26 May 2015

Pit stop

​08:40h - wheels down. 

As the plane taxies to the gate, I run through the plan once again: Get off as the first passenger, breeze through immigration, down the stairs and out through baggage claim, across the bridge into the airport mall and straight into Migros. This should be about 10 minutes.

Pile chocolates, crackers, candy, cookies and, yes, toothpaste, into the trolley and pay. Stuff it all into the expandable bag in my hand. 15 minutes if things go well.

Stop by a mailbox and an ATM on the way to the Sprüngli store. Get the dark Truffes du jour and a few bars of gianduja for special occasions. Pack them away as well. 15 minutes.

Backtrack to the departures level, locate the check-in counter with the shortest line, have the bag tagged and sent on its way to Montréal. While waiting, call mum and arrange for rendez-vous. 10 minutes.

Time check: There are now 200 minutes left prior to scheduled take-off, 155 to boarding.

Meet & greet with mum and aunt, present Mother's Day gifts, find a sunny spot on the terrace and have coffee with Gipfeli. Chit-chat, and say thank you for coming out to the airport this morning. Promise to spend more time with them soon and discuss plans for next month's return to the home country. Emphasize that it will be for more than a week and correlate with annual vacation allowance in Canada. Decline second coffee and resist second Gipfeli in consideration of a long-haul flight's worth of catering coming up. 120 minutes.

With casual glance on wristwatch and random reference to time zones, get the group on its feet again. Walk mum and aunt back towards parking garage, hug and kiss them good-bye. 5 minutes, 10 with emotional reserve.

Race back to security screening and use priority lane. Ignore duty free selection of Swiss wine, whine about poor exchange rates instead. Proceed directly to airline lounge and stock up on magazines. 10 minutes.

Clear immigration again, get into airline limo to departure gate and board aircraft. 15 minutes. 

Settle in, sit back, accept a glass of champagne from flight attendant. Breathe. Reflect on the merits of getting up at the crack of dawn and routing the return of the business trip via Zurich. As the plane pushes back from the gate, remember hugging mum. And buying chocolates. Smile as the engines come alive.
 
12:50h - take-off.

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