Heading to Stockholm

So if you remember from one of my previous posts (Stockholm for a Whole Week!) I had a trip planned to visit my friend in Stockholm; well I’ve finally gotten around to typing up our adventures!

Firstly, the trip over went fairly well.  I made all my connections, got to check out a number of lounges and made it to Stockholm just under 24 hours later 🙂  My voyage started bright and early (well not really that bright) in Vancouver as I had booked a separate ticket down to SFO to start my international trip.  Luckily I was upgraded on my SEA-SFO flight (thanks Alaska!) and got a few other surprise things (free Starbucks card!) which made this a great start to my trip.

Watching the planes in Seattle

When I finally made it to SFO, it turns out we actually pulled in right next to the gate with my KLM plane waiting for me.  Always good to see your plane there a few hours before your flight.  I was hoping that would mean less chance of departure delays.  To kill time before my flight I went to check out the Lounge, which I had access to with my business class ticket, but it’s also included in the Priority Pass.  The lounge is small, but nice.  Very clean, modern decor.  The food and drinks are in a second room towards the back and they have seats along the window with good working space and plugs.  After nibbling on some lunch and doing a bit of charging, it was time to head to the gate to board the flight.

Coming in to SFO, flying over the Golden Gate Bridge

The long flight to Amsterdam was on a Boeing 747 which, as I’ve mentioned before, I think are pretty cool.  Business class on this flight consisted of sections on the upper deck and in the nose of the plane.  Most of the seating is in a 2-2 configuration, but there are a few select single seats in the nose section.  Row 1 has a single seat on the left side, and row 4 and a single seat by the left window, as well as the middle.  I’ve seen the middle seat referred to the “Captain Kirk” seat as it feels a bit like you’re commanding the deck of the enterprise.  Check out KLM’s seating chart.  I was lucky enough to score 4A!

Seat 4A on the KLM 747

Being an older jet, the flight over had a few glitches, but eventually they were all sorted out.  The seats are lie-flat, which means I got a pretty decent nap on the plane.  My special meal was decent and I finally got a little house to start my collection (which is actually still sitting in Sweden, but that’s another story…)  The only down side was that they were done with their signature cocktail before they got to my seat 😦  I’m not sure how this happened… you’d think they would have enough on the plane for everyone to at least have one!  But I managed with some wine and champagne to keep me occupied for the flight.

I woke up about 2 hours outside of Amsterdam in time for breakfast and some coffee before we started our decent.  The great thing about landing in the  morning is that you can get some pretty spectacular views coming in with the low sunlight.  The approach was uneventful and soon we were on the ground an on our way to the gate.

Coming in to land at AMS

We were a bit early which meant I would have time to go visit the lounge in Amsterdam.  There are many lounges in the airport, including a priority pass location, but I opted for the KLM Crown lounge, as access was included in my ticket. The Lounge was very large, with a few separate areas, including some long high-top tables in the bar area. I only had a short layover, so barely had time to grab a quick drink before I had to scoot off to my next gate, but from what I saw the lounge was quite nice.

KLM Crown Lounge in AMS

My next flight from AMS to ARN was on a boeing 737. This had the typical European business class seating: standard economy rows with the middle seat blocked out for comfort. Boarding was fairly smooth and we pushed back from the gate on time. We taxied out the runway… and taxied… and kept taxiing… at this point I was pretty sure we were going to be driving to Stockholm. But we finally reached the runway and were airborne.

As it was an intra-europe flight, KLM didn’t have the option to order a special meal. So of course when I explained this to the flight attendant when he offered me lunch he felt really bad and pulled together some fruit and nuts for me to have. I’m really not sure why so many airlines don’t offer an option on these shorter flights. Most European airlines still pass out a small snack, and free alcohol, and it would be quite easy to make a substitution to accommodate many alternative dietary requirements. I know most people are happy with the option provided, it’s just frustrating when it seems to be such an easy change.

My makeshift meal

A short time later we were landing at Arlanda Airport and I was off to find the train and head in to the city to meet up with my friend. There are two different train systems from the airport: the local transportation system and the Arlanda Express. I opted for the local train, which does take longer, but is about half the price. A hop, skip, and a jump later and I was ready for my Stockholm adventures!


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