Photo © Richard Janura
Checked-in online the night before for my MAN/OSL and OSL/BGO flights but for some reason SAS has removed the self service kiosk at MAN which meant I had to collect my boarding cards from the check-in desk. Fortunately there was no queue, so in no time at all I was on my way to security. No queue there either, so in just a couple of minutes I was in the departure lounge heading for Starbucks. The inbound flight was about 20 minutes late but was worth waiting for as this was to be my first trip on the 737-600, surely the cutest of the 737 family!
Boarding was called very soon after the aircraft had arrived – the ground crew and cabin crew both did a great job of doing a quick turn round. My seat was towards the back of the aircraft and was very comfortable with ample legroom. The flight was only about 70% full so I had all three seats to myself. As we started our take-off run the flight deck door flew open - the pilot just carried on going so we were treated to a rare pilot’s eye view of proceedings. Interestingly, there was no rush to close it and it wasn’t until the seat belt sign was switched off that a cabin crew member got up and closed the door.
In-flight food in economy on SAS now has to be paid for. I bought a sandwich which at £3.50 wasn’t too expensive but was very fresh and tasty. Tea and coffee were complimentary and the cabin crew did several rounds throughout the flight.
Approach into OSL was very bumpy but the scenery was spectacular – Norway is indeed a beautiful country. After a firm landing and a short taxi we arrived on stand and disembarked directly into the terminal. OSL is laid out very simply, but does involve a lot of walking! Passport control was quick and polite and my only delay at customs was a couple of seconds whilst a sniffer dog had a good sniff of me!
Once in the arrivals hall it was up one level to departures, through a very quick and efficient security check and into the departure lounge for my connection to BGO.
20 April 2006 OSL/BGO
Photo © Christian H. Kamhaug
OSL is a very nice airport – lots of Norwegian pine and very clean and efficient, just as you’d expect a Norwegian airport to be! One side of the terminal is reserved for international flights and the other for domestic flights. I found my gate very quickly where LN-RNO was already waiting. About 30 minutes before scheduled departure the ground crew arrived and after a couple of minutes the flight started boarding. Interestingly, some passengers appeared to be boarding through an automatic barrier without coming into contact with the boarding agent – does anyone know what this was?
Not many people on this flight so boarding was completed very quickly and again I had all three seats to myself. After take-off we made a left hand turn them continued west across Norway. The sky was near cloudless so during this 35 minute flight there were some fantastic views of Norway’s snow covered terrain – very impressive indeed. Tea and coffee was offered and all too soon we were approaching BGO where we arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule. BGO is quite a small airport, but simple to use and well laid out. Once in the small terminal building I went to the Norwegian check-in desks and checked-in for my flight to MAN.
20 April 2006 BGO/MAN
Photo © Stuart Haigh - topjetpix
The international departure area at BGO is very small and with flights to ABZ, FRA and MAN departing within a short period of time there were a lot of people about. There was time to grab a sandwich and a coffee (at £7 the most expensive sandwich and coffee I’ve had in a long time) and to visit the small duty free shop. Soon after the flight was called for boarding and as Norwegian operate the free for all concept with absolutely no priority boarding, it was something of a scrum in the gate area.
The flight was about 90% full but I did manage to get a window seat and the middle seat remained free. Unfortunately, many of the passengers around me were on a stag weekend to watch the FA cup semi-final at Old Trafford. Now I had always thought Norwegians were a restrained, polite and friendly people but I soon discovered that football hooligans are football hooligans wherever they come from! They spent the entire flight consuming copious amounts of illicit alcohol – the people in front of me started by swigging red wine straight from the bottle, went on to cans of lager they had brought with them, then progressed to swigging brandy directly from the bottle and finished off by purchasing more lager and gin from the in-flight bar. The cabin crew did a great job in very difficult circumstances but you can imagine the state the hooligans were in by the time we arrived at MAN. After landing the man in front of me stood up, causing a very worried looking purser to come running down the aisle. He said something in Norwegian to the group who then burst into a chorus of ‘Manchester is full of sh!t’. I’ve never been so glad to get off an aircraft!
All in all it was an enjoyable day. I’m a great fan of SAS – they do a great job in a typically Scandinavian way. The flight from BGO was spoilt by the actions of the hooligans, but I’d certainly give Norwegian another chance. It was probably an unfortunate coincidence that the day I chose to try out a new airline turned out to be the day a group of football fans would be on their way for a boys weekend!
Hope you enjoyed it.