ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:56 am

Early this month, I took a trip to one of my most wanted country to visit, and a very popular tourist destination these few years, Iceland. During the trip, I also dropped by London, Stockholm and Oslo. This trip was flown on various airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Icelandair, SAS and Qatar Airways, both in Business and Economy Classes.

Starting with the 1st sector, I flew up to London via SQ Business Class. Check-in at the Business Class counters were empty as it was the non-peak hours during my flight departure.

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Proceeded to the Silver Kris Lounge, which was rather empty a this time of the day.

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Food and beverages in the lounge. Nothing exciting compared to many other airlines' hub lounges.

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My 'snack' before flight.

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Soon it was time to head to the gate.

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03 August 2019
Singapore Airlines
SQ 318
Singapore (SIN) - London Heathrow (LHR)
B777-300ER
9V-SWQ
Business Class
Flight Time: 13H06M



Flight would be operated by SQ's long-haul workhorse, B777-300ER.

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Boarding has commenced at the gate and we proceeded to board immediately. Newspapers and magazines available at the door.

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Boarded via Door 1 and passed the intimate 4-seater First Class cabin.

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Into the forward Business Class cabin.

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Despite the rather full Business Cabin, I was able to score the bulkhead seat at 11K, which offers nearly as much space as the First Class seat just behind the curtain! Many of you would have already been very familiar with this Long-haul Business Class seat fitted on all B777-300ERs and most A350s.

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View from my seat.

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13hrs to London, and a champagne to start the long-haul.

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Hot towels distributed. I am pretty sure the hot towel has shrunk in size.

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Inflight literature and menu booklet.

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Amenities provided and a selection of magazines for the flight.

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Noise-cancelling headphones

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Safety video played.

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As we started out pushback.

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Taxied towards Rwy20C for southerly departure.

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And here we go! A very powerful takeoff assisted by the GE engines as we began our 13hrs trek across continents.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-sY_w9zTlw

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Powering away from Changi

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As this was a day flight, most of the flight would be spent on the IFE. Starting with the first mindless local comedy. Lots of room to stretch at 11K.

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For the post takeoff drink, I requested for a cappuccino.

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This was quickly followed by the famed satay service.

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View of the 12-seater forward Business cabin, which is the Jcl cabin to be in on the B773ER.

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Visit to the lavatory, which was stocked with the usual amenities. However, the linen towels were not stocked since halfway through the flight. Not sure if overlooked by the crew or SQ uplifted fewer linen towels now.

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Lunch service started nearly 2hrs into the flight, by which time we were over the Nicobar Islands. It was also starting to get pretty bumpy.

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I had also started on my second movie, another local mandarin comedy.

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Lunch, midflight snacks and dinner would be served on this flight.

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The menu offered for the LHR-SIN SQ319 sector for those interested.

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As usual, a very extensive beverage list.

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Table set up for lunch, starting with the appetiser and bakery selection.

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Duck liver terrine and smoked duck breast was alright.

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For main, I had Booked-the-Cook the Grilled Chilean Seabass on New England style clam and mussel chowder, served with ciabatta crouton. Seabass was tender but the chowder tasted and smelled very fishy compared to the last time I had it. And as I was typing this, I just realised that the ciabatta crouton was missing too!

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My friend has the Gosht Biryani from the inflight menu, which was pretty good.

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Coconut ice-cream was light and refreshing.

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Port to go with dessert and cheese.

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Cheeses and tropical fruits. Not a fan of the cheese selection as they were too strong-tasting.

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Ending with an earl grey and pralines. Here was when I thought that the crew had forget to give out the post-meal hot towels, until we asked the crew and they confirmed that the post-meal hot towel service has been withdrawn, and gave a lame reason justifying that it was not due to cost-cutting... roll-eyes.... Come on SQ, even the most basic full-service airlines still provide this basic frill in their Business Classes.

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By the time lunch service was completed, we were already over India.

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Cabin view after lunch. Time to make my bed!

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On to the 3rd movie.

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In the middle of the movie, a 'surprise' birthday cake was presented by the cabin crew. Yes, my friend pre-ordered the cake for me as it was nearing my birthday, but for some unexplainable reason, SQ reflected the birthday cake on my booking under Special Meal when I viewed my flight reservation online. Duh... so much for a surprise... but I still appreciated the effort the crew went through for the wonderful presentation!

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Somewhere over the drier parts of Earth.

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Having some midflight 'delectables'. Still finding it a corny term.

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Nice mountain views down below while I started on the 4th movie.

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Dinner service started about 2hrs before arrival, starting with a tasty marinated scallops salad.

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For the main, another Book-the-cook meal for me. I pre-ordered the Seared Nut-Crusted Veal Fillet, which was well-prepared though not too memorable.

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My friend also booked the cook the Singapore Chicken Rice, which tasted authentically like the local fare.

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Ending with a simple and light cherry cake.

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A latte double-shot to perk myself up before arrival.

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We were soon nearing our destination.

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Great views of London city during the approach into Heathrow.

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Landing on Heathrow Rwy27R ahead of schedule.

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View the full video of the approach and landing here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2teTDOBsFg


A lengthy taxi to the Queen's Terminal.

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Last look at 11K and disembarked.

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My thoughts on the flight. It was a pretty comfortable way to 'endure' the 13hrs trek across continents in SQ's Business Class. Service wise, it was the normal SQ good service, but not exceptional above other flights. Catering was a hit and miss, depending on the choices. However, for the frequent SQ flyers, the tiny cost-cutting measures may be somewhat evident (eg. downsized towel may not be, but the sudden disappearance of post-meal hot towels are so glaring, unlike what SQ claimed its trials and survey shows). However, SQ still remains one of the better airlines along with the competition (I dare not say SQ is the best) out there in the Business Class experience.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:58 am

Surprisingly, with the introduction of automated immigration clearance for certain nationals (me included) and very fast delivery of baggage, clearance through Heathrow was a breeze! Well up there with Changi efficiency-wise, though this might not be a frequent occurrence.

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Stayed at Shepherds Bush area for my 3 nights in London.

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Always start your day in London with a hearty English Breakfast!

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Visited Camden Market on the Sunday morning.

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Exploring Camden Market

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2 of the most popular street foods at Camden market.

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Shopping street in Oxford.

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Dinner at the very popular Goldmine Chinese restaurant at Bayswater.

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Another tasty start to the day.

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Trip to Kew Gardens

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Exploring Kew Gardens

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Burger & Lobster feast

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Touristy at the Thames

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Another Goldmine dinner!

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Cod and Chips at Westfield food court.

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Pinkberry!

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
Ryanair01
Posts: 432
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:57 am

Nice report, thank you for sharing
 
N1611B
Posts: 170
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:23 am

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:11 pm

Outstanding report. Really enjoyed it.
 
767747
Posts: 2210
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:26 pm

Great photos and start to your trip so far. London looks beautiful, and it looks like you had a great flight with SQ as well too from SIN. Looking forward to the rest of the report!
I love to fly!
 
bluefrog
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:22 am

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:02 pm

good trip report love the photos as well looking forward to the rest of your trip ,just 2 things about the food ,on the flight didn't i see your "crouton "served with the foie gras ?instead of being put on your seabass ?2nd no" english brekfast" without bacon isn't an english brekfast !! lol
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:13 pm

bluefrog wrote:
on the flight didn't i see your "crouton "served with the foie gras ?instead of being put on your seabass ?


Nope, that was the lavosh and garlic bread from the bread basket.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:18 pm

Onwards to the 'main course' of the trip, which is Iceland! Headed back to Heathrow Terminal 2 for the evening flight up to Reykjavik. Terminal 2 is the dedicated Star Alliance terminal, with a few other non-alliance airlines using the terminal as well. Luckily, Icelandair is not affiliated with Star Alliance, as the Economy check-in queues for the common Star Alliance self-check-in machines were snaking long! Icelandair has its own dedicated check-in desks at the center of the terminal.

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Check in was fast and boarding pass issued. Surprisingly there were no queues even though the flight was totally full. This flight would be on Icelandair's economy class, as my bid-upgrade failed to go through (Saga Class was totally full too!).

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Even though the check-in area was crowded with the summer holiday crowds, security was painless and we were through into the departure hall in no time. As expected, it was pretty busy inside.

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Headed to the Plaza Premium Lounge to grab a light dinner. Being the only 3rd-party lounge in Terminal 2, it was busy and overcrowded, with most seats taken. At least there were some hot food at the buffet, though it was very average. A far cry from the peace and calm when I visited a couple of years back when it was just opened.

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Left the lounge early and headed to the gate, which would be at the satellite terminal and requiring a lengthy walk. The usual Star Alliance aircraft and our B757 could be spotted at the satellite terminal.

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Some plane spotting of the long-haul aircraft of the Star Alliance airlines.

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Our B757-200 being prepared for the flight, with a BA Whale taxiing past. It has been a long, long while since I have flown on a B757. Seldom do we see this aircraft type in South-east Asia as well.

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06 August 2019
Icelandair
FI 455
London Heathrow (LHR) - Keflavik Reykjavik (KEF)
B757-200
TF-FIP
Economy Class
Flight Time: 2H31M



Boarding commenced rather early.

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"Snaefell" is the name of our aircraft.

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Economy on the B757 is in a 3-3 configuration, with the first few rows designated as extra-legroom seats. All of the leather-cladded seats are fitted with individual IFE touchscreen monitors.

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Interesting headrest designs explaining different Icelandic terms.

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Boarding in progress. It was a totally full flight.

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Legroom was very decent.

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The reading materials.

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The airsick bag is certainly a collectible!

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Icelandair's network. Reykjavik is the hub between North America and Europe, which Icelandair leveraging on this hub for their network strategy flying pax between both continents.

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Pillows and blankets are available upon request. I got myself a wooly and comfortable blanket.

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View out the window with the last bags being loaded up.

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Doors were closed ahead of schedule and safety video was played.

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The IFE system was activated after the safety video was shown. Icelandair operates as a hybrid-carrier, with certain frills such as blankets, IFE and non-alcoholic drinks offered free-of-charge, but meals, luggage and earphones would have to be paid for separately. So bring your own headphones when flying in economy.

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Pushback

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPhP8_pN8VA

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Despite it being a short distance from the departure runway, the taxi was lengthy due to the queue of departure aircraft. Nothing unexpected at Heathrow.

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Took the time to browse through the IFE system. Though nowhere near the best out there, it was a pretty decent system for the length of flights which FI flies. There was a selection of movies, including a few new releases, short features, music albums, obligatory flight map and more. The screen is of very good resolution as well, with a USB port beside the screen. I believe there are power sockets under the seats as well.

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Finally we reached the runway and departed from Rwy27R for the 2.5hrs flight to Iceland. Boy, is the B757 noisy compared to the newer generation of aircraft.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB4nzBoXvF8

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We would be chasing, and catching up with the sunset for the entire flight.

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Taking a look at the buy-onboard menu.

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Service started with the delivery of pre-ordered meal boxes (not many that I saw), followed by a round of beverage service and the BOB service.

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Having had a bite at the lounge, I just opted for a cup of hot tea. Non-alcoholic beverages are free-of-charge.

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Taking at a look at our current location. I then while the flight away on some music albums using my own SQ economy earphones (finally put into good use!).

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Chasing the sunset

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Visit to the retro-looking lavatory. Just the basic amenities inside.

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View of the fully-packed cabin. Water and juices were served again prior to our descent into Iceland. Crew were generally friendly and efficient, no complaints.

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30min to Iceland

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Starting the descent. We had caught up with the sunset and it actually got brighter nearer to Iceland.

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Approach and landing into Keflavik Rwy19 ahead of schedule.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SR7xChPsJY&t=44s

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Parked at the gate. I believed the titleless A320 at the gate beside is an Icelandair-leased aircraft to cover for the grounded B737Max.

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Disembarked.

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It was a very pleasant and comfortable flight experience on Icelandair. Despite the hybrid concept, comfort is not compromised and spacious seats and pillows/blankets provided. A reasonable IFE system and friendly service also made it a very bearable ride for a European economy flight experience.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:22 pm

Got our bags and headed to town via the Flybus airport bus.

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After an hour on the road, we reached out hotel. Would be staying at Skuggi Hotel for the next 4 nights. The room, though not too big, was clean, modern and comfortable.

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The included buffet breakfast was a great way to start the morning prior to our full-day tours.

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After breakfast, we joined the Golden Circle tour, which focuses on sights not too far from Reykjavik. Landscape within Iceland is very varied, and near the Golden Circle region, it was more greenery.

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At a pitstop, bought 2 of Iceland's favourite brands, an Orange Fanta-like soda and rich skyr yoghurt.

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First stop is Thingvellir, technically where Americas and European tectonic plates split.

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Thingvellir sights and scenery

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On to the next stop.

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Quick lunch stop

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Before visiting the Geysir. Little Geysir on the path in.

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With daddy Geysir spouting every 5min further in.

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Icelandic horses are so friendly and cute!

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Last stop of the Golden Circle route is Gullfoss, a beautiful and grand waterfall.

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The falls are really grand.

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Back to Reykjavik, and proceeded to the Blue Lagoon to soak the tiredness away.

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Scenery and landscape around the Blue Lagoon was also enchanting.

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It was an early start the next day as we proceeded to the sights along the Southern Coast.

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Mars-looking landscape and ice-capped glaciers.

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Along Diamond Beach

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The real highlight of the Southern Coast is the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Really a sight to behold and certainly worth a visit!

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Took a tour boat out into the lagoon to get up close to the icebergs.

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You can get a feel and taste of pure glacier ice!

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Grabbed a yummy lobster roll at a roadside stall at the lagoon.

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More glaciers along the road back towards Reykjavik.

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Black sand beach at the town of Vik.

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Scenery along the way

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Last stop of the South Coast tour is Seljalandsfoss. Another beautiful waterfall, which you can walk behind it as well.

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Back to Reykjavik and a hearty dinner at Old Iceland Restaurant, a popular restaurant near my hotel. Prices of meals are not cheap in Iceland, but at least quality is assured at the more popular restaurants. Our starters (soup and salmon)and mains of Icelandic lamb and fish were all very well prepared and tasty.

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Another huge breakfast before setting out to explore the city of Reykjavik.

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The most happening street of Reykjavik, with restaurants, bars, tourist shops and more.

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Exploring the streets of Reykjavik

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Delicious cinnamon pastries from Braud&Co.

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Hallgrimskirkja Church

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Tried the Icelandic hotdog. Tasted pretty normal to me.

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It was the start of Pride Week in Reykjavik.

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Colourful streets

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Cheeky signage outside an eatery.

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Breathe more Icelandic air! They are selling it for S$5 per breath!

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Warming lobster soup and grilled cod at Saegreifinn Restaurant along the harbour.

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Hofdi House, a historical landmark.

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Old vs spanking new

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Along the shore walk.

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Sun Voyager sculpture

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Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre

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Another fresh and tasty Icelandic cuisine at Reykjavik Kitchen. Always order the Icelandic Lamb!

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Wrapping up the day with yummy ice cream from Valdis.

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
krisyyz
Posts: 1293
Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:04 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:20 am

Awesome TR! Thanks for posting. It definitely made me hungry.

KrisYYZ
 
debonair
Posts: 3535
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:54 pm

Actually it is an A319 FI leased in from Getjet to cover the B737MAX8.
 
DDR
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:09 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:21 pm

Great pictures and report! You are a very good photographer.
 
jrfspa320
Posts: 505
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:18 am

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:39 am

Great trip report. Love the pictures of the LHR approach and of London, as im heading there in 3 days!
Iceland looks great, i would like to visit, such a long way from Australia though. Looking forward to the next parts.
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:56 pm

On the day of departure, we headed back to Keflavik via the FlyBus again, arriving at the airport slightly less than 2hrs before our 1105am departure. We were flying Saga Class today, which is the Business Class equivalent at Icelandair. There is a dedicated Saga Premium check-in desk.

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Baggage were priority tagged and boarding pass issued.

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Security was a breeze was there was Fast Track line for Saga Class passengers. Apparently not all airlines offer it.

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Departure hall after security was bright and airy with shops and eateries.

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FIDS

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Tarmac views. It was predominantly narrowbodies at KEF. Wonder when will the ME3 airlines send their widebodies here.

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It was a bit of trek to Icelandair's lounge for premium pax, Saga Lounge. It was located nearer to the C gates at the satellite building than at the main building A gates which my flight would be departing from. Up the escalator to the lounge.

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A grand entrance into the lounge.

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Near the lounge entrance was the buffet area. It was still mainly breakfast food on offer.

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Wide range of beverages available.

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Lounge was pretty empty at this time of the day, with various seating options available. Design was understandably very Scandic.

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A huge boulder in the middle of the lounge.

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Loved the ambience of the lounge.

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There were also coffee and tap water stations throughout the lounge. In Iceland, everyone drinks from the tap as the tap water is pure water from the glaciers!!

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Tarmac view from lounge.

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Grabbed some light bites and a coffee to perk me up.

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After a short stay checking out the lounge, headed back to the gate where boarding had just commenced. It was a bus gate and we were funneled into a claustrophobic corridor waiting to board the bus to the aircraft.

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10 August 2019
Icelandair
FI 308
Reykjavik Keflavik (KEF) - Stockholm Arlanda (ARN)
B757-200
TF-FIR (70 years of Aviation livery)
Saga Class
Flight Time: 2H47M



A short ride on the tarmac and we reached our B757 aircraft, which would be a beautiful special liveried 70 Years of Aviation aircraft!

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Boarded via Door 2. Our beautiful aircraft is named after Europe's biggest glacier, Vatnajokull.

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Turned right into the Saga Class cabin. Saga Class in fitted in a 2-2 configuration with 22 seats. The seats were basic but comfortable recliners. Seats were well-padded and fitted with IFE monitors and power supply. On each seat was placed a pillow and blanket. Kinda like SilkAir's Business Class seats on its A320s. I would recommend not to go for the bulkhead as legroom seemed restricted.

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Cheeky phrases on the headrest and pillows.

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Legroom was decent and there was a footrest (no legrest fitted). Wifi internet was available and was complimentary with unlimited access for Saga Class passengers. In the seat pocket was the usual inflight literature. As there was no one ahead in Row 1, there was no fear of anyone reclining into my face, though recline is only average and not too generous. Saga Class would only be less than half-full on this flight, but Economy seemed packed.

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Looking ahead towards the cockpit. The Purser and a junior crew would be serving us today in Saga Class, and the service by the Purser was wonderful!

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Boarding a wheelchair passenger.

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A bottle of Icelandic glacier water was handed out to each passenger.

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Noise-cancellation headsets were also distributed,

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Icelandair's fleet. The grounding of the Maxs had affected Icelandair's fleet expansion plans.

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Doors closed and safety video played as we started our taxi.

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It was a long taxi to the runway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG1l8-YyqOI

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Tiny aircraft behind us.

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Departure from Rwy01. B757s have really steep an powerful takeoffs!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cppbMoHc-Yk

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Flew over the entire city of Reykjavik. I am gonna miss this peaceful and uncrowded place.

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Landscape of Iceland.

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Starting the IFE system. Decided to watch Alita.

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View of the Saga Class cabin.

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Only a curtain separated Saga and Economy Class.

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A peek into the Economy cabin behind. Sometimes, I do appreciate being able to fly upfront in the premium cabins.

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Before meal service started, food and wine menus were handed out.

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Just a basic wine selection, but I am no wine-connoisseur, so not a concern for me.

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Other beverages and the iconic Icelandair gin library.

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Food selection for Iceland to Europe flights. Advise: If you are flying in Saga Class, please do yourself a favour and pre-order online. The onboard selection only offered cold meals while hot mains would need to be pre-ordered. The purser came round to confirm our pre-ordered hot mains (Saga Lamb and Saga Fish), and said that we had made the best choices.

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A warm dish is offered on the longer Europe-Iceland flights.

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Getting cloudy down below.

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While enjoying my movie.

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Service started with a pack of corn chips nd a beverage of choice. I went for a Riesling.

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This was followed by a hot towel in preparation for lunch.

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I had pre-ordered the Saga Lamb, which is an Icelandic Lamb dish with potatoes, carrot and peas. It was served along with bread and butter and a dessert. I had an apple juice to go with the meal.

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Unrolling the cutlery towel pack, there was salt and pepper.

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Metal cutlery

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Hard roll and dessert

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At first glance, the lamb dish might looked boring and dry, but I swore it was the best red meat I had ever eaten on a plane! When cut, the lamb was still moist and pink in the middle, and tasted very tender with almost melt-in-the-mouth sensation! It was even better than many restaurant-quality lambs!

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Finishing up the meal with a light mango and cream pastry and coffee. Overall a very satisfying meal!

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My friend had pre-ordered the Saga Fish, which was Arctic Char served on Barley stew. It was equally tasty! An exceptional catering by Icelandair, provided you have pre-ordered their hot meals.

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Still cloudy below.

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Visit to the very basic and retro lavatory. No additional amenities for Saga Class, and I was more intrigued by the all-in-one handwash.

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Tried out the gin library selection with tonic, and the very kind purser offered all the Icelandic gin they had available, and said to take them with me!

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Somewhere over Norway.

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Duty free sales was offered, and of course I bought the model of the exact aircraft I am flying on right now.

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Soon, we were preparing for arrival. Galley was secured, headsets collected, while the purser let me keep the menus (menus were collected by the crew) as souvenirs from the flight.

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Descending into a cloudy and rainy Stockholm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYR66VB7BFg

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Landing in Stockholm Arlanda Rwy08.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7_T1uWIMeA

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Passed some interesting aircraft during taxi, including a swedavia (airport authority) MD82 used for ground training.

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And an antique DC8 which appeared to be well maintained. Not sure if it is still able to fly though.

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Reaching the terminal building.

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Airbridge connected, doors opened and we were the first to disembarked.

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I have totally enjoyed this short-haul flight on Icelandair Saga Class. Catering was of very high quality, seats were comfortable, IFE decent and service by the Purser was warm, engaging and felt very welcoming. A very satisfied Icelandair customer I was on probably the best intra-European Business Class product.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:59 pm

After the peace and quiet in Iceland, it felt overwhelming to be faced with throngs of passengers in the terminal building.

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There was quite a wait for the luggage, which eventually turned up with the priority baggage adhered to.

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Arlanda Airport was conveniently connected to downtown Stockholm via the 20min Arlanda Express ride.

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My hotel, Hotel C Stockholm, was literally just 10 steps from the Arlanda Express station exit. Room was basic but of decent size and cosy.

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After checking in, we headed towards the Old Town.

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Grabbed dinner at a popular Swedish restaurant, Stockholm Gastabud, for some traditional Swedish cuisine.

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Continued exploring Old Town after dinner.

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Back to the newer part of town.

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The next morning, the hotel offered an inclusive buffet breakfast. Selection was huge, but the breakfast restaurant was extremely busy.

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Headed out to the shopping street. However as it was a Sunday, not all shops were opened. Those opened were operating at reduced hours.

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Flea market in the center of town.

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Went on an archipelago cruise. Viewing Stockholm and surrounds from the sea. It was also a great way to avoid the frequent thunderstorms throughout the afternoon.

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Lunch was included onboard the cruise. The salmon dish was tasty.

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The potato dumplings stuffed with mushrooms and lingonberries was excellent!

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It was rather quiet on the streets on the Sunday evening.

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Dinner at another popular Swedish restaurant, Brinken. We were lucky to be offered a table without reservations as the rest after us without reservations were turned away. The dishes were all very well-prepared and tasty.

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Dusk in Old Town

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A light breakfast to start the Monday.

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Rushed around to do some last minute shopping in the morning.

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And grabbed a traditional Swedish Princess cake and Chocolate ball at the popular café Vete-Katten.

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:25 pm

After a short 2 nights in Stockholm, hopped onto the Arlanda Express again back to Arlanda airport. First up was to file some tax refunds from this trip. I learnt that Sweden is part of EU, but Norway is not, so my purchases in UK and Stockholm had to be filed here before departure from EU. Also, I learnt that Arlanda airport (not sure about other airports) is the worse airport I had been to file tax refunds, not because of the long queues (this award should go to London Heathrow), but you would need to go to 3 different places to file tax refunds, depending on 1. Global Blue purchases in Sweden at Global Blue counter at Departure Check-in, 2. Non-Global Blue purchases in Sweden at an agent counter at another area within Departure Check-in (which I skipped cuz the refund amount is not worth the energy to trek there), 3. All other EU purchases at Customs counter at Arrival Hall. Truly tourist unfriendly....

After filing my tax refunds, we checked in at the SAS counters. There was no wait at the SAS Plus counter. SAS Plus is the Premium Economy equivalent for intra-Europe flights, since there are no Business Class offered by SAS for intra-Europe. With SAS Plus within Europe, you would be offered more baggage allowance, seating at front of aircraft, lounge access, fast-track and priority boarding and free snacks onboard. Seats are just the normal economy seating with no empty middle seats.

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Through fast track security

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It would be quite a walk through the shops to the lounge.

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Entrance into the lounge.

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There were 2 separate lounges, SAS Gold / Star Gold and Business Class/SAS Plus. Of course we headed into the Business lounge. Upon entry, there was he buffet and dining area.

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Warm curry soup and breads

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Salads and cold cuts

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Bar area

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FIDS

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More seating in the lounge

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My late lunch. The warm curry soup was the only hot food option in the lounge. Disappointing as I had expected more for a hub lounge. Other than the poor food selection, the décor was nice and modern, and generally a pleasant place to await the flight, though I guess it could get pretty crowded during peak periods as the lounge is not too big.

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Left the lounge and headed to the gate, with some plane-spotting along the way. Mainly SASes and Norwegians on the tarmac.

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Plenty of shopping in Arlanda.

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12 August 2019
SAS Scandinavian Airlines
SK 499
Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) - Oslo (OSL)
A320
OY-KAP
SAS Plus
Flight Time: 0H43M



Crowded at our boarding gate. SAS operates multiple flights between the 2 Scandic cities.

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I was impressed by the efficiency of SAS's ground operations. This single lady handled the entire pre-boarding paperwork, boarding process and operating the airbridge!

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Aircraft operating the flight.

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Boarding commenced with priorities observed.

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As a SAS Plus perk, we got to select seating for free towards the front of the aircraft, and was able to score Row 1. The 'divider' between SAS Plus and economy was just a signage at the headrest of the last SAS Plus row. Seat wise, SAS Plus seats were exactly the same slimline seats as economy seats.

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View out the window.

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Decent legroom at 1A.

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A wide range of literature in the seat pocket.

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SAS's fleet

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There was a slight delay due to problems with the aircraft's APU system. After further checks and being cleared by the technician, engines were started by the ground power unit and we were ready for pushback. Safety demo was conducted manually.

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Lengthy taxi to the departure runway.

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Taxied to Rwy19L and straight for takeoff with no hold. Lovely views during the climb out from Arlanda.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1802-_8sQ1Q

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Stockholm is well surrounded by water.

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Crew immediately started service once seatbelt signs were turned off. The 4 crew members were all friendly and efficient. Could not expect more for such a short flight.

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SAS Plus passengers were entitled to select any food and drinks from the snack menu for free. For economy class, only coffee/tea were offered free.

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My snacks for the flight, which included potato chips, chocolate ball, a sourdough roll and an apple juice.

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Quick visit to the very basic lavatory.

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Another shot of my seat.

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Soon, we were descending into Oslo. Trash were cleared as we prepped for landing.

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Landing in Oslo Rwy19R.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOwlpIzHbaY&t=49s

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Parked at the gate beside a LH A320neo.

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Disembarked. It was a short and pleasant hop on SAS, with reasonably comfortable seating, nice snacks and efficient service on this very short sector.

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The gate area of Oslo Gardemoen was bright and airy with modern Scandic design.

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Planespotting along the way to baggage claim.

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Waiting for baggage. Noticed that baggage delivery in both Stockholm and Oslo seemed not too efficient as there was still quite a wait even though we had took some time walking to the belt.

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:28 pm

From the airport, we took the local train to Oslo Sentral (the local train was half the price but only 2 minutes slower than the Flytoget Airport Express train). Stayed at Radisson Blu which was just opposite the train station. Huge and comfortable room with nice view.

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Having only a very short stay in Oslo, we headed out immediately after check-in to explore the city. The iconic Opera House was just across from the train station.

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Strolling along the streets.

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Along the harbour heading towards Aker Brygge.

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Aker Brygge, a popular stretch of eateries facing the harbour.

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We had dinner at Louise Restaurant, which was a very popular restaurant along the stretch.

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The seafood soup was good, and the Nordic mussels were OMG the best mussels I had ever eaten! Fresh, tender and not chewy nor fishy, and this coming from someone who is not a fan of mussels.

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Due to the dining crowd, there was a bit of wait for the mains. However, when it arrived, the cod and the salmon did not disappoint. The North Atlantic prawns were also fresh, though smaller in size compared to its South-east Asian cousins.

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After dinner was done, it was already dark and so strolled back to the hotel while enjoying the night lights.

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Norwegian Parliament

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Along Karl Johans gate shopping street.

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Oslo Cathedral

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On the last day, we still had the morning to explore the city and did some souvenir shopping.

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Farmers Market

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Ending with a sinful but tasty burger at the popular MAX Burger.

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
debonair
Posts: 3535
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:05 am

Nice TR! The SAS Plus catering is quite strange, I could swear that last time I flew I received a full lunch box... Don't want to know how many crew members help themselves and adding the bill to the SAS Plus passengers.

BTW with all these, albeit lovely, pictures it is getting very difficult to upload your TR... It would be much better, faster and user friendlier to break them in different parts, starting each journey with a new topic!
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:31 pm

Checked out of the hotel and took the local train back to Oslo airport. Qatar Airways check-in counters were quite busy, but we were checked in swiftly. Bags were tagged through to the final destination Singapore.

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There was a fast track lane through security for most airlines' premium passengers.

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Departure hall and through the shops.

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Qatar uses the OSL Lounge and we were invited into the Premium section.

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The lounge was not too busy and there were sufficient seating.

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However the food selection was not too inspiring, with the only hot option being the soup.

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Decent beverage selection

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Only had some fruits and drinks as I decided to spare my tummy for the inflight dining.

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Leaving thee Premium section of the lounge, I actually preferred the 'normal' section as it seemed brighter, though a bit more crowded. Food and beverage selection seemed similar.

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Left the lounge and headed to the gate. Our gate would be just after passport control.

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13 August 2019
Qatar Airways
QR 176
Oslo (OSL) - Doha (DOH)
B787-8
A7-BCC
Business Class
Flight Time: 5H53M



Qatar's Dreamliner at the gate.

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One thing I have noticed is that QR starts their boarding process very early, with boarding commenced 45min before STD. Headed straight towards the aircraft after boarding passes were checked.

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Just steps away from my first Qatar Business Class experience. Would this really be the 'First in Business' experience as QR has always touted?

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Warmly welcomed at the door and guided to the correct aisle. Business cabin was already half-filled early during the boarding. Though not equipped with Q-Suites, the B787-8 still offers the previous generation of herringbone designed lie-flat seats. These seats are still one of the better business class seats around.

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Placed on each seat was a pillow, duvet, amenity kit and bottle of water. Headsets were in the side compartment.

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Very good legroom.

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View out the window.

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After being seated, the 'First' experience begun. The purser as well as the crew serving our aisle came round to introduce themselves, update on the flight time, as well as did a quick introduction of the seat features. Wow, I have never expected that as a non-status passenger in business class! Even SQ doesn't do this in Business Class (unless you are a PPS maybe?), though I vaguely recalled that TG crew also introduced themselves on my last flight with them. There were 3 crew serving the full cabin of 22 passengers. Following this, our welcome beverage orders were taken (any drink from the menu), menus distributed, as well as an offer of hot or cold towel! Wow, you mean I can actually choose to have a cold towel?? I chose to have the signature lemon-mint drink along with an ice cold towel served on a towel tray. Already, I was very impressed by the ground service upon boarding.

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Contents of the Brics amenity kit.

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Exploring the seat features. There was a shoe drawer.

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Headsets and side-table with magazine rack and bottle holder.

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IFE controller and the various ports.

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Seat controls

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A bottle of still water already placed at each seat.

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QR's fleet

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Firing up the IFE system. However for some reason, this aircraft did not have the latest IFE selection updated or the system screwed up. This was made known to the crew inflight, who was very apologetic and offered to reset the system and see if the latest selection showed up. However, I had movies to watch from the current selection and all was fine.

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All settled in for the mid-haul.

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Crew also came round to take orders for after takeoff beverage, as well as your preference for meal timing and meal choices. Yes, you may have your meal anytime you like, and select from anything from the ala-carte menu. Impressive and certainly a First-ish service!

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A brief shower while at the gate.

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Safety video played as we pushed back.

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Taxiing to the runway.

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Departure from Rwy01L.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsVnuo1_EmA

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Reclined my seat to a very comfy position.

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And started my first movie while playing with the dimmable windows.

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My post-takeoff beverage of a Rose was served. The delivery was exceptional as the crew first placed an empty champagne flute on the side, went back to the galley to get the champagne, presented the champagne and followed by pouring the bubbles right at my seat, just like in First Class. It was served with a bowl of warm nuts.

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Visit to the lavatory. There were 2 lavatories at the rear of the business cabin, and both had window views! Lavatory was stocked with the potions and lotions from Rituals, as well as toothbrushes and shavers.

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View of the cosy cabin (taken slightly later into the flight).

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There were separate food and wines menus.

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Ala-carte menu

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Non-alcoholic beverages

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Extensive wine list

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Setting sun

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Dinner was served. The male crew from Macedonia serving our aisle was excellent, providing very personable and professional service, just like in a 5-stars restaurant.

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Table was set with a bread bowl, condiments (there was even a choice of different flavours of olive oil), water, a candlelight and a amuse-bouche. Napkin was placed on your lap personally, and cutlery were presented and replaced after every course was served. First Class style.

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The amuse-bouche was some sort of crab dish. It was fresh and light.

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Breads and condiments.

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Pink salt and whole pepper grinders. Wow!

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The cauliflower and garlic soup was served next. It was amazing! Portion was huge too.

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Tried the signature Arabic mezze. The portion was again suitable as a full meal. Taste wise, I am not a fan of Arabic food so could not comment, but many who had tasted swore by QR's Arabic mezze.

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Also tried the Nordic salmon.

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For the main, I chose the Cod fish sayadiyah. To be honest, I was already filled by then and did not manage to finish the dish, though the cod was tender and rice fragrant though a bit soggy.

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To finish, my friend had the cheese plate.

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While I had the fresh berries with orange syrup and gourmet ice-cream. I was bursting at this point.

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Somewhere over Russia after dinner was done and starting with the second movie.

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Some coffee and Godiva chocolates to end, and a hot towel to clean up. The entire meal service was very well-paced and totally felt like a First Class experience!

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Sun has almost set.

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There was a lounging area at Door 2, where there were fruits, snacks, champagne and magazines.

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Reclined my seat to the bed mode to test out the comfort. Though not Q-Suite, it was still a very comfortable bed.

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Cabin with lights turned off.

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About an hour prior to arrival, the crew came round again, asking if we would like anything to eat or drink before landing. I was originally looking to have the afternoon tea set, but as I was still very full from the dinner, just opted to have a cappuccino which arrived with some cookies.

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Lights turned up before descent.

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And another hot towel given out to refresh ourselves as we started our descent. Total of 4 towels offered on this mid-haul (compared to only 2 on SQ Business Class long-haul after it revised its service procedures last month).

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Descending and landing in Doha Rwy34L.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnptuOsTBf8


Last look at my seat before disembarking.

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Parked at a bus gate, but there was a dedicated bus for Business Class passengers.

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It was an amazing experience on Qatar Airways' Business Class. Having read so much on the impressive, I was still not prepared to be awed by the service and offerings onboard. The crew serving our aisle was excellent, and generally the service standards was more in line with First Class rather than Business. The tagline 'First in Business' certainly lives up to the hype!

Next up, I would be checking out the hub lounge as well as the Q-Suites experience on the final leg!
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:05 pm

Transfer security was painless for premium passengers as there were dedicated security lanes. It was the peak arrival and departure bank during midnight and expected, Doha airport terminal was packed with transiting passengers.

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The famous yellow teddy at DOH.

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Finally located the Al Mourjan Business Lounge and went up the escalator to the lounge, escaping the hustle and bustle below.

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Lounge reception, but there was no need to be verified as our boarding passes were already checked by staff at the foot of the escalator.

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FIDS, with mainly QR departures.

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The lounge was huge, with a modern and serene design. Plenty of seating available around the lounge. With the expansive and open space, the lounge did not felt crowded at all.

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There was a deli offering made-to-order sandwiches.

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Light bites and desserts were available in the deli area as well.

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However we decided to head to the proper dining area at the other end of the lounge. The dining restaurant is up the circular stairs above the pond.

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Even though it was buffet concept, there were proper restaurant-style seating with servers setting the tables and attending to your needs.

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There were hot dishes, soups, Arabic mezzes, and a huge range of desserts. There was also a tended bar area.

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Our supper selection.

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View of the lounge from the restaurant.

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Checking out the dimly lit quiet area, where there were separate cubicles with sofas and loungers.

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We had reserved a shower and it was available shortly after our meal. An attendant welcomed me into the shower area, and asked if I needed any amenities and I requested for a toothbrush. The shower area with separate toilet cubicle was very clean, with a very powerful shower and Rituals products.

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Further relaxing in the lounge before heading to the gate.

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It was a bit of a walk to the gate at A6, where boarding had already commenced. Also, we learned at the gate that the aircraft had been 'downgraded' from an A350-1000 to an A350-900. Luckily, it was still a Q-Suite equipped aircraft, though some of the Q-Suite passengers had to be moved around as there were less seats on the A359.

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14 August 2019
Qatar Airways
QR 946
Doha (DOH) - Singapore (SIN)
A350-900
A7-ALY
Business Class
Flight Time: 7H52M



Boarded the aircraft immediately.

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First impressions of the Q-Suite cabin were awesome!!

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There were 2 pillows and a blanket placed at each seat, along with an amenity kit which was of a different colour but similar contents as the previous sector.

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Compartment at the side which held the reading materials, headsets and a bottle of Evian. Also a small storage area for your small objects.

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Seat controls, IFE controller and power outlets.

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Cabin crew came round to introduce themselves, offering pre-departure beverages and a hot or cold towel. We were served on each aisle by a Filipino and an Indonesian crew. I opted for a non-alcoholic So Jenny champagne and a cold towel again.

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Safety cards.

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We were then handed out pyjamas and slippers from The White Company.

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Followed by the menus.

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Ala carte menu for the flight. Crew came round to take our meal orders, and as before, we can mix and match any food items and have it anytime during the flight. The passenger across the aisle was having the supper dessert for breakfast later in the flight! The purser again came to every passenger and introduced himself, provided some updates on the flight, and assured that we would be well taken care of and to let him know if we had any issues.

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The IFE system was the latest upgraded one with very fast response and latest IFE selection, and 'super' wifi connection. Wifi was free for 1hr for everyone onboard, and only USD10 for the whole flight.

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Safety video was played as we pushed back. The newer aircraft had an updated version of the safety video.

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Switched the IFE system to the tailcam mode to watch the taxi and takeoff.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMWj5LHcqZ4


View of the front cabin after departure.

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Went to the lavatory (all 3 were at the front of the aircraft) to change into the comfortable PJs. One of the lavatory had a view.

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Returned to my seat and the crew came round with warm nuts and glass of cranberry juice which I ordered.

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As our light supper was being prepared in the galley, the crew came round to assist in making the beds. A bedsheet was placed over the seat, and a pillow case was also put over the pillow.

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Finishing up with the movie 'Alita' which I did not complete on the last Icelandair flight.

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Light supper was served, where I had a delicious soup which had a hint of lemongrass. The soups on Qatar were really awesome! It was accompanied by a very tasty warm breadroll, butter and flavoured olive well as well. After the breadroll was devoured, the crew also actively asked if I would like more.

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This was followed by the dessert of warm white chocolate and raspberry crumble. This was very good as well, and presentation was certainly first class.

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Ending with more Godiva chocolates an a hot towel.

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Time for bed! The bed was comfortable enough that I had about 3hrs of sleep. And I don't sleep well on planes.

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Breakfast was served about 2hrs before arrival. Hot towels were given out, and our breakfast orders were delivered. Again, an elaborate table set-up and my first course of yoghurt and granola was delivered.

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Followed by cut fresh fruits.

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Being adventurous, we tried the Traditional Arabic Breakfast. Well, it was definitely not my kind of breakfast food.

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No worries, I cold also select from the supper menu and ordered a Nasi Goreng with prawns. It was not bad.

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We also ordered the Salmon Congee, which was very comforting.

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Ending with a hot towel and a cappuccino. Was offered some mints as well.

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Less than 2hrs more to go.

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Just prior to descent, another hot towel was offered, which was my sixth(!!) on this sub-8hrs flight!!

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Cabin ambience as we started our descent.

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Switched back to tailcam view for the landing.

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Landing on Rwy20R and taxied to Terminal One.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T05Xyz54U40

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Last look at the double suite.

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Rear-facing window suite.

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Nice décor along the galley.

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View of the front cabin during disembarkation.

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View of our aircraft.

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Priority bags were first off the belt and delivered promptly.

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It was another great flight on Qatar Airways. The quality of the onboard offerings and service is certainly considered the best if compared to a similar sector length flights. There is really a gulf between Qatar Business vs other airlines' business classes that I have flown on, and the tagline 'First in Business' is well worth the hype. If you would like to experience First Class service but satisfied with business-type seats (or Q-Suites which is near First Class), do try out Qatar Airways on your next trip!
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
AALuxuryLiner
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 5:49 pm

Re: An Icelandic Summer and a side of London, Stockholm & Oslo (SQ, FI, SK, QR in J/Y)

Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:09 pm

This was a great trip report! Thanks for all the photos and details

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