Friday, March 15, 2013

Travelogue: Day 0

Instead of the WakeUp we’ll have a few travelogue editions...

Welcome back!

It feels bad and sad when you return from abroad and see the following behavior: a very well educated youngster with a well-to-do life, sitting in a vehicle driven by someone else, eating something and casually throwing out the plastic wrappers on the street as the vehicle moves. Why not wait for a dustbin?

Journey begins

We were a group of four friends; one had an auspicious start to his first foreign trip when he sprained his ankle while picking up dinner. After seeing the doc, we checked-in and while filling up the immigration form, his pain worsened. We needed to get the ointment and painkiller that the doc had prescribed but the pharmacy was outside the check-in area.

I tried stepping out but security said that I couldn’t since I had already checked-in. This was strange - perhaps they feared that someone will check-in, exit the airport, hand over the boarding pass to a 2nd person and that person would walk into the airport. Whatever it was, they said that I couldn’t go out unless I got an airline person to sign on a register - something like the airline taking responsibility for the person leaving.

So I headed to the AirAsia check-in counter. The lady managing the queue told me to talk to her manager since she didn't have authority. I tried to catch his attention but couldn’t. So the lady went over to talk to him but he refused flat. I tried to explain the situation but he didn’t even listen to me. “You can’t go out,” he kept repeating and nodding his head sideways in the most impolite manner. He was a middle aged man with a permanent frown on his face, half bald with unkempt white hair at the back and spectacles; typical look of a school principal who will not listen to anything.

I was angry at his bluntness and asked, “Do you have a first aid kit?”
“No. We don’t have.”

I was amazed. He was part of a big airline company and here he was saying that they didn’t even have a first-aid kit. I went back to the security lady who kept repeating her side of the story.

“Where is the airport manager?” I asked and she pointed me in a direction on the other side of the check-in area.

When I reached there I found that to see the manager you have to cross another security post which leads you to the outside. This security also didn’t allow me out and they also said there is no first aid kit. An international airline and a so-called international airport without a first-aid kit - wow!

Another airport staff told me to talk to the airline since they were obligated to help - he was the first person willing to listen. I went back to the airline lady and asked if there was any other superior. She pointed to the principal’s boss who was passing by. When I started narrating the incident the first thing he asked with concern in his voice was, “Where is the passenger? Does he need help with a wheelchair?”

He immediately told the lady to sign the security register for me to go to the pharmacy. So after a 15 minute ordeal and meeting 5 people, I finally got the medicine and ointment.

How easy it is for one person to ruin the name of a company!

And I wondered that if someone was desperately in need of help, how much they would have to struggle to get attention.

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