Interlude in Zaire
1982 Delayed again
ReturnChecking in and boarding the TAP flight was not a problem but on arrival at Kinshasa to pick up the Air Zaire flight was the start of another adventure. On passing through to the transit lounge we were told that the flight was oversubscribed and that 15 of us were bumped off and alternative arrangements would be made.
Back in KinshasaWe sat around waiting for information and then told that there were other flights that day and that we were being booked on the flight to Madrid. However, having had problems at Madrid years earlier I was not going there. I had noticed on the departures board that there was a flight to Schipol, an airport I had always liked and demanded to go this route back to London. Despite the arguments and attempted encouragement by the group to go to Madrid I resisted and flew to Amsterdam.
OnwardWe were assured by the authorities that once we reached the next airport out final ticket to the UK would be granted. Several of the group swapped details so that the first person back could inform relatives not to worry.
Almost thereI arrived at Schipol without further incident and despite a small problem at Schipol got a ticket back to London. I was to learn later that when the other group arrived at Madrid none of the airlines would provide an onward ticket and it took them a further 2 days to get back to the UK and that was only after they had paid for their tickets.
Lessons learntSo ended another episode in my life but it taught me that bucket shop tickets may be cheap but if you get into trouble then other airlines are not always keen to help. I was just lucky that I went to Schipol and KLM helped me and charged me nothing and for that I have always remained very loyal to KLM.
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