Continued from Part 1.
So there we were, shocked and dismayed after the woman at the ticket counter informed us (politely) that we had missed our flight to Aswan. We were aghast, not just because we had missed our flight, or even because the tickets were non-refundable, but because we had somehow missed a flight from an airport a mere 18 kilometers from our home, even though we had left our house with plenty of time to spare.
I don’t know how long we stared at that (very polite) woman before speaking, but when we finally managed to speak, we asked when the next flight was. She (very politely) checked her computer and then told us that there was a 9:15pm flight that night going to Aswan which had plenty of empty seats. Heartened that we still might be able to pull this trip off, we went to the ticket-purchasing counter (which is a different counter than the checking in counter) and asked the man to change our tickets to the 9:15pm flight.
The man, who I shall refer to as “Mohammad,” checked his computer and looked at us, confused. “There is no 9:15pm flight to Aswan,” he said. In response, I tried to say four or five very sensible things at once, but only managed to squeak, “…huh?”
After discussing the situation with Mohammad, I learned that we could put ourselves on “standby” for the 10:15pm flight that night, in case any seats opened up. Hardly wanting to take a taxi home just to return in a few hours, we elected to stay in the airport. We got comfortable in one of the benches with snacks, Bry’s laptop and a tiny bit of hope in our hearts.
With little else to do, I returned to the ticket desk every hour to see what other tickets were available, in case 10:15pm didn’t work out. Mohammed said that all the flights to Aswan were full except for two flights at 5:00am, which both had 2 seats available in business class. On my next trip to the desk, another man was there, let’s call him Ahmed. Ahmed told me there was one, not two, flights at 5:00am, and there were 4 business class seats available. An hour later, Karim told me that there were actually 8 seats available on that flight, one of which was in economy. Another hour later, Rasha insisted that there were actually 15 seats available in business class and 1 in economy. I had no idea if this was the result of computer errors, lots of passengers cancelling their plans, or ticket desk people just inventing numbers to get rid of me. (the really polite lady walked by to check on us every few hours until her shift ended)
10:00pm came and no seats had opened up on the 10:15pm flight. Determined to get to our destination, we upgraded our tickets to business class on the 5:00am flight (so we could sit together). Now we were faced with a new predicament; if we went home, we would need to come back to the airport at 3:00am. No matter how close you live to the airport, there is no way you can find a taxi at 3:00am, and, after missing our first flight, we were not going to miss this one. So only one choice remained: return to our airport bench for another five hours.
And so we did.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of why we sat in an airport near our home for twelve hours in order to catch a one and a half hour local flight to Aswan. It is also the story of how we flew in business class for the first time in our lives.
So was it worth it? Was Aswan so magical that our memories of the airport, Rasha, Karim, Ahmed, Mohammed, and the really polite lady were banished forever? That, dear reader, is another bizarre story for a different day.