Monday, March 8, 2010

More travel annoyances

Part of the 'fun' of traveling all over the world recently is the opportunity to experience the best and worst of the airline companies in a short period of time.

A few weeks ago, I gushed about Cathay Pacific. From the sublime to the ridiculous: to Milano, it was Alitalia round trip. Probably not the world's worst but undoubtedly in the bottom 3 of the major international carriers.

I'll give them credit for on-time departures and arrivals this time around, and the meals were edible and served promptly. Yet, the deteriorated underbelly of the company was immediately clear upon entering the lavatory, where I found the panels in back of the toilet literally taped to the wall to hold them together.

The video (no back-of-seat panels, of course) was somehow made to broadcast, at low but highly discernible volume, through the public address system during the entire flight. And of course I complained, but the response was, well, the volume is coming from the individual headsets and only appeared to come from the P.A. Oh, really? In English, with a plane full of Italian passengers?? In every row of the aircraft???! OK. That's a first.....

Italians are gregarious, upbeat, and delightful. Love them. On the ground, they are charming. In the air, I just want them to sit down and relax. But they don't....or can't. So I hop-scotched around the aircraft trying to find a zone of moderate quiet so I could work.

By the way, can you guess which is the last major international carrier to require its passengers to comply with the (since repealed) TSA requirement to remain seated for the last hour of flight into the United States? Yep, you got it.....

Well, alright, maybe I need to be grounded for a while so I can rebuild my gratitude for the opportunity to go where I go, as I do. In the meantime, my friend Phil, who works for Etihad in Abu Dhabi, told me that my Emirates flight to Dubai this Friday is likely to seem more like the fragrant Air India flight to Mumbai. 12 hours of that to look forward to. Can't wait.

1 comment:

  1. You should have gone to dinner, post opera, and Trattoria del Arte where Milton Glaser did the original design featuring famous Italian noses.