It is an interesting airport because it lives half in Switzerland and half in France.
They joke that you need to show your passport as the plane rattles down the runway.
Certainly inside the terminal there is a French side and a Swiss side. You do not need to show your passport to cross. Big concern is that coffee is paid for in Euro in the French half but Francs across the boarder.
The airport has three airport designators. It is known as BSL for Basel but since it also serves Mulhouse in France and Freiburg it has other codes. MLH is the French code for Mulhouse and EAP is the code for EuroAirport. If you ever want to fly to Basel it is an idea to try all three codes you may find extra carriers that way.
It was quiet this morning as I was there with only a few flights due in or out so I wandered about the Swiss side and out onto the wonderful viewing platform. There was very little to view - until…
The tug driver who drove up to attach his machine to the wheel of the Swiss Air RJ100. Having lined up the tug perfectly and made his walk around of the plane, he climbed into his cabin, leaned his head back, hands behind his head, and for all the world, went to sleep.
And the baggage handler who was trying to be Nikki Lauda (yes Austrian not Swiss - Swiss F1 drivers are not so well known - at least Nikki Lauda owned an airline) in a baggage cart. His baggage truck pulled 3 carts as he scooted across the tarmac racing to his EasyJet A319. As he spun around a bend near the sleeping tug driver a good 20 or 30 bags decided to leave the trailer in spectacular fashion.
He did the right thing.
He stopped and reloaded the cart.
A mate hurried over in another truck and together they soon had all the bags back on their way to Alicante. This time pulled by two trucks. All exciting stuff but I was after more and then…
Over on the French side
I noticed a familiar tail structure.
The only plane like it anywhere in the world.
I could see the only, still flying, Lockheed Constellation in the world, that I had not yet seen.
I think there are only 2. This one in French Basel and our own Australian Connie that I wrote about a few years back.
Boredom begone I was on a mission. How many different views could I get of this Connie.
Eastern Airlines pilots were told never to call a Constellation a connie. It was seen as too girlie.
This one is owned by the Breitling watch company and carries its logos. It is in France. I stepped outside the terminal to wander through the carpark to the other side to collect a view of the plane. France was fenced off. You certainly are discouraged from boarder crossing in the carpark. I went back inside and walked to the glass door into France. It was open. Travellers made the border crossing like it was no big deal.
It was no big deal.
There was a customs booth but nobody nearby so I followed the trickle of passengers into France and out into the French car park. I was just across the fence from my Swiss viewing point but now in France and off to find my plane.
It is parked close to the airport fence. I managed to get to within 10 meters of it and took a hundred photos, few of which I will ever share with anyone. How many times can you look at pic of a plane? Unless you are a nut like me.
So there it is, Basel Mulhouse EuroAirport, home to EasyJet and the Breitling Super Constellation. The only other flying example of the queen of the skies is the one I saw in Broken Hill 2 years ago and was the first story I wrote in this travel blog.