Monday, August 2, 2010

Fiumicino does it again

One of the perks of living in Europe is being able to fly to another country in 2-3 hours. I took a little weekend trip to London to see friends, cool off, eat a variety of food, drink vitamin water (power-c is my personal fav), get a hair cut, and stock up on random shit like bagels and cheddar. This time around, I decided to not use a low-cost airline and instead opted for British Airways. I managed to get a good fare and the flight was pure BLISS… mind you, it was at 11:00 AM on Friday so it wasn't overly booked and for the most part the passengers were British, hence very quiet and polite.

The flight back, on the other hand, was anything but blissful. I booked an evening flight back to Rome, never imaging I would encounter the annoyance I encountered. I merrily and smoothly made my way to Heathrow (how much do we love the Heathrow Express train? It's so clean and efficient!) rather early so I had time to wander around and drink more vitamin water. As I made my way to the gate, I heard this incredible din and wondered what the hell was going on. Upon reaching the gate I saw something that makes me shudder every time- teenagers wearing matching backpacks and hats which equals GROUP FIELD TRIPS (side note, during the school year Italian students get to go on field trips all over Europe. Lucky, ungrateful bastards! The best field trip we got in my day was to Old Sturbridge Village) which equals annoying Italian teenagers on a plane!! I had a seat at the very front of the plane so I hoped I'd be spared a run-in with these unruly loud-ass kids. I hoped… Instead they were everywhere, actually there were TWO separate groups of youngsters. I've flown many times in my life, but never have I dealt with such chaos on a flight. They would not sit down and shut up until a male flight attendant literally shouted at them. Do these kids not know the difference between indoor and outdoor voice/behavior? They were acting like a pack of wild animals who'd never set foot outside of their homes before. They were kicking the seats in front of them, oblivious to the fact that there were people sitting in them (me), talking or rather yelling across the plane to each other, turning on cell phones during take off, getting up when the plane was taking off, talking so loudly it was impossible to hear any announcements made, littering everywhere, trashing the bathrooms, making all sorts of scenes and chaos. Luckily, I have the gift of sleep BUT the annoyance was brewing inside of me even while I caught some Z's. We finally landed in Fiumicino and of course, they clapped (hate that!) and tried to storm the exits before the seat belt sign was turned off.

As annoying as it was for me, I felt worse for the flight attendants who were probably ready to jump out of the plane or execute them all. I swiftly made my way to baggage claim hoping to beat the large disorderly groups of students. Hoping… Unfortunately, our bags took FOREVER and a day to appear and all the while I was being squished by sweaty oblivious annoying Italian teenagers who kept elbowing, stepping on toes, pushing and leaning over me to stare at the empty baggage carousel. At one point, this kid actually jumped onto the carousel to grab his bag, as if it would've disappeared into a black hole if he didn't grab it the first time around.

I know I sound like a cranky old lady but it was mind boggling to see how clueless and rude these kids were, they in no way paid attention to their surroundings or even cared about how uncomfortable they were making everyone. I even got pushed out of the way at one point and that's when I lost it. I basically told them to stop acting like wild animals… not sure what good it did because they kept at it and every time one of the students managed to find their bag they would all cheer for 2 minutes. EVERY time. Now, you may be wondering where the chaperons were, right? I can imagine that being a chaperon on a trip like that is worse than having your toenails yanked out with pliers BUT still, these people are adults and should act like adults. Instead they were just as hysterical and rowdy as the kids, they were shouting and screaming and acting like nutcases over nothing. No wonder why the kids were so unruly...

Wonder what the other non-Italians on the flight thought of this whole spectacle? I saw one British woman leave shaking her head, I saw a British family looking at these out of control kids with disdain (this family had 2 teenage kids who were incredibly well behaved), I saw a Chinese couple looking frightened as the kids bum rushed the baggage carousel right where they were standing.

It was seriously the most disturbing "welcome back to Rome" I've had in a while.