Sometimes people do quite impulsive things in life... While I’m certainly not the impulsive type - but not the most rational either - I sometimes have my moments though.
Some of you may remember one of my missions dating back to Nov 2011, where I succeeded in getting myself on a rather empty Kuwait Airways A300-600, flying from FRA to GVA: A Taste Of The Middle East On KU: BRU-FRA-GVA-BRU (by sultanils Nov 14 2011 in Trip Reports).
To accomplish that mission and to reduce the costs, I booked a BRU-FRA-BRU on LH back then, adding a € 99 to be debited from the cc. The BRU-FRA was used on that particular day in Nov as a starter to the Kuwait Airways main dish. The date for the return FRA-BRU was chosen in the evening on May 1st the next year, being a holiday I thought that would give me a nice closing flight on a yet to build itinerary for that day.
Some months later I started looking for a way to fill up that day which obviously had to include a late afternoon arrival in FRA. Browsing the Brussels Airlines website, I stumbled upon a reasonable one-way fare in their ‘b.light’ cabin to CPH, price = € 69. I booked this one without hesitation, as it was already some time ago since I last had a flight with the home carrier. Now I did not realize that I was stuck in a rather small timeframe to get myself from CPH to FRA on the same day. Being the stupid and impulsive me, I did not think of first checking the CPH-FRA possibilities and prices. And there you have it: the only afternoon and well timed departure was on SAS and priced at some > € 300. No good, no good, no good...
So now I had 2 flights on the same day booked without any decent or well priced possibility to connect them... Damn, now what? The options were in fact quite simple: either book an alternative to FRA and drop the SN to CPH or book a CPH-BRU and drop the LH flight from FRA. An alternative route to FRA in 1 day proved to be too costly but luckily there was SAS to the rescue offering me a well-timed CPH-BRU one-way for € 63. So in the end, my booking ordeal came out as follows:
BRU-CPH on Brussels Airlines’ A319
CPH-BRU on SAS’ A321
In fact, this would give me a nice chance to compare the offerings on the same route, so not all was lost.
And on a map (thanks to the excellent www.gcmap.com, copyright Karl L Schwartz):
On a nice and sunny morning - has spring finally managed to find it’s way here? - I find myself cruising on the highway again, direction airport. Not much traffic due to the fact that it’s Labour Day today and in no time I park the bike at my usual spot near the underground bus station at BRU. OLCI done the day before and boarding passes printed, I make my way down into the dreaded tunnel towards the Schengen terminal:
Just as I step off the first escalator and make a turn to take the second one, I spot some strange subjects on the apron:
3 KLM’s parked on a remote position and including a B737? That’s not SOP for BRU. Later in the day I learn from fellow user airbuseric that severe thunderstorms were hitting on AMS that very same morning, causing some diversions to alternates such as BRU. Well, that makes sense and in fact it’s very nice to see some light blue as opposed to the dark blue of Brussels Airlines
It’s a lovely day outside, some light clouds and a spring breeze. That makes quite a difference when taking photos. Here’s the Finn and the Brit:
As usual I wonder around some and at gate A51, I spot this one. Well I’ll be damned! Those who followed my previous story - The Swiss Sisters... Or Nearly: BRU-ZRH-LYS And Vv (by Sultanils Apr 27 2012 in Trip Reports) - know for sure that I missed out on this beauty back then. Here it is in full splendour on it’s way to ZRH:
No gate assigned yet for the 11h00 service to the Copen-of-Hagen:
Here’s another one for fellow user MSS658 (the one on the left of course):
And this one’s for fellow user FlyingFinn76 (sorry for the bridge in the way, I was a bit too late getting my camera positioned):
Next destination for this T-tail is CPH as well, it is scheduled to depart 20 mins before the SN flight:
A quick glance at a FIDS again reveals gate A50 as today’s winner. OO-SSP is seen here being serviced after an arrival from the Czech Republic’s capital Prague, and is 1 of the (currently) 11 A319’s in the fleet:
Here’s the gate area. Seats are reasonably comfortable and they are plentiful. More importantly, the terminal is airy and spacious:
Boarding is called some 10 minutes late but that doesn’t really matter since the schedule claims a 1h50 flight. This as opposed to SAS where the schedule indicates a 1h30 flight. In such a timeframe, you’re practically always ‘on time’
BRU to CPH
Photo © Tommy Desmet Photography
I greet the F/A at the door in Dutch and get a reply in Dutch (well, Flemish Dutch that is ) back. It’s always nice to be greeted in your own language and thus I feel ‘at home’ instantly. I make my way to the back section, meanwhile passing some more friendly F/A’s. Unlike my previous flight on one of SN’s A319 last year - B-Light = Delight? A Trip On SN To GVA (by sultanils Jul 13 2011 in Trip Reports) - where the last row had no window, the last row on this machine does have windows. But it doesn’t have the ‘LH NEK’ seating installed. Instead there are these pretty good leather Recaro’s which as well feature a good legroom and I have 3 of them for me::
The cabin is clean but looks well used.
This is the contents, the magazine is not very interesting...
Outside, the handlers are still loading bags:
While inside, the last pax trickle in and take their seats. One particular male passenger in his 30’s (I guess) wearing a gigantesque bag pack comes to the F/A in the back and asks where row 17 is. ‘You can find the row numbers there sir’ (she points at the labels under the overhead bins). ‘You are too far back’. ‘Oh, I did not know, thank you’ says the man and retreats, his bag hitting some fellow seated passengers. ‘Sorry’ ‘Sorry’ ‘Sorry’.
I know, everybody once has their first flight
I estimate the load about ⅔ full:
We push back 15 mins after STD. The plane starts rolling forward and the very same man - who has found row 17 in the end, gets up and wants to take something from his bag in the overhead locker but a stern voice from one of the F/A’s has him seated back in a jiffy. Who says that bog standard flights are boring
I spot some Dutch neighbours also leaving for the active, probably the weather in AMS cleared up and they are allowed to go back to ‘home base’ (note OO-SNC, the latest A320 arrival and OO-VEK, one of the soon to be retired 737-400’s from the Virgin Express era):
Must have an SN A330 in a report:
Takeoff is from the 3638m long runway 25R and features some nice views at last. Some army C-130’s and a government A330 are parked on the apron:
A SIA cargo plane:
We make a right turn to the north and continue the climb towards cruising alt. If you follow this highway (E19), for some 30 km’s, you are at my place:
The city of Vilvoorde, close to Brussels:
Grimbergen airport, used for leisure flights as you can see:
And I always break my neck by looking backwards for a last view of BRU:
Next up is the city of Antwerpen and the Schelde river:
And it’s port:
The nuclear power plant of Doel:
Some 10 minutes after takeoff the clouds thicken and we overfly - what I believe - is AMS airspace. The shape of the clouds make me think that indeed the weather down there is or was not the best:
Next on the blower are the folks from up front who advise us of a 1h05 flight time in good flying conditions and promise us nice sunshine in the Copenhagen area. Sounds good to me!
Being in a ‘feelgood mood’ I decide to let myself go in some BOB. Waiter, the menu please
A chocolate muffin and a 33cl can of cold Ice Tea do fine by me. And pretty good value for € 4. Sorry 717flyer, I was too lazy to conduct your trademarked muffin test. I can just say it was good, without being outstanding
‘b.cool’... I am
Having poured down quite some fluids for the last hour, my bladder starts acting up and forces me a way into the ‘small room’ (sorry Jonas, no pics). This is what the cabin looks like when I get back. Note the different colours of the seat covers.
The peasant’s must sit with the red ones, the upper class get the light blue ones. I don’t mind having the red and being a peasant
The rubbish is cleared and not long thereafter the throttles are pushed forward and we descend towards Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport. The weather is quite good but a little hazy:
Pictured here is the seaport town of Køge, in the vicinity of CPH:
The last part of the descent is overseas, obviously over the Bay of Køge:
Landing is on the 3600m runway 4L with some good views to celebrate my arrival here:
We taxi on and on. The distinctive blue finger gates of CPH are a true feast for the eye... not! I just think they’re plain ugly.
Besides these ugly buggers, I really have nothing negative to say on CPH, I simply love this airport
We dock into an A gate at the very end and I’m greeted by an alien-like reflection of our plane in the terminal window:
I bid the crew farewell - apparently there is a crew change here since they all get their rollerboards and coats out - and head my way into the terminal. But not before asking the captain for a quick pic of his office. He says he’s sorry for all the paperwork in the way but I say that I don’t mind, that’s sure no Labour Day for you. He agrees with that and wishes me a nice stay:
Bye for now! On a positive note I must say that the blue colour of the finger matches the blue sky very well as you can see:
After doing what all passengers do - besides visiting the loo upon arrival - and that is switching on the phone, I get a text message from user makeree, who decided as well to spend his Labour Day the same way as I do: not working but enjoying the good things in life. As he’s entitled to use the SAS lounge, he has kindly offered to come over to CPH and guest me in. And that’s warmly welcomed!
The text message reads: ‘I’m the SAS lounge opposite gate C10’. Welcome to CPH.’
Well, welcome to you too, but first things first. I make a leisurely way over there - it is quite a distance - and take my time to absorb the beauty inside and outside:
AF decided to dispatch the retrojet here today:
The terminal is quite busy:
FIDS. The return flight to BRU on SAS is listed but not ‘gated’ yet (if that’s a word...):
A place like home - as they say - for the next hours or so:
So inside I go where I meet up with makeree. We talk aviation and other stuff and do our inner selves good with all the offerings that are presented. For excellent pics and a more detailed descriptions of this lounge, I gladly refer to LH4116’s most recent report (he visited the lounge the same day as I did it seems but at a later time): SAS, Lounges & Lovely Bavaria: ARN-CPH-MUC (pics) (by LH4116 May 4 2012 in Trip Reports).
After some 2 hours it is time for our ways to part again. Thank you makeree for the excellent company and of course for the lounge invitation, I had great fun and will see you most likely in BER in a few weeks?
With about half an hour to spare, I quickly make my way to one of the B gates. It turns out that the flight to BRU has once again been assigned B5 today. Of all the times I have been to CPH - not that much actually - this very flight to BRU has been assigned this very same gate every time:
CPH is really a T-tail haven. Seeing this one actually reminds me of that Roxette song ‘The Look’ (mind the registration):
Cause heaven's got a number
When she's spinning me around
Kissing is a color
Her loving is a wild dog
She's got the look’
or if you will Prince’s ‘Sexy M F’:
I bet that if you threw that ass into the air it would turn into sunshine’
I wonder if it’s still so windy over there?
A glance over at the A terminal reveals this Estonian Jungle Jet. I decide to have another look - I’m in a blue theme anyway today so this one fits in perfectly. Besides, the photo from this morning was taken last minute and not of the usual quality
And another one from up close reveals a rather young cockpit crew:
Yes, CPH allright! Pictured this way it sort of has a look of a well fortified prison:
Next door - gate - to the Estonian plane sees this interesting visitor from the Czech Republic operating a charter to KEF:
After this small intermezzo, boarding time for my flight is imminent. I make my way over to the B gates area:
The boarding area features a sign that says ‘photography prohibited’ but I do manage to secretly take this one, OY-KBE today to BRU:
And this one:
CPH to BRU
Photo © Daniel Wojdylo
The boarding pass is scanned and my fellow pax - quite a lot of them today - and me make our way to our seat. The captain has turned the wheel in order for me to fully appreciate the tail logo on our chariot:
And this is ‘really good to know’ to put it in Markus’s words
I take my seat on what I believe is the best seat in Y in this plane: good legroom ans seating comfort and no row on the other side. No 3 for me on this flight, the aisle is in last instance taken by a Russki style man who keeps on messing with his cellphone during the whole flight even. I suspect him of having his phone on during the flight but I don’t know for sure...
The cabin during boarding: the flight is nearly sold out, there are just a few empty spots here and there:
A look out of the window reveals another company A321:
Suddenly there’s the familiar ‘boarding complete’ announcement. So here I sit in my seat and nothing happens for the next 10 mins. Then the captain comes on informing us of a problem with a ‘certain’ compartment which has to be checked prior to departure but they apparently don’t have a key to open it. A technician is called in to solve the problem and we should be on our way within the next 20 mins or so. End of message.
Some 20 mins later, the captain again, saying that the compartment has been opened and it was empty and we are good to go! Good! Some ‘phews’ are heard and not long thereafter we push back and make a way to the 3300m runway 4R.
And I once again get a salutation from the same folks as this morning! Thanks a many!
Yes, it is four-right-allright:
A look onto the ceiling sees the overhead screens deployed and yet better: the nose cam is turned on.
This leaves me with a difficult choice: looking outside or looking at the screen. Luckily I don’t have to wait too long to decide and turn my head direction window because the views on takeoff are great. I let the photos do the talking here:
You know this one, don’t you?
We make a right hand turn and this visualizes the airport very well:
One last shot of the Øresund disappearing in the water:
Over the Bay of Køge once again, but now on the other side:
And over the seaport city of Køge once again as well:
We steadily climb into cruise mode and when the seatbelt sign extinguishes, the crew gets up to do their duties.
Meanwhile, I pop in my headphones and listen to some mellow and less mellow tunes. Oh, here’s the contents of the seat pocket, which for many of you probably features nothing new or exciting:
A young female crew member passes by and asks me politely if I would like anything. Having eaten enough in the lounge I decide to have some of that ‘recently introduced free tea’, accompanied with some extra sugar and a slice of lemon. The sesame bar is from the BYO (Bring Your Own), I love that stuff!
Occasionally, I have a look at the screen to learn our whereabouts:
After some 1h10 of air time, the descent into BRU is initiated. We overfly my house, I wave but nobody waves back unfortunately The arrival into BRU’s 3211m runway 25L involves some twists and turns and enables me to enjoy some views of the homeland’s countryside:
Unfortunately it’s somewhat cloudy and hazy...
But eventually, the debris clears up!
Concrete in sight!
Touchdown is quite smooth, as is the ride to the terminal. We dock into the very first gate at the A-terminal, meaning the walk to bagage claim is shortened quite substantially. It obviously takes quite some time for everyone to deplane, but my neighbour Mr Russki doesn’t mind as he elbows his way to the front - hanging on the phone of course - causing quite some passengers to give him the angry look.
As the last passenger off, I ask for yet another flight deck visit which is granted by the nice and accomodating folks at SAS.
I must say that my booking ordeal resulted in yet another very joyful day out. Destination and equipment wise there was nothing special involved yet I was able to sample two different products on the same route. SN was able to seduce me with the smart looking ‘b.’ branding, the attractive price and the ability to speak my own language on board. The flight was on time, the cabin was clean and BOB prices were acceptable.
With SAS I knew what I was in for as it was not my 1st flight with them. After some flights on their B736’s, I feel this A321 is comfortwise the better choice. Seats are comfy, better than the ultrathin LH ones but not as good as the Recaro’s I found on the SN flight of today. Extra bonus points go for the re-introduced free coffee/tea. Overall, my personal favour goes to SAS but next time I will most probably choose the carrier who offers me the best price and timing for my needs, be that SAS or SN.
Thanks for reading and do leave a comment, they are very much appreciated