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…
Everything was confirmed on the SAS website.
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.
Still the MD81
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.
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?
It was then on to grab my souvenir boarding pass.
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.
A few moments later, I was beckoned over to the business class desk and handed a rather plain looking boarding pass.
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.
Whilst waiting for my food, I decided to do a quick check on flight radar to see if I could track my inbound plane.
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.
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.
This livery is slowly growing on me
As is this one
Not much happening here. Scene of many VS departures to the US for me.
As boarding was nearing, I headed back to the main departure area to see which gate I’d be leaving from – 9.
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…
Shortly after rows 20-25 were called and I made my way down.
15th June 2013
737-33A / OY-JTA
Seat: 25A / SAS Go
Off Stand: 14:28
On Stand: 16:18
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.
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.
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.
Pushback was made at 14:28, and the cabin lights were dimmed.
We made a very quick taxi over to 27R, however upon arrival we were at the end of a pretty long queue.
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.
Following this was a bit of a rollercoaster ride through the clouds.
Finally, some fifteen minutes after departure, there was some daylight to be seen.
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.
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.
Tea was about the most to expect here. Not bad by airline standards.
The rest of the time on board was spent watching the world below through a very scratched window.
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.
Once out of the cloud layer however things got much smoother.
Upon touchdown there were a couple of claps. Then it was over to the terminal.
We pulled in alongside something a little bigger than us.
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).
It was then through to arrivals. Interesting how they don’t seem to separate arriving and departing passengers here.
There wasn’t any queue at passport control and I was stamped into country number six of 2013.
Once through customs, I was into quite possibly the busiest arrivals hall I’d ever seen!
It was then just a few steps down to catch the train over to Malmo, and country number seven of 2013.
Whilst waiting, a pretty big storm broke out. That meant that views from the train going over the bridge were limited.
Around half an hour later I arrived in a similarly wet Malmo central. I made the walk to the Radisson Blu hotel.
I checked in and made my way up to the very spacious room.
Around an hour later, the weather cleared up nicely so I headed out to see what Malmo was all about.
I’m used to seeing Irish pubs, but an English pub?
Sweden’s tallest building
I then sat by the water watching a great sunset with the local fisherman.
Before heading off to have a look at the old town.
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.
I then headed downstairs for breakfast before checking out.
The darker of the sausages were reindeer. I didn’t think much of it.
I then had a brief walk around the local area.
Before heading in the direction of Malmo central to catch the train back to Denmark.
Unfortunately, as we crossed the Oresund Bridge back into Denmark, the rainy weather returned.
Upon arrival into Copenhagen, the weather had cleared up once more. I spent the next couple of hours walking the streets of the city.
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!
After this, I made my way back to the station, catching the 14:35 train back to the airport.
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.
Once again though this failed.
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?!
Eventually I was handed my boarding pass and made my way up stairs and down a long corridor to a hassle free security.
And once out the other side, it was into the mandatory duty free shop.
Once I’d successfully negotiated my way past the perfume sprayers and watch salesmen, it was into a rather nice looking terminal.
There were quite a few windows around too.
I took the opportunity to buy a drink and to stock up with Ritter Sport at WHSmiths for the unreasonable price of £10.
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.
After this, I headed upstairs to some seats that offered a slightly better view.
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.
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.
16th June 2013
CRJ-900LR / OY-FKK Karl Viking
Seat: 21F / SAS Go
Off Stand: 17:29
On Stand: 18:28
Not the tidiest of cabins on arrival
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.
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.
Once underway, at around 17:35, it was into the cloud and a few bumps, but nowhere near as bad as yesterday.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?!
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.
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.
A few moments later, I was officially back in the UK again and making my way towards Birmingham international station
BHX check in area.
Area where the shuttle stops.
I got on to a pretty quiet Emirates-y shuttle for the minute or so ride to the station.
It was then a bit of a wait for my train.
Guess I wont be making use of the lounge then.
Pretty soon after, the train arrived to take me to the South East.
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!
Before long, we had arrived at Watford Junction – those Pendolinos are fast!
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!
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.
This one was a little better.
I arrived back into Woking at around 21:30.