If you build it, they will come…

…But then be too confused to go anywhere.

In the beginning there were two standard Belgian ticket machines at Brussels airport train station. They didn’t take cash. And they didn’t take credit cards. But if you did have a Belgian bank card, well, actually even then the machine’s operating system was so slow as you tapped in where you wanted to go [for most people needlessly – the majority of travellers would want a one-way ticket to Brussels centre] it would take a few minutes for one transaction. Also, in case you might have missed it, there were only two machines.

So, you know, with 40,000+ people using the airport daily it’s not as if there are ever any ridiculous queues of travellers all wishing to buy the same €5.20 ticket at the manned ticket desk.

For years I wondered why another machine wasn’t installed that could simply and quickly sell a single train ticket to Brussels city centre. Finally, the waiting is over. Brussels airport train station’s additional new ticket machine:

No credit cards still, but it takes money. Actual money! Oh, what’s that you ask? Why does it have 25 buttons to sell a one-way ticket to the city centre? Christ knows why, that’s why.

The top row of 5 are for second-class tickets. Five because each button says the word “one-way” in a different language.

The next row of 5 are for first-class tickets, with another language learning opportunity for “one-way”. Actually, no, just kidding! The button in the middle of the row is for two first-class tickets. Obviously.

The third row is for passengers already in possession of a ticket to Brussels, but who haven’t paid the airport-line supplement which is included in the price of the ticket when you buy it. Don’t ask. No, I said don’t ask. Stop asking.

And on to the fourth row, where we have our pick of any of five buttons to buy not one, but two second-class tickets simultaneously. In one transaction. How about that.

Followed by a final 5 chances (in addition to the one renegade button above!) to buy two first-class tickets simultaneously, in the language of your choice.

What’s that you say, you don’t know what to do next because the LCD screen telling you what to do only displays in Flemish?

Welcome to Belgium.

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2 Responses to If you build it, they will come…

  1. Philip Inglesant says:

    So true. And if you want to go from Brussel Zuid to the airport, the two machines don’t take cash or cards. Oh, and it’s not the Airport, nor the Luchthafen, nor the Aeroport – it’s Brussels Airport, so don’t get it wrong (but remember, Brussels Midi isn’t in Brussels, it’s in Saint Gilles, so don’t expect to find it in Brussels. The airport is in Brussels, even though it’s in Zaventem. So don’t get this wrong or you will never find your ticket).

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