Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Series of Misadventures on the Way Home

Well I have been firmly back in the U.S. for two weeks now, but it was quite an adventure getting back...

Four days before I was scheduled to leave Italy I called Orbitz to make a change to my flight. My original itinerary was to leave from Naples, have a layover in Milan, another layover in London and then arrive in the states.  However I decided that I was much closer to Milan and it would make much more sense to leave from there.  I called Orbitz expecting them to say "you can't change it" or "it will cost $300 to change it" what I got was...

O: "Your flight from Naples has been cancelled... the next flight leaving from Naples is at 5pm"

Me: "Well I don't want the flight from Naples anyway can I just cancel it since it will make me miss all my other flights?"

O: "No, that would cancel all your other flights"

Me: "But I will miss all the other flights if I have to take the later flight from Naples.  Can I just not show up to the Naples flight?"

O: "No that will cancel all your other flights"

Me: Ok so what are my options?

O: Proceeds to tell me about 3 different options that all contradict each other.

(2 hrs later, most of which is hold time, they without warning transfer me to American Airlines who has a wait time of an hour)

So I get Joe to call them...

J: Explaining the situation.

O: She isn't scheduled on the later flight from Naples (aka I don't have a spot on the later plane).  

J proceeds to spend 3 hours on the phone with Orbitz while they try to call the international airlines to fix it but are unable to do so because it is the weekend; in the end there was no fix.

So the next day (2 days before I'm supposed to leave) my host mom spends another 2hrs on the phone with Orbitz...

HM: My friend has a flight out of Italy on Monday and she has been told her flight from Naples is cancelled and she doesn't have a spot on a later flight from there.  She wasn't told about this previously and we have spent 5 hours so far trying to fix it, what can you do?

O: We can't cancel the flight from Naples, you have to call the airline the flight is with and they can cancel it (which we had tried multiple times). We can't give you a direct line to anyone here so that you don't have to wait another 30 minutes on hold in case that doesn't work. 

Finally my host mom is able to connect with someone at the airline the Naples flight is with, and they are able to cancel just the Naples flight.

Visiting a friend in Montefegatesi

So Monday morning I head out at 6am (Italian time) to drive an hour to Lucca to catch a 4 hour train ride to Milan where I then catch a 30 minute shuttle ride to the airport.  Luckily things at the airport in Milan go smoothly and I arrive at the gate with plenty of time to spare.  However, unfortunately the trip from Milan to London takes about 40 minutes longer than anticipated and I end up with about 25 minutes to make my connecting flight to Washington, D.C.  

I dash across the airport to security... where I am held up for another 15 minutes while they check my bags (my fault, in my rush I forgot to take my kindle out of my bag).  Security can sense that at this point I am on the verge of tears so they take pity on me and help me repack my bag after inspecting it.  The second the last zipper is in place, I begin a full on run to the gate meanwhile trying to re-zip the backpack that is at this point exploding and attempting to disperse my belongings around the airport.  I sprint the last few meters and arrive breathless but triumphant at the gates which are preparing to close.  As I'm one of the last people on the plane, I have to quickly stow my backpack in the nearest overhead without time to grab my book.  "It's ok," I think, "I'll watch movies during the flight".  Alas, I seem to be the only person on the plane with a malfunctioning movie player... 8 hours later I have a new friend in my seatmate whom I discover is from California, is currently planning her wedding, recently visited Cabos, and spent her trip to Europe in Paris and Rome.

At long last at 10pm (2am Italian time) I am back on U.S. soil where after making it through security and customs I am greeted with ginormous hugs by Joe who comes bearing chicken wings (something I craved while in Italy).
Presents for the Family

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