The battle between the airline and the customer.....

Zurich Travel Blog

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My new couchsurfing friend, Dagmar
So yesterday I left for my whirlwind trip through Europe. Getting through Washington Dulles was a pain in the ass. I got to my gate feeling all hot and sweaty because of all the hassle I went through at check-in. To back up a bit… The flights I bought took me through Zurich on my way to Paris. My layover in Zurich is like 7 hours so… I decided to couchsurf (www.couchsurfing.com) while I was there. I met a really nice Swiss girl named Dagmar who graciously decided to give up her Friday to show me around the town. In return for this I decided that I would get here a few things to say thanks. Well my plan was to only check my bags through to Zurich so that I could give Dagmar her presents (and also to get my clothes to take a shower… I think that everyone can agree that you feel pretty crappy after those longs flights!).
Well when I checked in, the United lady informed me that I my bags would be checked through all the way to Paris (something about departure tax that United would not pay.. I still don’t get it). The news did not agree with me at all. First I did the whole begging thing, then the angry demanding airline passenger thing, and then the pushover thing. In the end all the hope I had was to arrive in Zurich and to ask them to get me my bag.
So with that dissapointment out of the way I gathered what little I had left and went to my gate. It was pretty busy in with all the holiday passengers and I was sure that my flight was going to be completely full. I made the correct assumption. The plane was packed. Not one seat was open. I, as usual, ended up sitting next to someone who got on my nerves.
Either he was chewing his food too loud or he decided to keep his reading light on the whole flight (which was overnight). To top it all off, the entertainment screens kept cutting out every 16 seconds. I know it was 16 because I counted!! So after all of these frustrations I decided that I was going to try and sleep. I woke up about an hour and a half outside of Zurich. The rest of the flight went by like a flash and before I knew it we were on the ground. My mission for when we landed was to go to a United desk and see if I could get my bag. As luck would have it I got a very nice person who made some calls and got my suitcase for me!! So, now I am sitting on a floor in a totally empty baggage area waiting for my lone back to arrive. It looks like this trip won’t be so bad after all!!!

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I am back at Zurich airport now waiting for my flight to Paris. I had a totally awesome day with Dagmar. She met me at the Arrivals hall in Zurich and we went back to her flat. After I showered, I found out that she had made me breakfast!! We began to talk about random things, trying to push away any awkwardness of meeting for the first time. After breakfast we went into Zurich city centre. We walked around for a few hours looking at old churches, taking lots of pictures, feeding bread to the swans on the lake, and then eventually ending up at a restaurant for lunch. We had cheese fondue which is a typical Swiss dish. It was really good except now that my jacket, scarf and rest of clothes smells like cheese!! After lunch we had a coffee and then went back to her flat so I could gather my things. I said goodbye to my new friend at the bus stop and then headed towards the airport. So, that’s where I am now, waiting for my flight to Paris. When I get there, I am meeting another couchsurfer, Jeremy, who will be hosting me for the night. I am going to use this opportunity to plug couchsurfing…. You gotta try it!!!!! Just after my one experience, I am totally hooked. If you like to travel and be immersed in another culture (and you aren’t shy, then this is the thing for you!!
My new couchsurfing friend, Dagmar
My new couchsurfing friend, Dagmar
Zurich
photo by: Sweetski