Sometimes you just have to write…


Kenya Airways flight to London, August 15, 17:45

Last night we were given boarding passes to the morning flight to Amsterdam. Since it was about 02:00 in the morning by the time that happened, we decided to stay in the airport, since, including the time travelling back and forth to and from a hotel, we would still only get about three hours of sleep.

So we settled into armchairs in the Kenya Airways frequent flyer lounge. Very uncomfortable, and no one got more than about three hours of sleep. I got much less. At 05:30, a Kenya Airways employee came in, switched on the lights, and unceremoniously kicked us out. Apparently the lounge is only for gold and platinum members, and she wanted rid of us NOW.

We went back down to the gate that the morning flight would leave from, and found out that, despite the fact that they had issued us boarding passes, we would not be able to get on the flight. Apparently, someone had decided that today’s morning flight was cancelled, and instead they were running yesterday’s flight. So only people with a ticket for the August 14 morning flight would be accepted on the flight, and any free seats would be given to people originally scheduled for the August 15 morning flight. Got that? Does it make sense to you? Me neither.

Of course, everyone holding a boarding pass was outraged. There was one who went back to the transfer desk and somehow managed to talk them into issuing him a boarding pass for yesterday, and he was allowed on the flight!
So we figured that the logical thing was that they would do the same thing with the evening flight: run yesterday’s flight, so we’d be on it. Of course, they weren’t planning that, and the evening flight was already booked. They said they’d get us on the morning flight today, but seeing that they said the same thing yesterday, we were just a bit skeptical.

Anyway, we spent the whole morning waiting around to “see what they could do” with the boarding passes that we now had, i.e. to see if they could get us on the evening flight, or any other flight out of there. There was also a flight leaving in the afternoon to London and one later to Paris, but apparently they’re required to book us all the way to the original destination, which, in this case, was Amsterdam, and they couldn’t seem to book the onward connections. Why, I don’t know.

The group, of course, was tired and somewhat divided at this point. Six of us wanted to go to a hotel and get some sleep, while the other three wanted to stay in the airport and argue our way onto one of the flights to anywhere in Europe. I was with the three who wanted to stay and keep trying. I just couldn’t see any reason to trust that the same thing wouldn’t happen tomorrow, since this morning’s flight was “cancelled” and all of those people would come back tomorrow at the same time as we would and try to get on the flight, and so would the people originally booked for tomorrow morning’s flight. This could go on for days!

Well, I think we were right. We’re on a flight to London right now. Of course, the ordeal isn’t over: we were told in Kenya that they would reserve a connecting flight, but there wasn’t time to do that before the flight left. They said the people in London would help us when we get there. So we don’t know what flight or when, or even whether it exists. But we figure that it’ll be a lot easier to get to Amsterdam from London than from Nairobi on strike.


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This entry was posted on August 15, 2009 by in Burundi and tagged , , , .
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