I believe in giving credit where credit is due so here I am giving Kudos (praise for exceptional achievement) to the Manager of the check-in area at Luxor Airport and special thanks to the other lovely, helpful people that came my way on Friday night May 30th.
I arrived with my two year old grandson at Luxor Airport at approx. 22.15 and checked in for our 00.15 flight to Cairo. In Cairo we would be getting a connecting flight Cairo to Amsterdam at 4.30am and a further connecting flight in Amsterdam to Cork. I should have smelled a rat when the check-in guy’s answer to my question “Is the flight departing on time?” was ‘In sh’Allah, Madam’ – this answer usually means ‘no’- but I did not.
The guard at the security check point asked me to take a seat …… as the next flight was 1.15!! ‘Don’t panic!’ I told myself as I headed back to the check-in desk where I was referred to the Manager’s Office. I explained to the manager (sorry I didn’t think to ask his name) that we would most likely miss our connecting flight in Cairo as we would only have one hour and a half to pick up the baggage and change terminals…even if the flight would actually leave on time at 1.15…..as the KLM check-in desk closes 45 minutes prior to departure time, and a couple of years previously I had missed a KLM connection in similar circumstances – another story.
Remembering the previous time, how panic and anxiety took over and the way the story ended I caught myself midway in my stream of what could happen, how I had brought nothing extra for my little toddler, that he was also autistic and what a disaster this could turn out to be…….. I stopped because I caught sight of his smiling face, sucking happily on his bottle of milk. It suddenly hit me that this wonderful kid only ever attracts the best things into his daily life and no way was he about to ruin the end of a great holiday with any kind of unpleasantness or disaster! Best thing I could do was step out of the way and let the Universe take care of everything.
After consulting with his colleagues the manager came up with the following solution…he would retrieve my suitcase from the baggage area and have both the suitcase and the baby push chair taken into the cabin instead of the luggage hold of the plane. He then proceeded to change my ticket to business class, giving us the second row seats on the plane 🙂 Nice!! But he didn’t stop there…. he then called a staff member to take the luggage to the departure hall and instructed him to return to us at boarding time and help us onto the plane. He also had the flight attendant on the plane informed that we had to get a connecting flight in Cairo with little time to spare.
Everything the manager set in motion happened – then when we landed in Cairo the flight attendant took the luggage herself and called a member of the ground crew to take the luggage, baby and me to the VIP shuttle bus….wonderful yes? Our good fortune did not stop there. The only other person on the bus was an elderly Coptic priest who insisted on carrying my suitcase from the bus as far as the exit door of the arrivals hall. From there a kind and non-argumentative taxi driver (major miracle) whisked us to Departure Hall 1 for only 30 le – I did not have much more cash on me as I had not expected any delay to begin with.
At Departure Hall Terminal 1 a lovely female staff member appeared out of nowhere and picked up my suitcase – asked me if I was flying KLM and then proceeded to escort us past the waiting queue of people (LOTS of people going on pilgrimage to Mecca – the departure area was bedlam!), deposited the case on the security x.ray belt, smiled and disappeared back into the crowd. Having made our way through check in and passport control I only had time to change my little toddler before once again going through a security check in and directly boarding the plane.
Apart from the manager who set all this in motion at Luxor Airport – had any one of those other helpful people not acted as quickly and as helpful as they did – there is no doubt we would have missed our flight to Amsterdam.
All in all it was a potential disaster transformed into a wonderful experience – because one man in Egypt Air was kind enough to care about a middle-aged foreigner and a toddler…… I hope he has much luck for his kindness AND because the toddler only attracts the best 🙂 and Grandmother got out of the way and let the Universe do it’s stuff.