Wednesday, October 6, 2004


The Italian radar system and other disappointments

The Italian air radar in Linate blocked out twice today. A problem with an airport radar would have been a minor problem as we would have been sent to another airport. Today it was worse, a lot worse...

The main radar that covers and coordinates air traffic over all of northern Italy went off the air. Poof, and it was dead. They fixed the problem quickly but to late; chaos had already occurred. In the hour it took to bring everything back online no planes took off.

I guess I should be glad that I got up at 5 this morning to make sure I got a seat on an overbooked Alitalia flight. At least I was safely on the way to London when disaster struck. A bit worried during the day when I got the news as I was scheduled on the last flight to Milano. Encouraging news during the day, so I took it easy on the way to the airport.

Bad idea. A moment of panic when I got to the check in. Turns out the plane I was supposed to take was still in Milano as the flight from Milano to London was cancelled during the blackout earlier in the day. Not only that, the radar had problems -again-. I can imagine what happened:

The person that caused the chaos at 9:25 stands in front of the big bosses and nervously explains what happened; "I just pressed this button", click… and the shit hits the fan again (and me more specifically)

Luckily my meetings had ended on time so I was just in time to move my flight ahead to an earlier one. Or to be more correct: in time to move the flight of the 7 people I was traveling with. I ended up with a nice 'Stand by' written in bold on my ticket.

Don't know if it was the fact that we traveled in 8 in business class or that I looked totally crest fallen, but after waiting 15 minutes they found me a place. A quick run past the shops and we arrived just in time.

Running past the shops was a sad moment though. I really wanted to buy the final books in The Dark Tower series:

New books in English cost a fortune in Milano and I haven't found the book on eBay yet.

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