Back in August, I made a quick weekend hop to Belgium and Amsterdam to review Delta’s new A350. But I left that trip with some unfinished business. As I mentioned in the post, I booked a “reverse round trip” to fly Delta One from Amsterdam to Detroit. Finding an affordable business class fare required booking a round trip from Amsterdam to Dallas. I finally closed the loop on that in November, with another short European weekend. I once again spent a day in Belgium, this time in Brussels. But I added another country to my list with a short trip to Sweden, too.
I currently plan the following posts in this trip report series. As you can see, despite the short length, I packed in quite a bit of material.
- Introduction: Waffles and Beer, Part Deux
- The New Club at DFW, A Priority Pass Lounge
- KLM B787-9 Economy Class, Atlanta to Amsterdam
- A Rainy Afternoon in Brussels
- Brussels Airlines “The Loft” Lounge, Brussels Airport
- Diamond Lounge Brussels Airport Terminal A
- Brussels Airlines A319 Business Class, Brussels to Stockholm Bromma
- Review: Hilton Stockholm Slussen
- Exploring the Old Town of Stockholm
- Stockholm – Arlanda Lounge, A Priority Pass Lounge
- Scandinavian Airlines A330-300 Business Class, Stockholm to Chicago
The Flight Plan
The first half of the trip was easy – just use the second half of my round trip from Amsterdam. This took me on Delta to Atlanta, then in KLM Economy Class to Amsterdam in the 787-9. I decided to purchase an Economy Comfort seat to see if the few extra inches of room made a difference. Thanks to a 25% discount from my Flying Blue Silver status, that seat cost me $65. To get home, I debated between a cheap one way on something like Icelandair, or a points redemption in business. I eventually settled on a points redemption, and sat down to plan a route.
I’m something of a sucker for new plane types, and one thing immediately caught my eye. United Mileage Plus offered a saver redemption on Scandinavian from Brussels to Chicago, with an overnight in Stockholm. And the added bonus – Brussels to Stockholm was on a Sukhoi Superjet! So I booked that award for 70,000 Mileage Plus miles, transferred from Chase. For my last leg to Dallas, I booked a cheap one way on Spirit for $57. Later, I decided to pony up an extra $33 to check out the Big Front Seat. In the end, my itinerary looked like this:
- 11/10 DL 1340 Depart Dallas – Ft Worth (DFW) 08:10, Arrive Atlanta (ATL) 11:08
- 11/10 KL 624 Depart ATL 15:55, Arrive Amsterdam (AMS) 06:00 (+1)
- 11/11 SN 2309 Depart Brussels (BRU) 19:15, Arrive Stockholm Bromma (BMA) 21:25
- 11/12 SK 945 Depart Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) 15:30, Arrive Chicago O’Hare (ORD) 17:45
- 11/12 NK 903 Depart ORD 19:49, Arrive DFW 22:23
Unfortunately, an equipment swap foiled one part of my plan early. Not even a month after booking, Brussels Airlines swapped the SSJ for a plain Jane Airbus A319. Bummer.
As with my other reports, I won’t be reviewing the domestic flights, as I have nothing new to add. To get from Schiphol to Brussels, I took a local train in Second Class for €34. I briefly talked about that experience in my last series, so I won’t cover that piece, either.
The Hotel Plan
I needed one hotel night on this short trip, in Stockholm. With my flight not scheduled until 3:30 pm, I decided to stay in the city center to look around in the morning. Though I considered burning some Marriott points, I ended up booking the Hilton Stockholm Slussen with cash. A “King Deluxe” room cost SEK 1,408 (~$159). But as with my stay at the Hilton Amsterdam Schiphol, the hotel surprised me with a nice upgrade. In this case, to a “city view” deluxe room. The view certainly did impress…
I had most of Sunday afternoon to explore Brussels. Though the weather wasn’t great, I still managed to see quite a bit. Like Antwerp, Brussels is a great city for just walking around and exploring. Much of the city’s historic city center and parks are a short walk from Bruxelles-Central train station.
Before heading to the airport, I made one last stop at the Van Gogh – The Immersive Experience at the Brussels Stock Exchange. The most impressive part is the color and light show, a 3D/virtual reality experience of sorts. Unfortunately, the exhibition ended this past Sunday, so you won’t be able to see it.
I had only a few hours on Monday morning in Stockholm. Fortunately, the Hilton is just a short walk from Stockholm’s charming old town. The Gamla Stan is a pleasant area to walk around, with little traffic in mid-November. Too bad I didn’t visit a few weeks later. I’m sure the Christmas tree was fabulous when decorated.
And Yes, Food
Of course I used my second trip to Belgium as an excuse to enjoy more waffles and beer.
Although this time, I expanded my horizons with some mulled wine and Swedish meatballs for lunch in Stockholm. (Before anyone asks, the meatballs blow that IKEA junk away.)
Expect this series to roll out over the next several weeks. Hopefully faster than my last one, depending on how busy work gets. Thanks for reading!