I'm stranded ! Ramadhan Mubarak
Sharm El Sheikh Travel Blog› entry 34 of 34 › view all entries
August 20th, 2009 – by: herman_munster
Around 3am after long waiting at the concourse and some good hours of napping I queued to check in and then disaster strikes. Upon handing my online ticket, the officer asked me like I’m one of terrorist or serial killer on which airport I arrived and from when and where to go. I had my online ticket printed by low cost airline Meridiana/Eurofly airline or so that I thought.
“We cannot check you in” he said. I thought the problem was regarding entry visa to Italy as the flight was to Venice then another separate flight by Aerlingus to Dublin the same day. I explained about my visa waiver to Italy and work visa in Ireland only to know abruptly “This is charter airline, everyone has to fly from the same point, no one way journey allowed.” He continued saying this regulation not only applied to me but everyone.
I was dumbfounded and angry. I wasn’t satisfied at all. I demanded the airport /airline supervisor to clarify. Later another officer explained and apparently it is airline regulation that charter airline is not dealing with independent travelers but to travel agent that arranging travel/tour package. That’s bullsh*t. None of this stupid regulation stated in booking website. To me it’s just like any other airline online booking page.
Feeling gobsmacked I left the scene to the information counter if they could help me. Nothing works in the land of Sharm El-Sheikh. The information counter doesn’t have telephones (the public phones were broken), doesn’t have internet, and doesn’t have the airline counter. It was 6am and the plane already leaving and I was dead lost! I got no other option than to head back to downtown in search of internet and one night accommodation. The information counter said the next regular flight was in the evening the next day. Later I checked in into Sunrise hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh about 20 km from the airport. I got no other option than booking another one way flight by regular airline which was Egypt Air. And the fares cost me about 1/3 of the whole Mid-east expenses!
Sharm El-Sheihk hotels are downright tacky!.Most cater for Russian or Eastern Europe package holiday makers. Nowhere to be found the decent one . Guide books vaguely mentioned none for budget traveller thus accommodation availability ranges from mid-range to high end . I checked-in into Sunrise Hotel as was the one caught my attention from the main road. Others around the same area looks somewhat expensive. Never experience staying at hotel where the bathroom awfully gross, the broken hot water tap, leakage that wetted the bathroom floor. When I thought the room was worthless, the atmosphere couldn't get any worst.
The hotel played a playback of sleazy sentimental lounge track from Diana Ross to Lionel Ritchie( the cover version not real one) OVER AND OVER AGAIN until the tape recorder broken !.
It was played loudly throughout the night at least until 2am. Nowhere in the place that I'd travel so far that offered me nothing than TACKINESS. Tacky atmosphere, tacky design,food and even tacky holidaymaker! One of the place that I'll never set foot again.
Finally I reached Dublin 2 days later and I made a serious complaint through the airline website and spoke to Meridiana airline customer support. The result of full refund request only is known 30 days later. I’m thinking it’s rather a wishful thinking to get full refund but I gave it a shot.
What a journey it has been. Come to think backpacking really requires mental stamina.
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