This is my first posting to the forum so hope its acceptable. It is long but hope its intersting and in places humourous.
This year I decided to pay a visit to Scandinavia , which is an area I had
never been to before. It was planned to incorporate as much spotting as
possible but if it became quiet - which it did - to visit the cities.
Thursday June 19th
My route would take me from Bristol to Stockholm via Amsterdam with KLM.
Stockholm to Helsinki and Helsinki to Oslo with Blue One. Returning Oslo to
Bristol via Amsterdam with KLM. I was able to book this as return trips with both airlines instead of expensive singles
My first flight was delayed by one hour due to high winds in Amsterdam which restricted landings. I had a four hour stopver so that did not matter too much.
My first flight on a Fokker 70 departed at 1145 for the one hour flight on AMS which routed OTT LHR. The flight was 60% full and my window seat in front of the wing gave a good vie. Fairly basic in flight catering but the offerred cheese roll which may seem insignificant was acceptable. Landed on the
"McDonalds" runway whichgave me a good view as the a/c taxied around to
the Cityhopper ramp passing most of the stands. I Had three hours at AMS beforemy connecting flight to Stockholm.
This is where disaster nearly struck as I thought it would be a simple thing of going to the new gate. What I had to do was clear immigration again and that took 30 minutes of queing between the terminals. Those with short stopover times could cause a problem. Then there was a big delay where KLM let themselves down. The flight was delayed for 30 minutes due to the late arrival of the outbound crew. Accpetable because of the disruption by the weather. We were called and went through to the holding area where it is standing only before going down the gangway. We stood there for another half an hour and this caused lots of people to get irritated. Finally the crew arrived to a raptourous applause and boarding finally began. Off to Arlanda on PH-BPC and it took one hour and fifty minutes. This 737-400 is much the same as any and had enough legroom and I awaited the inflight service. And the food on offer was a cheese roll !. Uneventful flight but cloud obscured any views below. Arrived at Arlanda on schedule and then to find my hotel the Radisson Sky City. This is situated in the terminal building and my room overlooked the ramp and a runway. No photos are possible but it makes spotting easy. The restaurants/cafes/Mc Donalds are situated here and you can eat and log away.
Midsummer - ( if you are a scandinavian reader - have a chuckle ). No cheese
rolls today as I was not due to fly again until Saturday.
This is a big holiday here and it means near total shutdown at the airport
in the afternoon - the shops, cafes etc were closed. The Nordic fleet didnt
move nor a lot of the SAS but there was still some activity. Because of the
long spells of inactivity at lunchtime, I took a trip into Stockholm from
Awake at 7am for the final morning of Stockholm. Still quiet due to
midsummer holidays with not many people about. My flight to Helsinki was due
off at 1300 and I went airside around 11am - easy to view airside and photos
And so it was off to Helsinki on time in RJ85 OH SAO of Blue1. Departed on time with a flying time fifty minutes and after ten minutes it was time for lunch. and yes todays offering was a cheese roll. The flight had around twenty pax so no overcrowding and with clear skies an excellent opportunity to look out the window. Helsinki is an hour ahead of Sweden so after getting the bags spotting began at 1530.
The mid summer break also applies to Finland and this had caused my original
1300 return flight on Sunday to be cancelled and I was booked on a 1815
departure - this in the end was a blessing and rescued the spotting side of
the trip. My hotel was the Holiday Inn which was a couple of miles from the
airport and the free shuttle bus was every half hour. There was not much
happening so I went into Helsinki for a wander about - and very nice place
it is too. At the airport The Fly Inn cafe which overlooks the ramp and is normally open until mid evening was - yes you guessed it - closed at 5pm due to Midsummer. It was not going to open until 11am the next morning either.
After returning to the hotel from Helsinki - went to the restaurant and
yes - closed due to Midsummer - receptionist said to go to the Culmulous
Hotel about half a mile away. The shuttle bus goes airport-ramada-cumulus-holiday inn and returns. So took the easy option and went by coach. After a nice meal then decided to take the bus to the airport and then back to the hotel . What the visit did tell me is that there was not a lot due in Sunday morning so time for a lie in. It was still daylight after midnight which was fantastic experience.
So would today be a loss due to the lack of traffic - well my lie in never
happenned and was at the airport by 8.30am and wondered about as only a
handful of flights due in. At 11am the Fly Inn opened and took a chair whcih
was to be my base until 1600. I bought drinks and lunch there and not a
trace of a cheese roll. The place really burst into life at lunch time and I
think that the midsummer break was over. There were about 20 landings an
So at six pm boarded OH SAP which was a full flight for the one and a half hour flight to my final destination Oslo. After the seat belt signs put out it was time for the in flight catering and yep - yet another cheese roll. This flight was being used by a lot of transit passengers and the RJ is not made for all the bags that they tried to bring on board. Arrived at Oslo at 1900 having got one of the GMT+ hours back. My hotel was the Raddison which is beside the terminal - asked for an airport view and got a fifth floor room which looked at the domestic terminal and a runway -
Viewed from the room from 0700-0900 then had a walk around to cargo - the
heavens opened and time to retreat back to the hotel. Went airside from 1130
and my flight to Amsterdam was due off at 1615. Once airside I stayed in the
domestic side of the terminal and had a good vantage point near the entrance
to gates 1-7. I stayed there until 1400 and then went to the international
end. The movements came in waves and there times when not a lot happened.
Then it was off on PH-BXI KLM B738 to AMS. Caused a problem at the gate as my boarding pass would not be accepted by the machine- some tinkering and three minutes with the computer they let me and the 150 pax in the queue behind on to the plane. A short taxi to the departure runway and we were off. I would have about an hour and a half at AMS if all went well before returning to Bristol. The inflight service started and they started dishing out the rolls. There was a choice this time Chicken or Cheese. Took the safer option and yep - cheese roll number five in the book. They ran out of time to serve me and thirty others a drink before descending into AMS. I was in the middle of the plane and the stewardesses seemed overworked to cope with the numbers.
After a relaxing hour it I went to the gate. After what had happened at Oslo with the previous boarding pass I went to the desk. No problem she said the ticket looks fine and said she loved my westcountry accent. Flight was called and would you believe it - the ticket got stuck in the machine and had to take it to bits. The final flight was on F70 PH KZE . My seat was near the back by the engine nacelle and wing below and little view. The seat behind has no window at all.As usual the rolls appeared after seat belts off. So what was onoffer - two types and here she came - would you like a roll sir - yes
please - well I have veal or cheese - well you guessed it why break a
winning streak when you are on a roll -
The flight crew announced we would pass over the town of Compton which is a reporting point- hmm had they built one in five days and finally touched down fifteen minutes early at Bristol. This was soon evaporated as my bag did not appear on the carousel. Spoke to the servisair desk and she said dont worry it will be with you tomorrow. Had a phone call at 10am the next day and was told my bag would be couried and will arrive at my house 70 miles away at 1530. Well they didnt keep their promise as it arrived at 1525. This was excellent customer care by KLM.
These were my first flights with KLM and Blue 1 but I have no complaints. The worst was the delay at AMS whilst waiting to board. It really was a feeling that cattle would feel waiting in the pen. Airlines should do something to reduce the amount of carry on baggage as it took half an hour on each of the 737 flights to board everyone. I have flown with Easyjet and Ryanair and they can turn a plane around in twenty minutes.
Any comments welcome