I travelled to Cairo last night with my friend Joy who is the wife of the Swiss Ambassador in Abu Dhabi. I am never travelling without her again.
We get to the airport where she checks in at the business class counter (despite the fact that we have economy-class tickets). Then we are escorted through a special VIP passport control by a young lady and up to the Etihad Business Class lounge where we drink Chamomile tea in splendid isolation. Half an hour before we are due to take off we are escorted by a charming young man to the gate where he pushes us to the front of the security queue. Once through, we get into beautiful white Mercedes with a flashing light on its roof and are whisked to the plane.
Next there is a brief hellish interlude as we endure an economy-class flight for four hours. “How the mighty are fallen,” I say to Joy.
Happily upon landing normal service resumes. We are met by Switzerland’s military attache for the Middle East and his driver. His driver takes our passports and organises my visa then we are whisked through the VIP passport check and into a waiting car.
Joy says this normally doesn’t happen to her either, and was as surprised as I was. I am sure though that the diplomatic passport played a big hand. Or maybe my meeting with Sheikh Mohammed (below blog) is already having an effect as the ‘wasta’ filters down……..
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2010