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With the First Class portion of the itinerary behind me, it was time to get back to reality and head North to Norway.
- Introduction and trip planning
- Lufthansa First Class Dulles to Munich
- Lufthansa Munich First Class Lounge
- Lufthansa Business Class Munich to Oslo
- SAS Economy Class Oslo to Longyearbyen
- Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Spitsbergen
- Exploring Longyearbyen
- Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo
- Exploring Oslo
- Park Inn By Radisson Oslo Airport
- Lufthansa 747-8i Frankfurt to Dulles
- Park Hyatt Washington DC
I was one of the last to board this Lufthansa A319 bound for Oslo Airport. There is no First Class for intra-Europe flights so a First Class award ticket books into Business Class. And while they call it Business Class, it really is just an Economy seat with the middle seat blocked off, no better than getting lucky on a Southwest flight.
By this point in the journey, my body had no clue where I was or why I was pulling out my winter coat in July. Shortly after takeoff I leaned up against the window and slept for most of the 3 hour flight up to Oslo. It was not as enjoyable as my ‘bed in the sky’ on the previous flight but I made do.
We touched down on a rainy Norwegian afternoon. This was not what I had in mind as the first impression of a country I have always dreamed to visit, but my spirits were running high. I was genuinely thrilled to see this beautiful country with my own eyes.
After a short taxi we approached our gate.
I am pretty fascinated with foreign International airports though surprisingly I had very little knowledge on Oslo Airport. Given its location and the airlines present here, I rarely if ever have come across the airport for an award booking. Oslo Airport is the 19th busiest airport in Europe, just ahead of Dusseldorf. I was interested to see if the airport would have Scandinavian designs that have become so popular in modern design today.
Sure enough it did. I was very impressed. The main atrium felt like a rustic lodge with bright colors to complement the wood beams and concrete. I will be the first to admit the airport was more style over substance. The airport itself was a zoo the day I was connecting. Security lines were overflowing but who cares when the airport looks so cool!
I searched for my flight in the domestic terminal at first because Longyearbyen is part of Norway. Makes sense, right? Well, it turns out that is not actually true. Longyearbyen is part of Svalbard which is administered by Norway but technically outside the Schengen Area so therefore departs from the International Terminal. When I approached the immigration agent, he took a look at my ticket and asked if the reason I was going to Svalbard was to see a Polar Bear. I said Yes. He smiled, gave me my stamp and I was on my way. Thankfully I left enough time to overcome this relatively confusing concept. Just a note of caution, two of the other Longyearbyen flights stop in Tromso first, so therefore they are domestic flights and thus depart from the domestic terminal.
On my way to the gate, I grabbed a baguette and a 7Up for dinner. The store clerk asked for the equivalent of 25 USD. It wasn’t a mistake. I knew right then and there that this was going to be an expensive trip!
I finally arrived at my gate and was quickly reminded the temperature at my destination was a balmy 4 Degrees C (~39 Degrees F)!! This should be fun……