My First Flight: Of Getting Lost in Wilson Airport Looking for My Plane!

If I could live to a ripe old age, say three hundred years, one memory would stick. The memories of my first flight. The irritable dementia may blur names and faces of family and friends, but not this first flight.

It came quicker in life than I had thought, thanks to a considerate client. I had grown up in a tiny village we can rightly term as a ‘non-flying’ backyard. I didn’t know anyone who had ever been on a plane. That’s the kind of excitement. I was making history!

It was a local flight to review a waterfront resort in Lamu. We had a short stopover in Mombasa.

I didn’t sleep much for two weeks. I’d wake up in cold sweats – check mail for date and time of travel. I’d not miss my first flight!

An aerial view from an airplane overflying the Kenyan Rift Valley (file image)

On D-Day, I left home at 1100 Am. Take off was tagged at 0300 Pm. I realized later it was a little too early. I hadn’t been to Wilson Airport before. I took a cab from town. Once I spotted the airport entrance, I asked to end the trip. That’s number two mistake.

I didn’t know the firm’s office was three miles further. It was a maze. I kept walking in circles, with the relentless Nairobi sun on my back! Bless the random guards I asked for directions, a growing patch of sweat on my lower back.

The lounge was big – and for my three-hour wait – read everything that could be read in that lounge. The glossy magazines, wall posters – my seatmate’s Whatsapp chats, everything.

The clearance was easy. The normal security check through a scanner, and boarding documents.

I had my ID card, passport, birth certificate, yellow fever vaccination and a copy of my father’s ID card – just in case. Turns out, only my identity card was necessary for a local flight.

We emerged onto the tarmac, with a small plane lined up and a couple of bigger ones on both ends of the horizon. I was pretty nervous. With me, there were maybe ten, fifteen or a hundred people. I was too busy looking to count.

An unseen dilemma came up. I needed a boarding photo. I needed evidence if my village would take me serious. On my turn, instead of the ticket, I handed the lady my phone – and moved back a couple of paces back – with the plane on my background.

The lady had to come take my photo, showing the firm’s signage at the back.

A bemused line of passengers stood back, gawking at me. For a minute, corporate executives had to wait!

We board, but I don’t know how to look for my seat number. I was either blocking or obstructing the way, till someone offered to help. We got take off clearance, I felt motion and soon – lift off. Butterflies!

My first flight, I felt a mixture of apprehension, angst, & overwhelming happiness. I WAS FLYING!

A minute of climbing, and we leveled out. I settled back, and looked out the small window – the airport seemed like a kindergartner’s clay mock up. I realized that it feels exactly like a car ride, except that the car is thousands of feet aloft!

Occasional bumps! How now? It was frightening, and absolutely fantastic. I saw someone burp and lurch into a paper bag across the aisle. I had already tucked my sickness bag into my pocket – that’s a souvenir!

A few minutes in, a saw an hostess – absolutely stunning – is wheeling a cart down the aisle. It’s packed with coffee, sandwiches and assorted snacks – and soda!

Well, with the turbulence – I wasn’t risking it with hot coffee. I pointed to a 1ltr Sprite in a returnable glass bottle. It’s halfway. The hostess, though – they have a knack to spot first-time flyers.

“Have fun, brother.” She says. She points to the lime-green cap on the bottle.

“Perhaps, it’s you lucky day. Unaeza shida flight kwenda Qatar ya World Cup!”

Somewhere in the clouds, I got an entry into the FIFA WORLD CUP 2022 ™ TROPHY TOUR BUY AND WIN PROMOTION. I’d send it after landing.

The Promotion is open till 30th June to participants over the age of 18. It’s quite simple, really.

Purchase Coca‑Cola®, Fanta® and/or Sprite® in the 1Lt Returnable Glass Bottle, 1.25Lt PET and 2Lt PET bottles easily identifiable by a lime green crown. Peel off the crown to reveal an eight (8) digit alphanumeric (ANN) code under the crown of the bottle, which consumers will activate by sending an SMS to the short code number 40111 thereby entering a draw.

There’s the Grand Prize of a trip to watch a FIFA World Cup™ match in Qatar – 5 prizes up for grabs. Fancy a rare chance to grab a A VIP FIFA World Cup 2022™ Trophy viewing experience? Here’s your cue!

Besides, there’s assorted daily cash prizes between Ksh50, Ksh100 instantly sent to the winners via either M-Pesa, Airtel Money or T-Kash. Oh, wait – there’s airtime, too! Ksh 10 or Ksh20 for your Airtel, Safaricom or Telkom lines.

While the FIFA WORLD CUP 2022 ™ TROPHY TOUR BUY AND WIN PROMOTION” closes on 30th June 2022, the prize redemption window is open till 31st July 2022.