We're sitting right now having a much-needed cup of coffee and assorted breakfast goodies. By this time we have spoken to the owner of the Pakistan franchise of Iraq air, the guy who's (mis)handling things at the airport and the incompetent travel agent who suggested the bloody airlines to begin with. We're informed that the flight is a very small one (about 25 passengers of which we are four). I have sudden visions of taking transatlantic flights in a forker. Sigh.
February 11, 2010
Quick update from the Karachi airport (btw, good coffee and great service at 'The Elbow Room, a must try if you're around). So, we get to the airport ridiculously early in the morning to find that the guard at the gate seems to have no idea what flight we're flying on. He looks at the ticket suspiciously, then at us, then again at the ticket and after looking at demure, burkha clad ladies (ick) and white shalwar kameez clad brother, I think he thought these guys seem to be a little misguided but not really dangerous. He lets us in and we look around for the Iraq airways booth. We discover, to our dismay, that nobody at the airport seems to have any idea that a flight is leaving for Najaf today. They tell us we may be taking Oman Air to Bahrain. We tell them quite firmly that we're not taking Oman air, we're taking Iraq Airways. They look at us as if we're unhinged, but they let us be for a bit while they do a little reconnaissance and figure out what to do with us. Finally, they discover that there IS an Iraq air which is habitually delayed (apparently guy in charge has a shopping fetish and likes taking a turn at the duty free inside before coming out). They point us towards a counter where we wait, and we wait, and - after a round, irritating man wobbles up - we wait some more while he writes out a handwritten boarding pass (with no name on it). He points our baggage towards a carousel, where they look at us once again as if we're crazy and ask as whether we're sure we're going to Najaf? When we hit immigration, the guy behind the desk (Mr. Zaman, he and I became good friends very quickly) says to us that Iraq Air is not on the immigration database. Lots of photocopying ensues and by now we're the ones looking at each other wondering if we are in fact a little crazy.