York & Borgorose

Pretty Close
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Staying up all night at the airport allowed me to read my entire Pompeii guide, which I bought after seeing the place, otherwise I'd have not gotten through so much if trying to read it while walking around.

One thing about having literally more than a hundred pounds of baggage: you can put it all on a luggage trolley, push it really fast, hop on, and zoom along quite a ways in the deserted lower level of Fiumicino airport late at night! :-)

One counterproductive thing about being first in line to check in for a flight: your baggage goes on first, and comes off last, so if you have a tight schedule on the other end and need to get your bags quickly, try to get them on the plane late!

So I knew my connection the UK would be tight. And it was, but it didn't have to be.

My flight from Rome actually left on time, and arrived 30 minutes early! I could hardly believe my good fortune. That's about how long it took my bags to come off the plane, so that grace period saved me. No problem with customs or immigration, so I zipped through them and literally ran over to the bus terminal to buy a ticket to the other airport. The bus literally pulled away as I got the ticket, so I had to await the next one, which was supposed to be 20 minutes later but was really at least 30.

Okay, on the bus now, without knowing how long it takes to make the trip and fretting about it. One person says 40 minutes, another says an hour, and the official schedule said 80-90. Drat, it will be bad to miss the plane.

So we're on the bus. Everyone's aboard. Waiting. Oh, the driver has a problem with the toilet facility. Hum dee dum. Let's go! The driver's still working on the toilet. Forget the $%@* toilet, it's only a quick ride, let's GO, people, some of us have planes to catch!

Anyway, like 15 minutes pass. Grrr. But we finally head out. We hit some construction areas that slow traffic, but we make the trip in 50 minutes. This is good. My flight does not leave for about an hour.

Uh oh. Look at the size of that line for American!

After I stand in line for a while, American starts pulling out people for my flight, because they realize anyone in line won't make it. That's excellent.

They send me to a screener near the counter, and he starts drilling me with questions. Where did I stay last night? Who packed my bags? What was I doing in Italy? All that sort of jazz, but intense. After that, he says my bags will need special screening because I spent the night at the airport. I tell him that I did not sleep and never took my eyes off them, but apparently he does not believe me.

So I'm at the ticket counter and about to deal with the special baggage screening when someone else tells me it won't be necessary. I ask why the change, and they say "well you came on a plane from Italy, so there's no problem" which seems strange to me, but I reckon they figure if something bad was in my bags then it would have already activated.

But I learn my lesson: if you stay all night in the airport, pretend you stayed at a hotel instead.

I thus make my flight, and spend the vast majority of it sleeping. Yay for airline web sites that let you pick your seat and then honor the choice! I had a nice bulkhead seat with plenty of leg room by the aisle, and people further in the row had enough room to step over me if they needed to get out.

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