Fritzerland

I made it just in the nick of time!

Yes, I already shared a p piece of information which reveals the plot of this story, and I suggest you keep reading as it is a quite remarkable story.  The title could be “I got stuck in traffic and arrived just in time to catch my flight” but that’s not really what happened.

Last Friday I drove back with my car from Zurich, leaving part of a meeting behind, to take another one at my apartment in Freienbach.  My flights are usually late, which is convenient as I am able to finish of work, clean the apartment and commute by train to Zurich Airport.

I’m becoming a pretty seasoned business traveler. I rarely check my bags, and I have no sympathy for fellow travelers who don’t have their belt, shoes, laptop, and plastic baggie of liquids in your hand before they get to the metal detectors. Last Friday I  made an embarrassing mistake. Nearly missing flights is nothing new for me. I hate waiting in airports (and in idle aircraft), and I like living on the edge. I have, many times, walked onto an aircraft and had the flight attendants shut the door behind me instantly. Now that’s close.

Back to last Friday. It takes about one hour to get from Freienbach to Zurich  Airport.  The journey with the car usually takes only 35-45 minutes on average but it depends on the traffic.  It’s Friday afternoon and traffic jams can create some of the most frustrating behind-the-wheel scenarios. So it will be the train today.

My flight to Amsterdam departs at 9PM. The 6.42 train will take me  in one hour to the Airport. It’s a smooth ride. I enjoy the  countryside views from train. Switzerland: It is just an incredible country, end of story. Amazing lanscape, people that are ridiculously friendly and delicious food that is it’s so organized, clean and efficient it makes Germany look like a hot mess. I am looking forward to see my family again: my wife and our two kids. Excited also to be at my brothers birthday party, he turned 30. My little wise brother not little anymore!

Just a little peak at my ticket, and then again. KLM 1962 to Amsterdam will leave at 8.10 PM.

8.10 PM. I can’t believe what I see. Nightmare! This train will bring me to Zurich Airport Train Station 7.42 PM, that is scheduled boarding-time… From the the station to the Gate will take at least 10 minutes, depending on security queue.

My train to is on time, but for some reason it takes some minutes extra to leave in Zurich Main station: Minutes that I don’t have. ‘KLM is usually late’ thats a valid statement as most of my flights to and from Amsterdam are delayed. But that doesn’t bring me anywhere now. Alternatives? Yes plenty,  but not for free. One-way Zurich to Amsterdam starts at CHF 550. Fueled with claustrophobic frustration, I am thinking to get my car and drive to The Hague, in the middle of the night, rather than wait for a morning flight.

7.45 PM, I arrive at Zurich Airport Train Station. I travel light bit that’s still with a small suitcase and a small case for my notebook. It taks me less than five minutes to get to security. Then, all of a sudden, and to my amazement, the security doorman politely told me go straight through before a lengthy queue of people. Gate 31, another 4 minutes.

‘This is the final call for mr. Otten, trailing to Amsterdam .please proceed to the gate.”

Just around the corner, smiling attendant. “Mr Otten?” she asks. “You made it just in time,” she said. “Enjoy your flight.” Doors are closed. I made it just in the nick of time.