Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Extreme Rule-Following

Before I get back to telling you more about my flea market hunting, I have to tell you what happened last night.  It is a perfect example of Extreme Swiss Rule Adherence.

Everybody has nightmare travel stories and I am not going to bore you with the gory details of ours.  However, the tail-end of the evening was just so Swiss, I must pass it along so you can cluck your tongues against the roofs of your mouths.

Our EasyJet flight from Gatwick (London) to Geneva was seriously delayed.  This will surprise no one who has flown EasyJet which is the Euro-equivalent of Southwest Air in the US.   Mostly, anyone with a sense of self-preservation avoids EasyJet but British Airways is on strike right now so we were forced to join the herd and queue up for the cattle car.

Halfway through our flight, I guess it finally occurred to someone in the cockpit that they might want to let Geneva know that we were arriving.  Midflight, somewhere in the skies between Paris and Dijon, the pilot comes on the intercom with this incredulous tone in his voice that we are being diverted to Lyon, France because our ETA is SIX MINUTES past Geneva’s strict 12:30 a.m. curfew.  The airport has a no-fly rule past 12:30 so that the Swiss who live near the airport do not have to be awakened by the sound of nasty ol’ jets coming and going at all hours of the night.

Well, the pilot relays to us that he is in “negotiations” with Geneva and surely they are not going to divert us for a silly 6 minutes.  Yes, he said “silly”.

Mr. Big and I looked at each other and said, “Dude, is this your first day on the job?  You do not “negotiate” with Switzerland.  The Rules are The Rules.  You might as well just go ahead and change your heading now, buddy.”

Of course, we landed in Lyon.

Follow the rules, EasyJet.  You might want to call ahead of time if you are going to arrive late in Switzerland.  Just a hint for the future.

Anyway, the airline then had to charter buses to schlep 150 passengers, well, 148 because Mr. Big and I immediately skedaddled to the nearest hotel, for the two and a half hour drive to Geneva.  Seriously, I don’t know what they did with those people at 4 a.m. when they finally got to Geneva because the airport would have been locked up tight as a drum and the Swiss train system doesn’t get out of bed until 5:30.  But, that was not my problem!  I was enjoying a minibar Merlot and a small chocolate pillow mint!

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