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vhqpa
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:21 pm

Europe 2018 Part 5 - From Top of the world back down under: SK/QF the Quokka route.

Wed Aug 25, 2021 3:10 pm

Welcome to the final installment of my Europe trip report. This covers the flights from Alta, Norway back to London, my last couple of days in London before travelling home on the nonstop Qantas Dreamliner service to Perth and the final domestic connection taking me home to Brisbane.

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Previous parts can be found here

Part 1 Brisbane - London - viewtopic.php?t=1415173
Part 2 London - Amsterdam - Paris - viewtopic.php?t=1416355
Part 3 Paris - Iceland - viewtopic.php?t=1443041
Part 4 Iceland - Norway - viewtopic.php?t=1458585

ALTA - LONDON

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Furthest north I have ever been.

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Scenes from Alta’s small terminal

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Interesting models hang from the ceiling - here’s a herc

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And a dak

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Pictures from the airport’s opening

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Boarding pass and bag tag

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Widerøe Dash 8-100


Scandinavian Airlines SK4409
Alta, NO (ALF) – Oslo Gardermoen, NO (OSL), via Tromsø, NO (TOS)
Depart 0730 Arrive 1025
Boeing 737-85P LN-RRF “Froydis Viking” (MSN 35707/LN 2610) First flight May 2008
SAS Plus / Premium Economy
Flight time 26 Minutes ALF-TOS, 1 Hour 37 Minutes TOS-OSL




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Boarding Froydis Viking

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Recently refurbished to the same standard as the A320 neo fleet



The first leg of this flight was a very short hop back over to Tromsø. Unlike my other SAS flights this flight had onboard wifi complimentary for SAS Plus passengers. Once we landed in Tromsø it was apparent they had a cold change with heavy snow over the last couple of days I had been in Alta. The stopover was very short, Alta passengers continuing to Oslo remained on the aircraft. I was fed well on this flight, during boarding at Alta a breakfast snack bag was handed to SAS Plus passengers which contained a rye roll with salami and salad, as well as a juice. On the second leg a larger breakfast was offered to SAS Plus passengers which consisted of a roll with cheese, tomato, and ham; another juice; lingonberries and granola; and a strawberry yoghurt. As it was a clear day I was treated to viewing the stunning Norwegian landscape down the coast to Oslo. After landing I headed back to the SAS Lounge to wait out the next few hours for my connecting flight to London. Due to poor weather this flight was delayed about two hours so I had plenty of time. The lounge was just as crowded as the previous week when I flew from Oslo to Tromsø. Due to poor weather in London my flight was delayed due to the late arrival of the inbound flight. The total delay ended up being about two hours.

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First breakfast

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Goodbye Alta

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A brief peek at the suns rays way down south

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Hardly any snow in Tromsø three days ago, now look at it!

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A rare non wingleted 737-800. I was hoping to fly on one alas, my -800 had winglets.

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First time I’ve experienced a de-icing

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Sunrise

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Second breakfast

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Narvik

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I quite like the birch(?) finish on the bulkhead.

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Landing at Gardermoen.

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Ethiopian 787 in from Addis Ababa and Stockholm.

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The 737 which brought me down from Alta.

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SAS Lounge

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Delayed inbound flight








Scandinavian Airlines SK809, Operated by SAS Ireland
Oslo Gardermoen, NO (OSL) – London Heathrow, GB (LHR)
Depart 1505 Arrive 1625
Airbus A320-251N EI-SIE “Gorm Viking”(MSN 8058) First flight January 2018
SAS Plus / Premium Economy
Flight time 2 Hours 6 Minutes




This particular flight was operated by SAS Ireland with a UK based crew. As I boarded the aircraft instead of a greeting I was accustomed to. The flight attendant at the door was talking to another flight attendant oblivious to the passengers boarding, not the best first impression. I sat down in my assigned seat 2F. It was a full flight so my luck had ran out as far as getting the adjacent middle seat free as I had for the last few flights. In SAS Plus all six seats in a 737/A32S row are assigned. After boarding we made the long taxi to the deicing pad before departing from runway 01L. On this flight SAS Plus passengers were served Beef and an odd tasting salad which wasn’t to my taste. I had eaten in the SAS Lounge in Oslo so I wasn’t particularly hungry so I picked at the beef and left the rest. After dinner gourmet Swedish chocolates from Malmö for SAS Plus passengers which were quite tasty. After landing at Heathrow we taxied to T2. After claiming my bag I took a taxi the short distance to the Ibis Heathrow hotel which was decent if not a little dated, but no point upgrading it when it’s right where the third runway is supposed to be built. Despite this it suited my needs so I was happy.

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Norwegian 787-8 going to New York JFK

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Qatar A350 to Doha

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My SAS A320neo arriving from London Heathrow

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Max and Neo (The Norwegian 737-8 Max was arriving from Dubai)

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Boarding

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Ryanair off to London Stansted

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Deicing Round 2

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Sunset

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Dinner

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Swedish chockies from Malmö

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Tower Bridge - Heathrow approaches never get old

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Waterloo

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Passing a Qantas A380 before its long journey to Singapore and Sydney.

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Aer Lingus A320

Overall I found the SAS Ireland flight from Oslo to London not to the same standard as the mainline crewed flights within Norway, the crew just seemed a bit indifferent and didn’t really feel welcome.If I were to make a trip between London and Oslo I’d try and stay clear of SAS Ireland operated flights, opting for a mainline SAS flight, or BA.

LAST DAYS IN LONDON

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Camden Town

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Amy Winehouse - sadly no longer with us.

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Greenwich

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Cutty Sark

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Royal Observatory

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24 Hour clock - I definitely need one of these in my house.

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The Meridian

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The nerd in me trying to get my longitude as close to 0° as possible - 5 arcseconds is roughly 155 metres (510 feet) accuracy so quite crude.

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Argentine steak for dinner - delicious

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Unfortunately closed due to high winds.

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Who doesn’t love a random engine on display

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Last tube ride back to my Heathrow hotel.


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My room

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THE LONGEST HOP LON-PER

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A fake Emirate A380 going nowhere..

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Boarding Pass

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Terminal 3 shopping cent… errrrrr, i mean departures lounge

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British Airways 747 - now just a memory

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My ride to Perth - 787-9 VH-ZNE named “Skippy”

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A real Emirates A380 just in from Dubai

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Another BA 747 with Oneworld titles I believe this one just arrived from Accra.



Qantas QF10
London Heathrow, GB (LHR) – Perth, AU (PER)
Depart 1155 Arrive 1245+1
Boeing 787-9 VH-ZNE “Skippy” (MSN 63391/LN 724 ) First flight June 2018
Economy
Flight time 15 Hours 41 Minutes




After four weeks in Europe it was finally time to go home. I checked out of my hotel, took the bus the short distance to the central terminal area and walked to T3 to check in for my flight. In the duty shop immediately post security I was “helped” by quite an aggressive saleswomen to find the perfect perfume for my mother, but then that wasn’t enough so she decided I needed a cologne too. My regular cologne was considerably more expensive than what I get it for retail in Australia, so I just got mum’s perfume which I intended to get anyway. It was about on par with its retail price in Australia. Afterwards I bought some gum from the pharmacy for the long flight, and found a seat in the departures lounge. I don’t particularly like the UK practice of not announcing the departure gate until the flight is about to board. Would have rather sat by the window watching traffic taxi past. After a few stretches before the flight I boarded the almost brand new Qantas 787-9 Dreamliner and was given a warm welcome by the UK based cabin crew. The flight was quite full, but during boarding the adjacent seat managed to stay free. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed hoping for no last minute passengers to board, we started pushing back, Yes! My luck had returned. After a long taxi to runway 27R we took off making a left turn to the south, then east, a snack of nuts and beverage service was served. I opted for a gin and tonic. A couple of hours later a dinner meal consisting of braised beef and mash was served, which was quite nice. Our flight took us down through Romania, Turkey and Iran before overflying Dubai then over the Indian ocean to Perth. I was hoping to see the lights of dubai as we flew over but the crew had the windows locked to maximum tint setting, so it remained pitch black. Like the Singapore - London flight this time I also had difficulty going to sleep so remained awake for the entire flight. As the sun rose breakfast consisting of sausages and eggs were served. While it didn’t present particularly well it tasted quite decent. A couple of hours later we landed in Perth approximately 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Using the then new International section of T3/T4 It took a while to be processed at immigration as there were about 3 counters being used for all passengers with no priority lanes for Australia/NZ passport holders, there were a few smartgates being installed but not operational.

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My seat for the next 15 and a bit hours

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A ghost from the past - operated by Eurowings

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A lot of North American action at T2

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SAS Ireland A320neo

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Thai A380

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Fellow antipodean buddy ZK-OKQ heading to Auckland via Los Angeles

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BA 787-9 to Toronto

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Heathrow from the air

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Amenity kit

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Menu

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Savoury snack and a G&T to settle in

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Over Germany

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I love how you can customise the units of measurement

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Sun about to set somewhere over Romania

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Dinner

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Breaky

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Nearly there

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Some Fokkers out in the distance

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Another Fokker

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Three Fokkers in a row… I’m definitely back in Australia now.

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Saying goodbye to Skippy

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THE FINAL STRETCH PER-BNE

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Retroroo VH-XZP that I didn’t catch

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Skippy on its last leg to Melbourne

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My flight to Brisbane VH-VXN

Qantas QF654
Perth, AU (PER) – Brisbane, AU (BNE)
Depart 1445 Arrive 2115
Boeing 737-838 VH-VXN “Fremantle” (MSN 33484/LN 1180) First flight July 2002
Economy
Flight time 4 Hours 3 Minutes




After clearing customs I re-checked my bag onwards to Brisbane and made my way through security. Going through security I couldn't help but notice Senator Pauline Hanson who is a quite well known and a polarising figure in Australian politics, who must have been flying out of Perth that day. The first thing I noticed after clearing security was how expensive food was priced in Australian airports, even coming from Norway it was a bit of a shock. I decided to just get a coke and wait for the flight to eat. I noticed the retrojet VH-XZP sitting at gate 15 with Brisbane as its destination. I was getting excited before I realised my flight was departing from gate 16, with the retrojet operating a later flight in the evening to Brisbane. After I boarded the flight from the correct gate we took off to the east. My luck continued, another free middle seat! Lunch was served, a pasta dish which didn’t taste as good as the food on Qantas International flights. I was quite tired after not sleeping on the flight from London. On this flight I managed to sleep a couple hours. When I woke up we were getting close to starting our descent into Brisbane. We landed on the recently redesigned 01R (in preparation for the parallel runway which opened in 2020). After landing I picked up my bags and got a lift home 20 minutes from the airport and that was the end of my Europe trip.

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Qantaslink A320

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Lunch - not as nice as the offering on the international sectors

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Pacific Motorway and Brisbane CBD in the background

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Home at last

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My plane


Thank you for reading my trip report series. Unfortunately I couldn’t get them out as quickly as I had originally planned. My last big trip before COVID hit was to Japan in November 2019. I am planning a (much shorter than this) trip report series to be released soon.


Regards,
Jason (Vhqpa)
 
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AirIndia
Posts: 1337
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 2:43 am

Re: Europe 2018 Part 5 - From Top of the world back down under: SK/QF the Quokka route.

Thu Aug 26, 2021 6:34 am

Nice report Jason. Sad that many of the beauties you clicked at LHR will no longer be seen again....

Do share you LHR-PER sector dinner picture...
 
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vhqpa
Topic Author
Posts: 1838
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:21 pm

Re: Europe 2018 Part 5 - From Top of the world back down under: SK/QF the Quokka route.

Thu Aug 26, 2021 8:18 am

AirIndia wrote:
Nice report Jason. Sad that many of the beauties you clicked at LHR will no longer be seen again....

Do share you LHR-PER sector dinner picture...


Thank you

I just realised I duplicated the image above. Here is the correct image

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jrfspa320
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:18 am

Re: Europe 2018 Part 5 - From Top of the world back down under: SK/QF the Quokka route.

Fri Aug 27, 2021 4:08 am

Thank you for the final chapter - it was great to read back to pre-covid.

The far north of Europe looks interesting - and cold! Did you prefer the SIN or PER routing on QF?
 
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vhqpa
Topic Author
Posts: 1838
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:21 pm

Re: Europe 2018 Part 5 - From Top of the world back down under: SK/QF the Quokka route.

Sat Aug 28, 2021 12:38 pm

jrfspa320 wrote:
Thank you for the final chapter - it was great to read back to pre-covid.

The far north of Europe looks interesting - and cold! Did you prefer the SIN or PER routing on QF?


Thank you, Yeah I really enjoyed the far north, the no sun part really threw me off for the first few days. Seeing the northern nights was definitely the highlight for me. I'd like to return to Norway as well as visit the other Scandinavian counties, hopefully soon once "Prison Australia" is over. Surprisingly it didn't get too cold. In Norway the lowest temperature I experienced when I was in Norway was about -5°C. The gulfstream keep the coast quite warm. I also bought a thick jacket from Kathmandu just before I left. I've learnt a Norwegian proverb which is quite true «Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær.» which translates to "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."

As for SIN or PER routing. It's hard to decide if I liked one routing over the other. I was extremely lucky on both the long sectors having a spare seat next to me. The LHR-PER flight in particular would've been quite uncomfortable otherwise. In terms of aircraft the A380 is a lot more spacious especially the mini Y upper deck cabin (which no longer exists on the new A380 layout) with its extra storage compartments. But the window seats on the lower deck also have great shoulder room. The 787 is a lot more tight especially laterally but the higher humidity and lower cabin pressure make it more comfortable in other ways. Also the dimmable windows on the 787 annoy me in that they can be forced to the darkest setting, not so bad during the day, but at night I would've liked to been able to look out at the stars and city lights, but on the darkest setting it's just pitch black. It seems to be a Qantas thing though that they insist the shades are down on international flights, even on the SIN-LHR sector which is dark the whole way anyway. I've noticed on Singapore Airlines they are aren't anywhere near as strict. All things considered I'd probably choose the SIN routing. Changi is a much better airport to transit through. In my experience the border formalities arriving in the PER T3 facility aren't really better or worse than the international terminal in BNE.

Next time I go to Europe I'm quite keen to give Finnair a go through their Helsinki hub.
 
gardermoen
Posts: 1393
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 1999 9:52 pm

Re: Europe 2018 Part 5 - From Top of the world back down under: SK/QF the Quokka route.

Sat Sep 04, 2021 1:52 am

Cool trip report! That's quite a journey from Alta to Brisbane! Nice to see travel from pre-Covid times.
I love the SAS breakfast box design and the quirky riddles they have on napkins etc.

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