E-Tickets and Communication Struggles

Perhaps we’ve had a small taste of what it’s going to be like dealing with the Arab world.  The other day, I (Shon) finally got an itinerary e-mailed to me from the travel agency that ADEC deals with.  It sounded good–flying American Airlines to Chicago, and then Etihad (AKA the Cadillac of airlines) to Abu Dhabi.  I was asked to confirm it.  So I did, and I asked the agent a question about my wife’s documentation (she’s now an American, so I wanted to make sure we could update her information without any hassles).  I got no response regarding that, but I did get an updated itinerary–flying from Atlanta, again, but then connecting to a Royal Jordanian air flight from Chicago, instead, and with a second layover in Amman.  Okay, right?  Sure, but they added Jenia to the itinerary.  Which would be great, except that traveling on her American passport will simplify things for her, and, more importantly, her passport hasn’t arrived yet.

We’ve been planning on having her fly over later (which is ADEC’s usual procedure).  So to sort out Jenia’s travel arrangements, at least two e-mails from me to the agent end up either misunderstood or ignored.  “ADEC has changed the airlines, so if you want to travel American Air and Etihad, you’ll have to contact them,” I was told.  Well, okay, but that was not really the concern here.  The crux is simple: although she’d love to travel with me, it’ll be better for my wife to follow me.  Eventually, after a couple of days and one final attempt to communicate this, the travel agent got the idea through his head, and had me confirm the new itinerary today, this time with the wife removed from it.  I’m delighted to say I actually have my e-ticket and my visa in my e-mail now.

The outcome of all this is that now we feel a little bad, because we had the chance to travel together, which we hadn’t expected and hadn’t planned for, but we rejected it.  Necessity, of course, lead to the rejection.  But if ADEC or Teach Away or someone had told us that the chances were good that we could leave together, we could have planned for that contingency, and there wouldn’t have been any problem.  It would have been easy to expedite passport processing, for example, and the bits of business Jenia’s planning on taking care of could have been handled already.

So that’s the way it is now.  It’s been a little frustrating, but we determined to just roll with it, and relax, bearing advice from folks with experience in the UAE in mind.

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3 thoughts on “E-Tickets and Communication Struggles

  1. I think that it will be so much easier and relaxing to have Jenia come later. I can’t imagine having to do border runs and of course the US passport is a blessing to have before leaving the US. How would she even get it if she left without it?!

  2. Hi Shon,
    Just wondering how long it took for Nirvana to respond to your initial e-mail communication?
    We sent them a note about 2 days ago and haven’t heard anything back yet. Basically, both my husband and I are ADEC teachers and we are inquiring about traveling together… so we were just curious about the time frame that it takes them to respond. Thanks!

    • Niki, my communications with Nirvana were irritatingly unpredictable. Nirvana does a nice job setting things up on the UAE end, what with arranging people to pick you up at the airport and so forth, and although the guy who corresponded with me via e-mail usually responded within a day or so, he rarely answered a question fully. I don’t know how much of that was due to poor English skills, of course. A look at my old e-mails shows that it took about 7 days for us to iron out our flight arrangements, with e-mails exchanged every day or two. In between this, I had to get in touch with Teach Away to make sure that things weren’t being lost in translation. If the pattern is the same for you guys as for us, you’ll probably be issued an itinerary and have to respond to Nirvana to confirm it or have them change it. I hope this helps.

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