Friday, August 29, 2014

I am writing this column at a caf near my home as it has wifi and I do not! I have been back in Rome for a week and have had to deal with two issues both of which have caused my silence on these pages.

I tried to solve the no wifi/no Internet issue before I went to the States in late July and was unsuccessful. I did buy an Internet key and that worked for a while but has not worked since my return. The owner of the store where I bought the key is on vacation and returns only Monday (life in Italy in Augustthe subject of another column!), and I hope at that time to definitively solve my issue. My sole contact with the world these days I have been home-bound (the second issue) has been my cell phone for calls, text messages and some Internet.

I have been home bound because of a bad infection in my left leg. I had some pain in my left leg during my time in the US but chose to more or less bear it. What I thought was a bad skin rash due to heat and humidity issues was instead an infection.

After six days at EWTN for the Family Celebration, I cut short the rest of my vacation in California to see doctors here. I had a feeling that, no matter the issue, they would order me to stay off my feet. And so it was.

No luck with Vatican doctors on Monday as the three people I needed to see were all on vacation! Another story for August in Rome! I ended up going to emergency at Santo Spirito hospital Tuesday, not far from my home. The doctors said I had an infection but order further tests to make sure I did not have phlebitis. Doctors orders include an antibiotic, an anticoagulant and keeping off my leg - which is bandaged and medicated - as much as possible. Pain is diminishing and I thank the Lord for that. Will learn more after two appointments this coming Monday and Tuesday.

As wrote to some EWTN colleagues, I often say in a blog, this is "life in the fast lane"! It has slowed down a bit but I am a fighter and will very soon be back in the ring.

No Vatican news for this column, though I daily follow events here. However, I attach an item I wrote last week en route from the U.S. to Rome.

Before I close: I wish all my readers, radio listeners, television viewers and my followers on social media a wonderful, happy, relaxing, fun-and family-filled Labor Day!


TWO PREMISES: 1. My main focus is economy class, and principally on domestic routes, but not excluding international travel. It is obvious that Business Class passengers have paid a princely sum for their seat ...or perhaps used a goodly number of FF miles to upgrade. They should indeed have a free bag, some actual meals, a free glass of wine and footrests or other bedlike accoutrements on overseas flights.

2. My comments in no way reflect the usually good service passengers receive onboard (as I mentioned in a recent column about a United airlines flight). After all, airline personnel do their best to please 200 people they have never met before and will spend 2 to 10 hours with!

I wrote this open letter last Thursday on my flight from Dulles airport (which I mistakenly said was in Maryland - it is in Dulles, Virginia apologies!). I also wrote it before learning of the recent incidents on U.S. planes caused by some ridiculous object called the knee defender where passengers became belligerent over leg room (or lack of) and caused the flights to be diverted.

The following suggestions are for airline executives. I have been flying for five decades, crossed many oceans and seas and visited five continents so my suggestions come from experience and are made with the interest of my fellow travelers.....your heart.

For starters:

BAGS...take the size requirement off your website. Few if any people adhere to it and you do not check bags to see that they conform, thus there is always mayhem....and some boarding time.

Some passengers board the plane and place a bag in an empty overhead WELL ahead of their seat row. When the legitimate seat occupant arrives, there is no room for his/her bag. No personnel ever check this (I watch this on every plane I board). Again, a bit of mayhem and some anger or frustration when a bag has to be checked because there is no room

My best suggestion: Drop the bag charges (as they do in the rest of the civilized world outside the US). No bag charges result in no oversized bags in the overhead and this result in happy clients and crew. I know..dream on!

I have a few additional - and probably crazy - suggestions: Serve food (and I mean free!) on flights of two hours or more that occur during a normal mealtime. I am not saying it has to be a Wolfgag Puck special.....perhaps a small sandwich and chips at lunch. Do not even contemplate NOT serving something solid on flights of four or more hours. A West coast flight to Hawaii is at least 6 hours. I have made 4 such trips in recent summers and had to buy a tasteless sandwich or salad or eat a fast food meal before my flight). Why in heaven's name do people have to BUY food, in the airport or, of all things, on the plane, for a 6-hour flight?

If Airlines executives or on-board personnel have stayed with me so far and have stopped laughing, this next paragraph is strictly for you:

We passengers really do know that we are in no way your main concern....except for our do indeed try to ensure that. We know the reason for your business decisions is the famous "bottom line"......what America is really famous for. The question seems not to be, "how can we better serve our passengers?" The questions are: what service or product can we eliminate to save money? (No free pretzels any more) Can we add more seats and reduce passenger space? Can we charge more for seats with a few more inches of legroom?

Cant wait to board my next flight! Safe travels!

Write to Joan at:
< a title="" href=""> < font color="#800000">

Follow Joan on Twitter

Follow Joan on Facebook

View Joan's videos on Youtube


  News Home
  Joan's Rome
  A Catholic Journalist
in London
  Inside EWTN
  Power & Witness
  Journeys home by Marcus Grodi
  Seen & Unseen
  Vatican Insider Podcast
  Joan's Rome:Video