I had been looking forward to finally fly to Europe after months of working hard and saving up for the flight ticket. The day finally arrived, I was on the Vietnam Airlines flight bound for Ho Chi Minh City and another boarding pass for Frankfurt in my hands.
As an ex flight attendant, I am always observant on flights. The crew service standards, safety procedures and their general behaviour and demeanor. Horrible english proficiency, I couldn’t understand what was being said during the safety demonstration and the crew members looked miserable. Nonetheless, we landed in Ho Chi Minh city safely.
Upon arrival, there was an announcement being made for me to proceed to the gate for the next flight immediately. I went and saw them, they took my passport and told me to wait. 20 minutes later, the station manager came and took my passport from her colleague and looked at me from afar. She looked at me and my passport photo for a good 10 minutes before approaching me. She asked me what was my intention of going to Europe. I told her, I’m a traveller and I want to see the world. She then insinuated that the passport I was using was not mine. I was asked for all photo IDs I had so I presented her with my old passport, my ID card, my bank card and even a collection of old passport photos I carry in my wallet. She still accused me of travelling using a stolen passport. just because I have lost weight, and I have a beard and afro now.
3 immigration officers came to the scene and took me and all my belongings to the interrogation room. They searched through all my things, asked me a million questions and would not let me have a cigarette which I desperately needed.
Hours I spent in that room answering the same questions over and over. What was I doing in Vietnam? Why did I not take a direct flight to Frankfurt? Whose passport was I using? What was my intention of going to Germany? What is the address of my friend in Europe? Among other stupid questions. One of them even asked me why I decided to grow a beard. I said to him it was none of his business.
They suspected me of suspicious terrorist activity!
I asked to call my country’s embassy but was refused.
After I managed to convince them that the passport was indeed mine, they then accused me of passport counterfeit. It was ridiculous! at this point, of course the flight to Frankfurt had already departed. another hour went by and I was finally set free. Set free to have access to the transit area and finally have access to the toilets.
I was told I had to go back to Malaysia where I started the journey. Vietnam Airlines had the audacity to ask me to purchase the flight back to Kuala Lumpur when this was all their fault in the first place. Of course I refused, solely for the principle. And I could not afford it but of course I did not tell them that. I stood my ground and told them if they refuse to put them on that flight on their expense, I will leave the airport and enter Vietnam. Of course I was told that was impossible as I was already recorded in their system. they were ready to let me wait there until I gave in with no access to any restaurants, food and even drinkable water. Another threat from me, I managed to score a couple bottles of water.
I decided to set up my sleeping back right beside their transit counter and was ready to stay there for as long as possible. Just to piss them off.
I was awoken quite rudely by one of their staffs in the morning, gave me a new boarding pass and shooed me off to the gate. I was treated like a criminal by all of their staff members up to the point I left their horrible flight back in Malaysia. I had asked them for a flight refund earlier and was told that it was a promotional flight so I forfeit my money. ASSHOLES!
Now I am back where I started. Back in Penang. No job, no flight ticket and very little money. Now I have decided to just take it easy and relax with my travels. Do not rush it and not to put so much pressure on myself now. Within 3 months, I will be on that flight heading west once again. And not with that terrible VN airlines definitely.
It was a nightmare but I gained a great story.
I have always asked the universe to give me Tom Hanks’ life in Castaway. Self-sustaining jungle coastal life away from civilization. Instead she gave me Tom Hanks in The Terminal.