SAS | Boeing 737-600 | ARN-GOT | SAS Plus

This Trip

British Airways | Airbus A320 | LHR-ARN | Club Europe
Clarion, Stockholm Arlanda
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | ARN-DOH | Business
The Airport Hotel, Doha
Qatar Airways | Airbus A350 | DOH-SIN | Business
Crowne Plaza, Singapore Changi
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 777-200 | SIN-HKG | Business
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 747-400 | HKG-HND | First Class
Hilton, Tokyo Odaiba
ANA | Boeing 787 | HND-ITM | Premium Class
Courtyard by Marriott, Osaka
Asiana | Airbus A330 | KIX-ICN | Business
Four Points by Sheraton, Seoul
EVA Air | Airbus A330 | ICN-TPE | Business
Novotel, Taipei Taoyuan Airport
EVA Air | Boeing 777-300ER | TPE-SIN | Business
Conrad Centennial, Singapore
Qatar Airways | Airbus A330 | SIN-DOH | Business
Doubletree by Hilton, Doha Old Town
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | DOH-ARN | Business
Radisson Blu, SkyCity, Stockholm Arlanda
SAS | Boeing 737-600 | ARN-GOT | SAS Plus
Sun Air | Dornier 328 Jet | GOT-MAN | Euro Traveller
Hilton, Manchester Airport
British Airways | Airbus A319 | MAN-LHR | UK Domestic

Airline: Scandinavian
Aircraft: Boeing 737-600
Route: Stockholm Arlanda – Gothenburg
Flight number: SK157
Seat number: 4A
Cabin: Business
Flight date: April 2016

Check In / Security

Check in was made in the basement area of Terminal 4 at Arlanda. it was more or less deserted, therefore I was able to dump my bag within seconds.

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It was then up one level to the fast track security, where once again I was the only person there – so once more, through in a few seconds.

Lounge

The lounge was up one level again, and was your standard SAS Domestic lounge – self entry with a basic range of snacks and coffee.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding began a little behind the advertised time. When it did, there didn’t appear to be any priority call made – just the “all aboard”. I couldn’t be totally sure though as the announcement wasn’t made in English.

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Once on board I took my seat of 4A, and luckily they middle seat stayed free. This is where SAS’s premium shorthaul product is a little different to other European airlines – they don’t block the middle seat.

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Service

Once again, where Scandinavian’s European premium product differs from most is the service. Rather than a full blown on board meal, its a case of the buy on board being complimentary. I ordered a wrap, a chocolate bar and some water.

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Arrival

Arrival was made more or less on schedule. There was a short wait whilst the bags came out, but when they did mine was one of the first – so priority baggage working well.

Conclusions

I’m glad I got to finally try SAS Plus. I’d always ben curious as to how the concept worked and I must admit, I think its a good enough idea. However I’d be hard pushed to call it a business class as such. More of an economy plus product. Would I fly in this cabin again? Well if the price was right – admittedly, my Star Alliance Gold status gets me a lot of the perks that are on offer anyway, such as priority check in, fast track security, lounge access, and priority baggage – so for me personally its all about the on board service. However if you don’t hold any Star Alliance status, then it may be of more value.

Questions? Comments? Come and Say Hi on Twitter!

Look out for the YouTube video soon!

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Swiss/SAS | Airbus A319/A320 | LGW-GVA-CPH-LHR | Economy/Business

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Back in September 2014, I was informed that Swiss were having a pretty good sale. The best bargain to be had was on their flights between Geneva and Copenhagen – with ticket prices at around £25 for their business class cabin. Fellow a.netter Gabriel asked if I wanted to join him on a date in December – I did, however as I had long run out of leave from work by then, I had to decline his offer. I still looked at other dates though, as I’d heard great things about their airlines Business Class. I eventually settled on a date in mid January on the GVA-CPH sector.

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This left a slight issue – I don’t live in either Geneva or Copenhagen! No matter. I decided to fly out to Geneva the previous day and I studied various options. The previously mentioned Swiss sale meant that LX were once again the cheapest on the LON-GVA route – with a decently timed flight on their seasonal Gatwick operation.

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Although it still cost more for Y than for the following days J class ticket…

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The final piece of the puzzle was to find my way back from Copenhagen. SAS came in with the best flight times and prices, so they were the winner. Also, a (very) slight bonus would be that this flight would be operated by the A320 – so far I’d only been on SK 737’s. It would also be my first time using T2 at LHR.

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So the final map looked like this:

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So a trio of Star Alliance flights for the weekend. A bit of a culture shock as I’m firmly planted in the OneWorld ecosystem. Still, it made a change from the seemingly endless BA flights I took in the final months of 2014.

On to the journey then:

I took a pretty empty train to Gatwick, arriving at around 8AM.

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Close enough I guess…

I headed over to the Swiss check in area to grab a souvenir boarding pass, before heading through security.

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Security was an experience. Once I’d reached the front of the queue, the machine had a bit of a technical glitch, therefore everybody had to give up and head over to another queue. The staff said we would be given priority but it seemed like this priority was only granted once the people at the front of said queue had passed through – the whole experience taking around thirty minutes.

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Once I was through, I had a choice of two lounges to access via my Airport Angel card – the Aspire lounge and the No.1 Lounge. I opted for the Aspire lounge as I’d not been in that one before. I was given a half hearted welcome and once I was in, it was small, busy and there were virtually no views to be had.

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At least they had bacon rolls


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After around thirty minutes, I surrendered to the No.1 lounge…

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Except I was told that they didn’t accept airport angel. Funny, they did on my last visit. Plan C then was to grab a drink from the Bridge Bar.

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That didn’t work out either as it had transformed into a Nandos since my last visit, so I sat and used Gatwick’s pretty slow wifi to check in for my flight from GVA-CPH the following day.

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Once I had done this it was more or less time to head down to gate 24.

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Once there, I was finally able to get some view of the action outside. And as the air was more or less deserted, no issues with photography either.

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G-VROM back in action after its mishap a few week previously.

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Boarding started around fifteen minutes later.

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LX363
LGW-GVA
January 2015
Airbus A320 / HB-IJU
Seat: 14A/ Economy
Scheduled: 10:10/12:45
Off Stand: 10:03
On Stand: 12:31

I made my way on board and got comfortable.

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A few moments later, the boarding complete announcement was given and I’d managed to score the entire row to myself.

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We pushed back around ten minutes ahead of schedule and made the short journey over to the runway.

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Once we were there, it became apparent that ATC were sending the heavies off in one go, so we waited for ten minutes. During which time I had a great view of Golden Girl passing by.

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Once the bigger guys had left, we ambled forwards on to the runway and lifted off into some initially clear skies, that soon turned grey.

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As we passed through the bad stuff, the seatbelt sign was turned off and the crew started their service, a choice of a cheese sandwich or nothing. Still, it was better than the birdseed that BA dish up. I also asked for some “tea” and a water to wash it down with.

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I’m not too sure what was going on with the tea but the cheese sandwich was very tasty.

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Meanwhile, I took the time to update the report and listen to a bit of Royal Blood.

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For the rest of the flight, I took advantage of their being nobody behind and reclined whilst watching the various Swiss scenes on the overhead screens.

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Descent started around thirty minutes prior to arrival.

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The famous Swiss chocolates were handed out a few moments later

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There wasn’t much to be seen until on very short finals.

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Once we did land, it was a short journey over to our remote stand.

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Once we did arrive, everybody was up instantly despite the seatbelt sign still being on due to one of the engines still running.

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Once the remaining engine was shut down, the whole aircraft was plunged into darkness.

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The lights soon came on again though, and it was down the steps and on to a bus to the terminal.

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Passport control was a little busy, but it still only took around ten minutes or so. Once I was in, I grabbed a free train ticket from the machine in baggage claim and headed off to find a train to the city.

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As I still had a couple of hours or so until I could check in to my hotel, I took a look around the city.

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Like most cities, the old town was of most interest.

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I then made my way to the Design Hotel F6 where I had reserved a room for the evening.

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During which time I checked in for the following days SK flight.

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Some more shots of the city after dark.

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Early the next morning, my alarm was sounding at 06:00. I got ready and headed out to the station to make the six minute journey to the airport.

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Once there, I grabbed a souvenir boarding pass from the LX business desk. There was a family ahead of me with a whole load of suitcases, yet the two agents on the first dest continued to sit there chatting amongst themselves rather than call me forward.

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A few moments later, I met up with fellow trip reporter Signol, who by coincidence happened to be on the same flight as me.

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We passed through security and made our way up to the lounge for breakfast.

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After around thirty minutes, we headed off to the first class lounge, courtesy of Signol’s Star Gold card – thanks for that! The first lounge was more or less the same as the business lounge, although smaller and busier. They had a few more food offerings but not too much.

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After this, we made our way down to the gate. A plane pulled on to stand and it became apparent there would be a bit of a delay – although as far as we could hear there wasn’t any announcement made.

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Boarding commenced at around 09:00, but we were then held on the jet bridge for a good ten minutes.

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LX1286
GVA-CPH
January 2015
Airbus A319 / HB-IPU
Seat: 2A / Business
Scheduled: 09:00/11:00
Off Stand: 09:22
On Stand: 11:26

Once we finally did make it on board, it turned out that there were just three of us in business – so almost an a.net private cabin!

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I was handed a bottle of water and a wet wipe and asked if I wanted a newspaper. Flight time was announced as an hour and forty minutes.

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We pushed back twenty minutes or so behind schedule.

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It was then a pretty quick taxi over to the active, where we joined a pretty long queue for takeoff.

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We finally did make it into the misty air forty minutes or so late.

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After takeoff we were treated to some very good views of the surrounding area.

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Shortly after departure the meal service began. At around the same time the captain made an announcement – I couldn’t really understand much of what was being said, but he did apologise for the delay.

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There wasn’t any choice in meal selection – other than the bread.

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I initially didn’t want to risk the tea again, but I then noticed Signol received a mug with its own bag and two chocolates. I figured if I could make my own maybe it wouldn’t be quite so bad? I ordered some and it came from the usual airline style tin tea pot – so the lukewarm milky mess I had on my previous flight. And I didn’t get any chocolates…

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The rest of the flight was spent in seat 2D talking to Signol who was seated in 2F. During which the purser did the rounds with the chocolate basket.

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Descent started around thirty minutes before landing, so I made my way back to my own seat.

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There wasn’t too much to be seen on approach due to the cloud cover.

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We touched down and made our way over to the A gates, disembarking a few moments later.

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After a brief stop at the Transfer centre to get some boarding passes, we had a brief look at what was around.

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Before heading up to the SAS lounge, where Robin once again guested me in – thanks once again.

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Decent enough food options – including meatballs, salad, bread and cheese.

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We grabbed a pair of seats in a quiet corner and spent the next couple of hours chatting.

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At around 14:00, I made my way through passport control and along to gate D102 where a pretty lonely looking A320 was waiting.

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As it turns out, this particular one is no stranger to LHR, having started its life with British Midland back in 2001 as G-MIDV. In somewhat of a coincidence, a few moments later, former sister ship G-MIDT (now wearing a BA uniform) pulled on to the adjacent stand.

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SK505
CPH-LHR
January 2015
Airbus A320 / SE-RJF
Seat: 19F / SAS Go
Scheduled: 14:50/16:00
Off Stand: 14:48
On Stand: 15:40

Boarding began, and was completed pretty quickly. Initially there was somebody sat in the aisle, although they quickly moved, meaning I had the row to myself again.

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The flying time was expected to be an hour and a half.

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We pushed back a couple of minutes early and headed over to the runway, departing pretty quickly.

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We were into some clouds soon after.

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And just a few moments after that, we emerged from them again.

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Soon after, I watched a couple of episodes of Family Guy on my iPad.

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During which time the Drinks service was performed, with seconds offered a few moments later.

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I stuck with the iPad until a few moments before descent started.

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We took the scenic route past London, which was lit up brilliantly in the low winter sunlight before touching down on to 27L.

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After we landed, the captain appeared a little lost… (I’m sure he wasn’t though). Instead of taking a right in the direction of T2, we turned right and headed off in the direction of T5. Once we reached T5C, we did a U turn and headed off in the right direction.

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We pulled in next to an A3 A321, and as it turned out we were parked on probably the nearest stand to border control.

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From leaving the plane to seeing the sculpture out the front took around five minutes at the most due to there being no queue at all at the E passport machines. It was then through the tunnel to the bus station.

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And with that, my first trip of 2015 was at an end.

Swiss continue to impress, and I’m glad I had the chance to try their business class cabin – the only slight complaint was that they could have offered a little more for breakfast – but maybe I’m being a little picky.

Same goes for SAS – if you can find a decent fare, then they’re a very good airline with friendly crew and a decent lounge, at least at CPH.

EasyJet/LAN/SAS | A319/B788/B736/B738 |LGW-MAD-FRA-ARN-LHR

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

The LAN flights between MAD-FRA have been quite a popular with a.netters over the years. Although admittedly, I hadn’t really put much consideration into taking one. Then one day, Gabriel posted on Facebook that he would be taking one in November 2013 and asked if anybody wished to join him. His report can be seen here: http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/248640/

Now LAN has pushed their 787’s on to the route, it sparked my interest somewhat, and being able to take a flight with a fellow a.netter sweetened the deal. I replied as a ‘maybe’ as I wanted to see how much money I had left after my trip to Asia. As it turned out, I spent far less than anticipated, so the day after my return I booked my flight via the LAN website:

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With the MAD-FRA sector sorted, it was now time to book a flight down to Madrid. Not wanting to risk missing the flight due to delays/cancellations etc. I looked at flying out on the Friday evening after work. As the BA rotations either left too early or too late I looked elsewhere. Air Europa came in at around £80 or EasyJet came in at £55, including a pre booked seat. Having been dead against flying EasyJet for many years, their new policies regarding their seating arrangements made me come around to the idea of flying them. The fact they were £30 cheaper than Air Europa and there wasn’t much difference in service sealed the deal.

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I could then use the money saved to take a more interesting route home. The cheapest option to get from FRA to London was with Lufthansa, however after flying that route just a few weeks previously on my way home from Zurich, this option really didn’t appeal. I studied other options and the best one was SAS via Stockholm on a rare 737-600.

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Pretty much from booking, despite everything online saying the LAN flight would be a 787, everything seemed to show a 767 seat map.

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Finally at OLCI, the 787 seat map was showing up but unfortunately all but one window seat was taken. Being at the back, I figured it was probably the famous windowless row. Either way, I took my chances.

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EasyJet check in was made online a massive 30 days in advance:

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Despite the odd issue:

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Everything worked out at the second attempt:

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I later moved forward to seat 7A

On the day of departure, I rushed home from work, got changed and was out the door within ten minutes, catching a pretty packed train to Clapham Junction at 13:45.

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I made my connection at Clapham, and was then on to an even busier train for the hop down to Gatwick, arriving at just before 3pm. I made a pass of the EZY check in, but as I suspected there wasn’t any way to grab a souvenir boarding pass.

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I did notice that VS have replaced their ticket sales counter with a pretty unimpressive Upper Class check in area though.

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Following this I made my way up to security, where I was invited to use the fast track – which pleased me for all of twenty seconds until I made my way in and realized there was a pretty big queue. Hmmm. Around fifteen minutes later I was through – probably the longest it’s taken me to clear security at LGW in a good few years.

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I was amazed at how much this place has changed since February when I was last here. Luckily, due to not having any lounge access for this flight, my favourite spot at LGW, The Bridge Bar was still in tact.

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I grabbed a drink and took a seat over by the window, however there wasn’t a huge amount around.

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I stayed here for around an hour or so – despite there not being much going on outside, it was still ore interesting than being in the shopping mall of a terminal. At around ten to four, I left the bar and went for a walk. I noticed that the airport had installed iPad type devices around the balcony.

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I headed downstairs and had a quick look through the new shopping area, before my gate was called a couple of minutes early – which was a first for Gatwick!

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So I made my way down to gate 19, where it wasn’t actually open but there was a queue. A few moments later all the speedy boarders were called forward. There were quite a few of them, which ended up leaving me at the front of the normal queue. Unusually, there wasn’t any waiting around in the holding pen – instead it was straight down on to the jetway – and instead waited around for fifteen minuets there instead – great planning there. Is this an EZY thing or the Spanish (of which there seemed to be many on this flight) being too eager to board?

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Whilst on the jetway, one of the ground crew decided to move it slightly to align it with the aircraft a little better – hope there weren’t any Health and Safety execs around… Once I was finally on board, I was given a very warm welcome on board by an elder purser. I took my assigned seat, and watched the seemingly endless masses make their way onboard – this evenings flight seemed pretty full to me.

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EZY5481
LGW-MAD
November 2013
A319-100 / G-EZFS
Seat: 7A / Economy
Scheduled: 17:00 / 20:25
Off Stand: 17:04
On Stand: 20:17

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Decent enough legroom

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Wonder how long this has been here?

Boarding was completed around fifteen to twenty minutes later, however there wasn’t a chance to leave early, so we just sat and waited.

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During this time, the captain came over the PA and announced a flying time of an hour and fifty minutes and that it would be a little bumpy over the Bay of Biscay. We pushed off stand and made our way down to 08R a few moment behind schedule, following the Aer Lingus retro jet, and being followed by a trio of company Airbuses.

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We made our way into the air at 17:25 and made a 180 degree turn to the left to fly back past LGW.

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It was then darkness for the duration of the flight. Shortly after departure, the crew started their service – I’ll take a cappuccino and a brownie thanks! Delivered with a friendly smile, and an ‘ooohh, good choice’.

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After I’d eaten I updated the TR and listened to some music.

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I did want to get a decent cabin shot, but I was still a little scarred from my Flybe experience, so I stuck to the subtle shots instead.

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I stuck with the iPod until descent started at 19:40 local. It was a little on the bumpy side, but nothing too serious. We seemed to descent to a pretty low altitude fairly quickly, before flying around for a good fifteen minutes. Almost like we were driving around a packed car park trying to find the one remaining space.

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We touched down and made a pretty long taxi over to terminal 1.

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Ex AeroMexico by the look of it.

We arrived on to stand, and as usual, everybody was up immediately – not that anybody was going anywhere. Around ten minutes later the captain was on the PA saying that the ground crew couldn’t find any chocks, therefore the jet bridge couldn’t be attached. A further five minutes later he was on again, and said that ‘the last set of chocks in Madrid had now been found, therefore we should all be away shortly.’ Over ten minutes later, the engines were finally shut down. As I exited, I asked the crew at the front what the full reg of the aircraft was as I hadn’t been able to see it at LGW, and they were more than happy to inform me. EasyJet had made a pretty good impression on me.

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I made my way down to passport control, and asked for a stamp in my passport – this was met with a cheerful ‘of course sir’. Strange how some countries see it as such a problem, yet others seem to do it without question.

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I then made the very long walk – around twenty minutes or so – down to the metro.

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Once I arrived, it took a while to buy a ticket due to a group of American tourists refusing to use the machine in English as they had to practice their Spanish… Fair enough, but do you really have to practice it when there’s people waiting and you have absolutely no idea, so have to translate every word on your iPhone?! I eventually made it on to a train to Alfonso XIII where my hotel was located, arriving around twenty minutes later.

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I dumped my bag and made my way back out again on to the Metro to meet Gabriel at his hotel in the Centre of Madrid.

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We had a great dinner, shared a few of our stories and followed up with a drink in a bar before I had to make my way back due to the metro closing at 1:30AM.

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The following morning, I headed out for a walk around the area where my hotel was, taking in a few of the local parks before inadvertently ending up in the same area I stayed on my previous visit, around where Real Madrid’s stadium was.

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Around 11ish, I decided to head back to the airport on the metro.

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The new IB branding has sprung up pretty quickly.

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Nice terminal, shame about the main inhabitants.

I met Gabriel at the LAN check in. I asked if there were any window seats further forwards available (so I could sit nearer to my friend – or at least that was the story) and he said no, before disappearing off to chat to the agent next to him in Spanish. I had wondered if he was going to upgrade me so we could sit together, but it wasn’t to be.

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We then unsuccessfully attempted to use the fast track security, so we made our way through the regular channel instead. Odd how this is basically a One World terminal, yet neither a Business Class passenger or a One World status holder are entitled. We then immediately made our way into the Iberia lounge.

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After a few minutes we made our way to the third party airport lounge, accessed via Gabriel’s Priority Pass. Let’s just say, this was a short visit… we didn’t want to disturb the hordes of sleeping passengers!

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It was then down on to the monorail and through passport control for the third lounge visit of the day – another Iberia lounge. Probably the best one of the day as it wasn’t too busy, had a decent food and drink selection and better views of the taxiway. The only niggle was that there was only thirty minutes of free Wi-Fi. Guess Wi-Fi rationing is alive and kicking in Spain?

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This is the result of 2 a.netters being let loose in a lounge.

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Gabriel spent quite a while here contemplating a future adventure.

Of course, the previously mentioned views made for some good photo opportunities too.

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Bloody lamp posts…

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After a while, our ride up to FRA made its way past:

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We stayed here for the next hour or two, before making our way down to the gate at around 14:30, where pre boarding was under way – so we were able to go straight from the lounge to plane with no stop in-between – except for a picture or two:

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LA704
MAD-FRA
November 2013
Boeing 787-8 / CC-BBB
Seat: 33A / Economy
Scheduled: 15:15 / 18:05
Off Stand: 15:16
On Stand: 17:38

Once onboard, Gabriel turned left and I turned right towards the back. I was glad to see that I had just missed the missing window row, although the layout on this one means that neither row is completely missing a window.

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The flow of people boarding stopped and the middle seat remained free, which was good as the legroom wasn’t overly generous I found.

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The button.

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Mood lighting in boarding mode

The captain gave a brief update, stating that our flight time would be 2 hours 20 minutes.

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We pushed back pretty much on schedule and made a slow taxi out to the runway. During taxi, the crew moved everybody in the last few rows forward – I was hoping I wouldn’t be included in this, seeing as there weren’t any more window seats available. Luckily, their quest was cut short by takeoff so I was able to stay put.

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Lighting now in taxi mode

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It was typically quiet, and untypically (by Spanish standards) wet.

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A good few minutes later we broke through the clouds.

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Cruise mode

I decided to check out the IFE however nothing really jumped out at me so I stuck with the tried and tested sky map and iPod. This system was completely touchscreen – no controller in sight

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Around twenty minutes after departure, the service carts were rolled forward. The meal was a cheese, ham and mustard roll and a kitkat.

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Following this, I took a walk to the rear galley, although I might as well have been invisible. Except for one crew member giving me a few shifty looks for daring to have my camera in hand. They then pretty much disappeared for the rest of the flight.

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Crew rest seats, complete with leg rest.

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LAN branded toiletries in the washroom

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Descent started as it was getting dark outside.

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The mood lights in the cabin couldn’t seem to make their mind up which colour they wanted to be, but they seemed to settle on dark orange and navy on finals.

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We touched down on to the new runway at 17:25 and made the long taxi over to terminal 1.

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After we arrived on stand, I made my way forward and met Gabriel.

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We made our way through to a busy passport control and then out to arrivals.

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I also used one of the LH machines to check in for my flights the following day. Although I wasn’t too pleased with the seats I had been given so later changed them via online check in.

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We then met LH4532 (Daniel) and then went to the DB lounge for a couple of hours for a chat.

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When Daniels train came, we all left the lounge, Gabriel and myself bid Daniel farewell and then made the short walk to my hotel. Once again the Hilton Garden Inn would be my residence for the night.

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As Gabriel still had over an hour until his train, we made our way to the supermarket and brought a couple of beers and chatted about aviation… And the trip that Gabriel had been contemplating booking pretty much all day!

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After around an hour, it was time to go our separate ways – Gabriel on the ICE, and me to bed for the night before continuing my journey the following lunchtime. The following morning the weather didn’t look all that great.

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I checked out of my hotel and grabbed some breakfast from a stand on the Squaire.

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I then made my away across to the terminal, taking a brief look around the shops landslide.

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Before heading through security. It was a little slow due to a shift change taking place, but nothing major. I spent the next hour or so wandering the A + pier and seeing what was around – mostly heavies.

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At 11:30 I made my way down to the gate. I was pretty confident it would be a bus gate as it was the same area I left from when I flew FRA-BRU.

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At 11:40, boarding was called although due to a problem with the electronic gates, nobody was going anywhere. A few minutes later, the problem was rectified and it was down on to a waiting bus, as expected. Before the bus had reached full capacity, it was off on a tour of the apron.

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There were a couple of SAS jets parked opposite T2, and for a moment it looked like we were headed for the adjacent A320, until we swung around the back of LN-RPG. Phew!

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I think we all know the saying

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SK2636
FRA-ARN
November 2013
Boeing 737-600 / LN-RPG
Seat: 18F / SAS Go
Scheduled: 12:15 / 14:20
Off Stand: 12:22
On Stand: 14:20

I made my way onboard and down to the rear section where my seat was. It appeared that boarding was completed with quite a few spare seats around, however another bus turned up and the crew announced a full flight – so I’m glad the 736 wasn’t substituted.

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Once boarding was completed, we pushed back and made the long taxi down to the runway. For the first time on my few visits to FRA, departure wasn’t made from the startbahn.

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We made it I to the air at 12:35 and much like yesterday, cleared the initial cloud layer pretty quickly.

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Once the seatbelt signs were switched off the crew came over the PA announcing a service of complimentary drinks, salads, hot wraps or a sandwich…. But only for those in business class. Everybody else gets free tea or coffee. Nice way to encourage people to fly business there… I grabbed a tea and grabbed my iPod. My choice of entertainment for this sector would be Oasis’ final album from 2008.

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Once the cabin had been served, the crew came around offering refills, which was something I didn’t experience on my SAS flights back in June, despite being a similar flight time.

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Due to there not being a sky map, I relied on the live, but less detailed version instead.

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As the album I was listening to was finishing, I felt the nose dip. So I took my earphones out and started paying attention again. The sun was getting pretty low in the sky, despite it only being around 2pm.

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We flew past Arlanda before making a 180 degree turn on to finals.

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We touched down at around 14:15, and made a short taxi over to the terminal.

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There was the usual wait to disembark, the usual thanks on leaving and then out into terminal 5. What an improvement this place is over T2!

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First stop was to find a transfer desk to get a SAS branded boarding pass, but I was stopped in my tracks along the way.

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Once lunch was over, with a heavier stomach but a lighter wallet, I carried on my way. The agent swiped my passport, gave me my boarding pass and directed me in the direction of gate F58, saying I would be best to head over there a.s.a.p. as it was quite a walk. I did exactly that, stopping for a few pics along the way.

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Still wish I’d taken one of the promo flights on one of these…

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I made my way through passport control and into a ghost town it seemed! I was quite literally the only person in this part of the terminal, due to being the only non-Schengen flight at this time, and as it later turned out the flight was barely half full. The only sign of life came from a radio at a distant bar. Other than that, it was complete silence. How relaxing!

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I made my way back to the gate area where a few people had come along and a pretty lonely looking 738 was on stand. Boarding wasn’t really announced. More a case of people just coming forward. I hung back a while, as I wasn’t sure if there was any kind of preboarding in progress, before making my way on board.

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SK1523
ARN-LHR
November 2013
Boeing 737-800 / LN-RGE
Seat: 29F / SAS Go
Scheduled: 16:10 / 17:50
Off Stand: 16:06
On Stand: 17:55

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No sooner as I had taken my seat it seemed, the boarding complete announcement was given – meaning I not only had my row to myself, but also the row in front and behind too. I overheard one of the crew mention that there were 63 passengers onboard.

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Better legroom than on the 736

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The captain welcomed everybody on board and said we would be leaving early – and it was a good thing we were as there was quite a heavy headwind, giving us a flight time of 2 hours 20. We pushed back a few minutes ahead of schedule and made our way out to the runway, departing at 16:15.

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Shortly after departure, the crew once again announced what business passengers would be having for their service, followed by what the rest of us would be having. As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I took advantage of not having anybody behind and reclined fully, not that the seat went back too far. The captain announced we were climbing to 40,000ft and currently had a headwind of 200kph.

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For this sector I went with Curb Your Enthusiasm on iPad for my entertainment, over a tea.

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Two of the crew offered refills on the drinks no less than four times before collecting the rubbish. The other three sat in the rear galley chatting. I guess it’s a little pointless getting all carts out when just the one is enough to serve everybody.

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After a while I started chatting to the flight attendant in the rear galley. He seemed pretty interested in the future plans of Heathrow. He also seemed to know nothing about the other airports in the London area so I filled him in about those, as well as telling him about my weekend.

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As I returned to my seat, the cabin lights were switched off. First time I’d experienced almost complete darkness on a euro hop. Although most people had their reading lights on.

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I sat and listened to the rumble of the engines until descent started at around 17:10 local. Almost immediately, there were a few bumps as we made our way into some high level cloud. The captain gave a brief update – saying that unusually, we didn’t have to hold this evening. Due to the cloud and darkness there wasn’t an awful lot to be seen on descent apart from the odd flicker of lights from other aircraft in the area. That was until we descended into the clouds and there was a bit of a light show.

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We touched down at around 17:50 and headed off to the other side of T3, docking at gate 11 alongside a company 737.

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As I disembarked, I asked for a flight deck visit which was granted. I had a brief chat with the flight crew, who agreed that it was rare not to have to hold, and the first officer mentioned she had transferred over from the MD80 fleet.

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It was then through a series of nondescript corridors to UK border control – which took longer than needed due to nearly everybody in the E-passport lane not having an EU passport.

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Once through, it was customs. I used the blue lane (as I’d come from the EU) which took me through a corridor, around and then spat me back out at the entrance to the green lane – how pointless. I made my way over to the central station, fighting my way through the London Underground ticket salesman who were generally being a nuisance and on to my now familiar ride home, £10.50 poorer.

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In conclusion then, I was pretty impressed with EasyJet. I’d resisted flying any LCC in the last few years. I’d tried out FlyBe a couple of times and was left massively underwhelmed. I figured I’d give U2 a go as they probably couldn’t be much worse and they were much better than expected.

LAN were an interesting bunch. Decent enough service but the crew could have been a little more outgoing.

SAS were decent enough. Sure, they may lack service but the crew were good – basically the complete opposite of LAN. If they were to merge, they would have themselves a pretty decent airline!

Jettime/SAS | B733/CR9 | LHR-CPH-BHX

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Once my two long haul trips of 2013 were sorted, it was time to look ahead to June. Being low on time off from work, this meant a weekend trip to somewhere in Europe. But where? One Saturday morning I sat down and explored options. It seemed logical to choose a weekend right in the middle of June, so the 15th/16th was set. Next up was where to go. Dusseldorf looked interesting from what I had seen, but the airlines/types just didn’t have the wow factor – except Air Berlin which operated an 07:25 service from STN – too early to get there in time, unless I stayed at the airport the night before, which would add to the cost of the trip. Next up was Munich, although that had the same problem as Dusseldorf – even flying with Air Berlin would mean I was put on that same flight out of STN with a connection in DUS. Oslo? Well maybe, but it was still on the B list.

One of the major points I was looking for was something a little different to flying an A32X out of LHR. Done that far too many times recently so looking for a change! Then I had the idea of flying with SAS on one of their MD81’s. Sure, it meant flying out of LHR again, but I could combine it with a CR9 back to BHX – a new type and airport for me. The only problem with this came from SAS’s website – you cant book an open jaw flight on it, so it was either two one way tickets or look elsewhere. Rather than book two one ways, I turned to Expedia and that gave me the desired itinerary on the one ticket. So out came the Visa card…

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Everything was confirmed on the SAS website.

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As hotel prices (along with everything else in this region) were a little steep in Copenhagen itself, I booked the Radisson Blu across the water in Malmo. It was slightly cheaper, plus it also meant I’d get to tick off another country and have a look around another city.

The final link in the chain was how to get back from Birmingham to where I live in Surrey. This was sorted via Virgin Trains. As they had a special offer on, it meant a first class ticket cost just £31 – where as a standard class ticket was £21. No brainer in my book!

The afternoon before departure, I checked in online.

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Still the MD81

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Once the day of departure arrived, I set off at just after 10:30 and made the 10 minute walk to the station. As I hadn’t brought my ticket online, I used one of the machines to buy one.

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At 11:05 the coach set off for LHR, arriving at 11:35, and just missing PalmJet, who was heading off to the USA via the Caribbean, for the third time, by an hour or so

It was then through the tunnels to terminal 3. Wonder why SAS don’t use T1 like most of the other Star Alliance carriers?

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It was then on to grab my souvenir boarding pass.

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Although the ssk didn’t seem to like my passport, so I had to queue up. I think SAS could do with a few more check in desks personally – just one agent for economy and one for business, despite there being quite a few flights departing.

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A few moments later, I was beckoned over to the business class desk and handed a rather plain looking boarding pass.

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It was then upstairs for a late breakfast. Or early lunch. Either way, I enjoyed it. And for those of you familiar with my reports, yes, this meal did put in appearance previously.

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Whilst waiting for my food, I decided to do a quick check on flight radar to see if I could track my inbound plane.

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Well that’s neither an MD81 or SAS.

Once I’d finished eating, I headed through security. It was pretty busy, as there were a number of VS flights departing, an EK A380 plus many more.

Once through, around fifteen minutes later, I went for a brief look through the busy departure area.

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And then down to the window at gate 23. As the view was blocked, I decided to delve a little deeper, and took a walk down to gate 34 – where it was much quiter.

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This livery is slowly growing on me

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As is this one

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Not much happening here. Scene of many VS departures to the US for me.

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As boarding was nearing, I headed back to the main departure area to see which gate I’d be leaving from – 9.

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Upon arrival at the gate, I tried to see some sort of confirmation of what aircraft I would actually be on. It was pretty difficult as there was barely any view out of the window, but a non T-Tail and Boeing style winglets meant it wasn’t the MD81. A few moments later, one of the flight crew sat at the computer next to me. I pulled up the screenshot from earlier in this post and asked if this was our jet – to which he replied it was. And that Jettime have a very friendly crew!

So it would be OY-JTA, delivered to America West as N172AW way back in 1987 and in service with them until 2002. From there, it went to Falcon Air Express, Sol Air, Aeromar Airlines, Aeropostal, Aero Honduras before a second spell at Falcon Air Express all under the reg of N371FA. It then spent a year in storage before Jettime were handed the keys in 2006.

Shortly after a very loud group of travelling Americans sat beside me – it appeared they wanted the whole gate area to know what an “awesome” time they had in London and their future plans. I was hoping I wouldn’t be sat near them, as I’d had enough after about thirty seconds!

Boarding was called at 13:50 for all status and business passengers…

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…in theory.

Shortly after rows 20-25 were called and I made my way down.

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SK 504
LHR-CPH
15th June 2013
737-33A / OY-JTA
Seat: 25A / SAS Go
Scheduled: 14:05/17:00
Off Stand: 14:28
On Stand: 16:18

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One thing that struck me once on board was that the legroom was a little tighter than usual, but nothing too serious on this short hop.

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The crew member I spoke to was correct though – the crew was friendly!

As it turned out, I was in the final row. Suited me. Although I wonder where I would have ended up if I had selected row 26 on the MD81 at OLCI?

During boarding, there were many announcements telling people to not block the aisle so as to not hold up the boarding process. Of course nobody paid any attention, and it was a pretty drawn out procedure.

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Once boarding was finally completed, the captain welcomed everybody on board and announced a flying time of 1h20.

There seemed to be a mix of American, Canadian, and the more obvious English and Scandinavian passengers on board. The flight seemed reasonably full, however the seat next to me remained open, with somebody in the aisle.

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Pushback was made at 14:28, and the cabin lights were dimmed.

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We made a very quick taxi over to 27R, however upon arrival we were at the end of a pretty long queue.

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After quite a long wait, it was our turn to depart into a very turbulent sky at just before 15:00. In fact due to the runway switchover, we were the last aircraft to depart from 27R that day.

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Following this was a bit of a rollercoaster ride through the clouds.

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Finally, some fifteen minutes after departure, there was some daylight to be seen.

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The seatbelt signs were then extinguished, and the crew announced the onboard service of a complimentary tea or coffee, and everything else had to be paid for – but by credit card only.

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The service then began, with one trolley from the front and another from the back, just as we were heading out to sea. When browsing the in flight mag, there was a feature about a day in the life of one of the cabin crew members. When the trolley reached my row, I looked up and the crew member that was featured in the magazine was now serving me tea! Small world.

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Tea was about the most to expect here. Not bad by airline standards.

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The rest of the time on board was spent watching the world below through a very scratched window.

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At 16:50 local, the captain gave an update, saying that we had started our descent, we were expected to be on the ground in 20/25 minutes and that there was quite a bit of turbulence on approach. Seemed to be the main theme of this flight!

On approach there was some quite heavy turbulence. Probably some of the heaviest I’ve experienced actually.

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Once out of the cloud layer however things got much smoother.

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Upon touchdown there were a couple of claps. Then it was over to the terminal.

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We pulled in alongside something a little bigger than us.

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There was the usual wait for the doors to be opened, although that didn’t stop the entire cabin getting up anyway.

As the jet bridges in CPH had glass walls, I was able to get my first proper glimpse of today’s jet (time).

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It was then through to arrivals. Interesting how they don’t seem to separate arriving and departing passengers here.

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There wasn’t any queue at passport control and I was stamped into country number six of 2013.

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Once through customs, I was into quite possibly the busiest arrivals hall I’d ever seen!

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It was then just a few steps down to catch the train over to Malmo, and country number seven of 2013.

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Whilst waiting, a pretty big storm broke out. That meant that views from the train going over the bridge were limited.

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Around half an hour later I arrived in a similarly wet Malmo central. I made the walk to the Radisson Blu hotel.

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I checked in and made my way up to the very spacious room.

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Around an hour later, the weather cleared up nicely so I headed out to see what Malmo was all about.

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I’m used to seeing Irish pubs, but an English pub?

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Sweden’s tallest building

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I then sat by the water watching a great sunset with the local fisherman.

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Before heading off to have a look at the old town.

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Looks strangely familiar?

After a good walk around, I made my way back to the hotel around 10:30pm, spending the rest of the evening watching a couple of rubbish films on TV.

The following morning, I used my ipad to check in for my return sector.

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I then headed downstairs for breakfast before checking out.

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The darker of the sausages were reindeer. I didn’t think much of it.

I then had a brief walk around the local area.

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Before heading in the direction of Malmo central to catch the train back to Denmark.

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Unfortunately, as we crossed the Oresund Bridge back into Denmark, the rainy weather returned.

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Upon arrival into Copenhagen, the weather had cleared up once more. I spent the next couple of hours walking the streets of the city.

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That’s more like it!

Although as the day went on the rain returned, so I took refuge in a burger bar that Gabriel had recommended the day before – great recommendation, thanks!

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After this, I made my way back to the station, catching the 14:35 train back to the airport.

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Upon arrival, I headed over to a SSK to grab my actual boarding pass – no souvenirs today due to not having access to a printer.

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Once again though this failed.

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After three unsuccessful attempts at scanning my passport I gave up and joined a long queue at self service assistance. Immediately a Chinese passenger started asking me a whole load of questions in broken English that I didn’t know the answer to – why do people always ask me?!

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Eventually I was handed my boarding pass and made my way up stairs and down a long corridor to a hassle free security.

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And once out the other side, it was into the mandatory duty free shop.

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Once I’d successfully negotiated my way past the perfume sprayers and watch salesmen, it was into a rather nice looking terminal.

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There were quite a few windows around too.

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I took the opportunity to buy a drink and to stock up with Ritter Sport at WHSmiths for the unreasonable price of £10.

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At least that should last until my trip to Germany in a few weeks… Or a few months back by the time you read this!

After this it was a bit of a look around before heading through passport control. Once through, I found a quiet corner where I could grab a few more pics.

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After this, I headed upstairs to some seats that offered a slightly better view.

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I remained here until around 16:30 when I headed down to gate C19, although it wasn’t actually open – so I just hung around in that general area.

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The gate finally opened at 16:50 and boarding began at 17:10. The bus made its way over to OY-KFF, delivered new to SAS in May 2009.

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SK 2535
CPH-BHX
16th June 2013
CRJ-900LR / OY-FKK Karl Viking
Seat: 21F / SAS Go
Scheduled: 17:20/18:15
Off Stand: 17:29
On Stand: 18:28

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Not the tidiest of cabins on arrival

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This flight looked to be pretty busy. I couldn’t see a single spare seat. Despite this the boarding process was completed pretty quickly. The captain made a brief announcement stating that the flight time would be an hour and forty five minutes.

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We pushed back a couple of minutes behind schedule and made our way over to the active. There was a brief wait while a Norwegian 737 departed.

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Once underway, at around 17:35, it was into the cloud and a few bumps, but nowhere near as bad as yesterday.

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Shortly after departure, the crew announced the service was beginning and that items were available to buy – details in the menu card in the seat pocket.

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Once again, tea and coffee were free of charge. I also grabbed an orange juice so I wouldn’t be stuck with that 10NOK coin for eternity! I was served by a female crew member who not only dished out the orange juice, but also plenty of genuine smiles.

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Overhead detail

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The captain was over the PA shortly after, saying we were cruising at 30,000ft. There was some turbulence ahead and that we were due into BHX in an hours time – so therefore five minutes behind schedule. So much for Europe’s most punctual airline!

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Not much else happened before descent started at 17:50 local. Due to the cloud cover there wasn’t a huge amount to be seen until well on to finals. And then there was a pretty good view of Birmingham city.

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Touchdown was made at 18:15 – so pretty much on schedule, and then it was a quick taxi over to the terminal, pulling in alongside a PIA 777. I couldn’t believe how small the spoilers were – can they really be doing anything?!

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We arrived on to stand at 18:20. As usual, as soon as the aircraft stopped, everybody thought the doors would swing open immediately. Of course, this wasn’t the case.

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Once the doors were opened, I was one of the last off. I made my way across the Tarmac and up the stairs to passport control.

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A few moments later, I was officially back in the UK again and making my way towards Birmingham international station

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BHX check in area.

Area where the shuttle stops.

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I got on to a pretty quiet Emirates-y shuttle for the minute or so ride to the station.

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It was then a bit of a wait for my train.

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Guess I wont be making use of the lounge then.

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Pretty soon after, the train arrived to take me to the South East.

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Shortly after departing Birmingham, the limited service started. That box was a bit like a tardis – didn’t expect to have so much in there!

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Before long, we had arrived at Watford Junction – those Pendolinos are fast!

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The second trains first class section wasn’t anywhere near as fancy. In fact it wasn’t any different to standard class apart from some head cloths. There wasn’t even a plug to charge my phone up!

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There was a bit of a hold up on this part of the journey. On planes, the crew ask if there’s a doctor on board. On trains it would appear the crew ask if there’s a member of the police on board!

Upon arrival at Clapham Junction, it was on to train number three of the evening making the final sector of my trip, lasting around 25 minutes or so.

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This one was a little better.

I arrived back into Woking at around 21:30.

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