Hello everyone and welcome to another small series consisting of two smaller flight reports. This series will cover a quick trip down to Athens with SAS on my sports holidays, taking place at the end of February to the beginning of March. There will be two parts in this series, part 1 from Stockholm ARN to Athens and part 2 covering the return. This is the first part, including the outbound flight from Stockholm ARN to Athens.
November 25 2016, it's a regular Friday night and the weekend is about to start. My family rarely travels during the Christmas holidays as fares skyrocket from Stockholm to warmer places during winter. Most people want to leave, flights get full quickly and fares increase dramatically. That's usually why we never travel in December/ January. Anyway, we have got one week of sports holidays in late-February to early-March and it is slightly easier to find better deals at this time to certain places. A good chunk of people here go skiing in Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy on this particular holiday. Me and dad randomly talked about these sport holidays and told me we could go away if I found something cheap. I immediately started searching the web for fares and found a fare with SAS to Athens for approximately 950 SEK/EUR 100/USD 106 between 26 February and 01 March 2017, tickets with them were at least EUR/USD 50-200 more expensive on similar dates. Aegean was faring for roughly EUR 250/USD 266 and other airlines like LH, LX were at least EUR 200-400/USD. I told my dad about these fares and thought the SK fare was good enough, none of us had been in Athens or Greece either. Sunday rolls by and the tickets are booked, a quickie to Athens had been confirmed. Aircraft types were A320NEO on ARN-ATH and B737 on ATH-ARN, I know aircraft changes happen regularly on these short flights with SK so I told myself to wait and see what we would end up on.
A few weeks pass and my mom tells me she also wants to join us, with my sister as well. I did a quick search on the web and found out that those fares on 26FEB and 01MAR still existed. A quick fill-up of passenger details and some clicks later another booking for my mother and sister has been made. Now we were four instead of two people going on this quick trip to Athens. The hotel was booked a month or two later.
My family has never been fond of SK due to mediocre experiences in the past, my dad would have preferred A3 but we were on a budget and still went with SK despite the negativity.
I live in Stockholm, the city for SAS' third largest hub but I have still not touched an SAS aircraft since 2007 so this would be the first time in almost 10 years!
NOTE: Pictures used in this FR are taken with my camera and my phone.
Part 1 - ARN-ATH, SK1833, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Airbus A320NEO, LN-RGN - You are here Part 2 - ATH-ARN, SK1834, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Boeing 737-700, LN-RNU - Coming one day in 2017
Time quickly passed by and it was soon Saturday, the day before departure. Our scheduled time of departure was 06:05 AM, it would be a pretty early morning. SAS sent us quite a few texts reminding us of the check-in options. OLCI opened 22 hours before departure time.
My family was pretty late to the online check-in party so row 24 would have to do for us.
Flight information the night before. Interestingly (or not) boarding time was listed as 05:35 on the airport app but 05:45 on the boarding pass I printed at home.
02:45 AM local time, Sunday 26 February 2017. The alarm clock goes off and I immediately take a quick shower before completing the final checks.
Breakfast at 03:17 AM, oat pillows in milk, bread with root vegetables inside and some standard crispbread made out of whole-grain rye. A glass of OJ was the drink of choice, I never actually drank that drinking yogurt shown on the picture. I don't think anyone else ate much before leaving, probably because of a lack of appetite at this time of the day.
The absolute last final checks were done before we left our home at 03:58 AM local time, dad was waiting with the car outside. He had booked parking at the Beta long-term parking facility at ARN, basically the standard stuff for people that have been reading some of my other ARN FRs.
Driving on the E4 freeway towards Arlanda Airport at 04:08 AM local time.
It had been snowing quite a bit in Stockholm and it still was.
Taking the exit to ARN at 04:21 AM.
Normally you continue down this road until you reach the terminals but we took another exit towards the Beta parking lot.
Entering the parking lot, currently 04:25 AM.
You can get to the terminals from this parking lot using yellow shuttle buses. The nearest bus stop was stop K this time, exactly like on my previous trip with TK. A bit of a Déjà vu moment, that flight also departed at a similar time.
Inside the bus, a yellow MAN bus today.
The bus arrived at the arrivals level of Terminal 5 after a 5/6-minute ride. SAS' international flights depart from Terminal 5, usually from gates 1-10 and F26-F69.
Walking to the departures hall.
We are treated by a pretty sparse terminal, however this was about to change soon. 04:39 AM.
SAS uses check-in desks 71-90 at ARN, there is one security checkpoint located after passing desk 90. Our bookings were SAS Go light bookings, equaling bookings with just hand luggage.
I went to one of these kiosks and printed out secondary BPs for us (turned out to be our primary BPs). Meanwhile without me noticing, my dad walked away to one of the regular check-in desks. I noticed this after the print-out had been complete and immediately walked up to dad with mom. We told dad that we only had hand luggage with us which meant no regular bag drop.
FIDS, our flight was departing from gate F30 according to this screen.
There was not much to do before the flight at this time, therefore we all lined up for security at 04:44 AM. The line was quite short, starting right after passing check-in desk 90.
It may have been short but it was moving rather slowly, soon the queue grew and grew.
By 04:50 the line had extended to reach the first SAS desk, namely desk 71. The line seen to the left of the picture is for the security checkpoint. It would have been bad if our wait to join the line had lasted for a couple of more minutes.
Soon a decent line was formed for the fast track line as well.
43 minutes pass and security has finally been cleared at 05:27 AM, it has never taken so much time for me to clear security at ARN. I wonder how long it took for people behind us at the end of the line.
Blurry shot of the duty-free area after security.
Thomas Cook Scandinavia A333.
Approaching the lower part of pier F, the Schengen part of pier F with gates F26-F39. The gate for SK1833 to Athens was F30. The upper non-Schengen area is often used by airlines like TG, EK, CA, QR etc and consists of gates F58-F69.
Arriving at our gate, F30. I have no idea why the screen displays the same flight twice.
Most passengers were already waiting around the gate, local time was 05:36 AM when we made it here.
Seats with charging ports and USB ports are found next to the gate.
Airline: SAS Scandinavian Airlines
Flight no & route: SK1833 ARN-ATH
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A320NEO
Scheduled time of departure (actual): 06:05 (06:33), UTC +1
Scheduled time of arrival (actual): 10:40 (10:38), UTC +2
Scheduled flight time (actual): 3h 35 min (3h 05 min)
LN-RGN, an A320NEO delivered to SAS in November 2016.
I was sitting by the ports before boarding was announced, there were plenty of available seats by the gate.
I was seated for seven minutes before boarding was announced, priority boarding to start it off.
A minute or two later boarding is announced for passengers seated at the back of the aircraft. My family was seated at row 24 so we could board quite early.
Our neighbour, another SAS A320NEO heading out to Copenhagen.
Traffic down the jetbridge.
The other neighbour, another SAS A320NEO sheduled for a run to Palma (Mallorca).
The nose of our ride.
There were flight attendants greeting passengers upon boarding, I was greeted in Swedish.
First look at the 320neo cabin.
Overhead bins, these apparently offer more space than the overhead bins in conventional SK A320s.
Legroom was good, probably the best I've seen in an A320.
Seatback, these seats are equipped with USB ports.
Boarding still underway at 05:59 AM.
The bins were filling up quickly but a major amount of seats were still vacant.
View from seat 24F.
Legroom was still sufficient with my camera bag down there.
Boarding for flight SK1415 to Copenhagen is ongoing.
An announcement from the crew popped up as boarding continued. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have a fully booked flight today. Please use the space under the seat etc". I glanced up and noticed how the bins were almost packed but passengers kept coming in. There was not enough space, even with these "larger" 320NEO bins. The issue delayed the whole process and caused a lot of extra hassle for passengers and crew. I find this really unprofessional and cheap by SAS, they were aware of the healthy load from the beginning. AF for comparison first announced the full flight before boarding and offered to check-in bags simultaneously for free so a situation like this got avoided thus minimizing delays and hassle for crew and passengers. LX did the same (like AF) on my friend's flight from ZRH to ARN last year.
A Volvo de-icing truck has arrived for the CPH flight.
Meanwhile, we were still having difficulties with carry-on bags. Most of the FAs were kind and tried to to their best in this situation. However, there was one grumpy FA that was complaining for the most part. She said angrily "Why do none of you check in your bags instead of taking hand luggage, none of you need hand luggage". Another passenger replied "Well we would if you guys did not charge us 200-300 SEK (EUR 21-31, USD 22-33) for a piece". Then the FA said with a very irritating tone "It is free with SAS! Unlike other airlines, it is always free with SAS". This FA does clearly not know about the baggage conditions for the airline she works for. The FA repeated that sentence a couple of times until one passenger said "No it is not, your light ticket does NOT include any free checked bags". The FA kept it pretty quiet afterwards. A few minutes pass and the situation with the hand luggage finally restores. SK should take a look at what airlines like AF and LX do in a situation like this.
Now it was our time to get de-iced.
The 320 to Copenhagen is ready to leave by the looks of it.
However, our flight still got pushed back first. 06:23 AM local time.
Thomas Cook A332.
The crew activated mood lighting and dimmed the cabin before our taxi to the runway commenced.
Thank you very much for tracking my flight Martin1405! You really did not have to do it at 6 AM but still appreciated.
Taxiing out to runway 19R.
Lining up with 19R.
Our A320 lifts off from the ground at 06:33 AM local time, it was a rather quick roll down the runway.
Climbing out of gloomy and cold Stockholm (Northern outskirts).
Through the clouds.
The USB port, located on the seatback.
I did use it to charge my phone, instead of relying on my power bank. It seemed to charge up my phone fairly quickly to my surprise.
SAS Menu. SAS is BOB on European flights, only tea/coffee and water (on cup, bottle costs extra) is served free of charge.
Not the most extensive menu IMO but acceptable for shorter legs.
A320NEO safety card, written as "A320".
Scandinavian traveler magazine and the inflight shopping magazine.
The shop was lacking in terms of products, compared to other inflight shopping stores. In case you were interested.
The cloud layers have been cleared. Today's captain was named "Johan" and he provided us with information about the route, weather and more. I do not remember anything he said with my lacking memory.
Air China B789 flying by.
I noticed a difference in noise levels onboard this 320NEO, it was quieter than a standard A320.
Soon the service carts rolled by, roughly 30 minutes after departure. Only coffee/tea and water in cups are free as I mentioned earlier. Everything else is for purchase. I bought the breakfast box for 70 SEK/EUR 8.
It contained OJ, Salami, cheese, a slice of tomato, natural yogurt, muesli and your basic extras like butter and milk for the coffee/tea. Plastic cutlery was included in the box, no metal. Thankfully the grumpy FA did not serve my row, instead a friendly and sweet FA got to serve row 24. She came with a bread basket as a piece of bread was included with the breakfast box, I accepted one but she politely told me to take another one so I did. Keep in mind, these pieces of bread were tiny.
Wet wipe, salt and pepper. The total fare of this return ticket to ATH was EUR 108/USD 115 with this purchase.
The nice FA offered me more bread afterwards but I declined. My sister also spilled some milk and the FA serving our row immediately saw it and helped her clean the mess.
Contents/ingredients were available on the opposite side of the box, in Swedish.
It was a pretty smooth cruise all the way to Athens after the service had been done, except for some mild turbulence before approaching Athens. The FAs also went down the aisles offering a second drink a while after the first offering.
A full flight down to Athens today.
SK fleet in the magazine.
A page about planespotters.
Passing Northern Hungary.
Seats by Recaro, a decent amount of A320s are installed with seats from Recaro. The seat offered a good amount of legroom by A320 standards but the seat comfort was mediocre to me. The material choices did not suit me well but it was not dreadful by any means.
Belgrade, Serbia (original photo)
Belgrade, Serbia (edited). I had no idea this was a larger city when I first glanced at the picture, the visibility improved after editing the picture.
Captain Johan initiated our descent to Athens at approximately 09:15 (Central European time) or 10:15 (Eastern European time).
It was cloudy around Athens today.
Tanagra Air Base, Greece.
Eleusis Airport (Στρατιωτικό Αεροδρόμιο Ελευσίνα in Greek). A military airport located roughly 20km from the city centre in Athens.
Lined up with runway 03L.
Freeway 62 towards the airport.
Touchdown on rwy 03L at 10:38 AM local time. Slowing down immediately.
Taxiing to our gate in the B area.
Several A3 A320/A321s.
Couple of Ryanair 738s resting on the ramp.
The activity seemed to be rather light at these gates, arrival would most likely be a breeze.
Our A320 came to a complete stop at 10:43 AM local time.
Most passengers disembarked as quickly as possible, my family had no stress today so we decided to wait for the pack to leave. Cabin picture.
Leaving the plane at 10:56.
Thank you ATH, been looking forward to this.
There were no bags to collect in our case, some of my family members went to the bathroom before continuing to the metro station.
Following the signs for the metro station.
Going up to the departures area upstairs.
To the metro. The metro tickets are separate and not usually included with regular tickets for public transportation in Athens. A normal trip to or from the airport using the Metro is EUR 10 (5 reduced). A 5-day card (excluding the airport and line X80) costs EUR 9 for comparison. There are bundled airport tickets for a slightly lower price per person, a 3-person airport metro ticket is available for EUR 24. There is also a 3-day card including one trip to and from the airport for EUR 22 per person. There was apparently a public transportation strike on the day of return so there was no point in purchasing this 3-day card. We bought a 3-person airport metro ticket and one for me for a total of EUR 29 (EUR 5 for me, reduced fare). There are also express city buses to the city centre for slightly cheaper prices.
Metro train. There are many different types of metro trains in the Athens metro system.
We were headed for Syntagma in the city centre before connecting to another line to a different station followed by a walk to the hotel.
Thank you very much for taking your time to read this FR. I appreciate it. Have a good one and see you later!
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Tower of Winds and Roman Agora.
Academy of Athens.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
Theatre of Dionysus.
Parthenon, unfortunately there was a decent amount of construction here when we visited.
Temple of Olympian Zeus.
From Lycabettus hill. Also called Lycabettos, Lykabettos and Lykavittos.
There are a lot of orange trees in Athens.
Vouliagmeni Lake, located by the Southwestern coastline approximately 25km from the city centre.
Modern metro train, running on line M2 between Elliniko and Anthoupoli. I did not spot these trains on other metro lines.
E94 freeway towards Athens Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos). Thank you for reading if you made it this far. See you later!
Stockholm - ARN
Athens - ATH
This flight was a tad bit better than I expected, SK is finally improving their hard product with newer short-haul planes. It has been an alright experience after 10 years of absence from SK but there is still room for improvement. Especially when it comes to handling full flights.
Cabin comfort - Good amount of legroom, best I've seen in a 320. However, the actual seat comfort was mediocre to me, the material choices did not fit me well.
Cabin crew - The majority of the crew was excellent. They were friendly, attentive, helpful and did their job well even though we had problems with hand luggage in the beginning. Unfortunately there was that one bitter and rude FA that deducted some points here. Otherwise it would have been a 9,5.
Entertainment - Window view and magazines.
Meal/catering - Tea/coffee service for free (water on cup too). Everything else is BOB, the breakfast box for 70 SEK/EUR 8 was fine but nothing more.
10 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".