Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fuck. The. Roman. Airport.

So I felt that I might rant about some bad experiences I had flying to Poland recently. It describes what a massive monument to inneficiency the airport in Rome is. So 2 weeks ago when I set off to Poland I was supposed to fly on Swiss Air where I would change flights in Zurich due to a lack of direct flights from Boston to Warsaw. But, the flight was canceled so I got put onto an Alitalia flight that would go through Rome. BUT, I would need to get my boarding passes for my next flight in Rome, not in Boston. So the flight to Rome was fairly normal. Typical for a transatlantic flight. So I land in Rome, pass through security, and follow the signs that say "Transfers." The signs at some point stopped, probably because the airport makers assumed that like most people I would know which gate I'm going to. Sadly I didn't, but I saw something that sayid "Alitalia Help Desk" or something like that. So I stand in line for half an hour, after which I am told that they have no idea how I should get a bording pass for my next flight but some help desk in Terminal B would. So I get on some train thing to Terminal B, and find the help desk that I was directed to. However, they too do not know how I should get a boarding pass so they direct me to Terminal C, which I just came from. Apparently there's another help desk that should know what to do. So I head back on the quck train ride to Terminal C, find that help desk. They also don't know what to do, but I should head to another part of the terminal (at least I don't need to go to another terminal) where they will help me. So I head in the direction that they pointed me in, but I get lost. But I do see a general information desk, so I ask there. They say that I need to go outside, up a floor, and then to the place where you would normally check in if you were coming to the airport from the city. But I get pointed in the wrong direction and I end up wandering into another part of the terminal. BUT, I see a Swiss Air desk. Since these guys were originally supposed to fly me to Warsaw I thought they might help. They confirm what the most recent source tolde me, and give me good directions. So I get to the Alitalia desk where I'm supposed to be, but I'm told that due to the fact that I've had to walk all over the fucking airport my flight is gone. So I beg and plead that they get me on another flight. After 10 minutes, the Alitalia employee that I was talking with finally gives into my pleas, and puts me on a flight to Warsaw that would go through Paris first. But I only get my ticket. Not my boarding passes. This is when the greatest example of how inneficient this airport is appears. I get my ticket in Terminal C. I then have to be in Terminal A to get my boarding pass. Finally, I have to go to Terminal B to actually board my plane. That's THREE terminals just to get on a damn plane. So I finally get on the plane, but it just sits around and takes of an hour and a half later with no explanation. This is very bad because in Paris I'm going to only have 2 hours to get to my next flight to Warsaw. When I land in Paris I find out that I am in fact too late to get onto my next flight. However, my luck was actually good after this. I quickly go to an Air France desk, where they give me another flight, a hotel, food, and excellent directions to my hotel. What took 3 hours in Rome took 5 minutes in Paris. And the kind and merciful woman who provided all this said that she too had bad experiences with that airport. So I'm not a unique case. Later on when I finally get to Warsaw, it turns out my luggage didn't arrive. I report this to the airport so that they will know to look for my luggage. And they workers say that a lot of luggage seems to get delayed at that airport. Overall, I think there are some vital lessons to be learned from this.

1. Never ever fly Alitalia.
2. Never ever fly through Rome. If there are any complications you will be screwed. In multiple terminals.
3. Seriously, stay out of the Roman Airport.

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