It is my first trip to Lausanne after Switzerland became a part of the Schengan state.
Until now all the flights from Brussels to Geneva left from gates B, the gates where you need to pass through passport control to leave and enter the country.After the passport control you are in the area with 5 shops – 2 cafés, 1 perfume shop, 1 leather and clothes shop and 2 chocolates shops with one of them having alcohol and gourmet items as well… You then cross the security area and you are amongst those scant people who travel to international and intercontinental destinations to which you require Visas. This includes all the Jet airways flights and gives me the biggest exposure to a large number of Indians – all those who are flying from India to US and back. I love this terminal. The gates are a short walk from the checkin counters and the total walk is less than 500m normally.It is very quiet and calm.
However, this time the gate was announced to be in the A Zone. I groaned as I started walking. I crossed the boarding pass check, and started walking. I walked down 3 sets of 21 stairs each, ok-they are escalators and yet when you have a few schaffs of paper a handbag and a 12 kg heavy suitcase it is not thrilling. I reached the level of the security check and there was a 500m walk to the security check. You then land in a long queue of all Friday evening travellers going to Schengan countries. Each one, including me beeps heavily as the they cross the machine and are checked.After crossing this, you
climb to another level where there are about 20 shops of high fashion names in chocolates, clothes, leather, bags, food – name it and you have it.Each one has long queues at the counters and the numerous restaurants are all crowded. I climb another 3 levels to reach the floor of the gates and start walking towards the gates. It is now 20 minutes and I finally begin to spot the gate far away. At each gate there are multiple people waiting. Each group looks different. The group to Copenhagen has a lot of blonde men and tall blonde women. The group to Milan has many handsome men and the group to Athens has men with angular faces, intense eyes and bushy eyebrows. There are no Indians around.
I reach my gate just as the boarding starts 45 mins after I left the check in counter. I send an SMS to a friend I was supposed to meet in the lounge where he normally waits for his flight every Friday evening on his way back home in France after a full week of work. “It would have been faster to walk to Lausanne” – I say and apologize for not being able to meet him.