Thursday, November 01, 2007

Namibia Delayed

I am a horrible blogger who doesn’t post often enough. And I’m sorry.

Now that we have that out of the way, let me get started on my much-delayed blogs about our fabulous trip to Namibia. Actually, I can’t even start with that since the tale of this October vacation must begin with the horrible flight from Nairobi to Johannesburg.

Before I get too far into that story, let me fill you in on a bit of Jo’Burg mythology. The airport in this South African city is famous for things going missing from people’s suitcases. According to some people, they even find things that don’t even belong to them when they finally open their cases after transiting through this airport. This is not me being mean or telling tales out of school either. Unfortunately, we see news stories on this phenomenon at least once every few months.

With that as your background, let me assure you that I was not going to be checking in any luggage on my Kenyan Airways flight. Although the airline is good about plastic wrapping your bag for free, I didn’t want to risk my things going missing on what would be a short trip. Thanks to an amazing packing job on my part, I got all my clothes, books, and miscellaneous items into my carryon and was quite pleased with myself. So organized was I, that I even checked-in online and avoided the long lines at the Nairobi airport.

When they called my flight for the third time, I finished my Malindi Macchiato and prepared to sit around in the boarding area for an hour. I handed in my boarding card without a problem. I even made it through security without so much as beep. Walking two feet away from the security area to the holding pen I was stopped.

“What is in your bag?” I was asked by an airline employee. I explained that my clothes and teddy bear were in the bag and attempted to proceed to my seat. “We need to hold your bag here.” Exsqueeze me?!

It turns out that, per usual, the flight was over sold so they were trying to check people’s carryon luggage. I tried pointing out that unlike some of the bags he had already confiscated mine was actually carryon size and would not cause a problem in the overhead bins. We “discussed” this for several minutes during which the employee was very polite and firm despite the number of times I explained that I couldn’t fly without my teddy bear.

Despite serious misgivings, and only after being assured that it was only being gate checked did I relinquish my bag. He promised I could have it the second we touched down. It would not be put on the baggage carousel in Jo’Burg. He assured me of this at the gate, as we left the boarded the plane, and again before we took off.

I’m stupid. I believed him.

Scratch that. I’m really stupid. I left my onward flight ticket in my bag.

Needless to say, that we arrived in Johannesburg all of our “gate checked” luggage had been put in the hold with the rest of the checked luggage and we would have to get it off the baggage carousel. The ground staff in Jo’Burg said that they were never told that there was any luggage that was supposed to have been separated upon landing. For most people this wasn’t issue but I wasn’t even supposed to be going through immigration in South Africa. I was frantic!

After a lot of drama queen-like behavior, I went through immigration and eventually found my bag – with all its contents intact, thank the gods!

Since Hubby had flown ahead to South Africa for a meeting, he was waiting for me after I checked back in. (A kind airport employee found me a fast track line even though I told him I had no Rand with which to tip him.) Understanding that I was only a mosquito bite away from a meltdown, Hubby led me to a lovely and civilized airport café called the Africa Lounge.

The moral of this story is that this is Kenyan Airways second strike with me and I’m *this* close to going postal on them. Oh, and my husband is a good boy who knows how to take care of his freaking out, melting down wife.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You actually handed over a carryon? However, I'm sure it wasn't quite as bad as arriving in Canada after midnight!