Sunday, August 08, 2010

My dream is to fly over the rainbow, so high

I like this song . You may find the original one here. Yves La Rock


When I was a kid, like most of us, I used to look high up in the sky at aeroplanes and wonder when I would get to fly in a plane and when I would get to travel to other countries.
Used to dream of flying in plane, served unlimited chocolates by hot air-hostesses, flanked by clouds on both the sides of the plane, look down at houses and lilliputs through the window......

Little did I know that air travel is not all hassle free thing.
As of today I can say I am a frequent flier, but not of any particular airline.


 
Just for the numbers sake, I took around 60 flights so far starting from the first one in 2003( Anil,Meghamsh,Anurag,Keerthi & Bhargav should remember this for pushing me into the plane as I was sick then). And I've seen about 6% of the globe and been to around 18 countries.


Now coming to the interesting part, some of the incidents I faced. I can bet I've experienced all types of issues with air travel except to the fatal ones (touchwood)!. Some are to be blamed on me also.


Flight delay and wait at airports.
Itinerary:- Hyderabad->Chennai->Muscat->Riyadh.
Riyadh Airport Gulf Air

This was in the year 2006 when I was going to Saudi for my onsite project at Riyadh. A direct flight generally takes 4hrs(Emirates). But the great TCS booked me this long itinerary just to show off their loyalty towards Gulf Air(cheap flight). My luggage was a huge suitcase, 1 backpack and a laptop bag. This was my first time going out of the country and was going alone as the other person who was supposed to travel with me dropped out at the last moment. And that too it was to gulf land so there were butterflies in my stomach. Took a Kingfisher airline at Hyderabad Begumpet airport to Chennai and reached at around 8pm. My next flight was at 4am. I sat there in airport watching at people moving in and out, for me every minute was like an hour. That was one of the most boring moments in my life. I sat till around 10pm cursing TCS everynow and then, then comes the nature call.. I had to relieve myself urgently..had this whole luggage in front of me and cant leave it also...kept holding it for long time and when I realised I cannot any more I took the trolley kept my luggage on it and pushed it till the toilet, then I discover the toilet is so narrow cant take the trolley inside.. I looked around desperately..at one moment I thought I will leave it there..but somehow dint, I thought of asking someone to watch my luggage and was looking for reliable people around....then suddenly I spotted a cloak room far outside the airport..phew~..I went out showed the security the eticket.. dumped my luggage in the cloak room..kept my lappy with me..obviously...felt relieved....thanked GOD for saving me :)..the flight was delayed by 3hrs..it took off at 7am..was awake all the time..after reaching Muscat again there was delay with the next flight..around 6hrs. Finally when I reached Riyadh..I realised it took me 30hrs to reach that place.

Note:- Never ever board a Gulf Air flight. It's worse than a red bus(literally). All kind of mass and cheap people board the flight. By cheap I dont mean the people are poor. They behave insanely. Trying to touch the airhostess, throw the food stuff down, keep the used plates along the passage,fight with airhostess for an extra drink..etc..

Sleeping in airport
Itinerary:- Kolkata->Hyderabad
Kingfisher Kolkata Airport
This was in the year 2008 when I was in my first year in IIM Calcutta, I was coming home to Hyderabad. I booked the Kingfisher flight which was at morning 6:50am. The airport is 50kms away from the campus, so we generally leave around 4am by taxi. Since I was traveling alone I dint want to take chance so I kept awake the whole night, at around 3 am called the taxiwalla, and reached the airport around 5am. Got my boarding pass and the security check was also done. The area near the gate was crowded with people waiting to board. I saw there was still 1hr time for boarding. I somehow managed to get a seat. Was looking at the clock..and in no time I was in dreams..I heard an announcement that the flight was delayed by 15mins. To this day also am not sure if it was in my dream or in real. So then I thought, ok I can sleep for some more time.....

Kingfisher Kolkata Airport

After a long time...I woke up from my deep sleep and it was the pin drop silence which disturbed me..... There was no one around me...Then I remembered that I had a flight to take. I dint find the kingfisher flight in the charts also...ran to one kingfisher crew asked him about the flight. That man said the flight already left and I could see the frustration in his face, he yelled at me asking where I was all the time when the announcements were going on. I said "I was sleeping here(pointing at the seat)" and asked them how could they miss me. Then there was another crew member with a sorry face. I asked them, "now what? Can I get another flight immediately?"...At that moment..there was one girl(Kingfisher crew) standing at that gate.. shouting at me to run fast.. I ran fast towards the gate..then she told me get into the bus immediately..she ticked on my boarding pass..and I jumped into the bus..It dropped me next to the Kingfisher flight and left..... I was a like lilliput standing all alone next to this giant airbus plane.... Then after 5mins arrived the stairs, the captain opened the door for me. It was one embarrassing moment for me. I just avoided everyone staring at me.....could see some awkward faces...and murmurs..aaah wwoo...I just sat at my seat..slept till the breakfast arrived..and in no time we reached hyderabad..and even till then..I couldn't believe that I actually managed to take the flight.
Ok the story is not yet over...
In Hyd airport I went to the toilet..there was a middle aged person wearing ..flowery beach shirt ...gave a wicked smile to me..saying..
"I know you are the naughty boy"..


We all know that things go wrong once in a while, and its perfectly natural. But not every time. The following incidents happened to me in all succession and every time I prayed ..not this time atleast...                                       
May be Murphy's Law is proved again true.


Wrong boarding pass
Itinerary:- Hyderabad->Mumbai
Hyderabad Airport Jet Airways
As many of you might not know I had been to Nice, France for my exchange program during my second year in IIM Calcutta. The first leg of this whole journey was this Jet Lite flight from Hyd to Mumbai. This time I had someone accompanying me. Having traveled along with me even he got to experience the adventures :D. We both checked in our luggage and then moved to the waiting area. We were discussing about our travel plans and all other funny moments in the last term. Then came this announcement for my friend. I was surprised why he was called. I told him that I will hold his hand luggage till he comes back. He then came back and told it was actually an announcement for me but they called him. The reason being the boarding pass issued to me was actually of someone else. I then looked into my boarding pass and realized that it wasn't mine. The Jet Airways lady started blaming me for this..asking me how I could take someone else's boarding pass..without even checking the name..I was so angry at that..felt like this..
Tom Cat Angry

I gave her back properly and also suggested them to keep a notice board next to the boarding pass counter suggesting people to check their names as they are inefficient enough to make mistakes. Poor lady tried with a wrong person. She was later sorry for her behavior and took me to the security area again and got me a new boarding pass. And the same lady was there when we were about to board, she suggested(unsolicited) in a friendly manner though to check the boarding pass for the subsequent flights..
I told.."don't worry it is not Jet Airways.."

Note: People try to act smart by blaming others to cover up their mistakes.




Tussle with security, flight delay and missed transit flight
Itinerary:-Mumbai->Istanbul
Turkish Airlines
We reached mumbai airport at around 10pm , took the shuttle to Intl airport, took the trolley from outside and entered the airport. Our next flight was a Turkish Airlines flight and was scheduled at 4am, so we thought of sitting in a waiting hall and eat the food we got from home. The JetLite flight was a low cost airline so nothing was served on board. There was a glass wall separating the waiting hall and the airport hall, we pushed our trolley outside and was stopped by the security who suggested us to go out through the next gate..and the next one suggested to go by another..and same continued..and last one told go by the first..we were frustrated..went to airport manager's office and asked his explanation for this meaningless act, he then told the security were under huge pressure and he provided us seats to sit. We sat at that place.had our dinner..and waited till 1am..that's when the boarding pass counter opened.. checked in our luggage..got the immigration stamp etc..and were waiting for the flight, then comes the announcement that the flight is delayed by another hr. We had just one hr gap between the arrival of this flight and departure of the transit flight but we weren't worried much because the connecting flight was also Turkish and so we thought it might also be delayed like this. Once we arrived at Istanbul, at the transit gate it was very crowded. We saw on the charts it was mentioned as last call for flight to Nice. We were tensed at that moment. The person at the gate told us to get the boarding pass and that had a very long queue.. Then we discovered many in that queue lost their flights as well. We in our Indian style..skipped the queue..somehow managed to get in front of the personnel. The lady with a shock on our face told that the flight left(as if we didn't know) . I told it was because of Turkish airlines we lost the flight. Then she told that they'll provide us the same flight for the next day and the stay will be provided at airport hotel. I said "nothing doing, we have our orientation the next day and cannot miss that". Then she told "Ok Sir, we'll provide you a Turkish airlines flight from Istanbul to Paris". I said "fine..but I have to got Nice..who'll provide me that.." She said.."Ok sir we'll provide another flight from Paris to Nice"...we were excited that we get to see the Paris airport and also the Air France flight from Paris to Nice. Then before leaving I told we missed our lunch because of them. Immediately she provided 8Euro voucher each. Happy that we were compensated for the wait.

Now at that moment one thing was bugging me in my mind ...???
What If
==
To be continued.....

14 comments:

  1. Made for a really interesting read. How about ur latest flight experience to Doha?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's fun to read your blogs, it certainly is an interesting read... looking forward to the next part!

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOLsss...some 'events' there!
    Doha mein zyada kaam nahi hain na??

    ReplyDelete
  4. i hate flying, and reading your post makes it worse.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, that's really terrible flying experiences. And, a really long post too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Arvind and @Dinesh thanks buddy

    @Vinnie I knew u wld say that..

    @wisedonkey hehe..that means the post's purpose is achieved

    @Rachna.. ya very long one..compensated it for my long pause for so many years.

    ReplyDelete
  7. hey man ,

    terrible experiences and you seem to be obssessed with movies !!!

    are you ?

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. @nikki..
    no am not obsessed..I dont have any other option in this alienland..

    and yes some terrible experiences and some more to come.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey! I am Sonali, community admin at http://Travelwell.in. We have got an exciting contest for Nature lovers and travelers. If you have had an unusual journey, with interesting, practical ways of how you travelled eco-friendly, we invite you to share your experiences in not more than 1200 words. Perhaps your story could add to efforts in conserving this irreplaceable mountain system.rnTo participate log ontohttp://ecotrail.in You could win Hiking Gear from WWF-India and get featured in Lonely Planet Magazine India.rnThanks!

    ReplyDelete
  10. hy i am chiranjit,i love fling, and airport,

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is very good, talking about your travelling expirience I'd like to read some more of your Blogs....

    ReplyDelete
  13. Booking Buddy is the biggest travel search website, where you can compare travel deals from the big travel booking agencies.

    ReplyDelete

I welcome brickbats as well..so hit me hard with your comments..