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Hijinks on the jinxed airline

What the heck is wrong with this once proud airline?

Recently, Estonian Air delayed its three o’clock flight to Tallinn from Copenhagen. Nothing appeared on the departures monitor at the Copenhagen airport, and this journalist was given a boarding card for 17.20 without explanation, and then the flight was pushed back another half hour. “Oh, they did that the day before yesterday, too,” a friendly SAS agent told me in Copenhagen when I asked. “They say they’re not canceling your three o’clock flight, just moving it. That’s what they say, anyway.” A call to Estonian Air in Tallinn got the editor a referral to Novia in Copenhagen’s Terminal 2. “But we don’t handle Estonian Air,” said a baffled Novia representative. “You want SAS.”

A few Estonians congregated in the terminal and shared horror stories about their national airline. “Last time they delayed my flight seven hours, but we got vouchers,” said one. “This is why I fly business class,” said another, leaving the group to go eat meatballs in the SAS lounge. “Because something like this always happens with Estonian Air.”

Once aboard the flight, at least five passengers were thoroughly intoxicated. Two Estonians were more or less quietly drunk, but three Russian-speakers were not. One, wearing a Santa Claus hat with braided locks, insisted on making friends with everyone around him. A diplomatic steward did yeoman’s work to quiet the young Santa, finally plying him with the liquor Santa had begged for all along.

Estonian Air President Børge Thornbech recently wrote in In Time about Estonian Air “representing the best of Estonia in our destination countries.” Sounds good in principle, Mr. Thornbech. But in practice, it lately feels more like Aeroflot.