Trip Report: My uncomfortable 50 minute hop with SAS CRJ

An SAS CRJ-900 approaches to land.
Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In an attempt to get myself quickly, efficiently and last but not least, cheaply to the city of Bergen, I ended up experiencing the route from hell with SAS. Airfares had already seen prices spiking beyond belief a month before my journey was due to take place.

My could-be two-leg trip, directly between Oslo and Bergen, ended up becoming a four-leg journey which cost me less than one-way to Bergen and took me through another country. But I will go into details of this later.

On leg number two of my journey, I ended up having an equally uncomfortable flight, as I previously have with SAS‘ CRJ-900 aircraft.

Flight Details

  • Aircraft & Registration
    • CRJ-900, EI-FPF
  • Aircraft age
    • 6.9 years at time of flight
  • Origin
    • Trondheim Værnes (TRD)
  • Destination
    • Bergen Flesland (BGO)
  • Class
    • Economy

The airport experience

My airport experience begins upon arrival at Trondheim, following my first flight from Oslo aboard an SAS Boeing 737-700.

With the flight taking place on a Saturday, I experienced a heavy stream of travellers upon entry through the transfer gates. Seeing as the time was just shy of noon, this was expected due to high inbound and outbound aircraft activity.

Things didn’t calm down until roughly two hours later, leaving me with around one hour of what could then be defined as peace and quiet until boarding commenced.

I’ve travelled to and through the airport of Trondheim multiple times, and I can generally say that I don’t enjoy the airport based on several reasons.

Coming in as the biggest factor here is that the airport is very cramped and narrow, and all the shops, restaurants and kiosks don’t really make it any better.

During the rush period I experienced, I found it hard to navigate myself in a straight line from one end to another, as people kept appearing in front of me; of course also crammed into each other or close to the walls.

Though beneficial for the ones enjoying a seat to relax, It’s not very beneficial to have the seats wall-side in an otherwise tight area.

The boarding experience

SAS CRJ-900 at the terminal building.
Photo Credit: Adrian Olstad/AviationSource

Eventually finding myself a seat at the assigned gate for my flight, the aircraft taxiied into the gate after completing a scheduled flight from Copenhagen.

Operated under the flight number of SK4163, the aircraft EI-FPB was operated by CityJet, and provided a one-stop service to Stavanger from Trondheim – that one stop being Bergen, my destination.

Boarding was no less than a giant mess, as the gate agent overruled boarding by group, instead pushing every passenger into a waiting area until the gate doors finally opened a few minutes later.

This naturally led into chaos as everyone was trying to make their way into the jet-bridge at once.

However, I eventually got onboard to be met by a lovely crew member wishing me welcome onboard with a smile.

I eventually found my way to my selected seat of 23A, the second last row which provides an engine-wing view due to the close proximity to the engines and the aft-wing section.

Photo Credit: Adrian Olstad/AviationSource

The onboard experience

Shortly before takeoff I noticed a light pain and pressure in my knees, which I quickly found the cause of.

Photo Credit: Adrian Olstad/AviationSource

An insanely uncomfortable amount of legroom was the reason behind my pain, complimented by the seat lightly reclining as the passenger in front sat down, which really didn’t make it any better. Not really a reccomendation for those over or around 6 feet tall.

Despite knowing that the flight would go by fast, 50 minutes sounds like a fortnight when you know and feel a great discomfort in the spot you’re situated for the duration of the trip.

We eventually made our way down the runway with an on-time departure, and shortly after set our nose in the direction of Bergen and the Norwegian West Coast.

Not long after passing 10,000 feet, the cabin crew commenced the onboard service, which includes two complimentary drinks consisting of coffee and tea, whilst all other items were available for purchase with cash or Eurobonus points.

Opting for the coffee, I was handed a cup, a small container of milk and a mixing pin, to which the second cabin crew member came to fill up shortly after.

Photo Credit: Adrian Olstad/AviationSource

With the CRJ being shy to inflight entertainment, it became no issue as I looked out the window shortly after receiving my coffee. Norwegian nature is by far an amazing treat to us citizens, but also tourists.

Although I’m residing in Norway, I’ve never really put much of my time into enjoying nature or landscape, so with this view I really felt like a tourist in my own country. Truly an agreeable view to have a coffee with.

Photo Credit: Adrian Olstad/AviationSource

The Arrival

As the time passed and my knees gave up on me, we started our descent into Bergen, which at the time was subject to heavy showers of snow.

With my expectations coming to tens of minutes in holding due to weather preparations on the airfield, I was quickly proved otherwise as we continued a regular descent and approach path, with no weather appearing to cause disruptions to our flight path.

After a quite bumpy and turbulent approach, we landed on Bergen’s Runway 17, with an on-time arrival, further proving my expectations to be wrong.

The route background

Before this flight, I had already had a nightmare flight on the CRJ-900 the previous year, leading me to avoid the aircraft type whenever possible. However this flight became an exception, and there is one major reason to this – airfare prices.

Ever since the collapse of Flyr in the very beginning of February, I have noticed an insane jump in airfare prices with both Norwegian and SAS. As mentioned, a simple potential two-leg trip turned into a four leg journey through one other country in order to make this flight as cheap as possible.

I started checking airfares a month in advance for this journey, and a single youth fare ticket to Bergen with either company was priced at roughly NOK 1900 (EUR 190) ONE WAY.

Immediately I started checking for connections through other airports, and eventually ended up booking Oslo -Trondheim – Stockholm – Oslo for just NOK 1600 (EUR 160), one week in advance and with two different airlines.

Final thoughts

Unfortunately the CRJ-900 will always be my last place airliner, especially with SAS. Although having two nice cabin crew members with a smile on their faces, the in-seat passenger experience is far from optimal, and my honest opinion about the CRJ remains untouched from my first flight with it.

It’s highly uncomfortable and I would much rather pay a bit extra for a bigger airliner with slighly better comfort, than seating myself on the CRJ-900 again.

Have you got any experience with the CRJ-900 worth sharing? Let us know in the comments!

By Adrian Olstad 9 Min Read
9 Min Read
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