Monday, December 06, 2010

Gotta Get Outta Here!

Stranded passengers waiting in line.

Florence Airport is a small airport. The terminal is surprisingly small and everything feels very smalltown. I arrive a little bit early and the kind girl at the check-in wants to help me out by getting me a seat on the earlier flight. That's very kind and I'm grateful.

As I'm waiting by the gate, amongst a throng of Chinese tourists, cloud cover rolls over the airport. Which is exactly the same time that the captain of our Lufthansa flight coming in from Frankfurt.

Since Florence is a small airport with a short runway that they use not only for takeoffs/landings but for taxiing as well, it's probably short on IFR operations and the pilot decides to abort his landing and divert to Bologna, leaving us stranded at the airport in the dense cover.

Now comes the mad scramble to reschedule everyone on this flight to the next. Rather than handle it all at the gate, they make everyone board the bus, go to baggage claim, pick up our bags and go back out to the check-in lobby to fall in line and do it all over again.

I've been here before, so rather than wait in the line for things to be handled, I make a quick call to Lufthansa reservations and speak to an agent who promptly changes my reservation back to my original flight at 1445. Quick, simple and easy. I do all of this during the bus ride to baggage claim and I no longer have any worries.

When I return to the check-in lobby, there's a long line (as expected), an agent asks me which flight I am on and I tell her the 1445 flight since it is my flight. She pulls me out and escorts me to a different queue and tells me to wait a moment. After a few moments, she motions me to come up to the counter to check in.

Another not-so-very-tasty chicken sandwich.

This is where it took a turn for the odd. As she's checking me in, she notices the baggage tags from the previous flight then attempts to lecture me how rude it is to jump the queue while everyone else has to wait. I'm not one to be lectured - especially when I've done the work for her and promptly tell her: "Madame, I think you ought to inspect my reservation before speaking."

I guess she must be thinking that she can shame me for jumping the line. I remind her that she was the one who pulled me out of the line and brought me to the front. I didn't ask her to do it, she did it of her own volition. I further reminded her that I've saved her time and effort by taking the time to call reservations and make the necessary arrangements. She wasn't too happy about my response. Guess she thought better.

She then tells me that it looks like a close connection in Frankfurt but the machine won't print the boarding pass for the second leg. I tell her no worries. I'm positive that the lady was trying to screw with me regarding the boarding pass since she wrote down some sort of non-existent gate number in Frankfurt and said that it wouldn't print the boarding pass, thinking that she would screw up my travel in the end.

Unbeknownst to her, I still had my original two boarding passes from the first flight - including the second leg boarding pass.

Doom on you, Female Italian Agent!

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