No, you can’t go to Athens, you go back to Amman!
That was pretty frustating and made me almost cried; yet I couldn’t show my tears in front of them, the Middle East Airlines officers!
After spending beautiful journeys in Jordan, time to continued my trip to Greece. I flew with MEA-Middle East Airlines that brought me to Beirut, Lebanon for 12 hours transit. It was around 10 p.m when I arrived. I actually already checked-in from Jordan to Greece and had two boarding passes. However, as a first timer having long hours transit, I came innocently to transit desk. I showed my passport and boarding pass, then they gave me two meals vouchers. They asked me a few questions; the reason why I wanted to go to Greece, did I have enough money with me, as well as how may days will I spend for my vacation in Greece. Right after I answered those questions, they said "I keep your passport here, you go to duty free area, find the restaurant and a place to rest. Go back here at 6 am tomorrow", I nodded thinking that this was a normal procedure.
Early in the morning I came back to transit desk and asked for my passport. The officer said I needed to wait since it was still being checked. I waited like nothing serious happened. After an hour the officer summoned me to come inside. They asked me questions that had been questioned. I asked precisely with the same answer that I said the day before. Not long, the boss (I guess the man who worn a formal suit was their boss) came over and checked my passport. I sit quietly waiting what's gonna happened with my passport. I actually didn't get what really happened. I asked if there was something wrong with my passport, but they only answered that we need confirmation from Athens if I can go there or not. Then I confused, "what happened, what's their reason to prohibit me go to Athens?", I said angrily. Then again, the same questions arose! eerrr, I really did give them the same answers for many times. The boss also checked my Schengen Visa back and forth through their checking system. I didn't get what he up to, his staff helped me by saying that visa was officially released by Greece Embassy. As a boss, he ignored what his staff saying. Wow! damn you boss!.
Then, here came the impolite question I guess:
The boss: "How much money do you have right now?"
Me : "800 $, do you want me to show you?"
The boss : "No, it's OK, do you have any booking document for your hotel in Greece, also the returned ticket"
Me : "Yes, I do" I showed them all my printed documents (Thank God I printed all the important documents)
The boss : he checked all my documents, and he saw my ticket out of Athens was to Turkey. By slamming my documents he said "You only have 800$ and still want to go Turkey? No you can't go to Athens, you go back to Amman". You need $5000 with you to go to Greece.
Me : I was like "what the ...." silently. Then I said clamly "I have those number on my Bank Account"
The boss : "show me"
Me : "Is there any ATM here?"
The boss : He brought me to the nearest ATM.
I tried to withdrew as much as I can. Then I realised that I couldn't withdraw all my money at the same time only by ATM. I showed them my balance eventually. Unfortunately It was on IDR. Geez, I needed to translate into USD. It was 15 minutes to boarding, by the way.
My heart beat faster until I heard the boss said to the officer "copy all her documents before she leaves". I almost cried at the moment. The officer said "yes, yes you go to Athens yes". OK that was made me cry as well. 10 minutes to boarding, the officer returned all my documents, my passport, my boarding pass also, and said "It's gate 9. Go go, you have to run"
I run as fast as I can. When I sat safely at the plane, I literally cried!!
If it's not really necessary, I'll never ever fly with MEA again!!!
Well yeah here are things to learn:
1. It's better to print all important documents like ticket, hostel booking, travel booking although you have it all on your mobile phone;
2. It's also important to bring your credit card you used to book your ticket or hotel, your debit card as well. I almost left my debit card at home since I though I will not withdraw cash money and will use my credit card instead;
3. Dress properly indeed!! I somewhat though that maybe they actually didn't trust me to visit Greece for vacation because I dress lower than casual. I only worn "sandal jepit" (it was because my shoes broken and I hadn't find a proper one), also I only brought one small backpack. Ah ya I remembered they asked me about my other bag. I definetely said it was directly will fly to Greece.
4. It's a thing to be considered. If you already have the boarding pass for connecting flight, and you need nothing from the airlines officer, I think it's better for you not to come to transfer desk, minizing the risks. Hehehe.. it's just my two cents.