Rome to Newark Liberty
I was originally planning to travel to Rome airport by taking a taxi to Termini (Rome train station) and then take the express train to the airport. Since I really didn't do a lot of shopping I decided to space myself the grief and take the hotels cars service instead. The cost was €50. In comparison the cost of the taxi and airport train would have been €20+€12. I figured the extra €18 would save me a lot od sweat with my 60lb bag.
I was up this morning at 6 and out the door at 7.30am. It couldn't hurt to get there a little early. It's a good thing I did. The scene at Rome Fumicano Airport was pretty hectic this Sunday. First, if you are departing to an of the USA cities you must wait in a special line to enter the departure zone for American destinations. The line stretched through the airport but it moved pretty quick. Once I got to the front of the line I held out my passport and they didn't even look at it and waved me through. There's a secure feeling.
After gaining entry to the special area, I waited on the business class liine at the Alitalia check-in desk. There were five people on line at business and one agent, and about five in line on the Economy line with about five agents. Needless to say they cleared the economy line twice over with even clearing one person from business. Why do I always get in the line with people who have issues? They should have three lines, business class, economy class and "people with issues class". After the long wait I headed for security and passport control. The lines were also long here but they moved as fast as any other airport security line. I will say I found it odd the people can go through with shoes on and some even had bottles of water. Have they been reading the news?
After security I poked around the shopping area but nothing caught my eye. I had a few Euros to spend so I didn't take them home. Once you leave the shopping concourse to go to the gate, you take a shuttle to the departure area.
The departure gate area is a bit more modern and there are yet more shops here. This is where you will find the good duty free shop with some good buys on alcohol, cosmetics and perfumes. There is also food and some last minute extravagances such as a Prada shop.
I also spent a little time in the Alitalia lounge which was nothing special and only worth it to rob few bottles of water to take on the plane.
Todays flight left about 40 minutes late and promises to be 9 hours of absolute boredom.
Before departure we are served a glass of Spumante and once we are airborne we are offered a cocktail and nuts. The flight attendants also hand out a nice Bulgari travel bag filled with some travel amenities, Bulgari moisturizers and fragrance samples. That's a bit nicer then what Air France gave on the trip to Europe. I threw that one in the trash.
For our lunch today we are first served some pasta and a crepe with ricotta and mozzerella. The tomato sauce actually tasted pretty good. Along with the pasta we are served a belated glass wine that I continually demanded they keep full. Flight attendants have a keen way of disappearing when you want refills on wine or water.
After the pasta we have a choice of a meat or fish dish. I can stomach eating sturgeon on a plane so I selected the meat. Actually I couldn't stomach that either, it was terrible. At least I kept my wineglass full!
Once we finished eating our shoe leather they served a plate of cheese which had some parmagiano and some mystery cheese. I complimented this with some more wine.
Do you see a trend here?
To finish our meal we are served some small Italian pastries and coffee. I just chose to have more wine along with my pastry.
The whole meal service was pretty rushed and the flight attendants gave out a fair share of attitude. As they served they also continued to chat with each other instead of paying attention to the passengers. I always got "the look" when I asked for another glass of wine. I have to say that the Barbera wine they were serving was pretty good.
Once the meal was complete the flight attendants retired to the galley, had lunch and continued their gossiping.
Todays flight is on an Boeing 767. It's not a super jumbo but it's still a widebody jet. The business class cabin seats are comfortable but they don't come with any of the frills of other airlines comparable service. No seat massage, video games or even a little pocket where you can put your stuff. There is also no personal video. Just a big old fashioned screen in the front of the cabin.
We are almost 8 hours into the flight right now and I want off!
I wonder if I am having hot flashes. Whenever I am on a long haul flight I feel like there cabin is too hot and there is a lack of air. As I look around the cabin I see that everyone is in some sort of stage of sleep and bundled with blankets and heavy clothes. I want to sit here in my tee shirt I am so warm. I am a litle claustophobic and sometime get antsy on these flight. Even though I am in a more comfortable biz class seat, I still feel tortured.
Call me a nut but I really hate when everyone closes down the window shades during the flight. I would rather sit here and enjoy the bright daylight. A few minutes ago I opened the shade and took a peek outside. We have already crossed the ocean and must be over Canada. As I looked from the window I saw a great sight, there was a United Airlines 777 flying right next to us. He seemed to be keeping the same speed but at a slightly lower altitude. After watching this for a little while he came closer and passed right under us. The Friendly Skies...
For our pre-arrival snack we are having a small salad, chunks of Parmagiano cheese and some brischetta. Along with this we also get beverages and a nice piece of Italian chocolate with hazelnut filling.
OK, we are all packed in and ready for landing. It was a long flight but not too awful. Alitalia was decent but not my favorite. I think they could use a bit of guest service training and some modernization of their product. Next stop, Newark, Paris of the east!