The Worst Journey Ever. The Best Vacation Ever.
Our hero reluctantly chooses the third option, since this is the best he can make out of the situation – that’s something they taught him in the Army – “Adapt and Overcome”. He realizes that this means that he will miss his brother’s wedding, but at least he can make it to the reception. He informs his family in India of the situation. They are disappointed, but they understand his predicament. The Travel Office gets him a ticket to Frankfurt and he makes his way to Kuwait City International Airport. While at the airport, he whips out his laptop and tries to buy a ticket to India from Frankfurt. However, his card keeps getting declined. He suspects that it is probably being marked for fraud and tries to contact his bank. But he is unable to call 1-800 numbers through his AT&T phone card. His cellphone, which has roaming, should have worked, but for some reason, it refuses to work as well. He does some snooping around and finds out that the airline he is buying a ticket from (Emirates) has an office at the Frankfurt Airport. He figures he can buy a ticket there. Many hours later, he is in Frankfurt in front of a payphone booth. He calls his bank using his Debit Card and proceeds to ask them why he cannot use his credit card. “Oh, it’s been marked for suspicious activity and blocked!”, says the agent brightly. “But I told you guys that I was going to be overseas for a year, and to expect transactions on that card!”. “Oh, um… well… the fraud department is closed. You’ll have to wait until they’re open”, says the agent. “I don’t have the time! I’m in Frankfurt, and I’m trying to buy a ticket out of here… so at the very least, I need to know if I can use my Debit Card.”, says our hero in controlled frustration. “Umm… yeah that should be no problem! You have a $7000 daily limit on that card, so you should be able to buy your ticket!” says the agent. “Excellent! Thank you very much!”, says our hero and hangs up.
“What do you mean it’s declined?! I just talked to my bank! They said it’s good to go!”
“I’m very sorry Sir, but your card isn’t going through… maybe you can talk to them again?”
“It doesn’t look like I have a choice now, do I?”
Our hero has a new problem. His card was declined, despite the assurances of his bank. He tries to use his card again to call his bank, but is unable to do so, since the payphone declines it as well. He realizes that he is stuck in Frankfurt… with no money. Unbidden, the name of a movie floats into his mind… “Terminal”. Our hero wants to scream out in frustration at this point, and kick and break things. However, this would probably not be accepted by the Airport Authorities. He reaches into his pocket and grabs his wallet to see if he can convert some US Dollars into Euros and perhaps make a call that way. He sees his AT&T phone card and realizes that he can call his dad.
“Acha, I have a problem. I tried to buy the ticket, but I can’t because both my cards are blocked for fraud. So I’m stuck now in Frankfurt, and I’m not sure what I can do…”
“Well, how about giving them my card information – do you think you can buy your ticket that way?”
“Hold on… I’ll try that and call you back.”
10 minutes later.
“Hi Acha, that didn’t work…”
“Ok, let me talk to my agent in Muscat and see if I can buy a ticket that way. Emirates alle?”
“Alright, call me back in 15 minutes.”
15 minutes later.
“Hi Acha, it’s me again.”
“Ok mone, I got the ticket. Here’s the PNR number. Give the agent this number, and you should be good to go!”