Due to a fuel pump issue on our United Boeing 777, the flight to Rome was two hours late on arrival at Roma Fiumicino airport. In smart travel advisor fashion, I had planned my train connections well in advance and with a three hour buffer. All of a sudden, given Italy’s reputation for delays and turbulence when it comes to train schedules, my journey became a high speed – high friction chase against the clock.
The plane landed at 10:19am and reached its gate in the satellite arm of terminal 3 at 10:25. Fortunately I was among the first to walk off and I made my way to the connector train. By 10:38 the first bags began to arrive. To avoid any further delay, I used the time while waiting for my bags to purchase my Leonardo Express ticket to Rome Termini where my ticketed train Frecciarossa 8418 was scheduled to depart at 11:35am. I realized that my journey would come down to seconds and every little bit of help would make a difference.
After a fast few minutes of walking, I squeezed on to the 11:08 Leonardo Express at the Fiumicino station. The platform attendant told us arrival 11:40 at Roma Termini which I knew would likely mean that I would miss my connection.
Punctually at 11:40, we pulled into Termini station. I grabbed my stuff and ran. As I was sprinting toward the connecting platform 8 rows further down, I saw that my train was still listed which gave me a shimmer of hope. As it turned out, FR8418 originated in Reggio di Calabria and had run a bit behind schedule itself which gave me the chance to catch it. Last to board before the whistle of the conductor cleared the train’s way, I breathed a sigh of relief.
The moral of this story, build enough buffer time between connections (be they flights, trains, ships) and never give up hope. my reward for endurance on this journey is a joyful reunion for Baby Jade’s first birthday.