Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Beam me down Scottie

I was scheduled to leave NBI at 3pm on Monday 12 get to Dubai 11pm, catch a flight to JFK in NY at 2 am get to NY at around 11 am and catch a connecting flight to Philadelphia at 2pm for a 45 minute flight. And as consideration for this change in location Emirates demanded like 110K (What I am now is not even broke, I two levels below broke, I have to look into liquidating my pension).

Things did not work out as planned. At some point on Monday morning my bro informed me that the Dubai airport was closed to all incoming and outgoing flights. Since I was in the CBD I passed by Emirates and they confirmed that the airport was indeed closed and they were in the process of trying to book me on alternative flights and they would give me a call as soon as they had a new itinerary. At around 2pm they had not called so I went back and this time they confirmed that the airport had been re-opened and although they had booked me on an 11pm flight from NBI they had not confirmed flights for the rest of the trip. I asked if I could postponed the whole trip for a few days until everything got sorted since I had no desire to spend an unkonwn period of time in Dubai but they threatened that if I did so they would have to charge me a 'cancellation' fee.

Got to the airport at around 9 pm and found a really long Emirates queue. It was obvious that they had booked the guys who were supposed to take the 11 and 3 o'clock flights on this flight. Once I checked in they informed me that the flight would be delayed until around 2 am, but I was not to worry since I could have dinner at some restaurant as I waited. I would actually have preferred them calling me and telling me to show up at midnight instead of making me hang around some lousy restaurant for a few hours.

We got to Dubai at around 9am since the flight from NBI actually left at 3 am and not at 2 as they had promised. I made my way to the transfer desk where a long queue had already formed. The line was not moving they were taking around an hour to sort out a single person. Four hours later, we were still on the queue then some flight from UK landed and the queue got even longer. Finally the speed of service, improved, they increased the number and in my view the quality of people behind the counter and things started moving faster. After nearly five hours they managed to book me on a 2 am flight. I dont understand how the airline business works but is it unreasonable to expect that since they new we had all boarded a plane in Nairobi and could not possibly disappear in the twilight zone or change our minds about our final destinations that they would have sorted out our flights by the time we got to Dubai? Anyway, they also gave me vouchers to a hotel where I could have meals and freshen up as I waited for my flight. That was very kind of them but the only problem was since I had been on the queue for around five hours and my luggage was tagged to go although the way to Philadelphia there was no chance of me getting my baggage in Dubai.

The hotel was really nice. I now know what five star really means. This guys had those flat lcd screen hang on the wall tellies in every room. Ndawaonesha picha nikirudi.

I left the hotel at around midnight and since the shuttle that they use to take people to the airport was late they hooked me and some British man with a chauffer driven Lincoln Townace to take us to the airport. Enyewe for a guy who drives a small Toyota taking a ride in that gari was significant.

Back at Dubai airport I had to go through the whole process of checking in again and so had to pass through metal detectors again. By this point I had decided that it was better to risk my jeans falling down than have to keep taking off my belt and so I had stashed it in my hand luggage. At the rate things are going to fly one will have to wear some special tight fitting orange overall with not pockets.

After spending 13 hours crumpled up on a small seat we finally got to JFK. Immigration and customs was another story. There was some cop kind of person (immigration, homeland security etc) walking up down the immigration queue selecting guys at random asking some questions and and examining their papers, Nazi style. There was a black guy four people infront me and another one around three people behind me. The 'cop' stopped the three of us. What made this even more suprising was that the plane having come from Dubai there were enough Arab looking people on the queue and I would have expected they posed a bigger risk than some black guys.

JFK is so large that I had to take a train to the terminal that where I was to take my last connecting flight. We finally boarded the plane at around 3pm and the difference between the large 777 I had used from Dubai and the 30 something sitter that they were using for the local flight was amazing.

I could not find my luggage at Philadelphia and considering I had been wearing the same clothes for three days (I left home on Monday and got to PHL on Wednesday) this was the last thing I wanted to hear. They took down my address and phone number and indicated that they would deliver it if they found it. Alternatively I could file a refund claim after 24 hours which may take 72 hours to resolve. I must have done some good things in my life coz at they got my bags and delivered them to me on Wednesday night.

My sis has gotten better and is going back to work kesho. So I will have to find something to keep my self busy for the rest of the month.


Blogger Princess said...

Wow..what an ordeal!!! Glad your sis is feeling better!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 1:40:00 AM  

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