Saturday, August 8, 2009

Five things you might expect to happen during an hour in Zurich, and which indeed did happen to this traveller

1) As you make the descent into Zurich, the flight attendants bring Swiss chocolates instead of suckers.

2) Look out of the window and observe the sordid pastiche of Swiss-style chalets and then remember that you are landing in Switzerland.

3) Be told by the attendant opposite that the reason we are circling is because the runway doesn’t open until 6:04am. ‘This means we can begin the final approach at 6:02,’ she adds.

4) As you take the rail link between terminals, enjoy a soundtrack of cowbells and yodelling fed through the railway p.a. system.

5) And as you dash to board the connecting flight, expect to hear your name announced urgently. Despite the fact that you had barely half an hour to cross terminals, ride yodelling trains, and go through passport control, do not be surprised that your luggage was ahead of you and safely stowed before you even reached the boarding gate.

If an airport is going to live up to national stereotypes, these ones aren’t bad. But there must an alternative to cow bells.