Jun 232011

Unfortunately for the day after a marathon our flight out was at oh-dark-thirty, otherwise known as 8am. There was another one-stop flight via Tromsø that departed around 2pm, but was sold out in lower classes and was over $200 more. For a party of four we value sleep, but not to the tune of $800+. Plus, this would offer a bit of time to relax in Oslo before the long trek home.

Hotel breakfast buffet didn’t open until 7am, but in recognition of all the people with early flights they had a nice light breakfast set out. Breads, cheeses, some meat and fish, etc. Rare that a hotel would go the extra mile like this!

Unfortunately, the SAS bus ran on a set schedule, with a pickup time of 6am for an 8am flight…at an airport with only one departure. We decided sleep was more important and had ordered a taxi. The bus was NOK 50 per person, and the taxi turned out to be about NOK 250…so about a $9 premium for four people to get an extra hour of sleep – well worth it!

Outside the departures area was a fun sign:

Check in took all of 5 minutes, through security (another 2 minutes tops) and we were in the departure hall a good 45 minutes before the flight. Well worth waiting for a taxi. After procuring a couple more $5 diet cokes in the departure hall, it was time to board.

Now, SAS only opens on-line check-in 22 hours before the flight, which in this case meant 10am the day before. Anyone who read the marathon section knows the race started at 10m. I will admit I spent the first 2 minutes of the race walking and checking in with my iPhone, so we had secured 1A, 1C, 1D, and 1F…and fortunately, nobody took the middles! Made for a very nice 3 hour flight down to Oslo.

The flight…what’s there to say. It was before 9am which entitles you to a free “breakfast snack” on SAS, but the sandwich was so caked in butter with a thin slice of ham that I gave it a miss and shelled out NOK 25 for a diet coke instead. The free coffee just wasn’t providing enough of a post-marathon boost for me!

The flight went by quite quickly, thanks to some amazing scenery after takeoff:

The rest of the flight, however, had lots of clouds, and we never saw the ground again until we were almost in Oslo. All in all, it was a very average flight. There is, perhaps, one other small factoid worth mentioning since we didn’t discover it until we’d been home for a week. It appears that because of Norwegian Law you cannot earn miles on domestic flights in Norway. Now, I was extra confused why they sell C / business fares on this route. Same seats, no middles blocked, no free snacks, no extra miles…seriously, what’s the point?

Landed, got bags quite quickly, and we were off on the SAS Flybussen to our hotel for the overnight – the SAS Blue Scandinavia. When we arrived there was a huge queue at the desks, and then we realised it was exactly noon – check-out time. Still, it only took 10 minutes or so to get to the front, and we were easily given an early check-in.

We’d chosen this hotel over the Hotel Continental we’d stayed at a week prior mainly on price. It seems that high tourist season in Norway begins on June 1, and prices had skyrocketed. Even four months before, the Continental was $200 more per night than it had been the week before! Also, the Continental about two weeks before had completely sold out – there must have been plenty of folks willing to pay $400+ per night. Yikes!

All in all, the Radisson was decent, though the cleanliness of the bathroom was pretty poor. Both rooms had mildew all over the place, and these were supposedly “renovated” rooms:

Only other thing to say on the hotel is that like all the others this trip, it really delivered the next morning with the free breakfast. It was a massive and varied spread and more than enough to keep you full for many hours.

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