KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We got ourselves into a little bit of a pickle at the Cairo airport when we flew in from Athens. We hadn’t thought to check our bags all the way to Bangkok, thinking that because we had two separate tickets, we would collect our bags in Cairo and then check them onwards. When I think of it now, the Egypt Air person at the check in desk should of asked to see our Egyptian visas before tagging our bags to Cairo.
When we landed we were ushered into an area in the airport outside the transit area. When we explained that we needed to pick up our bags and then check in for the flight to Istanbul/Bangkok the airline agent freaked out just a little. He wanted to see our visas for Egypt and of course we didn’t have any. Then he told us we would have to go to a counter, purchase a visa, pick up our luggage and so on and so on…
This made no sense at all, and for a very long time no one seemed able to sort things out for us. Two things were in our favour – we had a three-hour layover between flights that gave us time to deal with the problem, and we were flying business class and that seemed to spur the authorities on to finding a solution without us have to pay for visas we didn’t need.
Here we’d thought we’d been so clever to transit through Cairo in order to pick up a steal of a deal (see the previous journal entry for Athens for an explanation of the deal) and now we were wondering if we would be able to make the flight at all.
I’m happy to report that it all worked out in the end, we remained calm and I think that had a positive effect on the airport staff. They were all smiles in the end as they ushered us around the rope barricades and assured us that our luggage had been properly tagged for Bangkok. We never did see the bags and just had to take their word that we’d see them when we reached Thailand. Phew!
I learned a little Arabic when I travelled through North Africa, Egypt and the Sudan in the early 1970s and you can be sure I said thank you over and over again with the few words I still remembered. They clearly appreciated my efforts.