Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And then came the ash...

We've had a busy week.

When Eyjafjallajökull decided it was time to wake up last Wednesday night my paretnts was en route to Sweden from CapeTown connecting in Amsterdam and my sister-in-law with family was en route to Sweden from California through Chicago. Needless to say we've ha a busy week trying to figure out flight schedules, alternative routes and what to do if this ash cloud just won't go away...

After four days my parents arrived in Stockholm after using three different trains, two ferries and a bus. Their luggage is presumably still in Amsterdam and who knows if they'll ever see it again.

This morning my sister-in-law with family finally took off, five days delayed. Things were looking good enough at 4.20 am this morning - there seemed to be a flight inbound for Chicago (through which they are transferring from here) and there was an estimated departure time and they had confirmed, re-booked tickets.So they took off for the airport and the Chicago flight.

But when the airport information system in Chicago showed other information than the SAS flight system when arriving there, we were not sure what to think.

Turns out SAS has a pretty active Facebook team and they have been working non-stop the last couple of days providing people with information to the extent that they could answer (after all - no one really knows where these ash clouds were heading and with authorities unclear with what rules should apply it's sure been a virtual nightmare for everyone trying to have some kind of answer).

This is the conversation I had with SAS on Facebook this morning - and the captain of the actual flight I'm asking about was online and could help confirm the information we needed (You don't want to go through security at O'Hare's terminal 1 unless it's just minimum time until your departure - for some reason this international terminal, from most international flights (ie LONG flights) depart at O'Hare has no food in any form once you've gone through).

I like what social media can do with organizations and their communication. You might ask yourself why the same information can be as informal and readily accessible on their actual business websites instead of Facebook - but hey - as of today - we got our answers so I'm happy. And what could be a better confirmation of a flight than the actual captain.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Classic backpack

I get tons of direct marketing material from apparel stores. Somehow I've ended up in a register and every day I find them waiting in my mailbox, no matter if I shop from them or not. Some of them are thick as magazines. The other day I got the Crewcuts catalog, that's J.Crew's children's line. I browsed through it and found this...

A Fjällräven Kånken! Now this brings back memories! It was released in 1978 and I remember having one but can't remember the color (blue? green? It wasn't pink, that's for sure - it was Sweden in the 70s!!). It was used for field trips - something I have a memory we did quiet often. In Sweden you could get one for SEK 399, but Crewcut wants $80 for it. Finally something that is cheaper in Sweden! ;-)

Anyway, a Fjällräven Kånken is a real classic - every Swede over 30 would know this backpack.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Long-haul flights - part of being an alien

When I flew back from Sweden, I had to go through Frankfurt. That means that you'll end up on a jumbo, either United's or Lufthansa's. Both are horrible. The are huge, old and outdated. I ended up on Lufthansa's flight and was squeezed in in the back cabin. The jumbos have not inflight entertainment, the only entertainment on the flight is on small screens in the ceiling. On the 11-hour flight, they showed 2 movies, both of which I had seen coming to Europe.

Luckily I had no one next to me so at least I could move around a bit and sleep and with my extra battery to my iPhone and bag of paperback books I picked up at PocketShop at Arlanda I  had my own entertainment. But 11 hours... that's a loooong time to be squeezed in.

This is what you'll stare at for 11 hours on the flight between Frankfurt and San Francisco. 

Why is it called "legroom"?