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SK925-CPH-IAD (Or Not) 11/27/10

Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:17 pm

Background: Hello, A.Netters! It's been a long time, but I'm back with the return leg of my trip to Copenhagen in November of 2010. My family and I made the most of our trip. We went to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, walked around the pedestrian mall area, celebrated my 13th birthday at Tivoli Gardens, and saw a 3-day straight snowfall. On November 27, it was time to leave Copenhagen and head home. We caught a cab to the train station, and took a train to the airport. We were delayed for a while, but we eventually got there.
At The Airport: On this Saturday morning, Copenhagen Airport was neither busy nor empty. I looked at the departure boards, and there were a lot of flights to warm weather destinations. For example, TG was flying to Bangkok, SQ was flying to Singapore, and Thomsonfly was going to Phuket. I looked for our flight up there, and I saw that SK925 was departing at around 12:20 PM. We dropped our bags off, and headed for security.
I was interested to see how much security we would get. This was the first time we returned to the US since the new rules were put in place, and I was expecting a lot of it. The line wasn't that long, and we made it to the metal detectors. The guy just told me to go through without having to take off my shoes, and I did so without setting off the alarm. The same was to be said for the rest of my family, and we got out of there without any questioning or pat down.
Then came the plane spotting part of the trip. My family got some food at a concourse restaurant, and I checked out the scene on the tarmac. I saw a RJ85 belonging to SN, an E170 belonging to LO, a B736 belonging to SK, and an A-319 belonging to LH. This is what I was expecting to see; a flurry of European characters near terminals A and B. The chicken/pasta salad I had at the restaurant was pretty good, albeit rather cold. After a few minutes, it was time to go to the gate to catch our flight.
I walked through the halls of CPH, and memories started to come back to me. Just about 4 years earlier, I was going to Gothenburg to see some relatives (I'm thinking about posting a trip report for that), and my flight out of IAD got delayed 2 hours due to some guy's bag being offloaded. We missed our connection, and we had to wait 5 hours for the next one. I remember eating cinnamon roll after cinnamon roll, and then crashing on a bench for 2 hours. But now, we were walking through the halls to catch a flight back home.
Immigration was no hassle, and we were quickly airside. Just past the checkpoint, there were more plane spotting opportunities. There was a DL B757 headed for JFK, a Thomsonfly B767 bound for HKT, and my personal favorite, the TG 747 bound for BKK. We spent our remaining Danish kroner on candy at a 7-11, and then headed to gate C39. Before heading into the gate area, we had to fill out these things called contact cards that I had never seen before. On them, we had to give our names, the name of a friend or family member, and their address or phone number. Everyone had to fill out one, but my dad filled out all of ours. I don't know what the deal is with them, but if anyone knows, please tell me. We headed behind a partition, and that led to the gate area. Pretty soon, boarding was called for SK925 to Washington.
The Delay, Part I: Boarding was not orgainzed, but not a complete zoo. They told all economy passengers to come up at the same time, and we were able to get a decent spot in line. We got on board, and found our seats. Just like our inbound flight, we were in the front of economy class, but something told me we were on an A340 instead of an A330. On our inbound leg, we didn't see business class. The legroom was the same, but on this leg, I had the stupid IFE box under the seat in front of me. It was restrictive, but keep in mind that I'm 6 feet tall. Pretty soon, the captain introduced himself and explained we would be late out of the gate because of some passengers from connecting flights. Those passengers showed up eventually, but the delays weren't over. We eventually made it out of the gate, but we would have to be de-iced. We were already close to half an hour off schedule, and this would add on to the time. We made it out to the stand, and the de-icing machines came into full gear. By that time, I had eaten a lot of the candy we bought, and I was thirsty, too. During the de-icing, though, the crew came around with some drinks. Good gesture by the SAS crew there.
The de-icing seemed to take forever, but after that finished, we still weren't done with delays. The runway was covered in snow, and they had to plow it. At the rate it was going, it seemed like someone was clearing the snow off as if they were doing it with a single shovel. I checked the time, and it was about 2:10 local time. Almost 2 hours late. After another couple minutes, we were finally given the nod for takeoff.
The Flight: Takeoff was very powerful, but I was just happy to be in the air. The first drink service commenced immediately, and I went for some apple juice. They served these things called, “savouries”, with them. These were also served them on our IAD-CPH flight. After our snacks were cleared away, this video was shown with the highlights of the IFE this month on it. It was the same as our inbound leg, too. When the IFE did come on, it was mostly the same stuff, too, except for a few unwatchable movies. That was OK with me, because 1) we had brought a laptop with a few movies, and 2) some of the stuff on the IFE was funny. About half an hour after that, the meal was served. There was no choice for economy passengers, just like on the inbound flight. SK needs to give us some choices on meals! We got this chicken thing with mashed potatoes, which was decent, but I can't get over the excessive amount of potatoes some airlines pack into the meals. The chicken was perfectly cooked, and the potatoes had a nice flavor to them. The dessert was also very good. Overall, a decent dining experience on SAS!
The next few hours of the flight, I was just relaxing, despite the lack of legroom. I watched, “Toy Story 3”, which I didn't mind watching again. That is one for the ages. I also watched “The Simpsons” again, and “The Middle”, two great sitcoms. I would have burst out laughing if I watched those at home. A few minutes later, I started to get bored with the IFE, so I took a walk to the galley and the bathroom. There wasn't much in the galley, but I got a couple pieces of candy and some water. There was a big congregation of Danish businessmen back there drinking beer, too. I went back to my seat, and the moving map showed us near Greenland. I noticed something odd on the map, though. The final destination marker was at New York, not Washington. I just presumed there was an error when loading the system, but there was still a long way to go.
I was tired, but I was trying my best to stay awake. The reason was to try and get to bed earlier once we got home. I brought 2 National Geographic movies from home: “Inside North Korea”, and “Inside the White House”. I put in the latter, and I just watched and became fascinated about the history of the White House. I was about halfway through the movie when our captain made an announcement. I listened to the Danish version, and I heard the captain say, “New York/Newark” in a sort of annoyed tone of voice. When he said it in English, the worst had come. The delay in Copenhagen put us over the crew duty limit, so we would have to land at EWR. The next 5 minutes was filled with inqueries at the FAs, and they got on the mike and said they didn't know what would happen, and they would tell us as soon as there was word. We crossed the border into the US soon, and the final meal was distributed. It was a cheese and lettuce sandwich with a fruit juice. I didn't have very high expectations, so it was OK. I saw us flying over West Point on the map, and we got ready for landing. The descent started about half an hour before landing, and I looked out the window and saw New York for the first time. I had never been to the NY area before, and I got a good view from the plane of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. We landed in Newark at around 5:20 P.M.
The Delay, Part II: Our purser said upon arrival, “Welcome to New York, but I wish I could be saying Washington” I didn't appreciate her sense of humor. I looked at the tarmac, and it only took a second to realize who's boss at EWR: Continental/United. We parked at a remote stand, because there was no open gate due to the Thanksgiving travel rush. There was a 9W 332 right next to us from DEL via BRU. The captain then got on the mike and said what would happen to us. If we needed a connecting flight, we would be rebooked on CO. However, if our journey ended in Washington, we would have to take a 5 hour bus ride down I-95. I groaned, as did everyone else on the plane. Now, I was hoping that I changed seats with my dad earlier in the flight.
It became dark quickly outside, and everyone on board started to make phone calls. I was now wishing that I brought my phone so I could text my friends. We did have my dad's iPhone, but that didn't have full battery on it. In fact, the only use of it we had was to call my grandparents and check the score of the Wisconsin football game against Northwestern, and then it died. I couldn't stretch out in the plane without kicking the seat of the guy in front of me, so I didn't. Time seemed to stand still as the sky got darker and darker. The captain said that it would be about an hour before we got a gate, and I couldn't find anything to do. The PTVs were playing these ads over and over again. During this time, the FAs did a drink run, but that wasn't enough to cure my dehydration. About half an hour later, we finally got a gate, and we headed to the terminal.
The deplaning process was actually controlled, considering that everyone had been stuck on that plane for the last 10 hours. We got out pretty quickly, and we headed into the EWR terminal. Next to us was the SQ A345 headed on another 18 hour hop to SIN. Imagine how tired those people must feel. We headed up to immigration, and there were a ton of booths, but not many were open. It helps to have seperate lines for US citizens and non US-citizens, and we passed through without hassle. I did catch a glimpse of the new fingerprinting machines used for first-time visitors. Down at the baggage claim, it seemed to take forever for our bags to come out. When they finally came, I was relieved that they weren't lost. Customs was no hassle, and the guy just waved us through without looking at the form. After that, we headed out into the arrivals area.
Upon arrival there, we were greeted by a ground staff member. He asked if we were on SAS, and if we were going to Washington. We answered yes to both questions, and he waved us over to a seating area. By this time, I just wanted to get on that bus and head down to DC. It seemed to take forever for the bus to come, so my dad went to get us some food. He came back with some fries and chicken sandwiches from McDonalds, and some muffins from Starbucks. A good welcome food to the US. After another eternal wait, the first 2 buses finally came. The 2 ground staff members did their best trying to contain the passengers, but that didn't stop a stampede from happening. After another eternity, the third bus came. We headed out into the cold New Jersey evening, and got on the bus. When everyone got on, the ground staff agent came onto the bus and thanked us for our cooperation. After that, we drove off into the cold evening.
When we got on the bus, my dad and sister fell asleep immediately. I, however, wanted to stay up and look at the area before we got onto the monotonous NJ turnpike. There were ads for Rutgers University basketball tickets, and for the university itself. As soon as we hit the rural part of the turnpike, I made an effort to try and fall asleep, and I did a decent job of it. I tried earlier, but the combination of the bumpy road and the driver's cell phone blaring kept me up. When I did fall asleep, I went into a deep sleep, and I woke up to the sound of some ladies in the front asking the bus driver to stop. We had crossed the state line into Delaware, and that meant we were close to home.
I used the bathroom, and then we hit the road again. This time, though, I went out cold as soon as my butt hit the seat. When I woke up again, we were exiting onto the Dulles Toll Road, so I had just passed a bunch of time. I woke my mom, and we stayed up for the toll road. Pretty soon, the Saarinen terminal came into sight. The bus pulled up to the curb, and there was a rush to get off the bus. We got our bags, and headed through the terminal to a waiting taxi. It had just become Sunday morning, and I was longing to get home. We eventually reached home at about 12:30 A.M.
Conclusion: Overall, SAS is a great airline headed for a bright future. The food was good, the IFE rocked, and the crew was attentive and caring. The timeliness could have been improved, but they couldn't control the weather. So, if you need to get from the US to Scandinavia, SK is the way to go! Thanks for reading and comments/feedback are greatly appreciated.

Check-in: 10/10
Airport experience: 9.9/10
Boarding: 10/10
Timeliness: 2/10
Legroom: 6/10
Food: 9/10
IFE: 10/10
Crew: 10/10
Disembarkation: 8/10

Overall: 8.32-Good job SAS!
FlyingFinn76, abrelosojos

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