Picking up where we left off in part I, we’ve made it through security and must now get to Terminal A to find out the plane’s gate assignment. As you leave the security area the sign points to a spot up ahead that doesn’t seem to go…anywhere…and yet…the sign wouldn’t point there if there was no where to go, right? So you walk up to this wall and notice to the left, through a row of metal poles, ostensibly set up to prevent people from pushing trolleys through them but also looking like a barricade to keep everyone out, that there are two elevators. Along with everyone else trying to find Terminal A you hesitate for a brief second trying to figure out if you’re actually supposed to go over there and use the elevator because, well, you’ve never had to do that at an airport before and it just seems…odd. “But,” you think, “I’ve got at least an hour and a half before my next flight so worse case scenario if I end up in the bowels of the airport our somehow make my way outside I’ll have plenty of time to go back to the beginning and try again.” (The ridiculousness of even thinking such a thing just proves how insane our society has become. What surely used to be a straightforward task – get from one airport gate to another – has become an exercise in absurdity.)
Now that you’ve found these random elevators to somewhere you hop in one with your fellow travelers and hit the only option, Down. After roughly ten seconds the elevator comes to a stop and you offload into a really long, straight hallway. It seems odd to you that the gates would be underground but maybe there’s some kind of basement walkout where the planes are sitting? Yeah, that’s a dumb idea, but this is turning out to be the dumbest airport you’ve ever been in so clearly anything is possible. So you make your way along this long hallway to nowhere still hoping that you’re heading in the right direction, there have been fewer signs at this point, when you reach the end which is dun dun duuuuuunnn! Another set of elevators! What. The. Eff. By this time the number of people you’ve caught up to in the long tunnel is SIGNIFICANTLY larger than the number of people you got out of the other elevators with and since there are only TWO elevators the math doesn’t work. So instead of waiting you decide to take the stairs. Does anyone know what ten seconds on an elevator equals in terms of building stories? A LOT. Because you think you’re smart not waiting for the elevator you’ve committed yourself to walking up five flights of stairs. And not big, wide stairs, no, these are one person going up, one person coming down stairs. These are no air conditioning stairs filled with people who also thought it would be faster than waiting for the elevators.
Finally, FINALLY!, you reach Terminal A and go check out the departure board where…your flight still has no gate. It won’t be for another 30 minutes that the gate assignment shows up but once it does – Gate A1 – you head over to wait. The gates in this part of Terminal A are set up very weirdly. The counter is in the middle of this long hallway and there is seating on either side but the actual entrance to the skybridge is back around the corner. While sitting there waiting for them to announce the boarding you realize you don’t hear many announcements except for quite a few final boarding calls. Whatever, you couldn’t be sitting any closer to the skybridge than if you were actually on it so it’s not really a big deal until you realize that suddenly everyone is in line (where the hell did they all come from??) and they’re boarding the plane. It’s not until you get up and walk over that you hear them say that only certain ticketed passengers should be in line to board first. Now, if you’ve ever flown to or within Italy you know that Italians disregard any kind of attempt at ordered boarding. You could announce each row individually and every Italian will get in line, that’s just how they do things. So it was no surprise to see all of the passengers in line to board even though they were clearly only looking for a certain group to go first. Since that was how it was going to go down you have three options: 1. you act like a good little American and you wait until they actually call your group of seats, 2. you just hop in line, but at the end so you’re boarding roughly when you should, or 3. you say “fuck it” and walk up to the front of the line and cut in. When in Rome.
The Advil PM has probably worn off by this time but the mental Olympics the Frankfurt Airport just put your mind through has rendered you almost brain dead. You find your seat and proceed to pass out for most of the 1.5 hour flight to Naples. Unfortunately you are lucky enough to wake up for the final approach and landing during which the plane felt like it was being piloted by a three year old on a Power Wheels, but you’ve made it to your destination and that’s all that matters. Now you just have to make sure you stay awake for the rest of the day so you don’t end up with horrible jet lag. Good luck with that, I’m going to take a nap.