By Dan Atuhaire
10 hours to travel time, the good old fellows at Uganda Airline decide to cancel – or rather reschedule – the flight from 10:00 to 21:30 hours, all of 09 hours later. The news comes via a casual email, on a Sunday evening.
No sober soul reads emails on a Sunday evening, unless one’s work environment is so devoid of work-life balance that they cannot tell between Sunday evening and a frenzied mid-morning weekday.
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So I miss the email, having sacked out early enough in anticipation of an early morning 45KM rip to the airport. I end up spending the rest of the day “working from home”.
I choose to “understand” because, well, Murphy’s law never has a timetable. The BUBU side of me still wants to our beloved Airline a benefit of doubt.
21:30 hours. Flight time. The waiting is over, finally. We are flying UR204, and not the cited UR206. The 45-minute journey is without incident, and the chicken sandwich snack is one that would earn a 9/10 on a first date. A few minutes before 23:00 hours, our experience is over. We arrive to a cold city.
I go through the rest of my visit choosing to forget the past and look forward to a better experience when I eventually return.
Alas, the return journey – several days later – pans out no differently. A flight earlier scheduled for 10:00 hours seemingly seems on course until another last-minute change.
At the Airport, we go through the normal check-in process, and proceed to our designated boarding gate. At 9:45 hours, 15 minutes before the planned departure time, there are no signs of the Aircraft.
Nobody knows what’s happening. Perhaps the Aircraft’s engine stalled. Maybe the entire cabin crew went on strike. Or the morning alarms simply didn’t go off. Our repeated inquires at the boarding gate return blank stares. The boarding agent looks as bewildered as we are.
15 minutes later, the dreaded announcement is finally made. We would have to wait for another 1 hour 30 minutes, they say. 11:30 hours.
Cometh the hour, and our suspect time keeping still abounds in all its glory. We finally depart a few minutes past 12:00 hours. And that’s how a full journey that should have lasted 90 minutes ended up wasting 15+ hours of my precious time.
Perhaps they have something up their sleeves that will make for better experience. For this, I will watch and wait from the sidelines before fully engaging again. In the interim, our relationship remains in limbo. Lusirika. #UgandaAirlinesDistress.