Hello and welcome to the second part of this short series, consisting of three quick flights done in one day. The previous part can be found here. This second part will cover the flight from Helsinki, Finland to Umeå, Sweden onboard a BRA Saab 2000.
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 -
8km of walking and a boat ride later, I am back in the central station at Helsinki. It was 13:20 local time (1:20 PM), the train I had planned to board according to my printed plan in my backpack had a scheduled time of departure of 13:51. In conclusion, there was approximately 30 minutes left before I was supposed to be in the train towards the airport.
Upon entering the station, the first thing I noticed was a Burger King on the left hand side of me. Instead of wasting time looking for other options, I decided to have a quick bite in BK. It may not be the healthiest option, but it is arguably a budget-friendly option.
If you read the first part of this series, you may remember the technical issues I experienced when selecting seats through the web on flight SK702 from Stockholm to Helsinki. Thankfully there were no such issues when opening up the seat selection with this Finnair/BRA flight using the Finnair website. I ended up choosing seat 15F for flight AY683/TF6130. This particular flight was operated by BRA (Braathens Regional Airlines) for Finnair, until 22 June, 2017. Today it is operated by Norra (Nordic Regional Airlines) on ATR 72s, as a triangle-routing from Helsinki to Umeå, Umeå to Vaasa before going back to Helsinki. BRA Braathens Regional Airlines was founded after Malmö Aviation and multiple brands within Sverigeflyg merged in February 2016. However, BRA does not have its own AOC. All flights are technically operated by Braathens Regional Airways and Braathens Regional Aviation. The name BRA can be seen as a rather interesting name.
A lunch later and I was on my way to the platform.
Inside the train towards Lentoasema (Airport).
JKOY Class Sm5 train. These are made by Stadler Rail, a Swiss manafacturer. I have seen many similar units in Switzerland, back in April.
26 minutes pass and I was standing on the platform of the airport train station. It was 14:17 local time and my flight was scheduled to leave Helsinki at 15:50.
Walking towards the check-in desks.
According to these displays, Finnair's check-in desks would be located to the left. Another display (not pictured) suggested BRA's flights would depart from the right side. The HEL website showed a departure from Terminal 2, which implies a walk to the left.
This FIDS confirmed a departure from Terminal 2, my flight is displayed as a regular Finnair flight.
Walking towards the check-in desks.
Earlier, I had received a text from Finnair regarding the huge passenger volume at the airport during Midsummer. AY was not joking, it was pretty crowded in the check-in area.
I walked up to a kiosk in order to print out a secondary BP at 14:25 local time. Before completing the process, I was approached by a member of staff telling me this kiosk had a malfunction and advised me to another kiosk.
This try was more successful.
After the second BP was printed out, I decided to clear security immediately.
Despite the substantial passenger flow, security was smooth and lasted for just nine minutes. A duty-free shopping area is seen after completing the check. I was not interested this time.
The gate assigned for my flight was 19A, I walked towards the gate after passing security in order to localize it.
KLM B738. The weather had detoriated by this time, for the third time since my arrival in Helsinki 5 hours 40 minutes ago.
While walking to gate 19A, I noticed a familiar-looking turboprop on the tarmac through one of the wet terminal windows. My ride to Umeå was waiting on an aircraft stand.
19A for AY683 to UME.
Gate 19A was localized after a few minutes of walking through some of the corridors in the airport.
Dedicated seating areas with power ports were scattered around the corridors.
Spotting was not the easiest task with the amount of rain at this time. Lufthansa A321.
Additionally, the camera was struggling with the focus.
LH849 to Frankfurt.
The spotting sesson did not last for long in these weather conditions. Instead I walked back to the gate and then used a WC to avoid having to do that on the plane or in Umeå.
Boarding for flight AY683 began at 15:14, 36 minutes before departure. The agent at the gate told us the flight would be operated by Norra, which instantly put a questionmark in my mind. Norra would take over after this date but today's flight should be operated by BRA, I told myself in my mind. I remained calm as I had already spotted our Saab 2000, although there was always a possibility for technical problems.
Walking towards the bus.
Inside the bus that would take us to the aircraft.
The bus left the spot after nine minutes, we had to wait for some other passengers which explained the wait.
Today's flight would indeed be operated by BRA, and not by Norra's ATRs.
Rolls Royce AE 2100 turboprop engine.
Airline: Finnair in cooperation with BRA Braathens Regional Airlines.
Flight no & route: AY683/TF6130 HEL-UME
Aircraft: Saab 2000
Scheduled time of departure (actual): 15:50 (16:06), UTC +3
Scheduled time of arrival (actual): 16:00 (15:59), UTC +2
Scheduled flight time (actual): 1h 10 minutes (53 minutes)
SE-MFM had its first flight almost 22 years ago, in August 1995.
Passengers were greeted when entering the aircraft.
Made it to row 15.
The seating configuration is 1-2 for this Saab 2000.
The load appeared to be light on this flight, as I had expected.
Seat pitch was generous, I had loads of legroom. The legroom offered in this Saab 2000 is greater than what has been offered in the majority of long-haul aircraft I have traveled on.
Another look at the amount of legroom.
It seemed like boarding had been completed by 15:33 (3:33 PM) local time but we were standing still on the stand, for quite a few minutes without any kind of announcement.
A moment or two later I notice a passenger behind me asking the sole FA about the situation, apparently we were waiting for two passengers from Frankfurt which explained the wait on the ground. Meanwhile, I snapped a few pictures of the seatback contents to kill time. BRA magazine.
Safety card of this Saab 2000.
A magazine of Mio möbler, a furniture chain in Sweden.
The last passengers from Frankfurt finally arrive and we taxi towards the runway at 16:01 (4:01 PM) local time.
Taxiing to runway 22R. A runway with a length of 3 060 metres.
AY A320 touching down.
Lining up with 22R.
Taking off at 16:06.
Kivistön/Kivistö and the E12 freeway to the left.
Entering cloud layers.
Rusutjärvi (lake) can barely be spotted on the bottom left of the picture while Tuusulanjärvi/Tusby träsk (lake) can be seen north of it. Kerava with roughly 35 000 inhabitants and surroundings can also be spotted.
Riihimäki and the E12 freeway running south of it.
Alasjärvi (lake) and Tervakoski. The E12 is still visible, north of the town of Tervakoski.
Service commenced 15 minutes after departure, tea or coffee was served with small pieces of Daim chocolate. I went with coffee this time. The sole FA on this flight was friendly throughout the flight and did her job with a genuine smile.
Cruising towards Umeå at 28 000 ft.
This time I had plenty of space for my camera- and backpack, unlike last time on the CRJ-900.
Our load was light, 17 seats were occupied on this flight. I believe this aircraft is equipped with 50 seats, which would generate a load factor of just 34%.
Thanks for tracking my flight Martin1405.
The latch of the tray table.
A quick visit to the lavatory solely for photography purposes. The only lavatory was located at the front of the plane and there was a small window inside as seen on this picture.
Cabin shot. The bins were tiny as expected, my normal-sized backpack barely fit inside.
Raippaluodon sila/Replotbron. This bridge connects the city of Vaasa/Vasa in the Finnish mainland to the islands in the municipality of Mustasaari/Korsholm. The bridge is 1 045 metres long and is Finland's longest bridge. Korsholm is primarily a Swedish-speaking area in Finland, where around 70% of the population speaks Swedish as their primary language. On a sidenote: I have got a classmate with roots from Vasa.
The shadow of our Saab 2000.
Holmöarna in Umeå municipality can be seen on the top of the wing, a group of islands with just 75 year-round inhabitants.
Several islands within the Umeå area.
UME is a small airport with one runway, runway 14/32 with a length of 2 302 metres.
Approaching runway 32.
Touchdown at 15:59 local time (3:59 PM).
BRA RJ100, SAS B738 and a Germania flug A319.
Taxiing to our gate without an airbridge.
Disembarking the SB20 at 16:01 local time.
The narrow cabin in the 1-2 configuration.
This Germania flug A319 (GM, not ST which is the German Germania) had apparently flown in from Zürich via Düsseldorf and Jönköping (Sweden) before arriving in Umeå. It would later return to ZRH via DUS.
Goodbye SE-MFM. All BRA Saab 2000s have been retired as of now.
Inside the airport.
Taxis were waiting outside. The weather was not optimal, with active light rain. At least it was not pouring down, I presume.
A quick look around.
The time taken to leave the airport was roughly one minute.
I took a quick look at the Ultra app to check the times for the bus to the city centre, they seemed to depart every 20 minutes at this time. I purchased a ticket on my phone and scanned it while entering the 16:10 bus. Ultra is the name of the public transportation company in Umeå.
The electric bus was already waiting outside.
On the E12 towards the city centre.
The bus arrived at a stop in the centre by 16:20 local time, from here I started my quick tour of Umeå before flying back to Stockholm at 20:10 (8:10 PM) in the evening. Thank you for taking your time to read this FR. Have a good one, see you!
Bonus from Umeå
Walking from Vasaplan to the E12 bridge:
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Elite Hotel Mimer.
Vänortsparken (park) wih a sculpture of our planet. There are items placed out on the park with connection to Umeå's sister cities. Harstad (Norway), Vaasa (Finland), Petrozavodsk (Russia), Helsingør (Denmark), Würzburg (Germany) and Saskatoon (Canada) are Umeå's twin towns.
Church in the background.
Continuing the walk.
Memorial of the battle of Hörnefors, a battle in the Finnish war back in 1809 between Russia and Sweden.
Umeå City Church.
Houses on the opposite side of the river.
Västra strandgatan (Western beach road).
Walking along the E12.
Walking from the E12 bridge back to Vasaplan via Broparken (park) and Umeå station:
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Hovrätten, the second highest grade of courts in Sweden.
A bridge connecting two parts of Umeå.
Residential areas on the other side of the bridge.
Umeälven (Ume river).
Umeå train station.
Thank you for taking your time to read this report :). Have a good one, see you!
Helsinki - HEL
Umeå - UME
My first and last flight onboard a Saab 2000, this was the highlight of the trip for me and I can definitely say that I am satisfied after flying with this now retired BRA Saab 2000.
Cabin comfort - Seat pitch was generous, loads of legroom.
Cabin crew - The single FA was friendly throughout the flight.
Entertainment - Window view and magazines.
Meal/catering - Coffee/tea service with pieces of Daim chocolate, fine for a quickie like this one.
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