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Escape from Malta

July 14, 2008

So, coming to you after the end of a fantastic sales conference in Malta, you would expect to hear tales of how my flight to Rome was GREAT and I had a wonderful time there, and it was all smooth saling getting home. 

We’re going to have to settle for 2 out of 3.

On the morning after the conference closing “gala” dinner, 2 colleagues and I were taken to the Malta airport to await our 11am flight from Malta to Rome on Air Malta.

So we thought.

We got to the airport at 8:20, and check in for the flight didn’t open till 9:00.  We sat, had a cappucino, and then queued up to check in.  There, we learned our 11am flight was now taking off at 1150am.  Not a crisis for 2 of us, but for the third colleague, @chriswebb, it was turning into one.  You see, he had 2 hours to change planes in Rome, heading off to JFK and then on to IND.  His connections were getting a bit tight.

After getting our boarding passes, we marched through security and took up residence in a cafeteria near the gates (there were about 12 total in the Malta airport).  Peacefully watching an episode of “Miami Vice” dubbed into German, we sat, patiently awaiting our ride to Rome.  Then, colleague #3, Robert, came bolting over to us.  “The board is showing 4pm for our flight!!!” 

We stormed over to a boarding gate to learn our flight had indeed been moved.  A pain in the ass for me and Robert.  For Chris, it meant no hope of getting home to Indy that day.  The Air Malta staff were very concerned.  Concerned about getting us refreshment vouchers, but could not answer any questions about why the flight was delayed and what was really going on.

At that moment, I got a text from my boss saying that his flight to Munich was returning to the boarding gate due to mechanical difficulties.  I’m not sure if his was an Air Malta plane as well, but it didn’t matter.  His plane containing 4 more stranded Wiley people were heading back to sit in the airport. 

Malta = the roach motel of Europe.  You can check in, but you can’t check out. 

Eventually, we all got out of there.   Peter and Larry were due to spend the night in Munich, then go on to NYC the next day.  But not before they were held up at the gate in Malta:

The Maltese flight delays

The Maltese flight delays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you feel the love?  Check out the other passengers sitting there – the Maltese airport was nun-tastic!

Meanwhile, despite our best efforts, Robert and I could not get on the Alitalia flight leaving for Rome at 2pm.  Instead, Robert bought a ticket on the flight and made it out, getting into Rome at 5pm.  I stuck it out (I had checked a bag and did not have Robert’s carry on flexiblity) and evenually made it on a flight to Rome, via Naples, that arrived into Rome at 10pm.  I’ve never been so happy to be at my destination.  I almost got on my knees and kissed the Roman tarmac, a la the Pope.

Chris was rebooked on a flight to Frankfurt with the expectation of spend the night and get off to Chicago and Indy the next day.  When I landed in Rome, I texted him in Malta.  He was STILL there, and didn’t leave till 11pm or so (I don’t think he has blogged this experience, but he really should).  Apparently, his flight was diverted from Frankfurt (after hours, in the vein of Regan National and their noise restrictions, I hear) and he had to take a 2 hour bus ride from wherever he was to Frankfurt.  I’m not sure I would have gotten on the bus.  I probably would have settled in whatever town I landed in at that point and sent for my family.  He made it back late the next night, in time for a late July 4th celebration. 

Who ever said business travel was glamorous?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2008 3:30 pm

    oh the joy of travel.
    love the way you wrote this, i can feel the glamour of travel.

  2. Julia Lampam permalink
    July 16, 2008 10:30 am

    I feel for you! The moral of the story is to stay on a few days, enjoying the Maltese sun, and then fly out when flights are back on schedule.

  3. July 16, 2008 1:09 pm

    Oh Julia, if hindsight was 20/20, I’d be all over that idea. Malta was lovely, and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to go. Not someplace that I get to go to every year, like Brighton or Chichester! Hope you and the rest of the marketers are well.

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