My Brothers had wanted to fit in more sightseeing in Oslo but I had seen all I had needed to see for this visit, so after checking out of my hotel, I went to checkin and stay the night at an Airport hotel. This part of my review is my journey from Oslo Sentral to Oslo Airport as well as a bonus about the hotel.
It didn't work plus some Italian guy was stood over me, not understanding that this is NOT to scan your train ticket (!!)
Onboard entertainment is this video screen silently displaying adverts, exchange rates , tourist information and news.
Are we there yet ? Yes we are ! In just 19 minutes, from Oslo Sentral we are pulling up at Oslo Gardermoen Airport. Gardermoen means garden fence in old Norwegian. Or so I am told..somebody let me know if not right ! I will let the following photos do the talking as to how beautiful Oslo Gardermoen is !
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Norway's second national flag carrier has beautiful strong branding at Oslo :)
Whereas at Manchester the only time you see anything with the SAS logo is on checkin/boarding tv screens, boarding pass and baggage tag, with no uniformed staff or ticket desk,although female staff of the handling agent have to wear an SAS neck scarf, here at Oslo, one of SAS' 3 major hubs, it is beautiful to see uniformed SAS staff at an SAS Ticket Desk, lots of SAS Signage and a true Blue experience ! Let's have a look at the SAS Service Point..
After making my way to the much nearer Radisson Blu, I was slightly embarrassed that I had to walk another 5 minutes away to the Radisson Red !! Glad to see they have trolleys outside for passengers to use when heading to the terminal which is 5 minutes walk via a covered walkway.
If the hotel has any naughty guests,then help is not far away….this is not even 2 minutes away !
After checking in to my not so amazing room, let me show you the only good thing about the room,albeit it an angle. For the first two hours the room was super quiet…but then I heard a very very faint rumble……so I looked out the window…
Bearing in mind I was so close to this runway, I could barely hear an aircraft. Compare that with my stay in Istanbul Airport 5 years ago,where the runway was far away but mega noisy and very annoying ( yes I have my limits especially when tired ! ). Let's do some spotting in Oslo (not in order)
First up,it is Icelandair's 737-Max and my first time seeing the new Icelandair livery and their Max. This aircraft is registered TF-ICY ( no joke…they even have a TF-ICE ! ) Loving the new livery but the yellow tail ( they have different coloured tails) reminds me of Ryanair.
Next up is a very special spot indeed ! To the naked eye, it is just a Finnair ( Norra ) Embraer taking off to Helsinki. To me, it is my very aircraft that took me from MAN-HEL in 2018 to catch my Japan Airlines flight Tokyo…Hi OH-LKM !! Do see my report from that time.
The one I really wanted !!! Turkish Airlines A321 ( TC-LTA ) preparing for take off from Oslo. I also got a video of the rotation.
The Ethiopian 787 whose reflection you saw earlier ? Meet ET-AYC "Bangkok" who was being readied for her flight to Stockholm before her long flight back home to Addis Ababa.
Oslo and Stockholm are both home to large Ethiopian expat communities and neighbouring country Eritrea,hence ET's footprint in these Scandinavian capitals. With a 23kg baggage alowance, free drink and average flight time of 45 minutes, Ethiopian also sell seats on the OSL-ARN leg.
Beats a 6 hour road journey from Oslo to Stockholm !
TF-ICY would fly MANREK a few days later - I must have influenced this if it was not part of the operational schedule !
Before I had even left my hotel in Central Oslo, i got an email 28 hours before departure reminding me I may checkin. In the same way for MANOSL, seats that had previously been at a charge, were now free ! I had been keeping an eye on both my flights for months and it paid off,for want of a better phrase !
I initially chose row 7 (first row of Economy) for the 3 of us but then thought to try out the exit row to see if the traytable issue on SK4608 was any better. Read on during the flight report to see !
Nothing more annoying in formal written communication,than starting an email or message with Hi and no name. As if SAS does not know my name ! For once you see the forward fuselage letters but this is not how they appear in reali life. Apart from addressing me namelessly,this email reminded me of my baggage allowance, which I feel was a good time to be reminded for non switched on travellers.
Just hours before departure, my heart skipped a beat when I saw which aircraft was operating our homebound flight ! It was a Swedish registered but Oslo based A320NEO that had flown Tromso-Oslo the night before. It was registered SE-RUB and was named Birger Viking, Best of all ?? It was operated by SAS and not SAS disConnect ! This fact me jump out of bed and start getting ready to head to the terminal ! I felt extra blessed to fly on SE-RUB, as although spelt RAB, the Punjabi word for God is Rab ( pronounced Rub).
I felt so proud to attach these SAS tags to my hand luggage ; all that beautful blue !
Time to checkout and head to the terminal
As we neared the end of the walkway, there was a beautiful distraction through the glass panels. The invisible SAS logo on the forward fuselage again….
After entering the terminal,we got a lift upto Departures
I made a little booboo by going straight to the self service bagGage drop off. But what you need to do is go to the kiosk first to label your bag !
By the way, I was the first person to checkin for the flight ! I have never been on an inaugural flight before so this was the next best thing ! But in my haste I booked one of my Brother's on the window…luckily he is not fussed and we swapped when onboard. How do you know if you were the first to checkin ? The sequence number tells you on your boarding pass and bag tag ( the number you were when you checked in). the 001 denotes I was the first woohoo !!!
Then scan the baggage with the hand held scanner
Bye Brother's case ! If we take out 5 mins for my booboo, we left the hotel at 0545am and had cleared security by 0610am. Now that is what an efficient Airport experience looks like, God bless Avinor and Oslo Airport's efficiency.
No password,no signup nonsense - just click and surf !
Unlike at Schiphol,where you are only able to clear security around an hour before departure and then have a long walk to the gate, deprivng you of shopping time, at OSL another part of their efficiency is to let you shop with ease for last minute drinks,snacks and souveniers.
Ok now let's go through here
And do more shopping ! Norway is not cheap, be warned…it is the same at the Airport !
Would you believe that after exiting the shopping area is when you do Passport Control ?! Surely this should be done before security ?!
Norse Atlantic "Dartmoor" 787 ahead of flying to Fort Lauderdale,
SAS 737-800 , LN-RRG , "Elnar Viking" being readied to operate SK4601 Edinburgh in my native Scotland.
We were originally due to depart from Gate F18 but this was changed to F31. From Gate F18 now,was the Blue Air flight to Bucharest. I even saw the tail of the 737 as it taxied to it's gate. Sad that they suspended all flights a few weeks later. I wish them well.
Hospital style private business areas
I had to walk a few gates down to get a decent photo of our ride to Manchester. Once again,even in dullish weather,the forward fuselage SAS is barely visible. What a waste of paint !
And then walk back to the gate area to get these
Time for some refreshing Sunniva Orange Juice. Looks massive but it is small !
A lovely lady named Susanne came to start the gate preparation and I walked over and politey asked if I could preboard as I needed extra time to get into my seat. She most kindly obliged. I left her to get on with the gate preparation, Having been ground staff I know it is a busy time and no one likes passengers asking 1000 questions ! Her lovely colleague Oyvind then asked very politely if everyone would vacate the gate area and we would be allowed back in after some formailities.
The formalities being that at this podium outside the gate, your ID is checked and your boarding pass is scanned, Meaning that when it is time to board, you just board ! It was funny seeing Oyvind arrive on his lil cycle that employees use around OSL ! By the way you are not allowed your shopping trolleys into the gate area. After clearing the formalities we sat back down but in a different area and I saw 2 Airhostesses arrive. While they waited I went over and told them I was realy looking forward to today's flight and they seemed really happy and genuine,
Not from our flight but an idea of the SAS short haul boarding sequence
At 0815am, Susanne kindly summoned us over and without needing to scan anything we were allowed to board ! There was no wait in the airbridge and I saw the lovely Assistant Purser welcome everyone onboard with a beautifully genuine smile. I had already let the crew know that this is my flight home. Technically this was my first SAS flight as it was an actual SAS flight.
After a lovely welcome onboard, the next thing I noted immediately was the flawless cabin presentation. I am guessing this cabin was dressed and cleaned the night before. Even it it was done this very morning,then a very well done to the cleaning team as the cabin was picture perfect !
I don't know if the Manchester cleaners don't do a great job due to the time pressure or just don't have it in them ( met many of those types in my career at MAN and believe me they really test your patience ) Seatbelts were neatly crossed but armrests were down unlike at MAN where they were all up. Well done for this first impression which I truly appreciate ! I do feel that post covid,airlines should look at leather headrests that don't need covers and are easy to wipe.
Again I noticed no boarding music. Scandinavia is home to so many global supergroups and artists ; surely having instrumental versions of their most iconic songs is something that SAS may add to give the flight a soundtrack ?!
We took our seats at 11DEF and I was pleasantly surprised at how just a few inches extra allowed me to be more comfortable. No more standard seats for me on SAS again !
SAS tag and turquoise stitching on every seat.
On this flight you could see that the inseat power was already switched on,indicated by the electric blue light.
When you bring your own inflight service touches to the flight ! Lime wet tissues and fruity boiled sweets - once a basic in Economy class ( the sweets at least) but now not even a luxury :(
A look in the seatpocket
Boarding continued but there cannot have been 30 passengers onboard at this time. I then noted the Assistant Purser walking over. She smiled at me and said Welcome and gave me these lil SAS souveniers !
I wouldn't mind the one that says " I'm Scandinavian" and "Scandinavia's Best Friend " as seen from someone's collection online, But nonetheless I was excited like a kid in a candy shop as SAS memorabilia is so hard to get these days !
I asked an Airhostess if there was a wardrobe onboard ( there was ) but I was told there isn't one. I wasn't allowed to hang my suit jacket on the table latch ( there are no coathooks on the exit row as no loose items are allowed. I wasn't able to put it on the row behind as it too was an exit row. I was told it may only go in the overhead locker. So I wore it for the full flight and boy was I uncomfortable. Looking back, I should have gone to another row and hung my jackt on the coathooks on the seat as the flight was not full. The Captain did a Welcome Aboard announcement and mentioned Star Alliance ( woohoo !! ) and then announced that many passengers were stuck at Passport control. This saw a gap from 0825am until 0840am when there was a mass influx of passengers,including many of Pakistani origin. SAS does not fly to Pakistan or have a partnership with Qatar/Emirates whose daily flights into OSL had not even landed, so I guess these passengers were visiting family in Oslo ? An Airhostess came by our row to give us an exit briefing. At 0846am there was a "Boarding Complete" announcement.
At 0850am pushback began just as the engines started up and an English language safety demonstration was manually carried out. Then a Norwegian langage announcement played but no demo was done. Then again all Norwegians speak flawless English !
After what seemed a short take off run, at 0900am the engines powered up and we were on our way home ! Oslo looked like it was covered by a massive cloudy blanket….
But…as we all know, above the clouds there is always sunshine…
At 0905am an announcement was made to welcome passengers onboard =, Star Alliance was mentioned and it was advised that SASPlus passengers had a complimentary meal but that SAS Go passengers may buy onboard. I saw bread rolls being offered to the only passenger in SAS Plus but he refused. Next up,the Assistant Purser brought mine and my Brother's prepaid breakfast boxes over ( I hope FR will introduce emojis for reports !)
The tray table fully opens - no belly wedging here thank you !
Warm bread rolls with the breakfast box - I was told I may have two and my brother also. Deliciously crispy and chewy !
The Main Event !
Warm Bread Rolls with Smor Butter
Wooden cutlery pack
Coffee with milk and sugar
Cheese slices with red pepper rings and lettuce ( 2nd piece of lettuce is wilted and brown - you just about see it as I hid it from view )
Froosh Alfonso Mango and Orange smoothie
Melon and Passionfruit yoghurt by Tine accompanied by a packet of Granola
The breakfast looked colourful,tasted delicious and really energised me and my Brother. The famous milk pyramid squirted as soon as I opened the seal (!!) There is no SAS branding but if you hold the box at a distance it has part of the SAS letters and a small embossed SAS on the cover which is the same colour as the box so easily missed..but not by me ! No salt and pepper or even a serviette in the cutlery pack. The butter was rock hard and I managed to scrape a few morsels off to put on the breadroll ! The box should have a tamper proof seal. Is no one at SAS seriously paying attention to these details ?!
This is how the meal box looked in a past life. Why is the SAS branding so poor on shorthaul flights ? Please don't tell me it is the same on longhaul flights too ? The inflight menu needs much better variety of meal choices and more vegetarian options. If passengers are paying for the meal then please make it worth paying for. The app needs to show what the complimentary meal in SAS Plus will be rather than just saying " Enjoy your complimentary meal". Religious and dietary needs have to be met. No point loading a meal on to find the passenger can't eat it as they never knew beforehand what was being offered !
Mum and Dad are getting a healthy breakfast from Oslo this morning !
The sturdy box opens out to become a tray then closes nicely as a tidy bin ! This morning one is for rubbish and the other is for Mum and Dad's breakfast treat ! My Brother got more butter out of his portion !
I really don't like the fact that hot drink stirrers are touched by hand and then given to the passenger. I feel that from a hygiene point of view, the stirrer along with sugar and serviette should come in a sealed packet. There are cutbacks and there are things that just dont make sense. In the post covid travelling world, hygiene,along with safety, should be at the forefront of every airline's operations.
By the way,when your brother who paid the SAS light fare,gets an actual SAS branded beverage cup but you,the SAS fan and SAS Go guy, get a plain blue one…how ?!!!
Just as we were finishing breakfast,more bread rolls were brought round but I couldn't possibly accept as I was full ! Yes,the jetflyer was full !
At 0930am approx, the Captain did his enroute brief and even mentioned that Stavanger is on the right ! Just before he did the announcement, the Purser came round to us to tell us that we can see Norway's most famous Glacier ! Wow, that is such a beautiful touch. I forget the name but here it is !
WIFI actually worked this time for those who wanted to use it and the inseat power was working from before take off.
And as we know, Scandinavian Traveler is now digital only. But a look when it was Scanorama and also a printed magazine.
From 22 hours before departure, you may download newspapers and magazines on the SAS app. I did download content, never got round to reading it and eventually it expired from the app ! In the absence of an inflight magazine, SAS should allow downloaded content to remain for longer.
A piece of card on the headrest cover ( like Brussels Airlines) indicates where the cabin starts/ends for this class. There is no curtain, no menucards, no little touches like boiled sweets and wet towels, a free meal arrives in a cardboard box and drinks are free. There is no lounge access in Manchester but there is in Scandinavia. Fastrak security and Priority boarding. SAS really need to tweak this product to make it more exclusive as right now,it is neither Business or Premium Economy. Start with the curtain and then add in the touches for what could be an amazing product and worth paying the extra for. That said, apart from the cabin being part of Economy, there are more benefits when departing Scandinavia to Manchester than the other way around.
After the bare minimum interactions on the MANOSL flight operated by SAS Connect, ,with this flight I really got to experience the SAS service I have so often imagined since my schooldays ! The 4 ladies were professional,friendly,engaging,upbeat and passionately proud of working for SAS and it showed. From helping families with babies to answering queries, everything was done most professionaly and from the heart. This means even more when you think that this is a morning flight. The Purser ( inflight manager) was really engaging. From pointing out a glacier to engaging my football mad brother in football chat and advising the return flight was full due to a match the day before, she was the epitome of a good inflight leader and this was reflected in the nature of the entire crew. When I asked about her mixed accent, she advised she had studied in Windsor ! This set of crew make me want to fly SAS again and again. I will just make sure never to book a Connect flight as it is not on the level of SAS. Another tea and coffee run was conducted by the two Junior Airhostesses but most passengers were asleep !
During the flight, these popped up on my mobile. Naturally it was easy to rate today's flight !
The routing shows we flew straight across the North Sea to England before turning southernly after Newcastle and then heading towards Manchester and flying round past Oldham before lining up to land on Runway 1. The cabin was secured by 0910am UK time which is just as we were likely just over Newcastle.
At 0940am exactly, we landed right on schedule. There was an English then Norwegian announcement and of course….it mentioned Star Alliance . The scene as we taxied to gate 27 at Manchester T1.
Just before disembarking, I gave each of the 4 crew a thank you card and mint with my logo on it. The Assistant Purser was particularly touched by my kind gesture.
Before disembarking the aircraft, I had had it agreed that I may have a souvenier photo with my cabin crew. No fuss,no drama, no false promises, taken on my phone. What a difference to to my disConnect flight a few days ago. We even all laughed when I asked the Norwegian word for cheese and the Purser said Ost ( OOST ) and I repeated it ! I wished the crew a lovely flight back,knowing it would be packed. I was not wrong as the gate area was overflowing into two gate areas with passengers for this flight !
Bye Birger Viking !
We disembarked around 0950am - but got stuck in a darn queue at Manchester Airport. A girl from out flight was taking forever and the automated gates were not working ( way to go Manchester Airport). It felt like an eternity as a Turkish Airlines passenger load also arrived but were in a different lane. Once the girl was seen to, our queue moved much faster. I am sure a famous DJ was stood guys behind me. I will need to look out for him to get his name !
There was a delay with the baggage, the temperature was very warm and I just wanted to get out of the baggage hall. Finally the bags arrived, we got a Streetcars taxi to my family home and after a while, I left to go back to my home. For the first time ever, I got home and immediately put the washing on, sorted and separated the souveniers and my own momentoes and cleaned my suitcase out. I always leave my home clean so when I arive back it greets me nicely and I don' have the stress of cleaning.
And that everyone, was my flight home from Oslo. Do please like,comment and share with your family and friends and if you know anyone in SAS do forward the link for this review ! See you onboard another flight soon !
12 hours after I woulfd have been in the air for 3 minutes,this text arrived. Wow,just as well I didn't depend on it lol !
Also the same evening,subliminal message from SAS on Instagram !
After the flight - my SAS collection and Eurobonus status
Wow,how I wish this had been my flight on Wednesday from MAN to OSL !
There is a world of difference in this SAS flight and that SAS Connect flight.
The crew of today's flight were consummate professionals, proud of working for SAS and it was just a whole different vibe onboard.
From cabin presnetation to uniform standrads to passenger engagement, everything was outstanding.
As for SAS ? I am Scandinavian for life with all my heart and soul !