As I boarded the flight to Oslo, I notice the front section – normally business – was “economy plus.” It wasn’t clear what benefits accrued for the likely additional fare, but the middle seats were labeled “Reserved For Comfort.” Turns out my aisle seat 2 rows behind economy extra had no passengers other than myself, which I guess is sort of an economy minus.
There was a minor controversy in the seats across from mine as a french woman claimed that one of the two occupied seats (there were only two) was hers. The elderly couple discussed in some language, but not fast enough for the woman, who purposefully strode forward to find some authority to resolve the issue. Turns out that someone had been assigned to a missing seat: ABC it said above, but since the seats were not themselves marked, how would one know which was which? It was suggested that the woman just find another seat, which she did.
Meal service, such as it was, was not included. Somehow 40 NOK (around US $7) seems a bit expensive for what I ate (which I think was a ham sandwich with cheese and a condiment which looked like relish, but tasted somewhat like mustard. I was initially unable to pay: the the flight attendant was unable to determine the amount in US $ (even though they were accepted), and was unable to charge my credit card, since her trolley didn’t have the proper device. But she returned with the device, then pondered if I’d signed my card – the signature has been largely scraped off – but relented when I showed her my driver’s license.
The flight was otherwise uneventful.
Landing was quick and easy: there seem not to be many people flying into Oslo. Unfortunately, since I was continuing on a domestic flight, I had to get my luggage and pass through customs. I saw no one in, near, or around the customs office, though there was mirrored glass, presumably so we couldn’t see the officers sleeping.
My first in-person contact with a Norwegian on the ground was not overly positive. The fellow was able to tell me I needed to go upstairs to check in, but the effort to smile was not taken.
Upstairs I was able to find the “bag drop” with only a little help; there were no convenient signs other than tiny displays on some monitors. As I was walking to security, I stopped by two women in animated discourse, and asked if I could ask a couple of questions. Yes, they both said, smiling. Ah, a smile. Things were looking better.
On the question of local currency, I was directed towards the cash machines under a banner of “Foreign Exchange,” and on the question of wifi in the airport, they were unsure, but though it might be available around some of the bars. I was about to ask a third question, but was cut off by the older woman: “you said two!” she said, with a chuckle.
I replied that if she knew me, 2 meant at least 20. “Are you leaving soon?” I asked, “I have some more questions.” “Yes,” she said, “I’m going home soon, but ask.”
“I’m going to Tromsø…” I began, but she cut me off. “Sorry to hear that. I’m from near there. Can you change your plans?” I explained that since I’d just used the baggage drop, if I wanted to be with my luggage, I would have to go to Tromsø. But the real question was just how to pronounce it. Tromsø. they said. Tromsø. I said. Tromsø. they said two or three more times. Tromsø. I said, not quite getting it right.
One of them was rolling her R’s, so I tried that. “Noooooo,” said the older one, “if you say it like that, you sound like her,” pointing to the other one, “… like you’re from the south!” I tried again, several times more, perhaps a bit too forcefully. They chuckled. “No… that sounds Russian, and you don’t want to sound like that.” Well, after a few more times, I was closer, we all agreed, and parted company.
Security required my 15ml of eyedrops be bagged, but allowed my jacket and shoes to remain on. My computrekker required some extra effort, to ensure there was no chemical residue – they were apparently concerned about the flashes and some wires.
Once past security, it was time to find a plug. Never easy, as airports seem hostile to travelers with laptops. The exterior walls were all glass, and the concrete pillars were solid. Sad, but true. Then I saw some lit displays, and reckoned that lights required power, and power required outlets. Conveniently, there were three displays, and four outlets. Score!
So here I sit, waiting for another hour to go to Tromsø. fun.