I refuse to fly. Wait, you're WanderlustWad! What do you mean? Oh, I'm sorry, was I not clear? What I meant to say was I'm not flying anymore. I've had a horrible experience, and I've made a final decision. What horrible experience?
So glad you asked!
I was recently in Sudan for my cousin's wedding, and what a fancy shmancy soiree it was. She looked lovely, it was lovely, I wore a ball gown, I posed next to a vintage Rolls Royce, everything I expected and so much more. Ok, I wasn't expecting the Rolls Royce, but what a plus!
I'm currently in graduate school and took a week off to attend this wedding. This was a big decision because it's my first year of grad school, I honestly have no idea what's going on in my program, I've just moved to a whole new state where I know no one, and I'm dealing with imposter syndrome. Needless to say, I decided I was going to swing it! My cousin wanted me to be there, I wanted to be there, and this meant a lot to my family. So I took the risk, hoping that a sufficient plan would rid me of any mishaps. As you can tell by the title of this blog post...I was mistaken.
I meticulously planned my flights. I picked a flight leaving on a Friday and returning the following Sunday around 2 p.m. This was going to give me just enough time to come home, decompress, possibly unpack (ha, yeah right...but I was optimistic), and prepare to get back in the swing of things at grad school. I was going to figure out what I missed, get notes for those classes, and hit the ground running. I had this all planned out. I was ready. I was prepared. I was confident in my planning. What a sham.
The week started out great! I saw my haboba (grandma in Arabic), I visited relatives, I attended the wedding, danced my little tail off, and had a ball. It was when I was attempting to head back to the United States that things slowly started to unravel.
I just finished saying bye to my grandma, and my parents and younger brother Lofy were taking me back home to finish packing my bags before dropping me at the airport. I insisted we stop at Tweety (a fresh juice bar) so I could get a "nus darba". For all those unaware, "nus darba" is the most delicious fruit salad you'll ever taste. Made with all fresh fruit and ingredients (as most things in Sudan are), this is a must if/when you visit Sudan. As my dad made his way to Tweety, my mom began fussing about missing my flight. I literally laughed. I had ran through security at the airport in Sudan before, I was completely unconcerned about "missing a flight", and we had ample time. If you know my mom, she's a bit dramatic, and so to Tweety we went.
It took me possibly 15 minutes to shove all my clothes in my suitcase and head out the door to begin my journey to the airport. I got to the airport an hour and a half before takeoff. An hour and a half. Just to be clear, that's almost two hours before takeoff. As I make my way to the Ethiopian Airlines stand and begin to wait in line to check my luggage, the middle-aged woman in front of me begins to argue with the attendant. Everyone in Sudan argues, so I paid them no mind until I heard the attendant tell this woman that "the scale is closed".
The woman had tears in her eyes, was explaining to the attendant that she had four kids, and this was her second day missing this flight. My eyes almost bulged out of my face. I rudely interrupted their conversation to ask what exactly a "closed scale" means. The man behind this counter looked me dead in my eyes and told me that it means I can't get on the plane. Now if you know me, and if you know Sudan, you know that I used every tactic I knew to finesse this process. I asked to speak to a supervisor, then a manager, I asked him how much money it would take to get on the flight. I HAD A PLAN. I needed to be on this plane. Everyone in Sudan takes bribes, but this man was not having it. I was at the airport an hour and a half early, and this man was truly playing with me. How is the scale closed? I didn't understand. Honestly, I still don't.
I eventually told him that since the scale was closed I would leave my luggage. I just needed my person to be on the next plane out of Sudan, so that I could make it back to America on time. I couldn't miss any more school, I was already falling behind, and I had a plan. He was so sick of me. He said no. I spoke to his supervisors and managers who also said no. I was fed up. Fuck Ethiopian Airlines!
When I finally came to accept that I wasn't leaving Sudan, and that my plan was ruined, I had to figure out my next steps. The lovely attendant (heavy eye roll) told me to go around the back of building where I would see the Ethiopian Airlines offices. They would be able to help me there. When I finally found these offices, thanks to the help of no signs or knowledgeable airport personnel, I was told that the staff was out. Where were they? They were busy checking people into the airplane that I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ON. You want to talk about livid, I was on the border of bursting.
After waiting for my flight to leave me (oh, the irony, I had a MF plan), the Ethiopian Airlines personnel decided to come back to their offices only to tell me that they couldn't help me. Their office didn't handle missed flights and I needed to go to their headquarters the next morning to rebook. IF YOU COULDN'T HELP ME THEN WHY DID YOU HAVE ME WAITING AROUND FOR YOU! These pricks y'all. THESE PRICKS!
So of course I had to hear my mother's mouth the whole time about how I should have listened to her, how we could have gotten there earlier, and her annoying "I told you so" eyes. Ugh. It killed me.
You want to know what's worse than missing a flight you meticulously planned to no fault of your own? When your mom is right and gives you "I told you so" eyes. UUUUGGGHHHHH. THOSE EYES. THE WORST.
The next day, I woke up at the crack of dawn, and headed to the Ethiopian Airlines headquarters. Much to my surprise, I was not the only one who encountered this. There was at least 11 other individuals (including the woman with her four kids from the previous day) who had "missed" their flight. What we came to find out is that the airline is overbooking their flights, and when enough people have checked in to fill the plane, they "close the scales". PRICKS!
Even at this headquarters, they refused to help a majority of us rebook without purchasing a whole new ticket because our original tickets were bought from travel agents or companies. My mind was so blown. The lovely Ethiopian Airlines attendant (eye roll) behind this desk at this headquarters was telling me that she couldn't help me with my ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES ticket? Does this make sense to anyone? Anyone at all?
After ANOTHER trip, this time to the travel agency the ticket was booked from, I finally had a ticket sending my black ass back to the United States. All to go to a Master's program that scares the crap out of me, to a state where I know no one, and to a school that had me feeling like an imposter. I was drained.
So I made a decision. I'm not flying anymore! At least not Ethiopian Airlines, those..you guessed it..PRICKS!
But while you're out wandering for the both of us...
Have you ever experienced such inconsistency? Ever dealt with imposter syndrome? Ever planned and your plans fell through? What happened? Let me know in the comments below!