New Delhi Travel Blog› entry 112 of 115 › view all entries
Dom isnâ€™t budging from the ticket counter in Delhi airport. Iâ€™m quite happy to stand by and await the result of the wrangle. The Virgin staffie is adamant that she canâ€™t help us; weâ€™ll have to pay 25 US Dollars each for a date change on our London connection. Weâ€™re not happy with this. Yesterday, we were delayed for four hours by fog before our Jet Air flight out of Kathmandu could take off. Lacking divine powers, the weather is not something within our control.
Dom is a dark-haired English guy in his late twenties. Heâ€™s younger than I am but somehow seems to project an authority that Iâ€™m unable to summon. Perhaps it stems from his being a partner in a marketing business in Singapore.
In truth Iâ€™m ready to let it go and cough up; I just want to go home. Domâ€™s having none of it though: â€˜Iâ€™m not paying it and neither are you mate,â€™ he says. â€˜If we kick up enough of a fuss Iâ€™m telling you theyâ€™ll waive it.â€™
Iâ€™m beginning to doubt his words but, nonetheless, we return to the Jet Air desks, directly opposite their Virgin counterparts, no more than thirty yards between them. Here we speak to the Jet Air ground manager, a portly fortysomething Indian guy in a burgundy blazer. He insists that it is not his airlineâ€™s responsibility to pay for the fee imposed by Virgin.
In fairness to Jet Air, they have already paid for decent hotel rooms and food for Dom and me when we were stranded yesterday. However, their ground manager has not been telling us the whole truth. Virgin claim that theyâ€™ve heard nothing from him about waiving the date change fee. A game of human table tennis ensues as we bounce between the counters, Dom gradually engineering a meeting between the ground managers from Jet Air and Virgin.
We have been hanging around in the check in area for over two hours before the two managers finally meet. They stage a thirty second chat before the generously proportioned woman in super bright Virgin red waives the fees. Simple as that. Dom is vindicated and Iâ€™m quietly impressed at what stubbornness and negotiation can achieve.
Two hours later and weâ€™re boarding a half empty Virgin jet back to Blighty. The chief air steward is a camp Scottish bloke. As he gives a dry and slightly cheeky welcome aboard speech, Iâ€™m stupidly excited about the prospect of stepping back onto English soil. Iâ€™ve almost come full circle you see, and that, at least in my head, means quite a lot.