In order to prenotare un volo (reserve a flight), I check the orario (schedule) online to find un volo diretto (a direct flight). I look for posti disponibili (seats available) in classe turistica. (economy class), business classe or prima classe (first class). I usually buy un volo di andata e ritorno (a round–trip flight) rather than un volo di sola andata (one-way ticket).
I prefer un posto vicino al finestrino (window seat); my very tall husband, un posto vicino al corridoio (aisle seat). Given life's uncertainties, I hope I don't have to annullare or cambiare il mio volo (cancel or change my flight).
As the date of my partenza (departure) approaches, I double-check the franchigia del bagaglio (luggage allowance), il mio passaporto (my passport) and the orario di partenza (time of departure). The Italian phrase for check-in time is l’orario per le procedure d’accettazione, but, understandably, even native speakers say “check-in.”
I like to arrive early, with my biglietto elettronico (e-ticket) or carta d’imbarco (boarding pass) and my bagaglio a mano (hand luggage). I stay in the sala d’attesa (waiting room) until it’s time to go to the cancello di imbarco (departure gate).
I’m relieved to hear the announcement that the plane is imbarco immediato (boarding now). I always worry about a ritardo (delay), especially if there’s a sciopero (strike)--whether of i controllori di volo (air traffic controllers), gli assistenti di volo (flight attendants), il personale di terra (ground crew) or i piloti (pilots).
On board I know I must allacciare la cintura di sicurezza (fasten my seatbelt) before decollo (take-off). The assistente di volo (flight attendant) offers a cuscino (pillow), coperta (blanket) and cuffie auricolari (headset) so I can listen to music or watch a movie. However, since it’s a long flight, I prefer to schiacciare un pisolino (take a little nap).
After atterraggio (landing) at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport (better known as Fiumicino for the nearby town named for a little river or fiume), I take a shuttle to the main terminal. I feel that I have truly arrived in Italy when I hear the announcement, “La navetta sta per arrivare.” (The shuttle—literally little ship—is about to arrive.)
In the ritiro bagagli (baggage claim) area, I look for a sign indicating my flight number and the luggage carousel. Usually I rent a carrello (cart) to help with my bags. Once I waited, and waited, and waited but la mia valigia non è mai arrivata a destinazione (my suitcase never arrived at the destination). That’s when I learned another essential travel phrase: La mia valigia è stata smarrita. (My suitcase has been lost.)
It turned up eventually, and I reminded myself that the rewards of travel outweigh its hassles. As Sant’Agostino (St. Augustine) observed very long ago, “Il mondo è un libro e quelli che non viaggiano ne leggono solo una pagina.” (“The world is like a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page of it.”)
Words and Expressions
agenzia di viaggio -- travel agency
viaggiare col cavollo di San Francesco -- to go on foot (on the horse of St. Frances)
viaggiare in un baule -- to travel in a trunk, that is, without seeing anything
fare un viaggio e due servizi -- to make one trip and two services or to kill two birds with one stoneDianne Hales is the author of LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language. Click here for more information on her "writer's studio" in Capri this fall.
Click below for the lyrics of a classic that still makes our spirits fly: