Originally, I booked the departure from Zürich to London Heathrow at 20:40 on BA719. Which would have given me a whole day in the office before heading to the airport. Then a few weeks after I’d booked the flight, I was informed of a schedule change, which meant the flight was moved back to depart at 21h10. Which was still okay.
But then 25 hours before I’m set to depart, I receive another email from British Airways, informing me that the flight has been cancelled. I think what I find most galling about the email British Airways sent, apart from the short notice, is that it advises me to either request a refund or change my booking to any other flight on any other date on the same route – but that they will not be taking any action themselves. They’re basically telling that although they screwed up, this is really my problem and not theirs. When I try calling BA, I receive a message telling me that their lines are busy (I wonder why…?) and that I should call back later. And then they cut the line. I then try to login to the app, to see if I can rebook there. But the only message I receive is…
In any case, eventually I manage and my only choice is to rebook to the departure at 13h20, which means that I need to reschedule several meetings and cut short my working day to still make that flight.
Check-In & Security
The airport is busy when I arrive just after 11 in the morning.
It’s a good thing I’ve planned ahead, because the queue for security is so long that it’s a ten minutes wait in the queue to actually reach the entrance to security. But at least the line moves at a slow but steady pace. Even so, it still takes me forty minutes to get through.
Funnily enough, I pass by an advert in the security area that mentions Le Brassus, which features in my previous post.
I’m so target focussed on reaching the head of the queue that I literally walk right past a colleague of mine who is also queuing. He’s on his way to attending a meeting in Denver. I did the same thing last week with one of my students. But at least that time I had the excuse that I had mislaid my glasses on the TGV, without which I am pretty lost.
Once I’m through security, I take a few photos of the ramp, and then head downstairs for immigration and the shuttle to the E pier – which is where BA seems to prefer parking its aircraft in Zürich.
Today‘s flight is operated by an A319, which is completely sold out. I‘m in boarding group 3, but I figure I might as well wait until the end to board before I have to squeeze myself into my seat.
While I wait for the queue to move down the airbridge, I spot the Emirates A 380 rolling in. I get ready to get her a profile shot – only to end up photobombed by a SWISS A 330 taxiing out to runway 14.
The seating pitch on BA pushes the limits of what I think is physically possible and acceptable. The only way I can fit in, is by sitting fully upright. Even before we push back I can already feel my slipped discs complaining.
The crew on this flight are mostly dreadful. At the L1 door there are two young men too busy playing with their iPhones to acknowledge me or any other passenger. At the last moment before I turn into the cabin, one of them looks up and gives me and the person behind me the most uninterested “hey guys”, before going back to his mobile.
At the back of the bus is a young English lady and a young hispanic man working the cabin. Both of them are very nice and friendly, unlike the two up front. The only problem is that the young man is wearing this very strong perfume that stings the eyes. It literally makes my eyes water every time he goes past me.
BA has a similar service to SWISS in Economy Class. A complimentary bottle of still water and a packet of pretzels are served first. After that, the crew pass through the cabin again with a trolley for the buy on board service. Although strangely, they don‘t seem to be catering most of the food items on the menu. So eventually, I just have a mint tea. Payments are accepted by card only.
Fortunately for my slipped discs, the flight is not long. We‘re also lucky that there are no holding delays for the approach, so that we‘re on stand after a journey time of only 85 minutes.
The flight with BA was okay, I guess. I must admit though, that their handling of the irregularity does not exactly fill me with the warm and fuzzies. The experience was very exchangeable.
Still, on the positive side, the earlier than originally planned arrival time gave me enough time to travel into London and spend some time around Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and the Westend.