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The Misery of Delayed Departures

By Mohammed Abdul Jawad

 

Most of the airlines that offer cheapest fare give you a tiring traveling experience due to long transit hours at stopovers. Perhaps, for the sake of saving some money or on emergency travel plans, this can be acceptable.

But, some airlines are notoriously known for their poor hospitality, lethargic services and frequent delayed departures and arrivals.

Last year, prior to a festive occasion, I had the nastiest traveling experience, and after that I decided that never, in my whole life, I will think of that airline.

Traveling by that airline for the first time, I was all enthusiastic, and even, at the airport lounge, I told few passengers, “I am all excited to experience my travel because this is the first time I am traveling by this airline”.

Nah…that whole thrill turned into a troubled travel. Let me narrate the whole story.

Firstly, at the airport, I had to stand in a long, disorganized queue and when my turn came, I was told to pay for the excess baggage, which was more by few kilos. Purely partiality…because some passengers were exempt from the charges, some were burdened to pay for the excess weight.

Okay, I took my boarding slip, and after clearing from the immigration, I breathed at relief, with little loitering in the crowded lounge. It was almost 9:00 PM, and I had more time because the departure was at 11:55 PM. I made a quick search, and at last found a seat in a café. I grabbed my own parcel, and enjoyed the dinner.

At around 11:20 PM, the boarding counter opened, and all the scattered passengers began assembling to make a crisscross, stretched queue.

Aha…now’s the time to board the plane, I thought myself. Everyone gets a numbered seat…so no confusion. Still few passengers relish to take a hurried march to the plane, as if to catch seats on first-come-first basis.

At the plane’s entrances, two air-hostesses, though seemingly tired, but with slim smiles stood there to greet and welcome the influx of passengers.

Ugh…simply, passengers were oozing with perspiration…and the screeches of infants and cluttering voices of passengers were clearly audible.

No welcome candies, no variety of juices! Instead, two air-hostesses were holding water jugs and dispensing water in plastic glasses, either to make the weary passengers silent or quench their thirst.

God knows when the carrier takes off…even after 40 minutes, there were no signs of possible momentum. There was a typical perplexity on passengers’ faces. With dim lights, frail air-conditioning there couldn’t be any scene like ‘candle-light dinner’.

Approximately, at 1:00 AM, the plane budged, took a turn and began to accelerate its speed on the runaway…and after few seconds, slowed down and came to a standstill. With tactical apologies, there was an announcement that due to technical snag and the plane will soon resume takeoff.

With all these happenings, one can obviously understand that this is the beginning of a frustrating flight ahead. Fortunately, the problem popped up on the runaway, and not after the takeoff.

As the time was ticking its movements, passengers, being awake, started feeling uneasy within the crammed spaces between the seats. It was hot inside, with clumsy air-conditioning. Infants whimpering now and then, passengers fanning themselves with in-flight safety fliers, some taking a mild saunter in the passage to slacken their stiffening legs or visit washroom…even the flight attendants, with no possible clues, joined us in our suffering.

Probably, to avoid any hue and cry from the passengers, the flight crew must have managed to convince the airport authority, and at around 2:00 AM, the stewardesses, with their gleeful faces, started serving ‘Biryani’ (the mixed rice dish, with aromatic spices, vegetables and meat/chicken). At least, to rejuvenate ourselves, there was something to taste, chew and fill our bellies

As we finished our food and licked our fingers, even the plane ended up its technical glitch. Imagine the terrible delay: with the scheduled departure at 11:55 PM, the plane actually took off at 2:40 AM.

What next? On the other side, there was the torment of delayed arrival that made every passenger wearisome. Now, what ratings to be given to this airline for their irresponsible delay and poor services?

Funnily, there’s trendy joke among the African people who prefer not to travel by their own country’s national air carrier.They say that if the scheduled departure is today, the flight will take off tomorrow. To sum up, every time, there will be some hurdle—either technical problem or any other issue, and usually flights get delayed by extended hours.

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