I got on an airplane on Friday at 9am (Moroccan time) and arrived to destination Saturday 4pm (Moroccan time) 11Pm (local time), but in between, a lot has happened.
The day started at 5am waking up at my friend’s apartment and then her driving me through fog an hour later. It was so foggy it felt like we’re driving into the void. Getting so close to the airport and still not being able to see it felt like we were looking for some fictional place.
At the check-in counter, I had to wait for an hour in a line that was barely moving. When it finally was my turn, the assistant said I need a return ticket or otherwise I’m not allowed on the plane… I had already looked into onward travel and I thought I had it all figured out but apparently not! In my research prior to traveling what came up was that I’ll need a ticket out of my country of destination to prove that I’ll leave it within the numbers of days I’m allowed to stay on its ground. So I booked a flight (that morning before leaving the house. yes that’s how I work, it’s not procrastination it’s just me) but she couldn’t care less about that. She was asking for a confirmed ticket back to Morocco and I would not be able to fly without it. The dumb thing was that she said the return date doesn’t matter, which means that it’s just some useless formality. I asked her to check my bag in and then I’ll book a ticket and bring proof back to her but she refused and was so unprofessional about it that she actually canceled my online check-in (costing me the loss of a very good upfront window seat that I was happy my luck got me). She decided that there’s no way I’m getting on that plane when it just wasn’t her decision to make.
I ended up booking a second flight. This time back to Morocco, from a random city in Asia, on a date I have no idea where I’m gonna be. Pretty much a useless flight! And it costed waaaaay too much more than I would normally be willing to pay for it. My bank account was wrecked. And this was not the end of it!
The 7 hours to Oman was MARVEL-ous. I watched Thor for the first time (shame on me I know), Ant-Man, a bit of Ant-Man and the Wasp and some Spider-Man anime episode.
Muscat Airport is a gem. Everything there went so smoothly. It was the fastest customs I ever went through. And on the gate to my next flight I met the sweetest attendant. He was wishing everyone well. He was trying to say something in every passenger’s language depending on their passport. “Allah wyaf9ek” and “Allah ye7fadek” were dropping all over the place. And I spent quite some time with him so I got to hear it more than once. He helped me try to log into the airport’s wi-fi, and when that didn’t work he used his number (and his friend’s) to let me have 2 minutes to update my family that I was safe. His kindness is of the sort that you live to remember.
On the next flight, I got my period. Such a wrong timing! And I’ll leave it at that.
Seven hours of agony later, I landed in Kuala Lumpur, with a 20 minutes delay, making my already short 1 hour transit even shorter! The gate was not mentioned on my boarding pass so I went to the information desk and asked. Gate G. All the way across the airport, and you have to take a shuttle to get there. Breaking news, the shuttle will be late. That’s when I realized that things were gonna be tougher than wished for. I had to run downstairs and wait for a bus. After the travel across the airport, I ran to the gate, I overpassed a long line of passengers and asked security to let me go first because my flight is taking off soon, then I ran some more. And still, when I got there, the plane had already left. The frustration started building up and it only got worst from there. We were 3 people coming from Muscat supposed to take that flight, and we were all left behind. The staff of this airline (Malindo Air) would take no responsibility of our situation, because the tickets were purchased via Oman Air, and it was their flight that was late.
It was a struggle to get my luggage. Then, I had to find the Oman Air office to solve the problem. I was sent to the counters on 5th floor: no staff there. Then to the 4th floor office: closed. Saturday! There weren’t gonna be any staff from the airline until 6pm (to do the check-in for a flight). It was 10am in the morning! I was jetlagged, exhausted, in pain, very disappointed of not having anyone from the airline to assist me, and crying with frustration (I hate that my body does that. frustrated? cry! angry? cry! Terrible!)
Waiting for 6pm seemed stupid. There was no way to know whether the airline would take responsibility and get me on another plane, and there were no planes to Bali after 6pm. The next flight was at 4pm. The cheaper was at 5. And that’s how I ended up booking 3 flights in one day! Not exactly the best thing for a student traveling on a budget. Probably high on the list of worst things to do!
And that’s it. I accepted my fate. I roamed the airport looking for a shop to buy sanitary pads. And to my shock, there weren’t any! How come they sell EVERYTHING in there but no sanitary pads?
The other couple stayed at the airport hotel. Student on a budget here, can’t do that! Nine hours of being stranded in KL airport later, I hopped on the last plane of this journey, and made it safe to destination. And that’s all that really matters, right?
It was a rough couple of days, but I made it. Collateral damages that I still have to deal with, but I made it. Lesson learned? Avoid traveling on weekends ’cause if something goes wrong then you’re on your own. Avoid 1 hour transits, 2 hours is probably fine but less than that it becomes hard to manage. Aaaaand, don’t use the bathroom when you get off plane. No one cares if you just got your period unexpectedly. Red-stained pants are cool, missed flights are not (said no one ever, but bare with me!)