By Lisa on Dec 19, 2012 with Comments 3
I was having a little rant earlier about Ryanair and that reminded me of a very unfortunate event that made me lose a whole day in Goa earlier this year…
I had gone to Goa to meet some Indian friends so even though I was with people during the holiday I was actually doing the travelling part alone.
Living on the island of Mallorca makes long haul travel a little more tricky than for other people: first I have to take a flight from the island to the mainland, normally Madrid or Barcelona, and then on to my long haul destination. To go to meet my friends in Goa I had had to fly with Ryanair from Palma to Madrid, then with Emirates from Madrid to Mumbai via Dubai. I then had to take a flight from Mumbai to Goa! And coming home was the same in reverse. I had so many papers with me that I could barely keep track of them all.
Anyway, after a full 24 hours travelling I arrived in Goa. Actually, I had planned things so well in advance that it was a breeze (apart from Air India losing my suitcase in the very last leg of the journey – but that’s another story). I was expecting the return journey to be the same. Not so.
We were all enjoying our last day on the beach and had left our phones in the hotel. When I go back, I had five missed calls from an Indian number and a text message that made my heart sink:
“Go Air flight G8 178 not operating on 25 March plz contact 08326552280 ASAP”
This was the first of my four return flights home! And of course they were not connected. Okay, don’t panic, I told myself. This is NOT happening. It was.
I called the number and they confirmed that the flight was indeed cancelled. They offered me another flight 15 hours earlier – I was going to miss my whole last day! No way. My friends and I did our best to find me another later flight that would not mean that I would have to stay in Mumbai for a whole day before my Emirates flight out of the country. This was not easy with no wifi and a power-cut in the hotel (the “current” had been out for about 15 hours in the whole village and no one had any idea about when to expect it back, something quite normal in India).
Anyway, there were no later flights unless I wanted to spend 400€ minimum for a 50 minute flight – which I didn’t – so I had to take the earlier one which meant me losing the last day of my beautiful holiday.
And don’t I wish it finished there…
After leaving my friends and setting off alone, I flew from Goa to Mumbai on this earlier flight. When I arrived in Mumbai I knew from my arrival that I would arrive in a different terminal and would have to take a bus to the international terminal. And not realising that I would have so many hours to kill I had figured out exactly where I would have to go to get the bus.
So I figured I’d leave the small terminal and head over to the international terminal even though I was 11 hours early. I thought I’d find a nice bar or cafe with wifi and a plug socket and I’d write a bit, and then maybe try to sleep.
I never thought for a minute that they wouldn’t let me in the terminal until three hours before my flight!
But that’s what happened. The security guard at the entrance to the airport asked me for my boarding card, took one look at the flight time and shook her head. She told me I would have to wait outside for 8 hours! I was gobsmacked. I had never realised that you can’t just walk into an airport in India, you have to actually have a ticket! I looked around me and realised that all those people spread out all over the road with huge bags, suitcases and those massive sacks, being cleverly dodged by the auto-rickshaws that were zooming about were actually waiting until they were within their time to go inside. My cosy plans evaporated and I had visions of myself sitting on the curb outside the airport for the next 8 hours being sold to and hassled.
The security guard must have realised how alarmed I was and directed me to a waiting room which I had to pay to go in, which I was only allowed to stay in for three hours and which I had to fight my way through the crowds to get to.
I handed over my rupees to the 12 year old at the counter and was admitted. Inside it was much quieter than the every-growing crowds outside and people were making themselves as comfortable as possible on the plastic seats and trying to get a bit of sleep.
I found the last chair in the only cafe and plugged in my phone charger. And there I stayed for approximately 7 hours (no way was I leaving after 3 hours once I was in) miserably thinking about how I should have been lying on the beach watching the beach freaks do yoga. I will never go in a Cafe Coffee Day again without reliving that misery!
Have you ever had to take an internal flight in India? Any interesting experiences? Let’s hear about them here in the comments.
Wanna experience more Asia? Click here.
About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....