Thursday, September 4

What goes up...

Well, if we are to believe what we read (and, at this stage in the game, I wouldn’t if I were you), it looks like Alitalia [code-named: la Fenice - the Phoenix] may be rising up from its ashes.

Italy, not used to firings (I even tried to look up the definition of esuberi and it wasn’t in there) is having a hard time swallowing the numbers being thrown around on those whose wings get clipped. Air France started out with 4000. Then, Berlusconi said no one had to go – once again showing his true business sense – and acting a lot more like a communist than an entrepreneur. Next, it was 2000 by the illustrious Fenice group. Like a barometer, yesterday’s reading is around 7000, today it’s 4500.

But, I digress. I really wanted to tell you about my own risk-taking adventure on Alitalia, Rome-London. Risk because I thought if this buyout didn't work out, I may just be stranded in this soggy city for longer than I intended…

At check-in, Alitalia has obviously placed so much faith in technology, there are hundreds of machines to choose from and no one manning the counters. You had a choice between domestic and international. I was going to London thru Milan. Where did I go? Trying domestic, I was sent to international.

After 15 mins. in line watching 6 people chat among themselves while one checked people in, I walk up to the counter and was told it was closed. Just in time for the person behind me to reach the next slot…
Alitalia Flight Crew

On board, we sat on the runway for 90 mins. but were duly informed it was due to security and I was all for it. The personnel (including the pilots) was highly efficient. But considering we were about 80 people in a small plane, I was surprised to find three guys in cabin class. I’ve taken huge Airbuses packed full to South Africa with 300 in cabin class and we didn’t have three flight attendants. These guys were so busy tripping all over themselves that they reminded me of Chip n’Dale: After you, no after you, no you, no you until they both get stuck in the doorway.

Amazingly, on both flights, they couldn’t manage to pick up my trash after refreshments. And me wearing an awfully low cut blouse (but I suppose in retrospect I was barking up the wrong tree…) All I know is that I for one, could make a few recommendations on personnel cuts.

La Fenice…wasn’t that the name of Venice’s famed opera house which burnt to the ground?

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