Three Hour Cruise, Three Hour Cruise
Not quite a three-hour cruise, but this flight delay reminds me of Gilligan’s Island.
Almost three hours on the tarmac due to a medical emergency. What a way to begin a trip to Europe! As we were settling in on our American Airlines flight to London from Miami, we pushed backed from the gate, then nothing happened. We just sat in this ice locker of a 777, once a top notch plane. I should of kept a sweatshirt with me, but I live in Phoenix and don’t think about being cold.
The plane moved back to the gate a few minutes later and of course, no announcements. People were moving about getting their stuff, going to the restroom. The flight attendants sat in the back.
Finally, the pilot announces a medical emergency. An ambulance then comes on the tarmac followed by the luggage crew to find this guy or gal’s stuff. I have no clue how they got the passenger from the plane to the ground, skipping the gate. Right before the three-hour mark, a flight attendant announced our right to deplane, however, were we set to back off the gate and get airborne as soon as the pilot re-files his paperwork. In the meantime, everyone’s phone if out of airplane mode texting and getting updates for American itself, not the staff on the plane. American Airlines updates me more that the pilot. Emails keep dinging my phone. Tells me we are rebooked on a different connecting flight to Rome.
Not much happiness aboard this flight, as soon as the seatbelt sign comes off, meals served followed by drink cart. I had to ask for a Jack Daniels. No more little bottles of featured California wines on the New American. Of course, plastic has been substituted for stainless steel flatware for quite a while now. Drinks are free on international flights, but they try to keep it a secret. The new American has downgraded to a cold breakfast on international flights too. I asked a flight attendant how this messes with their schedule. “Three hours less sleep/free time before the turn around was the answer.”
So we get to London and the rebooking agent has a ticket for our new flight. British Air had verything set, unlike our Air Pacific “you’re on your own” adventure in 2012. British Air had a table to the left all set up for the many of us who missed connections.
You guessed it, problems. We sit on the next plane for two hours. They decide to put us on another plane, but it is an A321, not a Boeing 757. So they have new boarding passes with roughly the same seats unless you had a high letter such as H, I, J. The pilot then said they are taking us under the airport to avoid going through security again. Se we go from one end of the terminal to the other under the airport. It looked like a scene from a Bruce Willis Die Hard movie.
Once aboard, our new pilot was so apologetic. He tells us we are not leaving until catering gets some food on the plane. All they had to feed us was leftover sandwich and cake packs. Okay for effort on British Airways. Immigration and customs took all of three minutes once in Rome. Grenada should take lessons from the Italians.
Naturally, we arrive in Rome after dark which is one of my no-nos for a new city during international travel. We catch the last transfer bus of the evening to Termini Station at 11:00 pm. The homeless had Termini station all staked out for the night sleeping all around the building. Must have something to do with all that Halal Italian food around the station. So much for the Italian welfare state. A little scary. Then the fake taxi drivers looking for suckers. Our hotel was just a block from the station. It took about a minute to figure out we were on the side of the train station where we wanted to be. All is well in a comfortable room.
Next thing is save all boarding passes to turn over to for friends at Legal Shield. If you cause 220 people to miss a connection, how much do you owe them?