GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
I’m on my way to Cologne to attend a meeting with EASA and ICAO. I finish teaching at 15h20, return to my office to collect my bag and then I’m off to the railway station. The flight will be leaving at 17h30, so it should be enough for me to catch the 15h58 train from Winterthur to Zürich airport.
I’ve already checked in online. I don’t have the Eurowings app installed, but I received a mail a few days ago with a link to the Eurowings check-in page. The process on the website could be smoother, but I manage to check-in fairly quickly.
I’m travelling with the tall, blond M. on this trip. So I’ve taken the precaution of booking the middle and window seats on the emergency row – seats 15E and F – to have enough space for the guy’s long legs.
Zürich airport is busy today. It’s the first week of the autumn vacation here in Switzerland, so half the nation is travelling this and next week. But despite all the people, security is a fairly smooth process.
The lady in the queue in front of me is travelling with her cat. To go through the security checkpoint, she has to remove the cat from his carrier bag. And he’s obviously not happy, judging by the expression on his face. Later on it turns out that the cat’s name is Bowie in honour of David Bowie. Clearly, his owner must have excellent taste…
Boarding starts on time and it’s the usual scrum for the automatic scanners. You’d think they’re giving it away for free to watch them.
Much to my surprise, I look out the window at my gate to find that the flight today is being operated by a Boeing B 737-800 of TUIFly, which is operating the flight on behalf of Eurowings.
The cabin is in fairly decent condition. There is no cabin divider but the first few rows of seats have headrest covers marked as ‘Biz Class’. The seat pitch on the emergency exit is of course very good. The only down side is that there is no armrest on that side of the seat adjacent to the window.
Eventually, boarding is completed and the aisle seat on our row is still empty. So the tall, blond M. quickly shifts over one seat to give us a bit of extra space.
The crew are friendly and seem a lot happier that I would have expected them to be. But perhaps that’s because they’re TUIFly and not Eurowings crews.
The flight time is announced as 45 minutes.
Food and drinks are available for purchase in Economy Class, I think. Much to my surprise though, once the service starts and the crew pass through the cabin, the tall, blond M. is handed a small snack box containing a small container of still water and half a cheese sandwich. Very generously, he offers to share both with me. And when the crew pass through the cabin with the drinks trolley, we’re even offered something else to drink. Which is kind of surprising, because I thought food and drinks were only available for purchase.
It only dawns on me later on that the reason the tall, blond M. received the snack box in the first place is that he’s changed seats to the aisle. In other words, the aisle seat remained empty because the passenger booked on that seat had no-showed.
For a moment I think of telling the crew about the misunderstanding. But given that I’ve already demolished half the sandwich by this time, I figure it no longer makes any difference…
The flight passes quickly and shortly after the trash is cleared away, we’re already descending into Cologne. Which is kind of cool, because basically the pilot’s idea of ‘descent’ is just to deploy the speed breaks and pitch the aircraft in a steep dive. It’s certainly efficient…
And so we land in Cologne on time. And fortunately for me, we come to a stop on a remote stand, which means I get to take a few pictures of my aircraft as I disembark.
All in all, there isn’t anything much to say about this flight. It was completely unremarkable and I doubt I will remember it as an exceptional experience. But it was okay. They delivered me safely from A to B without delay. No more, no less.