Oh my goodness. That was one of the most stressful experiences ever!
My flight from Goa to Chennai was very easy, only just over an hour and it left on time. I was sat in the aisle next to an Indian lady, her family behind us.
There were so many different coloured sarees on the plane, the lady sat across the aisle from me was wearing a beautiful turquoise and pink saree, with silver jewels over it.
We were served breakfast straight after take off, which was a cold sweet rice dish with a spoonful of coconut polenta and some fruit. It was slightly strange and very sweet. All the Indian ladies across from me ate a pot of jam with a spoon just on its own.
No sooner had they taken the trays away, the seat belt sign went on and we were on our way down.
I got off the plane and headed to immigration. As I was with a different air line for the next flight I had to pick up my luggage and go through the whole process again.
I wasn’t sure what queue I shul stand in, as I wasn’t trying to be granted an E visa – I already had that.
I started queuing in the E visa queue as it only had 6 people in it. However it was very slow and so I went to ask an official where I should go.
He looked at my ticket, and as I didn’t have my boarding pass for the next flight I had to queue in the main immigration queue which was huge.
This took about 20 minutes, and so it was now gone 9am and my next flight was 11am.
I got to the front of the queue and before could even speak, the man told me I shold be at the E visa desk. I said I didn’t need that as I was trying to get out of the country. He just shook his head and pointed. Grrrrrrrr.
I went over to the E visa desk, there were now 3 people in the queue. They were the same as before so I hadn’t actually lost any time!
I got to the front of the queue and this told me I needed to fill in an arrival card. He gave it to me and I had to borrow his pen. I moved to the side but stayed at the desk whilst he dealt with the guy that had joined behind me.
On the form it required the Indian address I was staying at. I asked him what I shul put at this address as I was leaving and he finally understood what I was trying to do. I was close to tears. He told me I needed to bypass all the immigration queues and just give the guard on the door my boarding pass from the flight I had just got off!
I thanked him and hurried around the queues hoping this was going to work.
Phew! It did! They just stamped it and let me out. Very strange and I have no idea why!
I rushed to get my bag, luckily it was already on the carousel when I got there.
I had to go through customs, where they scan your bag again. I then followed the signs to departures, which took me outside the airport completely and all the way to the end.
When I got there, I showed my E ticket to the guard on entry and he shook his head. This was internal departures and I needed international departures which he pointed in the direction I had just come from.
He looked at his watch, and it was now 9.45am!
He whistled over a buggy who came whizzing over. The driver jumped off and put my bag onto the back and off we went. He sped along and beeped his way through crowds of people. It was a long way and I knew there was no way I would have had the time to walk it.
He dropped me off at a lift and told me to go to the 2nd floor.
The lift took ages, and one was broken so there was a huddle of people waiting. I managed to get the 2nd lift and made it into the departure hall.
I asked a member of staff for the Sri Lankan airline desk and he pointed to the end of the hall. Of course it would be the furthest away.
I hurried down, pushing my trolley but all the desk’s along here said they were closed.
I saw the Sri Lankan airline office on the other side and asked him. He pointed to the closed desks. Uh oh.
I went up to the desk where 2 guy’s were talking. He took my passport and gave me my boarding pass. My luggage was stickered and sent away.
He told me I had to go up to immigration and security with a lady that had appeared.
We walked quickly, it was now 10am so only and hour until the flight left. I hate feeling like I’m going to miss something. I will always arrive early for a flight or a train journey. Where the journey is totally out of your control and they will leave with or without you – it’s so stressful!
We got to immigration and I was pointed into a queue of about 40 people. The Sri Lankan airline lady spoke to the guard but it looks like there was no pushing in!
The queue moved so slowly! They were asking everyone questions and scanning their eyes. I hoped I didn’t need another form as I didn’t have one!
A member of staff shouted out sri Lanka to the queue and I put my hand up. I was the only one. I thought he was going to let me queue jump but he just nodded at me.
It’s moments like this that I wish I wasn’t alone. I wanted someone to share the stress, maybe even make a joke out of it. There was nothing I could do and so I just had to queue.
He kept coming back to see my queue progress and I finally got to the front of the queue at 10.15am.
The official looked at my passport and asked what date I had entered India, what I was there for and where I was going.
The other guy was hovering, I could tell he was anxious which just made me feel even worse.
I got through immigration finally with a stamp in my passport but then I had another queue for security!
The guy rushed over and took my hand luggage, by passing the queue and then told me to go through. Luckily, they have a separate queue for females and so there was no one waiting.
I could hear him on his walkie talkie saying it is a lady passenger and we are at security.
Eekkkkkk! They were talking about me!
I got through security without issue and the lady from the airline was there again. She said we needed to hurry and so we rushed off, down a floor in a lift and finally got to the gate.
I was the last person on the flight! But thank God I made it with their help!
Once on the plane, a man was in my seat! He was in a white sheet, with it wrapped round like a Buddhist monk but not orange. The man he was with said could I sit in the seat in front, to which I hesitated. I didn’t really want to move seats. I hadn’t chosen my seat but it felt weird not sitting in my seat on a plane. Like something out of final destination!
He said again that I could sit in the seat in front but the hen there was a bag and so I said it looked like the hence seat was taken. Just on que, an elderly lady and her daughter came back to the seats.
The man finally moved out of my seat and I as I sat down, the plane started to taxi to the run way!
Phew! That was the most stressful connection I have had. Even worse than the delayed flight from London!
I have decided I will only book connection flights with at least a 4 hour gap so that even if there is a delay I will have time to her set it without it eating into my check in time.
Sazzle hates stress, I imagine she’s gone further into hiding!