My trip to Italy/Milan started off with a frustrating cancellation during a crazy winter storm on March 16th in Boston. Snow lashed in multiple directions at 45 degree angles and a foot of snow dropped within an hours time. My flight with Northwestern Airlines was cancelled while the Boston airport closed at 8pm though it opened up spontaneously after 9pm to allow some flights in and out. Upon my cancellation, I was booked on a NW flight 4 days later which I found ridiculous. 3 phone calls to different NW operators resulted to no resolution. I asked about getting booked on another airlines, but their policy does not allow this if it is due to weather. Oh crap I said… my client meeting is in 3 days..I can’t show up the day after.
I frantically walked over to Alitalia airlines since the rest of my team was sitting on their plane waiting in the runway. At first, I had to wait, because the whole Alitalia ticketing staff was outside on a smoke break. Upon their return, they could not put me on that evenings flight even though it eventually left 2 hours later. Tickets for the next 2 days were all booked and the only available flight was 3 days later for a whopping $1800 one way. As a last resort I walked up to the now empty NW line at customer service and gave it one last chance….perhaps my charm will get me somewhere…so I walked up to a very cute worker named Mariana and gave her my story…next thing I knew, she had a printed ticket on another airline, Alitalia, in Business class the next day! Woa, how’d she do it…she just smiled and said she knew people…I’ll stick to the story that she just smiled at me 😉 . I looked up the price of the ticket and it was around $4000 for next day, business…I guess emergency ticket do really ramp up prices.
Wohooo…business class on a new airline..I was pumped to experience a new airline even though I read some sketchy reviews online that night.
Getting on the plane was a snap since I was in biz class..no line to wait in, and the door was right next to the seats rather than walking allll the way to the back. One funny thing I noticed were the middle seats which let people sit solo….kind of weird…anyhow, the plane was old…yellowish, old colors, and nothing really modern looking. Otherwise, my seats was big and comfy. One thing I noticed right away was that there was no tv screen on the backs on any of the seats. I figured it was one of the armrest retractable screen but ooo was I wrong…nothing, zip, zilch, nada…..it was the good old shared movie screen from a projector! I guess I’ve been spoiled by most international airlines with tv screens and the domestic Jetblue airlines with screen on all seats.
Yup, that’s a shared movie screen….it’s been a looong time since I’ve shared a screen on an airplane… Each armrest had a channel selector and I joked around with my neighbor that perhaps it was wiki community movie selector which would kind of be an interesting idea…but nope….it was just a shared movie screen. We watched Happy Feet(fun and happy movie), Stranger than Fiction(good idea, whimsical, will ferrell), and some foreign film which I fell asleep to before it really started.
The meals on board were actually really good…then again, it was biz class and I’m not sure what people got in economy. The pasta above was pretty damn good…I actually wanted seconds….we had fish, chicken, vegetables, another pasta dish, lots of wine, cognac, dessert, breakfast pastries, eggs, omelets, and lots of other bits here and there.
Ahhh..about 5 hours into the flight, I woke up hovering over the swiss alps…my camera sucks at pics, but the view was breathtaking!
Finally, in Milan…off to the Centrale train station to go to Florence where I’d be for 10 days or so! The Centrale Train station is amazing! The view is awesome! Only thing I didn’t like was getting pooped on my a fly by pigeon.(there are tons of pigeons inside)..it didn’t hit me, but it hit my luggage. First reactions to Milan….everyone smokes, people dress up fashionably, and everyone smokes!
Thats the Eurostar train which cost like 30 euros(45$) for a 3 hour trek to Florence. Seats were fine, with power outlets to power your laptops.
I hung out at the bar/food train most the time with my director chatting ideas as I had an extremely dry throat since I just got back from an exhausting week at TED. I needed something to drink pretty much every 5 minutes…and this is where I started to drink bubbly gas water which I now live off of.
Firenze S.M.N.- finally here….well, florence…I’m not sure what Firenze is, but I’ll assume its Florence in Italian, or just the name of the station. Otherwise, the words Firenze is plastered all over the city…
I’d post more on Milan, but I’m going to post my whole Italy trip in a somewhat chronological order….so stay tuned.