Gotlandsflyg is a regional Swedish airline based at Visby airport on the island of Gotland in the Baltic sea. The airline was founded in 2001 by local entrepreneurs to get more competition, more travel options and lower prices on the important Visby-Stockholm route. As Gotland is an island air travel is the only quick way to get to the capital and onwards. Gotlandsflyg is part of the Sverigeflyg network operating several domestic routes from the city airport in Stockholm, Brommaairport. In 2016 all companies will merge to become Braathens Regional Airlines – BRA.
Gotlandsflyg is operating from Bromma airport in Stockholm, located only 10 km from the city centre, in contrast to the main international airport Arlanda which is 41 km away.
I arrived at the airport roughly an hour before departure. Gotlandsflyg and its main partner Malmö Aviation have now dropped the traditional counter check-in, instead all passengers should check in using a machine, also with checked luggage. The old check-in desks have been converted to self service baggage drop stations where the passenger scans the barcode on the tag before the luggage is sent away. Although traditional counter check-in is usually a much more pleasant experience the whole process was quite quick.
There is a common lounge at Bromma airport called ‘The Yellow Room’ run by Malmö Aviation. Gotlandsflyg has a basic loyalty program with coupons handed out for each flight flown on a flexible ticket and two coupons can be exchanged for a lounge visit. It is also possible to access the lounge using for example Priority Pass, which is what I did this morning.
The lounge was virtually empty when I arrived, perhaps not too surprising considering this was right in the middle of the summer season when most business travellers are on holiday. Even the receptionist was away on a break. The lounge surely lives up to its name with most of the interior in yellow or orange.
There was a small self service buffet with yoghurt and cereals, cinnamon buns, fruits and some cocktail snacks. But unfortunately not much substantial to eat. Coffee, tea and soft drinks were also available for self service.
The lounge had a decent view of the departure hall and restaurant. A very quite morning in the beginning of August.
Gotlandsflyg flight DC 923
The incoming flight was early so boarding started already 30 minutes before departure. There are only apron positions at Bromma airport but this beautiful morning it meant a pleasant walk in the sun from the terminal building to stand number 2.
Gotlandsflyg uses mainly two ATR 72-500 for the Stockholm-Visby route but during the important summer months they usually lease aircrafts from their sister companies. The ATR 72 has 72 seats, 18 rows in a 2-2 configuration. There are no seat assignments on their flights, instead free seating is applied on a first come first basis. If you want a specific seat it means you need to be early at the gate.
I managed to secure a seat on the last row, 18A, with the adjacent seat kept free during the flight. On the ATR the passenger door is in the aft meaning a high numbered seat row is better for those who want to get off quickly after landing. In the galley local newspapers were offered for free.
The flight load to Visby was good on this flight, above 90%. Punctual pushback at 8.10 am with an expected flight time of 35 minutes. As we took off towards the east those sitting on the left side of the cabin could enjoy a nice view of the city centre. Just too bad the windows were rather dirty.
Food and drinks
As soon as we reached a safe altitude the two flight attendants rushed into the cabin with the trolleys. Passengers with a travel pass can choose something to eat and drink for free, to all other passengers the same assortment is available for purchase. The prices are reasonable though, 10 kr (1 euro) for a cup of coffee and 40 kr (4 euro) for a breakfast. As there was not much substantial to eat in the lounge I bought a breakfast including a decent sandwich, a glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee. The crew even had time to offer me a refill.
Gotlandsflyg makes a big deal about only serving locally produced food, whenever possible. It is even written on the seat covers. They mention on the seat covers they do it for the environment and for the taste. More than 50 percent of the items on the menu are produced on the island of Gotland.
Two female flight attendants worked in the cabin. They were both pleasant and friendly but with a flight time of only 35 minutes most of the time was spent selling food and drinks and collecting the rubbish. Nevertheless they did a good job, nothing to complain about.
We landed right on time in Visby. Just like at Stockholm Bromma the arrival experience included a nice apron walk from the aircraft to the terminal building. The checked luggage was delivered on the belt within five minutes.
The main advantage of choosing Gotlandsflyg is that they use the smaller Bromma airport in Stockholm, just 10 km from the city centre. The walking distances are shorter and the ground transportation is obviously much quicker. The flight itself was pleasant with a punctual departure and arrival and the locally produced sandwich was tasty. The cabin was tidy but they really need to clean the windows.