With a couple years of travel experience under my belt, there are some things I like to think I’ll always get right. But today I learnt a valuable lesson that proved me wrong.
I was in Rome and travelling to Berlin. Always looking to minimise costs, I booked a budget airline that had a flight leaving at 7:10am. I searched up the best way to get to Fiumicino airport, and the Leonardo Express came up. Right from their official website, this is what it says: “With trains departing every 30 minutes Leonardo express non-stop train service takes you – every day of the year – from Leonardo da Vinci Airport to the centre of Rome in only half an hour.”
Let me just paraphrase that for clarification purposes: “Our non-stop train service runs every 30 minutes every day of the year”.
Naturally, my assumption was that the train service was 24 hours. After all, it says non-stop every 30 minutes. Also, when I bought the ticket from a staffed service desk the day before, the attendant told me it runs every half hour; at 20-past and 10-to.
So you can imagine my anger to arrive at Termini at 4am, to find the station in lockdown mode with people sleeping outside the doors. Fan-fucking-tastic.
The information I had came from the official website for the Leonardo Express. I double checked the website. There is no timetable because a timetable is not required; the train runs every half-hour, simple. But that little bit of extremely important information – the bit about it not being 24 hours, and the time of the first and last trains – is not available on the official fucking website. After some post-purchase searching, the first website to indicate first and last trains is a hostel website, followed by other tourist information websites. But not the official site.
I walked around Termini and luckily found an airport bus stop. I asked around and found out the first train was at 5:50am, way too late for me. So I was forced to take the bus or miss my flight.
The mistake I made was assuming that the official website would provide the correct information, and in turn assuming that I wouldn’t need to check alternate sources. I was wrong on both counts, and from now on I’ll be triple-checking transport modes before I buy tickets. For no matter what I do for the rest of my life, I’ll never get back the €15 I paid for the Leonardo Express ticket I couldn’t use.