This is a report covering my trip to London in late September this year.
I got an opportunity to travel to London with my parents, as my father would visit an exhibition at Earls Court in London, on behalf of his company, and as both my mother and me works part time at his company, we were both invited to join. He gave me the job of finding flights, and as I flew SK
the last time I flew to London, I decided to try the other major player on the route, BA
As I have yet to fly the Embraer 170-195 series I decided it was suitable to fly the morning E170 service from ARN
on Friday the 23rd of September. The fare was about 75GBP. This flight would also be my first time visiting LCY
To get back to Sweden, I had to book a flight that did not arrive to late on Sunday, as I still had to catch the 19.55 flight back to Kiruna from ARN
. Flight 780 left LHR
at 13.50, and offered plenty of time for my connection at ARN
. This was great since BA780 is one of BA
's European flights operated by 767-300's! A flight I had been eyeing for a long time. So now I finally had a booking. The flight was somewhat cheaper at 60 GBP or so.
So some time went and it was late August and about a month until departure, and I got my schedule for the fall semester, when I realized that I had to stay another night in Kiruna, instead of my original plan of flying from Kiruna on Thursday afternoon, to catch the Friday morning flight. This meant that I had to fly on the early morning flight from Kiruna, which arrived at ARN
too late for my flight to LCY
This meant we had to rebook to a later flight. We decided on BA777 leaving ARN
shortly after noon. The rebooking wasn't too expensive at about 60 EUR per person plus the extra cost of the new fare.
This was a flight to LHR
scheduled on a A320, so I'd miss out on LCY
and the E-Jet. Oh well, another time I guess.
So the simple itinerary for this tripreport is ARN
A couple of weeks before departure, I checked our booking at ba.com to see if there was any seats worth paying to reserve. There wasn't, but I did notice that the seatmap on the 767 wasn't like I expected, it was actually the longhaul version, with the World Traveller Plus cabin! The WT
+ seats were not reservable, but I figured they might be available at check in, so I knew I had to be at some place with a wifi connection 24 hours before departure, to be able to check in on my phone, and check if the WT
+ seats would be open to choose.
I wont cover the trips to and from Kiruna, as they were just standard domestic SK
flights with cramped seating and all that comes with it.
After arriving at the domestic T4
, I still had a good 4 hours to kill until my next flight would depart. My parents would be arriving by car some time before our departure.
So, killing time at an airport isn't too difficult. I started off by taking a stroll around the airport. I started by going to the lowcost terminal 2, and went all the way to terminal 5. Nothing out of the ordinary seen.
Tails at domestic T4
. I arrived from KRN in the SK
aircraft furthest away in this picture.
Clarion hotel being built between Sky City and the ATC tower.
departure hall, the queue is for a Tor Air flight to Baghdad.
After my little walk, I settled down at the balcony above the trainstation at Sky City, and watched some apron action.
View from my seat.
After an hour or so I decided to head to the landside restaurant upstairs on the middle of the old part of T5
. I bought a bottle of sparkling water and enjoyed some apron action on the other side of the B pier of terminal 5.
babybus taxiing to it's gate.
/CO aircraft pushed back and remained still at the apron during my remaining time at the restaurant. When taking off later I spotted it over at the F-pier so I guess something happened.
. These are the 2 daily SK
longhauls from ARN
After some waiting my mother called me and said that they were soon to arrive at ARN
, so I went to the T5
parking garage to meet them. After the greeting formalities was done we headed to the bagdrop, I had checked us in the day before and chosen seats 25 ABC at the back of the aircraft. The window seat was for me, ofcourse.
Bagdrop went fast with only one group of people ahead of us in the queue.
When we had gotten rid of our bags we went straight to the security checkpoint, we were directed to a security checkpoint upstairs of the ordinary checkpoint, I never even knew it existed!
We were quickly through in 5 minutes or so.
After quickly working our way through the tax free store, without buying anything, we headed to the Menzies lounge, who offers lounge access for Diners Club cardholders.
On the way to the lounge I spotted our plane at gate F61. I was exited since it would be my first time flying BA
, and it was actually my first logged flight on an A320. I have flown A319 and A321 previously, and most likely I have also flown A320 when I was younger, but all I remember is that the aircraft's I flew were in the A320-family of aircraft.
G-EUUT at its gate.
We soon reached the lounge and since my mother was the only one in the group with a diners card we were expecting to have to pay for one or two guests.
Turns out that I got in for free as a guest but we had to pay for my father, the fare was about 16 EUR if I remember correctly.
The lounge was smaller than I imagined, and did not offer too much to drink nor eat. There were sandwiches available and nuts, chips and cookies. I decided to get a sandwich, some nuts and apple juice.
A beauty spotted from the lounge.
Sooner or later, boarding time were getting closer, and we headed to passport control, which had no queue and soon we were at our gate, boarding were almost done when we got there with only about 20 people left to enter the jetway.
There was abit of queue in the jetway but we proceeded in a decent pace.
Our aircraft as seen from the jetway.
Soon I entered the aircraft and showed my BP
to the FA
, who directed me down the aisle.
When queuing down the aisle I noticed that a lot of passengers stood in the aisle while loading their luggage on the overhead compartments, blocking people behind them to pass. On SK
they often announce several times during boarding that passengers should avoid blocking the aisle.
Due to this it took some time to reach my seat but it didn't take too long.
When I reached row 25 I had a little problem finding space for my backpack in the overhead bins, but I managed to squeeze it in across the aisle.
I got seated and settled in, I must say that the seat was comfortable, with nice legroom and winged and movable headrest. It was a leather seat and it was soft, and had an overall nice feeling.
The load was very good on this flight, I did not spot any open seats.
We pushed back and the safety demo started playing on the overhead screens.
This is the first Airbus I'm in that has the new overhead panels.
717 taking off ahead of us.
We taxied to runway 19R and performed a rolling takeoff.
Terminal 2 & 3 with the Jumbo Hostel in the background.
We turned right soon after takeoff, and begun our climb to cruising altitude.
Soon after takeoff the overhead screens were again folded down and an airshow was shown for the remainder of the flight. Yay!
After the seatbelt sign was turned off the service started. I didn't really know what too expect when it comes to eating, but I did know that there was a complementary bar service.
Turns out we got a rather large sandwich with soft cheese and ham. It was rather nice, but you could tell it wasn't freshly made. This was confirmed when I saw that the “Use by” date was the very same day. I don't mind it at long as it's fresh enough.
Once the drinks cart came around a quite a while later I decided on a glass of sparkling water and a glass of orange juice.
When the service round was complete and the aisle was clear I decided it was time to head to the lavatory. It was roomy enough and seemed to be in a good condition.
Cabin view on the way back to my seat.
Cabin view from my seat.
The flight progressed rather well and I spent most of the time by reading a newspaper I picked up at the airport and the BA
inflight magazine. The skies were overcast for most of the flight so no ground views were to be seen.
The picture of Highlife is taken on the inbound flight.
Some ocean views could be seen though.
I like this airshow.
Our routing for this flight.
As we got closer to UK descent were soon begun. East of London we were informed by the flightdeck that we would be in a holding pattern, and indeed that is what happens.
A Qantas 747 also in a holding pattern.
. Another time...
After some nice views of central London and some turns here and there we soon land on Heathrows runway 27L.
ad on final approach.
Hey, did I just see you flying above central London or was that just a pal of yours?
We taxied to a remote stand right next to T5A, and we had to wait for a few mins until the first bus pulled up.
Parked at our stand.
The bus said “BA777”, our flightnumber.
Deplaning took some minutes but I was in the third bus to the terminal.
Our aircraft when deboarding.
Last picture of our plane while in the bus.
After the short busride to the terminal a short walk to immigration followed.
At immigration they had separate queues for every desk. I don't like that, I very much prefer when there is one line and the passengers are directed to the next open desk.
With the one line per desk system you risk getting behind a passenger that for some reason take longer to get through immigration, or having a staff member at the desk that isn't as efficient as the others.
Didn't take too long though and in a bit over 5 minutes I was through. Once we reached the luggage belt our bags were already there waiting for us so we were soon out in the arrival hall.
We used the underground to reach our hotel, Hilton Docklands, it was a nice hotel but it was quite far from any underground station so to reach it you had to take a bus from Canada Water. To compensate for that, the hotel offered a free shuttle ferry service across the Thames, to Canary Wharf, where both DLR and the Underground are within walking distance.
We had breakfast included in the price.
Canary Wharf as seen from our hotel in the morning.
Next followed a couple of days in the always charming town of London. We didn't do too many touristy things, since we all have visited London several times before.
Canary Wharf as seen right after stepping off the boat from our hotel.
The next day, we did however visit Madame Tussaud's, which was a first time for me. It was a nice, if crowded, experience.
The most Swedish thing I could find.
Putin was there.
And another leader.
And someone for us A.netters!
When we were done with watching wax figures, we made our way to Earls Court for the exhibition.
An easyBus heading for STN
The 100% design exhibition was at Earls Court Two, at Earls Court One there was some gaming exhibition going on. Outside there was a couple of tanks promoting a game called World of Tanks.
Earls Court One exterior.
Earls Court Two exterior.
The exhibition was rather exiting with some interesting ideas and such.
I noticed that there was free WiFi available, and since the clock was almost 13.50, the time when online check in at ba.com would open.
When changing our preassigned seats at row 29, I realized that I had made the right choice of checking in as early as possible, as the World Traveller Plus seats were up for grabs!
I quickly chose seats for us at row 11, the second of four WT
On the remainder of the day we were at the Westfield Shopping Center, doing some shopping and grabbing some food. The building is actually really impressive.
After this we made a rather early retreat to our hotel.
The next day we did not bother doing anything else than just eating breakfast and then heading back to Heathrow. We decided to pay for a taxi when going back.
During the ride to the airport, I spotted this car.
I wonder if its easy to clean!
We arrived at LHR
about two hours before departure. Before heading into the terminal we went to to the very edge of the passenger drop off zone, where we had decent views of aircraft's departing 27R.
drop off zone.
737 heading to the skies.
772 in battleship grey livery.
Kuwait Airways 744.
After our mini spotting session we headed inside and printed our boarding passes in a self service machine and dropped of our bags in one of the numerous bagdrop desks. We did not have to queue at all, nice!
The landside of T5
was impressive with high ceiling and lots of natural light.
They had some problem with the FIDS.
After finishing a bottle of water we had, we went through security, not much queue here either, and we were through in about five minutes.
Once airside, we were, as usual on airports nowadays, in the middle of a shopping mall. We strolled around abit before settling down in a corner with great views of the apron between T5A and T5B.
A 767 heading to ATH
With T5B in the background.
I must say though that T5
was a tiny bit below my expectations. I'm not at all saying that the terminal was bad, I'm just saying that it wasn't as good as I expected. It didn't feel as roomy as I had expected, nor was it easy to take any nice photos since the glass wall was so far away. It was still a quite nice terminal experience though, I guess I just had my expectations too high after recently visiting T1 at BCN
And besides, T5
is still waaay better than T3
, the only terminal I have previously been to at Heathrow.
After some waiting, while my family was shopping, we decided to grab some food at a place called Itsu, where we grabbed some Japanese food. I decided on some sushi rolls and miso soup, together with a bottle of sparkling water.
When done with our meal, a gate had been assigned to our flight, so we went to our gate A8 to wait for boarding to be called.
When boarding was called, families with infants were called to board first, then those eligible for the fast track lane, then 28-39 and finally 10-27. It wasn't really enforced though, since we spotted several people allowed to board, whose boarding zone hasn't been called out yet. I suggested we would join the queue too but as the polite Swede my mother is, she insisted on waiting until we were allowed to board.
The best photo I could get of G-BNWY from the gate area.
After a not too long wait we were allowed to board and we headed down the jetway.
Our aircraft as seen from the jetway.
Last look at T5A.
When entering the aircraft I showed my BP
to one of the FA
's and I was directed to the second aisle. Gotta love widebodys!
I got seated at my World Traveller Plus seat 11K. The seat was very comfortable, with three buttons to adjust the seat, there was one for recline, one for the footrest, and I'm not sure what the last button was for but I believe it was something regarding the seatback. Anyway I didn't dig too much into it since it was such a short flight.
The seat was very much comparable to the Economy Extra seat I had on my flights CPH
in march this year.
The only negative aspect about this seat was that there was a missing window. It wasn't too bothering though since still had an entire window for myself and I was aware of this when choosing the seat, thanks to Seatguru.
Cabin view from my seat.
The PTV showed the welcome screen to begin with.
After 15-20 mins we pushed back and started taxiing. The safety demo was played on the screens.
We taxied towards runway 27R, and since I was seated on the right side of the aircraft I got some nice views over the always busy Heathrow Airport.
has a really impressive operation.
birds and one from Iran Air at T3
group at T1.
1 I for AKL
Swiss, and another SK
I'll be flying one of you guys in January.
Rivals, but still so close to eachother.
A short queue for takeoff, an Air India 777 and Virgin A340 took off ahead of us among others, and soon it was our turn.
We took off and turned right soon after to line up for our route to Stockholm.
is down there,
Bye England, see you in January!
Shortly thereafter the service round begun. We were served early due to being seated so far forward. It was the exact same sort of sandwich with soft cheese and ham. Again it tasted nice and it was washed down together with a glass of orange juice and apple juice.
Soon after takeoff the PTV screens were actually turned on, I did not expect that! I played around abit with it and it seemed decent.
The airshow seemed to believe we were heading to New York though! I guess ARN
isn't in the system.
The crew who spent most time in our part of the aircraft were one older male, and a middleaged female and a male. They were nice and did their job well.
The flight was rather uneventful, and I started watching an episode of Big Bang Theory on my PTV. Suddenly some of the IFE were turned off, and only the basic features like the airshow remained available. Oh well, I don't complain, PTV with AVOD for half a European flight and airshow the rest of the time is more than you can ask for!
When watching Big Bang Theory.
The fuselage reflection on the engine.
I decided to take a walk around the cabin. As expected it looks rather old fashioned with those overhead bins and such.
The economy seats also looked very comfortable, couldn't get any good pictures of one though since the load of this flight was very good, and I only spotted a couple of open seats. A load of over 95% I'd estimate.
I went back to my seat and the flight progressed smoothly. The skies were overcast most of the time, so not many views of the ground.
I did spot the coast of Denmark though.
I purchased a box with two models of BA
aircraft's, one A320 and one A319. Both of them for 10£ is good value in my opinion.
Sooner or later the descent started. We flew north of Stockholm and ARN
and turned right for a landing on runway 26.
After breaking through the clouds.
After landing we made a quick taxi to gate F69 at the end of the F-pier.
Breaking on the runway.
The jetway was docked into door L2, just as in LHR
, and we were among the first ones off the plane, after the Club Europe passengers that is.
Our seat after the 2 hour flight. Note the missing window.
Nose section of our 767.
Last view of our aircraft through the dreaded blinds.
We made the long walk down to the base of the F-pier and downstairs to Immigration. Due to the CA
777 from PEK
who landed right ahead of us there was quite a queue, the longest one I've ever seen in Sweden actually, but the EU-queue didn't take too long.
This ends my tripreport about my trip to London.
To sum things up,
provided me with two nice flights without any delays nor other complications. The service was great and both crews were nice.
+ on the inbound was a great bonus. The seat was very comfortable and I could fly a much longer flight with that hardware.
The widebody on a non-charter flight within Europe was a nice and rare experience.
I think BA
will be my preferable choice when flying between Stockholm and London in the future, mainly due to their service onboard, and that it is a more “exotic” choice for me as a Swede.
After all, I have another flight booked with them in January on the LHR
was a fresh and nice terminal with nice seating areas with great apron views. Although it wasn't as roomy as I had hoped, especially not in the downstairs shopping area. Still provided me with a nice terminal experience though.
My next tripreport will be in about a months time, when I will be flying ARN
, trying out easyJet for the first time, and flying Lufthansa Italia on one of their last days of operation.