Introduction: The Scandinavian Expedition
United Club Terminal A – Houston
Air Canada Herringbone Business Class (IAH-YYZ-CPH)
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Toronto
Exploring Helsingborg and Copenhagen
The Hotel Brosundet – Alesund, Norway
Exploring Alesund, the Gateway to Fjord Country
The Fantastic Fjords of Norway
The Hilton Copenhagen Airport
SAS Business (CPH-LHR) & United BusinessFirst (LHR-EWR-IAH)
Hyatt Regency North Houston
A few years ago, I was invited to visit my family in Sweden during the July 4th weekend. I could not pass up the chance to hang out with my cousins and also to get some new airlines, new hotels, and new destinations visited.
My uncle who lives in Sweden, planned our entire European experience, while my father booked the flight tickets. I will talk more about the planning more specifically later, but the tickets were bought via United, while the stay at Hilton was bought on their website. The Norwegian Fjord experience packages were bought from 62 Nord, while the Copenhagen tours were bought at the red bus tour stands in the city itself. As much as I like travel, I did enjoy my vacation from trip planning, and the surprise of not knowing what I was getting all the way through :).
My father, who has a liking for trying out new things, took this as a chance to book a multi-stopover, multi-airline trip. As you can see the routing to get to Copenhagen was quite interesting. There was first a 2 hour layover in Houston followed by a 5 hour layover in Toronto, which thankfully got extended to a 10 hours (which I will explain later). The return journey was just as interesting because of our multi-stopover journey, and short layover in London. And to top it all off, we had an unintended night stay in Houston and rerouting to Hobbs, NM. All I can say is that writing about it makes me tired again!
The trip itinerary itself was split like this: 4 days in Sweden and Denmark, followed by 5 days in Norway, and another day in Denmark. It consisted of 3 different business class cabins: United, Air Canada, and SAS of which the winning cabin and service was a huge surprise. And throughout the entire trip, I stayed in a hotel two times, thanks to my aunt and uncle who live in Helsingborg, Sweden. I would again like to say that I cannot praise enough as to how well my aunt and uncle have planned this vacation. Your company and hospitality were truly priceless!
The downside of the entire vacation was that we were traveling during a peak travel period: July 4th, meaning that we would have to pay the fare instead of using miles. This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be because we were working towards United Premier Gold status that year and business class bonus miles can go a long way in achieving status. Other than this, overall I wasn’t really focused on gaining any hotel elite night stays on this journey, though I know I could have easily taken advantage of the Radisson Big Night Giveaway. I would like to emphasize to my readers sometimes, you shouldn’t plan your trips always to gain miles or spend them. Doing so might rob you of some of the smaller pleasures in life.
Have you been to Scandinavia? What’s your favorite town?