Vignesh Reddy Kandi

Two Years Later: My Journey to India During Winter Vacation

It had been two long years since my family and I had visited India, so we were determined to go during winter vacation in December 2021. My mother and brother had already purchased their tickets on Finnair, which was lucky for them since the flight time was only nine hours. However, when I tried to buy a ticket for the same date, all that was available was a business class ticket. Not wanting to spend the price of four economy tickets on a single business class ticket, I looked for alternatives and found that Flydubai was offering cheap flights on the same day. Despite a 20-hour layover, I was eager to go to India, so I decided to take the cheaper flight.

On the day of my flight, I arrived at the airport only to find that my flight was delayed by four hours. With nothing to do at the boring Helsinki Airport, I passed the time by watching some movies from my watchlist. When boarding finally began, the lady at the gate pulled me aside and informed me that there was a problem generating my boarding pass for the second flight from Dubai to Hyderabad. She assured me that I could get it in Dubai, so I went onboard. Unfortunately, the flight was terrible and reminded me of the budget airline Indigo. To pass the time, I decided to buy a flight entertainment pack for 35€, but it only lasted for six hours and didn’t include internet. When I tried to browse movies, I found that none of them were watchable, and the food was terrible as always. Exhausted, I listened to music and fell asleep until the air hostess woke me up, announcing that we were landing in Dubai.

As we landed, I was happy to see the Dubai Frame and Burj Khalifa from my window. Afterward, we took a bus to the terminal from the parking lot, which took an hour and a half. Then, the real countdown began: I had 16 hours left until my next flight, and I was already tired and hungry. I decided to use my priority pass to access the lounge, where I enjoyed everything except the fact that I had to wear a mask while not eating. Unfortunately, the shower facilities were closed due to Covid restrictions. After a short nap, I explored the stores and found some good souvenirs to buy. However, I met another passenger from Finland, who started talking to me and made me even more tired with his questions.

Feeling exhausted, I considered getting a hotel room, but all the cheap ones were full. The airport internet was also terrible, and I had already spent 60€ on using the internet abroad. All my downloads were watched, and I had nothing left to do. I didn’t think to buy a SIM card, but I recharged my Indian SIM card for a good internet connection. However, I couldn’t make calls through WhatsApp or Instagram, so I was limited in having fun. Later, I found a good lounge with shower and bed facilities, where I had lunch and slept for six hours. Despite this, I was still exhausted by the atmosphere of Dubai airport.

It was 5 hours before my next flight, so I decided to go from terminal 3 to terminal 2. Unfortunately, it was the worst airport terminal I had ever seen – more like Hyderabad main bus station than an airport. I hated the crowds waiting near the gates, but it got even worse when I had to collect my boarding pass at terminal 2. The lady at the counter looked at me suspiciously and started checking my COVID certificate, vaccine, and travel documents. Her printer didn’t work, so she had to wait for her colleague to come and give me the pass. After that ordeal, I went to Dubai duty-free shopping to get some alcohol. However, I didn’t feel safe in the crowded area, so I went to the lounge and started watching a movie.

When it was time to board my flight, I was relieved that no one sat next to me, and the entire row was empty. I bought internet access for my 3-hour flight, but it stopped working after 15 minutes. The air hostess informed me that there was a technical problem and promised to give me a voucher (which I still haven’t received). I spent the rest of the flight watching through the window, eager to land as soon as possible and go home.

Finally, I landed and had to take a COVID test in the airport. I waited for 2 hours to get the results before heading home. As a bonus, my suitcase got exchanged with a similar one.

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