Italy Trip, June 12 & 13

*So, I kept a journal for every day of the vacation and have decided to blog each day’s entry, rather than try and do a cumulative blog post about all the magnificent things we saw and did there.*

June 12

Trying to leave the country to no avail. We had really brilliant seats for all the flights, too, so I was pretty happy, but as we were sitting at the gate, word came down that there were mechanical troubles on the plane and they would take a while to fix. Plus, they were flying the mechanics down from Detroit (!). Fortunately for me, I got in line as soon as I saw the take-off time had been pushed back, because I knew any type of delay meant that we would miss our connection in Minneapolis. It was going to be tight even if we made it on time. Everyone else got in line once the announcement about mechanical trouble was made. I must have stood at the ticket counter for 45 minutes as the agent called everyone under the moon about my flight. The only option was to reschedule for the next day, which we did. The bad news is that I have a middle seat on the flight to Venice (ugh!). The good news is that we fly straight to Venice with no stopover in Amsterdam (yay!).
People observations: While waiting in line at the self check-in counter (when we first arrived), a man dressed in shorts and a hat tottered up to an agent and asked a question. He was then shown to a check-in kiosk ahead of everyone else. I chalked it up to him having a different kind of situation that required a specific kiosk. Whatever. Then while standing in line at the kiosk to reschedule my canceled flight, who should totter up to the front of the line but this same dude in shorts and a hat. He just stood there, acting oblivious to the fact that 20 people were in line next to him. I had decided I wouldn’t say anything at that moment, but if he tried to walk in front of me when it was my turn to approach the counter, I would point out that it was my turn, and tackle him if necessary. However, I didn’t need to, because a woman three people back, who was charismatic, funny, controlling and loud, told the man, “Sir, the line’s back there.” He grumbled and said, “I just wanted to ask a question,” and she said, “oh, ok.”After a few minutes he turned and walked to the back of the line and on the way past her he said, “Well, you were standing there.” (Referring to when he saw her standing outside of the line, near the travel agents’ desk.) She laughed after he left and said he was probably pissed off now. “What if you have to sit next to him on the plane?” another woman asked, and they both laughed.

Watching this woman made me think I should be more assertive. However, the downside to that loud, direct personality presented itself a little while later, when I was working with the gate agent. The assertive woman decided to call Delta on her cellphone about rebooking, and then stood at the counter near me and my gate agent. Eventually she started talking to her agent on the phone…loud. Very loud and dramatic, as if she were the only person in the room. My agent shot her a look and then looked at me and shook her head. The agent said, “Why does she have to do that right here?” Later, after the assertive woman had left, the agent said it was like nails on a chalkboard when people acted like that on their phone.

**********

June 13

Still trying to get to Italy. We made it to Atlanta with no problem, but then, guess what. Our plane in Atlanta had mechanical problems (again). Delayed by an hour. During lunch with mom, it occurred to me to request an upgrade. I always hear upgrade offers for $75.00 when I’m waiting to board planes. What better time to upgrade than when you’ll be on the plane for nine hours? When we got to the gate we asked the agent about upgrading. “We don’t upgrade on international flights,” she said. We left and thought that was the end of the story. Later, our gate was changed after the plane we were supposed to take had mechanical problems. With the new gate came new gate agents. I told mom I was going to ask about upgrading again, just to see if I got the same answer. When I asked the agent about upgrading, he said, “We don’t upgrade on international flights, but you’re welcome to purchase a ticket.” I smiled and said, “How much is a ticket?” “About $7000,” he said and wrinkled his nose. I laughed and said, “Well, I think I’ll pass for now,” and he said, “Oh, come on! You can afford that.” Ha ha.

(We ended up having great seats on the long flight over because we were in a row of three seats and there was nobody in the third seat, so we were able to stretch out. It was good.)

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