When Rome Airport Was On Fire
An Adventure To Remember Forever
It was 7.00 in the morning and I was still not ready to open my eyes while the flight was getting ready to land at Zurich airport. I was on my way to Rome via Zurich on Swiss Air flight with a group of 42 guests. Upon landing at Zurich at 7.30 AM, I and my whole group had only 45 minutes to clear the immigration and proceed to the next gate. We did so and made sure that we all are ready in time at the next gate.
I was the last one to reach the gate just to make sure everyone has cleared the immigration, and nobody has stuck anywhere for any reason. Upon reaching the next gate, airline staff informed me that all flights flying to Rome are canceled, due to the major fire at Rome airport. I was informed to go to the transfer desk and speak to the staff over there for further arrangements.
I immediately walked towards the transfer desk along with my group. The lady at the transfer desk told me that we cannot get you on any available connections for the next 12 hours and we are not even aware when will those connections fly to Rome. Now when it comes to traveling with a group tour, it is mandatory to utilize the services booked on a particular day, since all of them are already paid and non-refundable. The only thing I knew was that I had to make sure that I get my group to Rome on the same day.
I asked them about the bus option but it was also already gone, probably there were other groups from other destinations who landed before us. The staff gave me the last available option of the train journey from Zurich to Rome. I felt joyous and asked for the schedule, and then when I saw the schedule, I was in for a shock. The train journey was to start at 9:11 AM and we were at the transfer desk at 8:30 AM.
The train journey was -
1. Zurich Airport Station to Zurich Train Station
2. Get off the train and then change the platform
3. Take the second train from Zurich to Milan
4. Get off the train and then change the platform
5. Take the third train from Milan to Rome
ALL THREE TRAINS GAVE US ONLY 4 TO 5 MINUTES TO CHANGE, AND DO ALL OF IT WHILE YOU TAKE 42 GUESTS OF THE MIX AGE GROUP ALONG WITH THEIR LUGGAGE.
I informed the group about the train journey and they all cheered as they were happy that they were going to experience the European train journey. Only I knew what was about to happen the next.
All of us first walked to the luggage belt where we collected our luggage which was also delayed for another 10 minutes. We were in the Zurich Airport building and we had to go to the Zurich Airport Station Building which was just opposite. After reaching the opposite building I asked my group to wait outside the ticket counter and in front of the escalator which would take them directly to the platform.
I was at the ticket counter an the staff was getting my tickets. At first, I was told that I will get only half the ticket for 09:11 AM train and remaining on 06:30 PM train. Doing this was an impossible task for me, I somehow managed to talk him into getting me all the tickets for the same train of 09:11 AM. He handed over me the tickets at 09:10, I ran to my group and asked them to immediately proceed to the platform.
I went to the platform first and kept my bag in the middle of the doors, so it won't be closed. The staff was shouting at me but all I knew was that I had to get my group on board this train. The whole group was already at the platform and inside the train, only the last senior couple was left to come down. All of us told him to just throw all his bags on the escalator and come down. The gentleman threw 3 out of his 4 bags and came down himself.
This time I had no other option but to leave the bag there itself as it was last warning for me to board the train or leave it. All of us got on the train and within 3 minutes we reached the Zurich train station. The next train staff was waiting for us in front of our coach gate and escorted us to the next train from Zurich to Milan which was on the other platform.
When I got in the train to Milan and everyone settled down, I spoke to the gentleman whose bag was left behind and upon having a talk with him, I came to know that the bag had all of his and his wife's syringes, medicines and everything he would need for his medical attention. That was the first time in the whole day I was scared like anything.
I calmed him down and assured him that he should not be worried about any medical attention he would require for the whole tour. After reaching Milan, we again had to change the platform to get to the next and last train to Rome. So, finally, instead of reaching Rome at 10:30 AM as per my flight schedule, I reached Rome at 06:30 PM sound and safe.
Now you must be thinking what happened to the bag!!! The bag was left at the train station and not at the airport. And that too it was left by the passenger himself and not by the airline. Because of which airline clearly declined to deliver the bag to our next destination. Although the senior couple could not have their medicines for the whole tour, it was sheerly our luck that played a good part that he and his wife was fit and fine throughout the tour. (PLEASE NOTE, TRAVELING WITHOUT YOUR MEDICINES IS NOT AT ALL ADVISABLE AND YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE AWARE OF YOUR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, AND SHOULD IMMEDIATELY SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION EVEN IF YOU FEEL LITTLE DISCOMFORT).
My route of the tour was to start from Rome, cover a few cities in Italy and then proceed to Austria and end the tour at Switzerland. Because of which I was going to fly back from Zurich airport. On last night of the tour, a friend of mine picked up the bag from Zurich train station lost and found department after doing a lot of formalities and delivered it to the hotel.
This was one of the tours which will remain on my mind forever!!!
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