Hello and welcome to another short series, consisting of three quick flights lasting for an hour each. All three flights were done in the same day. This first part will cover the first leg from Stockholm to Helsinki.
My first time flying alone was back in April 2017, I was allowed to visit and stay at my friend's house in Germany after several discussions with my mother. Fast-forward a few months and my summer holidays begin, from 08 June, 2017. Calculations showed that I would have plenty of free days, after accounting for the summer job and other miscellanous tasks. According to a few local articles, BRA (Braathens Regional Airlines, domestic airline in Sweden) had plans to retire the Saab 2000 after Midsummer this year. I ask my mother about traveling alone this summer and she told me I was allowed to fly by myself, as long as I come back home the same evening. BRA (cooperating with Finnair) operated the Saab 2000 on the HEL-UME route until 22 June, before it switches over to a triangle-routing by ATRs on Norra (Nordic Regional Airlines). The HEL-UME flight seemed like a safe bet for trying out the Saab 2000 before retirement but first I needed to get to Helsinki as I live in Stockholm, I quickly look for flights to Helsinki and decide to book a morning flight at 06:50 AM on SAS to Helsinki on 22 June, then I book the HEL-UME flight before booking a UME-ARN flight on SK at 20:10 (08:10 PM) the same day. The flights were booked on 17 June, five days in advance. All plans with full details were made at home and printed out to avoid wasting as much time as possible between the flights. My main intention was not to fully explore Helsinki or Umeå in any way but I would try and see what I could explore in the few hours I had between flights.
Note: Pictures used in this report were taken with both my phone and camera.
Part 1 - ARN-HEL, SK702, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Bombardier CRJ-900, EI-FPD - You are here
Part 2 - HEL-UME, AY683, BRA Braathens Regional Airlines/Finnair, Saab 2000, SE-MFM -
SAS' online check-in is supposed to open 22 hours before departure, which implies an opening at 08:50 AM the day before. When checking, it was already open at 08:05 AM on 21 June. I was able to check-in but was unable to select a seat, I got an error message all the time but was automatically assigned to seat 15A which is a window seat without a window in this CRJ. I tried choosing my seat several times later in the day without success, waiting for over an hour on the queue for their chat service did not bring in any results either. I gave up and accepted seat 15A, I could have probably called them but decided not to for some reason.
The plan was to take the bus (Flygbussarna - Airport Coaches) at 04:22 AM from my local bus stop to the airport. I could have taken the bus at 04:52 AM but was not in the mood to be stuck in security for over 40 minutes like last time I flew at this time in the morning. The bus comes every 30 minutes at this time but this is a separate line. The line from the central station departs every 15 minutes at this time in the morning until 05:30 AM, when it switches to a frequency of a bus departing every 10 minutes (weekdays). Tickets (if purchased through the web/app) are on sale for 99 SEK one-way (EUR 10/USD 11). The ride is 30km long from my bus stop while it is 42km long from the central station.
I woke at 02:50 AM on the day of departure, this was the view from my house at 02:52 AM local time. As you can see, it is already quite bright at this time in the morning. This is one thing I like about the summer season in Stockholm, early mornings and rather late sunsets. No edit.
I get showered and dressed up before going back outside at 03:21 AM, it is slightly brighter.
Information about the flight.
I go back inside and have some breakfast at 03:40 AM. A bowl of rye pillows with milk, two slices of rye bread (no wheat), a yogurt drink and a glass of orange/raspberry juice was all my appetite could accept at this time of the day.
After the breakfast, I complete the final checks, bid farewell to my mother and leave for the bus at 04:10 AM.
On the way to the bus stop, at 04:13 AM. The only sound I could hear was the sound from tweeting birds at this time in the morning.
The metro trains run on this viaduct seen on the top of the picture. I was at the bus stop by 04:16 AM which can be seen as too early but I try to keep a margin and don't mind waiting for a few minutes.
Waiting for the bus.
There was not much activity by the bus stop at 04:20 AM, except for a member of staff opening up the entrance to the metro station, a few birds tweeting and a maximum amount of four other persons either waiting for a bus or walking.
The bus from Brommaplan arrives at precisely 04:22 AM.
I scan the ticket on my phone and occupy a window seat in the back. The bus was not close to being full but the load was healthier than before, I have always experienced empty to near-empty buses on this line on previous occasions.
On the E4 freeway towards Arlanda Airport at 04:33 AM.
Closing in on the airport.
The flags of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and the EU.
Our bus arrived at Terminal 5 by 04:45 AM, scheduled time of arrival was 04:48.
Goodbye Volvo 9700.
Inside the terminal.
FIDS of flights departing from Terminal 5, flights from other terminals are not displayed here. My flight to Helsinki can be seen as it is departing from Terminal 5.
SAS uses check-in desks 71-90 at ARN Terminal 5, together with other airlines that share SK's desks.
I walked up to a check-in kiosk to get an additional BP and to see if I could switch seats. The system did cooperate this time but not a single vacant seat was available according to this kiosk, 15A it is.
Afterwards, I head to the security control and line up at 04:53 AM. It may seem early but I would rather go through now and relax airside for a longer period than to stand here for 40 minutes. It usually clogs up after 5 AM from my experience.
23 minutes later and I am through security.
Thomas Cook Scandinavia A333 at 05:20 AM. An hour left until boarding.
Austrian E-190 and SAS A20N.
My flight was assigned to gate F38, which is in the non-Schengen area of gates F26-F39. There are two other non-Schengen areas in Terminal 5.
Power- and USB-ports.
There were plenty of unoccupied seats in the area.
DK 333 and SK 736.
The gate assigned for flight SK702 to Helsinki.
I sit at one of the seating aeras with ports after taking a few bad spotting shots. I tried charging my phone without positive result, after muliple tries I relocate to another similar seating area with power ports hoping for something better.
The ports were functioning and I could charge up my phone. The main difference between this and the other seating area? The lights on the table were operating here, while they were not at the other table, which was probably an indication of the existence of electricity. Not a huge problem for me, the area was rather empty anyway.
B738 as SK1415 to Copenhagen. Meanwhile, there was an announcement for the final call of flight LH2421 to Munich. The announcement was also made in German, something I have not heard before here.
SAS A20N taxiing out.
SAS A20N getting towed in.
My ride just arrived from Helsinki. The aircraft is scheduled to arrive from HEL at 06:20 AM but boarding for the return to Helsinki is also scheduled at 06:20 AM which seemed bizarre.
Airline: SAS Scandinavian Airlines operated by Cityjet
Flight no & route: SK702 ARN-HEL
Aircraft: Bombardier CRJ-900
Scheduled time of departure (actual): 06:50 (07:06), UTC +2
Scheduled time of arrival (actual): 08:45 (08:45), UTC +3
Scheduled flight time (actual): 55 minutes (39 minutes)
A few more passengers were showing up at the gate now, 06:33 AM.
Primera Air B738.
Priority bording was announced at 06:37 AM while boarding for the rest of the passengers was announced shortly afterwards.
Lining up for boarding.
While scanning my BP, I asked the agent about the load. The seat map on the kiosk screen was right, it would be full.
Down to the tarmac.
The flight is operated by Cityjet, hence an Irish registration (EI-FPD).
The aircraft is named "Asker viking".
The aircraft was delivered in April 2016, which could explain why it was clean and felt "fresh" inside.
The seat pitch was not good and became worse once I put my belongings under the seat (the latter is obviously my own fault).
Seat width was not generous either, thankfully this flight was short.
Boarding was almost completed by 06:53 AM.
My seat (15A) did not have a window, the window pictured is the window by seat 14A.
Taxiing towards runway 01R.
DY 738 ready to depart in the distance.
Rolling down runway 01R.
Taking off at 07:06 AM.
Safety card of this CRJ-900.
Banking towards Helsinki.
Åland, a self-governing region in Finland where the official language is Swedish. It is popular for people in Stockholm to take the ferry to Åland, especially during summertime.
Tea/coffee is complementary while everything else is for purchase with SK, I decided to have a cup of coffee. The cabin crew spoke Finnish, Swedish and English. Many of the passengers seemed to speak both Finnish and Swedish too, some of them were possibly Finland-Swedes (finlandssvenskar). I have several friends that have Finnish ancestry. Finland used to be a part of Sweden, until Russia took over before Finland declared independence in 1917.
A few minutes after I receive my cup of coffee, an announcement about our descent is made.
The town of Karkkila/Högfors.
Southeastern tip of Karkkila/Högfors.
Landed on runway 22L at 08:45 AM local time (07:45 in Sweden).
Arrived at the gate.
A look at the amount of legroom, without any bags.
I received a text from my phone operator reminding me that I can surf the web, text and call in Finland for the same prices as back home in Sweden without additional costs.
A blurry shot from a seat with a window.
Leaving the aircraft at 08:57 AM local time.
Most of the signs at the airport were also written in Swedish.
Walking towards arrivals.
The plan was to purchase a day ticket at a ticket machine, take the train to Helsinki Central station and spend a few hours here before getting on the flight to Umeå at 15:50 (03:50 PM) local time. I had roughly 6 hours 45 minutes left before the next flight. Unfortunately the pictured ticket machine did not accept my EUR 50 note when proceeding to payment. Reason? The machine did not have enough change.
Instead, I walk towards the station hoping to find another ticket machine.
The clean and modern station is found, with a ticket machine located on the platform. The machine only accepted payment by card but that was not a problem so I paid by card instead like I always do in Sweden.
The commuter train was clean and comfortable.
It was also sparsely populated which was appreciated, the trains depart very frequently. There are I-trains and P-trains going to the central station, both end up in Helsinki C but take different routes.
Destinations are shown in both Finnish and Swedish, announcements in the train were made in Finnish, English and Swedish.
Left side: Finnish name. Right side: Swedish name.
The ride took +-30 minutes.
From here I continue my short stay in Helsinki. Thank you for taking your time to read this FR :).
Bonus from Helsinki:
Walking from the central station to the market square/Kauppatori:
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One of the entrances to the central station.
Tram + shopping.
Old and new tram.
Walking on Mannerheimintie/Mannerheimvägen (Mannerheim road/street).
Stockmann department store.
Havis Amanda statue.
Kauppatori/Salutorget (market square).
Boat ride to Suomenlinna/Sveaborg:
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Boarding the boat to Suomenlinna/Sveaborg, a large sea fortress built on six islands.
Sightseeing boat and birds.
Silja line ferry.
Continuing the 15-minute ride.
Almost everyone seemed to be calm and relaxed while I manouvered around the boat trying not to get poo on my head from the birds.
Arrived in Suomenlinna/Sveaborg.
Suomenlinnan kirkko/Sveaborgs kyrka (church).
The so-called waterbus operated by JT line.
The whole crew.
Overlooking another part of Suomenlinna/Sveaborg.
Boat ride back to the market square.
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Back to the market square.
This road is a part of the E75.
Suddenly it started pouring down, before stopping a few minutes later.
Helsingin tuomiokirkko/Helsingfors domkyrka (Helsinki Cathedral).
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