Friday, April 4, 2008

The Flight Home to Catania

The real reason that the Wright brothers invented the airplane was that so 100+ years later the four most beautiful girls in Germany could work together as stewardesses on an Air Berlin flight from Vienna to Rome…QUADRUPLE WOW! Dr. Mengele would have been very proud!

Since leaving Los Angeles on January 2nd, I have flown on British Air, Air Malta, Wind Jet, Meridiana, Easy Jet and now Air Berlin. . . Germany's new Luftwaffe! Besides the great ladies who work for Air Berlin, I also like the fact that they served us food and drinks at no extra cost. Since getting off of British Air in London three months ago that is the first time that this has happened.

Speaking of British Air, they have been THE story in Europe the last two days. To recap an earlier blog, our friend Susan D’Antuono at a UCLA football game last fall warned me strongly about how British Air has a nasty reputation for losing luggage in London’s Heathrow Airport. I checked the internet, and sure enough they had indeed been losing luggage at an alarming rate for about three years.

British Air freely admitted their failings and their long-range solution was to build a brand new terminal (#5) at Heathrow for British Air only with the most cutting age technology in airport baggage handling. The terminal opened for business on Tuesday which WAS April Fool’s Day. In the first two days of operation it is estimated that they have lost between 30,000 and 50,000 pieces of luggage, so much for their long-range solution.

Even better, because all this lost luggage is now classified as “unclaimed” it has to undergo a painstaking inspection before being allowed back on a plane. What was British Air’s answer? Ship it all as they find it to Milan, Italy by ground only carriers thus bypassing the inspection. Then further land-based carriers will be in charge of getting your bags to you at some point of your European adventure. Bottom line, obviously, when you fly to visit us in Sicily, avoid British Air like the plague unless you have carry-on only. I’m not making this stuff up.

Warning sign in British Air's new Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 baggage handling area

Susan D'Antuono, last summer, after 3 weeks in Europe with no luggage due to British Air's crackerjack baggage handling system.

In both Prague and Vienna I found people and their lives to be low key and orderly, everything worked very smoothly overall. Then I got into the Wind Jet line at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport Terminal AA to get my boarding pass. Instantly a woman is yelling at the man running the ticket counter. Another man farther back in line, who I don’t think knew the lady, took her side. He joined in and yelled at the Wind Jet employee and used the appropriate Italian hand gestures for proper emphasis.

The trip from Rome to Catania is about a 1 hour and 10 minute flight. It, of course, departed Rome 3 hours and 30 minutes late.

It’s good to be home.


DPLassen said...

All these pictures of statues and churches, and you can't manage one of The Four Most Beautiful Women in Germany? Where are your priorities?

George said...

I was way too stunned to be even remotely close too coherent!