Welcome to my trip report chronicling my return trip from Scandinavia with Finnair and American Airlines. I hope you enjoy reading through my long, fun day of traveling westbound over the pond on what was a new, exciting airline to me.
CPH-FSM route by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
How about a bit of background information first? Having completed my first year as a Freshman at the University of Arkansas with a 4.0 GPA, my parents decided to reward me for my hard work throughout the year with a fun trip to Europe. They essentially let me decide which part of the continent we were to visit. Being the self-proclaimed and proud ‘avgeek’ I am, my ultimate decisions hinged on the route we would fly across the pond, with airlines and aircraft types playing a critical role in this decision-making process. Ultimately, I decided on Stockholm and Copenhagen, primarily since both cities satiated my endless desire for unusual, interesting routes and airlines/aircraft I wanted to fly on. In addition to this, I reasoned that as I had never visited Scandinavia before, I would enjoy exploring the area and taking in its picturesque sites while soaking up the rich history of the area.
On the way to Europe, my dad and I (my mom ultimately decided to visit her sister in California instead), flew FSM-DFW-LHR-ARN with the second segment being on American’s Flagship Boeing 777-300ER and the last one being on a lovely, almost-classic BA 767-300ER. While the onward journey was fun (it was my first time trying out AA’s 77W), I figured I would skip to writing this first. As I had never flown on AY before, I naturally was more interested in the routing on the return journey. Usually I’m not very excited at the prospect of returning home from a vacation, but this was certainly an exception. I was stoked on the day of departure from Copenhagen: June 29th, 2017.
DSC_6973 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Dad and I took the local bus from where we were staying, the Tivoli Hotel, to CPH Terminal 2. We had purchased a ‘Copenhagen card’ for three days, which gave us unlimited travel around the city on the public buses, trains, and ferries.
DSC_6975 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Arriving at the Finnair check-in counter. I was very excited at the time, as I had always looked longingly at anything to have to do with AY. The day had finally come!
Dad and I walked up to the counter, and we both gave the agent our passports. After a few moments, she said “do you have any proof of reservation, such as a printout?” We looked quizzically at each other and shook our heads no. I had never been asked this question before, so I began to become a little nervous. Did we get the date of our return right? The agent then asked what flight we were on. I responded saying “the 8:55 flight”. It turned out she assumed we were on the earlier 7am flight to Helsinki. I breathed a sigh of relief as she printed out our boarding passes – all eight of them. She then commented that she had never printed out eight boarding passes for two passengers before. Looking quizzically at the three-letter IATA identifiers on the last ones, she said “what..where is F-S-M?” We explained that we live in a relatively small town in Arkansas, and she said she had never heard of it before. She then asked if it was close to Little Rock, to which I said yes. For a Danish person, a two-hour drive down I-40 is definitely close enough.
Dad and I then headed to the security checkpoint. After waiting in a very small line, we breezed through the checkpoint and proceeded into the secure area. Our first task was to look for the AY (or affiliate) lounge. Being an AA Platinum (OW Sapphire) member, my dad was entitled to lounge access, and thankfully for me, he was allowed to bring one guest with him.
DSC_6975a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I have never seen luggage carts like these…
After proceeding to the CPH Apartments lounge and showing the desk agent our boarding passes, we sauntered in and relaxed on the cozy couches inside the lounge. The place was almost empty, save for a business traveler or two.
DSC_6976 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr The view from the lounge was okay, but as you can see, it faced the terminal owned by the dominant carrier at CPH
DSC_6977 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I helped myself to some lovely Earl Grey tea before indulging in breakfast.
DSC_6978 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
The breakfast spread was pretty satisfactory
DSC_6979 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_6980 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
There were also some nice models on display
After about thirty minutes in the lounge, it was time to head to our gate!
DSC_6982 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Our flight, AY662, was set to depart out of gate A4
DSC_6985 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I’m a sucker for tail diversity.
DSC_6988 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a cutie!
DSC_6991 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Boarding for Reykjavik
DSC_6992 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After waiting for about 10 minutes for our plane to arrive, OH-LXD slowly taxied over to us while showing off her gorgeous billboard livery
DSC_6995 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_6996 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
You can tell I’m excited to get on board!
DSC_6997 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I was giddy with excitement as I downloaded the Finnair app and saw MY reservation. I was finally about to fly on one of my dream airlines.
DSC_6999 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
She looks even better up close.
Flight number: AY662, “Finnair 662”
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Flying time: 1 hour 33 minutes
DSC_7001 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Got my customary view of the cockpit. The captain wasn’t very welcoming, but at least he let me take this picture.
DSC_7002 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7003 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Instead of showing some pointless movie that nobody was going to watch, the moving map was displayed for the entirety of the flight. I wish American carriers would follow suit…
DSC_7004 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
It’s a full flight this morning!
We eventually pushed back after about a ten-minute delay and began our taxi to runway 22L.
DSC_7006 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
See our reflection on the terminal windows?
DSC_7014 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
You can faintly see the the Flyvergrillen restaurant in the distance, my main spotting location at CPH and overall one of the best spots I have ever been to. I have uploaded several of my shots from there onto this site; check them out at the very end of this report.
We were then cleared for takeoff, and after a short roll, we soared into the air and I said a goodbye and “I’ll be back” to lovely Denmark.
DSC_7018 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7019 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Does that road just end in the middle of the sea?
DSC_7021 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
No… it enters a tunnel! Talk about an engineering marvel!
DSC_7022 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I tried to decipher Finnish. I didn’t even have a chance.
DSC_7025 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
A few minutes later, drinks were offered, and I had my second tea of the day. It was excellent.
DSC_7026 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
My view on that bright Thursday morning
DSC_7028 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
A Norwegian 787-9 passes above us
DSC_7030 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Now on descent into Finland after a pretty uneventful ninety minutes or so
DSC_7031 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7033 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7034 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7035 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Um… where is my flight to Kennedy?
DSC_7037 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Now descending over rural Finland
DSC_7040 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Wow, this place is gorgeous
DSC_7043 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Beginning our approach into Vantaa
DSC_7046 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7048 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
The first airplane to greet me was this unmarked A340-300
DSC_7053 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7057 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Looks like a fancy terminal to me
We soon pulled up to the terminal and disembarked. I said my farewell to OH-LXD and thanked her for a good flight.
DSC_7059 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Until next time, LXD!
My first impression of Helsinki’s Terminal 2 was excellent. The airport was clean, modern, and quite streamlined. Finnair prides itself on its main hub, and it definitely did not disappoint.
As it continues to grow into one of Europe’s premier airlines, AY seems to be adding several new international destinations every year. One of their main selling points is that all their operations are out of Terminal 2. This makes changing terminals unnecessary, and connections inherently less stressful and time consuming. I found this to be a huge plus, despite being a seasoned traveler and airport navigator.
DSC_7060 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Looks like we’ll be departing out of gate 38 for JFK
DSC_7061 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
A necessity for any good airport, in my opinion. In his book Cockpit Confidential, author and retired commercial pilot Patrick Smith agrees.
DSC_7062 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
A new sight for me. Ukraine apparently uses airstairs here at Vantaa.
Dad and I then proceeded through the Schengen checkpoint and entered the non-Schengen area. Many people in the line for the checkpoint seemed confused, and several thought it was the queue for customs and border control. Several people ahead of us were turned back upon reaching the checkpoint. I was surprised at this obvious and rampant lack of awareness.
Upon clearing the checkpoint, we headed for the Finnair lounge. I got very excited as I saw the sign for it.
DSC_7065 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
The friendly agent scanned Dad’s boarding pass and said “welcome to our premium lounge”. Dad and I were ecstatic as we approached the doors to what promised to be a very exquisite club.
DSC_7068 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
We proceeded to enter, and were silent for a few moments as we took in the delicate and lovely ambiance of the area. We eventually worked our way to the comfy seating main seating area and set our bags down. I then looked at my watch – we had approximately an hour before boarding – so we decided to eat first, then take a quick shower.
DSC_7073 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Yes, the food tasted as good as it looks. The salmon was especially awesome.
DSC_7069 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After demolishing my plate and downing two more salmon rolls (I don’t know how else to describe them), I sauntered over to the shower and was glad to find one cleaned and unlocked.
DSC_7074 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After a long, refreshing shower, I emerged back into the lounge feeling ready for the long hop across the pond that awaited me. I got a hot mocha from the machine and a chocolate mousse dessert before reluctantly saying goodbye to the lounge I had quickly fallen in love with.
DSC_7075 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a lovely ambiance!
DSC_7078 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Dad and I exited the lounge and said a quick goodbye and thank you to the receptionist. I made a promise to myself to return soon.
We proceeded to gate 38 and got our first look at the magnificent Airbus that would take us back to the New World. I have a thing for Finnair’s livery, and I swooned when I saw the tail of our aircraft for the first time. It was certainly love at first sight with OH-LTS.
DSC_7079 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What’s up, gorgeous?
While waiting in the boarding area, I checked out our planned flight path on flightaware.
DSC_7079a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7079b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
It’s almost time to go!
DSC_7079c by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I opened planefinder and checked out what was flying over us at the moment. I got a kick out of seeing that this birdie was almost directly over us. Being a die-hard DFW fanboy and a fan of A6-LRD (I got a shot of her on the front page of this site two years ago), I chuckled seeing this.
DSC_7080 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7082 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I asked the gate agent if there were any seats left in J, and he quickly told me that it was completely sold out. Oh well.
Shortly afterwards, the boarding process began. Dad and I were disappointed at the controlled chaos that ensued; after the J passengers boarded, there was seemingly no order as everyone got in line. There was no regard for OW/AY status or location of seat on the airplane. Instead of staying in the back of the now-serpentine, long line, we asked the agent if we could board considering Dad’s OW status. She quickly said yes and let us through the priority line, which was not in use.
DSC_7083 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
We got an even-better view of LTS from the jetbridge
Flight number: AY5, “Finnair 5 Heavy”
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Flying time: 8 hours 44 minutes
Upon boarding, I asked the FA at the door if I could get a quick cockpit visit. To my surprise, he said no. Mildly disappointed, I proceeded to the back of the aircraft.
DSC_7084 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a beautiful cabin!
Dad and I settled into seat 44J and L.
DSC_7085 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Love the size of this personal TV!
DSC_7088 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I couldn’t have asked for a better view. I’m also a fan of logos on winglets, and the classy AY logo on the tip of LTS’s long starboard wing gave me chills.
Captain’s welcome aboard announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH1-AEbXs0s
DSC_7089 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7090 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Go Oneworld! I love you!
DSC_7093 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I would love to try out this flight someday.
DSC_7095 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
As much as I loved OH-LTS, I can’t say I wouldn’t have preferred to cross the Atlantic on one of these.
DSC_7099 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After a few minutes, we pushed back from gate 38 and our longhaul journey had officially commenced
DSC_7102 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a good looking bird!
DSC_7105 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I really like AY’s moving map. It’s much better than AA’s new, fancy one that, despite its many features, doesn’t display a top-down view on its default setting.
DSC_7108 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Passing this adorable little one while taxiing to the active runway.
DSC_7112 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Turning onto runway 04R
“Finnair zero-zero-five heavy, cleared for takeoff runway four-right.”
DSC_7121 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Blastoff! We were once again treated to gorgeous views of Finland’s terrain.
DSC_7123 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Taken shortly before making a gradual left-hand bank to track towards the Big Apple.
After ascending above the clouds that rendered further views of western Finland impossible, I resorted to scrolling the movie selections on AY’s “Nordic Sky” entertainment system.
DSC_7124 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7125 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Nah, I’m good.
DSC_7126 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Taking advantage of the cool downward-facing camera feature
DSC_7128 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Gaining altitude over the Gulf of Bothnia
DSC_7129 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a gorgeous winglet! At the time, I had no idea what kind of views I would be treated to later on in the flight.
DSC_7140 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
As we crossed into Sweden, the inflight service started. I was pleasantly surprised to be offered a warm towelette.
DSC_7141 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
One hour down, seven-fifty to go
DSC_7147 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
You know it’s a good entertainment system when Family Guy is available… (alternate caption: the Marimekko-branded blankets are awesome!)
DSC_7149 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I killed about an hour by listening to Peter’s shenanigans. I believe the meal service began halfway through my second episode, so I paused the show to eat.
DSC_7156 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
My dad had tried out the grape juice on that morning’s CPH-HEL flight. He told me not to miss it on the longhaul, and I’m glad I didn’t!
DSC_7155 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7157 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I believe the main course was some sort of chicken with pasta. It tasted better than it looks.
DSC_7159 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After the meal, I sipped my second tea of the day while again enjoying the downward-facing camera.
DSC_7160 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I finished my third episode of Family Guy and checked on our location. I figured we were about 45 minutes out of Iceland, so I went to the bathroom ahead of time to ensure that I’d see as much of it as I could.
DSC_7163 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7164 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7180 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7181 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
At that moment, I wished we had chosen seats on the left side. While cruising over Greenland a few hours later, I was glad that I indeed sat on the right.
Iceland soon passed without any spectacular views. I didn’t expect much, but I was disappointed that I didn’t see any of its magnificent volcanoes. At the time, I had no idea that Greenland would more than make up for this.
We soon got closer to Greenland, I made sure to get my camera ready. I blew on my window in hopes of further cleaning its already spotless surface. After experimenting with certain settings and taking several test shots, I was ready.
…and this was the result. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
DSC_7208 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Before I knew it, clouds rolled in, making further shots impossible. Content with my results, I relaxed in my comfortable seat and closed my eyes for a few moments.
After passing Greenland, I decided to try to find a good movie. I’m usually very picky when it comes to movies so I did not have high hopes as I began my quest. However, upon watching the trailer for “The Founder”, I decided to give it a shot.
DSC_7214 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7214a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7214b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
On the right, you can see Nick Offerman, better known as Ron Swanson from the hit NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation”.
DSC_7214c by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
The triumphs and travails of Ray Kroc enraptured me for nearly two hours, and I exited the movie selection page feeling accomplished. I had managed to kill two hours without lapsing into sleep.
DSC_7214d by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I scrolled through the audio selections and sampled various genres
DSC_7215 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Our bright cabin about six hours into the journey.
DSC_7216 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Hello, North America!
DSC_7217 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After several unsuccessful attempts, Dad managed to take a decent picture of me with the winglet we had grown accustomed to.
DSC_7218 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Cruising over Canada
DSC_7219 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Some Canadian airport
DSC_7220 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7221 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
It’s almost the end of the day at our origin
DSC_7222 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Diving deeper into Canada
DSC_7224 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7226 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Shortly before crossing the Canada-US border, a small pre-arrival snack was served. I, of course, got another grape juice and tea. The flatbread was delicious.
DSC_7228 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Stateside for the first time in nine great days.
DSC_7231 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What’s up, Bangor?
DSC_7232 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a route…
DSC_7237 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Jetting our way across Maine
DSC_7238 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Now approaching the home of the Celtics and Red Sox
DSC_7240 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
A short video then played describing planned expansion at Vantaa. I am excited for it’s and AY’s bright futures.
DSC_7244 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7246 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I then experienced something I never had before. While keeping an eye on our vertical speed dial, I felt a small, subtle and almost unnoticeable jerk downwards. I then noticed our VS gradually decreasing at an increasing rate. We had officially begun our descent!
DSC_7247 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Slowly beginning our descent into the New York area.
Captain’s announcement on descent into NYC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEahLADPaDM
DSC_7248 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7249 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Spoilers deployed to increase our rate of descent
DSC_7250 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Making our initial approach turns into New York Kennedy
DSC_7252 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7253 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Banking hard to the left to head south, away from Long Island.
Considering our initial turns, I figured we were on approach for one of JFK’s parallel north-facing runways (04L and R). Conditions were a bit hazy, so I couldn’t see any other aircraft in the area, and I did not have cell service so I could not confirm this.
DSC_7254 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Facing south-west while continuing our descent
DSC_7256 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP/KISP)
DSC_7259 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
At this point, I was 99% sure we were on a 04L/R approach
DSC_7261 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Banking hard to the right over the Atlantic. I thought this was to line up with the north-facing runways.
DSC_7268 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Leveling out while creating a pretty slipstream
We leveled a little prematurely, and I realized that we had not lined up with the 04’s yet. Slightly confused, I figured that we would make another turn to finalize our approach. We did not.
DSC_7271 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Wait… what’s happening?
DSC_7275 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Passing over the remains of the Brooklyn CGAS. At this point, it dawned on me that we were not aiming for the 04s and instead were performing a thrilling Canarsie approach into one of the east-facing 13’s.
DSC_7277 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Wow… this is going to be awesome!
DSC_7278 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Banking HARD to the right while on final for…13R?
DSC_7282 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
That can’t be… Wow! We’re goin’ for 13L!
Our massive A333 began shaking and shuddering under the immense strain of the tight right turn we were making. Combined with crosswinds and sharp, decisive aileron inputs from the cockpit in an effort to line up with 13L, these few seconds before touchdown undoubtedly constituted my most interesting experience in an aircraft up until that point.
DSC_7288 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Now banking slightly to the left while still in an effort to line up with 13L. I had to steady my camera with two hands to keep this picture from being too off-center due to the noticeable g-forces we were experiencing.
DSC_7292 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Planting the mains on terra firma
We proceeded to gradually slow down on 13L, eventually pulling off towards the end of the 10,000-foot runway. A group of school kids behind us began clapping, and continued to do so for about 10 seconds. I was tempted to join in; the landing we had just experienced certainly deserved it!
DSC_7297 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
A Virgin heavy from Heathrow slows on 13L after completing her own Canarsie approach
DSC_7298 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Taxiing parallel to 13L on our way to AA’s T8
DSC_7302 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Seeing an AA bird for the first time in nine days
DSC_7305 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
It’s a Oneworld party here at T8
DSC_7309 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Pulling into Gate 8
We soon came to a stop, and one of the most memorable flights of my life had come to an end. Considering that we had a connection time of two hours and customs to clear, Dad and I hastily grabbed our belongings and quickly jumped into the long queue to disembark the aircraft. When not in a hurry, I often relax in my seat for a while, and only hop into the aisle once the line starts to move.
Upon reaching door L2 (right behind the J cabin), I thanked the FAs and stepped foot off OH-LTS and onto American soil. Wasting no time, Dad and I speed walked to the end of the jetbridge, where we were pleasantly surprised by something we didn’t expect.
An AA agent, standing right at the end of the jetbridge, was repeatedly announcing connecting destinations with seemingly no connection to each other. She yelled “San Francisco! Los Angeles!”, and Dad turned to me and remarked “transcons…”, implying she was catering to premium flyers with tight connections to AA 321Ts waiting to fly to the west coast.
However, we were both blindsided when the next city she yelled was “Dallas!”. Upon hearing our connecting city, we went over to her. She handed us printed AA boarding passes for our flight to DFW in a bright orange envelope emblazoned with the words “ONEWORLD PRIORITY”. Perplexed by this new experience, we thanked her and continued our fast jog towards customs and passport control.
DSC_7311 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Despite awkwardly running with my DSLR strapped around my neck, I couldn’t help take one last shot (or so I thought) of the lovely Lima Tango Sierra.
We reached passport control, and a friendly agent at the front of the line called for orange-envelope holders. Dad raised his hand, holding this precious commodity, and we were allowed to jump to the front of the line. With a quick “welcome home”, the CBP agent stamped our passports and admitted us back into the United States of America.
Rechecking our bags proved to be almost as easy and hassle-free. We proceeded to the carousel, where bags from several international OW flights were tumbling out of various chutes. Dad and I were able to catch our breath, as our bags had not arrived by the time we made it to our carousel. We waited about five minutes until it arrived, then hastily left the area and rechecked it in a designated recheck area right outside.
DSC_7312 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Now out of the secure area, we had one more hurdle to pass – the dreaded security checkpoint. With now slightly under 90 minutes to make our connection, it seemed doable, but still nerve-wracking. We emerged from the baggage recheck area and found ourselves in the main check-in area at T8. What we saw made our hearts sink.
I regret not taking a picture of what was the longest security line I have ever seen. This line stretched all the way from the checkpoint to the main entrance doors – yes, the doors right by the road outside the terminal. This line snaked all the way around the main check-in areas in the terminal, and I recall hearing horrified passengers asking each other, “wait… is the line for security? Oh my god…”
Thankfully, my dad was still clutching the nifty orange envelope we had been given about thirty minutes before. I thought its magic had run out; I was wrong. After resigning to our fate of having to wait in a line that was unimaginably long for about a minute, we realized that we may be able to jump ahead with the envelope. We gingerly began to weave our way through the line, quite possibly incurring our fellow flyers’ wraths along the way. Upon approaching the front, an agent noticed the gift from heaven Dad was holding and let us cut all the way to the front. Not believing our luck and the fact that we had just jumped ahead what I approximated to be over 400-500 people, we easily passed through the checkpoint and found ourselves once again in the secure area of JFK’s T8.
With about an hour-fifteen until departure, Dad and I couldn’t comprehend what had just happened, and we caught our breaths on the benches by the checkpoint. I quickly turned to him and said “let’s go to the Admirals Club!” Not even considering this a remote possibility literally five minutes before, we had completely forgotten about it. Dad enthusiastically agreed, and we jumped up and began to search for it.
DSC_7312a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
We didn’t see any signs for the club, so I resorted to googling its location.
After about two minutes of further searching, we eventually found it and entered. I produced Dad’s AY5 boarding pass and handed into the friendly agent at the counter. After a quick scan, he extended his right hand to his right and, with a quick welcome, motioned us towards the Flagship Lounge, not the Admirals club, which was to his left. Floored at this, Dad and I couldn’t believe what had just happened. We walked towards the classy glass doors that beckoned us, and entered AA’s most premium and exquisite lounge at Kennedy.
DSC_7313 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a beautiful lounge! Dad and I found a couple of empty chairs on the far end, away from the buffet line. One minor drawback of the club was the fact that it was absolutely packed – we had to search for quite a while before finding a place to sit, which shouldn’t be an issue at any airline lounge.
DSC_7314 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
The buffet was absolutely fantastic.
With about forty minutes until boarding, Dad and I hastily filled our plates with food and headed back to our seats. With my plate in my left hand and a san Pellegrino in my right, I relaxed and enjoyed my food while taking in the great, elevated views of T8 and 13L arrivals from the massive windows on the far side of the lounge.
DSC_7315 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7316 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7318 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7319 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Short final for 13L from the land of Putin…
DSC_7320 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Parked at gate 8 was an aircraft all-too-familiar to Dad and I. Overjoyed at having another opportunity to gawk at the bird we had grown so close to over the previous twelve hours, we admired LTS as she fueled and loaded up for the return to Finland.
DSC_7326 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After finishing our wonderful dinner and chilling for a few more minutes, we reluctantly left the lounge and made our way to Gate 1 for our flight to DFW.
DSC_7328 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Goodbye, love. I will be back!
DSC_7329 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I adore both of you!
DSC_7330 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
On our way to gate 1, we passed by gate 8 as the boarding process for AY6 to Helsinki was about to commence
We waited in the gate area for about ten minutes before boarding for our flight began. With a quick beep of the boarding pass scanner, Dad and I worked our way down the jetbridge and waited in the small line that had formed at the end of the corridor. I then realized that in my tired state upon arrival in JFK, I had failed to check on our bird’s registration, and I had no idea which of the many 738 variants we were moments away from getting on. It was time for another episode of the hit drama titled, “Russian Roulette – AA 738, watcha gonna get?”
The day before back in Copenhagen, I had checked on this and the most recent update at the time had N977NN, a BSI and AVOD-equipped 738 operating our flight. Holding my breath, we entered the cabin, and I hoped that this had not changed.
I walked past the first row of seats in the F cabin and noticed the large personal TVs plastered in front of every seat. Although exhausted by then, I was very excited as it was my first time flying on an AVOD-equipped AA 738.
Airline: American Airlines
Flight number: AA24, “American 24”
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 with BSI and AVOD
Flying time: 3 hours 58 minutes
DSC_7332 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I settled into seat 9F, and soaked in the incredible airline diversity visible to my right. I had never seen Meridiana before
DSC_7335 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Bag status looks good to me!
DSC_7334 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Look who we’re following!
Upon pushing back, I opened the LiveATC app on my iPhone and listened to the chaotic chatter from JFK’s ground frequency on 121.650. We started our engines and proceeded to follow an Austrian 767-300ER for the long taxi for 22R.
DSC_7336 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7337 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What up, Austrian?
DSC_7338 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Taxiing away from the beautiful JFK T8
DSC_7340 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7342 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Hello, gorgeous, part two!
DSC_7344 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Yes, that’s FIVE aircraft emblazoned with the Chatham Historic Dockyard livery. Two Queens headed to Heathrow, a triple to Gatwick, an Openskies 757 to Paris, and an A318 to LCY. Oh, and don’t forget about VH-OEF parked at the far left, far away from her home down under.
DSC_7345 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
If the blue fits…
DSC_7346 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Oh boy… that’s a line.
DSC_7348 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Looking great in lovely evening light.
Around this time, I heard AY6 being cleared for takeoff and I craned my neck forward to try to get a look at 22R action. Dad and I saw LTS rumble down the active and gracefully lift off into the New York sky. We said our last “so long” to her, and I reminded myself of my promise to return to her home someday.
DSC_7359 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
You look great too, Austrian!
Eventually, our turn came, and after a 43-minute taxi we were DFW-bound off 22R.
DSC_7366 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Love me some red, white, and blue Boeings!
DSC_7372 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Taken while accelerating down 22R
DSC_7374 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Long live quads!
DSC_7379 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Soaring away from 22R (and 31L) into the New York City sky
DSC_7383 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Visible in this photo is Charles Memorial Park, one of my favorite spotting places and a prime location to catch 31L “Canarsie Climb” departures
DSC_7386 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Manhattan visible in the distance
DSC_7387 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After turning south-west towards Dallas, a short film played describing the latest movies available on AA’s IFE
DSC_7388 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Only a couple hours away from sunset on what has been a phenomenal day of flying
DSC_7388a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Looking great as usual, BSI
DSC_7388b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Cruising over the Shanandoah Valley
Notice how dark the cabin looks. Not being the norm for a standard, evening domestic flight, I was initially perplexed at this happening. It then dawned on me that a large proportion of passengers on board our flight were probably like us, connecting from a TATL long haul. Exhausted, none of them were in the mood to soak in the sights of rural Kentucky and Tennessee, and the large majority of windows were closed for most of the flight.
DSC_7388c by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
About 90 minutes left now
DSC_7388d by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Crossing into Razorback territory
DSC_7388e by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7388F by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Watching this brought back memories of my A321T Flagship First experience from May 2016. One of the best flights of my life, for sure
I closed my eyes for about thirty minutes as we skirted along southern Arkansas and began our descent into DFW. I woke up when we began our approach, and was fully awake to see the beautiful sunset that treated us while on final.
DSC_7388H by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7388I by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
DSC_7389 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Descending rapidly now
DSC_7390 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Welcome to DFW F/A announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k97Df0bQ9k
We lumbered our way to Terminal A and docked at gate A28, six minutes ahead of schedule.
IMG_4505 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
IMG_4508 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Let’s see where LTS is at the moment…
Dad and I disembarked and made our way to Terminal B for our flight to FSM. We reached gate B43 and collapsed into the boarding area chairs. Barely managing to stay awake, I noticed that our scheduled boarding time had come and gone, and soon enough, a tired gate agent made her way to the counter and announced that our flight would be delayed by a few minutes. A few minutes eventually became an hour and twenty-nine minutes, and finally boarded our CRJ-900LR to Fort Smith at 11:44pm.
Airline: American Airlines (operated by Mesa Airlines)
Flight number: YV5861
Aircraft: Canadair CRJ-900LR
Flying time: 53 minutes
IMG_4510 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Shortly after getting to my seat, 8F, I leaned tiredly against my window and took what was to be the last shot of one of the best trips of my life.
We eventually pushed back, made our way to the active, and lifted off into the night sky. I brought my tray table down and passed out; I vaguely remember being asked to put it up and my seat in the upright position a few minutes before landing. Being in a different position obviously did nothing to deter sleep, as I remember being jolted awake as our mains made contact with runway 7 at FSM at 12:37am.
After a short taxi, we pulled into gate 1 and made our way out of the aircraft. Valet bags in tow, we left the terminal to find Mom parked outside. We got in the car, said hi, and officially ended what was a fun day of flying and nine awesome days in Europe.
Overall impressions: Finnair is wonderful! I would love to fly with them again. I really wish they would fly to DFW and MAA. Connecting in HEL was a breeze, and I would any day prefer it to a hectic LHR T3 to T5 connection that I have grown so accustomed to. The AY lounge in the non-Schengen area was phenomenal, and I really look forward to returning soon.
I figured I would end with sharing a sampling of my accepted shots from Arlanda and Kastrup. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading, and as usual, comments are welcome and appreciated!