Qatar Airways, Dick Cheney and Sand, Sand, Sand
The flight back was a nightmare. Cutting a long story short, A flight that was bad enough already got worse when we started circling the coast of Oman near Al-Bustan for about half an hour. There were a number of interesting characters on the plane, one of whom was one of the Omani national football team players, and another was an Omani girl from my uni (if ur reading this, say hi :P). Anyway, what is supposed to be a one-hour flight quickly became a 2 hour one, and people were getting agitated. The omani football dude asked the air-hostess what was the hold-up, and she said we would land now.
But we didn't. We circled that area a few more times before the captain made an announcement: there had been an emergency in Seeb International, and we were being diverted to Al-Ain. Al-Ain! I hadn't slept all night, everytime I even closed my eyes the dreams would start, and here we were flying BACK to Al-Ain!
So we fly to Al-Ain. I didnt even know Al-Ain had an 'international airport', so I wasn't too suprised to see that the 'airport' wasn't much more than a hangar and an airstip in the midst of miles and miles of beautiful, unspoiled desert sands. It would have been wonderful, if it wasn't so pathetic.
So we're all sitting in the plain in Al-Ain. Tired, hungry, annoyed, but for some reason everyone was in good spirits. The air hostesses and host-dudes were chatting with everyone, being as helpful as they could. They opened the plane doors and stuff so we could get some fresh air. People started gathering in groups and chatting and stuff, it was actually kinda nice. Somehow, it felt like we were hostages, but in a really relaxed situation, lol.
News on the street (or on the aisle, in this case) was that a military plane had landed in Oman, but landed 'badly' and there were ambulances and stuff. Later I find out that Dick Cheney had made a suprise visit to Oman on his way to Iraq in some military plane. So its like everyone bugger off, clear the airways, close the airport, Big Dick is coming through. Why didn't he go to some Omani military airstrip? Why weren't we diverted to closer airstrips? God knows. Qatar Airways lost a ton of money on each passenger because of this unplanned detour - something like 200-300 rials per person on that plane. Who's carrything those costs? Qatar Airways. Not the airport, or Big Dick himself, but Qatar Airways. Madness really.
Anyway, after some 2 hours in Al-Ain, we finally flew back to Oman. I think by that time I had hit the 30 hours without sleep point (can't sleep while travelling), and I was beyond tired...to the point I wasn't tired anymore. Got home....slept anyway. :p
Ahhh, good to be back!
EDIT: oh, and the worst part is, at the END of the flight, the pilot is like 'Thank you for flying Qatar Airways, we hope you enjoyed your journey with us.' :p
PS - All the blame of this incident goes to Dick Cheney and the Oman Airport authorities. Qatar Airways did a great job with us and have no blame in this incident - just to make that clear. They're awesome :D
Posted by illogicist at 7:08 AM