Thursday, June 02, 2011

Getting There is Half the Battle
Ok, let's get this going. The original travel plan was slightly stupid, but not nearly as ridiculous as what actually ended up happening. Since I was going to be going to Italy with my parents, they wanted me to fly to South Bend the day before to meet up with them so that we could all leave out of Chicago together, and we wouldn't have to worry about flight delays screwing with us meeting up...or so we thought.

My flight was to leave Thursday from Greensboro at around 11:20 am, connect through O'Hare and get to South Bend at around 4:30pm. I tried to check in at around 8am, but discovered that my flight had been cancelled, and I was rescheduled on a flight for Friday morning. (I received a voicemail from United about 45 minutes later informing me that my flight was cancelled. Little late?) The Friday morning flight would not work since it would mean that I would then miss my Delta flight to Rome. I called United, and they rescheduled me on a flight that evening. Unfortunately it wouldn't get into South Bend until around midnight, but oh well...what were my options?

I call my parents to inform them of the change. My dad apparently finds it unacceptable because about an hour later (9am), his admin tells me that I'm on a flight at 10:15am...keep in mind that the Greensboro airport is about a half hour away. I immediately call Kathleen to come pick me up, we rush to GSO and I make my flight. Whew. Did I mention that not only do I now have to connect through O'Hare, but before that through Reagan in DC AND switch airlines? By some magical power, me and my luggage make it to South Bend. (SN: as I'm sitting on the plane waiting to take off from GSO, having just rushed to make it, all I can think is, holy crap, the DC metro area has the most incidence of near midair collisions. I just rushed to make it on a plane so that I can die in a fireball in the sky...though probably not the worst way to go...sometimes, I know too much about airlines.)

Get to South Bend. Have burgers at Roc's that I had been waiting for since September when we went and it was closed. We went back in January, but it was closed then too. Burgers were yummy. The next day we got boxed lunches at the Honey Baked Ham company (formerly known as--or still currently known as if you are my parents--Heavenly Ham.) We drive to O'Hare at around lunchtime and catch a Delta flight operated by Alitalia to Rome...possibly the worst service on an airline I have ever received. It was about a 7 hour flight (give or take). The airplane itself was somewhat broken down and old looking, but whatever no big deal. About an hour after take off, we're served roast beef and pasta for dinner...not bad, not great. That would be the last time we see the flight crew until they serve breakfast five hours later. The screens showing movies are all broken and wavy, not that it would matter since the sound on our seats doesn't work. We ring the flight attendants to see if there's something they can do about the sound, but no one answers the bell. Other people ring about things, and my mom rings later for a glass of water (since there was no other drink service or anything) still no one. We don't even see a flight attendant pass by that we can ask. Later we discover that there are some pretzels and water out in the galley area (is that what it's even called on a plane? I know a galley is on a ship, but isn't it on a plane too?) that people seem to be helping themselves to. These, of course, run out about an hour later...duh. The crew reappears about an hour before we land and serve breakfast (a warm roll, yogurt, and orange(?) juice)
Yes, it's not really orange. Tasted ok, not really like orange juice though. We land in Rome and are surprised when we are just shuffled through the passport station without having anything being checked or stamped or anything. Apparently, Italy doesn't really care who's entering the country. I'm kinda pissed because I want my Rome stamp, damn it!

Ok, enough for up ROME!!!

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