*Warning… this is a long and boring post but it does give info on departing from the Venice Marco Polo Airport and the steps you need to take/time allotment when arriving back in the US from an International flight.
I caught the 7:25 vaporetto heading to Piazzale Roma. It was a pretty empty vaporetto, which was nice.
Photos of my vaporetto ride from the San Stae stop to the Piazzale Roma stop…
Once at Piazzale Roma, it took me a few minutes to locate the ATVO bus for the airport. I bought a roundtrip ticket for this ride back when I first arrived in Venice at the start of my trip. That way, I would not have to deal with finding the place to purchase a ticket for the bus ride. I put my luggage below and boarded the bus (at 7:43). The bus departed at 7:50. It was a 20 minute ride to the airport.
When we arrived at the airport, I followed the crowd into the bottom floor of the airport. First order of business was stopping at the very busy bar to order my last caffè macchiato of my trip. I was amazed at how delicious it was and it was from an airport bar! Italians take their coffee seriously!
I was not sure where to go for check in but for some reason everything looked very familiar. I went up to the information counter to ask for help. It was at that point that I realized I was down in the arrivals area and that information counter was where I purchased my roundtrip ATVO bus ticket to/from Piazzale Roma.
I was told that I needed to take the escalator outside that goes upstairs for check in. Once upstairs, I found a spot to eat a nectarine Katia gave me and a Kind Bar I took with me from home. I then found the United Airlines area. Someone looked at my ticket info on my phone and directed me to the appropriate line.
I looked up at the departure board and saw that my plane was delayed. My plane was supposed to leave at 10:55 – but was delayed. I guess I did not need to get to the airport so early after all. I still would rather be early though than late and stressed out.
I got in the short line and waited my turn. Before reaching the counter, I was asked a bunch of security questions by a very nice woman. She started out speaking Italian to me. She asked how I learned Italian and was quite complementary. Personally I think my grammar is horrible but somehow my accent is not a typical American accent and I think that is why I get compliments. We talked for a bit about where I have studied Italian and my time in Italy. Eventually when the questions became very serious security questions, I repeated them to make sure I understood and she switched to English. I wanted to make sure I understood just what she was asking.
The check in process at the counter went quickly. I forget how much my bag weighed but it was way under the maximum allowed weight. Going through security was quick. I did take out my Anker battery and little flashlight as one of those items is what I am pretty sure set off my backpack search when departing from the US. I was told I did not have to take anything out, even liquids! I explained what happened the last time I went through security and the man said it was fine. I also did not have to take off shoes my shoes in this security line.
I believe it was around 9:00 am once checked in and through security to the waiting area. The entire process was pretty fast and would have been faster if I didn’t initially go down to the bottom level. I now had lots of time to kill, and even more with my delayed plane.
I looked in all of the shops, walked around, and eventually decided to stand in line to order a caprese sandwich. As I was paying, I realized that one of my two SD cards were not in my little change purse. I took them out to keep on me in case somehow I lost my bag. I was in a panic! Half of my photos were gone with that missing card. I thought perhaps it dropped out when getting some coins out of my purse and fell under the counter. People around me helped me look. Finally, I found it inside my little pacsafe wallet I wear across my body in a different part of the bag. bag – fell to a different part of the bag. What a relief!
I went to in search of a seat to eat my sandwich. There are not enough seats in this airport, but I eventually found one. As I finished up my sandwich, I heard my gate being announced. The gates, at least for the international flights are in a different area than the shops.
My boarding group was number 2. As I reached my gate, there were 2 gates/doors very close to each other. I saw that they were already boarding group 3 at the gate to the left! I quickly got in the line and showed the guy my ticket. He was standing a few feet in front of the little check in desk. Just as I was about to walk down that long walkway from the airport building to the airplane, I looked up and saw a sign saying Delta and Atlanta! OMG! I almost flew to Atlanta! If no one was in the seat I was assigned and I somehow I did not realize that the plane I would be sitting in was not a United plan, I really could have flown to Atlanta!
I turned back around and mentioned to the guy that just checked my ticket that this was not my flight. He apologized over and over. I was not upset at him although that certainly was a big glitch in security! That guy felt really bad. I bet he won’t make that mistake again.
As I waited in the correct boarding group 2 line, I waited with many anxious and at times rude people. Even though there clearly were boarding numbers placed in the area, people with a higher number insisted on standing in the front. Some people made me pretty ashamed to be an American. One group of people started to hassle a family speaking Spanish telling them they needed to get back in the correct line assuming they could not be in boarding group 1 or 2. In the end, they were there to board when people with disabilities were allowed to board as their father was in a wheelchair. It made me pretty sad to witness this.
The night before when checking in for my flight, I changed my seat to an aisle seat in a middle row of three seats The middle seat was empty and I was hoping that it would stay empty. Lucky me! For once it worked! The food was not very good. It was much better on the way over. One would think that the food would be better from an airport leaving Italy but I wonder if the food we were served came from Newark instead since my plane stops in Italy for a couple of hours and then returns to Newark. My flight was very comfortable. I watched a bunch of movies including a really good movie called … In guerra per amore (At war for love).
The pilot told us that we would make up some time in flight and we did. We arrived at 2:45 (original arrival time was 2:20). Of course we than had to wait to taxi to the gate so by the time I got off the plane it was about 3pm. It’s a good thing I changed my original second flight from Newark to Denver that departed at 3:40 to the next flight that departed at 5pm. I would have never made that original flight!
First stop when departing was the Immigration area. There were signs everywhere saying NO CELL PHONE USE. I stopped to use the bathroom before heading to the line. Before leaving for Italy, I downloaded the new Mobile Passport app. When I arrived at the Immigration area, I was able to walk right up to the special station dedicated for those with the Mobile Passport app. There was no one else in this line. The only reason I had to wait at all was because the passport control person was helping someone from the next line over since no one was in his line. When it was my turn, I was asked my occupation, I said I was a retired preschool special education teacher and then I was sent right through.
The next stop was the baggage area. I started to panic a little as it seemed to take forever for my bag to come out and everyone else I recognized from my flight already located their bags. It probably was my luggage was put on first, arriving so early at the Venice airport. My bag finally came out.
I used the same app when going through the next area – Customs. There were two guys there and one was showing the other guy how the Mobile Passport worked. No wait at this area either and I was waived right through. What I liked the best about using the Mobile Passport app was that you do not have to list what you purchased during your trip. I did not purchase any food this time because when returning after my last trip from Italy, Customs searched through all of my bags because I brought back food with me, even though it was packaged food. This trip, I did not buy any food because I did not want to be delayed in Customs. Next time, I’m buying food again!
After leaving Customs, my next stop was the line to recheck my bag. When I got there, I saw a HUGE pile of luggage just sitting there. I wondered then if I was going to see my bag again later that day.
I arrived in concourse B and my next plane departed from concourse C. After rechecking my bag, the next step was to find the train/shuttle that takes you to another concourse. A very nice man from India was also looking for the same train. We searched together for the train/shuttle area. The compartment we stood in was very hot and crowded! I was very glad that the ride was quick.
Not done yet! One I arrived at concourse C, I had to go through another TSA line! I didn’t realize until I looked at my ticket that I had precheck. YAY!! Even so the line was long and took a while. Again, I took out my Anker battery and flashlight and once again had to explain why I wanted to have them screened separately. The woman in front of me was wearing huge boots. She had to take them off even though she was in the precheck line and they searched her bags once she got through the x-ray part of TSA.
FINALLY! I was done with all of the steps and in the area to get to my gate. The time was 3:40pm/the exact time my connecting flight departed. It took 55 minutes in total from when my plane landed in Newark to when I was in the area to find my gate for my next plan. Take into account though that the only line that was long for me was the TSA line and it was the precheck line. I assume the regular lines, which were located in a different area of the airport would have been longer. Also, I had a bit of a wait for my luggage. It’s also important to factor in a possible delayed flight when looking at connection times when making a plane reservation. I might have made my original 3:40 connection if my plane from Venice was not delayed but I definitely would have missed it because my flight was delayed.
I got to my gate and waited for my plane to board. We were warned that the plane was full, put your bag under your seat, only people with certain tickets could use the overhead compartments, yada, yada, yada! This plane had a configuration of 3 seats and 3 seats. When I boarded the plane, the seat in the middle was empty. Again, the night before when I checked in, I switched to this seat, hoping that seat would stay empty and it did! I don’t know why they were telling us that our flight was full. There were lots of rows with empty seats. The guy sitting by the window was very nice. He was returning from a wedding in Alba! What are the chances! We had a nice conversation during most of the flight. He was very interesting and has done a lot of traveling all over the world. This plane had much more room than the flight I took from Denver to Newark with the same configuration.
We landed half an hour early (7 pm). My aunt & uncle were there waiting for me in the baggage area. We stopped at Whole Foods for dinner. It was a very long ride home. I arrived at my house at 11:55pm!
I had a wonderful time in Italy! I am so glad I was able to spend time with friends again this trip. The Friuli-Venezia Giulia was a fun new region to visit. I really loved my time in Treviso and Modena. My visit to the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche (ceramic museum) in Faenza was a definite highlight. I also enjoyed my time on the Lake of Iseo.
And last but not least… the food!!! OMG the food!!!
Trip report done!!