After getting through Immigration I get to the customs man who surprise, surprise stops me and says he has to search my bags as well as asking If I had any presents for anybody, said no I was returning things to my wife. He asks me to remove things from my bag–I’m afraid I got a little angry and said “you’re the one paid to search people and discourage them from coming back, I’m not paid to search my bag–you are! When he realized that I was going to give no help to the search he let me through without searching my bags! (I paid for this good luck on the return journey)
Once past what I thought would be my last obstacle, (I had forgotten about the need to speak to the First Choice Rep to say I wouldn’t need the room for the night as I had a booking at another hotel) I looked for my wife and saw she wasn’t there. As soon as I started looking for her the taxi drivers took it as an invitation to harass me for business (if you appear to have no ride they will keep coming). Eventually I find a phone box and call her, she is at the airport but not feeling well and the taxi driver is looking for me. After another 20 minutes I find the man holding up a card with my name on it-I was amazed to find that he was one of those who had harassed me for a fare to town although he already had a booking!
Two Weeks later it’s time to return after an “interesting” trip (Review “Riotious Relaxation”) as Kenya had just had Its “Elections”. As I did the same flight the year before I remembered how long the queue was and how long it took despite arriving early and so we made the necessary arrangements especially since the reps at First Choice weren’t answering the phone when people should’ve been phoning to confirm they would be on the return flight (I should’ve guessed!) As usual for the return journey we got up early and the knock on the door was given before we were ready, so once again I didn’t get my cup of tea before leaving for home, (but that wasn’t down to the driver or ourselves-see review-Grim Gupta’s in Nice Nyali).
Unusually there was hardly any traffic on the road and so we were at the airport in no time and to my delight there was no horrendous queue (I should’ve guessed!). Once I got to the doors of which only one was open (I should’ve guessed!) I saw there was absolutely NO queue (I should’ve guessed!), remembering this was one of the few places I could get a decent cup of tea In Kenya I used a few of my remaining shillings to purchase a cup of tea. Whilst I’m technically still “outside” the airport drinking the tea as I can only see one bin to throw the cup in when I’d finished people started to arriving at the airport and in enough numbers for me to hurry up but not enough to fill a coach (I should’ve guessed!).
After I’d finished my tea I went through the 1st check (count them) with the X-Ray machine for all my belongings made my way across to the Last Choice-Oops I mean First Choice Check-In desk-before I get there a man had approached me to see if I was taking anything out “no” I said then he told me to put the suitcase on the side and to unlock it which I did and then open it which I did, he rummaged around and found nothing of consequence (what a surprise!) he did say I was just unlucky that I was getting searched. Looking around proved the lie to his statement, I was the only tourist there (I should’ve guessed!). After my suitcase and hand luggage had been searched less than 5 minutes after they’d been through an X-Ray machine and I’d been frisked I was able to check in my baggage without any problems, they didn’t even look at the weight of my suitcase as it was checked In. (I should’ve guessed!).
I got my departure card and filled it in for the next piece of bureaucracy to be passed. Just out of curiosity, I looked back to see just 2 people approach the 1st choice desk to be moved aside and get searched (I should’ve guessed!). The area where we had to had in our departure cards was where there was a minor queue as there were only 2 people manning the 4 booths despite the amount of planes to be flying out shortly (I should’ve guessed!).
Once through the disembarkation phase I discovered why there was a lack of people, (I should’ve guessed!). There was a delay of 2Hrs and despite insisting on a contact number at the beginning of the holiday “just in case” there had been no attempt to contact us. No problem I thought–for once I’ve got a few dollars left in my wallet and I’ve not bought myself a present yet. I should’ve guessed! The shops weren’t open yet as they were aware of the planes late departures. After the shops opened I discovered that the café area took dollars but not at an exchange rate to afford breakfast, so I bought my nieces a present each to match the presents from the previous year and with the change was able to phone my wife to get her to text by brother about the late departure of the plane. With my last few dollars I was able to buy a breakfast of a bottle of Fanta Orange and a carton of Pringles crisps
More irritated people come through having just discovered about the late departure of the plane and had paid extra to get special arrangements to the airport and Last Choice-Oops I mean First Choice hadn’t told them either! Eventually we are called to queue up to go to the boarding gate whilst we’re queuing we get a taste of the previous year and change their mind and call another airline’s customers through in preference to us. Once that was done it was our turn to go through to be frisked yet again and a quick check that our passports and boarding cards were in order, then we had to queue up for our hand luggage to be searched again by the same people that had searched it already downstairs and actually thought it was funny and still expected to get tipped. As it was the same man that had searched my bags downstairs I did give him a tip but not how he was expecting I pointed out it might be a better idea to tell the truth next time.
Finally we get to board the plane after walking across the tarmac and up some old steps onto the plane. Once settled in (I got my aisle seat as usual) and plenty of space to put my hand luggage and wow! What a result only 2 of us to share the 3 seats in the middle of the plane. Although not particularly hungry and I suspect nor were many other people by the amount of people I saw in the airport “café” Last Choice-Oops I mean First Choice were quick off the mark to hand out the breakfasts, it must have been pretty bland as all I can recall about it was the scrambled eggs that weren’t rubbery and cold baked beans! Oh yes! And the obligatory orange juice and cup of tea!
The films that were an upgrade on the outbound flight were all available on the return with the exception of Harry Potter (which most people would’ve seen by that time). The children’s section of films was far superior to the adults and I watched Shrek 3, Bratz and some fantasy thing that was quite entertaining had some sleep and an afternoon snack shortly before landing. Of course Last Choice-Oops I mean First Choice did hand out the survey forms and on this occasion MOST people filled them in. I suspect the staff had a quick read of them along and the general surliness of the “happy” customers may have given them a clue because while we were waiting for the order to taxi to a disembarking point the Captain asked for a show of hands who knew about the two hour delay of the plane. The only hands that were raised? (You should be able to guess) THE CREWS!
To the bottom of the pile with you Last Choice-Oops I mean First Choice though you really are now my last choice with what has happened since these two flights and your….erm “helpful” follow up customer care service. Two better words spring to mind-“unhelpful” & “intriguing”!