The day started out like any normal day for me, little do I know that it will bring tears to my eyes during the last few hours of it.
So, we had our last breakfast at the hotel and checked out of our rooms at around 11am then went to Bugis area for some shopping. I mostly bought food (chinese ham, japanese crackers, prawn rolls etc. etc.) and some korean tops. It’s just too bad that I had a heavy breakfast (of rice) that day otherwise, I would have tried some of their streetfood. YUM!
I was standing in front of that small restaurant looking at the shrimp for a few minutes. Wondering how in the world are you going to eat it with its shrimp shell still intact? We had our lunch after our shopping and then went back to our hotel at around 4pm to wait for my family’s hotel to airport transfer service. As soon as they were picked up, I went to Vivo City Mall to meet April before we head off to Holland Village to meet Simon, both my highschool friends. We had dinner, a few drinks and loads of laughter. I’ve missed them so.
At 11pm, I took the train and started my journey to the airport. I immediately went to the check-in counter and was told that I will have to wait because I’m holding a staff ticket (I paid only 10% of the fare for the ticket I’ve used, the perks of working in the travel industry – or so I thought) so I patiently waited, with full confidence that when they called me after about 45minutes of waiting they are going to give me my boarding pass.
Check in agent: Sorry, but the flight is overbooked. We cannot take you in the flight.
ME: (5…. 4…. 3…. 2…. 1…. REGISTERED!) I’m sorry what?
Check in agent: You can try the flight later at 9am but that flight is also overbooked.
ME: I’m sorry, come again?
Check in agent: The midnight flight tomorrow is worst and the first available flight is on Tuesday at 9am.
ME: Seriously, I don’t understand you.
It took me quite sometime to fully understand what the agent was telling me – the flight was overbooked and there is no way for me to get my ass into that flight. At that point in time, I seriously don’t know what I was feeling. I was tired and shocked because it was my first time to use a 90% discounted ticket (I always use 50% discounted ones which has more chances of being able to take the flight) and that was what happened. I was wandering around the airport for about 30mins and was thinking of what I should do. Well, the first thing I did was to call the boyfriend and cried my eyes out. Haha! Thinking about it now, that took about 10 minutes of my time then to waste. I can’t help it, I was tired and all I ever wanted was to spend the night inside an aircraft and wake up in Dubai to sleep some more in my own bed. After wailing to the boyfriend like a little kid, I called up my supervisor to inform her that I am stuck in Singapore and there is a possibility that I will be staying there until Tuesday. Next thing I did was to course my plan of action. Should I:
1. Buy a ticket to Manila and then try my luck from there still using my staff ticket? At least I will be home with my family instead of getting stuck in a foreign land waiting and praying to all the Gods of the airline industry to give me a seat.
2. Buy a ticket straight to Dubai? Which will cost me around AED2500 which is the cheapest one way ticket at that time.
While I was doing all of the wonderings and ponderings, I posted a status on Facebook about my dilemma and oh my God did I just realize then how important this Facebook website is in everyone’s lives. A lot of my colleagues offered to help me and there was one in particular who assisted me to secure a higher category staff ticket for better chances of confirmation – Ms. Judy. I was so touched and grateful that there are people like her who will actually waste their time and do that for me although she was not able to issue a higher category ticket since the flight is REALLY overbooked, it was the gesture of trying to do it. (Thank you very much Ms. Judy, I really do appreciate it!)
Anyway, so I couldn’t decide which of the two options should I go for. Option 1 or option 2. Not that I have any money to purchase anything at that point (I only had SGD350 in my pocket and my credit card which has about AED1500 in it), so I had no other choice but to call the one person who I know will never forsake me – my mother. Without hesitation, my mother pulled out her credit card from her purse and bought a ticket for me online for a flight out of Singapore that morning with Malaysian Airlines. At around the same time, the boyfriend sent me a text message that he can buy the ticket for me and my cousin sent me a message on Facebook that my aunt will send money thru Western Union for me so I can buy a ticket. WOW! Talk about me being the luckiest girl alive. So with all the help I’m getting from them, I went from being delirious to being calm. Knowing that whatever happens, someone will help me no matter what. I was actually feeling bad that my mother had to (once again) help me financially for something like a flight ticket (unnecessary things) but I had no other choice. I promised my mother that I will pay her back with full intentions of REALLY paying her back (I have told my mother several times about me paying her back for a money I “borrowed” from her but never did).
So armed with the ticket number and booking reference of the MAlaysian Airlines ticket my mother bought for me, I looked for a good spot at Changi International Airport to sleep. But before going to sleep, I picked up a piece of paper, grabbed my pen and wrote down all the important mobile numbers as my phone battery was alarmingly low. I wrote down the numbers according to their ability to help me in dire needs in the fastest way possible haha!
1. My mother
2. My aunt
3. The boyfriend
I carefully tucked away that piece of paper together with my passport inside my bag and guarded it with both my arms before I layed down on the uncomfortable chairs and slept. It was a bit chilly inside the airport and I was using my shawl as a blanket and thankfully, I was wearing a dress so the dress became the blanket for my legs. I slept for about 3 hours, then went to the airport toilet to freshen up and start this day with renewed confidence.
My plan of action was, since the Emirates flight was at 935am (which will begin boarding at around 845am) and the Malaysian Airlines flight is at 1040am – I still have time to wait if I’ll be able to get myself into the Emirates flight. If not, then I will have to immediately go to Terminal 2 (via airport train) to catch the MAlaysian Airlines flight. I was the first passenger at the Emirates counter as soon as it was opened at exactly 0715am. I patiently waited….. and waited….. and waited….. and waited…. At 0850am, the agent called my name and told me the sweetest words in the English language: You can now collect your boarding pass at counter number 3. I’m telling you this, I have never been so happy to see a boarding pass for a flight bound to Dubai with my name on it. As soon as the kind check-in agent gave it to me, I thanked all of them profusely and ran towards the Immigration counter. I was questioned for quite awhile by an immigration officer who was passively accusing me of illegally working in Singapore while I was there. I showed him my company ID and the staff ticket (which got me into trouble) and told him that my office is expecting me to be back to work the next day, then he let me go. Before boarding the flight, I called up my mother by using the last few minutes left on the phone card that I bought to tell her that I got on the Emirates flight and that she can have the MAlaysian Airlines ticket cancelled and refunded. I thanked my mom profusely as well and then ran off towards the boarding gate. Inside the aircraft, I’ve put my handcarry bag in the overhead locker, sat down, buckled my seatbelt and dozed off to sleep. The aircraft hasn’t even backed off yet and I was already snoring.
So I spent a night at an airport with only a handful of cash in my pocket. That was never in my bucket list and hopefully, I will never have to do that again. I’m just so thankful and very grateful that I have my family, friends and the boyfriend who are all ready to help me at any given time regardless of whichever part of the world I am in. Just how cool is that????
So this ends my adventure in Singapore and my short vacation as well. In the future, I will make sure that the flight is wide open before purchasing a 90% discounted ticket. Nevertheless, it was a sweet but very short vacation spent with the people I value the most. I can’t wait for the next one! 🙂