Posts Tagged easyJet

Flying from Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) with easyJet|Abflug von Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) mit easyJet

If you’ve never been flying from Berlin Schönefeld (or as I like to call it: Berlin’s Disgrace) with easyJet, you’ll learn quite a lot reading this article. If you have, you’ll most likely share my pain. If not, I am honestly surprised and I would like to encourage you to play the lottery every week and become a professional roulette player.

Part 1: Prelude

On my way to Madrid this past Friday, I ended up receiving the standard easyJet treatment. I’m rather convinced if only one member of the board of this company would ever fly with easyJet departing in Berlin Schönefeld, they would

  • either immediately leave the company or
  • do everything in their power to rectify the wrong that has been done to so many people

When you’re flying with easyJet out of Berlin SXF, you don’t leave the place the same person. EasyJet paired with SXF changes you.

Thinking about it, there’s possibly a third option I haven’t considered before; the easyJet executive might also charge an extra fee for the adventurous experience that is trying to fly out of Berlin Schönefeld…

Part 2: Bag Drop

Anyway, I arrived reasonably early at the airport (~ 65 minutes before departure), only to enroll in a queue that stretched through pretty much the entire Terminal B (I think that’s what it’s called; it’s the one on the left that is exclusively operating easyJet flights). The queue was moving at it’s usual pace, that is, 3 people were getting out of it per minute despite the fact that roughly 6 counters were open and there were about 120 people in front of me. Also, I should probably stress once again that there’s nothing super out of the ordinary about this situation; this happens ALL THE TIME at this airport.

Doing the maths, I should have been at the top of the line after around 40 minutes. I considered getting the speedy Boarding option that would allow me to enroll in a special queue that was a lot shorter, but the helpful easyJet staff person that was trying her best to do some “crowd control” (judge lingo) pointed out that there’s always the chance that speedy Boarding is no longer available for my particular flight.

Thinking about it, this sounds like a gigantic and steaming pile of shit; few people ever go for this option, so it should always be available. Additionally, their sales training could probably need a little make-over.

Since I was sufficiently familiar with the process, I decided to instead try and enjoy the ride rather than breaking my head about it. Meanwhile, my friend Riley, who went with the smart option of not checking in any bags, lost patience. Since I didn’t want to feel all too responsible for him having a heart attack, we agreed to meet at the gate instead of him watching my painfully slow progress and worrying non-stop.

I stood in line for roughly 25 minutes (and I was almost halfway there, so some of my estimates are definitely off; since I don’t think that there were a lot more than 120 people queueing up in front of me, they probably only managed to “process” 2 people per minute with their 6 counters), only for them to then announce that everyone still standing in line to check in bags for Madrid (and one other destination) should now leave the existing queue and instead line up in front of counters 28 and 29 (the speedy Boarding counters).

Had I still been in the room after booking the speedy Boarding option and hearing this announcement, I would have deeply regretted making that decision. A lot.

Never. Pay. For. Bullshit.

Speedy Boarding is bullshit.

Also, let me emphasize again that there are few surprises here. This is what always happens at Schönefeld…

Part 3: Security

With all of that out of the way, on to the happy ending part of my story. I ended up dropping my bags 30 minutes before departure (which happens to be the same time when boarding is supposed to start) and then it was on to security.

The person responsible for the daunting task of scanning boarding passes was rather busy waving her scanner back and forth in repetitive motions. It appeared like a very weird real life version of Space Invaders. Apparently the last level of real life Space Invaders is scanning QR codes on smartphones.

A little sidenote: If you’re busy playing real life Space Invaders on the job, you won’t find time looking at passports.

Normally, at this exact point in the process of creeping through SXF, the security staff will point out that you “should have arrived at the airport a lot earlier.” They then follow it up with some worst case scenarios like

  • “what if one of the body scanners won’t work anymore?” or
  • “what if someone is a threat to the security of the airport and we won’t process any more people here?”

(Yeah, right… security finds someone carrying a bomb and they will NOT shut down the airport completely, but instead only stop processing people in security and all flights will leave as scheduled…)

Part 4: Epilogue

I ended up making it through security, overtaking Riley in the process. Surprisingly enough, he didn’t seem to be all too annoyed about that; apparently he had reached the stage of accepting that you’re in for a hellish ride (rather than one hell of a ride) when you’re flying out of SXF with easyJet.

I was expecting the usual “last call for all passengers to Madrid with easyJet flight EZY1234,” right after we made it through security, but for the second time that day, we missed out on the regular treatment that normally makes the SXF experience so unique and unforgettable. We made it to the gate, expecting to see a lot of stranded passengers who would then sit around for at least 10 more minutes (despite the last call), but surprisingly enough, the gate was completely empty. All other passengers were on their way to the plane already.

Since I am now familiar enough with the way easyJet operates, this made total sense. They are obviously in the business of trolling people, so they only announce a last call when it is completely pointless. If a last call would actually make sense, however, they will not announce that you should rush to the gate.

P.S.: I would like to point out that I do not think that easyJet is completely hopeless. Just a few days ago, we flew with easyJet from Glasgow to Berlin and everything went fine. Also, my flight with easyJet from Madrid to Berlin was alright (up until I arrived in Berlin since … Schönefeld).

It’s just that easyJet flying out of Berlin Schönefeld doesn’t match; the airport is simply a piece of shit and in no way is the way easyJet operates efficient enough to process the many flights that are leaving Berlin for various cities in Europe.

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