TALLINN – As airlines struggle to keep up with post-Covid demand, airlines end up leasing planes from other companies. My flight from Oslo to Riga was no exception, as it was operated on behalf of Romanian airline Carpatair and their only Airbus A319. Join me for an in depth review and conclusion on my flight with airBaltic and Carpatair.
This flight takes place on YR-ABA, Carpatair’s only Airbus A319. This specific A319 was previously with UK low cost carrier EasyJet and features 156 all-economy seats.
- Flight Number: BT152
- Departure Airport: Oslo Gardermoen (OSL)
- Arrival Airport: Riga Int’l Airport (RIX)
- Registration: YR-ABA, 15.6 years old at the time of flight
- Aircraft type: Airbus A319
Arrival at Oslo Gardermoen
As a I fly a lot through, to and from Oslo Gardermoen, I know what to expect of passenger traffic at specific times. I arrived at the airport at 7a.m. for the 09.25a.m. flight, leaving me almost 2,5 hours until estimated departure.
As we are closing in on fall break in Norway, traffic was as expected. With too little security checkpoints open, the crowds started building up already as the morning rush was starting, as well as holidaymakers and families who were on their way to their morning flights.
I was through security within 25 minutes, something that rarely happens here at Oslo, even that early in the morning. However, the process was being done at such a speed, that the security officers didn’t even let me finish unpacking electronics and other essentials before sending my trays through the scanner.
Check-in at airBaltic
airBaltic’s check-in procedure is really straight forward. If you have selected a seat, you get the possibility of checking in five days in advance via a link through the check-in email you will receive.
If you have not reserved a seat or other services that make you eligible for early check-in, you will have to wait until 36 hours before departure. Airport check-in is also available, but will cost you a shocking 35 EUR.
Apart from the mess at the security checkpoint, the terminal was not very empty and there were limited amounts of seats remaining, something that had me walking from the eastern end of the terminal, all the way to Pier North, the new terminal at Oslo Gardermoen. Seating there was limited, but I did however manage to grab a place to sit as one of the flights were boarding.
Oslo Airport has been known by many to be extremely hot and sometimes even being uncomfortable to be in. However, the airport authorities recently decided to turn down the temperatures to save electricity as prices are rocket high.
For once, I didn’t sweat from entry to exit and my short stay at the airport was for once actually comfortable.
Boarding was really calm and orderly. Though, it doesn’t seem like airBaltic takes priority boarding that serious for Business class or priority boarding-holders, as they invited everyone to board at once, although they announced otherwise.
If we look away from that, boarding was as said, very calm and orderly, making it go by really fast.
Once I entered the aircraft, I was met by two lovely crew members, one being the Carpatair crew and the other one being airBaltic’s service-crew.
They greeted me with a smile and hoped my morning had been well, something that was much appreciated being asked about. I wasn’t disappointed by the crew on my previous airBaltic/Carpatair flight, and I can’t say I’m disappointed now either.
The seats really stuck out of what is ordinary. The bright, very blue seats, met my sight and kind of took me off guard, however, I was up for a great surprise as I saw little to no wear on the seats, they were clean, offered an insane amount of legroom and a coat hook on the side.
I was seated in seat 17A, which offered a great wing view, right behind the leading edge flaps. This row contains two windows, something that also had me pleasantly surprised, as this is not very common in densely configured aircraft.
The legroom, again, was absolutely fantastic. Between my knees and my seat, i could fit almost my entire palm, and could even move it a bit.
The seat comfort, could have been better. In comparison with the seats that SAS offers on their re-configured fleets, I would actually call these better as they also offered a great amount of recline.
The tray tables were sturdy, and even pulled closer towards you, something that is highly appreciated by many people.
The inflight experience was just as my previous Carpatair / airBaltic flight, quote “10 minutes after departure, but I decided not to buy anything as I had everything I needed”.
The cabin crew however, did hand out 10 EUR vouchers as AirBaltic wants to make up for it because I didn’t get to fly their A220-300 aircraft. Quite a nice gesture by airBaltic, to say the least.
Arrival at Riga
Arrival at Riga Int’l Airport (RIX), was extremely smooth, and the transfer area for my connecting flight was well organized. We disembarked by airstairs, which offered a great view of the aircraft, as well as some fresh air.
Upon deboarding, the ground staff organizing the transfer into the gate area, wished me welcome to the country of Latvia, and wished me a nice stay. This was also very appreciated and made me feel welcome for the short time I was going to stay.
My honest opinion
The crossover of Carpatair and airBaltic leaves me surprised and happy yet again. The crew did an amazing job and were very friendly. The flight in general, was just like every other inter-European flight, with buy-on-board menus and nothing for free.
As I mostly fly my journeys with Flyr, a bottle of water is what I miss the most upon boarding. All in all, AirBaltic has surpasses my expectations a few times now, and I would definitely use them again when the chance offers itself.