The Rome airport was a mess. S counted eight lines we had to stand in before we were seated on the plane: one to get our boarding pass, one to say that we packed our own bags, one to check our bags, one to be screened, one to get on a shuttle to the gate, one to go through the gate, one to get on a shuttle to the plane, and one to get on the plane.
Plus, the airline was terrible about seating us together. We were never able to get seats together, despite asking numerous times and booking the plane tickets at the same time. So, when we got on the plane, S's seatmate agreed to switch seats with me. Thanks kind stranger! Of course, USAirways got all grumpy with me for it. When they were passing out meals, my seat switching meant that they had to walk an extra few feet to deliver my special Muslim meal (air travel pro tip: regular airplane food sucks, but if you order a special diet - Kosher, Muslim, etc. - the food is usually more tasty. And healthy!)
We've been on the ground for the better part of an hour, and everyone is cranky. Passengers want to know what's happening, crew is frustrated wit the situation, and the medical emergency is apparently still on the plane. Some of the passengers have been checking on their connections and don't think they're going to make it. We were scheduled to have a 3.5 hour layover in Philly, so we SHOULD be alright.
The captain just announced that we're getting read to go!
All that rush for nothing! Ten minutes later, and we're still on the ground.
And... We're back in the air, after over an hour on the ground. The time is now 11.13 EST. The arrival time is now scheduled to be 6.35 pm.
We landed at 6.25, but missed our connection. We are stuck in philly overnight, and scheduled to fly out to St Louis tomorrow morning. We actually had enough time to make our originally-scheduled flight tonight (well, if they held the plane five minutes), but USAirlines, sensing an opportunity, oversold our evening flight out and bumped us to a tomorrow flight.
We're going to sleep soon, thank god. USAir - you really blew it today.
Also, while all of the passengers were in the shuttle to the airport tonight, we heard more about the medical trouble from the flight. Apparently, the passenger had a bout of food poisoning (I've heard alternate stories of peaches and clams), which caused the flight to be diverted. Then, once on the ground in London, the passenger refused to get off the plane. My feeling (and I feel pretty strongly about it), is that if you're ill enough to cause an emergency landing, you're too ill to fly.
Here's hoping tomorrow is better. At the very least, we'll have family around us.