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November 29, 2006

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                             STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

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  • Stockholm Guide




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    Hej from Sweden! Last week we traveled to Cologne, Germany via Madridís new multi-billion dollar airport (hereís the link to the archives). This week we fly to Stockholm for only $84 (including all taxes and fees) on a German low-fare carrier. Weíre in Stockholm for only a night because Iím here for one reason: to catch a very special flight (details shortly). If you want a clue to where Iím headed and a glimpse of Stockholm, letís go! The gate agent is paging our names on the PA system -- so hurry!

    I purchased a 65 euros ($84) one-way ticket on two weeks prior to my departure. Germanwings is a low-fare carrier that flies new Airbus A319/320 aircraft to over 50 European destinations. As with all low-fare carriers, to get the lowest deals itís best to buy as far in advance as possible, or jump on a sale (they offer email alerts). If I took my own advice I could have scored the same ticket for half price, but $84 is still a great deal. The 738-mile Cologne-to-Stockholm flight takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. The flight was packed not just with Europeans, but some American business travelers as well (they know how to save money too).

    We arrived a bit late and bags took a while, but I whipped out my international cell phone and called friends and family back home to pass the time. (To learn about my international cell phone service where I get free incoming calls and pay just a third of the U.S. cell price for outgoing calls, click here). Sweden is a member of the European Union (EU), so I did not get my passport stamped when I entered the country. It was like flying between states in the U.S. Yet although Sweden is a member of the EU, they donít use the euro as currency Ė they still use the Swedish kroner (SEK). The current exchange rate is $1 USD = 7 Krona (just divide prices by 7).

    Sweden is not an inexpensive country. You notice the steep prices the moment you step off the plane. A 35-minute (45 km) taxi ride from the airport to the city costs 395 kronor ($56) Ė itís a flat rate. Fortunately, the Arlanda Express -- a high-speed (120 mph) train -- connects Stockholmís Arlanda Airport with the city. Most individual travelers use it, because itís cheaper and fast. Trains depart every 15 minutes; they cost 200 SEK ($28), and take only 20 minutes. Thereís also an airport bus that departs every 10 minutes; it costs 95 SEK ($13.50), and takes 40 minutes.

    It turns out I did not save much money after all, because I needed to take a taxi to the hotel from the train station. The 4-minute ride to Old Town (where I was staying) cost 65 SEK ($9). That wasnít even the worst part: The driver expected a 35 SEK tip. This is very unusual in Sweden, because people rarely tip and drivers donít normally ask for one. I was actually going to round off my fare to 70 SEK and give him a tip, but when he gave me a difficult time he got nothing. For the most part I find Swedes to be very friendly and fair. Most speak perfect English, but sometimes (like everywhere in the world) you get a bad apple. That happened in this case.

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    Copyright 2006 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Pictures From

    The Trip


    Cologne Airport




    Stockholm Taxi


    Airport Bus


    Arlanda Express


    Inside The Train


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