After such a long time, maybe it is a bit nonsense, right?
The meeting had gone quite well, better than expected. It was already a bit late, and those who had flown from out of Barnanova were already checking their phones and checking in their flights. I was one of those, who tried to do this while giving farewell to the barnanovese business partners.
Doing business in Barnanova, and especially with barnanovese officials, is quite an experience. All business meeting etiquettes tend to highlight the same points in regards to Barnanova, and they tend not to be wrong. Handshakes between men are almost comparable to getting your hand stuck with the car door: a painful experience. Barnanovese are used to hardcore handshakes, which can cause them some trouble when dealing with Asian partners. Businesswomen are spared this pain, and most handshakes are milder.
We wrapped out our meeting and left the very official-looking building in the historic quarter, and made my way to the Metro entrance. A huge national flag flew in the middle of the circle. Time to head to the airport. Just a couple of stations down to the city's central station, which still keeps its original name, North Station.
The underground interchange at North Station was complex and rather confusing, even for locals. Barnanova has pushed since several years the so-called Plan BNN, a hugely ambitious plan to improve the air links of the nation with the world. And the first step, was improving the signage downtown, in order to effortlessly guide the business traveler back to the airport. The yellow BNNExpress train can be invariably found at platform 14. It is painted in yellow colors and of course, sponsored by barnanovair. I was flying with these airlines today.
The BNNExpress train breezes through the modern CBD, only stopping at the "Centre de Negocis" station before the airport. A dozen passengers hop in the train, most of them businesspeople and some, having already removed their ties and jackets off. The train starts again and rapidly accelerates running through the city. We arrive just 20 minutes later to the Barnanova-Mediterranean International Airport.
The Plan BNN revamped in 10 years this airport from a mid-range international airport to an air hub, competing directly with the large European airports. The success was so large that the airport is already struggling to cope with the increased demand barnanovair brought to the airport. The lack of taxiways forces air traffic control to plan ahead all flight movements to the second, making the airport work like a huge clockwork. Another expansion is already on the planning phase.
The advertisements at the station are statements of barnanovair's vision of the air industry.
The departures/arrivals screens at the station lobby informed me that my flight was departing from the north terminal. There was still no gate information though. Pushed my carry-on luggage down to the north terminal departures lobby and headed to one of the automatic check-in machines. Only a couple minutes later I received my boarding pass and an SMS with a link where I could download my mobile-friendly pass as well.
The new barnanovair boarding pass design looks gorgeous in these vibrant colors! The airline has gone the extra mile taking care of these kind of details, and the high quality printing on the automatic check-in counters is a good proof of that. The mobile pass looks more basic, as per compatibility.
The security check was painful as always, a bad experience one has to go through in any airport in the world. Once cleared, I found myself breezing through the duty-free shop, looking for gate N21. The activity was intense in both in the terminal building and outside. I stopped by for a second to see an Airbus 330-300 aircraft, the backbone of barnanovair's medium-range fleet, being loaded for its departure to London-Gatwick. This particular airliner is christened as Alessandro Volta. All planes in the fleet are christened after famous inventors and scientists.
Not too far from there, the Queen of the Skies reclaimed my attention while resting on gate N12. She had just been polished and shone under the sun, looking majestic. barnanovair placed an order for 15 Boeing 747-8I in 2011, and the first orders have been flowing in since 2015. The 747 covers these intercontinental high-demand routes between Barnanova and other world capitals, and helped the airline to reach all five continents, placing it among the big names in the airline industry. This particular plane was christened after Marie Sklodowska Curie; all 747s are christened with women scientist names. Her departure to Tokyo-Haneda was expected in half an hour.
Near the gate, some more advertisements. Some of them help clear out what is the mission of the airline for the years to come:
I relaxed on my seat until boarding time. The Barcelona route is the busiest for this airport. barnanovair offers up to 28 flights between both cities per day, even with its own name, the Viceroy Shuttle. The route is always operated with Airbus 320 aircraft, with 28 business class seats. I wasn't traveling business today, small companies can't afford that anymore.
The boarding was fast. In contrast with low-cost airlines, barnanovair makes customers board in four batches in this case: rows from 1-7 (business), board first. Rows 25-32 board after that, later rows 13-24 and finally rows 8-12. People tend to find this confusing at the beginning, but speeds up the boarding procedure, essential to make the Viceroy Shuttle work properly.
Once on my 21C seat, I sat back on the confortable seat and leafed the in-flight magazine, Panorama. Found myself discovering the route map, a staple in any in-flight magazine. barnanovair's had drammatically expanded in recent years. Barcelona and Rome are marked in blue, meaning shuttle destinations with many routes per day. The yellow destinations are seasonal, most of them only served during the summer months (Dubrovnik, Santorini, Larnaca...), some during the winter months (Lulea, Trondheim...).
It is however the world map the one that had gone through the most changes recently:
With the new B747-8I fleet, destinations such as Denpasar (Bali), Buenos Aires, Cape Town and Chengdu could be introduced this year. Barnanova-Mediterranean airport is increasingly becoming an intercontinental hub, efficiently connecting long-haul destinations with European regional destinations.
The read distracted me from the emergency procedures demonstrations, and felt already the pushback. In no time we would be departing already.