Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Aurora Hunting: Oslo to Tromso on SAS


We headed back to the airport using the airport express train. Although relatively expensive if compared to other airport transportation options in Europe, it was really convenient. There was plenty of space for luggage, had power points for laptops and the seats were comfortable. We were at the airport 20 minutes after leaving the main train station in Oslo.

Oslo Train Station

Arriving at Oslo Airport

 As with everything else that we've encountered in Oslo so far, check-in was quick and efficient. There were no lines at the self serve check-in counters and we were able to print our boarding passes and luggage tags before proceeding to drop of our bags. We were through security 15 minutes after we had arrived at Oslo airport.

SAS self serve check-in counters
SAS baggage drop area
We obviously had arrived at the airport way too early was our departure was another two and a half hours away. Oslo airport is decided into a domestic wing and international wing. All passengers enter through the same security checkpoints into the domestic wing and proceed to the international wing if boarding an international flight. The "traffic" to the international wing is one way where there's no one checking your boarding passes to make sure you're on an international flight but once you're in the international wing, you can't head back to the domestic wing without exiting the secured area and going through security again.

The reason I'm sharing all this info is that the only SAS lounge was in the international area and we decided to head over and try our luck to get into the lounge with Calvin's *Gold Status. The lounge attendant looked at our boarding passes and informed us the lounge was only for international passengers. Not sure if this was a self made rule but we didn't fight it. We then had to exit the secure area, head back down through baggage claims, up to departures and once more through security again. Not a fun walk but at least we tried I guess..

Now's a probably a good time to say that Oslo airport is one of prettiest airport we've been in. There were high ceilings making it really airy and the wood furniture and fittings make it cosy everywhere unlike the concrete mess in airports like Bangkok.

Our flight boarded and departed on time. It was operated by a Boeing 737-700 (gotta love those winglets) and we had our pre-booked window and middle seats so we could catch some of the scenery from the sky.

SAS offers complimentary coffee or tea on this flight in addition to the paid snacks, beers, wines and soft drinks.

The weather started to change about 1.5 hours into the flight as we approached Tromso. The flight started to get bumpy with cloudy skies and more snow covered mountains and hills were coming into view.

About fifteen minutes later the captain began the descent and we arrived in Tromso right on time.

We took a cab from the airport to the hotel instead of the bus since it would have cost the same for both of us. The ride over was pretty interesting with stunning views of the surrounding water, mountains and the long tunnels through the mountains. We also caught a glimpse of a couple of folks doing kite surfing - it must have been cold!

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