It’s been a long day, but we have transferred by van, from Abbottabad to Kallar Kahar. It was mostly highway and not all that interesting. Soon we could see Kallar Lake in the distance, and we knew we were close. We have already seen Peacocks!
This will be as far south as we travel in Pakistan, though perhaps a bit southwest to Chakwal by the 24th. We were fortunate to meet a nice Pakistani family during our first stay at Alaf Laila in Abbottabad. From the acquaintance, we hatched a plan to spend some time together, as a group, to enjoy each other’s company and experience more culture.
We are staying in a remote area, and at a hotel which is the only show in town, so we are glad to be here. The WiFi is okay, and we will do our best to keep posting over the next several days. As always, the Pakistani people are warm and welcoming. We will always remember our time here in Pakistan, because of the care we have been shown by the people, while guests in their country.
We have a few days of fun lined up, and look very forward to more experiences to come!
THE BEST LAYED PLANS
Just the other day, as I continued planning and preparing for our flight to Armenia; as is the norm now a-days, checked luggage is not always included in international flights. AND international flights are treated like a domestic flight. Sad but true. When I purchased our flight to Armenia, from Pakistan, there was no direct flight. (Not that I expected there to be). Anyway, I purchased airfare in the bundle; which ended up being Pakistan to Armenia, via Dubai and Russia. When I purchase airfare, (through Gotogate in this case) I ALWAYS check the baggage restrictions before purchase. This has always gone two ways: “One checked bag included,” or “baggage fees may apply.”
Our first leg; Pakistan to Dubai was on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the second leg; Dubai to Armenia via Russia is on Aeroflot Russian Airlines. I started with a phone call to Aeroflot, to make arrangements for checked luggage costs… no issue. BUT, imagine my shock when I called PIA, to make the same arrangements, only to be told “NO luggage is allowed in the flight!” I said WHAT? I then had to call Gotogate and find out what the heck! I was told the same by them. I told this person on the phone the baggage information (their online) did NOT say no luggage allowed, but instead “baggage fees may apply.” AND that I had never heard of such a thing on a flight, as no luggage allowed! I got nowhere with the human, though I pitched a fit. Here is why….I had to cancel this first leg with PIA, was charged $31 pp for cancellation fee, and was told to look for a credit of $190 pp on my card. I was ticked off I had to pay for a penalty, when their website showed incorrect information about luggage. The lady on the phone offered to help me search for another flight, but I told her no thank you, and that I would never use Gotogste again, either. Not only that, but when purchasing more than one plane; especially with different airlines, the first leg airline is considered the “host” of sorts, and responsible for getting us to the other connections. If they fail, it is not on us, but on them, and they must accommodate us, at no cost to us. Well, we just lost that security. As it was, we were to fly out of Pakistan at 1:30AM, to Dubai, with a layover, then connect to the Russian Airline by 8:30AM. Because we were transitioning to another plane on our itinerary, we did not have to be considered a visitor in Dubai and could skirt the proof of a negative PCR test, within 96 hours, since we were not staying in Dubai. Now that the first leg plane had to be cancelled, it breaks the booking connection to the ongoing flight, and by all appearances, we are flying JUST to Dubai, as it would appear on paper.
I had to start searching for a flight out of Pakistan, again, but this time we are only a week out from flying, instead of two weeks. I got another flight on PIA, and paid $50 pp overall, but one checked bag is included in the price of the ticket. I had timed it perfectly with our connecting flight, giving us extra layover time to make sure we had the best chance of making the connection without issue. (well, short of a plane crash, anyhow, God forbid) We will arrive from Pakistan in Dubai at 3:30AM. When we arrive in Dubai, we will collect our luggage, then make our way to Aeroflot Russian Airlines to ticketing and check in again, get our tickets and check our bags all the way through to Armenia. Unfortunately, due to this error on luggage, we now have to get another stinkin COVID19 test (PCR) and show proof of negative result to board in Pakistan; per Dubai requirements…. even though we are not staying in Dubai, other than for a layover.
I’m still trying to get my brain wrapped around a whole plane flying, but not allowing any luggage. I get business and first class might have just carry-on, but economy fliers have luggage from what I’ve seen in my experience.