World of India!: Travellerr : Strange things have happened to me at Airports e

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Travellerr : Strange things have happened to me at Airports

Continuing with my 'Strange things have happened to me at Airports' series (Pl check Category:Travellerr for my other posts in the series) , this particular chain of events happened to me across 4-5 airports, in India, France and the U.S. I was on a tour of the East coast of the United States, on Business, and had to cover 4 cities spread across the East coast in 5 working days. At the end of it all, I took 9 connecting flights across 10 cities, in 3 continents, flying a total of 35-40 hours in that week, phew!


Sadly, for such an arduous trip, I planned very little, trusting our business travel agent a bit too much. As usual they screwed up. By the way, a handy travel tip for all of you- NEVER trust your travel agent, at least, the ones in India. Check and double check, badger, follow up - is a mantra you should not forget.

The trip was a disaster right from the word go. We started for the Mumbai Intl airport, after a full day’s work, with barely enough time to make to the airport. Mid way, on the express way, I checked the flight tickets for the first time after the travel agent had dropped them on my desk. Our booked flight had already departed the day before! The agent had booked us on the wrong day than what we had asked for. I called the agent on mobile. I could sense that the girl panicked and that she was new. She told me she would get back to me soon. After a while she called me to say that she had called the airline and we would be boarded with 'priority', if some one didn’t turn up for today's flight. The two sub-ordinates of mine with whom I was traveling, were ashen faced with fear that their first trip abroad might prove to be a non- starter. I felt sorry for them and cursed myself for not checking the tickets earlier.

We prayed for people to miss their flight, that night. Sure enough two passengers did not turn up and two of us got to board. We left our hapless colleague behind, after the travel agency put her up in the Hotel at their cost, and promised to put her up on the next day’s flight. I was worried that being a first time traveler, how she would cope with traveling alone. But their was no choice, as I had to attend the meeting the next day in New York. As it turned out, she made it to the States for the second leg of our itinerary.

I hadn't anticipated though, that since our tickets were rustled up 'off the fly', every connecting flight we took, we were told to get out of line and that we would be required to explain the whole background to each booking counter agent, at each airport. It was literally a nightmare. It was a miracle that we did manage to connect all our flights in time and made it in India, badly bruised, but in one piece.

Three consolations of my trip- the business part went of well and yes, I managed to eat Alligator meat in Charleston. For those of you who are curious how it tastes, it tastes just like chicken. Would I try it again? No. I would rather prefer to move to the Octopus next time around, I am in Charleston : )

The third consolation was a hilarious incident, which happened when I decided to take the cab to Manhattan from NJ and called the cab company. By a twist of fate, the day we landed in New York, the city had experienced one of the worst snow storms in a few decades ! There I was waiting in the freezing cold outside our hotel, when the cabbie pulled up. We got chatting on the way to NY. When I told him the name of my then company, the cabbie said " Oh I used to work for @###@ earlier too, before I started driving the cab". Holy cow! I almost hit the ceiling. I thought he was joking, but it turned out that he actually did work with us a few years earlier and he had been involved in training our North American staff on how to use our corporate email system, when it was first launched globally! He then asked me who I was supposed to meet the next day in the office. I named a very Senior Director, who used to head the I.T Dept for our entire North American operations, as one of the people I would meet. " Oh Ms. So & So? She is my wife, you know. I will tell her you met me today". I almost choked on the Pretzels I was having, in the back seat. I began wondering as to how the husband of a very Sr. Executive of a multi-billion dollar MNC, could end up driving a cab. But I kept these thoughts to myself and spent the rest of my trip discussing the intricacies of rolling out I.T systems of significant scale - with a New York cabbie.

And yes, when he dropped me at Broadway, I did not forget to give a handsome tip to an excellent cabbie who was also an ex-colleague!

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