Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

Christmas calendar - Chicago with points (KF/SK HEL-ARN-ORD r/t in Y+)

Christmas calendar - Chicago with points (KF/SK HEL-ARN-ORD r/t in Y+)

Old Jan 22, 10, 11:47 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
Christmas calendar - Chicago with points (KF/SK HEL-ARN-ORD r/t in Y+)

Iíve enjoyed reading trip reports on FT since finding FT a few years ago. This is my first attempt at a trip report - so please be gentle

SAS has for a few years now had an annual point offer before Christmas - there are tales of SEA and NRT previously. Thanks to Morradi who started thread http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/sas-e...l-chicago.html I made quick decision to try Economy Extra TATL for a weekend trip to the Windy City. Instead of the usual 75.000 points this trip required only 20.000 in Economy Extra (in Economy it would have been only 10.000 points). It was hard to find availability but finally I succeeded. I also got a great hotel deal - more about it later.

There were difficulties for me to fill in APIS details on SAS website (as usual) and I only managed to OLCI to ARN. SAS internet support told me that there were some problems with the system so I was slightly nervous about my seats. Anyway, got up (too) early to head to the airport to have a lot of time in case there were problems with my booking. There was just one couple ahead of me in queue to *G/C/Y+ check-in and I didnít need to have worried about my booking either. After they canceled my previous attempt at OLCI I was checked in all the way to ORD - with window seats on both legs.

Tower Lounge

After a quick security control I made my way to Tower Lounge (Priority Pass lounge). Itís one of the better lounges in HEL in my opinion. There is a nice view out to one of the active runways - unfortunately it being 7.40 am in January in HEL means that it was pitch black outside. I had some breakfast and enjoyed the free WLAN.

More later - soon itís time to board my first flight!

Last edited by vulle; Jan 22, 10 at 11:49 pm Reason: Minor corrections
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 23, 10, 2:08 am
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
KF429 HEL-ARN in Y+ (Avro RJ-85)

Boarding was very quick as the plane wasn't full. Departure was slightly delayed due to mechanical checks, we left about 15 minutes late. It was a beautiful sunny morning in HEL so the take off (unusually heading east) gave a nice view of Helsinki on the right side.

Flight was very uneventful, flying time was 44 minutes and we landed about 5 minutes late to ARN. In Y+ we were served a simple breakfast with juice, coffee/tea, bread roll, yoghurt, cheese and some veggies. I've taken this flight so many times so it's nothing special, just a nice commute. I do like Avro-planes, Jumbolino is a cool nickname to this four-engined plane.

Menzies lounge (ARN)

Menzies lounge at terminal 5, pier A is an ok lounge. Servings are pretty bare, but there is free WLAN which I am using at the moment. Go to gate is showing on screens, so more to follow!

Last edited by vulle; Jan 24, 10 at 6:26 am Reason: Added the plane type + small corrections
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 23, 10, 2:53 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 158
Small difference: Menzies lounge has Spendrups Export 5% Beer on tap with very fine tapflow.

SAS Business Lounge next door has Pripps Beer. And the tapflow there is close to zero.
HHConrad is offline  
Old Jan 23, 10, 8:51 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Vantaa, Finland
Programs: AY Lumo, FB Gold
Posts: 1,658
Originally Posted by vulle View Post
KF429 HEL-ARN in Y+
I do like Avro-planes, Jumboline is a cool nickname to this four-engined plane.
Hope it wasn't one of the two Avros leased from CityJet, the 3-3 seating just doesn't cut it. The fact that they don't block the middle seat in Y+ is just appalling.
FlyingFinn is online now  
Old Jan 24, 10, 4:24 am
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
Originally Posted by FlyingFinn View Post
Hope it wasn't one of the two Avros leased from CityJet, the 3-3 seating just doesn't cut it. The fact that they don't block the middle seat in Y+ is just appalling.
Luckily it was one of the regular RJ-85s with 3-2 seating. And the Y+ cabin was only half-full so there was nobody sitting next to me on the 2-side.

Will add the plane type to my report.
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 24, 10, 4:51 am
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
SK 945 ARN-ORD in Y+ (A330-300)

I made my way to gate F62. Passport control took a long while once again as there was only one passport agent working - how smart is that when there is a flight with approx. 260 persons leaving in a while? Just when I got to the agent another agent arrived. Security at the gate was a bit of a mess, the queue to security agent took about 20 minutes. The agent looked carefully through my bag, checked my coat and did a thorough pat-down. Check was done very professionally - well done.

After a short while boarding was called, first Business class travelers, then Economy Extra and *Golds. Boarding didn’t then take long, and I quickly settled down at 16A. It’s an ok window seat but it has only one window. For me it didn’t matter but as the forward window is missing my seat mate couldn’t easily look out. Economy Extra has larger seats than regular Economy. Seat pitch is 38’’ which really helps. There are also fewer seats per row, 2-3-2 instead of 2-4-2 in Economy. Even with the person in front of me reclining fully I didn’t have any problems with a lack of space - it was quite comfortable.

Business and Economy Extra have AVOD on SK but screens in Y+ are quite small and the selection very limited in my opinion. I listened to some music and watched a movie and a few series. There were some problems with the system so security demonstration was done live instead of through the entertainment system.

I was positively surprised with the food and beverage selection. SK serves champagne in Y+, standard Nicolas Feuillatte in small bottles. Whisky was only Johnnie Walker Red Label, so no points there. Lunch was quite nice, a small shrimp salad as an appetizer, as a main course I chose salmon tagliatelle (pork stew was the other choice) and a moist sacher chocolate cake was served as dessert.

Later during flight we were also served ice-cream and some chocolates. Water-runs were done quite regularly. About 1,5 hours before landing we were served a small meal, in Y+ it was two open-face sandwiches, one was salmon on white bread and the other roast beef on rye. Very tasty!

Service was generally quite friendly but there were some exceptions. SK has more senior personnel working in C and Y+ and one of the stewardesses seemed to have a bit of a bad day. Let’s see how the flight back home is! We were told that 191 (if I remember correctly) of the passengers had an onward flight from O’Hare so Chicago really is an important destination for SK and its partners.

We landed five minutes before scheduled arrival time, the flight time was 8 hours 42 minutes. I made a quick way to immigration and was through in no time. Bags arrived very quickly, it took only 20 minutes from gate to landside - I was very impressed!

Chicago

I chose to take the subway to downtown Chicago so first I made my way to terminal two on monorail and then found my way to the subway terminal. Unfortunately the trip to State took a long time as we stopped often between stations on our way to Loop. Is that usual? Cars seemed to fly past us on the right side.

More to follow!

Last edited by vulle; Jan 24, 10 at 6:20 am Reason: Small corrections
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 25, 10, 12:41 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
Chicago + theWit

After arriving to Clark/Lake I walked to theWit - it took just a few minutes from the subway. I had booked a great deal at the hotel using Hilton’s January Sale, total price of $245:- for two nights including taxes and breakfast. As Hilton Gold I also got the free internet.

As according trip reports theWit doesn’t seem to upgrade Golds/Diamonds I chose to try the eStandby Upgrade request. For additional $40 per night I was upgraded to a Lakeview Spa Two Room Suite. It was an excellent room on the 23rd floor, a lot of space and many interesting details. My bed was great, one of the best hotel beds anywhere.

Service was excellent at the hotel. I very much liked the tasty chocolate chip cookie I received at arrival. Breakfasts at StateLake were excellent but room service club sandwich was a disappointment. Spa was great, I really enjoyed the Signature massage. There was a 30% discount coupon for Spa services in my room at arrival - it was coded Hilton HHonors so I guess members get the discount.

I had a great weekend in Chicago, saw a lot, did some excellent shopping and ate well. I really enjoyed my dinner at http://www.kinziechophouse.com/ , I can definitely recommend the restaurant. I had an extremely tasty 18 oz. bone-in Delmonico (it was a new cut for me - is it a rib eye? Tasted a lot like one).

More to follow - time to head to ORD!

Last edited by vulle; Jan 27, 10 at 8:57 am Reason: $245:- was the total for two nights
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 25, 10, 3:01 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
Swiss Lounge

Taxi to OíHare was very quick today, it took only about 25 minutes. SAS check-in counters were totally deserted when I checked my bag and got my boarding cards to ARN and HEL. I had OLCIíd but was unable to print boarding cards.

Line to security was quite long as there was only one agent checking passports and boarding cards, but after a while a second agent arrived. Security went quite fast, no problems at all. Then I found my way to Swiss Lounge (Priority Pass lounge). For the first 30 minutes I was the only person there so it was very quiet. Contrary to popular opinion I thought that the lounge was quite o.k., pretty good selection of beverages and a fast wifi. I also liked the Nespresso machine. Unfortunately there really isnít any food served except cookies and such.

Letís see how empty SK 946 is todayÖ According to EF it isnít even half full. Hereís hoping for an empty seat next to me.
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 25, 10, 4:22 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Programs: EBG
Posts: 67
Vulle thanks for your report. We will fly ARN-ORD this saturday and your report has been really interesting.
We also booked using points and the Christmas deal.
freeman_swe is offline  
Old Jan 26, 10, 4:15 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
Originally Posted by freeman_swe View Post
Vulle thanks for your report. We will fly ARN-ORD this saturday and your report has been really interesting.
We also booked using points and the Christmas deal.
freeman_swe, thanks! I hope you'll have a great trip!

Will you also be flying Y+? Would be interesting to hear your impressions on SK's TATL-product.
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 26, 10, 4:21 am
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
SK 946 ORD-ARN in Y+ (A330-300)

There are no flight monitors that I could see in the Swiss Lounge so I started walking towards gate M-15 55 minutes before scheduled departure time. Arriving at the gate I noticed that it was quite empty, and the boarding for Business Class had just started. After about two minutes Economy Extra passengers were also allowed to board so I made my way onboard. I liked the fact that SK also has the main Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat among other Scandinavian and international papers at the plane door.

I had booked 14F which is an aisle seat in the middle with unlimited legroom. After boarding was completed I saw that the Y+-cabin was half empty so I changed my seat to 14H by window, an even more comfortable seat with unlimited legroom and more privacy as 14G was also empty.

Waiting for deicing took a while and as the snowfall had increased traffic was limited according to captain and we had to wait a while for takeoff. We took finally off about 50 minutes after scheduled departure time.

Once we had reached our cruising altitude we were first served cocktails and soon afterwards it was time for dinner. For starter we got some kind of a rice salad with a jumbo shrimp. As a main course I chose some kind of a white fish (donít remember the name) with gnocchi (beef stew was an alternative) and dessert was a chocolate cake once more. Dinner was quite ok.

After dinner I chose to try to sleep and I managed to sleep for a few hours. We had some turbulence over Greenland so I opened my eyes and looked out. It was a beautiful starry night and the view over Greenland was fantastic with mountains, glaciers and snow. So I was very happy with the turbulence waking me up. Greenland from above on a starry night - priceless!

Breakfast was a standard fare of bread rolls, yoghurt etc, quite tasty.

Cabin crew was the same as on my outbound trip on Saturday two days ago. This time I was very impressed with them, I guess the low load (ca 50-60 % in Y+, 40-50 % in Y. C?) helped. They were very professional in a warm and friendly way.

Flight time was 7 hours and 30 minutes so we were at gate about five minutes before scheduled arrival. I had a quick walk to passport control and then to transfer security - I had to wake the security staff as they were discussing the new ARN Starbucks and not really having anything to do.

I hadnít flown long distance on SK for years - tried both Y and C but never before Y+. I was quite happy with the product, especially on the way back when I managed to get row 14. The unlimited leg room really makes a difference. Food was better than I thought and I always like my champagne. Thumbs up for SAS - I guess itíd be time to try C again to see how it has developed.

KF 426 ARN-HEL in Y+ (MD90)

Gate 7 was busy this morning. I had seat 2A. I hadnít flown on KFís MD90ís for a long while and had forgotten that the leg room wasnít anything special on this side (no row 1 on AC side). Had also forgotten how tight the seats were - or maybe I was just used to my 14H from ORD-ARN flight Flight was fast as usual, took only 44 minutes. Also got some great views of the Baltic and Southern Finland on the way to HEL. We were served a KF Y+ breakfast of yoghurt and a cold carelian pastry with cheese and some veggies, juice and coffee/tea. Service was efficient, this is a regular run for me so itís nothing special.

We landed a few minutes before schedule, bags were delivered fast and I was already aboard my bus to downtown Helsinki about 20 minutes we arrived at the gate.

Conclusions

Thanks SAS for an excellent deal! I hadnít been to Chicago for a long time so it was exciting to be back for few days. I thought that the TATL Y+ product was fine and wouldnít mind trying other intercontinental flights on SK. Wouldnít mind going to Chicago again for a few more days either!
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 26, 10, 4:49 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Programs: EBG
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by vulle View Post
freeman_swe, thanks! I hope you'll have a great trip!

Will you also be flying Y+? Would be interesting to hear your impressions on SK's TATL-product.
Unfortunately no. Did not have enough points for three Y+ tickets only one Y+ and two Y and choose to sit with my brothers in Y. But I will see at check-in if there is any possibility do upgrade.

How did you find the area you stayed at? We are staying at Affinia up north right next to Michigan Ave.

This is our first time in Chicago, do you have any tips of what not to miss?

Br
Niclas
freeman_swe is offline  
Old Jan 26, 10, 5:24 am
  #13  
jth
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: ARN/STO
Programs: SK EBS, BAEC blue, SPG
Posts: 586
Nice report! I am myself looking forward to my Y+ trip to ORD coming up in late february. I hope the weather by then will be a bit more spring-like (but i don't hope too much). I tried to get row 14, but to no avail. I am sitting in 15H on the way there.
No hotel booked yet, so i might try the same place you stayed at.
jth is offline  
Old Jan 26, 10, 5:25 am
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
Originally Posted by freeman_swe View Post
Unfortunately no. Did not have enough points for three Y+ tickets only one Y+ and two Y and choose to sit with my brothers in Y. But I will see at check-in if there is any possibility do upgrade.

How did you find the area you stayed at? We are staying at Affinia up north right next to Michigan Ave.

This is our first time in Chicago, do you have any tips of what not to miss?

Br
Niclas
I am sure Economy will be good too - and think, for 30 000 points you three fly r/t to Chicago! Usually one of you'd fly to Germany for that amount of points.

I wouldn't call myself a Chicago expert at all, but here are some suggestions anyway. Michigan Avenue is great for shopping, so you're situated very well. I stayed at the Loop which is business area but close to everything in my opinion. You have to take a trip on the "L", the elevated train. Iīve always liked elevated trains - other favorite is Bangkok's SkyTrain.

As you're going with your brothers you really should have a dinner at Kinzie Chophouse. I went there at 6pm and it was quite empty. After 30 minutes it was full and later they were lot of customers waiting for tables. So be early or make a booking. I'd recommend eating at the bar/lounge, I really enjoyed the atmosphere.

Millenium Park is nice - if the weather isn't too bad.

Have a great trip!
vulle is offline  
Old Jan 26, 10, 5:26 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Programs: *G, OWE, Bonvoy Gold, HH Diamond, PriorityPass, AX Plat
Posts: 451
Originally Posted by jth View Post
Nice report! I am myself looking forward to my Y+ trip to ORD coming up in late february. I hope the weather by then will be a bit more spring-like (but i don't hope too much). I tried to get row 14, but to no avail. I am sitting in 15H on the way there.
No hotel booked yet, so i might try the same place you stayed at.
I really recommend theWit - especially now as if you book by the end of January they have great b&b-rates for weekends.
vulle is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread