14 August 2004
KF 444 ARN-HEL
Photo © Daniel & Robert Fall
Scheduled departure time: 07:00
Scheduled arrival time: 09:00
Time enroute (actual) 0:45
Woke up at 0400 and after a quick shower, my father was kind enough to save me 280SEK and drive me the 15mins to the airport. Arriving at terminal 5 just before 0500 the queues to the check-in were surprisingly long to be a Saturday morning and a decided to use the self service machine. I chose seat 07F and the checkin machine indicated that I was the first to check in and that the gate would be 05B. Strolled around for a while looking at the usual lineup at the gates, used the internet service to check my e-mails and headed to my gate just before 0600. Boarding commenced and we were taken down to a bus that drove us out to the G ramp where OH-SAO was waiting for us.
Walked up the stairs and was greeted by the purser. She offerd to take my coat and I sat down in my seat. Cabin announcement (and throught the flight) was done in Finnish, Swedish and English. I quickly look around revealed that only 8 passengers wanted to travel eastwards this morning. Once airborne the cabin crew served breakfast consisting of a cheese sandwich, juice and a choice of coffee or tea. After a very enjoyable hop accross the sea with a beautiful view of the archipelagos on both sides and the Åland Islands, we began our descent towards Vantaa and were informed that we would be landing on rwy 04L. At the same time the "girls" came through the cabin with Marianne mints). We parked at gate 22 and had to be towed the last bit as the stand is not configured for the AVRO (The Blue1 captain I flew with blamed it on Finnair).
Strolled around the terminal and found nothing of interest and took the bus into the city where I checked in to the SAS Plaza hotel, just around the corner from the railway station.
15 August 2004
SK 1707 HEL-ARN
Dash 8 Q400 (LN-RDT)
Photo © Stefan Sjögren
Scheduled departure time: 20:45
Scheduled arrival time: 20:45
Time enroute (actual) 0:55
After a very enjoyable weekend I was very sad to leave. My friends drove me out to Vantaa where I checked in and was printed a boarding card with the text "Seat at Gate" (the joy of flying non-rev is that you are never sure if you are going to get on the flight or not) and gate 20B.
Was let down once again by the traffic at the airport and headed to the gate where I gave away my boarding pass and sat down to wait in the lounge.
Boarding began and when everyone else was onboard the bus, all non revs (3) were allowed to come forward to obtain their seat assignments.
While boarding as the last passenger I noticed that I had been given 02D in biz class, a very nice end to this trip
Sat down, talked to the lady next to me who had been routed via HEL(L) (for her) rather than flying direct DUB-ARN. We made a very short taxi from our remote parking to the runway and took off. Enjoyed a superb cold cut dinner and continued chatting with the lady and arrived at Arlanda way to early where I just cleared all the procedures without any hassel and met my friend who drove me home.
Summary: Great service on both legs to ALL passengers onboard, and Helsinki is a city well worth spending a few days in. To our Finnish forum members (should you read this) KITOS!!!
[Edited 2004-08-16 00:30:42]