July 9, 2008

As I returned the rental car to take a taxi to the Amtrak train to the Long Island Rail Road to the AirTrain, I thought, "this is no way to earn 13,000 frequent flyer miles."

Last month I flew out to Providence for my friend Meg's wedding. (Congratulations to Mike as well, married the same day in Boston; I was unable to attend.) The next day I employed five different transportation means just to get to Kennedy Airport in New York, meeting my parents and brothers in the terminal to board our first flight all together in over 5 years — and our first overseas family trip.

We got a taste of things to come shortly after takeoff. Ignoring all instructions to remain seated, several passengers tried to stand up and walk to the bathrooms well before the seat belt sign was turned off. Delta flight attendants, most of whom spoke English only, could barely stem the tide of passengers who'd apparently spent their waiting time drinking coffee and beer. Once the seat belt sign was actually off, passengers started milling about the cabin like on few other flights. It was like being in some kind of a lounge. Only during final approach, when the lone Italian-speaking flight attendant could instruct everyone in person, did the aisles clear.

Lesson learned: Italians don't care about rules.