planes, planes & automobiles – finally home…

Malpensa, la mattina presto e nevica / Malpens...

Image by Luigi Rosa via Flickr

CHINO HILLS – Today started at 3 am (Milan time). My flight to LA from Milan through Amsterdam was leaving at 6:45 am. It’s 4:45 am and no car pick-up yet. This starts a flurry of phone calls from us to our travel agent in Manila to the car hire service in Rome before we are finally assured that the car would be at our hotel in 5 to 6 minutes. The driver finally shows up at 5:05. Apparently he had been at our hotel at 4:30 am only to be told by the +\>~^*€& front desk person that we had checked out and took the hotel bus.

Anyway, things are compounded on the way to the airport by an accident which shuts down the two-lane road that’s the fastest way to the airport. The driver turns around and guns his Mercedez Benz through narrow Italian towns that I’m sure would have passed for the scenic route had not it been pitch dark. As we wind through narrow snow-covered lanes, I kept on hoping that no one would come at us from the opposite direction at the same crazy speed. We finally hit the highway and our driver speeds up even more to 120-125 km/h (yes, I was watching). Oh brother.

We get to the airport at 5:35 am, rush to the wrong check-in counter and go back where we came from. Okay, so everybody here speaks Italian, I finally get to the front, put my bags on the weighing scale. The agent takes my passport, looks up my itinerary and goes – “I’m sorry sir but we can’t send you through Amsterdam. Schiphol is not taking in incoming flights after it was shut down yesterday due to heavy snow.” Oh brother (2x).

I am now resigned to staying in Milan another day, maybe another week – who knows how long these things sort themselves out.

The agent goes – “I will have to book you on Delta leaving Milano Malpensa at 15 past 11.”


“My apologies sir but you will have a 5-hour lay-over before your connecting flight to LAX.”


“However there is only one seat left on this flight to JFK.”

Ok, how much do I have to pay? Is there going to be an auction?

“But I will give it to you. It’s in business class. I’m upgrading you.”

Whoa! Can you say that again?

“You know what? I’ll just put you in business class all the way to LAX.”


So after all that –

Fresh snow in Milano, €0.
Breakfast at McDonalds at Malpensa, €7.10.
FC Barcelona shirt at duty-free shop, €75.
2 I Love Milano! shirts, €9.70.
The book, Naked Economics, $25.
Unplanned meet-up with Tita Pinky and Tita Bambi at JFK, priceless!

Milano Malpensa Hilton to Home in Chino Hills, 28 hours and 15 minutes.

What a day!


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