS miles to spend so this wouldn´t mess my budget too much.
SK711 SAS (Scandinavian Commuter) de Havilland Q400
for some strange reason I had difficulty getting a seat to fly to CPH in the afternoon. I mean, it´s loads of SAS flights leaving from Helsinki around that time; there's 3 flights leaving between 12.50 and 13.15! I got booked to SK711 leaving at 13.15. I arrived at the airport around 50 minutes before departure, having said that I have a summer job at the airport so I only needed to walk like 10 minutes to the terminal. check-in was really fast, but I got a bit suspicious when I realised the gate would be 26a - which means a bus to the plane. while waiting for the flight, I sorted out some local currency - can´t believe these people don´t use euros, would be much easier for the Finnish supporters. yep, boarding started at 12,50 and we were taken to a dH Q400 standing in front of the terminal. I had earlier flown on a SAS turboprop to ARN but didn´t really expect to board one when flying out to CPH in the afternoon. I was glad to see the plane was almost full - I reckon the company needs every penny they can get. to be honest, I got totally bored during the 90+ minutes of the flight. only had a pre-match white wine with the stale bun offered - was a bit too shy to ask for extra rounds of drinks as I was flying on my own.
20.8.03 K.O. 19.15 Parken, Copenhagen Denmark-Finland 1-1
arrived at Kastrup around two and bought a return ticket at 45DKK to Østerport, which is a 10-minute walk from the ground – by the way, full credit to the city´s public transport system, it´s very reliable and affordable. I had some difficulty finding my way to the stadium as I had only been there once earlier. After asking maybe 5 people for directions I found the DBU (the Danish F.A.) office and got the tix for me and mates. The guys were still at the U21s game so I decided to have some pre-match pints. The standard appears to be 40DKK (maybe 5,5euros) for a pint. Nothing special happened before the game except for the fact that I got well pissed as I only had time in my hands – strange enough, I had to speak swedish with some of the locals who couldn´t / didn´t bother to speak english. Yep, the game was as uneventful as expected and at half-time we were 1-0 down, which is really typical for us. A few minutes before end I was about to leave for the airport when Aki Riihilahti diverted a free-kick into the Danes´ net – we were absolutely delighted with the 1-1 draw and sang our hearts out. For once we were able to sing “sneaking out” to the home fans leaving the ground!
SK718 SAS (Scandinavian Commuter) de Havilland Q400
I was in a real hurry to get back to the airport and had to run back to the station. But hey who cares if your average national team score an away goal – for me this was a great night out. I was back at Kastrup maybe 45 mins before departure but I had already checked in at Helsinki so there was no real hurry. The airport was really quiet at that time of night and I made my way to the deserted SAS lounge to have a coffee and check results from other games. Boarding started at 22.20 and again there was a bus transfer for another turboprop flight. As the flight was pretty full I had to book a business class ticket for that flight – this really is not worth it as the only benefit you get is the meal, which is not that special at the end of the day. In Copenhagen I have lounge access anyways so even that doesn´t make any difference. After a few minutes’ taxy the captain made an announcement that we´d have to return as there were some probs with “artificial horizon” or something – I personally don´t understand anything about this stuff anyways. Our plane was parked and the captain announced we would get another plane “soon”. After maybe half an hour they arranged us another aircraft and we walked some 100 metres and boarded it. Although it was getting late and people were tired of the hassle, I will have to admit that the personnel handled the situation quite well keeping us informed of what was happening and how long this all would take. No troubles with the second attempt and we started towards Helsinki. The food and service in business were not worth mentioning. Dessert was two pieces of chocolate, huh. Well, I didn´t really care as I wasn´t paying anything for the flight anyways. Again, I was just glad to see the cabin full both in business and economy – hope to see SAS around in future as well. The journey back home went ok but we landed around 2.45, some 70 minutes after scheduled time. The airport in Helsinki was empty and there were only some people trying to sleep in the hallway between international and domestic terminals. I headed back to the office as I would have to start work at 8 again. To be honest, I was slightly surprised to find myself lying on the office floor in the morning – just wonder why I didn´t sleep on the sofa, maybe I was just confused as Finland didn´t lose away...
Next trip to Baku / Cardiff in two weeks