Definition: Typical Air Niugini Fuck Up
Phil’s blood pressure reached an all time high today. Here is the timeline:
Early March 2011 flight to Popondetta paid for and confirmed
5.00am Get up have breakfast, drive to airport
5.55am Attempt check-in but told we are waitlisted as a large group of trekkers were pre-booked on the flight. Retire to the inappropriately named Paradise Lounge to wait in expectation.
6.20am Phil attempts flanking manoeuvre by seeking out flight supervisor (inaccurately named) who assures him that since we are travelling on business a seat will be allocated at the departure gate (hopefully by throwing off trekkers – who haven’t even arrived at the airport)
6.35am Boarding announced. We are told that no seats are available. Phil plays his trump card only for the supervisor to deny all knowledge of said conversation. Grubby trekkers arrive (late) and occupy aircraft.
7.00am Major fuss caused with managers requested and demands made to see everyone in authority. Promises made that they would contact and update us but numerous reminders made by Phil and Sandra.
9.20am Another supervisor appears and explains that mistakes have been made and the trekkers had lots of luggage and so had to use 3 seats for the luggage. Yes OUR 3 seats (we are travelling with the Executive Director of our company). Phil demands a charter, helicopter or space rocket but we are offered another flight by an alternative airline. They will pull strings to get us on board. They will update us in 10 minutes.
10.30am Ever patient Phil and his boiling blood pressure goes through security for the 6th or 7th time and seeks management. It transpires that the flight we have been promised has been cancelled (presumably a long time ago). Obviously no one brave enough to come and tell us.
10.50am Phil’s 8th run through security (he is now well known by all the airport staff) reveals a new manager the Domestic Terminal Manager. He assures us the General Manager will be with us in 10 minutes. Phil tries the “If I was David Beckham you would get me to Popondetta approach” but sadly this fails as he has never heard of David Beckham!
11.20am Phil’s 9th run through security to continue the game of hide and seek. Trevor (we are on first name terms now – but not best of friends) informs us a charter is not out of the question but needs authority from another manager and will get back to us in 5 minutes. He will also inform the CEO of Air Niugini and seek his assistance.
11.45am No message. Joe, Executive Director leaves for office. Phil tells him he will phone when the helicopter is ready!
Yes we have been at the airport for 6 hours (and there is NO alcohol in the “Paradise” Lounge)
11.55am No message Phil has some cheese (curiously named Coon Tasty), biscuits, dairy milk chocolate (that was a surprise) and his 4th can of ginger ale.
12.05pm Phil approaches desk clerk in lounge to request that Trevor (aforementioned manager) be paged for the non-existent update promised by 11.30am.
12.15pm Sitting back down again having had conversation with another minnow sent to inform us that Air Niugini have managed to arrange an additional flight for tomorrow. Minnow’s head bitten off by both Phil and Sandra, informed to get the General Manager and CEO to see us as this is not a solution. Informed that both Trevor and the elusive John (he with the authority to authorise the charter flight) are coming to see us
12.20pm Minnow approaches to inform us that Trevor is ‘driving in, so give him 10-15 minutes’. Sandra queries this as no mention is made of ‘John’ – he isn’t coming, apparently.
12.35pm Guess what? Trevor still hasn’t arrived.
12.45pm Trevor and A.N Other arrive (John obviously far too busy to come himself) Long conversation as the only option being offered is the additional flight tomorrow.
1.00pm Inform Trevor and A.N.Other to go back to John and attempt to arrange a private charter from outside Air Nuigini resources. Frequent mention made to the severe fallout which will come if a solution is not forthcoming within the next 20minutes.
1.28pm Minnow returns with message that A.N.Other has ‘phoned and is waiting for John to get back to him and then he will return. Am probably going to smash the mobile phone of the annoying man sitting opposite. This may sound extreme but both he and his ringtone are generating extreme feelings of anger within me!
1.30pm Phil has gone for another walk.
1.45pm Dynamic Duo have returned and still have no ability to offer a solution. Drafting letter for them to fax to Popondetta to demonstrate that our ‘no show’ is no fault of our own.
2.20pm The fact that we demanded a letter within 10minutes has, not surprisingly, been unachievable. Already 30minutes and counting............................................................! Phil now getting annoyed with the desk staff and insisting they track down the missing letter.
2.30pm Letter arrives and we head back to work, only 8 and a half hours after arriving!