Sunday September 9th 2012
It's a quiet Sunday morning when I arrive at the familiar turfs of T5
Departures. My mother was kind enough to give me a ride to Västerås Central Station, from where I took the usual Swebus to Arlanda. The experience can with three words best be summarised as cheap, comfy and punctuate.
Check-In & Security at Arlanda
During the previous afternoon I finally had the pleasure of using SAS’s mobile website for check-in. By typing in my frequent flyer number, the booking appeared and I was able to select my desired seats for both flights. A boarding pass was instantly issued to my iPhone, and saved locally as a JPEG file.
With the BP
lying nicely in the palm of my hand, I proceeded straight to the T5
south security area. Located just a stone throw away, I not only saved myself seven grams of paper stock, a pointless conversation with the check-in lady at the Business/Star Gold-counter, but also 15 minutes of walking (to the SAS Concourse and backtracking to the lounge). After all I have no desire in collecting five different copies of the same boarding pass, to hang on my wall.
Behold, my mobile boarding pass!
The screening was a breeze, and soon I headed straight for the lounge.
Ethiopian's B757 which I'm hoping to catch early next year,
the heavily delayed UA flight to EWR, and SAS daily flight to Chicago lifting off.
SAS Scandinavian Lounge Arlanda
At the reception I was welcomed inside by the very same old lady that was there last time.
My stomach was running on fumes this morning as I opted to sleep over breakfast, so instantly I hit the "buffet". Being past 10am breakfast had since long been cleared, and the food on offer was not what you'd call substantial. Dry cured ham, feta cheese, lettuce, red onions and olives was all they had to offer.
A plate of salad and bread would be my "brunch" today.
Half way through savouring my culinary delights, I found out on Facebook that fellow a.netter Brendan (Adamspotter
) was also at Arlanda. Nobody can turn down a sporadic a.netters meet, so I quickly grabbed my stuff and headed to O'Leary’s at Gate 11, where Brendan was already seated.
Brendan and I spent a grand total of 35 minutes talking about all kinds of aviation related stuff +more. At 11.55am both Brendan's Norwegian flight to HEL
, and my SAS flight to CPH
were scheduled to board, and as that time came I bid Brendan goodbye, and left for my gate. It was nice meeting you, hope to see you again soon!
SK1421 Stockholm Arlanda – Copenhagen Kastrup
Flight: SK1421 ARN-CPH
Duration: 1h 10m
Date: September 9th 2012
Seat & Class: 28F Economy Class
Aircraft & Reg: Boeing 737-883 Winglets, LN-RGA
The factory fresh LN-RGA will be flying me today.
Boarding for SK1421 was already at full swing from Gate 1. As always on SAS they didn't bother with the priority call, and everyone was boarded all at once, clogging up the jetway.
Some huffing and puffing later, I found myself at my window seat on row 28.
Legroom shot "to give an idea of the pitch".
Mind you, that if your pant size is over 34 you're in for a nasty shock.
Doors soon closed, and the usual pre-departure foreplay took place. This was followed by a taxi to Runway 01L/19R, before shooting up into the sky.
"Wheels-Up!" @ 12.27.
Climbout over Stockholm Suburbia.
Before overflying some picturesque (not) lake lands on our way to cruising altitude.
Reaching cruise of 39 000 feet @ 12.43.
Moments after reaching cruise, the crew came around with the Cloud Shop trolley. As usual, I opted for some freebie coffee & water, which SAS are so proud to serve.
Notice the cup? It's beautiful isn't it! In fact it's the winning entry of the 2012 Design a Cup contest. The name of the masterpiece is "Go To Gate" by designer Frida Axell. Proud winner of 100 000 EuroBonus extra points.
The reminder of this short flight was uneventful. I flicked through the September issue of Scanorama while listening to some tunes on my iPhone. A leg stretcher was made, without visiting the lavatorial facilities.
The flight today was roughly half full.
Soon we descend over the murky waters of Öresund.
Coming in short on finals at Kastrup.
Touchdown was smooth, and we quickly taxi to our gate at the B-Pier. On our way, I notice two of SAS MD
-87's (SE-DIP & OY-KHU) parked at gates, ready to take passengers to new destinations. Allegedly these planes should've been retired in late August, but interestingly still here and very much alive. I really hope they'll stick around for a while more!
We park next to an old friend of Petteri and Jani, OH-BLP.
And the MD
-82 behind, is my old friend LN
, which flew me on my legendary ZRH
in Business Class, earlier this year.
After a civilised de-boarding, I find myself in the packed terminal of Kastrup. I navigate through the endless crowds and the duty-free stores (which act more as bottlenecks to the flow of people) to the lounge.
SAS Scandinavian Lounge Kastrup
I soon make my way inside the inner sanctum of air travel, a place where all pains of flying SAS vanish into thin air,
The warm and welcoming interior of the lounge.
I hit the buffet, and to my horror the food turns out to be the same as in ARN
. Just leaves, and dry-cured bacon. Some leftover salmon paté was found in the corner, which I decide to settle for along with some leaves. But guess what, tiny pieces of thinly sliced pork belly are hidden between those leaves as well. Oh dear, I'm suffering from pork fat overload. Any more lard-o in my system and I'll be looking for a medical facility.
Still feeling hungry in need for carbs, I settle for some dark rye bread and cup noodles, or "made to order asian food". Nonetheless, the cup noodles did the trick well.
Feeling full, I moved my stuff over to the small private room in the "annex", where digestifs were consumed.
While the chairs weren't much comfy, I did enjoy the privacy and tranquility.
Coffee and Baileys, what else?
After 3 glasses of Baileys came the usual sleepiness, and one hour of light sleep was on the agenda. Waking up feeling slightly refreshed, I moved my stuff over to the "relaxing corner" where more alcoholic beverage was to be consumed.
Some Gin & Tonic, what else?
At 16.30 I dragged myself over to gate C3
, a bus gate located smack in the middle of the shopping area.
SK757 Copenhagen Kastrup – Gdansk Lech Walesa
Flight: SK757 CPH-GDN
Duration: 0h 55m
Date: September 9th 2012
Seat & Class: 21A Economy Class
Aircraft & Reg: Canadair Regional Jet 900, OY-KFI
I can see why FlyingFinn76
hates bus gates so much, as after all BP
's had been scanned we were allowed to a holding pin downstairs where we waited for a little while longer before being crammed into the bus. A short ride later, we pulled up by the expected CRJ-900. The same plane that took me to Munich 4 months earlier.
My old friend OY-KFI will be doing the honours today.
Apron certainly looks deserted on a sunday like this.
I boarded the plane as the last passenger. By the looks of it, the flight appears to be nearly full in both Economy Extra, and Economy which indicates that SAS are making some money on this route. The seat next to me remained empty.
Legroom was exactly the same as in the front rows, in other words good.
The door was soon shut, and the crew performed the usual "yada yada", as we taxied towards the runway. A light takeoff was then performed.
Taxiing to the runway.
"Wheels-Up!" @ 17.18.
Climbout over rural Zealand.
Before re-entering Swedish airspace over Öresund.
Lovely "SAS-let", as we climb over Scania.
The flight was short, in fact short so that BOB could not even be performed, which also meant no freebie coffee. Instead we were offered the choice of OJ or water, which had me thrilled. I don't recall getting free OJ on SAS for years!
The crew were happy to serve me both drinks!
The flight was indeed short, and instantly after reaching cruise the nose tipped down again. I suppose for lightly loaded short hops like this, it's the most efficient way to go according to the FMS Computer. Meanwhile the cabin crew came around to collect trash.
Reaching cruise, right before descending again.
Making landfall over the northern coastline of Poland.
Passing some rural landscape as we make our final approach.
Touchdown @ 17.53, after just 35 minutes in the air.
Following an incredibly hard breaking after touchdown, we taxied towards a stand near the new terminal. A bus was waiting to take us to the arrivals hall, located in the adjacent building. With nothing but my Lowepro backpack as hand luggage, I proceeded straight for the exit.
Eighteen Hours In Gdansk
To get into town, I opted for the cheapest mean of transport - the local bus. Sadly however, there was no relay or 7Eleven where I could purchase tickets, so cash withdrawal had to be done.
Sadly though my 50 Zloty bill was too large to be accepted in the ticket machine, and the driver on the bus refused to change it. Luckily however, a swedish girl who was on my flight was kind enough to give me some pennies. We ended up chatting throughout the 35 minute ride.
Turns out she was attending medical school in Gdansk, and when I asked why here of all places, she replied saying that the requirements for being accepted were much lower. The downside of course is that all tuition fees had to be paid out of your own pocket.
Her apartment happened to be on the same street as my hotel, and she was more than happy to show me the way.
The Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk
I arrived at my hotel just after half past seven. At check-in I was greeted welcome by a friendly lady. As the formalities were taken care of, I pleasantly surprised to have received an upgrade to a Business Class room. It was the room only, which meant no free breakfast or pay movies.
The room was located on the 4th floor on the main facade, offering a prime view of the main street below.
The room was spacious, bright and clean.
The bathroom was stylishly decorated, with the earthy tones dominating here as well.
In addition to the standard In-room amenities,
a welcome arrangement of fresh fruit and bottled water had been placed on the table.
A Nespresso machine was available as well. Standard in Business Class Rooms.
Having unpacked all my belongings in the room, I left the hotel and set out to explore the restaurant offerings of this town. Finding some genuine traditional polish cuisine turned out to be difficult, as quite frankly very few restaurants seemed to offer it.
At the end, I settled for The Trattoria, a restaurant located just a stone throw from my hotel. I was told that the place had traditional polish cuisine, but as it turned out only one of the dishes on the menu was polish, and that sadly didn't suit my taste. So I called it a day and settled for a chicken with creamy blue cheese sauce.
Stuffed and pleased, I headed back to my hotel where I watched some CNN before comfortably falling asleep in my Business Class bed.
Monday September 10th 2012
The morning rays of sunlight hit my face as I woke up from what could best be described as the best night's sleep I've had in years. Those beds are REALLY comfortable. At 8.30am I was showered and dressed. An extra hour was spent drinking Nespresso, watching CNN and enjoying the beautiful weather outside. The welcome fruit came in handy as breakfast.
Enjoying a light breakfast by the window.
The view from my room. Suppose it summarises what there is to see in town.
At 9.30am, I decided to get some more breakfast, so I headed across the street to a nice café where I had the best banana pancakes I've eaten in years. By the time I got back to my hotel, the cleaning lady was already busy tidying up the room. I figured I'd better get going then, so I quickly got my stuff from the closet and dropped off the keycard at the reception.
It was now 11am, well time for me to catch the bus to the airport. A quick 30 minute ride later, I arrived at the fresh new terminal at Lech Walesa airport.
The departure hall looks quite stunning.
Check-In & Security at Lech Walesa Airport
For some reason, I was unable to check-in online the previous night, so this meant another pointless conversation with a man at the Business/Star Gold-counter.
The male SAS agent (yes they have their own staff here) manning it was by no means friendly, and my request for window seats resulted in me getting perhaps the worst ones on the plane. And the bugger refused to change them. To me that was nonsense since my sequence numbers were low, and clearly there must be other window seats available.
I proceeded to security which was a breeze, and soon I found myself in the sterile airside part of the terminal.
Sterile but thankfully not LCC'ish.
Executive Lounge at Gdansk Lech Walesa
The lounge was your typical 3rd party affair.
Overview of the lounge.
The lounge seating consisted mostly of big leather armchairs, comfortable enough for a short visit. The only edible items on offer were various of sweets, yes lots and lots of them, along with a coffee machine and some bottled beer and coke.
I settled for a weak café latte and a Kit Kat
The lounge was quite frankly boring, and since I felt more like having some exercise I headed out to the terminal to wander about the shops. Surprisingly the prices despite being at an airport were very cheap, and I actually came close to purchasing a Samsonite trolley bag, very reasonably priced at €100. At the end, I opted not to purchase it since I still have my Tokyo trip coming up a week later, and I would be better of spending those money on travel related expenses. Soon, I headed over to Gate 18 where my flight would board.
SK4790 Gdansk Lech Walesa – Oslo Gardemoen
Flight: SK4790 GDN-OSL
Duration: 1h 30m
Date: September 10th 2012
Seat & Class: 10A Economy Class
Aircraft & Reg: Boeing 737-683, LN-RPJ
Boarding was 30 minutes late due to a late incoming aircraft. As it turns out, the scheduled B737-700 had gone tech, and a vanilla -600 acted as last minute replacement. Boarding was called in the usual SAS fashion, and everyone was crammed inside the jetway before being released to the apron from where we would board the plane via air stairs.
Boarding the plane on a beautiful sunny day.
Once onboard a jolly Norwegian SAS granny greeted me at the door, offering newspapers to which I declined. See this is the type proactive senior SAS crews that I love, but sadly they’ve become much more rare these days. I soon found my seat 10A located in front of the exit row, meaning not only the view obstructed by the wing, but also no recline.
Legroom was fairly tight on these planes.
Parked by another old friend of mine, SP-LIL. The football jet that flew me to WAW.
Very soon the door was shut, and the usual pre-departure foreplay took place. This was followed by a very short taxi to the runway before gently taking to the skies.
”Wheels Up!” @ 14.08.
Climbing out over the city of Gdansk.
The seatbelt sign was turned off shortly after crossing the coastline, and immediately the jolly crew came around with the Cloud Shop trolley. As usual, I opted for a freebie coffee which was served with a smile.
Coffee along with a Snickers brought from the lounge.
Cruising nicely at 40 000 feet.
The flight passed by very uneventfully. I listened to some music through my excellent Bose® In-Ear® headphones, while flicking through the month’s issue of Scanorama. Very soon, our Swedish captain came over the PA announcing our descent into Oslo Gardemoen Airport.
Starting our descent over the western parts of Sweden.
Touchdown @ 15.30, with some nice condensation forming on the wing.
Parking up next to the competition.
I quickly grabbed my stuff from the overhead, and bid the friendly crew goodbye as I made my way into the terminal. The transfer process was by no means smooth, since we arrived at a domestic gate I was forced to take a de-tour along the whole international wing of the terminal and pass an additional security check, before I could access the regular airside area.
SAS Scandinavian Lounge Gardemoen
The lounge was easy to find, and I was promptly welcomed inside by a friendly young gentleman manning the desk. I requested to make a seat change which he kindly offered to help me with. Sadly however, since the flight was packed 24A was the only window seat remaining. Oh well at least better than 26A which sits right in-front of the galley.
Overview of the lounge.
The lounge was slightly smaller than the ARN
Scandinavian Lounge, but it was brighter, cosier, and in much better condition. As I started to feel a bit hungry, I grabbed a seat by one of the marble tables in the food section. The food offerings today were sadly the same as in ARN
, i.e dry cured ham with various types of leaves. Luckily some shrimps and aioli was available as well, along with freshly baked warm bread.
My light late lunch for today. I really like the trays!
Due to the delay, and long walk during transfer my time in the lounge was fairly short at just 40 minutes. I luckily able to still my hunger with the food, and enjoy a few glasses of Bailey’s before running off to Gate 38 where my flight to Stockholm would depart from.
SK890 Oslo Gardemoen – Stockholm Arlanda
Flight: SK890 OSL-ARN
Duration: 1h 00m
Date: September 10th 2012
Seat & Class: 24A Economy Class
Aircraft & Reg: McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (DC-9-82), LN-ROT
Operating my flight today is yet another old friend (jesus this registration game can be annoying sometimes) LN
, the plane that flew me all the way down to southern Turkey last summer. As expected, the gate was packed for this sold out flight, mostly with business travellers and leisure pax connecting from Iceland. The usual Scandinavian boarding scene took place, and everyone was boarded all at once. Luckily with the high amount of seasoned travellers, boarding process was very smooth.
At the door, I was greeted by a young hot blonde swedish girl, with a very expensive looking pair of Botox® lips. I soon found my seat 24A, one of my favourites on the MD
Legroom was good, or well ”Standard” as Eric would say.
The usual pre-departure routines soon took place after the doors had been closed. But strangely the familiar ”whoop-whoop” didn’t sound over the PA as it usually does on the MD
’s during engine start. Performing the safety demo was the hot blondie, which had practically every man in the cabin, including myself focusing closely on the safety details... Allegedly. The show was soon over, and before we knew it our MD
was rocketing up into the grey sky.
”Wheels-Up!” @ 17.18, just look at that climb!
Climbing nearly towards our cruising altitude.
The cabin crew soon rolled out the Cloud Shop trolley, and you guessed it, I settled for the free stuff. The blonde girl was sadly serving Economy Extra on this flight, which makes pretty big sense to me.
For a change I opted for tea.
The flight was uneventful, just like any other. Some more music was listened to on my iPhone, and, before I knew it we were already on descent. During our descent we passed by Uppsala F16 Airforce Base, before coming in to Arlanda from the north. Touchdown was smooth, and the aircraft parked at the notorious F pier at Arlanda. Disembarking the aircraft was quick and orderly. I did however have to listen to some overly jolly Swedish business types.
I was quickly in the F-Pier, where I spent some extra time airside since my Swebus to Västerås wasn’t due to depart in 90 minutes.
Leaving my lovely chariot at the gate.
Some people believe that some day, one of those suitcase shaped couch pillows will explode into a big fireball.
Arlanda is very quiet at this hour, and soon I found myself on the Swebus back home to Västerås. Being extra productive on the ride, I began writing this report on my iPhone.
As always, SAS managed to impress this time. The crews were friendly and all aircraft except the B736 were clean. There’s really not much more to say about them, since I’ve covered the airline so many times in the past, and those experiences have been pretty much the same.
As for The Radisson Blu Gdansk, I was very pleased by the overall feeling of cleanliness, minimalism, and comfort.
For the future I will try and remain loyal to The Carlson | Rezidor Hotels Group with their consistently high standard, reasonable rates, and generous loyalty programme.
Feel free to have a look at my previous reports. The reports are categorised chronologically based on their year/date of publication.
(by Dec 31 1969 in Trip Reports)
LOT Embraer E-175, ARN–WAW In Economy (pics) (by LH4116 Aug 26 2012 in Trip Reports)
Flying Intercontinental On A Beech + More, On TAP (by LH4116 Jul 18 2012 in Trip Reports)
SAS, Lounges & Lovely Bavaria: ARN-CPH-MUC (pics) (by LH4116 May 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
Mother Fokker! And The A.net Meet (pics) (by LH4116 Apr 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
SAS, Lounges, MD-87 & The Brussels Disaster (pics) (by LH4116 Mar 15 2012 in Trip Reports)
Ich Bin Ein Berliner & SAS: B736/MD-82, Y (pics) (by LH4116 Feb 24 2012 in Trip Reports)
Proper Short Haul – Lufthansa CPH-FRA-CPH Y (pics) (by LH4116 Feb 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
SAS At Their Very Finest! ZRH-ARN, Business (pics) (by lh4116 Feb 2 2012 in Trip Reports)
Swiss Flatbed Business Class: PVG-ZRH +More (pics) (by LH4116 Jan 23 2012 in Trip Reports)
Proper Long Haul – Swiss Made: ARN-PVG Y (pics) (by LH4116 Jan 10 2012 in Trip Reports)
LH Italia, You Won’t Be Missed! ARN-MXP C (pics) (by LH4116 Oct 31 2011 in Trip Reports)
Parisian City Break à La Air France. ARN-CDG Y Rt (by LH4116 Aug 27 2011 in Trip Reports)
Long, Sleek And Still Blue. Finnair B757! (pics) (by LH4116 Aug 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
Off To Norway, On A Classic. ARN-BGO SAS Y (pics) (by LH4116 Jul 30 2011 in Trip Reports)
”Flying It Fake” On SAS, ARN-DLM Rt In ”C” (pics) (by LH4116 Jul 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
Norwegian ARN-GOT Inaugural Flights, Feb 17 (pics) (by LH4116 Feb 25 2011 in Trip Reports)
TAP Portugal, And The Moroccan Travesty (pics) (by LH4116 Jul 15 2010 in Trip Reports)
Off To The Northern Skies, On SAS And X2000 (pics) (by LH4116 May 9 2010 in Trip Reports)
KLM Y, ARN-AMS R/t + Wonderful Holland (pics) (by LH4116 Oct 30 2009 in Trip Reports)
Trip Report: Train to Gothenburg, 1st Class (pics) (by LH4116 Jul 10 2009 in Non Aviation)
I Give You, SAS At Its Very Best! (pics) (by LH4116 Apr 17 2009 in Trip Reports)
Comments are much appreciated!