Ahmad Abdul Haq

The Saga of Flight GA406

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Sumber: Kick Andy.com


Minggu, 21 Desember 2008 20:22 WIBThe Saga of Flight GA406

The Saga of Flight GA406 Have you ever had one of those days when the Universe is trying to tell you something for no apparent reason perhaps, except to remind you of the importance to be more aware of its wonderful workings? I had one the other day as I was trying to catch a Garuda flight to Bali to attend a seminar and conduct an interview.

I arrived at the airport way too early for an 11.30 flight, and here began the first hint from the Great Universe that I pointedly ignored. It came from a friend who was also waiting for a flight to Bali. His nine o'clock flight was delayed until 10.30. Why didn't I catch that one instead? Deep inside I knew this was a Good Idea. However, I decided to stick to my flight GA406. I couldn't be bothered to get up to the check in counter again. Besides I was hungry though the Soto Ayam was really bad.

At 11.00 precisely an announcement for GA406 came. I got up ready to leave. GA406 was delayed for an hour and would take off at 12.30 it said. 'Garuda apologizes for the inconvenience' the announcer conveyed in a cheerful voice with not one iota of remorse.

The second hint to chuck GA406 came from another friend. His flight was GA408 and leaving at one p.m. It was close to 12.30. Deep inside I felt it was a Good Idea. But then, what guarantee was there that GA408 wouldn't be delayed too? On the way to the check in counter I asked the pretty ladies at the lounge entrance what happened to GA406. The plane was being prepared they said - as if GA 406 was a bowl of salad! - I would be called in a few minutes. I decided to be faithful to my flight.

The few minutes stretched into many long minutes. Close to one o'clock came a boarding call for GA408. My friend waved goodbye. By this time I was consumed with irritation. 'I don't think GA406 is going anywhere at all,' I grumbled, 'I certainly can't see myself getting on that plane.' My statement was sarcasm not a curse though obviously the Universe took it literally as another announcement came, saying GA406 will be delayed until 13.45 because of technical problems. By this time I felt great loathing for GA406 and was quite happy to switch to Batavia or Sriwijaya.

I fussed to get my flight changed but the Garuda personnel assured me the captain was already on his way to the plane. Finally, after more horrible Soto Ayam in the lounge, at 14:15 we were all seated on GA406 with the plane raring to go and the cabin crew showing how to buckle the seatbelts and blow up the lifejacket. 'Who cares?' I thought. I was not happy with GA406.

Sure enough instead of taking off, my GA406 taxied back to the gate. Captain Bambang announced that the plane needed 'refilling', (obviously the plane was so old its teeth were having problems!) thanked us for our patience and could we all please remain seated as we would leave in just a few minutes. By this time some passengers were getting vocal in their impatience and demanded to know what was wrong with the plane.

I didn't need to know. I just knew I had to say goodbye once and for all to GA406. I got off the plane despite the purser's entreaties, booked another flight and returned to the lounge where this time they served the most delicious Gulai Nangka, my favourite goulash dish. It was as if they knew I was coming back.

As I ate I watched GA406 leave the tarmac for another attempt at take off. I felt a little sad. It was like watching an old soldier braving his last battle. Would he make it?

In Bali I chatted with friends, dined, swam a good bit and showered. It was almost midnight when I was told flight GA406 finally landed. But it was a different plane. Apparently my GA406 flew heroically for an hour before it admitted defeat and had to be returned to Jakarta where they finally exchanged it for a younger model.

Poor thing…

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