We are supposed to be in Italy. The week before we were to return home, between two weddings, Christmas, and New Year’s, we realized that we had substantially overestimated the number of things we could accomplish in three months, even at a frenetic, positively Southern Californian pace. So we called our Italian airline, AirOne, which as you remember, considers carseats unsafe for children. It appears that AirOne employs one lone Indian customer service agent. It took us a few days to catch him on duty.
When we finally did, he said there was no way he could look up our reservation without a code from Expedia, where we’d purchased the ticket. We didn’t have that, since we were halfway across the Nevada desert at the time. After a call to Expedia, we got our AirOne man back on the phone. This time he looked up our reservation–and informed us that our flight back to Italy had been cancelled! Half of it, at least. United was still happy to fly us from L.A. to Chicago, but AirOne was not going to fly from Chicago to Milan. AirOne advised us to contact Expedia for a full refund.
We didn’t have many illusions about whether THAT idea would work. The person at Expedia was mystified. She called AirOne herself, and the AirOne agent complained to her about us trying to change our ticket. He told her that the flight had not been cancelled. In any case, Expedia washed its hands of the matter, and said that since we’d already flown the first leg of the ticket, AirOne was in charge.
By now we were thoroughly confused. We called AirOne back ourselves, and the ever-helpful AirOne man gave us another number to call. That was a hopeful sign, since the 800 number that always led us inexorably back to him was the only one even listed on their website.
Tony called this second number (which we would be willing to make available for a price to anyone with a need to talk to someone helpful at AirOne) and reached what, from the background noise, was an AirOne desk in some airport somewhere. However, the man at the other end of the phone was very helpful. Not only did he confirm that the flight was cancelled, at least seasonally, but he also said he would be able to make us a reservation for the end of March.
He read back a flight through Boston and on to Milan on the 26th of March. It sounded good to us. The only catch was, because we had bought the ticket through Expedia, he couldn’t email our new itinerary to us directly. We would have to contact Expedia, and they would send it to us. He said something about looking for an email next week, and Tony said thank you. As he was hanging up, he remembered to ask for a confirmation number, but it was too late. The helpful man was gone.
Tony frantically called back the number, but he was connected to some other AirOne desk somewhere else. The helpful man was lost forever. We could only cling to the hope that he really had made that new reservation for us. Our spirits were temporarily lifted when a few minutes later we received an email from Expedia congratulating us on the change to our itinerary. Unfortunately, the change was merely the cancellation of our old flight.
It has now been exactly one week since our conversation with the helpful man at AirOne. We have waited in vain for the email from Expedia with our new itinerary. Why is it so hard to get to Italy?
In the meantime, our housing contract ran out, and we moved downtown, right next to our office. (That’s the thing to do downtown: take advantage of zoning.) We love our new apartment. Partially because it’s actually decorated (when our office manager walked through the previous one while we were in Italy and Tony asked her if it was snuggly, she replied, “Snuggly? Well, it depends on your definition of snuggly . . . “). Partially because sometimes the city mouse gets the upper hand (we just watched Ratatouille, and fell in love with it). And partially because it’s right down the street from San Diego’s Little Italy.
That may be a mixed blessing, though. We went there for gelato day on Saturday. We had previewed our choice the day before, and assured ourselves that they made their own gelato daily. However, when we arrived on Saturday and asked for cones, the purveyor shook her head; “Oh, no, we don’t use cones for gelato.” “They do in Italy!” interrupted Tony. But she continued, undeterred. “We used to, but the gelato would just slide down off the cone, and then the kids would cry.” We sighed and ordered anyway. One can’t be too picky about one’s gelato here. But if your ice cream slides off the cone, why would you conclude that the cone is the problem?
Incidentally, if you are in San Diego and want good gelato, we did find a very good gelateria up at La Jolla Cove. It’s called Frizzante. The gelato there is beautiful, delicious, and utterly authentic. And you can have it on a cone if you want.