Once again MD and I fell victim to an airline delay. We were scheduled to leave London at 4:45 PM on Alitalia. We got there in plenty of time, went through all the check in hassle that I described earlier. We got to the Alitalia lounge, got the call that the plane was ready to board, and headed to the gate.
As we reached the gate, there came a torrential downpour complete with lightning, thunder, howling wind, the works. After the weather settled down a little – not completely, but a little – we boarded the plane, a huge Airbus. MD and I had were in the first row, so we got in and got our stuff stowed and our reading material out.
The plane finally loaded the zillion and one people on the flight, then closed the doors, pulled away from the gate and headed to the tarmac.
Once out there, we waited forever, first for the weather to settle down, then for all the planes that had backed up because of the weather to land, and the others in the queue ahead of us to take off.
We ended up leaving about an hour and a half late.
The pilot made up some of the time, but not all. We got into Rome at 9:00 PM instead of the scheduled 8 PM. The plane taxied to the gate, which wasn’t really a gate, but an unloading area. There was supposed to be a bus there to cart everyone to the gate. MD and I got up and got our stuff and stood in line waiting to get off the plane. The woman who worked for the ground transportation end of the whole operation I assume) came aboard the plane. As she did, the passengers began to scream at her. And I mean scream. Not speak loudly and authoritatively, but to scream. Men and women alike, but mainly the men.
I turned around to find an angry mob behind me in the line. They had pushed their way to the front and were right behind MD and me shouting at this poor woman. They all had connections they were going to miss in Rome thanks to the delay. God knows, I understood their frustration, but it beat anything I had ever seen.
During my own miserable experience of a couple of days earlier, I probably let out a few sighs of disgust with the run around I was getting. These people were shrieking, swearing, stabbing their fists and their fingers. It was quite the show. It made my mild, mild behavior seem positively civilized.
And, unlike in our case, when the delay was of a sort of ambiguous cause, these people clearly new the cause. We were all sitting in the middle of a frigging thunderstorm. I certainly didn’t want to take off until it passed.
It went on continuously from the time the door opened until they got a bus there. Once in the bus, many of these people continued to scream while the bus was loading. I couldn’t really understand them, but my sense was that they wanted the bus to go ahead and take them to the terminal before it was even filled with all the passengers it could take.
Anyway, we’re here in the hotel in Rome, safe and sound after just another typical travel day with the Eades.
Italians and airline delays