Our choice of Finnair as the airline to get us to Copenhagen was based entirely on price. Well, that and that it wasn’t Air Canada.
Things started out well enough: quick check-in, on-time departure, seats together. Our seats were a little cramped, mind you — more Japan Airlines-like than I would prefer — and the presence of Gigantor and his partner in the seats in front of us, constantly moving their seats back and forth, switching positions, flailing their arm rests back at us and complaining about the indignity of it all, didn’t help (recall that every social nuance, good and bad, is amplified 10 times in the low-oxygen environment 10km in the air). But we were making out okay.
And then the toilets filled up.
It seems that older planes such as ours are not, according to the flight attendant, equipped with advanced technologies that allow things like the filled-upness of the sewage tanks to be detected by anything other than faith. And so when the ground crew in Toronto forgot to empty them, the only way to detect this was when they filled up to the top over Greenland, 4 hours into the flight.
I’m not sure what the specific regulations governing this are, but apparently you’re not allowed to fly 200 Clamato and Diet Coke-filled passengers for 3 more hours without a way to pee. So arrangements were made to divert us to Reykjavik for de-sewage and re-fuel. And this is how we came to be on the ground in Iceland at 3:30 a.m.
The turnaround was quick — not surprising given the paucity of 3:30 a.m. air traffic at Keflavik Airport — but with the delay itself and the additional flying miles required for the diversion we were 90 minutes late getting into Helsinki and our flight to Copenhagen had already left.
Fortunately Helsinki-Vantaa Airport sports free, fast public wifi and I was able to tweet our delay, and this was quickly received and passed along. And Finnair quickly threw together a new routing for us via Stockholm that would see us arriving in Copehnagen only four hours later than planned.
The rest of the journey, save, ironically, any free time to pee, went without problems; we even had special “premium economy” seats on the SAS flight from Stockholm to Copenhagen that entitled us to slightly more leg room and a tasty snack of smoked salmon on hearty dark bread. Much to our surprise our luggage made it with us, and we were on the train to Malmö at 15h16.
Olle, bless his heart, was wandering around the outside of Central Station in Malmö canvassing for our arrival, and he picked us up in his hands and dropped us at our lovely downtown apartment, kindly rented to us by his coworker Isak, and before we knew it we were, despite significant jet lag, showered, dressed, and eating Indian food accompanied by Chinese beer and discussing the geopolitical.
It’s good to be back.