Mark Stephens Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

A frustrating day at Zurich Airport

1 min read

I sometimes have to travel abroad to see clients. You can do a lot online but sometimes you need some face to face contact. It gets me out of the office and gives me some thinking time.

When I go, I always try to cover all options, and have flexibility. Having had a successful trip to an important client in St. Gallen and finished early, I arrived at Zurich airport first thing. I always get a flexible ticket which I can rebook. Unfortunately, it seems today is a European holiday and everyone is trying to catch the same flights. A flexible ticket is not much use if there are no seats left.

I go down to the 11:35 flight on standby and wait in the hope of there being an empty seat. The plane is late (just to make sure everyone can make it) and there are no spaces, so I have to go back through customs to the transfer desk. Another queue and I rebook to try the 4pm flight as a standby – I have a confirmed ticket at 5:10pm but have nothing else planned for 4pm and Zurich airport is not my favourite leisure location.

So I head off to the Business lounge to get some work done. I can get some food and get some work done…

Not so fast – this is supposed to be a nightmare so it will not be that simple. Because I am on the waiting list for the 4pm flight, I do not have a boarding ticket. The desk will not let me in without a boarding card – I have a business booking but apparently bureaucracy insists I need the boarding card as well to use the Business lounge.

Back to the transfer queue and then get a printout of the 5:10pm flight booking and they finally let me in to get some food and power for the laptop. I hope my nightmare is almost over and I will finally get a flight – I’ve had enough of walking miles, queuing and dealing with bureaucracy. I have learnt that I must not to assume that just because you have tried to plan everything, it does not mean it will work out as smoothly. It is not designed to promote inner peace and calm.

If you do this travel nightmare regularly, you have my sympathies…

Update: Finally got the last seat on the 5:10pm flight and my bag was waiting for me at London (having caught an earlier flight). This was a pleasant surprise as normally it ends up on the later flight.

I noticed on my travels that Zurich has a ‘prayer room’. I think it also needs a screaming room  – a nice soundproof place where I can just go to let off steam…

Mark Stephens Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

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