Before this flight we had a total of 6 others cancelled, cancelled with an email and text to say “contact your travel company”. So the nerves really were totally on edge leading up to this flight as the texts/emails came at any time of the day or night. On receiving the notification we had to spring into action and find alternative flights and transfers. Then to speak with Pakistan and start everything again.
6 times, each time flights and availability becoming increasingly harder to find and of course more expensive.
On arriving today, at 05:00 we had to wait away from the departure lounge, not knowing if our flight would exist or if we would even fly.
07:50 we were able to start the awkward wait in line edging closer to a desk, and out of no where a portable desk was dragging in front of us with staff exclaiming if our final destination was not Turkey we must go through further checks. Further checks were; reason for travel, destination, sponsors, insurance, PCR test, although terrifying we passed all checks and were told to just forward to “bag drop”.
Whilst waiting another 30/40mins we took our bags to the drop and handed over the tickets, the flight tickets already given to us, permission already agreed……
After our airline employee took our details away 20mins of waiting at the simple bag drop we were told “As you arrive at your final destination at 11:35 and your PCR test certificate is valid until 11:10 you can not fly” it was like a massive punch to the gut and both Pete and I were literally speechless.
Our tickets were cancelled and baggage disregarded.
Now, we all know that folk following rules, especially those under pressure were unlikely to change their mind if we shouted and screamed so we followed her instructions to the “General Enquiry desk”.
At this stage I was at the closest I had ever been on this past year of just giving in, just handing the cards in and leaving. The look on Petes face pretty much said the same utter, utter disappointment with all that we had done in preparation to fail with a 25min technicality would be heartbreaking.
We patiently waited inline to chat with “Kevin” to see if he could rebook ASAP. Pete searched a location for PCR testing close to us.
Kevin looked puzzled and questioned our final destination and if we were leaving an airport (EVER) for that destination obviously we told Kevin exactly what he wanted to hear, and he asked for proof, boarding card for Pakistan? Pakistani airlines confirmation? Anything.
To this I stepped aside and contacted our Pakistani team…..
With ninja like efficiency and military precision Sakhi returned something, now if I was a betting man, I would have said Sakhi was literally typing the documents as we requested them, one after another the documents pinged’ into my email and subsequent Kevins hands.
After about 1 million hours Kevin authorised us to return to the check in desk and say “tell them Kevin said it’s ok” WTF!
With our flight leaving at 11:20 we finally cleared check in, bag searches, more security and ran to our gate for 11:05.
This is not the start we had hoped for, but let’s be honest it’s so very fitting for the way this has been so far.
We have just arrived in another country to start it all again.
More to follow