Traveling To Austria : My Experience On A Virgin Passport (Part III)
I Nearly Missed My Flight At Holland, Here Is Why
(You might want to read up my story from HERE to understand how my journey to Europe started.
You can also click HERE to follow up on my hilarious experience, traveling by air for the first time.)
So we landed at Schiphol Int’l airport Amsterdam by 5:30am and the sun was already up and hammering.
Nawao! Longer days and shorter nights, that’s what they call it.
We disembarked from the plane and moved towards the security check points inside the airport. It was a smooth process, except for the fact that we had to remove our belts and shoes to cross one security gate. As I pulled off my belt, my trouser rushed towards gravity. I was quick to catch it before any damage was done. I didn’t come all the way to Holland to undress at the airport.
Done with security, we headed to find our boarding gate for our onward trip to Vienna. The airport was so massive and everywhere looked similar.
How do we start finding our boarding gate?
I asked an airport official, who simply pointed towards a direction where almost everyone went. We followed the crowd and even overtook them. We kept walking until it was clear to us that we were just walking round the airport.
I asked a very harsh airport security guy for directions, off-handedly he replied, “the signs will tell you”. The signs tell me na im I come still dey ask you?
Finally, we met a good guy who directed us well. We passed through the immigration check point and there we were stamped into the Schengen area.
At this point I need to remind you that at the immigration point, there is a separate queue for US Passport holders, separate queue for EU passport holders, and then a queue for the rest passport holders.
We joined the queue for US passport holders as it was the least populated. For a moment, I wondered why people queued up endlessly in a particular line that seemed not to be progressing, when they could simply join the shorter queue and get attended to fast.
I should have read a deeper meaning into the suspicious gazes and looks people greeted us with. I felt they were just admiring a “black African family in Europe for a vacation”. I ignored the looks and focused on the task at hand. Time was no longer on our side. If we didn’t get to our boarding gate in few minutes, we would miss our flight.
Then an airport official walked up to us and calmly explained “you do understand that this queue is for US passport holders”.
Chineke Nna! After wasting time here?
We apologized and asked to be directed to the right queue. She pointed to the same queue that extended to God-knows-where. It was clear to us we were going to miss our flight, unless something was done.
We called back the airport official and explained the situation to her. Queuing up in that line was definitely not an option. Our plane was due for take off in few minutes. She understood and she helped. She glanced at my boarding pass and took us to the immigration officer who confirmed our visa and stamped us into the Schengen area.
By the time we got to the flight entrance, the flight attendant exclaimed, “oh there you are”. They were actually waiting for us, the only blacks on board.
Luckily I sat by the window and was ready to see the action from land to air.
As usual, the plane taxied and took off, into the sky, then apparently started falling backwards, or so I felt. I was looking out through the window as the land and its inhabitants disappeared beneath us.
We were tearing through layers of clouds.
No time to fear, no time to worry, after all, I now have a flying experience. All the way from Naija to Holland, can you beat that?
Confidently, I brought out my camera and smiled to the clouds far away 🙂