Take 40: At the Airport

T40 ContUp

I’m not a very regular traveller, but I do travel.

But my flight had never been cancelled before this year. Then this year… twice!

I don’t know why today’s flight was cancelled. I was so busy trying to rebook us on another flight that I forgot to ask. But last time my flight was cancelled, there was a pretty good reason.

I was flying into Bologna to spend a night there before heading to a good friend’s wedding in Arezzo, and Italy had decided to go on strike. Well, not all of Italy, but all transport services in Italy.

Anyway, I was unaware of this as I rolled my suitcase into Prague Airport and checked in. I was going on holiday so I was in a great mood as I flashed my biometric passport at the machine and skipped my way to security. By lovely coincidence, I bumped into some friends in the security queue. They were also going to the wedding, but they were spending the night in a small town outside of Rome instead of Bologna before travelling to Arezzo the next day.

We wished each other a good journey and separated to go to our different gates.

I had been sitting reading my kindle for about half an hour when I got a message from the couple: Flights to Italy delayed 4 hours!

What? Where did she hear that? She had an app, apparently—one that the airport clearly didn’t have because my flight was only showing a 20-minute delay on the departures board. Perhaps she was wrong. 20 minutes later, however, the departure time jumped another 20 minutes and I realised it was going to be a long day.

As is required by law, after a two-hour delay, there was an announcement calling passengers on my friends’ flight to the customer service desk for refreshments. I went along to meet up with them. But while we were chatting, there was another announcement to say my flight was cancelled and that I should ask at the customer service desk about my options.

My options were:
• Spend one night in a Prague airport hotel and travel to Bologna in the morning.
• Get on the next flight to Rome instead… the delayed flight my friends were on.

My friends immediately invited me to travel with them; they had booked a hire car in Rome and a hotel room in a small town called Orvieto. I could stay with them.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure. It wasn’t part of the plan. I didn’t even know where Orvieto was. Damn Italian transport services for ruining my holiday! I made very clear plans to sit in my Prague airport hotel room cursing them all evening.

Then it dawned on me. I was given a choice. If I chose to sit cursing all night long, I’d have no one to blame but myself.
“I’ll take the flight to Rome,” I said to the customer service assistant.

And so began my adventure.

And I had the most unexpected, exciting, unpredictable, and wonderful time! Orvieto stole my heart. My friends and I got a lot of quality time together. And I arrived at my final destination full of energy and ready for more.

So, I guess some travel nightmares can become travel dreams if you just embrace the adventure!

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