Business travel

Business travel is tedious at the best of times. But last night (and the early hours of this morning) were so tedious I thought I'd vent some steam here...

Because of the last minute nature of our trip to Italy, we ended up doing a silly pair of flights to get home at the end of Friday (Florence to Rome, Rome to Heathrow). An hour and 20 minutes on the ground in Rome should have allowed time for a nice dinner, albeit not a very leisurely one. But of course the first leg was 45 minutes late (thanks, Alitalia), so by the time we'd marched a mile from one part of the airport to another, we had to go straight into the queue for the final leg.

The final leg (Alitalia again) featured no food or drink apart from a packet of nibbles and some orange juice - making Ryanair's offer to sell you an overpriced sandwich look like the stuff dreams are made of - and was aboard a creaky old aircraft whose lights flickered in an alarming manner when we landed. The staff were rude beyond belief (not a shred of help or sympathy in letting me get past the trolley when I wanted to go to the toilet, I just had to wait half an hour for them to finish), it was too hot, and generally deeply unpleasant. I'll never be flying with them again.

Meanwhile back on the ground, the Brits were anxious to prove that we too can fail utterly at customer service: rather than sod about with two busses at what was by then 11.15PM, I thought I'd get a cab to take me the few miles from Heathrow's Terminal 4 to the long stay parking at Terminal 5 where I'd left my car. The driver chatted to the chap in the booth and cheerfully informed me "we don't do that". Presumably because it's not lucrative enough. Dear black cab drivers: This sort of behaviour is what makes me look forward to the day when Uber bankrupts the whole sodding lot of you.

Fortunately, a bus did turn up shortly afterwards, and the driver of the last T5 long-stay parking bus of the evening (which I had to myself!) kindly dropped me off right next to my car. After that, it was just some night closures on the M4 (should have taken the M40, but at least the road workers had the decency to actually be working behind all the cones, even after midnight on a Saturday) and home sweet home was finally reached behind the wheel of the mighty GTi.

At least Brexit didn't take place while we were in the air, though, which was the original plan...