CHECK-IN I arrived at Stockholm Arlanda airport by Arlanda Express at 0435 from my 0730 flight (BA8490). I disembarked the train at the South Terminal and travelled up an escalator to the Departures of Terminal 2, where all BA and BA Cityflyer flights depart from.
A departure screen indicated that I should used the automatic check-in booths one to four– there were two sets of self check-in kiosks that I noticed that were for BA, KLM and Air France flights, so I went to the ones nearest baggage drop, which was at the opposite end of departures from the escalator, about a five-minute walk.
The airport was very busy and there was a slight queue at all the kiosks (one or two people), and the people in front of me took some time figuring out how to use it and choosing their seat, so it took me over ten minutes to check in.
I headed to bag drop, which was just on the left – there was no queue – and then headed to the security area for Gates 61-87 (mine was 87), which was about halfway back in the other direction. There was a long, slow queue here, so I waited at a nearby table for a little while where it was in view to see if it would get any smaller. It did slightly, and I joined it at 0530, after which it took about ten minutes to clear. I was then through security in about a minute.
Straight after security, there was a busy WHSmith, a couple of Duty Free shops and a Lavazza café. Gate 87 was to the left of these and up a flight of stairs but there were no shops up there (just a restaurant) and nobody was at the gate yet, so I took a seat facing the runway near Gate 62 for a little while.
At 0600, I headed up to Gate 87, where one other person was queuing at Passport Check and the gate was still empty (it was still very early) so I took a seat right by the gate entrance, where there was an array of trendy, comfy seating that you could recline in. It was a very restful, calm space.
BOARDING Passengers were called to board the flight just after 0700 (BA Club World passengers, Oneworld Emerald members and BA Executive Gold and Silver members could board at their leisure). I went to board and found that I’d been upgraded to business class – I was assigned seat 4B, the back row of business class. Once in my seat, I was offered a Swedish newspaper.
THE SEAT The seating in business class on this Embraer 170 was the same that I had experienced in economy on my inbound journey (to read a review of this flight, click here) – with the same 2-2 configuration (A,B-C,D). Rows one to four were business class, rows five to 18 were economy (the cabins were separated by a curtain once we’d taken off). At the front of business class was a washroom and a galley.
Though the seat was the same as economy, business class passengers get two seats to themselves – and I could lift the armrest in the middle of these to create one long space.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Go for row two to keep a good distance from the washrooms and the galley noise, but also benefit from being one of the first to be served breakfast first and to disembark. What’s great is that with the seat next to you kept free, you’re guaranteed a window seat, so you can enjoy the views of the Swedish archipelago and icy lakes – which were beautiful on this crisp, clear morning.
THE FLIGHT We pushed back a few minutes early and the pilot announced that the aircraft needed to be de-iced, which would take about ten minutes. This began while the safety instructions were being demonstrated, and it wasn’t long afterwards before we were in the air.
A hot breakfast was served 20 minutes into the flight – hash browns, scrambled egg, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, fried tomato, a selection of bread rolls and slices of toast. The meal was substantial and tasty.
Food and hot drinks were served on Royal Doulton china plates and mugs – there was even a mini butter dish – and with metal cutlery, glassware and napkins. Passengers were given a bottle of water and offered juice or hot drinks. Salt and pepper sachets and a refresher wipe were provided. I asked for some ketchup, but the flight attendant apologised and said there was none – but he brought me a sachet of Coronet mustard instead.
ARRIVAL We landed ten minutes early at 0850. The cabin emptied from the front, and passengers walked across the tarmac to Passport Control. From there, it was a short walk to baggage claim, where I waited just over five minutes for my bag to arrive.
VERDICT An efficient, comfortable flight, with a great breakfast offering.
Flight time: Two hours and 30 minutes
Plane type: Embraer 170
Seat pitch 31 inches (79cm)
Seat width 18.5 inches (47cm)
Price Internet rates for a midweek business return fare from London to Stockholm in mid-July start from £446