Last year, I flew to Stockholm to attend the NHL Premiere, along with enjoying a brief break in Scandinavia.
Having enjoyed both the game and the city so much I was thrilled to learn that the NHL was set to return to Stockholm once again, giving me the chance to re-enjoy Stockholm and of course fly once again.
Once again I had a good choice of airlines to pick – Norwegian, SAS, KLM, Air France or BA
. The best deal seemed to be BA
once again so we went ahead and booked them.
Prices were strangely similar to last year - I think about £5 or so more which when you consider the continuous rise in fuel costs made for a pretty good deal.
Finally after much waiting and a trip to Los Angeles in between, Friday the 7th October rolled around and I found my bag packed and myself standing at the train station enjoying a fairly chilly morning.
The train ride to the airport was fairly standard, and the Heathrow Express whilst expensive provided a comfortable and quiet journey to Terminal 5.
At the time I arrived, terminal 5 was fairly busy with people checking in; however having used BA
’s online check in service I did not have to worry about queuing – so with a quick stop at Travelex to pick up my pre-ordered Kroner, I was able to head airside for breakfast.
Attractive light display outside Terminal 5 – Can you identify all the destinations?
After having a pretty decent sausage sandwich at Wetherspoons I took some time to walk round the terminal which of course unlike many other airports offers fantastic viewing of the runway and the tarmac; so long as you are ok with seeing mostly British Airways aircraft.
Ready for a long flight to somewhere exotic
Finally a few aircraft that aren’t BA… but only in the background
Having walked round and enjoyed a free sample of some sort of vodka; it was fast approaching time to board. However the time listed on the display came and went without a single gate announcement. It wasn’t until almost 10 minutes after the “gate opens” time that anything was mentioned; which was simply just a pushback on the gate open time – this time to 11am.
11am came and went once again, and still no time – and it wasn’t until almost 20 minutes later that a gate was finally announced complete with a delayed estimated departure time of 11:48.
Delayed. But not by much
Our plane getting ready for boarding
Departure time: 11:30 (12:10)
Arrival time: 15:00 (15:30)
(delivered new to BA
Boarding started around 11:30 and of course started from the back to the front. The flight today was at a 100% load factor and the crew made several announcements for anyone with bags in the overhead storage to consider placing them underneath their seat due to the lack of space. Fortunately I could fit my bag below because I did notice that upon boarding there would have been no space above my row.
However I soon settled down into my seat, which was in row 6. For those of you not in the know, due to the flexible configuration British Airways uses seats up to row 7 have much more legroom than the ones behind.
This added space was noticeable and also I was pleased to see that I had the use of 2 windows; one offering a great view of the wing and behind, with the other offering an amazing view of the world below.
Very good legroom
The cabin looked to be in good condition – there was no noticeable damage and the seats whilst looking a bit worn were comfortable, clean and more than adequate for a 2 and a half hour flight.
In order to take-off as fast as possible the cabin doors were shut very promptly and safety video began almost immediately as we pushed back. The crew did take the time to make a welcoming announcement and offer information on the weather and at what points we might be able to see any land below us – which excluded most of the UK due to the cloud coverage. Thankfully BA
does provide a moving map on displays on the A319; however with the positioning of my nearest monitor in Club Europe, it was quite hard to view it through the gap provided.
Being seated nowhere near crewmembers during takeoff; I was able to take quite a few photos during take off unhindered; and as we turned towards the east and headed out towards mainland Europe it was possible to see another airport (Stansted I believe?) and the coastline as we headed over the North Sea.
In the takeoff queue
Up and away!
Here comes the cloud
Landfall in Europe was made somewhere to the north of Amsterdam, however any chance of a view was limited due to the now rather thick cloud coverage. Drinks and a snack service were started now and we were offered a sandwich and drink of choice. Sadly with the only option being a chicken sandwich with mayonnaise (something I despise) I passed on eating it and raided the bag of food I had brought from home. The crew were efficient and friendly; offering a smile to everyone and were as personal as it is possible to be on a full aircraft.
Further into the flight, and a few games on my iPad later; it could be seen that we were somewhere between Denmark and Sweden – with vast amounts of water being seen, cargo ships and a bunch of islands being visible.
Inflight snack offering
Heading over the sea
Denmark is down there…
One of many islands
As we crossed into Sweden however the clouds returned once more, however whilst they may have blocked the view below; they did make for some interesting photos themselves and were certainly worth a few photos.
Soon, the plane started to descend and it got quite bumpy. Seatbelt lights were switched on and we were told that we would soon be landing. The clouds soon gave way to offer some of the best scenery I have seen in a long time and of course made for some great photos.
The cloud begins to break
Now above Sweden – Check out the reflection in the engine
An iceberg like cloud
Sweden’s becoming more visible
Green landscape – Is this a racetrack?
Forest covered landscape
Sun reflecting in a lake below
The sun starting to over expose images now
What’s the story behind these aircraft?
We touched down shortly after 1530, and it seemed to take quite a while to taxi to our gate. It is very evident who is the primary operator at Arlanda airport, however I guess it makes sense. What did make for a nice change however was to not see a flood of EasyJet aircraft as is becoming common within Europe these days.
BA Cityflyer flight from LCY– I would love to try it out sometime
More SAS aircraft
Being close to the front it took little time to exit the plane and due to the good design of Arlanda airport I was through passport control and waiting for a train to the city within 10 minutes of landing.
Below are a few photos from my time in the city, which if you haven’t visited yet I do strongly advise making a trip to – however those of you not interested in this part please feel free to skip down the page a bit:
Sunrise over Slussen
Old tram in city centre
Looking towards the old town
The Ericsson Globe
Pregame warm up
Getting ready for the shootout
A wet night in Gammla Stan
After a few amazing days in the city of Stockholm, a fantastic NHL game that went into a very intense shootout and the very comfortable Hilton hotel it was sadly time to return back home.
Having checked in online once again it meant I didn’t have to spend too long at the Airport; which after my experience last year isn’t a bad thing because Arlanda can be a tad boring if your there for more than a few hours.
Taking the train back to the airport, British Airways’ baggage policy was put to the test as all three of us travelling had decided to randomly buy hockey sticks. As predicted, not a single concern was raised (besides where best to stick the luggage tag) and the sticks were soon off to Special Baggage B; where they were then presumably carefully loaded onto the plane.
Arlanda has a central shopping area named SkyCity which hosts a number of eatery options, all with a view of the runway. This allows for you to watch mostly SAS flights, a few Norwegian flights and a few other visitors such as Czech Airlines and some small turboprop planes.
Lots of departures this evening
After a grossly overpriced slice of pizza at Sbarro, we headed through security and then joined a very long and slow queue of passengers clearing passport control; which is after the main departure lounge and duty free area. The queue mainly seemed to be related to an Air China flight and once a third EU only desk opened we moved quite quickly through to the final lounge area where our flight had started boarding already.
I can just about see the plane
A slightly better shot
Departure time: 18:40 (19:15)
Arrival time: 20:15 (20:45)
G-BNWX (delivered new to BA
My previous experience of the British Airways short haul 767’s exceeded what other people have reported. However as my flight was being operated by a different plane to the two I flew last year, it was to be luck as to whether I would get one that is ok but shabby, or one that is simply put; in need of a little TLC
G-BWNX proved to be the latter and had several areas where it seriously lets the British Airways product down which I will share in due course.
I was given a warm welcome aboard and once again address by name and directed to my seat which was in the centre of the cabin; in one of the wider leather seats in the section before the older cloth seats appear. Legroom was great, if not better than the A319 out; and the seat whilst showing some serious wear was again comfortable and spacious. The seatback in front however was scuffed, torn and the side panel of the seat next to it was unpeeling. Additionally this aircraft had not been cleaned too well, with cups, cans, wrappers and a flight ticket from the previous customer still there. I hope that Mr Svenson enjoyed his previous flights from Seattle and then onwards to Stockholm as much as I enjoyed mine but didn’t leave as much mess on the Seattle flight (Don’t worry, I have changed the name there).
Falling apart seat cover
After a very informative welcome from the pilot, we were informed that we were waiting for a slot and would depart as soon as possible. In addition we were told to expect to be placed in a holding pattern at Heathrow and that we would be informed of any delay to our arrival.
Safety video began shortly after and we soon pushed back lining up with the runway a little after 1915.
The old aircraft made quite a rattling sound as we rolled down the runway, with half the cabin lights remaining on despite the crew announcing them being dimmed for takeoff and turning them off and then on again. During this one of the forward oxygen mask hatches opened – thankfully onto an empty set of seats with of course the contents falling down. In the forward galley a random door also opened, and this proved to be quite amusing for a short while as no matter how many times the crew attempted to shut it, it ultimately opened up again. The crew were obviously aware of the oxygen masks being down however they did leave them down – I am guessing that it is a job for BA
Maintenance to fix and not them. The cabin was not too busy either with a load of around 50%; with no one sat in front of myself and a few empty rows at the back.
Non working No Smoking light
Oxygen masks are down… for this row only
Drinks and the same sandwich from the way out were then distributed; and the crew were once again very friendly and even jokingly asked me if I was old enough to order a beer.
After drinks were cleared they offered their in flight sales service and I purchased another model aircraft from them as I feel 2 planes for £10 is too good of a price to miss – It was however a funny reaction from the crew when he noticed that I was paying using my Virgin Atlantic American Express card.
Not much else to really say about the remainder of this flight after – I made a couple of trips to the back to get a few drinks and was always acknowledged instantly by the crew, and trips to the toilets once again reminded me of the age of this aircraft.
As we began to reach Heathrow we were informed that we would be landing around 2045, and after descending through a thick layer of cloud we touched down at LHR
almost exactly at the time announced.
It was then announced by the Co-pilot that we had been assigned a gate at the Terminal 5 B which finished my trip off on a good note, as I had wanted the chance to see what the terminal transfer trains were like.
Waiting for the transit
Inside the transit train (photo is of mate, not myself)
Departing the plane was relatively easy and the transfer trains at Terminal 5 are fast if not a little violent in their motion. Passport control was busy however moved fast and to top it all off our hockey sticks were waiting on the baggage reclaim belt undamaged.
Overall, I enjoyed both flights with British Airways immensely – the crew were both professional and friendly with the A319 being a pleasure to fly. However the 767-300’s really do need a little more attention and whilst are adequate for a 2 hour flight; would be less fun for a 4 hour flight.
Stockholm is a great city to visit and whilst not the cheapest, is certainly not the most expensive.
Thanks for taking the time to read my report; I hope you have enjoyed it. I look forward to your feedback and questions.
with Virgin Atlantic (2006)
VS027 / VS016 LGW-MCO (by FlyKev Feb 28 2006 in Trip Reports)
with Ryanair (2006)
Flight To A Theme Park STN-BLK-STN With FR (+pics) (by FlyKev Aug 9 2006 in Trip Reports)
with Virgin Atlantic (2007)
VS019/20 LHR-SFO In Y (lots Of Pics!) (by FlyKev Apr 19 2007 in Trip Reports)
with Ryanair (2007)
FR712/715 STN-AAR The Daytrip (lots Of Pics!) Long (by FlyKev Jul 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
with FlyZoom (2008):
Zoom Airlines 757-ZX1/ZX2 LGW/JFK LongLots Of Pics (by FlyKev Jul 3 2008 in Trip Reports)
with Virgin Atlantic (2009)
VS19/20 LHR-SFO-LHR + Pics (Y) Long (by Flykev Jul 4 2009 in Trip Reports)
with American Airlines (2010)
AA LHR-ORD-LHR In Y + Pics! (June 2010) (by flykev Jul 4 2010 in Trip Reports)
with British Airways (2010)
In Search Of Hockey. BA 767 LHR-ARN-LHR (Photos) (by flykev Oct 11 2010 in Trip Reports)
with Virgin Atantic (2011)
Gone Hollywood. VS A346 LHR-LAX-LHR In Y (Photos) (by FlyKev Jun 14 2011 in Trip Reports)