Not all those who wander are lost!
If you are a travel aficionado you will agree with me that Travel teaches us a lot of patience. And it is not all about glamour and fun. It’s also missed flights, delayed connections, lost baggage and all things not so nice.
My last trip to South Africa on Ethiopian Airlines, I had one of the most jinxed experiences ever, although a memorable one.
Delhi to Mumbai on 1 Sep 2019 at 1300hrs, and we need to get to the airport 2hrs prior, so technically, my journey started at 1030hrs on the 1 Sep on Air India. Just when I reached the boarding gate I am informed that the flight is delayed by an hour which stretches to 2 hours and my entire schedule upon arrival at Cape Town seems to be going for a toss. I try to remain calm and take it in my stride.
I get to the Addis Ababa airport by 0130hrs in time for my flight at 0430hrs for the onward connection to Cape Town.
At the time of checking in, we are informed that the flight is delayed by 1.5hrs which subsequently stretches to 2.5hrs! Phew!
So after a night of being awake and like a homeless dog sitting from one chair to another and living in ambiguity about the actual time of departure. Interestingly because the boarding pass said 0640 departure and the announcement board said 0600hrs departure. So I decide to tread to the boarding gate and find out the real story. Apparently, 0600 n 0640 both were estimated times and the airline personnel weren’t sure either of what the exact departure time was either. They were waiting for the aircraft to arrive n then take a call.
Nevertheless, I did check with them on what happens to my immediate connection to Cape Town which was after an hour and they say many passengers are getting onto that flight n you will not miss your connection because they have already made arrangements for you to be able to make it.
So I board the flight to Addis Ababa and arrive 1 hour late. The pilot was kind enough to cover up for the lost time while in air. ? How sweet of him to do that.
So when we do arrive at the airport and wonder how do we get the connection. We are treated to a surprise! The flight has taken off and there is no other flight that gets into Cape Town the same day!! What a brilliant piece of information and the beginning of mayhem. 60 odd passengers arrived from various countries and have onward connections and no flights!! The chaos that followed was unbelievable!
So after 4 hours of standing without a sip of water or a single morsel of food and debating and trying to find a solution to get into the mother city in the quickest possible way.
We did find a way out that:
1. Either take an afternoon flight to Johannesburg and connect to Cape Town at midnight.
2. Stay the night at Adis and take the direct connection next morning at 8am. But that would also mean loss of 2 working days and all the meetings scheduled. Plus on your head one always wants to get to the destination asap.
So I opted for option 1. There were a lot of other passengers too but 5 of us opted for the afternoon flight onwards to Johannesburg.
2 South Africans, 2 Indians and 1 British.
But life isn’t as simple as we expect it to be and life surely does throw its curveballs on n off… Now Whattttt you’d say…
We have exactly 1hour n 15m to connect to the flight and we have to get to the terminal, clear immigration and customs clearance, collect our baggage, check-in and then board the flight… All in 1 hour 15m! As if this wasn’t enough…
So the next curveball….the current flight to Johannesburg is delayed by 20m! Can it get any more stressful??
Currently 36hrs into flight hopping n still not reached my destination. I am famished but hopeful that I’d get there soon.
Ok so now I’m not getting surprised anymore the flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town was delayed by 20m and as shared earlier we had a total of 1 hour and 15m in hand for the transit. So once we landed, we fleed and how! As if to save our lives and rushed thru immigration. Now at the baggage carousel, we are told by the airline staff we can either board the flight or take our bags. Both are not happening. The bags can come on the next day… Well, you’ve gotta do what you gotta do! No two thoughts we rushed to the airline counter for check-in. The airline counter was a different terminal altogether so yeah… Managed to get the boarding pass. Yours truly was the last one to board the plane.
Finally onboard the flight to Cape Town. Fingers crossed for the bags to reach on time before I leave the city.
But in the bargain, I did make some good friends and we were each other’s emotional support and anchor to get thru this ordeal. Sometimes, God just sends you guardian angels to be with you as as emotional support thru an ordeal, we may never see them again but they were together in this providing the right support that was needed at that hour!
As they say…. Life teaches us lessons as every step of the way…