welcome to my second trip report here in this forum. There aren't too many pictures. I hope you enjoy it anyway.
Background and planning
My dad turned 65 earlier this year and since he likes to travel we decided to present him a weekend in any European city. He chose Helsinki since he has never been to Finland and it was of course my turn to organize the trip and to accompany him . First we wanted to go in April this year but the famous Icelandic volcano sent his cloud out just a day prior to our planned departure so we had to cancel it. Next try was in September. After spending some time in the internet I found a good offer on expedia with flights and hotel together for about 440,- EUR for the two of us. The flights were with Scandinavian from STR via CPH to HEL, and return with LH via MUC to STR. A new airline for me with SK!
So here is the routemap:
Alright, let's get started with the flights
Flight 1 (24.09.2010):
STR-CPH (SK 668)
scheduled departure 07:00 (on time)
Check in was done online the day before. On the LH webpage I could only check in for the first leg to CPH so I had to use the SAS page to check in for the second leg.
My dad picked me up in the middle of the night at around 5:00 for our one hour drive to the Stuttgart airport. The Autobahn was nicely empty this time of the day so we arrived there quite early and headed straight through security which was quick and no problem at all (My dad actually caused the metal detector to go off but they got it sorted out quickly). We then went to the gate (a bus gate on the lower floor) and just waited there until boarding was called. Not much to see since it was still dark outside. We were then bussed to a remote stand and boarded the plane. It was OY-KFL, named Regin Viking, my first ride in a CRJ900:
The plane was maybe two thirds full and we both got window seats. Startup was on time and we taxied to runway 7. It was interesting that most of the other planes from the early morning rush in STR departed from the opposite runway 25 so we had to wait a while before our powerful take-off. I like this picture with the winglet and the moon:
Adequate space for the rather short flight:
It was cloudy most of the way. Somewhere in the flight the Captain came on with some information about the remaining flight time and the weather in Copenhagen. I liked it how he referred to their flight computer as 'Gottfried'. Descent started soon after into a cloudy and hazy CPH, so not too many pictures here.
The landing on runway 22L was rather hard followed by very hard braking. Nice to see the Air Greenland A330 on the apron, I would really love to fly on this one sometimes:
Welcome to Copenhagen:
Upon disembarking I could take another picture of the CRJ that took us here:
Now we had about one hour to explore the airport. Actually I found CPH airport rather pleasant, not too crowded, nice atmosphere and some good views to the apron. I had no idea that there are still planes in that very nice all red Sterling livery:
Flight 2 (24.09.2010):
scheduled departure 09:35 (on time)
After a while it was time to head to the gate for our flight to Helsinki. Boarding was right on time, load factor maybe around 80%. Our ride was OY-KBR, named Sten Viking, one of only 4 A319s in SKs fleet:
After push back we taxied to runway 22R and passed this Cimber ATR72:
Some Copenhagen suburbs seen right after take-off:
Two types of energy generation, coal and wind:
The flight then was ok, BOB service only as expected, but the crew was very nice with a lot of smiles. The route took us over Sweden to Oskarshamn, then over the Baltic Sea straight to Helsinki. It was again cloudy most of the way. Spoiler action during a seemingly fast and steep descent:
Landing was from the north on runway 15:
followed by a short taxi to the gate. After disembarking we headed straight to the exit and were out within a few minutes. We took the regular bus to the city centre and then the tram to our hotel. We stayed at the Radisson Blue Seaside which is very recommendable for a visit to the city (I especially liked their breakfast buffet ).
Then followed two very nice days of sightseeing in the very interesting city of Helsinki. We were also quite lucky with the weather, especially on Saturday it was sunny and rather warm for the end of September. Here are some impressions:
A very wise man, Mr. Einstein:
Flight 3 (26.09.2010):
scheduled departure 18:55 (on time)
After two interesting and enjoyable days we again took the bus from the train station to the airport. Once there we used the check in kiosks and secured ourselves some window seats. Then we went straight through security at terminal 1 which fast very fast, there was no queue at all. We then explored the airport a little and settled down in the Oak Barrel pub for one last pint of Finnish beer and to watch the last few rounds of the Formula 1 race in Singapore. I was a bit torn between watching F1 or watching planes, both of which I really like. I decided for the race, and at least my favourite driver won .
And there was still some time to watch airplanes. Air Finland, the 757 looking just great:
Never heard of Air Volga before, nice livery (sorry for the bad picture, couldn't get a better angle):
Then we witnessed the departures of quite a few Finnair widebodies:
In the meantime I explained my dad how to distinguish the different airliners. I think at least now he can tell the difference between Boeing and Airbus .
Then we went to the gate just in time to see our A320 pull in. It was D-AIPT, named Cottbus, first flight in 1990:
Boarding was called and was very orderly even though the load factor was rather high. Push back was right on time, followed by taxi to runway 04R. It was already getting dark, so most of my pictures turned out to be very blurry. Here is one with the airport taken after take-off and the turn to the south:
Sunset somewhere over the Baltic Sea, aren't these colours lovely:
Service then started from a professional, but not overly friendly crew. Having excepted only a cheese sandwich or something like that I was pleasantly surprised to get a warm snack, it was some pasta with vegetables and tomato sauce:
It just didn't taste very well, pasta was dry and the sauce just bland. Best thing was the chocolate bar. The rest of the flight was uneventful, I read a little in the inflight magazine and just relaxed. Descent and landing were very smooth on runway 26R. We then parked at a gate next to this A340:
Flight 4 (26.09.2010):
MUC-STR (LH1374, operated by Augsburg Airways)
Dash 8 Q400 (D-ADHT)
scheduled departure 21:15 (actual 21:45)
This was my first time in Munich airport and it was a rather nice experience. As soon as you leave the jetbridge there is a monitor with all the relevant connection information and arrows indicating the direction to your next gate. And there are free coffee machines in the gate area, which was very welcomed at that time. Also with the Oktoberfest going on in Munich around this time some of the gate agents were dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes. Not that I like these, but still a nice touch.
Our flight to Stuttgart was delayed by around half an hour. Well, no big deal. After some time boarding started and we were bussed quite a long way to a very remote stand to the Dash 8 (D-AHDT). The flight was completely full. The captain came on and excused for the delay, the only reason he gave was that the plane arrived late. We then taxied to runway 26L and departed straight to the west for a very short flight. The flight attendants came around with some water, which was ok for such a short flight. Only about 20 minutes after take-off descent started and a few minutes later we landed in STR on runway 25. Again a short bus ride followed but we were out of the airport quite fast. Then after a long walk to the parking and another hour on the German Autobahn at around midnight this nice and successful weekend trip came to an end.
A great weekend trip to a very interesting city with a chance to fly and compare two Star Alliance airlines, SK and LH. Both were ok with LH still offering a little more service on the intra European routes.
Now thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this report. Of course questions and comments are very appreciated