Nuisance Factor

New Delhi Travel Blog

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The crest of the Hotel Shanty Palace which, despite the name, is neither a shanty or a palace, but a smart hotel near Delhi airport.

Dom isn’t budging from the ticket counter in Delhi airport. I’m quite happy to stand by and await the result of the wrangle. The Virgin staffie is adamant that she can’t help us; we’ll have to pay 25 US Dollars each for a date change on our London connection. We’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. He’s younger than I am but somehow seems to project an authority that I’m unable to summon. Perhaps it stems from his being a partner in a marketing business in Singapore.

Home time.
He’s dressed smart casual and acts the part; his attitude demanding respect from the airport staff. With my unshaven face and scruffy combats and t shirt combo, I’m very much the supporting actor.


In truth I’m ready to let it go and cough up; I just want to go home. Dom’s having none of it though: ‘I’m not paying it and neither are you mate,’ he says. ‘If we kick up enough of a fuss I’m telling you they’ll waive it.’


I’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 airline’s responsibility to pay for the fee imposed by Virgin.

The plane and some ghostly reflections.
He also claims to have already done his best to convince Virgin to waive the fee.


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 they’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 I’m quietly impressed at what stubbornness and negotiation can achieve.


Two hours later and we’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, I’m stupidly excited about the prospect of stepping back onto English soil. I’ve almost come full circle you see, and that, at least in my head, means quite a lot.


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The crest of the Hotel Shanty Pala…
The crest of the Hotel Shanty Pal…
Home time.
Home time.
The plane and some ghostly reflect…
The plane and some ghostly reflec…
Everyone lining up to get on the p…
Everyone lining up to get on the …
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra