Monday, August 21, 2006


Ahh... I've decided again that I never fly Ryanair again. I had unfortunately bought these tickets already before my first ever experience of the budget airline, which made me swear never to fly them again. After today's endless queuing and delays I can renew the decision and hopefully now be more resolute about it.

This morning, at about 4.15 I started the journey to Stansted Airport to take a 7.15 flight to Bologna. Or actually, to Forli, which is supposedly at least a bit closer to Bologna than Cambridge, but judgeing my the time it took us to get from Forli to Bologna proper, not much so. With all the recent commotion about security, we were adviced to be at the airport two hours before the flight. We were there, and so were all the other passengers. But Ryanair wasn't. The check in didn't open until later, and then due to a conveyer belt failure they couldn't check people in, as their luggage was just piling up at the desks.

This was only the second or third time I take the express lane through security control, as I got my boarding pass only 5 minutes before the flight was due to depart. Of course I already knew that we weren't going to depart any time soon, as all the luggage was still piled behind the check-in counters. But, with Ryanair you never know if they will just take off without your luggage... As I got into the plane, they announced a 40 minute further delay. Having not had time for breakfast or even a cup of coffee in spite of early arrival to the airport I decided to try to sleep through it, which of course is difficult in the non-reclining seats. At least I had the leg room as I was sitting next to the emergency exit.

I don't know if it's funny or just sad, but they didn't have water in the plane. Some people were asking for cups of water while wew were waiting to depart, and all they could come up with was a cup of hot tea water with ice. The ice had of naturally immediately melted leaving the water lukewarm.

Finally we arrived, to a terminal which is almost as horrible as the one in Pirkkala, Tampere. The loos were in a container unit outside the building, for example... No frills indeed. The bus, as always, was much more comfortable than the plane, but we hit some standing queues on our 40-minutes-became-2-hours busride.

But boy, was it worth it! This city is so beautiful and charming.... It might be that not having anything to eat or drink for 15 hours made me a bit less critical than usually, but the food we had was also divine. I wasn't looking forward to this conference trip, partly because I haven't yet written my talk, but now I'm looking forward to it. More than 500 papers in 5 days will be tough, but the surroundings more than make up for it.

Also, the historical centre of Bologna is covered by a free wifi network... Very civilised.

(Pic: the venue of our conference)

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