Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Taken from a Hollywood Film: (A.K.A you had to be there to believe it!)

I have been in Egypt now for a week and it is still just as I had remembered it. (More beautiful than ever!!!) Even though the flight in, or should I say flights to get to Cairo seemed like they were taken from a Hollywood film, I made it safe and sound. The first two times I have flown to Egypt everything regarding travel and airports went smoothly. However, this time around being winter and going through London Heathrow Airport (LHR) things changed. Of course, every day I was in Boston I checked the weather channel to make sure and pray that it would not be snowing so that my flight would not be cancelled or delayed. Nevertheless, I overlooked checking LONDON weather. The day I was leaving Logan International Airport my flight was delayed, but I managed to get on the flight that had been delayed since 4pm and we left at 8:45pm. The flight was going great till about 1 hour to landing. The pilot informed the passengers that he had been informed that we couldn’t land in London because the runways were iced over, so we were rerouted to Glassgow, Scotland.  I was not too worried about this set back because I had an 8 hour wait at Heathrow to fly out to Cairo. But once we landed in Scotland, no one had any idea what was going on. This is when the nightmare began!!! Everyone got off the aircraft walked to the gate and entered. We had to go through customs and immigration. We were instructed to form a line or queue as they say. The line was so long and every time you would ask an airport employee none of them knew what was going to happen or what we were supposed to do apart from wait in the enormously long queue. I waited for about an hour in line without moving an inch forward and then to my surprise the fire alarm went off. All of sudden you could hear the loud speakers instructing everyone to leave their luggage wherever it was and exit the building. I grabbed my backpack and left my carry-on and big suitcase (which I forgot to mention we had to claim, so you could picture me at 5’4’’ with this bag that goes up to my waist, at least). Anyway, everyone ran for the exits with their stuff out into the freezing weather. (Thank God I had kept my winter coat with me.) We waited for about 20 minutes, no firemen came or police and we reentered the airport terminal. Formed the line AGAIN!!!! For another hour I made the line made it to the attendants who were taking down your information and putting us on busses to transport us to a local hotel for the night so that we could catch our flight the following morning. I made it on the bus, exhausted from not sleeping on the plane and all of the hustle and bustle of the day and waited for about 40 minutes. I kept on making prayers in my head so that everything would be fine and suddenly an airport attendant stepped on the bus and said that we were the lucky few that were going to make it on the plane to Heathrow that same day. I was so happy I cannot even explain the feeling. I had false hope that I would make my connection in Heathrow to Egypt at 4:55pm. Mind you it was already 1pm. I made it on the flight at about 2:30pm, estimated the hour flight to London and was thinking everything had turned around for me. But of course we had to wait for the plane to be de-iced, and wait for a spot at LHR. So we really took off at about 3:30pm. We landed in LHR at about 4:35pm and I was ready to run. However, once again there was an obstacle. Because I had to claimed my checked luggage in Scotland and it could not be checked all the way to Cairo, I had to claim it again in LHR, go through customs, immigration, and check-in for the third time!!!!! It was pretty much hopeless, but of course being young and hopeful I still thought I would make it. I got off the bus that took us from the plane to the terminal, followed the “connecting flights” signs and asked the first person I saw in uniform what I should do and if my flight to Egypt had left. I was thinking it could be delayed as well, since everything else was. The gentlemen said that if I ran I would make my flight, but I had to get my luggage and check it. I ran to the place where they stamp your passport, showed the guy I had already entered the UK, went through, claimed my luggage (again 3rd time, after waiting 1 hour), and went upstairs to check in. When I got upstairs I asked another agent if I could make my flight and he said I was too late. I had missed it. He told me to go to the man in the blue shirt, who knew what I should do. So I did just that. When I looked at the man in the blue shirt in despair he told me I had to call British Airways and rebook. This was the point where I started to lose my calm. A British Airways attendant (female) saw my face and said “come with me I will help you” so I did. Holding back my tears from exhaustion, despair, and stress I told her which flight I had missed. She took her mobile and called the airline. Since she was an employee she did not have to wait on hold forever. We sat down on a bench and she said I was all set for the next day’s flight to Cairo. The kind lady asked me if I was ok, but when someone asks me if I am ok and I am holding back tears, it’s never a good combination. So I broke down for about 5 seconds. She told me not to worry gave me a kiss on the forehead hugged me and told me she was going to take me to the queue for the hotels. However, she then changed her mind and skipped me in front of all of the people and took me to a very kind man who would book my hotel and give me the voucher. He started asking me questions about my trip and talked about Islam. I felt better. After about 2 hours I made it to the hotel, ate dinner, and slept. The next day I woke up had breakfast, checked out of the hotel and made it to LHR at 1pm. I wanted to make sure I would not miss my flight again. Checked-in in about 15 minutes, passed the security inspection in about 10 minutes and waited. My flight was supposed to board 3:50pm. We boarded at 6:30pm. DELAYED yet again. Once on the plane we waited about 1 hour before the captain started informing us why we were waiting. First it was because there was a line for the deicing process. We were served dinner on the ground, the crew turned on the entertainment for us and we waited. During the 8 hours of waiting inside the aircraft on the ground everything imaginable happened. Not only were we delayed and kept getting pushed back in line to deice. There was a medical emergency on board. Some older man was having medical problems. We found out about this when the captain asked if there was a medical doctor on board (just like in movies). To add to the problems, a plane that was on the runway at LHR about 3 miles away from where we were had a bomb threat so we had to wait till that cleared. Let’s see: medical emergencies, delays, bomb threats, weather issues… everything happened. Nevertheless, we took off at 2:30am London time on January 9, 2010. We landed safe and sound in LHR at around 7:30am. I passed through customs, immigration and got my luggage in record time of about 45minutes. Alhamdullilah the nightmare was over. I could not believe I had made it. After three days of travel.


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