On Sunday, June 12 I flew from Astana (the new capital of K’stan) to Kiev. When I purchased the ticket, I knew the flight also flew to Almaty to pick up passengers and then would fly on to Kiev. The flight was scheduled to leave at 4:30 a.m. from Astana so the Kim’s drove me there on Saturday afternoon.
Before I left on Saturday I called the travel agent where I had purchased the ticket to make sure of the departure and arrival time. She informed me that the flight was leaving at 6 a.m. and would be flying to Baku, Azerbaijan as well. She also said it would be best to check with the airport on Saturday evening to confirm the flight schedule.
James, Julie and I drove to Astana and had dinner at a small cafe in town. Afterwards, we drove through the new area of town where all the building in going on. I cannot get over how modern this area is. There are large glass office buildings, beautiful landscaped areas and much development along the river that splits the city.
When we arrived at the airport, James and I went in to find out information about the flight. The airport opened a brand new terminal in March which is very nice. (I forgot to take pictures!) After looking around, we found a young lady at the information desk and she said the flight was scheduled to leave at 4:30 a.m. like originally planned. So now I had a dilemma: arrive at 2:30 for the original flight schedule or come a little later for the 6 a.m. flight. Needless to say, better early than late for a flight!
James and Julie thought it would be best for me to sleep for a few hours at the airport hotel and I am glad I listened to them. I was going to sit in the airport until 2:30 a.m. since the flight left so early. However, I checked into the airport and said goodbye to James and Julie.
I tried watching a little TV but was tired. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t as there were some young people on the street listening to some loud music and I had my window open because it was very hot that day. So I read a book until I finally fell asleep.
At 2:15 my wake up notice arrived and I quickly got ready and left the hotel. I made the short walk over to the terminal and noticed my flight was not listed on the departure board. I went upstairs and found the area where others were waiting. There aren’t many other flights leaving that early in the morning, yet none of the airport personnel knew too much about our flight other than it was going to be late.
We waited another 1 1/2 hours before we heard that the flight would probably leave around 10:30 a.m. So the waiting game began. I was very happy that I listened to the Kim’s and slept a while in the hotel as it was nearly impossible to rest at the airport.
Finally at 9:30 a.m. they began getting us ready and we went through check in procedures and left the airport at 11 a.m. We flew to Almaty, dropped off passengers there and picked up a whole lot more passengers. We were on a DC-9 and I don’t know how far they can fly on fuel, but we did go to Baku. We didn’t pick up any passengers there, we only got fuel.
So my flight lasted a total of 9 hours. The flight crew was terrific. They had been up all night on the flight to K’stan. They make the round-trip, however, I think they had a large crew on board and some rested during the flight.
Air travel always makes for interesting conversation. Several of my friends that fly frequently always seem to lose their luggage if they fly through Paris, France. Others always miss their connection flight if they fly Northwest from the states to Amsterdam. I got to enjoy a 9 hour flight that flew through Baku. Hey, at least I can now add Azerbaijan to my list of countries of where I have been and all my luggage arrived with me!