Finland/Sweden 3/19/2023

Sunday 3/19/2023 - Departure

We got up at 6:30 a.m. and went down to breakfast at 7:30. We had another delicious buffet breakfast of scrambled eggs, Swedish meatballs with lingonberries, cottage cheese, cinnamon cardamom buns, pastries, cheese, granola with fresh fruit, orange juice, coffee, and made-to-order waffles with jam and whipped cream.

Gosia had arranged for our airport transfers based on the time of our flights. Our transfer was at 9:50 a.m. So we went back up to the room after breakfast and finished packing our last-minute items.

At 9:28, I called for someone to come to the room to collect our bags. Two minutes later, at exactly 9:30, the phone rang and it was the doorman calling to see if we needed someone to get the bags. We were on the same wavelength. Wow, this hotel was on the ball! They collected our luggage and we met Gosia in the lobby. The car showed up 10 minutes early at 9:40.

We got to the airport and tried to check in via a kiosk. It didn't work, which made us a little nervous, so we found a counter with a human who was able to check us in. Our flight was supposed to depart at 12:20 p.m., but a bird strike and complications from a new IT system meant that the flight was delayed. We only had a 75 minute layover in Munich, so this was concerning.

As we waited at the increasingly crowded and claustrophobic gate, Kezia and Brian showed up. They were on the same flight as us. Our car had been early, but theirs had been late. Luckily, they still made it on time.

We arrived in Munich at 2:30, and our flight to Boston was at 3:30. The wheelchair attendant took Craig up the jet bridge, but then left us while he helped another passenger to disembark. We knew that we still had to go through immigration before boarding. The minutes ticked away, and the plane emptied out. We tried to remain patient and optimistic, but deep down we were sure that we would miss our flight. That is one problem with using a wheelchair in airports; you lose some autonomy and are at the mercy of the system. There often aren't enough wheelchair attendants for everyone who needs one, so you wind up waiting.

Somehow, we made it to the gate while the flight was still boarding. However, there was a huge line at immigration. Luckily the wheelchair got us priority access, and we were able to get through quickly.

We boarded at 3:20 for a 3:30 p.m. departure. That would never be allowed in the US, where they close the doors 15 minutes prior to takeoff.

We had the two seats next to an unusual bulkhead. This was an A340-600 aircraft, and we learned that this bulkhead was actually a staircase leading downstairs, where there were several restrooms. It was the first time that we had seen this set-up on a plane, and it was actually quite nice. We were very close to the stairs for easy access.

We landed in Boston shortly before 7:15 p.m. We went through immigration and picked up our bags. We took a taxi back to the house, arriving around 8:30 p.m.

Breakfast buffet at the Grand Hotel

Breakfast buffet at the Grand Hotel

Sigtuna, where Stockholm Airport is located

Sigtuna, where Stockholm Airport is located

See all photos from March 19

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