At the end of the year, I feel it is appropriate to sum up my year, with regards to travels and flying.
Near the end of 2011, I set a goal for myself “I will fly each month of the year” – a goal that seemed impossible at first, but as the year progressed, it turned out I wasn’t far from my goal at all.
Well, the goal was actually spoiled in January already, when I didn’t fly at all. But how did the rest of the year turn out for me?
Preflighting N96557 (C172)
As a grand total, I had 40 flights (+ 1 General Aviation (GA) flight in a Cessna Skyhawk 172SP), flying more than 79 000 km (49 000 mi.) A total “air time” of 122 hours (or more than 5 days straight) on board an airplane, I’m happy with what I got to see and do.
I had to go to Florida to keep my Instrument Rating current, and my mom decided to come with me. Or rather, it is impossible to rent a car or get a hotel room unless you’re 21 or older. So my mom was my chauffeur and buddy for this trip.
Our itinerary was Kristiansand (KRS) – Oslo (OSL) – Munich (MUC) – New York (JFK) – Tampa (TPA) – Boston (BOS) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Oslo (OSL) – Kristiansand (KRS) and was flown with a mix of Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa and jetBlue.
With regards to frequent flyer miles for my SAS Eurobonus card, this trip was a disaster. Economy class (booking class K) with Lufthansa only gave me 25% of the flown miles, you don’t earn miles on domestic flights in Norway and jetBlue was definitely out of the equation, even though they have an interline agreement with Lufthansa. So I ended up with a total of 2500 points/miles for the entire trip. But I won’t complain too much, it was a cheap fare.
That being said, Lufthansa was “as expected” on the transatlantic legs, and intra-european they were decent. We were lucky to get a refurbished A321 from OSL to MUC, the “NEK” (die Neue Europa Kabine = the new Europe Cabin)
The A321 NEK
The seats are VERY slim, but for a 2 hour flight it worked out OK.
The colors used are a bit boring, if you ask me though. Throw in some blue or yellow!
A 3-class (First, Business and Economy) A340-300 brought us from MUC to JFK, where we exited the airplane extremely early, thanks to our seats being on the first row of economy, right behind business class. That only means one thing when arriving in America – NO line in immigration. We were through in a split second.
An Airbus 320 from jetBlue awaited us in JFK, and took us down to Tampa, and back to Boston 2 weeks later. I was happy with the on board product that jetBlue offers, especially the Direct TV. It was free, from what I remember, which is better than what you get on United where it’s only free for a little while.
The jetBlue A320 parked in Tampa, getting ready for the flight up to Boston
In Boston, we boarded the Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747-400, this individual being built in 1989! Old lady.
Smart-me: During check-in, I asked for a window seat for me and an aisle seat for my mom. Turned out no one wanted the middle seat between us, so we had plenty of space to actually get some sleep.
No personal entertainment system on this old lady. Which I really didn’t care about, the scheduled BLOCK time (brakes off to brakes on) was an amazing 5hrs55min – I don’t think I have ever crossed the Atlantic THAT fast before!
Well, technically, the return trip from Florida was in March too, but it was part of a trip that started in February so I’ll leave it like that.
The week after I came home from Florida, it was time to get going again. This time to Seattle!
My itinerary was like this: Oslo (OSL) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Seattle (SEA) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Oslo (OSL) – Kristiansand (KRS)
The flights OSL-FRA-OSL-KRS were all operated by SAS, and the flights to and from Frankfurt were in business class. Now, intra-european business class is nothing fancy, you get a blocked middle seat, giving you more space, and a hot meal. That’s really it. But it was a fun experience nonetheless. From Frankfurt to Seattle and back, I had the pleasure of flying in business class with Lufthansa on their A330-300.
I had a great seat, I was served good food and got plenty of rest in the comfortable seat (though it doesn’t recline 180 degrees)
White table cloth before meal service began! I definitely approve this way of traveling
My longest, to date, flight. 5100 miles one way. Block time of close to 11 hours. But it was worth it!
I had 26 hours in Seattle.. The first thing I wanted to see was the first location of Starbucks. This is where it all began!
I went to the top of the Space Needle, too! Breathtaking views from up there.
Aaaand, I got to meet the Dreamliner! What an awesome experience!
Upon returning to Frankfurt from Seattle, I had access to the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge, for a well-needed shower!
Frequent flyer-wise, this trip was a bargain! For 10 000 NOK (approx 1800 USD) I got a round trip in business class, 11 000 miles traveled. Since the fare was booked in the booking class Z with Lufthansa, they give you 200% of the miles flown, leaving me with 22 000 frequent flyer miles and hitting the SAS Eurobonus (and Star Alliance) Silver tier. My frequent flyer card changed its color for the first time in my life. But this was just the beginning…
No travels in April, unfortunately
Scandinavian Airlines all the way! Kristiansand (KRS) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Washington DC (IAD) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS) for a weekend was the perfect get-away.
A mix of the Dash 8 Q400 and the A340-300 took me to the American capital and back. The weekend in DC was incredibly warm, and I tried my best to fill it with interesting stuff to see. Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, a tour of the US Capitol, the US Holocaust museum, the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, the Museum of Natural History, eating sushi at the best sushi restaurant in DC (supposedly, and it really was amazing), Washington Memorial, WWII memorial, eating strawberries on a bench on Lafayette Square.. It was just perfect, in every way
Some photos of my trip to D.C can be found HERE
On the return leg of my trip, I decided to spend some miles on an upgrade from economy to economy extra, which was well worth the price of 10000 miles. I got a better seat and a better meal.
I cashed in 10000 miles on this trip, including the Silver status bonus of an extra 15% on flights operated by SAS (or Blue1 or Widerøe)
June was a good month when it came to flying. It started with a mileage run to Madrid. A mileage run is a set of flights you take, and the sole purpose is to collect miles. My route was Kristiansand (KRS) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Madrid (MAD) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS)
Yes, I did a day trip to Madrid.
In security in Kristiansand, I handed my boarding card to the security agent who said “Wow, that’s a lot of flights” – without further questions I headed to Madrid via Copenhagen on the Dash 8 Q400 and then the MD82.
Upon disembarking the MD82 in Madrid, I said good bye to the flight and cabin crew, like any other civilized passenger would do. Little did they know that I would board the same aircraft with the same crew in about 30 minutes.
More on the Madrid-trip can be found HERE
This itinerary left me with 5750 frequent flyer miles, a good pay for a day’s work if you ask me
But June isn’t over yet. Later in the month I visited my friend Ryan in England. My flights were:
Kristiansand (KRS) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Manchester (MAN) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS) on the Dash 8 Q400, MD82, A319 and Dash 8 Q400 respectively.
I had a wonderful few days in Yorkshire filled with airplane spotting at MAN, eating breakfast next to the Concorde, visiting many historical sites, drinking multiple (I think I stopped counting after the 4th….) Jäger bombs with my buddy Ricky and just having a great time!
A few words on my England trip and some photos as well, can be found in THIS blog from June.
Upon landing back in KRS, I had earned 2300 frequent flyer miles, which was enough to get SAS Eurobonus (Star Alliance) Gold status!
It was time to travel again! This time to one of my favorite cities, Berlin. I have a friend who lives there so visiting her is something I really enjoy as well.
This was the first time I would travel as a SAS Gold member, and therefore I booked long connections in Copenhagen, just to enjoy the airport lounges a little more.
My itinerary was like this: Kristiansand (KRS) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Berlin-Tegel (TXL) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS)
As usual, the flights between KRS and CPH were operated by the Dash 8 Q400.
Dash 8 Q400
On the flight from Copenhagen to Berlin I was upgraded from economy to business class. My first trip with SAS after I became gold, and I get an upgrade! How awesome is that!? Seated in row 4 on the MD82, I could barely hear the engines spool up during take off or during climb out. So quite up front. I’ve heard MD80-pilots say they are honestly concerned if the engines are really running during flight. There is no way they can tell by just listening. I don’t blame them, those aircrafts are so comfortable to travel with.
Berlin was wonderful as always, and it was great to spend some time there with my friend.
The trip gave me 3750 frequent flyer miles.
As a treat for my self for my birthday, I booked a trip to Frankfurt (FRA) airport, with a night’s stay at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport. You can read more about my trip to Frankfurt HERE , HERE and HERE
My itinerary for this trip was Kristiansand (KRS) – Oslo (OSL) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS)
I was actually upgraded to economy extra on the return from FRA to CPH, which was a nice touch from SAS.
3125 miles for this trip.
NEW YORK AND FLORIDA!
I have written about this trip HERE but I will give you a summary of my trip here:
KRS-OSL 737 Economy class
OSL-EWR A330 Economy class
EWR-CLT A320 Economy class
CLT-MCO B762 First Class
MCO-EWR B737 Economy class
EWR-CPH A330 Economy class
CPH-KRS Dash 8 Q400 Economy class
12325 points for this trip which puts me in a good position for renewing my gold status with SAS in 2013.
So, there you go, my flying year 2012. It has been a remarkable year and I can’t wait to get started on my travels for 2013.
Wishing you all a prosperous, healthy and aviation-filled New Year!