This was a long day. I woke at 5 AM in Rome. (It was midnight in Dallas.) I seemed to do that while in Europe. I have no idea why. It did, however, make it easier to catch early morning trains and flights. But this morning’s flight out of Rome wasn’t all that early. I didn’t really need to check in until 8 AM, and I was already at the airport — or at least the Hilton Rome Airport which is connected by a long Sky Walk to Terminal 1. I had no idea which terminal I needed to go to, so when I checked out of the hotel at 7 AM I asked which terminal I needed. “Terminal 5. Take the shuttle parked out in front.” So I actually arrived at the check in counter before they opened. It seems, though, that Terminal 5 is just check in and security clearance for international travelers. After clearing security, they put us on another bus to take us to another building that had boarding gates.
The flight to Charlotte, N.C., was uneventful, and we arrived about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The nasty thing about this is that since I was entering the U.S. I had to retrieve my checked bag (which always seems to be the last unloaded), clear immigration where there were hundreds of people queued up, go through customs (which was pretty quick), recheck the bag and then find the gate for my flight to DFW.
To get the gate we had to go up a long flight of stairs — the elevator and escalator were both shut down. When we reached the top of the stairs we were greeted by a uniformed security guard wanting to know why we came up that way. It was the only way we could see on the lower level. He was vary concerned because we came into an area undergoing remodeling and there was stuff strewn all over the place.
As I entered the floor I could see out the windows of the building for the first time and there were dark clouds forming up outside. Sure enough, in a few minutes there was a thunderstorm. It was fairly brief, but what it did was delay the plane that was to take me to DFW. When it did arrive, we boarded. Then we were told we didn’t have clearance to take off because of the weather at DFW. So we sat about 40 minutes waiting for clearance.
The flight to Dallas took exactly two hours, as promised. So essentially I arrived an hour later than scheduled. One observation about flying this year: the food is worse than ever. I don’t know if that is simply U.S. Airways, or system wide. In the past I always did British Airways; so it may just be the difference in companies. There is talk that American (in bankruptcy and being advised by Bain Capital) may merge with US. They deserve each other.
I took a taxi to a hot apartment, turned on the air-conditioner, ate a quick microwaved supper and went to bed.