Welcome to Part Two of my Round the World Adventure.
In this installment i'll be covering my travels around Europe. Over a span of four days i traveled from Dublin-London-Athens-Rome-Milan-Paris-Copenhagen-Stockholm, I then returned to London before heading to Jakarta. the Stockholm to Jakarta leg will be covered in part three along with my travels in south east Asia.
I hope you'll find this intallment enjoyable and please excuse the verbosity, i took fewer pictures than I liked, for whatever reason, so i had to make up for the lack of pictures with words.
As always, please feel free to comment.
My European adventure began in Dublin. After five hours of relaxation at the Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport I made my way back to Dublin Airport for my next leg, Dublin-London Heathrow on BMI
. Getting off the bus, I braved the stiff wind and chilly temperatures as I crossed from the bus parking lot to the car park, walked through the ground floor corridor of the car park, and then took the lift up to departures, finally crossing the road to the terminal.
Checking in via the dedicated kiosk located adjacent to the BMI
ticket counter was easy and efficient. I appreciate that while BMI
requires low fare passengers to check in at the kiosk, versus the counter, they make it a pleasant experience, with three or four kiosks available and helpful, friendly staff to assist passengers who seem to be having trouble.
Once I had my boarding pass, I dropped my bag off at the counter then headed to security and departure control thereafter passing through a duty free shop that surely rivaled the one at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport in size. It was completely massive. Once past duty free I found myself in the coolest space in the world, the circular concourse B terminal head. The huge windows made for a spotter’s heaven and the whole place made me feel like I was in an earlier time and place. Out of the several European Airports I’ve now been to, I think Dublin comes in a close second to Heathrow as one of my favorites. It's just a very cool little airport.
The runways were not exactly abuzz with activity but there was enough going on at the terminal that I was able to take a few pictures.
A Luxair E145 waits for her passengers to Luxembourg. I can remember when this airline flew 737-200s within Europe and even the 747SP for a while, I think between Luxembourg and New York. I guess it makes sense for one of Europe’s smallest countries to have some of Europe’s smallest mainline aircraft.
St Patrick, a U.S. Bound A330, waits for her departure from B-26, she appears to be hiding behind the jetway.
St. Mella, another U.S. Bound A330 waits for passengers at gate B-27
The Etihad A330 from Abu Dhabi Arrives.
G-DBCF, what will be my ninth A319, hiding at B-25.
The Etihad A330-200 at B-24.
An Aer Lingus A320 waits for her passengers at gate 14 on the other concourse.
A Flybe Dash 8 400 and an EI
A320 parked at the end of the C Concourse.
The currently under construction terminal two.
Having exhausted the spotting opportunities at Concourse B, I decided to head over to C. Potentially that could have been a big mistake and boy did I get lucky! Walking back through the world’s largest duty free shop then down to the lower level I enter concourse C to find it was just as dead as B. I walked around a bit, but really didn’t find much in terms of good photo opportunities, so I turned around and headed for the exit, in the process catching the attention of a female security agent I hadn’t noticed was manning the desk as I came in. As I walk past, she wants to know where I’m going. “Back to my gate, B-25, I was just having a look around the airport.” I said. She takes my boarding receipt and passport, examines them, then hands them off to a friendly male agent who ushers me back behind a partition, he does a friendly little search of me and my bag, finds nothing objectionable, then hands back my boarding receipt and passport and lets me go on my way.
The forehead slap moment comes as I exit concourse C, wondering what all that was about. I turned around to see a prominent sign over the entrance to C: “NO REENTRY BEYOND THIS POINT.” I couldn’t believe I had been so stupid not to notice that! Oh well, at least, like everyone else I had encountered in Ireland thus far, the security people were nice about it and didn’t give me too much of a hassle.
Overall, after an eight hour layover in Dublin, I came away with a very positive impression of Ireland, from the customs agent joking with me about liking Aeroplanes, to a very approachable airport police officer who gave me good directions to the bus park, to the friendly agents during my excursion to the C gates, I was so impressed with how friendly everyone was. It really does make me want to see more of Ireland.
Sector Nine: BMI
128 Dublin-London Heathrow A319-131 G-DBCF
This was my ninth A319.
With time growing short, I returned to B-25. Boarding meant descending to the lower level then walking through the bright red Vodaphone Tunnel otherwise known as the jetway. (For reference, the inside of the jetways at Dub are plastered with bright red full length Vodaphone ads. Never before in my life have i actually seen this inside a jetway, but hey, if it makes the airport money, more power to them.) Once on the aircraft, I was greeted by a clean and new looking interior. The seats were comfortable and the legroom seemed good. The cabin crew was friendly. Once everyone was onboard we were on our way, making the short taxy to the runway and off we went. Once again, the theme for my airborne pictures seemed to be clouds.
Clouds over the Irish Sea.
A tuft of clouds greets us as we head east towards the Aerogeek Mecca of the world, Heathrow.
Assorted clouds at different points during the trip.
Landing at Heathrow was a pretty abrupt affair as we set down on the runway that runs parallel to terminal one and pretty much screeched to a halt near our arrival gate. By the time we landed it was getting dark so taking pictures was pretty much out of the question. Coming up the jetway we came into a very cool space age semi oval shaped walkway that led us towards baggage claim. After a long walk, I found my way to Ireland arrivals where I claimed my bag and confronted my next challenge, getting to my hotel.
First, I dropped a dime on the hotel, to discover they had no shuttle service. With no other way to get to the hotel, or so I thought, I was roped in by one of the numerous taxi services that has kiosks right outside of arrivals. The driver was a friendly Afghan fellow who spoke limited English. We had an interesting ride to the hotel talking about various things.
The Days Hotel, my lodging for the night, was situated in what seemed to be a mostly residential neighborhood. As I arrived at the hotel, I made a glaring, forehead slapping realization, the hotel was no more than 100 yards from a tube station. By not doing my homework and figuring this out before I left, I had spent fifty dollars in the form of an unnecessary cab ride. While the cab ride was enjoyable and I got a different perspective on the world than my own from my Afghan taxi driver, I was frustrated at myself for wasting money when I was traveling on a budget. At least, I told myself, I wouldn’t need a cab back to the airport, so that was a good thing.
Tomorrow, I told myself, I could relax a bit, just one sector, Heathrow to Athens.
Sector Ten: London-Heathrow to Athens British Airways 632 A320-232 G-EUUH
For the first time on this trip, I didn’t have to try and get by on less than six hours of sleep. As I took a shower for seemingly the first time since the trip began, I commented to myself that I actually felt alive this morning. I was actually smiling and feeling less like a zombie and more like a human being. Maybe this should have told me that when I went to the “Airline Ticket Buffet” I had piled too much on my plate and now that I was actually consuming what I bought, I was realizing I had taken way too much. This trip was turning into something of a case of “I want a little of everything, it all looks so good!” Or, more realistically, “Eyes bigger than stomach disease.” Of course, there was really nothing I could do about it, as I was locked into one way tickets, but it was a realization I was beginning to make. That did not lessen my enjoyment of the trip, but it did put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm.
I slept in until eight o’clock then schlepped my suitcase down to the Tube and made the quick trip to Heathrow, getting off at terminal five. As apprehensive as I was about bringing my suitcase onto the tube, no one really seemed to care. I didn’t look or feel out of place. This was good.
The first thing I noticed about T-5 was the cavernous check in area. The ticket counters were arranged in neat rows and separated into distinct areas for economy, business, European business class and off by itself at the far end of the terminal, first class. Monitors positioned front and center as I walked in the door helped me find my way to the proper check in desk, where I checked in and got my boarding pass, once again, breathing a sigh of relief that I had a window seat for this almost four hour flight to Athens.
Step number two was to get some nicotine in my system, so, having checked in, I headed outside and in the process took my only picture of terminal five.
I’m an equal opportunity pop consumer. While my first choice is Pepsi, I will drink coke from time to time. The rather impressive steel and glass façade of Terminal Five.
Once I had gotten my fix, lingering outside for as long as I could as I chatted with a friendly girl on her way from Canada to the Czech Republic, as I knew that once I went through departure control I wouldn’t have another opportunity for a smoke, I headed inside, making a nice circuit of the terminal as I went to one security entrance only to be told to go to the other checkpoint.
Once inside, security and passport control were easy and I found myself on the mezzanine level overlooking the secured area. With my gate not posted yet, I figured I’d take some pictures. I quickly learned what others have discovered, that this terminal is pretty much a photo hell. And it wasn’t that the terminal was windowless, there were a vast expanse of windows looking out on a large number of airplanes at the gates, it was that those windows had all kinds of steel bars crisscrossing them which don’t make for good plane pictures.
I descended to the main departure level and just began wandering, soon finding myself face to face with a 747-400 at A-16 or 18. Rubbing my greedy little hands together, I prayed, “please let this be mine!” In my own mind, it was not completely inconceivable that British Air would sub a 747-400 for an A320 for a three hour trip to Athens even though half of A.net was probably screaming inside my head about such a sub being a waste of metal. Really though, isn’t that why we’re aerogeeks? To live for the one day in a thousand years when an airline would actually make such a substitution? I think so. Alas, it would not be today. Today I would receive my sixteenth A320 and be happy about it!
I wandered around some more, walking over to the other side of the terminal, where the domestic flights go from, stopping along the way to ponder the escalator down to the tram that leads to the B concourse, taking note of a sign warning passengers not to proceed there until their gate assignment is posted, leading me to gather that the trip to the B concourse is one way.
Other than that one 747-400, whose destination was not even posted yet, everything else at the gates were hum drum, a couple of 767-300s, but mostly A319s, some A320s and some A321s. At far off concourse B were an impressive line of 747-400s and 777s and I wish I could have gone over there, but, if wishes were fishes…..i had to be content to stay in the main terminal with its lineup of Airbii.
Finally, when my gate assignment was posted an hour before flight time, I hustled back to the other side of the terminal, to gate A-4, which was only a gate in function, it had no jetway. Our airplane would be one of the half dozen or so I saw sitting at hard stands when I was at the other end of the terminal ogling the 747-400. While I was disappointed that I would not be going from one of the very long jetways I saw surrounding the terminal, I always enjoy boarding from the tarmac. When boarding was finally posted, I descended the escalator to the next lower level, then took stairs down one more level to the waiting area and joined a line of people that filled the room. There were two flights going from A-4, our flight to Athens and 560 to Rome. I got in line and slowly progressed forward until it was my turn to get on the bus to the aircraft.
Once we arrived at the aircraft, everyone piled off the bus and we clambered up the stairs and onboard. I was greeted by a dark leather seat as I sat down.
The view from my seat is a nice one, a BA
A319 waits for wherever it’s going next.
Once everyone was on we taxied to the end of the runway and blasted off. I was officially on my way to Athens. Yay.
Our shadow encircled by a rainbow, enroute between London and Athens.
Relentlessly we headed southeast and with no IFE and not much outside of the window to take pictures of, as a monolithic layer of clouds pretty much blanketed continental Europe, I focused on some stuff I needed to learn for work (Irony would dictate that I was having to take a Canadian Travel Certification Exam the day after I got back) and the time passed quickly.
By the time we got to Athens, it was dark.
I officially entered the schengen zone, being stamped in by a rather unfriendly looking customs agent who didn't say two words to me, i then got my bag and hopped in a taxi for my hotel, to be greeted by my next surprise, my hotel was in downtown Athens! An hour later, having wended my way through heavy traffic with a taxi driver who didn’t speak much English, and didn’t care to engage in much conversation, which made for a long trip, I got to my hotel, a rather run of the mill property in an area bustling with activity: Cars, people and motorscooters abounded. Once again, I hadn’t done my homework, then again, there really isn’t much in the way of hotels near the Athens airport. There is one to be exact, the Sofitel, a rather ordinary looking hotel across the street from the terminal. Of course, because it’s the only hotel within miles of the airport, they are suitably overpriced.
Tomorrow would be another relaxing day, with just two sectors and a one o’clock departure from Athens.
Between relaxing in my room and going outside to smoke cigarettes I had an enjoyable evening and went to bed early.
Today was supposed to be a big day. Today was supposed to be the day I took delivery of my long awaited first A321, and I really was looking forward to that delivery. Having missed out on my first A321 four years ago, when I made it as far as getting on board before deplaning as we had been told that the Denver Airport was closed due to snow, I was sure that today would be the day.
A little more rested, and having endured another long cab ride to get back to the airport, in the process shelling out another forty or so Euros, I arrived in plenty of time for my one o’clock Alitalia flight.
The Exterior of Athens International Airport, beautiful.
Once I had gotten my nicotine fix, I checked in and got my boarding passes, never getting a hint that I’d be getting a surprise from Rome. Since I was on a schengen flight, there was no passport control to worry about, just security, which I passed through easily and then made a realization, there are almost no services inside the terminal in the secured area. All I could do was wander around and take a few pictures.
An Aegean A321 getting ready to go somewhere.
The Aegean A321 just after push back.
An Aegean A320
Sector Eleven: Alitalia/Air One 719 Athens-Rome A320 EI
This was what pulled into my gate, A320 number seventeen. What a let down! This was supposed to be an A321!
So, I wasn’t getting my A321 on this trip, oh well, at least I had one first to look forward to on this trip, my first 737-600 tomorrow, making me one of those probably un-rare individuals who have somehow managed to snag rides on every model of the 737.
Soon enough, boarding began and I resignedly slid into my seat.
decides to taunt me with not one but two A321 arrivals at the gates near mine.
“I want my 3-2-1”
Ok, another first, my first A320 with PTVs. These weren’t turned on but it was still a pretty cool novelty.
Magnifico! Okay, that view made up for my non-delivered A321. Enroute from Athens to Rome.
After a short two hour flight we descended upon Rome and I discovered it looked nothing like I remembered it. Then again, other than a one hour stop in the middle of the night on a Kenya Airways A310 enroute from London to Nairobi in 1991 where I stood up and put my head out the open rear door, I really don’t have much to remember Rome by. Arrival was onto a hard stand and the bus delivered us to a large arrivals area at the base of the C concourse. With just three hours to kill and Rome seeming to be a huge airport, I wasn’t necessarily comfortable exiting the schengen zone just to have a couple of cigarettes so, I began trying to see if there was a smoking lounge. I did manage to find one.
Like other airports on this trip, Rome was really not much more than a huge shopping district with every kind of bar, restaurant and outlet store to cater to one’s tastes. Sitting in the smoking room, which, interestingly, was sponsored by a tobacco company, I’ve been in many smoking rooms, but never one that was actually sponsored before, I got to thinking about the general disappearance of smoking rooms and the explosion of retail areas in airports. I finally came up with a conclusion about that.
Space in airports represents revenue. By renting out space to retail outlets, bars, and restaurants, the airport earns money. A smoking lounge, by nature, costs the airport money as the space doesn’t generate revenue through sales that can support a space rental contract and the space has to be cleaned and maintained by airport personnel. So, when presented a choice of either giving smokers a dedicated spot or renting the space to someone who will pay for it, the smokers lose. All of that being said, there is a novel approach that I wish other airports would invest in, the modular smoking cubicles Frankfurt has installed. They don’t take up much space, I’m sure they can be put pretty much anywhere, and most importantly of all, us smokers are happy because it means we don’t have to try and run outside between long flights when we’re starving for nicotine, or, for that matter short ones.
So, after getting my nicotine fix, I wandered around.
777-200 sitting on a hard stand, AZ
has one of those classic paint schemes that will never grow old.
An Easyjet A319 adjacent to the 777. Next to it, barely in the shot, was yet another Easyjet A319, I’m guessing that Easyjet boards from those hardstands to save on terminal fees which in turn allows them to offer lower fares to the public.
The beautiful but very photo unfriendly terminal D at Rome. The inside walls are so high, you pretty much only get a view of the tail of the plane. The Germanwings A319 was sitting at the same gate my Milan flight would later go from.
Air One’s two main fleet types, the A320 and 737-400, sitting almost side by side at terminal C.
The Germanwings A319 taxies away against the backdrop of Rome’s Terminal D.
Sector Twelve: AirOne/Volare 2706 Rome-Milan A320 I-Webb
This was my eighteenth A320. When I originally booked this sector this was scheduled as a 737-300. I can only assume that sometime in the ensuing months Air One retired their 737-300s, because we were upgraded to an A320, but, interestingly, not their own A320, but a sub contractor, Volareweb.
With boarding time getting closer I finally decided I needed to return to the gate so I navigated my way through the veritable maze of shopping outlets between the C and D concourses and back up the ramp to the fortress-like D concourse. Once back on the D concourse, I wandered around a little more, but with the terminal design the way it was, all one could really see were the tails of the airplanes, so, in the end, I gave up and returned to my gate. The waiting room by now was filling up and I was sure we’d have a full flight.
Down on the tarmac, what little of it I could see from the oddly positioned windows, the sudden presence of a blue tail told me our plane was in. Soon enough boarding was called and I descended the switchback ramp to the next lower level and entered the jetway, catching a glimpse of a solid dark blue airplane as I boarded. It wasn’t until later, when I did a reg search here on A.net that I got a good idea of how the plane looked and I think my eyes bugged out. I liked the way their paint scheme stood out in world full of mostly shades of Eurowhite.
The service I think was a beverage service as the flight was pretty short. The ride, I seem to recall was kind of bumpy. With the flight being in the early evening, it was dark almost as soon as we took off, so no chance to take pictures.
Once I arrived in Milan, I did the standard get my bag from baggage claim and head outside thing, where I caught a shuttle over to my hotel, the lovely Best Westen “King’s Calvalry.”
The hotel itself was the aversion of yet another impending travel disaster on my part. Having searched for my hotels by distance from the airport in my GDS system, I had picked an inexpensive hotel that looked close to the airport. It wasn’t until I read the description of the hotel that I realized that it was actually 25 miles from Malpensa. Understanding that a 25 mile cab ride would cost a fortune, I looked a little harder, find the Best Western, which, conveniently, offered a free shuttle.
My last full day in Europe was also my longest traveling day in Europe, in all from the time I woke up in Milan until the time I fell asleep in Stockholm, twelve hours would pass. Of course, it is possible to simply fly SAS from Milan to Stockholm non-stop, but why would I go non stop when I could go around my thumb to get to my rear end, as my dad likes to say, by flying via Paris and Copenhagen? Not to mention I’ve always wanted to visit the legendary Terminal One at Charles De Gaulle.
I started the day outside the hotel, waiting for the shuttle back to Malpensa and taking some pictures that weren’t either airplanes or clouds for a change. Instead, they were pictures of my hotel and its surroundings.
Looking down the entrance drive towards the Novotel.
A fountain in the driveway, anyone got three coins to throw in?
Da Building up close. (Anyone remember that TV
show? I think it lasted like one episode! I never watched the show, but I remember something from one of the promos: “We’re watching Da Bears in Da Building.” You can probably guess that the show centered around the residents of a fictional Chicago apartment building.)
Head another direction and you’re in the country. Wonder if there’s a witch in those woods?
Another view of the hotel.
The entrance canopy. The official name of the hotel was Best Western Cavalieri Della Corona, which I assume roughly translates to Cavalry of the King.
By the time I finished taking pictures of the hotel, the shuttle showed up and I was on my way back to Malpensa to start the last full day of my European adventure.
Sector Thirteen: LH
Italia 1772 Milan-Paris CDG
This was A319 number Ten.
Check in via the kiosk was easy and painless. I once again secured a window seat and with some extra time to kill, plus a concern about seats on my upcoming SAS legs, I walk over to the SAS check in desk to see about getting a boarding pass. While apologetic, the agent tells me it’s not possible to check in with him for a flight departing from Paris. I would just have to check in once I got to Paris.
Security was easy and being that I was once again on a Schengen flight, there was no passport control to worry about. My gate was A-35, and feeling a bit of a time crunch, I headed there. I did manage to get at least one picture along the way.
A little piece of home greets me as I arrive back at Malpensa on a chilly and overcast day. Behind the DL
763 are an LH
-Italia A319 and El Al 737, I believe that’s the non-schengen concourse. Milan-Malpensa was probably the smallest and most provincial of the airports I visited in Continental Europe. There are just two not very big concourses so some flights have to depart from hard stands.
The view from the front of the concourse A bus gate waiting area. There were a total of five of these gates, all side by side. From what I could tell these gates were used almost entirely by Star Alliance carriers, mainly LH
Having walked a long way to get to these gates and with just an hour and a half before flight time, I didn’t feel comfortable trying to walk back to the main A concourse, so, I spent an hour just milling around, there really wasn’t much to see.
Thirty minutes before departure, our bus showed up and we began boarding. I handed over my boarding pass and boarded the bus along with several other passengers. I then spent the next twenty minutes pretty much freezing my keester off inside the unheated bus, which had its doors open, until everyone who was going to board the flight was aboard and we trundled out to our aircraft, A319 number ten for me, located on the flight line.
Once onboard, I slid into my window seat, a typical grey leather LH
seat with just the seat cover with a thin red white and green stripe to identify us as LH
The flight was uneventful and I’m not sure why I didn’t take pictures, but, I didn’t. There may not have been much to take pictures of. At an hour and a half, the flight was relatively short anyway. At the very least, we were offered a beverage service, and possibly a meal service as well, a snack service maybe.
Arrival at Charles De Gaulle terminal One saw the jetway come up from behind as we parked parallel to satellite six. Seeing the jetway come up from behind the boarding door was actually kind of trippy. Knowing I was going to have to re-check in for my SAS flights, I headed for arrivals and outside, where I got a nicotine fix and admired what has to be the coolest terminal in the world, the completely circular terminal one.
The design of terminal one has to be the most unique anywhere. The main terminal is circular with the access roadway running between the main terminal and the satellites, where the gates are. Those concrete snakes are actually passenger tunnels.
Terminal One is oft called the Hamster Cage, people travel from level to level via those enclosed travelators.
The interior is arranged into concentric circles. The outermost circle is check in, you then proceed inward to the next circle, where you present your ticket and passport to a security agent and get on a travelator that takes you up to the next level where the satellite entrances are located. Coming off the escalator you’re still in the inner circle, but one level above and there are no amenities and no windows.
Finally to get to the tunnels requires once again accessing the outer circle, this is where things get constraining. With four of the six satellites being non-schengen departures, there ‘s a passport control checkpoint set up for those passengers to access all four satellites from one central point. The remaining two have no passport control, as they’re reserved for schengen departures.
Getting to my satellite required me to walk through a tunnel. Security is in the satellite itself. Once in the satellite, there are no services, not even bathrooms, as the satellites themselves are fairly small, so the security agents will let you know not to go in too early. Once you’re in, you have to be let out by security.
I tried to spend as much time as I could outside the satellite, walking around the outer perimeter, walking back and forth between the terminal and satellites six and seven and even going outside for a smoke, as the airport, like many in Europe, is smoke free. When I finally tired of just “walking around” I went to my satellite, understanding that once I was inside I’d basically be stuck in there, I think this was two hours before flight time.
Inside the satellite itself things were pretty cramped, but there was room for a small SAS business class lounge outside of security.
At least once I was inside, there were things to see, and photograph. I apologize for the quality of these pictures, i didn't realize that the window posts would show up the way they did.
A Blue One MD
-90 in star alliance special colors at gate 75.
The highlight for me was seeing this beast, the ANA 777-381ER at the next satellite over. Given how cramped these satellites are, I can’t imagine how packed the gate area would be if that 77W goes out full, it must be standing room only.
The tail end of the 77W.
The truly amazing thing is the way airplanes can navigate around between the various satellites to get to their gates. The satellites form a circle around the main terminal.
The massive GE90-110B.
Walking around the satellite, looking at the mostly unused jetways, I can close my eyes and just breathe in the history this terminal represents. I can envision a Pan Am 747 getting ready to go to New York or a TWA L1011 getting ready to go somewhere, Boston or St. Louis maybe. I can envision an Air France 747 loading up for a long haul to the Caribbean or even the concorde. With Air France having moved to Terminal Two, the terminal feels like a shell of its former self. The other funny thing was that terminal two, because of the landscape of the airport, and its distance from Terminal One, is not even visible.
An SK MD
-80 has just arrived. This one would be going to Stockholm later.
Sector Fourteen: Scandinavian 1560 Paris CDG
This was my twenty third MD
After two hours of wandering around the satellite, it was finally time to go. Our MD
-80 arrived right around the time it got dark, by which time the waiting area for our gate and gate 74 from where a second MD
-80 to Stockholm was going, had pretty well filled up. My seat this time was 26A, on the two side right near the engine, so I listened to the machinations of the JT8D 217s during the short 2 hour flight to Copenhagen.
Sector Fifteen: Scandinavian 1428 Copenhagen-Stockholm 737-600 LN
Irony. I arrived and departed from the same gate at Copenhagen, B-19, located at the very end of the concourse. Since I had three hours to kill before my final flight to Stockholm, I went out and polluted Denmark’s air for a little while. With my lungs properly polluted, I returned inside and headed towards security, located on the second floor. Getting to security is a long walk on polished wood floors. I also liked the efficiency of multiple checkpoints, only a few of which were open at nine o’clock in the evening, but I can imagine that during the peak evening rush, they’re able to process people through very quickly. Maybe our own TSA
should consider this kind of approach. Once again, security was easy and I made my way back to the B concourse, where I just wandered around. An Adria CRJ going to Croatia caught my eye. I watched it for a while as boarding finished up and the door closed. Copenhagen to Croatia seemed like it would be a long trip on a CRJ.
I was definitely beginning to wear down as I walked back and forth around the concourse, taking in a Cimber Air CRJ arriving from somewhere. A while later, an SAS A321 came into a gate that was closed. I’m guessing it was being pre-positioned for an early morning flight to Copenhagen. In the meantime, people were congregating in the waiting area for B-19, but so far no plane. Only right before I left home had I checked my GDS and realized the 738 I thought I was going to have had been downgraded to a 736, which I thought I was going to have tomorrow. I think had I not been so tired, I’d have been more excited at the prospect of flying the 736 and thus having flown on every model of the 737.
With a steady stream of passengers now coming my way from B-19 as I continued to just wander around, bleary eyed in my tiredness, I knew my plane had just arrived. I returned to the gate to find my first 737-600 waiting for me. I had to stand and admire it, slightly cursing my camera for not being able to take good night pictures. The terminal, other than us, was pretty much a ghost town by now.
Finally, boarding was called and I walked down the jetway with a quiet sense of satisfaction as I ensconced myself in a ubiquitous blue cloth seat that sold me I was flying SAS.
The flight from Copenhagen to Stockholm was short, less than an hour, just enough time for a beverage service.
Arrival into Stockholm put us into the new terminal F and parked us next to what I didn’t realize would be my plane for tomorrow morning, a 737-883. With a scant eight hours in Stockholm, I was once again questioning my own logic as I collected my bag and headed outside. Tomorrow was the day I was leaving Europe and heading to Asia. Of course, me being me, I had to pick the most out of the way routing, Stockholm to London on SAS (Because the equipment at the time I booked was the 736, and I had to fill in that final gap, it would later get upgraded to a 73H) then London-Doha-Singpore on QR
and finally Singapore to Jakarta on LH
. I was staring twenty six hours of flying in the face I would be going on just a scant few hours of sleep.
To top it all off, I was spending the night on a grounded 747. I had found a way to book the Jumbohostel through my GDS system.
With my act together I got onto the number fourteen airport bus, confirming with the driver that he stops at the Jumbohostel.
You don’t realize how huge a 747 is until you’re standing on the ground next to one. That was my thought as I arrived at the totally cool lodging house that was Jumbohostel. I had to wonder how it was doing financially, as the parking lot in front of it was just about completely empty, then again, maybe most of the guests are transiters like myself, taking the bus to and from the hotel. The number one boarding door, bolted open and with the exit slide removed, serves as the main entrance. To my left as I walk in, having climbed three flights of stairs to get to the door, I can see the former first class section, refitted as a breakfast room, to my right is the front desk where an ordinary looking twenty something year old woman climbs up from an office in what used to be the cargo hold to check me in. To the question of can I pay with US dollars she says no, only Kroner or Euros. Since I don’t have enough Euros left after three days in Europe, and no Kroners, I pay via my credit card and proceed to my room. Near the front desk is the stairway leading up to the upper deck, which serves as both a lounge and also for access to the Cockpit suite. Also near the front desk is a large poster announcing that this was an actual 747-212B that flew for Singapore Airlines and later Pan Am.
At 150 dollars a night for a two bed room that doesn’t even include a bathroom, those are down the hall, the place was not inexpensive, but the chance to spend the night on a non-moving 747 for a change was worth the expense.
The first thing I notice as I key into my room is the presence of an actual overhead bin in the room, for storage of personal belongings, who knows where it came from, but that was a cool touch. The rooms are all numbered starting with seven and they use the Boeing speed lettering font for the room numbers, another cool touch. The ceiling in the room is nine feet high. The room is equipped with two bunk beds. Not being as young and energetic as I used to be, I opt for the bottom bunk. I also notice that it looks like the floor has been raised, or as dad pointed out, a double floor may have been added during the process that converted this plane from a working airliner to a hotel, as the windows are lower to the floor than would be normal on a 747 with seats. Finally, the bed was probably the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in. It was a pity that I’d only be in this room for five hours. This is one place I’d really like to come back and stay in again, it was just very cool. Had I arrived a little earlier or had I had a little more time, I’d probably have looked around a little more and maybe even taken some pictures. As it was, after one more trip outside to “burn one” as my brother puts it, I was in for the night, crawling under a poofy down comforter and falling right to sleep. Tomorrow I was starting the two day trek from Stockholm to Jakarta.