A different kind of journey with bluewhite wings, destination: Oulu, Finland
I paid a short visit to Finland recently. You know, just to get my share of fresh winter air, snow and Christmas magic which I did not manage to get from Finnish Christmas market (read the story here). Okay, that was NOT really the REAL reason to my long weekend in the land of Santa Claus. Neither was it a meeting with Santa Claus to tell all the little nasty things my kids have been up to lately… No, the real reason was my dear grandma’s 90’Th birthday. Unless one wants to sit in the car for two days, getting there requires some flying. I don’t particularly LOVE flying, neither have I any fear towards it. Some people refuse flying because of climate issues, I don’t. Greta Thunberg can keep on floating on the waves, I do my share for climate in other ways (read more about that here). For me flying is just a smooth, necessary thing in order to get from one place to another. As simple as that.
This time I chose to fly with Finnair like I almost always do, whenever traveling to my sweet home country. Because they speak Finnish. And they sell Moomin products on the plane. And serve blueberry juice, which is TRULY delicious. Yes, and they do have direct flights to Helsinki and good connections elsewhere, which might play a role in this too… So this time I was heading to Oulu, the capital of Northern Scandinavia. That means, I have to fly to Helsinki and take a connecting flight to Oulu. Piece of cake. I mounted my seat in the flying iron bird and up in the air we went. I got my share of delicious blueberry juice and decided not to buy any moomin products from the airplane this time.
In no time the plane was landing to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, and I went off searching the right gate for my connecting flight. How annoying, I thought when finding out that it was late. Not much, but these things always seem to double or triple. Unable to do anything about it in spite of getting annoyed, I sighed and went for searching a nice warm cup of coffee. Helsinki outside the window was as cold, dark and miserable as ever. I had plenty of time to finish up my coffee and even get a few refills until it was finally time to climb into another iron bird again…
Finally we were all nicely stuffed into our seats (the plane was full up to its last seat!). Time kept steadily passing by as it always does. Flying attendants did all the preparations as always. Only the plane was not moving. After SOME MORE waiting we heard the captain’s announcement. Sorry about the delay, he said, but our backup power supply is down. We need to wait for someone from outside to come and start the plane. An awkward quietness took over the plane. People were staring at each other, probably thinking, what the….? Is this plane safe? At least that is what I was thinking. The Pilot didn’t seem too concerned about it, however. And FINALLY they got the engine running, with some help from outside. Only the iron cow was still not moving. After some ten or so minutes there was another announcement from the captain: sorry again for the delay, but our computer just crashed. We need to restart it and it will take about ten minutes. He was about to say something more, but started laughing uncontrollably in the middle of the sentence and obviously couldn’t stop anymore. Okay…? I thought, he’s probably having one HARD day at work..?
The middle-aged woman right next to me was turning very white from the face, and I must admit Finnair was not getting any points from me either. I was almost seriously considering whether I should dismount this iron birdie. Too late. There was another announcement saying we were finally ready to float up into the air and head towards destination. The plane started moving, and lights inside of the plane were blinking. TV screens on the roof were opening… closing… opening… and so on. You get the picture. The lady next to me looked like she might jump out of the window any minute now. I tried to remember if any of Finnair’s planes ever crashed, and to my great relief couldn’t remember such a case. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t fly if there was a risk. Unless there was some crazy fearless former fighter pilot in the cockpit. There’s first time for everything.
We made it to Oulu. And it looked like winter wonderland, just like it is supposed to this time of the year. The Iron bird was still in one piece and performed a nice, soft landing on runway. The pilot rolled the plane towards gate and parked successfully. All the passengers sighed in relief. And then, the whole plane went dark. Totally dark. Black. The unreal darkness lasted a few minutes and then the lights came back. And there was another announcement from the captain: ladies and gentleman, sorry about that. Now when we are parked, we need to get some power from outside again. And someone just tripped over the power cord. Thanks for flying with us and have a nice evening! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This time it was me who was laughing uncontrollably. Walking through the silent airport towards luggage belt, I secretly hoped I would not need to fly back home with this particular plane. It felt good to have feet on the ground again.
Finland was great. And grandma’s party was heartwarming. And the bluewhite wings were back on track on the way back. Cheers with blueberry juice! :)