Each traveller has to go through some certain bad experiences while travelling, especially if they travel often. It is never a walking-on-a-smooth-path situation because the truth is we travellers have been in tough times too. I do not want to show you all my great experiences with travelling even though they cover most of the time of my travels but I will not deny that I make mistakes sometimes while travelling either. It led me here, being stuck at Kenya’s airport for 18 hours.
I was supposed to fly to India from Tanzania. I was able to check in my flight from Nairobi to Mumbai on the website but not from Kilimanjaro to Nairobi. Standing at the check-in counter, it seemed fine and no one ever mentioned visa for India. As my side, I had checked several times about Indian visa for Vietnamese citizens. I was very certain that I would have the VOA (visa on arrival). Having my passport checked, going through the security just fine at Kilimanjaro Int Airport, I flew to Nairobi, Kenya.
My flight from Nairobi to Mumbai was delayed. It gave me time to have my documents checked before departing. Standing in front of the gate, I felt like a fool.
“Do you have the E-visa?”
“I am Vietnamese, I am supposed to have it on arrival”.
I was so certain about my VOA and never had E-visa on my mind. So there went my flight to India.
Frustration was an obvious feeling I got at that point. WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW? There was no free wifi at the airport which made me feel even more frustrated. My card was declined when I tried to purchase the wifi access. Luckily, a kind gentleman was willing to buy me a 12hr access to the wifi to help me out in that situation.
The nerve got me when I knew my flight was departing without me on it. It was 9pm and it was pouring outside. I wasn’t sure what I was about to do but I knew that I needed to have another flight to get out of there. Getting out to Kenya was an option too but I would need a e-visa which would take few days to get. I looked for flights to different destinations and compared prices but again, my card did not work to purchase any flights. I was on the phone with several friends just to seek for help. Since I had no money with me, that night pass by as slowly as it could because I could not get any food and drink. I had 12hr access to the internet and I was scared that I would not have a flight out by then. For the first time, fear was in me.
After 10 hours being on the phone with friends, I finally got a flight booked to Vietnam. I survived 18 hours being stuck in the airport, 24 hours of no sleep, food and drinks.
Because of the complication, my baggage got missing. Kenya Airways said that it must be staying in Nairobi because I was not on the flight. However, Kenya Airways service could not find the luggage to transfer to my next flight.
However, I am so grateful to my friends who stayed up through the night with me and helped me with all they could do to purchase a flight. This is certainly an experience that I will never forget.