How to miss a flight

I happen to be late, especially in the morning. I just like to lay in bed, who doesn’t? 🙂

I missed a train a few times. I remember being late the first day of school, once. I had never missed an airplane, anyway. In the last few years I had become better and learnt to plan better how long it would take to get somewhere and be ready on time.

This morning, unfortunately, the alarm rang at 4:30, but apparently I turned it off without even opening my eyes. I woke up at 7:20 wondering when I’d have to get up to get the airplane. My flight was scheduled for 7:25 so of course I did not make it. Now I’m stuck in Dublin until tomorrow as the flight in the afternoon was fully booked and I could not find a decent flight today.

Greetings from Ireland, then.

Golden Skate Awards

I had never been a fan of ice skating and I have to admit I still watch it only when some major event happens.
About a month ago I saw a sign on the street mentioning an ice skating event to be held in Milan, the Golden Skate Awards. I was unsure about the quality and who would have joined it, but I thought it would not happen frequently to have another chance in Milan. We went to buy two good tickets. 60 Euro each, not exactly cheap, and all the best (and even more expensive) seats were already taken.

So last week, 20 October 2007, was the day. We arrived just on time, given the high traffic next to the Datch Forum (A.K.A. Forum di Assago). Due to the traffic the show started about 30 minutes late, not a great start, in my opinion. Anyway the stadium was crowded, not sold out, but nearly.
The show started with an Italian couple, very young with a bright future, apparently. As expected, interesting name, but nothing outstanding (sorry guys).
To my great surprise the skaters that followed were of greater and greater importance and quality including the latest Gold Medalist Evgeni Plushenko, Brian Joubert, Stéphane Lambiel (video 1, video 2), Aljona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowi, Arakawa Shizuka, Carolina Kostner (of course) and many more.

I will digress on the specific exhibitions as I would not be able to provide a meaningful technical description and obviously I’m not a professional judge and can’t really say if the performances were perfect or not, but from an average spectator’s point of view I think the show was GREAT! We had a lot of fun. The show lasted about two hours and each skater (or couple) had two performances. Among the other things they also had 2 performances of the Italian team of synchronized skating, was really good fun.

Carolina Kostner was definitely the artist everyone was waiting for. When she entered in the stadium the audience was very excited and clapped for quite a few seconds. In her first exhibition, unfortunately, she fell on two jumps. She had a third jump that she did OK.
When she came in for her second performance, the audience clapped a bit and then has been completely quite waiting for the first jump. When she made it and it was really good, the crowd started cheering and clapping very loudly. It really seemed she had won a gold medal!
It has been amazing how I could feel the tension until the jump and then everyone was relieved and cheerful.

The day after I looked for some links and reviews and with a bit of disappointment I could not find any. It is really a pity that such an event that brought to Italy so many HUGE names did not have any news reports. The event was even sponsored by “La Gazzetta dello Sport”, the major Italian sports newspaper.

Here are the few links I found:
art on ice

Room with a view

Usually when people go on holiday and reserve a hotel room, they expect a sea-view or the country-side, normally something beautiful, relaxing, and everything you don’t get when you open your window at home, in the big cities where many of us live.

I often travel for pleasure, luckily, but I also often travel for business.
This week my usual hotels in Dublin were fully booked, so this is the special view they provided with my room.

I can assure you it’s not an effect of the digital camera, the trains are really about 3 or 4 meters from my window.

Milano, Malpensa and Alitalia

Alitalia is short of money and this is no surprise since their flights are expensive and the quality is low. To give you an example, I flew to Miami in May and my luggage was broken during the flight. I immediately filed a complaint in Miami, as suggested in Miami I kept my copy and waited to be back in Milan. Once in back in Malpensa 2 weeks after I went to the “lost and found” desk to seek for some extra support. They gave me a fax number and told me to send me boarding card a copy of the filed complaint and a copy of my ID. I did so on Wed, June 6th (5 days later). On Sept, 18 I received a letter from Alitalia’s attorneys saying that unfortunately they may not accept my request because more than 7 days had gone from when I filed the complaint and when I sent them a copy via FAX. I obviously did not think of taking the trouble of faxing them while on holiday and did it as soon as I got back home. I had 7 days to let them know. They took 3 months to answer to me. Sounds a bit unbalanced. I fly quite often these days and Alitalia’s airplanes are the oldest and dirtiest.

Nevertheless they are short of money and this is probably because the company is led by corporations and politicians and not people who know about business.
They think Malpensa is a source of costs more than of revenues. They are now planning to cancel about 150 routes.

The industry has a reply to this move: EasyJet has doubled the flights to and from Malpensa, RyanAir wants to spend 850M Euro over 5 years to expand their routes adding *80* new to the existing ones.
I wonder if EasyJet and RyanAir would invest money on an airport that would not assure them to fill every single flight.