Friday, 1 June 2012

Flying with SAS (OSL-LHR) on my first Boeing 737-700 ride


I had a 3 hours layover at OSL airport, so I went around and did some plane spotting. It is a big airport, and it is quite nice and pleasant. Once I got out of immigration, I saw a group of Norwegian girls cheering loudly for someone, but one thing for sure, that 'someone' is not me. I was looking at the clock and was wondering whether should I make the trip to town. I decided not to take the risk, so I stayed at the airport and explore the building instead.

Norwegian's Boeing 737-800

SAS's Boeing 737-700

No prize for guessing who dominates this airport. 

Another SAS's Boeing 737-700

Norwegian's Boeing 737-800 - some aircraft has a hump which means WiFi is available. 

SAS Boeing 737-800

Norwegian's Boeing 737-300

Niki's ERJ-190

Air France Regional ERJ190 

Thomas Cook's Airbus A330-300

Flight route: OSL-LHR

Miles: 750

Carrier: SAS
Flight number: 815
Date: 29th May 2012
Routing: OSL-LHR
Seat number: 18A (18B and 18C were empty Yeah!!!)
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-700
Engine type: 2x CFMI CFM56-7B24
1st time on LN-TUA
Line number: 33
Plane delivered: 1st October 2009
History of aircraft: Ex-ILFC and the current lessor is ACG. Ex-operators are Braathens,
SAS Braathens and SAS Norge
Registration: LN-TUA
Flight duration: 1 hr 55 mins
Schedule departure time: 2015
Actual departure time: 2015
Schedule arrival time: 2135
Actual arrival time: 2120
FL: 380
Load factor for Y class: 75%
Departure gate: 50
Departure runway: 1L
Arrival runway: 09L

My ride: LN-TUA

I spotted my plane taxing in, wasn't too happy to see the B737-700 without winglets, but at least its a start and not some last-minute equipment change which can be very annoying for aviation enthusiasts. Looking at the number of passengers at the gate, my guess was a full flight. Soon it was time for boarding, it was fast and smooth. Initially, I had a first good impression with the crew as they greeted me with enthusiasm. That's a good start I thought, as I made my way to 18A and later on it turned out that the 2 seats beside me remained empty, that's even better. I look around and saw a few empty seats behind mine, so it is not a full flight after all.

Pushed back started a few minutes early. Engines fired up and flaps were set. Soon we made our way to runway 01L for departure. The take-off of the 737-700 was very powerful, as it lifted off effortlessly. However, the noise level of the engine is pretty noisy for an NG aircraft, but I enjoyed every minute of the ride. The Captain and first officer of the flight kept us well updated and even cracked a few jokes or two, however in Norwegian and I was probably the only one who didn't understand. As I was the only Asian aboard, one of the crews was quite surprised to see me and asked me where I was from. We chatted briefly as he had to work. 

Onboard SAS, only water, coffee and tea is offered for free, you have to pay for the food and other kinds of drinks. Quite disappointed to be honest, I was expecting a complimentary light snack and juice of your choice, similar to Finnair.

The seat was a bit hard and if you sit by the window, you will find it very cramped due to the lack of legroom space because of the curve of the fuselage. I was lucky to have an empty seat beside me as I could stretch my legs. The windows on this 737 seemed lower than the others I had flown and I had to bend down a bit just to see what's outside. Overall, I didn't like the airline's in-flight seats and was just glad that its only a 2 hr flight and not more. Its cramp for a 6 foot 4 person like myself. If you are as tall as me, I would recommend the rows in front or the emergency row.

Inflight service

The crew, in general, were ok, but a couple of grumpy looking ones at the rear of the aircraft, as they looked quite unhappy for most of the time. I wonder what's up with them, were they unhappy to be working? They came past me a few times and one of them frowned at me for no reason. 

Window shots

The approach in London Heathrow is always not a simple affair, usually aircraft that land in this airport would need to line up due to traffic congestion. As usual, we were put on holding pattern for 15 minutes before given the clearance to land. However, the approach to London was pretty bumpy especially going through the clouds. We got out the clouds pretty fast and landed safely on runway 09L, headed to our gate at Terminal 3 parking beside the company's Boeing 737-600, an aircraft that I haven't flown on.


For the cheap airfare, it is definitely worth the deal. Finally got the Boeing 737-700 into my flight logbook which is satisfying. As for the seat comfort, its possibly the bottom in my list comparing with Finnair, Blue1 and Norwegian. I was told that this aircraft and possibly a few others were ex-Braathens and only these had the horrible seating pitch, so its all down to your luck. This airline has been losing out to its fiercest rival, Norwegian and needs to buck up. 

My rating

Onboard service: 7/10
Seat comfort: 5/10
Aircraft: 8/10
Legroom space: 6/10
Cleanliness of aircraft: 8/10
Recommendation: Yes, for short flight sectors only.
Overall inflight experience: B+
Just for the aircraft experience: B

Thanks for reading my trip report.

Best Regards,

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