Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow... but expect delays.

Has everyone enjoyed their delayed and/or cancelled flights and unseasonal wads of snow? Yes? No? You find this question cruel as you are desperately trying to build up some Christmas feeling in Australia, of all places, and the season just isn't the same when it's stinking hot? Thought so.

Well, I shall proceed anyway. Rather endearingly BBC News has published a lovely little article titled How Helsinki airport deals with snow and ice. Indeed, how do those crazy northerners manage? Wait, is the country even inhabitable at this time of the year? Well, apparantly it all comes down to plenty of the right equipment, people, and - they don't explicitly state this in the article, but it's safe to say it is an underlying factor - a general understanding that winter tends to come, you know, every year.

It reminds of me of waiting for a Heathrow-Helsinki flight to take off a few years ago. It was winter, and there were inevitable delays. The captain made a brief announcement along the lines of "Ladies and gentlemen, we're experiencing a slight delay due to the weather, but the de-icing machine is on its way and we'll be out of here in a jiffy."

Then he continued... in Finnish, and there was a tone of fatherly sympathy to his voice:

"Winter does always seem to take the Brits by surprise, doesn't it? The whole country is in chaos because of a little dusting of snow. They have nowhere near enough de-icing machines to service an airport this size, by the way, so you might as well get comfortable. We'll be here for a while."

Happy travels!


  1. That's awesome! It is ridiculous, but also really funny how freaked out everyone is. Mid-last year when I was lining up my trip I asked my supervisor here if it would snow - she said not usually in Glasgow, maybe a day or two. Turns out last year was the coldest winter in 30 years, and this one is like the longest one since they've been keeping records!

  2. A little bit of subversive behaviour on a plane never goes amiss. :-)

    As ill-suited as I am for the cold normally (I mean proper cold, the 10-15 degrees that passes for winter here is exactly my cup of tea), I think I'd quite happily take a freak snow storm this time of the year: Christmas Day is supposed to be 38 degrees, and today won't be much better...