It’s been a week now since mom and I arrived back in Mwanza and it’s taken me that long to get over the stress and anxiety of our trip from, for lack of a better word, HELL. And before I go any further, I’d just like to say that I seriously considered titling this post, “Turkish Airlines Sucks”, but decided to be a bit more eloquent and explain the situation…so here goes!
I’d also like to say that Turkish Air has now supplanted Precision Air for the number one spot on my travel “potty” list. FYI Turkish Air, you are not a REAL European airline if you are more afraid of a 7 kg dog than an 80 kg drunk, belligerent man, just saying. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
We left Charlotte, North Carolina on a Wednesday and flew on US Airways to Washington, DC (an airport I may have pooped in, oops). For the record, US Airways is awesome for doggies. The flight attendant was super nice and showed me and mom photos of her own little dachshund, who I must say was quite the cutie. Based on our excellent treatment by all the US Airways people, mom and I had no idea the personal hell we were in for once we transferred to Turkish Air in Washington, DC.
Once in DC, the problems began. It’s too painful to relive all the terror the Turkish Air people put mom and me through, so I’ll be brief in my description. More or less, the flight attendants told mom that it was “impossible” (sounds like a Tanzanian talking to me, once again these phrases would not be uttered on a REAL European airline) to bring me on board even though I’m a service dog and have all the appropriate paperwork and even though mom had called and arranged everything with Turkish Air months in advance.
In the end, I was obviously allowed to fly because here I am writing from Tanzania, but it wasn’t before both me and mom were made to feel incredibly unwelcome on the 10-hour flight to Istanbul. Luckily our seat mate was great and mom and him complained together about the rudeness of the Turkish Air flight attendants.
Once in Istanbul, me and mom figured everything would be smooth sailing because the people in DC assured us that they had put a special note on our file so we wouldn’t be treated so poorly on the next flight to Dar es Salaam. But NO, of course this message did nothing to stop the idiocy of this pseudo-European airline. We were treated even worse on the next flight and were almost kicked off to be stranded in Istanbul.
We finally arrived in Dar es Salaam, tired and nervous at 4:30 in the morning. We were too late to try to fly to Mwanza so mom took a chance on a taxi driver who turned out to be our savior in this whole bad dream of an experience. His name was Sham (even I get the irony of this) and he was truly amazing! He drove us around Dar es Salaam for over an hour looking for a hotel that would accept us because I’m not exactly welcome in Tanzania. Finally after trying at least 15 different hotels, we were welcomed into the Peacock Hotel and immediately fell onto the bed for an amazing sleep.
It took mom 2 full days in Dar es Salaam to arrange a way to get to Mwanza. Because Precision Air is afraid of little dogs like me, I was forced to ride in cargo. Luckily, I had no idea what this meant until it was actually happening, otherwise I never would have gotten myself into such a situation.
While we were waiting for what I thought was just another routine short flight, mom gave me a little treat, a bitter tasting pill, but I think anything mom gives me is a treat! Before I knew it I was being shoved into a crate, in a bit of a haze, and was having a hard time keeping my eyes open.
Next thing I know, a Tanzanian man is carrying me away from my teary-eyed mom and then she is gone and I’m alone in my tiny cage. WHY? After a while, I’m driven out to the airplane, still in my cage and placed in the bottom of the plane. What the heck did I do to deserve this? Luckily, mom came to check on me in the bottom of the plane. Unfortunately she was just there to say hi and then they closed the hatch and I was all alone.
By this point, my eyes were heavy and all I could do was close them and pretend I was with mom in our bed back in Mwanza. And you know what, it worked! Next thing I knew, I was reunited with mom and Taxi Tito and we were on our way to our bed in Mwanza! Hooray! Best day in a LONG, LONG time! And then it got better because I was reunited with our awesome house and my best friend Twiga and my girlfriend Miss Piggy.
Was it worth it? Sure it was, but it could have been a lot easier. Mom and I will have to figure out another way back when we head home in May…
An Addendum: Apparently mom and me are not the only travelers to suffer at the hands of Turkish Air. See the blog post here and all the comments that follow. Boycott Turkish Air!