Saturday, January 21, 2006


interiorplane, originally uploaded by swapna bolleboina.

I was able to take the picture of the damaged part of the plane interior while flying on Monday , December 19th, 2005

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Adventurous trip

I had a very adventurous vacation. Took an impulsive decision to visit India, boarded the Air India Plane and survived a plane crash and took almost 5 days to reach Hyderabad. Though it was an impulsive decision and I had to go through many pains and problems before during and after my visit it was still a worthwhile trip. Well, firstly I wasn't sure to visit my parents during this winter break. I had only three weeks of break which I knew wasn’t sufficient enough for me. Moreover, I was furious about the air fares and also of getting back home more homesick. However, I gave myself some time to think the pros and cons of visiting and then decided to go for it. It seemed that I was subconsciously preparing myself to leave to India. Anyhow, purchased the ticket on Monday and boarder the Air India flight 747 on December 19th 2005 leaving LAX. However, the plane's rear tire caught fire and so the plane was redirected to the ocean to dump the fuel and landed back in LAX. It was a nightmare. The officials were all puzzled while the passengers were all furious and baffled. The AI officials did not have any plans and mismanaged the whole scene. They provided some snacks for the passengers and asked them to pick up their I-94 and their luggage which was in a small domestic baggage checkout center. Everyone had to sort out their huge baggage and then head out where the shuttle was waiting to take us to Hilton. After reaching Hilton, only a few could get accomodation while the others were relocated to some other place. The ones who wished too return home were told too inform the officials of their phone nos which were never used to contact them. I decided to stay in the hotel than return back to my apartment which is about 45 min drive from the airport. Moreover, decided to stay with the crowd to be on the safer side. Any ways I was able to get a room for myself and volunteered to share it with two more girls who did not have any accomodation.

The next day a very diplomatic representative of Air India showed up who did not have any answer about our departure or about refunding our money . Most of them tried contacting other airlines to find if there were any seats vacant. Some of them who were old and had kids were provided seating in the next day flight on December 20. We received the information that on Wednesday all the remaining passengers of 747 would be provided accomodation along with the other passengers reserved to fly on that day. Sad that I would be missing two more days of my vacation, I tried to find out if there was any possibility for me to go on the AI flight on Tuesday. But there was no way I could get on to the plane. Neither was I old, nor do I have any kids. Any ways, I came to an understanding that I would be flying home on Tuesday . Meanwhile I wanted to confirm if AI would be providing a connecting flight to me from Delhi. I had a connecting flight from Delhi to Hyderabad through Sahara Airlines and inquired if AI would provide me with the same on Wednesday. The person informed me that I needed to check the same with Sahara, which I felt was ridiculous. I couldn't stop myself from raising my voice and asking them of proper arrangements for me to get to Hyderabad. This helped me to secure a seat on the Tuesday flight. I was very excited to know that I would be boarding the plane on Tuesday. After we reached the airport, waited for more than 2 hours at the counter, got new tickets and boarded the plane, we had to sit in the hot machine for more than 4 hours. At last the pilot declared that the flight had some technical problems and so the engine wouldn't start. We all had to get down the plane, which was hot like a furnace.

The manager informed us that the flight was not cancelled but delayed. He lodged us at Radisson and promised that they needed about 10 hours to repair the plane. They also informed us that we would be informed of the flight timings. All of us got too Radisson hotel and stayed there for the night. We had to stand in a huge queue in front of the lobby till early morning (3:00 am) to get a room which I shared with a co passenger Priya.

After we woke up in the morning we tried to gather the latest news and came to know that everyone were supposed to be at the airport by 11:00a.m. We tried to hurry up and have our breakfast while an ABCNews spokesowman approached me for an interview. I was very thrilled to give an interview on ABC which unfortunately I could not watch. After that we all rushed to the airport only to find the counters still closed. We had to wait for a while when the counters opened. Finally we got our tickets and checked in. The flight which was supposed to take of at approximately 2:45 pm did not take off till somewhere around 6:00pm. It was a very long and frustrating wait which made me feel frustrated. Visiting India was then like a dream to me. After all the hustle bustle, shouting, cursing the plane took off and we landed in Mumbai airport only to wait for an hour at the baggage claiming counter. Meanwhile, we missed our flight to Hyderabad. So we were again lodged in a hotel in Mumbai and informed to be back at the airport by 2:00pm to board the Hyderabad flight for 4:30pm. I was able to freshen up, have my breakfast and rest a little bit before I headed back to the airport. At the airport another surprise awaited us. The flight for 4:30pm had been re-scheduled to 22:55pm. This annoyed the whole lot of us. However, this was not uncommon to the Air India staff. Many of the flights have been re scheduled and cancelled on that day due to weather related issues. However, no one could explain why the Hyderabad flight was delayed when the weather in Mumbai and Hyderabad was perfect.
Any ways, we had to wait for another 11 hours in the airport and then boarded the AI flight to Hyderabad. I couldn't stop myself from smiling while boarding the airplane. There were some problems in the flight regarding the passengers who wanted too swap their places on the plane which annoyed me and also caused some delay. Any ways, I reached Begumpet safe and sound. I stopped calling my parents and informing them off my arrival and decided to call them once I was in Hyderabad. Luckily my friends updated my flight timings and I was able to meet my father at the airport.

Any ways, though it was a tiring journey, it was worth it. I met my near and dear ones who complained of my weight, color, and everything they could possibly think of. I had a wonderful time with my nephews who were a lot of work.
However, I also spent some time running to the banks several times and getting frustrated with the roads and the traffic in Hyderabad. Overall, it was nice to meet my friends, my old colleagues and my previous teachers. Though I did have tons of things in mind before I landed in India, after I arrived there, I wasn't able to do as much as I thought.

I am glad to have made the trip and survived the difficulties.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?