I was actually supposed to stay in South-Africa a few weeks longer, but after I had gotten my tickets I was given a big announcement: my sister was going to get married!! Of course I had to be there, I wanted to, being her little brother. However, this meant I had to change my return flight if I wanted to be back home on time. My tickets were bought through World Ticket Center, a random site we found on google search when finding tickets to Port Elizabeth. The problems had already begun at the beginning of my journey (My First Trip Alone), where I had been given 2½ hours in between flights in London cite when I found out that my plane would take off on a different airport than where I would land. Although the site should have clearly pointed out that these were two different airports, which most actual airways do, since almost no one would nor should expect them to be especially with the little time I had in between, I will admit I am also to blame for not noticing it.
Then when it was time to return and I wanted to get a new ticket, more issues came up. My father was the one that did most of the work, as the internet at Hanneke’s was acting up again due to more load shedding. When we, dad and I, first got the tickets, we decided to pay a small fee insuring us in case I wanted to rebook. This meant I didn’t have to pay anything extra. So logically we expected we could rebook without having to pay anything extra. The thing is though, the insurance we bought wasn’t just for any extra costs, it was for the extra costs of the SITE that you don’t pay. Honestly, I would have definitely been fine with that if they had clarified it clearly, instead of being vague making inexperienced – with flying – people think it is for costs overall. Then on top of that, they kept ignoring me when I sent them mails wherein I politely asked questions about this. Therefore WTC has been the most anger making experience of the entire trip.
As a fee for rebooking we would have to pay 180 euros fee on top of the price of a new ticket, is what I heard from my father. Now we both see that it would be more in our favour if we just buy a new ticket without wtc, this time making sure there wouldn’t be any problems. That’s what we did. The cheapest one possible, which of course leads to a less enjoyable trip back, but I was trying to not waste too much money on another ticket.
The journey back
My last day started early in the morning, heading back to Hanneke’s after a party. While I was getting the rest of my stuff, Glenn made me breakfast and tea for on the road. During this ride, I got to wake up with the sight of a beautiful sunrise enjoying my toast and tea. It was nice to know I got to see my family and dogs again, but it was still hard leaving South-Africa. It was near to an hour to the airport, where we got somewhat over 2 hours prior to the boarding time. I thought, that 2 hours should be enough time, which it was when going to SA, to check in, go through security and get to the departing area. Followed the signs of Emirates Airways and I got into the humongous line for check-in. It was not only extremely long, but the speed of the line was incredibly slow as well. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only time I spent waiting in a queue, it was the same story with the security and passport control. Once I was finally free from queues I walked, no ran my way to the boarding hall, but my plane was already on its way. Together with a lady and her quite frankly annoying son, who were too late too, we were brought to a reception where they were going to help us adjust our flights. I did have to pay a fee, but thanks to the fact that I had 13 hours to kill in Dubai, my first stop, I could still make the second flight without having to pay anything for that. The lady couldn’t. Then when I had to check in again, where I had gotten precisely the time I was told to be there, the guy behind the counter sent me over to another desk. There were only two people in front of me, but it took forever! This lead to me almost getting too late again, where I was blamed for. At this point I was really annoyed, not even necessary because of the guy, but the stress and waiting gets got me pissed off. Then it doesn’t help when everyone around you is asking questions or telling you what to do. That’s while most of them were trying to be polite… 😳 Before I had gone through the passport control I could already hear my name being called out together with someone else’s through the speakers. When my passport was checked, some guy from the airport rushed us to the boarding area carrying our bags sprinting as fast as possible.The moment I got onboard I felt a feeling of relieve, ready for my 8 hour flight to Dubai.
Once I arrived in Dubai, which was at night, things started to go more smoothly. The customs went very easy and quick, no problems with anything really. I still had seven hours left before my final flight of six hours to Dusseldorf. Dusseldorf is a German city, but it’s not much further away from Schiphol and it helped soften the price. These seven hours I mostly spent watching series on my laptop and reading. Along with my tickets I had received a voucher for a free meal due to the long waiting time, which I could really use after all the airplane food. For the rest, the check-in, security, passport control and boarding all went surprisingly easy and fast. Compared to the first part, I was really satisfied with the way things went in Dubai. I was actually happy when hearing Dutch – and German – on the plane knowing I was getting nearer to my own comfy bed. This time I spent six hours in the plane with more food that tastes way worse than it looks. Around the time I arrived in Dusseldorf, my father and sister were waiting at the airport. Since I wasn’t able to talk to them after the problems in Johannesburg, they had no idea whether I was going to be walking through one of the doors or not. So no surprise they too were really relieved to see me. Together we drove back, both of them excited asking questions. I told them all about South-Africa, the happy moments, the odd differences, that time my phone got stolen, which I got back, making lots of friends every where, my volunteering work in Johannesburg and Jeffrey’s Bay, my little trip to Soweto, lots of activities my visit to Kruger Park and much more. Instead of going straight home, we decided to go to my favourite local restaurant, Woody’s Steakhouse first. After a well enjoyed meal, I wanted to go home. I was exhausted and wanted to sleep, but mostly I wanted to see my two loyal ladies, Kiruna and Zafira again. The two German shepherds were just as happy to see me again after these two months. It was great to see my family and dogs again, but after the sleepless past 34 hours, I really wanted to get some good sleep.
Even though my flight back was far from great, as I look back at it, I mostly do it with a smile or a laugh. I realize a trip will never be completely perfect and that there will be moments like these, but this is actually what makes the rest of the trip even better. That’s also why I wanted to mention them, as they were part of the trip. These small issues should never discourage anyone to not go traveling as it is nothing compared to the rest of the trip. That doesn’t take away that ranting every now and then feels good too 😀
Happy new year everyone!
*Btw, there are some new photo’s, you can check out the slideshow if you want to*