Saturday, May 23, 2015

Venice log 4 - Waiting

This is the entry that shouldn't be.

We got up this morning at 5:30am, had breakfast, cleaned up then went to the vaporetti stop at Redentore. Because it was raining, I couldn't take two suitcases at the same time whilst holding an umbrella, so I had to make two trips. A number 2 vapo came in time which took us to Zattere, where there was a blue line vapo waiting to take us to the airport. This part of the trip took about an hour. It turns out that the blue line terminus is at least one kilometre from the airport; some of that distance is covered but some is not, so I (and the suitcases) got quite wet. Fortunately, I found a trolley along the way which helped.

Marco Polo airport in Venice was packed this Saturday morning. We got there at 10:00 am which seemed early enough for our 12:10pm departure. After queuing in the correct queue, we were told that there were no tickets for us: our original return flight from Florence was still in the computer. After a hurried phone call to our travel agent in Israel (fortunately she is a freelancer who answers the phone on a Saturday morning, otherwise we would have been in real trouble), it turns out that she made reservations for us to return from Venice today but apparently did not actually order the tickets.

A tense fifteen minutes passed in which she bought new tickets for us; our names now appeared in Alitalia's computer and we were issued tickets for the flight to Rome, and from there to Tel Aviv. After passing though security and finding our gate, we discovered that the flight from Venice to Rome had been delayed from 12:10 to 12:45pm.

Once on the plane, we were then informed that we had missed our take off slot and so we would be leaving at 13:15 or thereabouts. The flight was uneventful but again, there were delays getting off the plane. We landed after boarding to our flight to Tel Aviv had already commenced (about 3pm). From the local arrival lounge, we had to get to gate G10 which so far away and in another building that there is a bus which takes people there. Once in terminal G, we raced to find our gate only to find the gate abandoned; the plane was already taxiing for take-off (this may be over-dramatic; the plane may have already have taken off).

It turns out that we were not the only people in the same position: there were at least three others from our flight who are continuing to Tel Aviv and possibly other people may also have missed their connecting flights. As this is Alitalia's problem, it is also their responsibility to get it sorted; we have tickets for a flight leaving at about 10pm. So even though this time I specifically requested not to return on a night flight, fate thought differently. I can confidently expect a night of restless legs. At least we were given a voucher with which we can buy some food later - a sandwich and a drink.

So, here I am in the restaurant of Rome airport terminal G, drinking tea and typing these notes, waiting for a flight whose check in will begin in another five hours!  We did nothing wrong today: we made an effort and arrived in good time at the airport. But our travel agent and the airline let us down. Unfortunately there is no way to get any form of compensation. Fortunately, tonight and tomorrow is the harvest festival in Israel, so tomorrow will not use another day of holiday.

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