We are on our way to Johannesburg about a 9 hour overnight flight due to arrive at 8.30am Monday morning.
First, the morning and the drama of how we got on this flight.
We went for walk for a couple of hours in a different direction from the hotel and looked through a modern shopping centre. Joanne bought a couple of pieces of clothing and we enjoyed the morning.
The car pick up and ride to the airport was uneventful. It was once at the airport that calmness disappeared and a good dose of anxiety began to set in.
It was 3 hours before departure (due to depart at 5.55pm) so we thought we had plenty of time. How wrong we were to be. The check in queue snakes around and around and 35 minutes later we got to the counter. Tap, tap, tap on the keyboard as we explained that this was our original flight and the only changes were that we were no longer going to Cape Town but direct to Perth from Johannesburg. The supervisor was called and more tapping, phone calls to be told that we did not have a ticket on the Buenos Aires - Johannesburg Flt, but we were OK on the Perth leg tomorrow evening. But we were not on this flight. Anxiety level begins to rise. There were vacancies but we would have to buy a ticket! The problem had probably arisen when we needed to change flights and bypass Cape Town. Malaysian (most likely) must have cancelled the EZE - JBO portion when they issued the change JBO - PER ticket. It was all about ticket numbers which didn't match - the booking was cancelled! Yes, we'd could buy tickets but we had to returne to the main terminal (leave the check - in) and go to the South African Airways office and buy a ticket - time 4.15pm.
Office tucked away behind other check in counters. Long wait while other passenger issues were dealt with. Finally, yes we could purchase tickets with credit card - cost $ 3,700!!! No other choice, so the American Express was handed over - time ticking away - 4.55pm. Slow process - anxiety level rising.
Finally paid for and back to check in counters. We had already just passed the "last check in time". Delay but finally have boarding passes and off to security - time 5.10pm. Easily a few hundred people in front of us with two screening machines working - occasionally. 5.25pm and not there yet. We had been talking to a young Australian called Daniel Wilkinson who had been on a Spanish speaking university course and he tried to get us through security by jumping the queue - no luck. Time 5.35pm and through security only to be confronted by the immigration queue also about 500 people - we weren't going to make it. The SAA check in staff were there and after some hesitation managed to usher us to a "speed through" immigration booth. Time 5.45pm. Finally through immigration after what seemed like an eternity with disgruntled people in the queue glaring at us. Time 5.50pm SAA staff waiting and on to the plane - 3 others still missing. Don't know if they made it because the doors closed behind us! I have never been this close to missing a flight!
To be continued.