Category Archives: travel
2014 har vært et utrolig innholdsrikt og spennende år for meg. I april kvalifiserte jeg meg for det nyopprettede Eurobonus Diamond-nivået hos SAS, og i mai dro jeg til Asia for første gang. Jeg kan også i år konstantere at et medlemsskap hos Miljøpartiet de Grønne er ganske så usannsynlig i uoverskuelig fremtid.
Jeg fører opp alle flyturer jeg er med på i Flight Diary (alle småflyturer jeg selv flyr utelukker jeg, og fører dem kun opp i min loggbok) og det er fra Flight Diary jeg har hentet disse tallene:
2014 – generell statistikk
Totalt antall flyturer: 73 (39 domestic / 34 international)
Total flytid: 227 timer og 6 minutter (9,5 dager eller 1,4 uker)
Total distanse: 151 563 km / 94 177 miles (eller 3,8 ganger rundt jorden)
Co2-utslipp: 19,2 tonn
Topp 5 flyplasser
1. Oslo OSL (37 ganger)
2. København CPH (22 ganger)
3. Kristiansand KRS (19 ganger)
4. Bodø BOO (12 ganger)
5. Newark EWR (6 ganger)
Topp 3 flyselskaper
1. SAS (41 flyturer)
2. Widerøe (10)
3. United Airlines (5)
Topp 7 flytyper
1. B737 (16 turer)
2. B738 (13)
3. Dash 8-Q400 (9)
4. A320 (6)
5. B736 (5)
6. A321 (4)
7. A343 (4)
Topp 3 flyruter
1. KRS-OSL (6 flights)
1. OSL-BOO (6)
3. CPH-KRS (5)
Topp 7 lengste flyruter
1. København CPH – Singapore SIN (6 200 mi)
1. Singapore SIN – København CPH (6 200 mi)
3. Newark EWR – Honolulu HNL (4 960 mi)
3. Honolulu HNL – Newark EWR (4 960 mi)
5. Beijing PEK – København CPH (4 476 mi)
5. København CPH – Beijing PEK (4 476 mi)
7. Chicago ORD – Berlin TXL (4 405 mi)
I januar tok jeg med mamma langt til havs, nærmere bestemt Honolulu på Hawaii. Dette var resultatet av det massive førjulssalget Widerøe kjørte i november 2013. T/r Oslo-Honolulu kom på småpene 3000 NOK per pers.
Det er vel rimelig å si at det var greit å ligge på Waikiki Beach midt i januar, mens Arendal ble begravd i 2 meter snø.
Til Honolulu fløy vi med United Airlines, og vi fløy verdens 3. lengste innenriksrute, nemlig New York til Honolulu. Flytiden var på over 10 timer. Til sammenlikning så tar det i underkant av 7 timer å fly fra New York til Oslo.
Flytest: United Airlines – Economy Class – Oslo-New York
Flytest: United Airlines – Economy Plus – New York-Honolulu
Hotelltest: Park Shore Waikiki
Reisebrev fra Hawaii – del 1
Reisebrev fra Hawaii – del 2
I februar tok jeg (nok en gang) turen til USA, og denne gangen var det for å teste Norwegian og deres Boeing 787 Dreamliner på ruten Oslo-New York. Vi kom oss avgårde kun 30 minutter forsinket, noe som absolutt bør kunne regnes som “on time” i forhold til mange andre forsinkelser det selskapet har opplevd siden oppstarten.
Mens jeg var i USA, reiste jeg på kryss og tvers av landet for å teste flyselskap og hoteller, og skrev om disse på Bonusfeber.no:
Norwegian – Economy Class – Oslo-New York
Southwest – Economy Class – New York-Chicago
JetBlue – Economy Class – Chicago-New York
United Airlines – Business Class – New York-San Francisco
Virgin America – Economy Class – San Francisco-Los Angeles
American Airlines – Business Class – Los Angeles-New York
Air Berlin – Business Class – Chicago-Berlin
The Lexington NYC
Hyatt Rosemont Chicago-O’Hare
Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles (LAX)
Courtyard New York Manhattan/Herald Square
I mars dro jeg tilbake til USA, men denne gangen stod 1,5 uke med familieferie på programmet. Jeg dro sammen med mamma og den ene broren min, kusina mi, besteforeldrene mine, og søsteren til morfar. Vi besøkte familie og venner i New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania og Maryland.
Flytest: SAS – Economy Class – Oslo-New York
Hotelltest: Radisson Martinique on Broadway, New York City
Denne turen sørget også for at jeg fikk testet alle de tre selskapene som flyr direkte mellom Oslo og New York. Derfor laget jeg en sammenliknende test av United, Norwegian og SAS.
Sammenlikning: Hvilket flyselskap er det beste i økonomiklasse fra Oslo til New York?
April var en rolig reisemåned for meg, med kun en helgetur til Stockholm.
Hotelltest: Radisson Blu Hotel Uppsala
Mai var kanskje den mest hektiske reisemåneden i 2014. Den startet med en reise til Singapore og Indonesia, hvor jeg var invitert av Singapore Airlines til å teste deres business class.
Flytest: Singapore Airlines – Business Class – København-Singapore
Flytest: Silk Air – Business Class – Singapore-Lombok
Flytest: Garuda Indonesia – Economy Class – Lombok – Bali – Yogyakarta
Flytest: Silk Air – Economy Class – Yogyakarta-Singapore
Flyplass: Singapore Changi – verdens beste flyplass?
Flyplass: Ambassador Transit Hotel – Singapore Changi
Hotelltest: The Oberoi Lombok
Hotelltest: Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, Bali
Hotelltest: Alaya Spa & Resort – Ubud, Bali
Hotelltest: The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Hotellbesøk på Lombok (inkl. Hotel Tugu Lombok og Jeeva Klui Resort Lombok)
Hotellbesøk på Bali (inkl. St. Regis Bali og Alila Hotel Ubud)
Mot slutten av mai, dro det seg til med flere flyreiser. En hel dag fløy jeg mellom Kristiansand og København, sammen med Christian Skjelstad som er flyvert hos Widerøe.
Grunnen til dette var at jeg ville se nærmere på hvordan livet som flyvert(inne) faktisk er, og det å være med på jobb en hel dag, gav meg et verdifullt innblikk i hvordan en arbeidsdag kan se ut, for både piloter og cabin crew.
To dager senere, gikk turen litt lenger ut i verden, nærmere bestemt Beijing med SAS!
I juni var det på nytt tid for å teste livet som flyvertinne, og denne gangen ble jeg med Hilde Christine på jobb i et døgn. Hun er flyvertinne hos SAS og jeg ble med på nattstopp i Alta med henne og resten av crewet. Resten av historien kan du lese her!
Selv om jeg for det meste satt stille og rolig på klappsetet i cockpit hele dagen, så må jeg si at jeg faktisk kjente det litt på kroppen. Det å fly så mye som flyvert(inn)er gjør, tar på! Etter turene med Hilde Christine og Christian, har jeg fått et helt nytt syn på yrket cabin crew. Dette er et yrke for helt spesielle mennesker, som takler stress, utfordrende arbeidsmiljø og utviser en ekstrem fleksibilitet, samtidig som sikkerheten alltid er første prioritet. Det er noe jeg tenker litt ekstra over nå, når de spør om jeg har lyst på en kopp kaffe eller noe annet fra vogna. Jeg er alltid påpasselig med å si “Tusen takk” fordi det oppsummerer alt jeg er takknemlig for med kabinbesetningen. De har ansvaret for vårt ve og vel, og står på hodet for at vi som passasjerer skal ha en god opplevelse ombord.
Da var jeg hjemme og slappet av på brygga.
…eller tok meg en båttur sammen med kusina mi med Willy Wonka-solbriller.
For en spennende måned. Først og fremst, så hadde jeg jo bursdag, noe som ble behørelig feiret sammen med gode venner og familie. Vi spiste krabber, reker og sushi, og dytta i oss bløtkake til vi sprakk.
Et par dager etter bursdagsfeiringen, så tok jeg kofferten under armen og stakk nordover.
Nye eventyr ventet på meg i Bodø, hvor jeg har begynt å studere eksportmarkedsføring.
I august gikk turen også sydover, til Oslo for å delta på et styremøte. Da fløy man selvfølgelig SAS.
I september gikk turen til Dubai med Emirates. Jeg var med på første flyvningen fra Oslo til Dubai, og gjengen fra Bonusfeber var spesielt invitert til diverse arrangement i Dubai. Blant annet fikk vi se Emirates Aviation College og Inflight Catering Facility.
Her skulle jeg linket til en trip report om Emirates i økonomiklasse. Men hey, den har jeg ikke skrevet ferdig enda, så du får vente i spenning. Jeg kan jo si såpass at turen bak i balja var veldig bra, og antakelig den beste økonomiklassen jeg har prøvd på langdistanse.
Det som også var på programmet, var en sinnnnsyyykt bra fest på Park Hyatt Dubai. Den var så bra, at jeg bestemte meg for å ikke reise hjem, sånn helt med det første.
Så jeg fløy heller hjem med Lufthansa i economy. En billett som ble bestilt 05.30 norsk tid, med EB-poeng.
Ikke helt etter planen, men, sånn kan det gå.
Men jeg kom meg altså hjem til Bodø, kun 18 timer forsinket.
Litt senere i september, dro jeg til Oslo for å delta på Ungdommens Europakonferanse i regi av Europeisk Ungdom. Det var en lærerik og interessant helg. Bodde for “enkelthets skyld” på Radisson Blu Airport Hotel OSL, men det var egentlig fint, for der fikk jeg en nydelig juniorsuite!
Hjem fra Oslo, fikk jeg fly SAS First Class, takket være en superhyggelig kaptein (og litt ombooking av billetter)
Når jeg tenker etter, så har jeg vel egentlig vært mer i Oslo enn i Bodø i høst, for etter kun et par dager i Bodø, så gikk turen sørover igjen, og denne gangen skulle jeg på høstferie i Arendal. Første etappe var med SAS fra Bodø til Oslo, og der var det som vanlig full Hollywood Treatment.
Etter en uke på Sørlandet og turer i fjellet i Telemark, fløy jeg nok en gang nordover, OSL-BOO var siste flytur i september.
Oktober inneholdt ingen reiseaktivitet, så jeg brukte tiden på å bli litt bedre kjent med Bodø, og gå på forelesninger (tror jeg.)
Oj, oj, oj! November var en Hollywood-måned uten sidestykke. Jeg reiste til Chicago sammen med Hilde Christine og turen startet for min del med BOO-OSL (selvfølgelig) med Alexander som flyvert!
I Chicago stod julegavehandling (for det meste til oss selv) på programmet, samt en tur til selfie-heaven; The Bean i Millenium park.
Etter å ha vært liiiiitt hjemme i Bodø, og avgitt en eksamen, så dro jeg (nok en gang) til Oslo for å delta på årsmøtet og julebordet til Foreningen Flyprat.
Noe sliten, møtte jeg opp på Gardermoen neste dag, i det minste tidsnok til avgang, men formen var vel heller på den litt slitne siden.
Jeg fikk derfor medlidenhetskuler fra Lindt og hyggelig beskjed ombord fra crewet:
Symbolsk nok, ble både sjokoladekuler og servietten servert i en spypose.
Etter å ha skrevet de to siste eksamenene, kunne jeg torsdag 11.desember sette meg på et Widerøe-fly fra Bodø til Bergen.
Ja, man kommer jo ikke frem sånn helt uten Widerøe 😉
Fra Bergen gikk turen videre med enda en grønn Dash fra Widerøe, og noen minutter over 11 på kvelden, 11.desember, landet jeg trygt og godt på sørlandsk grunn, på Kristiansand lufthavn Kjevik.
På årets siste tur, så er det blitt en liten personlig tradisjon å ha med en liten gave til crewet. I år ble det både julekort, julegodteri og klementiner til de super-hyggelige folkene i Widerøe!
Tusen takk til alle dere som har fulgt meg gjennom årets reiser. Takk for hyggelige tilbakemeldinger på hotell- og flytester. Det er slikt som gjør det verdt å legge ned masse tid og energi på å skrive gode rapporter. Jeg håper jeg kan fortsette med det også i 2015, selv om reiseaktiviteten er noe mer begrenset nå grunnet studier.
Tusen takk til alle dere jeg har blitt kjent med på mine reiser i løpet av året. Dere er gullverdt, alle som en. En særlig takk vil jeg rette til Christian Skjelstad, flyvert i Widerøe, og Hilde Christine Sørå, flyvertinne i SAS, som begge tok så godt i mot meg da jeg fikk bli med på deres respektive arbeidsplasser! Dere er begge stjerneeksempler på hvordan et besetningsmedlem ombord i fly, bør og skal være. Widerøe og SAS er heldige som har dere som ansatte.
Med ønske om en god jul og et godt nytt år.
Jeg håper 2015 vil bringe mange fine, nye minner!
“Suddenly” a trip back to the States
So I was browsing the internet during my lunch break at work yesterday and came across an ad online, where this guy needed to sell his plane tickets to Washington DC from Oslo (round trip). He didn’t need to go anymore, as the friends he was supposed to visit had moved from D.C to Vancouver, B.C, Canada. He asked 1500 NOK (approx $250) for it, and I decided to buy it from him. The only “problem”? The departure day is Thursday. This Thursday.
Yes, May 16th I will once again, and for the third time this year, get on a plane bound for America. I am obsessed with that country. 🙂
So after paying the guy 1500 NOK for the ticket I contacted SAS (operating and marketing carrier in this case) to change the name on the ticket, which cost 500NOK. No problem, and a new ticket was issued to me within minutes of me hanging up the phone.
Now, I don’t really know what to do in D.C for 5 days, so I contacted my cousin Molly and told her about my plans for the weekend. She is spending the weekend until Sunday morning, in Upstate New York by a lake, and she invited me to go with her and her boyfriend. So how the heck do I get to Lake George? By train or plane, were the options. I decided to book a flight direct to Albany (ALB) 2 hours after I arrive from Copenhagen in Dulles. I also booked a return ticket to IAD from EWR Tuesday May 21 when my flight back to Europe departs IAD in the afternoon.
I also booked a connecting flight to Oslo (OSL) from Kristiansand (KRS) with SAS, Thursday morning.
I will spend a few days up by Lake George first, then head to NYC for the Syttende May parade (May 17, Norway’s Constitution day) in Brooklyn, which is a yearly parade celebrated by Norwegian-Americans.
Flights are pretty full, but I sent an Optiontown request for my return flight IAD-CPH from economy to business class (paid, standby upgrade) so I’m crossing my fingers that will work out.
Well, I better start packing. Between me and my trip is 6 hours at work tomorrow, and some intense hours of packing.
Back to the US… again
So it has been a while since my last blog post. I’ve kept busy with my political organization, as well as planning our family trip to Portland, OR and Seattle, WA over Easter. But now I’m back in Norway and intend to stay here for a while. Until I fly somewhere else next month 🙂
Flying to Portland was awesome. I was upgraded on all flights except from the last flight coming back to Kristiansand from Copenhagen. Which I’d say is a pretty good deal. One flight in coach, that I can take 😉
Our flights were
March 25, 2013
WF262 Kristiansand-Copenhagen, Dash 8 Q400 (Business class, seat 07A)
SK943 Copenhagen-Chicago, Airbus A330-300 (Economy extra, seat 18H)
March 26, 2013
UA1585 Chicago-Portland,OR, Boeing B737-900 (EconomyPlus, seat 08A)
April 2, 2013
UA640 Portland-Chicago, Boeing 757-200 (EconomyPlus, seat 07D)
SK944 Chicago-Copenhagen, Airbus A340-300 (Business class, seat 04A)
April 3, 2013
WF277 Copenhagen-Kristiansand, Dash 8 Q400 (Economy, seat 11A)
My parents got upgraded to business class as well on SK944 from Chicago to Copenhagen and we all felt very awake and fresh as we landed in Copenhagen.
In Oregon we had a great time. We visited Salem, the state capital, drove to Seaside, drank locally brewed beers, drove around the Olympia national park, took the ferry from Kingston, WA to Edmonds, WA. Drove to Seattle. Got a little lost in the city of one-way streets but with me reading the map and navigating we got back on track. My family and I also had dinner with Karlene Petitt and her husband. We visited the Boeing Assembly Building, which is the largest building in the world by volume. The Museum of Flight on Boeing Field was also visited. I met up with a Boeing engineer who will come to Norway and work this summer, at the Museum of Flight. We had a lot of fun looking at the exhibits.
Getting our cravings for aviation satisfied for a while, we headed south to Portland via the I-5. Before the sun set, we visited the Multnomah falls. Beautiful place!
We stayed the last two nights in Portland, where we “kept it weird” 🙂 Tuesday, I met up with Alesa and had coffee before I headed to the airport.
We left Portland for Chicago and via Copenhagen, SAS took us safely home Wednesday afternoon.
See you soon again, America 🙂
A comfortable ride across the Atlantic
So, as I have mentioned earlier, I was supposed to go back to Norway January 20, but due to bad weather and maintenance issues with the aircraft, my flying got delayed so I had to postpone my return flight to Norway.
I first called United to see if I could change the return date to January 23, but that wasn’t possible due to my fare being non-refundable (bought off a sale in October) I then tried to look up one-way tickets to Europe, which are not cheap. Not at all. United wanted over $2000 for a one-way ticket MCO-KRS – in ECONOMY!!! A definite no-no. So after being on the phone with United for 30 minutes, I hung up and called my lovely airline Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) who could give me an award ticket, booked with my miles. The agent was very friendly and found a route that suited me perfectly, with short layovers (at this point I just wanted to get home as quick and efficient as possible) At first he thought I needed a round trip (I didn’t specify I would only need a one-way ticket this time) so he gave me an offer, 40000 miles for a round trip in economy. I then said I only need the one-way, and he figured out I had enough points for a one-way in business. I wasn’t hard to convince, and soon I was booked in business all the way from Orlando, via Frankfurt and Oslo, to Kristiansand. 66000 miles and 256 NOK later, I got my ticket by e-mail. A smooth experience, and actually the first time I have redeeemed any of my frequent flyer points.
I returned my rental car at Sixt, was expedited quickly and took the shuttle to the terminal. I checked in using the First Class / Star Alliance Gold check in counter which had no line what so ever. Checked my two bags and headed for security where Lufthansa apparently doesn’t have a priority lane, which I found kind of weird. I got through it with about 10 minutes of waiting, and took the train over to the concourse where my plane would depart in about 2 hours.
Lufthansa doesn’t have their own lounge in MCO, but uses Delta’s Sky Club. Not a very big selection of snacks, but I guess it was late in the afternoon and not many flights departing. Plenty of seating areas, I had no trouble finding a place to relax before my flight. The bathrooms were very nicely decorated and furnished. I had some snacks, changed into my “I’m crossing the Atlantic at night”-attire (sports bra and a sweat shirt. On board the plane I changed into sweat pants) before the Lounge Dragons announced Lufthansa flight 465 to Frankfurt was ready for boarding, and that a Lufthansa representative would meet us in the lounge and escort us to the gate.
WARNING: Text is below the picture!!!
We were then escorted over to the gate where boarding was about to start, but we were the first ones on board the Airbus 340-600 (registration D-AIHH) bound for Frankfurt. They used 2L for boarding and after I entered the cabin I took an immidiate left and found my seat, 8D.
When boarding was announced completed, no one had claimed 08A/C so I moved over to the window seat and got the two-seater all by my self. I like to have direct aisle access on long haul flights, especially at night, but with no one in the C seat I was good to go with my window seat 🙂
A photo I snapped of the leg room in 08D before I switched seats
Once in 08A, I was greeted by the purser with my last name (at first she thought Ms Larsen didn’t board since it was stated in her manifest that I would be sitting in 08D) but I gave her a hint that I just moved seats. She was very polite, and sort of apologetic. She hoped I had a good ground experience in MCO, which I confirmed, but my only complain would be no priority security. I was served a glass of champagne before take off.
Once in 08A, this was my view of the forward business cabin,
On our way to lining up on 35L, ready for take off!
MLB VOR was in our flight plan, but I thought we’d be cleared more direct. But no, we headed south to Melbourne after departure, then started our oceanic crossing from there.
I was handed the menu for tonight’s flight.
I went with the seafood salad as a starter, cod filet as main course and the chocolate for dessert.
But first, time for some beer and nuts. Warsteiner glass bottled beer is a classic onboard Lufthansa in business and first class. Back in economy they serve it on a can.
Seafood salad, probably the best dish in the entire meal. Crisp salad, hot roll and the prawns tasted fresh and delicious.
Nothing left of the seafood salad 😀
The cod tasted OK but the presentation lacked some I thought. Kind of sloppy.
“Would you care for some chocolate, Ms Larsen?” How awesome, they said Ms Larsen to me throughout the meal service. Nice touch! The chocolate was heavenly!
Time to get some rest! The old business class seats on board Lufthansa doesn’t recline 180 degrees. My biggest complaint with the seat, however, is the area around your feet when the seat is fully reclined. It reclines under the seat in front of you, and the space around your feet is very limited.
Never the less, I got 4 hours of sleep and woke up feeling pretty fresh and awake as we crossed in to European airspace. Breakfast service started 1,5 hours before landing.
The breakfast platter consisted of some fresh cold cuts as well as an egg omelet and some potatoes. Fresh fruit, tea and OJ complimented the meal.
Being greeted the best way possible by Europe: With an amazing sunrise
Short final for 07L (new runway) in Frankfurt where we landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
D-AIHH parked by the gate after the flight. I disembarked through door 1L and headed straight for the lounge.
Since I had some time until my flight to Oslo, I decided to go to the Welcome Lounge (outside of security) knowing that lounge has more showers than the business/senator lounges airside. Even thought it was kind of a long stroll from Terminal A, it was well worth it. Sophie the Frequent Flyer Bear liked it a lot too 🙂
Feeling refreshed after the shower, I headed to Terminal B where a bus gate awaited my next flight, SK4756 to Oslo. The flight was operated by LN-TUF, a Boeing 737-700.
On board we were served sea bass. The chocolate for dessert was very sweet, but rounded the meal off nicely.
Flying next to Denmark.
North Jylland, Denmark.
I hate transferring international-domestic in Oslo, because I have to go through customs, recheck my bags and go through security again. But it was the only option available on award tickets that day so I just had to suck it up. My bags actually appeared early on the baggage belt with their priority tags, so I headed through customs, up to the departure level and got through security.
Now, remember the girl I met when I departed Oslo 1,5 weeks earlier? Well, guess who I met in the domestic terminal this Thursday afternoon? The same girl! What are the odds?!? We just accidentally bumped in to each other. She was headed to Bergen for the weekend. Our flights departed from the same area of the terminal so we found a place to sit until boarding started.
This is the gate for my flight, SK221 to Kristiansand. You’d think it was the last helicopter out of Vietnam.
I was one of the last to board and found my seat, 11F. Full flight, and all the overhead bins were full. I ended up with my carry on Rimowa under the seat in front of me, with my backpack on my lap and feet on the Rimowa (Sorry, my dear little suitcase)
We took of late, but at that point I didn’t care. To be honest, I fell asleep before pushback and didn’t wake up until we had started our descent into Kristiansand.
It was a very comfortable trip, though it cost me some miles, it was definitely worth it.
The service I received with Lufthansa was very good. They are upgrading their business class seats to something similar to what Swiss offers. I’m eager to try that product out, but for now it’s hit-or-miss if you get an aircraft with the new business class seats.
The meals were consistenly very good.
My only complaint is, as mentioned before, the lack of priority security in MCO for business class/ Star Gold passengers.
That’s all I have for now 🙂 Hope you enjoyed following along my trip home from Florida!
Florida – getting there
Getting to Florida is kind of a long haul for me. My trip started Saturday, January 12 with a train ride from Arendal to Oslo, where I checked in to the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport Hotel which is literally as close to the airport terminal as you can get. Very conveniently located hotel. Grabbed a pizza from the airport and headed to bed.
Next morning, Sunday January 13, started early in the A.M. People next door were playing music very loudly. At 4am I could not sleep anymore and decided to start to get ready, though my flight wasn’t until 11 am and I didn’t plan to go over to the airport until 9. Well, no rush, and after getting ready, I went down to grab some breakfast. A lot of flight crews stay at this hotel, and I saw many first officers and captains eating breakfast before a long day at work. One day….
I headed over to the airport terminal to check in. United had representatives checking passports and ESTAs separately from check-in/ bag drop. United Premier Access Priority tags were put on the two bags I checked in, and I was handed boarding passes for both my flight to Newark and my connecting flight to Orlando. Security was a breeze, as I had access to the dedicated Fast Track security lane.
A funny thing I have to mentioned, it really wasn’t too funny until I returned to Norway, but I met a girl I went to high school with at the airport in Oslo. She was headed to Tenerife with some friends. More on that later, though 😉
After passing through security, I walked through the duty free shop, took the stairs up one level and entered the SAS Scandinavian/Business lounge. In my humble opinion, it is a good lounge with a decent selection of food, drinks and after 0100 pm also liquors (stupid Norwegian laws lol)
Scheduled departure time was set to 11.15a and boarding started around 10.30a. Today’s flight to Newark, United flight 39, would be operated by the Boeing 757-200 (ex-CO) registration N57111 (Ship #3111) – a fifty-seven first delivered to Continental in 1994. I quickly located my seat on row 22, which really isn’t the 22nd row, because United is trying to standardize exit rows as 20 and 21. So my row was the first row after the exit row, and also the first row in economy class. The seats in front are 45 Economy Plus seats and 16 international BusinessFirst lie flat seats.There are a total of 108 seats in (wh)Y.
Being Star Gold and flying United, I’m in boarding group 2. Group 1 is people with special assistance, military and Global Services (the top tier within United’s Mileage Plus program, by invitation only) , as well as First class. Group 2 is business class passengers, United Plat’s and Gold and Star Alliance Gold. I was one of the first ones onboard in the economy cabin and I found my aisle seat and got seated. I figured the flight would be very full, judged by the quick glance I got of the boarding waiting area, and the seats surely filled up. Eventually a guy approached my row and told me he had the window seat. I got up and let him get to his seat. When “boarding completed” was announced, the middle seat between us was not taken. I think it was the only seat not taken in the economy cabin. Intentional or not from the gate agent, it is certainly something I value a lot when flying long international flights in economy/whY.
Well, once comfortably seated, the International Service Manager (a really funny guy) announced that he hoped Newark was in our travel plans, as this flight was a non-stop service to Newark Liberty International Airport. He said we would push back from the gate early, after the fan blades in the engines had been defrosted (freezing fog in Oslo this morning) and we then would head over to de-ice before take off.
Uh. Or not. Approaching the scheduled departure time, we were still at the gate. Turned out the cargo had been loaded too far aft in the cargo compartment, and that they had to move some of it to the front. An operation that took close to 25 minutes. Alright, once the cargo was in the right place, we were ready to go. We pushed back, stopped, then the Engine #2 started. I was anticipating the start of Engine #1.. Which never came. Then #2 spooled down and the Captain announced they couldn’t start #1. Sort of an issue when you want to cross the Atlantic.
Back to the gate, a mechanic got on board, did his magic, left, and we pushed again. This time both engines started and we could set off to the west!
Take off was interesting. I noticed they spooled the engines, with brakes applied, a lot more than usual. I’m sure it had something to do with the engine #1 not starting properly and the Captain would make sure that everything was running smoothly.
Once in the air, 90 minutes late, we were served meal number one. I got the chicken. I don’t trust the beef option on board airplanes.
I watched “The Campaign”, listened to music and read a little. When we approached the Labrador Strait, we encountered some mild turbulence that pretty much lasted for the remainder of the flight. It was so bumpy at times I had a hard time holding my book straight so I could read lol.
We landed 50 minutes late in EWR, I hurried out of the airplane and ran towards the immigration hall in Terminal C. To my big surprise, it was EMPTY, making the process a lot better. And I still had a chance to catch my connecting flight down to Orlando in.. Well, 1 hour. After a few questions, my passport got its stamp and I could head down stairs for the baggage claim. The bags took forever, I must have waited close to 20 minutes before any bags showed up on the belt. Luckily my two bags were among the first bags (Note to self: priority tags in EWR have worked 3/3 times) and I got through customs and to the baggage re-check area. I literally just dropped my bags on the floor by a United employee and ran to the nearest security check point. Having Premier Access with United this Sunday afternoon was not really a benefit, as the P.A lane in security was sooo long. I think only Star Golds flew out of EWR that day lol.
Well, I got through, got scanned by the TSA and started the looong stroll to my gate. In the other end of the terminal. Great.
I made it to the gate just as they announced the gate was closing. The gate agent asked me if I was the passenger connecting from Oslo, which I confirmed. I asked her if my bags would make it on the flight, which she assured me they would. I thanked her, scanned my boarding pass and got on the plane.
The flight to Orlando, UA1262, was operated by the Boeing 737-900 N37408 (Ship #3708)
It was delivered to Continental back in 2001.
The plane was almost empty back in whY and the flight attendant said I could just pick any seat. I originally had 22F, but there was a guy in 22D so I decided not to bother him and took 23F and had the entire row for my self.
After departure I snapped some photos of an awesome sunset and fell asleep.
We landed on RWY18L and taxiied to the gate. Once off the airplane and inside the terminal I got on the free Wifi to check emails, and then headed to baggage claim where my bags were not the first to get on the baggage belt. Business as usual in MCO with the priority tags.
The SIXT shuttle picked me up from the terminal and drove me to the off-airport location SIXT has in Orlando. It’s only a 5 minute ride but still. There was a family onboard the shuttle as well. They were Danish 😛 and arrived with Lufthansa from Frankfurt. I thought that was a long wait at MCO before they got to the car rental shuttle. Lufthansa lands around 0500p and this shuttle ride was around 0800p. Hm..
Once at the car rental place, I got the keys for my rental car for the week, a Hyundai Elantra. Not as powerful as the Sonata I rented in November, but still a good, little car for me.
I decided to stay off the Interstate this late at night (I had been up for almost 24 hours, with minimal sleep on the flight down to MCO) and drove the backroads up to Lake Mary and my hotel there. The Homewood Suites by Hilton.
Home, sweet home 🙂
I got a take-out burger from a nearby restaurant and headed to bed. A long journey was over. A good one, but a little stressful in EWR with short connection due to the delay out of Oslo.
More to come on my biennial flight review and time building later!