Review of Air Baltic flight Stockholm Riga in Economy

Airline Air Baltic
Flight BT118
Class Economy
Seat 12D
Flight time 01:15
Take-off 01 Mar 16, 09:30
Arrival at 01 Mar 16, 11:45
BT   #4 out of 21 Low-cost airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 56 reviews
Rl 777
By 1433
Published on 12th March 2016
Hello and welcome to a new short series of FRs. This series will cover my recent trip to Prague with my sister, this would be my first time flying without one of my parents.



Background:
I'm not quite sure how this trip materialized. In December last year me and my sister realised I had never had a flight without one of my parents, after a few talks and negotiations we made up our minds and booked a short trip down to Prague in the beginning of March. I could have chosen to fly with SK non-stop both ways but I thought it would be more interesting if we flew ARN-RIX-PRG with BT on their Q400s and return with Czech Airlines non-stop, the price difference was minimal. The itinerary was ARN-RIX-PRG and PRG-ARN with BT and OK, two airlines both me and my sister hadn't tried before.



Part 1 - BT118 ARN-RIX Airbaltic Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, Reg YL-BAE - You are here
Part 2 - BT481 RIX-PRG Airbaltic Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, Reg YL-BBW - http://flight-report.com/en/report-13778.html
Part 3 - OK490 PRG-ARN Czech Airlines (SmartLynx) Airbus A320-211, Reg YL-LCM - http://flight-report.com/en/report-13875.html







I woke up at approximately 05:30 AM and took a quick shower. I had a light breakfast of pancakes with milk at 05:55 AM.
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Me and my sister only had hand luggage with us. We left our home quite early at 07:00 AM, the original plan was to leave at 07:30 and take the bus to Arlanda but my dad told us he could drop us off as he goes to work at 7 AM. It wasn't a huge inconvenience for him as he works close to Arlanda.
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The weather was pretty decent on this day, clear skies after weeks of snow, rain and clouds.
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On the E4 motorway towards Arlanda Airport!
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Taking the exit to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.
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Jumbohostel in sight.
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ATC tower in sight.
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Driving to the departures area.
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We arrived at Terminal 5 after approximately 25 minutes of driving, we said goodbye to dad and walked to the terminal building with our bags.
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FIDS at ARN, I do have some better shots for you later on. I always seem to mess up the FIDS shots.
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The SAS check-in and bag drop area (includes some other airlines).
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The check-in area for most other airlines departing from Terminal 5. The airport seemed rather busy today.
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As we had arrived at ARN quite early, we decided to have a cup of coffee to burn some time.
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Me and my sister walked to SkyCity which is located between Terminal 4 and 5. There are a handful a shops, two hotels and a decent amount of restaurants, bars and coffeeshops here.
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SkyCity, Arlanda Central Station is also located here. SkyCity was pretty empty at this time.
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The first plan was to get some coffee from Starbucks. However, the Starbucks in Skycity was closed at this time. We went to McDonald's instead.
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Arlanda Central Station. Numerous SJ inter-city, regional and express lines stop here including the local commuter train to Stockholm C and Uppsala C. Arlanda Express has their own stations.
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Taking the escalator up to McDonald's.
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Morning coffee.
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Time for the usual boring spotting at ARN. Primera Air B738.
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DAT AT72.
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BT B733 coming in as BT101 from RIX.
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SK B737.
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SK B737.
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I would've liked to fly on this flight instead but wasn't able to book it without paying an additional EUR 50 per person.
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SK B738 (without winglets).
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SK B738 taxiing out.
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SK B736 pushback.
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RAF-Avia Saab 340A.
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Man Lion's city articulated bus.
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SK B737 blasting out of runway 19R.
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6B B738 lifting off of runway 19R.
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DY B738 taxiing to 19R.
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After a nice cup of coffee with a bit of spotting, we walked out of SkyCity back to Terminal 5.
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Norwegian check-in desks to the left. I'm glad I wasn't queuing up for that line. Arlanda seems to get busier and busier for every time I fly from ARN.
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FIDS shots. These screens only displayed departures from Terminal 5. Airlines like AY (Finnair), BA, KL, AF, AB and a few other ones use Terminal 2.
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My flight actually said 'Gate open' '15B'. I took these shots in a rapid succession and didn't notice our gate was open. We could've gone through security for gates 11-24 instead of the security control for all gates.


The line for security began all the way here, this is the first time I have seen the line start here. The line did move fairly quickly though.
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Security was smooth as usual, even though the lines were longer than on previous occasions.
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This is when I realised our assigned gate was 15B, we could've gone through the other security control but we still made it to our gate with a few minutes to spare.
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Duty-free after security.
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Walking to gate 15B.
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We still had a few minutes before boarding would commence when we arrived at gate 15B.
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Germanwings A319 heading back to Hamburg.
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Flight information:

Airline: Airbaltic (Styled as airBaltic)

Flight no & route: BT118 ARN-RIX

Scheduled time of departure (actual): 09:30 (09:31) UTC +1

Scheduled time of arrival (actual): 11:45 (11:25) UTC +2

Scheduled flight time (actual): 1h 15 min (54 min)

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Boarding was announced at 09:06 AM, we walked down the jetbridge and then walked to the aircraft. The last time I boarded an aircraft like this was back in 2013 when I flew to HAM on a CRJ-900.
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Unfortunately the sun wasn't really cooperating with me.
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There was a FA greeting passengers upon boarding. She wasn't quite attentive and didn't smile much, I greeted her with a 'hello' upon boarding and she greeted me back. She might have had a bad day or something, thankfully the load on today's flight was very light.
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The seat pitch was fine for an hour's flight. We'll see if the same can be said for the RIX-PRG leg, which lasts for two hours.
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The load was very light on this flight, it was estimated at 30%.
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First time on a turboprop for me.
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Overhead bins.
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Pushback was done at 09:26 AM, we could've left earlier but we waited for the last passenger to arrive which took 10 minutes. I don't complain, as we still landed 20 minutes early in Riga.
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The cabin was dimmed for departure. A safety demonstration was done in Latvian and English. All announcements were made in Latvian and English.
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Taxiing to runway 19R.
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Takeoff from runway 19R at 09:31 AM.


We had a steep climbout from runway 19R and banked to the left with destination set as Riga. One thing my sister noticed as soon as we took off was the high engine noise. It did bother us at first but we got used to it.
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Passing the town of Märsta.


The tray table in this Q400.
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The February 2016 issue of the Baltic Outlook inflight magazine.
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Inflight shopping magazine.
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The winter menu, they hadn't updated it to the spring menu on my flight. The selection was okay for short flights. The prices were decent I guess.
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Safety card of this Q400.
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This flight was pretty uneventful. The FAs made one pass with the cart, a few passengers ordered coffee and that was about it.
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I'm thankful I only had to sit on this seat for an hour, until I realised I had to sit on this seat for an additional two hours down to Prague.
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The BT fleet. I remember when they used to operate 757s on a seasonal basis.
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Destinations, the blue dots are destinations offered together with their partners and the red dots are actual BT destinations.


A poorly taken picture of the Latvian coast, the city of Ventspils is kind of visible on this picture. Or at least the oil terminal.


Flying over the Gulf of Riga before lining up with runway 18 at Riga International Airport.
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Jūrmala Beach.
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Landing on runway 18.


Slowing down on runway 18.


We disembarked at 11:33 AM local time and were then taken by a bus to the terminal.
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A fair amount of BT planes could be seen on the way to the terminal.


Our flight would depart to Prague at 12:50 PM local time. Most of the passengers had Riga as its final destination, 5 passengers including us were connecting and all of us were connecting to Prague.
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I guess that's all for this FR. Thank you for taking your time to read it!
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Access and parking at RIX left at 7,5
Security/Immigration at RIX left at 7,5


































See more

Verdict

Air Baltic

6.3/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew6.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Buy-on-board menu7.0

Stockholm - ARN

7.9/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Riga - RIX

7.8/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services7.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

This was my first time flying on a turboprop and my first time with airBaltic. It was a functional flight which got me from point A to point B safely and on-time.

Cabin comfort - The seat pitch was decent for a flight of this length, the overall seat comfort wasn't anything to talk home about but it was bearable for this short hop to Riga.

Crew - The FAs did their job, without many smiles.

BOB - Acceptable menu for flights up to 2 hours in length.

Entertainment - Natural IFE was the only IFE offered.

On-time performance - Perfect, we landed 20 minutes behind schedule.

Related

10 Comments

  • Comment 159618 by
    martin1405 41 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR!

    It seems that you had a decent flight to RIX.
    Arlanda was quite busy and the line for security was quite long. I hope ARN won't be too busy when I come to Arlanda. It is a beautiful airport though!
    The turboprop is also nice and I hope you enjoyed it!

    Can't wait to read your next FR! :)

  • Comment 159621 by
    marathon GOLD 9566 Comments

    Private limousine to ARN : your first trip is off a grand start ;)

    Plane spotting which is boring for a local is exotic for enthusiasts who live far away, and the excellent lighting conditions makes this one even better ;)

    This is a very comprehensive report, thanks for sharing !

    PS :
    Choosing an indirect routing for trying two new airlines on your first trip alone qualifies you in the avgeek community.
    Sadly, yo do not seem to apply for instant Turboprop Fan Club membership too :):)

    • Comment 336500 by
      Rl 777 AUTHOR 810 Comments

      “Private limousine to ARN“ - Haha, it was a pretty smooth ride to the Airport!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the spotting shots :).

      Yeees! Finally! Haha, I guess I'll have to work on that membership. Maybe after a few more turboprop flights :).

      Thank you for your nice comment :).

      Have a good one, see you!

  • Comment 159625 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    As Marathon said, you are a true avgeek for choosing to fly a connecting flight on an airline and equipment that you have never experienced.

    Fantastic shots throughout this report, especially the spotting in ARN.

    Thank you for sharing this short flight.

    • Comment 336499 by
      Rl 777 AUTHOR 810 Comments

      I happily used my opportunity to try a new airline and to log a new A/C type and airline :), I was like 'Why not?' when the price difference was minimal.

      Thank you so much for your nice comment :).

      Have a good one, see you!

  • Comment 159723 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR with us RI777!

    “Arlanda Central Station. Numerous SJ inter-city, regional and express lines stop here”
    - What is the time difference for the Arlanda Express versus other trains from Stockholm? I’ll be there in a couple of days so wondering what’s the most efficient way to get to the city center. ARN always looks nice in pictures, real light and airy. A vast difference to most US airports that are stuck in the 90s.

    Fantastic spotting at ARN! Great weather always helps the planes look better.

    “The load was very light on this flight, it was estimated at 30%.”
    - The B737 probably claimed most of the traffic. If the fare was that much higher, it probably was a fuller flight.

    I always love the Dash8s, much better than ATRs. The cabin looks the same as on NH, but the pitch definitely does not look as generous. I don’t think the seats on Dash8s are supper comfortable, but as you said good enough for 1 hour or less flights. Getting to watch the landing gear is the best part.

    Nice aerial shots enroute, when you sit near the engines it makes it hard to take pictures underneath it or through the propellers. It takes great skill!

    RIX didn’t look too snowy on arrival.

  • Comment 159762 by
    Rl 777 AUTHOR 810 Comments

    Thank you for your nice comment :). Always appreciated.

    Arlanda - Stockholm C:

    Arlanda Express - Time: 20 min Price: SEK 280/USD 34. Sometimes there are cheaper fares for SEK 252/USD 30.

    SL/Commuter train (Public Transport in STO) - Time: 38 min Price: Starting from SEK 135/USD 16 (depending on how you purchase your ticket). A regular ticket for 3 zones ABC costs 50 SEK if you add it to your SL Access card but that card costs as well. A regular 3-zone ticket from a machine/SMS costs SEK 72 but you also have to pay a fee of SEK 85 when using the station at ARN. The fare will be SEK 157/USD 19 in total.

    You can also take Bus 583 from the terminals to Märsta Station, then you can take the commuter train from Märsta to Stockholm C. 15 min Arlanda - Märsta and then 38 min Märsta - Stockholm C. The total fare would be SEK 72/USD 9 as you don't have to pay that weird fee.

    Flygbussarna (Airport coaches) - Time: 45 min (depending on traffic) Price: SEK 99/USD 12 if you purchase online/via app

    I hope you enjoy your stay in my hometown/city! The people in STO aren't as friendly as in other cities though.

    All prices are one-way prices.

    Thank you so much :).

    Yep, you're probably right. That flight probably had a better load.

    I have yet to try an ATR, I could try one of SK's ATRs that they have on wet-lease. Exactly, the seats were just fine for short hops. NH's seat pitch was very generous indeed!

    Thank you! Yeah, it was pretty difficult to take decent shots.

    Just wait and see for the arrival shots from PRG!

    Have a good one, see you!

  • Comment 159781 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5224 Comments

    Nice report with beautiful pics as usual. You had some great lighting which made for nice planespotting at ARN. Nice to see a report on airBaltic--seems like very decent service for a LCC. The BOB selection seems quite good, though the prices are a bit high. But I guess that's normal there. Always a pleasure to read you. Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 336694 by
      Rl 777 AUTHOR 810 Comments

      Thank you for your nice comment :).

      Yep, those prices are pretty normal here but it's actually usually more expensive in Scandinavia. DY's menu was definitely more expensive.

      Thank you once again for the feedback, it's highly appreciated!

      Have a good one, see you!

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