4th leg. Unhappy ending in Jeddah

November 25, 2012

On the way to the airport of Aswan

Our departure from Aswan was smooth, except for a problem with our fuel drain [we need to drain some fuel from 6 positions plus oil from 1 position, in order to make sure there is no water in our fuel]. We collect the drained fuel in a small container and usually we ask the Agent to bring it away. Standard they say throw it in the grass or in the sand. This time it was me who suggested right away to put it in the sand, after all there was an entire desert around us and I thought to save some time not having the same discussion every day. Mistake. The Agent did it right away but it was seen by an official who asked $100 penalty. We negotiated it down to $50. We are sure it will stay in someone’s pocket, but if he buys a nice present for his family with it, we are content after all.

Aswan-Jeddah:still a lot of sand…

Then the big story of the coffee. Since we had already two failures, remember, 1 having forgotten to take the coffee container from the a/c [aircraft] 2 having taken the hot water container to the hotel instead, we were adamant to correct the problem. So we purchased in the Medina of Aswan a small coffee container and had it filled with coffee in the hotel. This appeared to become failure number 3 since this small container was useless and though it may look nice on the photograph in the Starbucks cup (bought in Heraklion) the coffee was cold and moreover tasteless. One has to understand that we had no way to throw the coffee away, like with Swiss or BA, so we had to drink it nolens volens (Theun!). Tomorrow we will be heading for failure number 4 which you will only understand when you continue reading now. We probably will have to wait until Sophie gets on board to have a decent coffee every morning. Quiz question: can we fly without a woman on board? Answer at the end of this blog.

Breakfast is ready…. – but no flight attendant

Approaching the red sea.

Such a nice aircraft at Jeddah Intl

Everything has to be fixed carefully

Then Jeddah. We were asked several times before our arrival if we had any passengers on board. We replied each time happily NO. It would make our entry easy. After arrival we were brought to the Handling Agent where we had to wait an endless time to get the immigration papers. Not at any time we had the idea that we would not get the permission to enter the country for one night to sleep.

In the early evening the final verdict was given to us: no permission. Why: because we had no passengers o/b (on board) and that was very unusual. Nothing could be done. The Dutch Ambassy in Ryad was closed already and so was the Saudi Embassy in Holland. Since my friends in Malta, who are living in a circle of Ambassadors, could help us in 2010 with a problem in Australia I called them for help. Unfortunately there is no Saudi Ambassador in Malta.

We had no choice but to accept the Handling Agent’s offer to turn the pilot room into our bedroom. We got permission to take our sleeping bags from the a/c and Andy changed our flightplan for a departure at 07:00 local time to Djibouti.

a specially prepared crew room for a great night…

Before we accepted their offer we considered some other possibilities like flying out in the night to Luxor or to our next destination, but that did not work because it would to too difficult or perhaps not possible to change our fly-over permits. Apart from that we were quite tired already. Another possibility we considered was to plaster all the windows of our building with pages of a book we found in our room, but that action may have rather prolonged our stay than shortened.

We are of course unhappy with this silly refusal of the authorities and we solemny promised each other never ever ever again try to enter this country, though we may have to call Jeddah once again to replenish the a/c with fuel on our return trip Northbound.

Answer to the quiz question: no, of course not.

Will be (perhaps) continued.

Post by Harry Heijst | November 25, 2012 |