Friday, October 12, 2007

Travelling FROM Belgium

Yesterday, 'twas time to go home, having deep-6'ed our Brussels trip.

Joe Le Taxi - or rather, his local Flemish English-speaking and curteous equivalent - rolled up just past 6 AM. The train left Brugge station at 6:35 AM - precisely on schedule, and we arrived at Brussels South approximately one hour later. So far so good, but here is where $hit started to hit - or 'it, considering what they speaketh in Bruxelles - teh fan. We located the platform, and awaited the 07:57 AM train to Brussels airport. Less than five minutes before our train was supposed to depart, we heard some L'Oreal talk over the speaker, and recognized enough to figure out that it concerned our train. So; we vamoosed down and figured out that the baguette-eating bastards had done a last-minute (less than five minutes) platform change. Which led to a lot of running. As we got off the escalator and onto the platform, the doors were closing. My wife got in just before me, and as I started to enter, the doors were closing, and really made an effort in doing so. After wrestling myself and a suitcase aboard the train, the conductor rolled in and gave me a talking to - I could've been trapped between the door and the platform as the train pulled out. Right - the pneumatic motors driving the train doors would've overpowered me.

After having arrived at Brussels airport, we were faced with our plane being delayed with about an hour and a half. Bummer. The hour and a half turned into well over two hours. "We regret to inform you that the flight to Oslo has been delayed due to the incoming aircraft being late." Male Bovine Feces - the incoming aircraft was late because it was delayed in taking off, not of some force majeure, ya back-peddling douchebags.

We flew with SAS, a company whose new slogan is "We reintroduce service". So far, the only changes in policy I've been able to observe is that they occasionally serve coffee or tea on a fraction of their flights. Not on the Brussels-Oslo flight, though - instead, they took great pains in communicating that "On this flight, passengers travelling on first class will be served their choice of drinks and a hot meal with wine, followed by cafe avec. Our Economy Plus passengers will enjoy a drink and a sandwich. Passengers travelling Economy will have the opportunity to buy food, drinks or goods from a selection." They might as well have said "First class passengers will now be fed peeled grapes whilst sipping on a red wine served by Rockefeller himself. Our middleclass passengers will get the crumbs from the table of teh wealthy. The rest of y'all can go f*ck yourself". It's quite amazing how they take great pains to communicate a sense that "If you would just apply yourself more, maybe you'd be able to fly first class too". Honestly, it makes sense that if you pay three to four times more for the same flight, you get some privileges, but I fail to see the importance of announcing this fact to the passengers crammed into seats last inhabited by Frodo, Sam and their hobbit relatives.

As we arrived in Oslo, we actually got our bags, which was positively surprising. Not surprising or positive was however the fact that our flight was delayed. After having waded through the baggage claims, the booking counter and the security station, we sat and waited at the gate - again. We had gotten information about the delay while checking in, but no morsel of this fact had reached the passengers waiting at the gate. At 15:30, there still was no information, and the plane was nowhere to be seen - which by the way shoud've tipped off some of the more astute travellers in line. Right after the plane was supposed to have taken off, a 25 minute delay was announced - again due to "the incoming plane being late". 50 minutes after this announcement, we started boarding, after an additional 35 minutes, the plane took off. 25 minute delay due to the incoming aircraft being late - don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining. It ended up being a 80 minute delay, camouflaged in small increments so as to appear less offensive. I really wish the douchebags at SAS would've spent more resources being on time and less resources obfuscating and renaming f*ck-ups.

When we finally came home, it had taken 13 hours, and it had snowed in Trondheim. It was kind of strange to consider that we had eaten in the outside section of our restaurant the night before. It's cold in Norway, isn't it?


Anders said...

"We reinvent service".
That's SAS for ya!

Wilhelm said... can't spell ASS without SAS