Scandinavian Airline Review: ethernet cables, iPads and more

Scandinavian Airline Review: ethernet cables, iPads and more

img_1657I had two very different experiences with Scandinavian Airlines the two times I flew with them at the end of October. My flight from Boston to Europe was…ok. My flight back to the US, was actually pretty good. The first trip was from Boston to Copenhagen and on to Prague and my flight back was from Prague to Copenhagen to Chicago and ended in Boston. So, here’s why my flights were ok:

Pre-flight

I got my tickets very last minute, but everything still went pretty smoothly on the way there. I checked-in online 24 hours before the flight and printed my boarding pass without an issue. One thing I did have an issue with was ordering a special meal. It wasn’t really an issue, so much as a hassle, because you couldn’t order online while buying the ticket, you had to call and order it. Again, not an issue, just another step.

Pre-flight before my flight back to the US was worse. I couldn’t check-in online, which is something that has become the norm in the past couple of years, but I also didn’t get my boarding pass for the flights to Chicago and to Boston. So I knew I had a one hour layover and I had to stop by the transfer desk on my run across the airport. I wasn’t thrilled, but what could I do, just hope for the best and run fast.

Flight

The flight to Europe was on a very small plane with very small seats. There was only about 17 rows and 6 seats in each row. At least it was a very short flight, just somewhere between 6 and 6.5 hours, which isn’t that bad. It was a very full flight so there wasn’t room to spread out. In Copenhagen I had 5 hour layover, which is long, especially when most stores are closed for a solid amount of time.

My flight back to the US was better. It was a bigger, upgraded airplane which meant more comfort. I was also lucky because I had a free seat next to me, so I had enough space to lie down and just watch a movie. The flight from Copenhagen to Chicago was 9 hours, which is long, but since I had space, it was doable.

Food

Gluten-free meals are the same on all flights and all airlines. It’s usually some chicken or white fish with some vegetables. Not much to it. The snacks vary, and I didn’t have a good experience with the small meal on either of my long flights. On the first one I got just bread with a slice of tomato on it. Definitely not a filling or enjoyable snack, it was too dry and didn’t really have a taste to it. On the second flight they gave me the wrong snack at first, instead of gluten-free they gave me a special fish meal. That is an honest mistake, but it did make things more complicated.

One thing that I didn’t like about Scandinavian Airlines, is that not all beverages were for free. And at least to me, it wasn’t quite clear what was included in the price of the ticket, because sometimes it changed with what meal was being served. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but it wasn’t clear what I could order. I did figure out that apple juice and coffee is always free though, so that’s a plus.

Iimg_1703n-flight Entertainment

On the first flight the entertainment system wasn’t working or they were upgrading. Either way, iPads were given out instead of us using the screens at the back of the seats. This sounds like a good idea in theory, but I really do prefer the screens, for two reasons: a) there is a limited selection of movies and TV shows on iPads and b) you have to hold the iPad to watch things. Really, it was having to hold it that annoyed me. There’s no way to sit the iPad up in a way so it doesn’t slide down or a way to hang it from something. Again, don’t know why the screens weren’t used but I definitely prefer not holding on to the iPad for 6 hours. Fun fact: there was an ethernet plug at each seat, so if you bring an ethernet cable you can have internet access during the flight.

On the second flight, they had the normal screens with more movie choices. There were some new movies and some older classics. There were some TV shows too, but alway only one random episode of each show, which for someone who really likes binge watching is quite little. But I found enough movies to entertain me throughout the whole flight.

Overall my experience with Scandinavian Airlines wasn’t bad, it was quite pleasant and it helped that service was really nice. I would definitely fly with them again, because none of the issues I had with them were serious. I suggest you look into them if you are looking for tickets.  


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Air France/Delta Review

I’ve always had an up and down relationship with Air France. They have reasonable prices and their flight times usually work for me really well, but there are many issues with them otherwise. I just flew from Boston to Prague with Air France and the flight was operated by Delta. I always consider that the worst case scenario, because it usually means old planes, ok food, and ok in-flight entertainment. And, sadly enough,  they did not fail to meet my expectations this time either.

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Pre-Flight

The pre-flight procedures go pretty well with Air France. You get an email that reminds to you to check in, which is very useful. However, one thing that anyone who has an allergy has to keep in mind, is that you have to order a special meal before you check in (more than 30 hours ahead of time) but you can’t order a special meal when buying the tickets. So please keep that in mind, because they cannot help you! Other than that, check in and baggage drop off is straight-forward and quick. At the gate, the staff ran into a slight issue, because their announcement was not clear, so, many people lined up to talk to them at the desk. Since the staff had to deal with so many people, you could tell they were getting frustrated with all the customers.

 

Flight

IMG_8886The flight itself was ok. The airplane had pretty decent legroom, so at even when the person in front of me put their seat down, I still had room. One issue several people had, including me, was that the individual lights were not pointed at the correct seats. I saw three people get up and try to fix it. They all gave up rather quickly and sat back down in the darkness. So much for “the lights in the cabin will be dimmed during take off, but feel free to turn on your individual lights”.

The rest of the flight went pretty well, some turbulences, but nothing too bad. The flight attendants were really nice and helpful and for the first time on Air France, they were not completely shocked that I didn’t speak French, and even remembered I spoke English the next time they came around.

 

Food

Food was kind of sad. That usually happens with my gluten-free meal though. The best part of my meal was applesauce, although the applesauce was a great surprise addition to the meal! One thing that Air France really has going for it, is wine. They have really good wine, which I definitely enjoyed!

One more quick reminder! If you have an allergy, make sure you order the meal ahead of time! The woman next to me didn’t and then she was struggling to find something to eat, because of her fish allergy.

 

In-flight EntertainmentIMG_8883

In-flight entertainment was kind of sad. The screens were tiny, smaller than an iPad mini, if you want a visual reference. I may have been spoiled by Emirates and Swiss Air, but I also felt like Air France does not have a large selection of movies and TV shows. Even though they had some new movies, recent movies and even some old movies, in general the choices were not great. On top of that, the sound seemed to be a little messed up. The soundtrack is overpowering and loud, to the point where you can’t hear the dialogue, so even though I tried to watch a movie, half the time I did not understand what any of the characters said.

 

Overall Air France was pretty decent this time. I was just glad they did not lose my luggage this time, because out of the past four trips I took with them, they lost my stuff three times. Let us know what you think about Air France and if you had better experiences.


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25 flights in One Year – How to survive constant travel

In the year 2015 I flew 25 times. Most of these flights were from Boston to Prague, but there were a couple of awesome new destinations, like Turkey. Spending so much time on airplanes can be difficult, so here are some travel tips that might make traveling a little easier.

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What to bring

  • Travel documents
  • Neck pillow
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick
  • Book/magazines
  • Noise canceling headphones
  • Extra battery/charger or both
  • Adapter
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Warm sweater
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Pens – for immigrations forms
  • Face cream
  • Hairbrush for airplane hair

 

Pack all this in a carry-on bag that won’t break – purses with broken straps are not fun when you’ve got a 10 hour journey ahead of you.

Bonus tip: if you’re going on vacation or traveling with an airline that’s famous for losing luggage, have one complete outfit ready in your carry on, possibly a bathing suit (again, if you’re going on vacation) so that in case your luggage does get lost, you can still enjoy your first day at your destination.

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Airport

  • Get there early! Don’t get too cocky, you never know what can go wrong
  • Have all of your documents ready for check-in and passport control
  • Have all of your belongings ready for security check, so have all of your liquids in a plastic bag and have your laptop out
  • Don’t wear jewelry, so you don’t have to take everything off at security

On flight

  • Watch movies – great time to catch up on what you have missed
  • Be polite! The flight attendants will be even nicer to you if you ask them politely
  • FLUIDS! HYDRATION!
  • Bring a snack in case the airplane food is less than desirable
  • Every once in a while, stretch (but not so that you annoy your co-travelers)

Jet lag

  • Sleep on the plane
  • Hydrate
  • Try not to nap after you get to your destination, it will just make it more difficult to get used to the local time

I hope these tips are useful! Add more of your own tips in the comments!

 


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Lufthansa: wine, movies, and travel

IMG_6938In December I flew with Lufthansa from Boston to Prague. It was my third time flying with them and I’ve never had any issues. I’m not exactly loyal to Lufthansa, but I do prefer it over other airlines, because I have never had a problem with them. Here are some of my experiences from the flight:

 

Pre-Flight

The pre-flight process went very well without any issues. Like always, I checked in online the day before so that I wouldn’t run into any problems at the airport. Boarding took a while, because they started pre-boarding, which was longer than usual, then let in business, then premium and finally they let the rest of the passengers on by rows. I understand that this was for organizational purposes, but it felt like it took forever.

 

Flight

The flight went well. It was pretty smooth with just a little bit of a turbulence at the beginning of the flight. The flight attendants were very friendly and helpful with anything I needed. Also, the bathrooms were on another floor of the plane, which was something I have never seen before. Most importantly, they were kept clean the whole time, which is an issue on many flights.

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TIP: bring noise canceling headphones if you are planning on sleeping. I didn’t have them and there were two babies crying for two hours straight.

 

Food

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The food itself was ok. It wasn’t the best, but then again I have gluten-free food, which always seems to a little worse than normal food. At least this time I got cheese with my meal, unlike other times :) Lufthansa always has good wine, which they refill throughout the meal time, which I really appreciated. Also, after the meal they offered brandy and cognac as well as coffee and tea.

 

In-flight entertainment

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Lufthansa has awesome in-flight entertainment. There were a lot of movie and tv show choices. For movies there were a lot of recently released movies, but also a lot of old classics, for example they had every Bond movie made. They had up to ten episodes of some TV shows, like Parks and Recreation, which added a nice variety to the mix of movies and also helped me kill even more time.

 

Overall I was quite satisfied with this flight, even though it got a little long, especially with crying babies, the service was pleasant and the flight attendants were very helpful. I would definitely recommend Lufthansa to anyone traveling long distances, because they try to make your journey as comfortable as possible.

 


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