Airport woes are nothing new to anyone who’s traveled, and frequent fliers are always susceptible to baggage losses, canceled flights, wailing kids and the Bitch at Passport Control. Like my management professor says, they’re commercial smiles, nothing is for free. Apparently Passport Control Bitch (PCB for short) doesn’t get paid particularly well.
fig 1.2.3 – PCB concept art v1
Mom’s been over for a month long visit, feeding me a generous amount of yummy noms, and if you’ve been following me on twitter or Facebook or marginally know me then you know food is the only thing I love unconditionally (third to mom and granny). Except eggplants and hideous fruits (tart and blueberries on cheesecakes exempted). But more on mom’s visit in another post.
Yesterday, we bid a teary farewell to mom at the airport, but only after I made sure she finished cooking wara2 3enab (stuffed grape leaves) before dropping her off there. 30 minutes later of driving back home and depressing music, mom calls me and tells me that the flight has been rescheduled till later that evening. Apparently the clause where flights may be rescheduled and/or canceled without prior notice has been placed there for a reason. But come on, people! It’s 2009. We book and give out contact details – emails, phone numbers, underwear size – and what does the PCB tell mom? You should have checked our website before coming to the airport.
Right. Cuz I am flying Syrian Airlines in the 1980s. Except Internet didn’t exist in Syria back then (there are rumors we have internet now, can anyone confirm please?)
إيه اهلا وسهلا فيكون عالسورية تابشوني
But it was a good thing. Mom can have iftar with us and I can drop her at the airport later. So I picked her up, we had a nice final iftar, then took her back to the airport again. This time, I made sure I washed my car in the nearby gas station, you know, just in case the flight was canceled without prior notice.
Mom calls back and tells me that she was charged 300 AED for overstaying. WTF!
For those not in the know, if you’re here for a visit and overstay beyond the visa allowance you’re charged 100 AED per day. Maybe it’s now 150.
I triple checked mom’s passport when she first arrived – the visa is for 30 days and it is explicitly stated that she leaves “by September 7″, which according to my atomic clock is tomorrow.
The PCB explained to mom why she was charged: “Well, you arrived on August 5, and August is 31 days, and today is September 5 and you’re travelling on it’s 32 days.”
Ok, fine, she’s a smart ass PCB. I counted the days manually and indeed, between August 5 and September 5 (both inclusive) is 32 days. But on the passport it was written she should leave by 7th. It’s a friggin official statement, imprinted on an official document (thereafter referred to as The Passport), written by a friggin official official (referred to as The Company).
So not only have I not checked if the flight schedule has been changed without prior notice, but I also failed to do simple math and took the word of The Company. Mom was upset because if I knew the flight was postponed I would have finished the ironing. I was upset because I have a creased blue shirt which would probably stay that way till I get invited to a wedding, not to mention mom would have had more time to do a cake.
The PCB made me feel like the most horrible, starving son in the world with a creased shirt. I hate her. I hope she eats eggplants with a fruit salad for iftar. BITCH!
fig 1.3.4 – PCB concept art v6