Sunday, August 2, 2009

Drama at the airport

The check in line at the airport extended halfway through the departure hall.  I waited an hour to get my turn to check in.  I'd checked the weight requirements earlier in the day and had been so excited to see that they'd increased the weight limit to 30kg.  I packed a box full of all my presents and books I'd finished reading to hit 29, practically perfect :)

However, apparently it is 30kg/bag everywhere in the world EXCEPT Africa - yet another example of Africa being shafted... For Africa it is 30kg - 1 bag! So, instead of being 16 kg under, I was 14 kg over. I asked the check in lady for the excess baggage cost and was told 750 PHP - approximately 15 USD.  Not something I wanted to pay, but I really had no option.  I went to pay it and was told it was $700 USD!!!!!

So, I asked what other options I had, if I could bring my carry-on suitcase on board with me as one extra hand luggage, or ask another passenger to carry a few books for me, etc.  The manager just told me my only option was to get off the flight and fly the next day or pay the $700.  I told her neither was an option so we needed to find some other way.

To compress the next two hours of my life.  I spoke with two managers who repeated over and over and over that I had to get off the flight or pay the $700.  According to them, there was no phone the airline had which I could use, there was no baggage storage place, there was no other way to send luggage except for their way, and I am an idiot for assuming on an international flight that I'm allowed to check two pieces of luggage... especially when the airlines is Emirates which advertised online for increasing baggage allowance to 30kg and is not a budget airline.  I should have assumed that it was 30kg total which is a fraction of what even most budget airlines offer!

Spoke is really putting it rather politely, they yelled.  I began by asking lots of questions, then became firm that they must have a phone, baggage storage and options because every other airport in the world does, then resorted to crying and finally gave up and went to use a payphone to call Erika and ask if she could pick up my box.

Magically, as soon as they had won they had a phone which I could use, baggage storage to leave my box in, there were options to send it cargo which is much cheaper, etc!

I left my box there, didn't sign anything, and sprinted towards the gate.  I was the last passenger in the airport and everyone there kept telling me to run as I made my way towards the gate, apparently even the cleaning people knew of my plight. 

I was crying as I got on board and had already vowed never to fly Emirates again despite all previous positive experiences.  The moment I stepped on board all the crew were so kind.  They made me sit down right by them, brought me water, a face towel, juice.  

Throughout the entire flight they kept checking up on me to ensure I was ok. The crew from business class brought me their snacks, mango juice and even a towel shaped like a duck with a red ribbon around it's neck.

I told the crew why I was so upset, and one of them said he wished he'd been there as he could have taken some of my weight for me.  I'd asked the manager earlier if I could request a passenger who was under weight to carry some of my books or something and was told that would put me in prison. So yeah, two hours of lying, yelling managers and now I need to pay to get my luggage back to the USA - thank you jerks!

So, now I just need to track down the two managers and do my best to get them demoted, fired or in intensive re-training courses.