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Antiques! September 1, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in travel.
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A Paper Airplane Ticket! Who knew they still existed!!Check that out. That is a real honest-to-goodness paper ticket! That ticket (was) worth real money. I could have gone and cashed it in for, uh, cash! Who knew those things still existed! Not I. So, you might wonder, how did I end up in possession of not one of those, but three!?

That is easy. We flew in Italy. Ok, that isn’t fair. The real reason is we flew on Al Italia. The day after they released a new business plan. A business plan that called for the laying off of some workers in Al Italia Express — the small airline partner to the big Al Italia. Indeed folks: a strike! Had all gone well, we would have been flying for a bit over 2 hours from Trieste to Marseille. Instead it was 15 and a half hours of busses, sitting in airports, waiting, lines, etc., before we finally made it home at 2 in the morning.

The day was full of little annecdotes. We met Marco, a computer programming consultant that was trying to go home for the weekend. After lots of delays and transfers, his last flight from Milan was canceled. Since he was going to have to come back for his job the next day he demanded Al Italia fly him back to where he started and refund the complete cost of the ticket – basically erasing the whole nightmare (I never found out if he got it).

In Trieste, we were put on a bus to Venice in hopes that things would be better. The trip is about 120 km, but in the middle of it he hit a traffic jam that went on forever! It was stop and go the whole way. No one (at least the Italians) seemed to care much. Paula is convinced that the real cause was space aliens, because my proffered explanation was too ridiculous to be true: a very poorly designed toll booth.

Best Beer EverAnd after being put on a bus in Trieste they said “we can get you to Venice, and they can get you to Milan, but because of the strike there may not be a flight from Milan to Marseille). When we got to Venice the ticket agent said, “yes, I heard you had some problems in Trieste, but not here. You will be fine now.” As if the problems were only in Trieste.🙂

And Paula called this beer the best beer she had ever had! That is saying something for Paula.

Comments»

1. dorigo - September 2, 2007

Hi Gordon,

it’s Alitalia, all together… I hate them. I once flew to Pisa from Chicago, with stopover in Milan – when I arrived in Pisa, they told me my bag (not a hefty one!) was too heavy to be embarked in the ATR700, and it would come with the next flight. I was headed to Elba island for a conference, so I trusted them to bring it to me. It took four days, with me on the phone with private numbers of the Milan airport, begging for help. In the end, Alitalia did not refund the 100$ I had spent on emergency clothing, claiming I did not have a piece of paper they had allegedly attached to the lost bag.

Never flew with them since. 7 years now.

As for the jam, it is not a poorly designed toll booth, but the incredible clogging of the highway traversing Venice from eastern countries to Milan, France etc. It is called “corridor 5”, and there are plans to expand it – one thing being a bypass which would have prevented you from getting jammed there. It will be ready next year, but the solution is barely sufficient now, will be insufficient in a few years.

I did not know you were around! Next time, let me know (although I do know that when one travels with one’s family, nothing matters any more but going from A to B safely and expeditously).

Cheers,
T.

2. Messy Messy « Life as a Physicist - November 12, 2007

[…] Posted by gordonwatts in Marseille, Strike, travel. trackback Well, I’ve been caught in one strike. But that was in Italy. Tomorrow and Wednesday I’ll have my first real French Strike […]

3. Cyprus « Life as a Physicist - August 28, 2008

[…] conference of Paula’s is cursed, by the way. Last year we had a horrible experience, thanks to Al Italia. This year it was the same thing — we arrived 10 hours late; J-mo was finally in bed at 1am. […]


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