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My Travel Year 2013

Since 2013 is coming to and end, I thought it’d be nice to summarize the travel year in a blog post!

I ended up flying 80 flights this year, which is twice as much as the year before. A reason for this, is my Norway adventure in July, which included 20 flights in 5 days.

I use Flightdiary to keep track of all my commercial flights as a passenger. It is a great tool, with a lot of neat features, such as social interaction with Facebook and it summarizes flights based on airline, distance, aircraft type, etc.

Out of the 80 flights, 39 were domestic and 41 were international. The total distance was 53 520 miles (86 132 km) and total time spent in the air was 148 hours and 37 minutes. Or 6.2 days straight in the air! The distance traveled, equals the circumference of the earth 2.2 times! I’ve also contributed with my fair share to the global warming project, with 11,4 tons of CO2 gases. Yey!

Quick Stats
Total miles: 53 520 mi
Longest flight: Orlando, FL (MCO) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) (4740 miles)
Shortest flight: Mosjøen (MJF) to Sandnessjøen (SSJ) (24 miles)
Most Flown Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 and DeHavilland Dash 8-100 (15 flights each)
Most Flown Airport: Oslo (31 times)
Most Flown Route: Kristiansand (KRS) – Oslo (OSL) (8 times)
Most Flown Airline: SAS (43 flights)

January

In January I flew to Florida to fly some on my own in smaller general aviation aircraft. I flew United in economy from Oslo via Newark to Orlando. On the return I flew business class Orlando-Frankfurt-Oslo-Kristiansand! Very comfortable way to cross the Atlantic ;)

You can read more on my trip home from Florida here

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Flying a Cessna 152 in Orlando

February

“All” I did in February was a mileage run from Kristiansand to Frankfurt via Copenhagen and back in one day. I scored two flights on the now-retired MD82 CPH-FRA-CPH which made the entire run worth while.

Climbing out of Frankfurt on the return to Copenhagen (MD82, SE-DIK)

Climbing out of Frankfurt on the return to Copenhagen (MD82, SE-DIK)

March

In March it was time for a well-deserved vacation, and me and my parents flew to Portland, OR to visit family and friends. We flew SAS to Chicago and United to Portland, OR. I got upgraded to economy extra or business on all the flights except from the last hop from Copenhagen-Kristiansand on the return. We had a great time in Oregon and Washington. These two states have previously been undiscovered territory for me (except from Seattle, WA which I visited last year) and to be honest, it is probably one of the most amazing areas in all of the United States. Amazing nature, great local beer and lots to see and do. We returned back to Norway after Easter, in April, after a week on the road.

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Cherry blossom in Salem, OR, the state capital.

May

Mid-May I went to Washington D.C/New York to celebrate May 17th with my family there. May 17th is Norway’s Constitution Day. I flew Kristiansand-Oslo-Copenhagen in economy, an received an “courtesy upgrade” on the trans-Atlantic portion of the flight, Copenhagen-Washington D.C. Very nice, and as always much appreciated.

On the return from Washington D.C to Copenhagen, I was upgraded from economy to business using Optiontown
Before departure, a “bird” tweeted to me that one of the flight attendants would be Lilli, and if I could say “Hi” to her from him. As I boarded through L2, and took a left turn, she stood right by my seat 01E, so finding her was easy. She welcomed me, in the warmest and most sincere way I have ever been greeted on board an airplane. I think it’s easy to conclude that SK926, IAD-CPH, May 21, 2013, easily takes home the award of “The Flight of the Year “

c class

Row 1 on board SAS A340

I also did a mileage run to Barcelona later that month, but that was all economy, and not much to report, other than the crew that was… puzzled that I had just flown to Barcelona with them, and that I would also fly back to Oslo with them, on the same aircraft. I guess mileage running isn’t all that know to many crews.

June

In June, I had to go to Stockholm for work, and that trip included a lot of “firsts” for me. On the first flight, Kristiansand-Oslo, I got to ride cockpit jumpseat!

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Climbing to our cruising altitude of FL250

On final for 19R at Oslo

On final for 19R at Oslo

SAS goes above and beyond for their passengers, a HUGE thanks to those who made it possible :)

SAS goes above and beyond for their passengers, a HUGE thanks to those who made it possible :)

From Oslo to Stockholm I got to fly the B717 for the first time, onboard Blue1 dba SAS.

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Shooting a video for Disney Channel Scandinavia :) I also got to fly the DC10 simulator in Västerås for 4 hours! Fun!

After my job was done in Västerås, I did a mileage run to Helsinki. Mainly to get some more flights on the B717, but also to check off Finland as a country I’ve visited (this time I had time to go out of the terminal and stand outside for a few minutes), and not to forget – fly on board an aircraft model which matches the flight number. Yes, SK717 was operated by a 717!

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The airport code of Helsinki-Vantaa is kinda funny. I went to HEL(L) for the day.

In June, my brother returned home from Oregon. I flew to pick him up in Oslo, since airfare was cheaper than taking a bus. He could also use my free baggage allowance as a gold member, getting all his stuff home safely.I flew to Oslo in the morning, waited for him to land with British Airways from London, and we took a flight back to Kristiansand later that afternoon. Turned out the flight was completely, packed full, and they needed volunteers to get on a later flight. Since that wasn’t an option for us, and we already had confirmed seats, we didn’t bother. But at least one extra person got home because I ended up, once again, in the cockpit jumpseat!

On final for RWY 22 in Kristiansand

On final for RWY 22 in Kristiansand

July

July was the craziest month for me, in terms of travel. I did 20 flights in 5 short days, together with my friend Per Christian. Our trip started in Copenhagen, where we met up. “Faith” would have it, that Lilli was in Copenhagen also that evening so we had a little snack with her before going to our hotel.

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It was also Lilli’s birthday, so me and PC brought her flowers and wine :)

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One of many highlights on our trip, Nordkapp (North Cape) which is the northernmost point in continental Europe (this could be up for discussion though, since it’s located on an island, which is connected to the mainland via an underwater tunnel)

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Flying from Bodø (BOO) to Mo i Rana (MQN)

August

No flying in August :(

September

WOW. Do I really need to say anything more? I went on the craziest #avgeek charter flight. You can read more about that trip here

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October

As a part of a promo, SAS offered me renewed gold status if I did 2 round trips in SAS Plus (their new business class product on European routes) between October 1 and October 31. So I did. Two round trips to Nice (NCE) – LOL.
(Frequent flyers often loose contact with the real world, and will often go out of their way to do whatever the airline tells them to do, in order to get a short-cut to elite status.)

But it was fun. I have spent a total of about 55 minutes in Nice on my two trips. Crew thought we were crazy when we boarded the same airplane back to Oslo. Fortunately we were seated in SAS Plus, which means free alcohol. The beers were cold and the sparkling wine in small bottles were endlessly served from the galley.

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November

In November, me and my family flew to Dublin to celebrate my father’s 60th birthday. We had a great time, and I loved the city. Definitely a city I’d like to visit again.

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Trinity College Library, Dublin

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This is the mandatory drink when visiting Dublin. Here enjoyed in the Gravity Bar at the Guinness brewery

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Flying from Dublin to Copenhagen on board Blue1 and their B717

December

To wrap of this extraordinary, wonderful and amazing travel year, I flew to Amsterdam for a weekend with good friends. As you have read so far (if you have read it all, that is) all my flights have been on time and there have been no irregular operations. Of course, this had to change on the final trip of the year. My original flights from Kristiansand to Oslo to Amsterdam all got cancelled because of weather and I got to Amsterdam on later flights, 11 hours delayed. At least I got there eventually.

As this was the final trip for me this year, I had brought with me Christmas cards and chocolates to all the crews I flew with. I think it’s safe to say that it was much appreciated, especially since the weather was crappy all weekend long. They were very happy with my little treat and I wished them all a peaceful and happy Christmas holiday.

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In Amsterdam I met up with my good friend Ryan and we had a great time together!

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And finally, from the last flight of the year, I present you with this black spinner photo.
Flight WF267 CPH-KRS, Dash 8 Q-400 (LN-WDH)
I received special Hollywood Treatment ™ on board which SAS and Widerøe are best in class of providing.

Thanks a million to all of you who contributed to make 2013 my best travel year yet.
It has been an amazing journey, and I hope 2014 will continue the same way.

With only the best wishes for the year to come.

- Cecilie -

Et lite innlegg i homofili-debatten

Dette leserinnlegget er oversendt Agderposten. Og mens “vi venter” på publisering, kan du som leser bloggen min, kose deg med mine ytringer.
 
God jul!
 
The following text is an article written in Norwegian, and sent to a Norwegian newspaper for publishing. Feel free to use Google Translate to read it! :)
 
Merry Christmas!
 
Cecilie
 
Image

Jeg kunne i Agderpostens 18.desember-utgave lese med stor forskrekkelse den pensjonerte presten Gerhard Woie, skrive i positive ordlag om Jan Olav Olsens syn på homofilt ekteskap. Det er neimen ikke ofte jeg føler for å debattere mot presteskapet men her kunne jeg ikke la ting forbli usagt.

Jeg er kristen selv, og tror på Jesus, bare for å ha klarert det først som sist. Det jeg misliker sterkt er enkelte kristnes evne til å drive “shopping” med hvilke tanker og ideer Bibelen leverer, og som de velger å følge. De som er i mot at homofile skal få gifte seg, argumenterer ofte vagt med at “Det står i Bibelen.” (For det gjør det jo også, i 3. Mosebok 18/22) Men det er mye annet som også står i Bibelen.

2. Mosebok (21/7) sier at det er greit å selge datteren sin som slave. Dette er noe vi har gått bort i fra i vårt moderne samfunn.

I 3. Mosebok (25/44) står det at jeg kan eie både mannlige og kvinnelige slaver så lenge de er
kjøpt i et naboland. Stakkars svensker.

I 3. Mosebok (1/10) står det at man ikke skal spise skalldyr. Her er det vel opptil flere sørlendinger, prester også, som synder hver sommer ombord i båtene sine med reker og krabber. For ikke å snakke om havets kardinaler om høsten!

I 3. Mosebok (21/20) står det klart at man ikke kan nærme seg Guds alter dersom synet er dårlig. Kirkebenkene er vel tomme nok som de er, så man bør vel ikke begynne å diskriminere basert på synet?

For en måneds tid siden klippet jeg meg kort. Jeg gikk fra lange lyse krøller til kort på sidene og litt lengde på toppen av hodet. Dessverre for meg så er det tydelig en synd i følge 3. Mosebok (19/27)

Bestefaren min eier et lite småbruk. Han synder mot 3. Mosebok (19/19) fordi han planter to ulike avlinger på samme jorde. I samme tekst står det også at man ikke skal bære klesplagg vevd av to ulike stoff. Ooops, her sitter jeg i en genser laget av polyester og bomull.

Mange har i dag en dum uvane for å banne i dagligtalen, meg selv inkludert. Er det en rimelig straff at hele Arendals befolkning møtes for å steine de som misbruker Guds ord, slik det står skrevet i 3. Mosebok (24/11-16)?

Felles for alle disse lovene er at de er fra det Gamle Testamentet. Lovene i det Gamle Testamentet var lagt frem av Gud som reglene hebreerne måtte følge for å være rettferdige, for å sone for synden fra Adam og Eva og for å komme til Himmelen.

I følge kristen tro, kom Jesus fra Himmelen som Guds sønn og døde på korset for å tilgi oss våre synder. Hans offer på korset var ment som den ultimate gjerning som ville fri oss fra de gamle lovene og gi oss innpass i Himmelen ved å leve etter hans eksempel. Dette er derfor kristne ikke trenger å omskjære sønnene sine, ofre dyr eller la håret gro, eller noen av de andre lovene jeg har nevnt fra 2. og 3. Mosebok.

Når kristne da gjengir lovene fra Mosebøkene som Guds lover og de sier at dette er lover og regler vi må følge fordi det er hva Gud eller Jesus vil at vi skal, så er det de egentlig sier som kristne at Jesus’ offer på korset ikke gjelder. Han døde forgjeves fordi du tror vi fortsatt skal følge gamle lover. Det du da impliserer, som god kristen, er at Guds eller Jesus’ plan for din frelse ikke er bra nok for deg.

Det står mye rart om synd og homofile i det Gamle Testamentet. Vi som protestantiske kristne, tror på lovene i det Nye Testamentet. De gamle lovene fra Mosebøkene døde Jesus på korset for at vi skulle slippe å leve etter. Når man argumenterer mot homofilt ekteskap med Bibelen som “bevis”, driver man “shopping” etter de ideer og tanker man liker fra Bibelen hvis man kaller de andre lovene i 2.- og 3. Mosebok for irrelevante eller utdaterte. Slaveri er forbudt i Norge, og polyester og bomullsgensere selges uten restriksjoner på det åpne marked.

Jeg sier ikke at man skal kunne stå for alt som står i Bibelen, og jeg respekterer at andre er i mot homofilt ekteskap. Jeg ønsker bare om at man tenker seg litt om før man drar Bibelen inn i diskusjonen om homofili.

Julens budskap er et budskap om kjærlighet. Kjærlighet til hverandre, som venner, familie, kjærester og ektefeller. La oss derfor huske på det som står skrevet i Paulus’  første brev til korinterne, kapittel 13, vers 13:
“Så blir de stående, disse tre: tro, håp og kjærlighet.
Men størst blant dem er kjærligheten.”

Med ønske om en fortsatt god jul. Det er flott at vi kan feire Jesus fødsel, vår frelser som aldri hadde et vondt ord å si om homofile.

Cecilie Larsen
Leder, Arendal Unge Høyre

The Ultimate Frequent Flyer Experience

SAS MD80 FAREWELL CHARTER

When an old aircraft retires from the fleet, the only appropriate action is to charter it and take an old lady for one long, last flight, with good friends.

And that’s exactly what we did.

My friends at milepoint.com (where frequent flyers meet) with tommy777 as the head organizer, put together a great program for the NordicDO 2013. A “do” is, as the verb describes, doing something. In this case, chartering our own aircraft, and fly across Scandinavia.

The MD82 has been in service with SAS since 1985 but now it’s time for newer and more fuel efficient airplanes. As of May 2014, SAS will be operating a fleet of only Next Generation jets.

So let’s get to it!

The trip started Thursday, September 19, in the morning, when I took the train from Arendal to Oslo. It took me about 4 hours to get to Oslo, and it was a nice and comfortable ride.
I got off the train and headed for the Radisson Blu Plaza hotel which is conveniently located right next to the train station. I checked in to my room, located on the 17th floor, before it was time for a welcome reception on the 33rd floor of the hotel.


My Oslo-view from my room


The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel at night

The next morning I had a quick breakfast before I got on the airport express train (ticket sponsored by Club Carlson for this event) and after 20 minutes on the train, I arrived at Oslo Gardermoen Airport.

To be honest, you wouldn’t think we were a group of frequent flyers on tour. We had a dedicated check in counter for those of us with gold cards. Which meant everyone got in that line ;-)
I have never seen such a long line for check in at Oslo before.

We checked in, and we also got our special name tags.

After check in, some of us proceeded to the SAS Scandinavian Lounge where we were granted access, despite that we were flying on a SAS charter, and not a regular scheduled flight. The Lounge Dragons were on our side this day! (But you needed a gold card from SAS to enter)

When the monitor in the lounge said “Go to gate” for SK7001, we walked over to Gate 44 where our beautiful MD82, SE-DMB waited for us.

As we got settled in to our seats (16E for me on the first leg to Stockholm), the party kicked off.

First, a passenger on our flight, took the safety demo. Turns out she’s an ex-Pan Am flight attendant ;-)

But we also had regular crew onboard. Here, our air host Mattias shows us where the emergency exits are located.

The Air Purser, Karin, had purchased, out of her own pocket, Scandinavian flags and small bouquets of fresh flowers to decorate the interior of the aircraft. It really underlines the dedication of the SAS employees working with our flight. They are all so passionate about their company and their job, and it really shows.

Then we pushed back, and taxied to the runway for take off. Or so we thought.

The captain thought it’d be a good idea, to clean this old woman with some water before taking off, considering he had so many celebrities onboard (Captain Ola’s own words haha)

Water salute courtesy by the emergency response team at OSL!

All cleaned up, we could finally take off!

It was a beautiful take off, and the entire airplane started applauding when the wheels lifted off the ground. We were in an ecstatic mood. And that mood continued for the rest of the day.

The service on board this flight is something you will never experience onboard any SAS (or any other airline, for that matter) flight. Breakfast was served on the first leg, a 40-minute flight from Oslo to Stockholm. With alcohol. Free alcohol. When Norwegians are offered free alcohol, they never decline such a generous offer (keep in mind, a glass of beer at a bar here in Norway is 10-15USD)

The flight attendants had their hands full with serving a full MD80-flight breakfast and drinks. But they did an amazing job.


Air Hostesses Hanna and Natalie


The amazing Air Purser, Karin, with her vintage SAS wings on her uniform.
Karin has been employed with SAS since 1978!


Stockholm-Arlanda in sight, and we start the approach to RWY26.

Keep in mind this 40-minute flight had a full meal service + drink service. Thus, cleaning the cabin took a while.


The guy in the blue t-shirt in the aisle, is tommy777 himself. He is here seen running up the aisle with breakfast boxes, cleaning the cabin. We were well below 3000 ft at this point.


Here are some of the crew, cleaning up the last few items before announcing “cabin secure” to the flight deck.
But the “cabin secure” didn’t get to the pilots, so they had to discontinue the approach, while we were on final lol. So they made a left 360 to get everything ready for landing. The cabin crew seemed a little…stressed. ;-)


Wheels down, we can land!

In Stockholm, SAS welcomed us into their SAS Business Lounge in Terminal 5, which they had closed down that afternoon, just for us. Vice President of Eurobonus, SAS’ frequent flyer program, gave a little speech. We could ask him some questions, most of which he really couldn’t answer, as it was mainly concerning a new tier coming to Eurobonus this fall, that will be revealed later on.


Lounge party!

My friend Jennifer, a 787 flight engineer working with Norwegian and Qatar in Stockholm, joined us as well. Nice to see you again Jen!


The SK7001 crew!

SAS handed out goodie bags as we left the lounge, to go back to our airplane for the next flight.


SE-DMB parked by F-37.

For the next flight to Copenhagen, I got seat 17F. Before boarding, we were let loose on the tarmac to take photos of the aircraft.


Air Hostess Hanna and me

It was then time for boarding, which iconically happened through the back of the airplane.

We took off from RWY 19R and after some right and left turns for noise abatement, we were headed north.

North?!?

Copenhagen is south of Stockholm, isn’t it?

Yes, it still is, no one blew up the city and moved it to Northern Sweden. But when we’re talking about frequent flyers, we never take the shortest route, do we?

Nop.

Stockholm-Copenhagen is usually a 340 mile, 1 hour flight. Usually. But there is nothing usual about SK7001.

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 7.50.31 PM

This was our flight. 3,5 hrs was the estimated flight time enroute.

When flying northbound, the captain announced he had to really convince the air traffic controllers that his plan was indeed to fly to CPH. Via BOO (Arctic Circle) and SVG.

So with the airplane in the air for the next 3,5 hours, service began.

With hot towels! I can really not recall the last time I was offered a hot towel in economy.

I had to take a photo, as evidence ;-)


Sophie joined me, and got settled into her new favorite seat, 17E.


With Karin behind the wheels of the drink cart, the party started ;-) ROCK’n’ROLL!


What an amazing view to enjoy my dinner with.


Dinner, with HOT ROLLS!

I enjoyed a glass of champagne with my dinner. Life is good.


Speed brakes? Yes, we were going to do a low pass over Stavanger!

Since traffic at SVG was coming in from the south and taking off to the north, we couldn’t get a low pass over the airfield (we came in from the north, thus going against the traffic flow)

But we got down to 2,500 ft. And according to the crew, the aircraft started to depressurize, thinking it was going land. But with the flip of a switch, and applying power, we started a gentle climb up to cruise. During cruise we had a MD80-quiz and more fun before we unfortunately started the approach to Copenhagen.


I couldn’t stop smiling. This flight was beyond what I had ever imagined.


Before landing, we pushed ALL the cabin attendant call buttons, just to make sure they still worked, 22 years after the aircraft was built ;-)


But all things must come to an end. That includes also SK7001. For the first time in my life, I wished, from deep within my heart, that the flight would never end.


Touch down on Runway 22L in Copenhagen. I have never heard this much applause on an airplane before.
A special flight was over, and as we taxied to gate I was reminiscing all the great memories I have had with the SAS MD80 fleet.

SE-DMB will be ferried to the US later this year, for a transformation to become a water bomber. Knowing that, makes it a little easier. It will still play an important role for many many people in the years to come.

Election results

This summer and early fall I have been working so hard to reach one goal, and one goal only. To change the country’s prime minister from Jens Stoltenberg (Labor party) to Erna Solberg (the Conservative party)

Monday, September 9 was election day, and I was working as an election official to make sure everything went smoothly. As the election came to an end towards the evening, the results were published shortly after.

And the results spoke for them selves. When all the votes were counted, the non-socialist parties had won, meaning Erna Solberg, the leader of the Conservatives and our prime minister candidate, will create a government together with the Liberals, Christian Democrats and the Progress Party.
Erna Solberg will be the second female prime minister in Norway.

Long nights, lots of work. It all paid off. When I went to bed that night, after the election, I felt a sense of emptiness. What will I do tomorrow? Just go to work? No more campaigning? The campaign has been a part of my life since late July, so it was kind of a shock to return to the daily life and reality. But it also feels good. Knowing we did everything we could, and that we actually made a difference. A huge relief. And a self confidence booster for sure.

This is my first weekend off in a long, long time. I look forward to just go to work for a few hours tomorrow, Saturday, and other than that – just relax!

Next weekend I’m jetting of to new adventures in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen, on a privately chartered aircraft. Stay tuned ;)

Cecilie

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