Wednesday, March 23, 2005

On a Plane from Bahrain

I'm writing this at the internet lounge of Abu Dhabi airport, waiting for my boarding call to Manila. I'm flying back on March 23, not April 23 as originally feared. It was an honest mistake, after all. And the treatment I received the past 3 days more than made up for the error, you'll see...

When my trip began in Manila 3 days ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself upgraded to First Class! It wasn't the first time it's ever happened to me, but it's always nice when it happens. As it turns out, there were only 3 of us occupying the 12 seats in First Class, so I guess they needed me there to add weight to the front of the plane. :-D

Upon arrival at Bahrain's Manama airport, the cabin crew announced my name over the loudspeaker, asking me to identify myself to the ground crew. Upon presenting myself, they shunted me through a side tube exit onto the tarmac, where a Benz was waiting to take me to the VIP arrival lounge. Someone took my passport from me, seated me in the lounge, and in 5 minutes, we were on our way to the hotel, all paperwork completed!

When I checked-in at the Intercon Regency hotel, my accommodations were upgraded to the top floor, where I had my own suite right across from the Royal Suite (which had been assigned to the Russian delegation).

Also, throughout the duration of my stay, the Philippine delegation (all three of us: I, me, myself) was assigned its own personal, chauffeured S320 Mercedes Benz limousine along with an escort service.

Below is my escort, Mohd. He took me on a half-hour tour of the painstakingly restored Arad Fort. The fort was originally built over 500 years ago!

For our last supper in Bahrain, we were treated to a sumptuous buffet dinner at the control tower of the Bahrain Grand Prix. We were brought to the top floor of this building for cocktails and dinner!

At the cocktails, I met Her Excellency Dr. Ivy Matsepe Casaburri, Minister of Communications, South Africa. When I asked her which portion of South Africa was considered part of Asia (it was the Asia IT Ministers Summit, remember) she just gave me a big smile. Behind us are the grandstand and finish line for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

For more photos of Bahrain, please see my Bahrain Travelogue.

Isn't that cool? I told you so ;-)

Postscript: You may be wondering if I got an upgrade on the trip back. Initially, I was checked into business class. At the lounge, I approached the Filipina receptionist and asked for an upgrade. She gave me all sorts of reasons why she couldn't do it: no printer in the lounge, my seat was already on the foremost row of business class, etc., etc.

I gave up on her and looked for someone else. I found another Filipina who gladly helped me with my request. After half an hour, she came back to me with a smile on her face, and a first class boarding pass in her hand. She had bumped me up to first class, which allowed the airline to bump up someone else from economy to business class, which then allowed them to take on an additional passenger from the waitlist! Truly a "win-win" situation ;-D


At Mon Mar 28, 01:28:00 PM, Blogger Mike Abundo said...

Nice! Now that is how digital dignitaries should be treated. =)

At Mon Mar 28, 10:19:00 PM, Blogger Sambalenyo said...


At Wed Mar 30, 12:33:00 PM, Blogger bizdriven said...

there ARE rewards working for government...

wilson ng

At Sat Apr 09, 04:05:00 PM, Blogger Sef said...

Great! You are treated well. Now, where does the poor Filipino fit in?


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