Overseas Assignment 2007: KL to Dubai to Kabul, The Hectic Journey – Part 1

kabul

Let me break it up into several “parts” the story of my travel from Malaysia to Kabul (my 2nd home for this year) – too tired to write in full (Image Source: Politico Magazine):-

Part 1 – From KLIA to Dubai

Part 2 – From Dubai to Kabul

Part 3 – Arrival in Kabul

The journey from KLIA to Dubai…

My flight to Dubai via Emirates was about 3.00 in the morning. So, I gather reaching KLIA at about 1.00 in the morning will be just nice. It is not the first time I am taking Emirates to Dubai, so there was no rush for this trip.

My wife dropped me off a couple of minutes before 1.00 and as I walked in towards the check-in counter, I noticed a very long queue originating from the Emirates counter. This was not a good sign. Just out of curiosity, I walked nearer and found out that indeed the queue was from the Emirates check-in. Feeling frustrated, I walked back to the last place in the long queue. The time was 1.00 am and the flight was at 3.00 am. Not so bad provided the line moved fast. Unfortunately for me, it did not.

By 1.40 am, it was still crawling. I began to panic – what if I did not make it in time to board the plane.

But I got some comfort to note that several people behind was taking the same flight. I was not alone. Right behind, was an Indian family going to the UK via Dubai. They panicked too but the “uncle” who was with them, told them that he has been in a long line and still made it to the plane. Someone in the Indian family did not believe him.

So, the uncle walked to the counter and spoke to someone there and walked back. He had some good news and bad news – the good news was that Emirates had opened 9 counters to “clear the backlogs” and the line was moving all the time. The bad news was he was not sure those right at the back will make it in time. It was almost to 2.00 am by the time I reached within the area where the counters were located.

The good thing at this point of time was that most of the people in front were made of families – means 4 – 6 people move to one check-in counter at the same time. It was just after 2.00 am when I walked to the counter to get my boarding pass. I asked the guy behind the counter what happened tonight – the long queue was not usual.

He looked exhausted when he replied yes – apparently there was another Emirates flight before mine. So, they stopped the check-in of the 3.00 am flight to clear the earlier flight passengers, causing the line for 3.00 am flight to jam up. After they have cleared the earlier flight passengers, there was no time for rest for they now have to clear the next flight passengers.

The boarding pass showed boarding at 2.25 am – I had a good 15 mins to reach the place.

The electronic immigration counter was fast (Malaysia Boleh!) and the aero-train was waiting when I walked there. Despite the earlier scare – I managed to stroll into the boarding area and had some relaxing time to board the plane. The plane to Dubai was a Boeing 777 – so, it has a good selection of movies on demand. I managed to catch Shrek 3 and Spiderman 3 before I dozed off.

And the best part was I got the last seat which was good because I could move down the seat without worrying about the people at the back. The departure was delayed because of the delayed boarding time. The flight to Dubai took us about 7 hours and the pilot managed to speed up to catch up on time and we actually arrived 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled arrival time.

To be continued in Part 2

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