We are off on an Overseas Adventure Travel tour of Sicily. We are flying into Palermo, Italy a few days before the tour begins so we will have some time to explore Palermo on our own. After the OAT trip, we are flying to Malta to spend four days in one of our favorite ports from our Viking World Cruise. We then fly home via Orlando where we will have a brief time to visit with our world cruise friends, Mary Anne and Steve.
Wilmington is a small airport with American flights to Charlotte, Delta flights to Atlanta, and United flights to Dulles and Chicago. We are flying to Charlotte and onto Heathrow on American Airlines where we connect with a British Airways flight to Palermo. When I checked into our flight out of Wilmington last night, I was surprised by how many empty seat there appeared to be. I was then very surprised when we arrived at the gate and the attendant announced that the flight was full so there would not be room for overhead luggage in the late boarding groups. What happened? Had I misinterpreted the seat chart?
As we began to board and hear the story of many unhappy passengers, it became clear. An earlier flight to Charlotte had left the gate and was waiting to take off when one of the stewardesses was asking a woman in an exit row if she could carry out the required exit row duties. The woman was unable or unwilling to answer the question, so she couldn’t remain in the exit row. The main cabin was full, so the stewardess moved her to the first class section. The stewardess in first class took exception to this. The rest of the story is not entirely clear, but the stewardesses decided they were unable to fly on the same plane, the pilot covered up the incident by claiming engine problems, the plane returned to the gate, and the passengers were advised the flight was cancelled.
Did I mention that Wilmington is a very small airport, so American would not have a lot of customer service personnel to rebook the passengers. Those affected had been waiting five hours to get on our flight. I think American lost a lot of future passengers today. I hope that two stewardesses lost their job.
Fortunately, our flights to Palermo were on time and the travel was mostly uneventful. We did have a tense moment when it appeared that our luggage had not arrived in Palermo. When we went to the lost baggage counter, we learned that our luggage was at another conveyor because it had arrived from outside the European Union and had to go through customs. Problem solved!
On Monday, we did Rick Steve’s walking tour of Palermo. We had heard various reviews of Palermo that were not particularly flattering. So far we have found it an old, but very interesting city. Following are a couple street scenes. I will have more details on a few spots in a future blog.I don’t know what the decorations are in front of the church, but that is my first question when we meet our OAT guide on Wednesday.