Rome 03/2008 LAX-IAD-FCO



March 2008

The Saga of the Seats.

When we booked these tickets almost 9 months ago, we were able to get our seat assignments for the LAX to DC leg, but not DC to Rome. Every few months I would call the travel agent only to be told, "still nothing available". In the meantime, the aircraft on flight #1 changes and our seats are suddenly in "Premium Economy", an added bonus.

Then, about a month before departure the agent says we have seats for flight #2, but they are not together and are in the back of the plane, none of us even in the same row. Later we discover that Jessica and Tris' seats on flight #1 have been split so they have no seats together or with us. Much stress follows as we call United, call the travel agent, try online, all to no avail. Then, in a stroke of luck, the girls get seats, one behind another in Premium Economy for no extra fee! At this point they can do nothing else and plan to get to the airport at 5 AM to see if they can get their seats moved to be side by side. I check in online 24 hours before departure and am offered the opportunity to upgrade on flight #2 to Premium Economy for $89 per person. Sold! This allows us more leg room and the certainty of seats together.


March 15, 2008

Departure Day

We are up at 4 AM. Ok, I'm up at 4 AM after about 5 hours fitful sleep. David, in his usual pre-departure way, has not slept at all. The typical pre-trip chaos ensues. Do the cats have enough food and water? Do we have our passports? Can we find all the cats? Do we have all our bags? Are we ready?

Ready or not, we are in the car on our way to LAX by 4:50 and are there by 5:15. Thanks to Mom for the ride. Because I have checked in online we have our boarding passes printed. We try one of the self serve kiosks and it does not work for us. We're directed to the check in desks next door and find ourselves at another kiosk, this time with someone who can make it work and give us bag tags. Jess and Tris are at a counter a couple of stations down and have managed to get their seats changed to be together. All is right with the world.

We are so early, we end up spending an hour and a half in the Terminal 7 Starbucks, drinking coffee and watching the Cowboy next to us get drunk. Yes, I said "Cowboy", complete with weathered black hat, scuffed boots and shiny belt buckle. Why he was knocking back beer after beer at 6:30 in the morning at the La Salsa next to the Starbucks is beyond me.

At this point I give the girls their "Wired2theworld Big Lasagna Tour 2008" goodie bags for the plane. The bags include the guidebook I created from the Google Map, a guide I created for Ostia Antica, our itinerary, Burt's Bees lip balm, gum, granola bar, dried cherries and almonds, emergen-c packets and wet wipes. Everyone needs a little something fun to start a trip, don't you think?

The flight to DC is fine and only takes 4 hours. We're on United and no food is offered, only food sold on board. When we arrive in DC we head to Gordon Biersch for lunch of garlic fries, salads and burgers.

When we get on the plane for Rome, we're told it's going to be a full flight. Then we sit and wait for other passengers. And we wait some more. Finally, everyone just gets up and moves, hoping to take some empty rows of seats. Of course, it is then that our missing passengers arrive. This is the first time in a long time when I've been on an international flight where they have charged for alcoholic beverages. I'll usually have a glass of wine, but I'm not willing to pay $5 for bad wine. J did and confirms that the white is terrible. Dinner is pretty bad; choice of "salisbury steak" and pasta. Breakfast is even worse; a fruit cup and inedible, cold, hard, pastry. The best things about the flight are the on time arrival and getting to finally see the movie Juno.

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