Monday, August 13, 2007

Receiving Pakistanis in Frankfurt

Last week we decided to go to Frankfurt airport to receive a batch of Pakistanis coming to Germany. They had received the HEC scholarship for phd and were being sent in 3 groups. Two groups had their flights 4 hours apart and the third group was coming 3 days after them. We opted to receive the first group while others chose to receive the second group. We started our journey in the morning, reaching Frankfurt city in the afternoon and strolled to a Pakistani restaurant "Shahid ka Dhaba". There we were served delicious dishes with hot roti and lassi. Then we went to a Bengali mosque to pray and subsequently to a Pakistani sweet shop (Akmal). We bought freshly made "Gulab Jaman" and returned to the train station to catch a train to the airport. The flight was delayed half an hour. PIA was banned from Europe shortly but now was allowed to operate again. This time around, they probably didn't have flights to Frankfurt. So the students were flown to Milan, Italy. Then they were to reach Frankfurt through Al-Italia airline. When the scholars finally reached Frankfurt, they told a horrible story of their change-over. The luggage of some of them was placed in the next flight. So these people chose to stay and wait at the airport.

We came back after sending the scholars on their way to their respective cities. Some other Pakistanis were to receive the remaining scholars at night. One of them tells the story of reception like this:
"In the next flight 8 scholars were missing. They were supposed to spend night at Milan airport as they were not allowed to go out side the airport but I heard that then some Pakistani from tribal area helped them & they spent night at some hotel. They arrived then next day at 11:30 am & went to their cities. Two or three of them had lost their luggages. The students arriving with 10 pm flight were very upset & many of them had lost their luggage (as well). All the clothes & important things were missing. I helped them to claim the luggages & hope the airline will send them when they (are) found. This was really very bad & was due to the PIA & HEC officials. All have told all the story to Pakistani embassy & also to DAAD."

btw, a funny thing happened as well. One of the students gave me the telephone number of the hostel's manager where they were supposed to stay. I called there and asked if all of the 8 scholars of that city will stay with him. He sounded like a Turkish guy. After confirming, he asked me a question: "these people coming from Pakistan, are they some high officials or some ministers or something?" At my surprised answer that they were just students, he exclaimed: "You are the sixth person to call to inquire about them".


Atif Abdul-Rahman said...

very interesting.
especially the last paragraph.

Obi Wan Kenobi said...

Would not air lines pay for the luggage if they do not find those bags. At least in US, they do. Once I was flying to San Jose(Calif.) and they missed my bag but they told me it would come next day and they would deliver it to my home. And they did. Nothing was missing but they opened the bag to confirm me what was inside. I guess customer service in US is much better than Europe over all.

Yasir Niaz said...

like the guy said in his story, they claimed the luggage and the airline will send it to their homes.

Anonymous said...

How to avoid this trouble, I mean delayed flights and baggage loss? Avoid PIA and use other airline?

Yasir Niaz said...

There is no way to avoid these delays. Emirates is considered one of the best carriers but I have suffered delays with them as well. However, as far as I have heard, baggage loss occurs when the carrier is changed along with the plane. So never select a connection where there is a change of the airline company at a stop-over. Direct flight of PIA was the best kind of scenario of avoiding such situations. Now, Lufthansa is starting direct flights to Pakistan. That could also be useful.

However, I don't take direct flights, as I get to see different cities when I travel with other airlines (giving me a long stop-over).

Ijaz said...

Well, I am sorry to know about the lost luggage. Is it lost or not collected from the luggage belt in the timely manner?
I wish we could take little responsibility of our stuff and stop pointing fingers on Govt, HEC, Vice Chancellor, Provost or so. I am an Overseas Pakistani who resided in London and San Francisco for most of my life academic and professional life. I returned home (Pakistan) after almost two decades.

In my opinion, it is a good idea to keep one carry on item in the flight and every thing else should be checked in. This can save us from lots hurdle while heading for a new home.

Ijaz Qureshi

basit said...

How to avoid this trouble, I mean delayed flights and baggage loss? Avoid PIA and use other airline?

Omer Naeem said...

Where is this resturant "Shahid ka dhaba"

Yasir Niaz said...

"Shahid ka dhabba": as far as I can remember, we went straight after exiting the train station and turned right on a street at some point (after a fruit shop with stalls on the street as well). I guess it is near Kaiser str. Sorry but this is the best I can remember.

Anonymous said...

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Unknown said...

Assalam o Alikum,
well i just wanted to ask if germany is a good place to get foreign education especially in the field of engineering especially from the point of view of getting admissions in universities, getting visa and lesser discrimination against pakistanis??

@yasir Niaz .. btw m also a big fan of strategy games .. ! :D

Yasir Niaz Khan said...

Wa alaikum as salam,

yes germany is an excellent place to get almost free education. It is well known for its engineering. Getting admission is not difficult, and then visa as well. There is not much discrimination in west germany. In east, there is a little bit, but incidence are rare.

There are many work opportunities here, many english courses, and even german is not that difficult a language.


Tariq Afridi said...

Assalam o Alikum,

Dear Yasir Niaz Khan
I want to go there and get admission in a german university.
Please guide me what to do?


Tariq Afridi