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Introduction: Chasing the Northern Lights

Updated: 5 days ago

Greetings from 37,000 feet above Paducah, Kentucky!


Mrs. ATX and I are currently onboard Delta 1411 headed to New York-JFK to kick off our first major trip of 2024. We started working on this trip a few months ago once we found out that ATX Jetsetter Jr. would be joining us in May 2024. This is a babymoon of sorts and we wanted to do something that would be difficult to do with a child in tow.


We initially planned on going to Turkey but called an audible and decided to head to the Arctic Circle instead. Prague and Stockholm would bookend the trip with the star of the show being Tromsø, Norway. Tromsø will be our base camp for the Northern Lights excursions around the Arctic Circle.

Northern Lights Stock Photo
Locating the Northern Lights is the Name of the Game for this Trip

Booking Flights

The logistics of this trip got a little chaotic and I was modifying our itinerary up until a few days ago. Instead of taking you into the chaos that is my mind, I'll just share our final routing.


To get from the States to Prague we booked SWISS Business Class from New York-JFK to Prague with a stop in Zurich for 70,000 Aeroplan points and roughly $100 in taxes and fees per person. To position for that flight, I bought cheap Delta Economy tickets ($150 per person) from Austin to New York and upgraded to Comfort+ for 9,000 SkyMiles per person.


To bounce around Europe I pieced together a decent combination of cash fares in Economy on KLM and Widerøe and Premium Economy on SAS to get us to and from Tromsø. European Business Class typically isn't worth it to me as it's just economy with a blocked middle seat and some additional food, on KLM's Embraer E-Jets they don't even block the middle, and our status allows us to bring the necessary baggage allowance.


Finally, to get back home, we booked KLM Business Class from Stockholm to Austin via Amsterdam for 50,000 Flying Blue Miles plus roughly $250 in taxes and fees per person.

KLM Boeing 787 Business Class Seat
We're back on KLM's direct 787 to Austin for the 3rd time in 6 months

Booking Hotels

Figuring out our hotels was much easier than the flights. In Prague, we used our annual $200 hotel credit from our American Express Platinum Card to book the Andaz Prague. They were running a 3rd night free promotion which made the nightly rate a reasonable $298 a night.


In Tromsø there weren't many hotel options and the only major chain hotel was a Moxy outside of the city center. Our most expensive hotel of the trip is also our least impressive as we spent $422 per night to book the Clarion Hotel The Edge in the city center. The primary reason for choosing this location was it is the departure point for most of our tours.


Finally, in Stockholm, I booked the Sheraton for 43,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. We wanted to do a points booking in Stockholm as it would allow us to be more flexible in the event we needed to modify our dates as the Northern Lights can be finnicky.


Summary

I'm not a big fan of the cold but I'm very excited to see this part of the word and step outside of my comfort zone a little bit. Thanks for coming along on this adventure to the top of the world!


In This Trip Report

  • Lufthansa Senator Lounge Terminal 1 (JFK)

  • SWISS A330-300 Business Class (JFK-ZRH)

  • SWISS A220-300 Business Class (ZRH-PRG)

  • Andaz Prague

  • Exploring Prague

  • Erste Premier Lounge Prague (PRG)

  • KLM Cityhopper EMB-195 Economy (PRG-AMS)

  • KLM B737-800 Economy (AMS-BGO)

  • Widerøe EMB-190 Economy (BGO-TOS)

  • Clarion Hotel The Edge Tromsø

  • Exploring Tromsø and Chasing the Northern Lights

  • Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) A320 Premium Economy (TOS-ARN)

  • Sheraton Stockholm

  • Exploring Stockholm

  • KLM B737-900 Business Class (ARN-AMS)

  • KLM B787-9 Business Class (AMS-AUS)

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