In the Corporate World, Is Bigger Badder?
With no windshield, the plane was grounded, and travelers were backing up at all the various airports.
After spending eight hours on Christmas Eve day in the Luxor airport, an angel gently descended from the sky and rescued us.
Ken Swan, Master of Customer Relationship Management
Peggy and I were good and stuck in the Luxor airport. Our courier, a vivacious blonde Brit named Stella, thought briefly about chartering a bus to take us the rest of the way down the Nile--an option Peggy and I would have welcomed. Instead she remembered that Ken Swan was in Cairo negotiating for new bathroom fixtures for his new boat, the Nile Star, which we should have been embarking on at that moment.
Sans cellphone (this was 1980) but with beaucoup ingenuity and smarts, Stella managed to contact the owner of the company in Cairo. A few hours later, a beautiful white 707 landed at Luxor. We were herded aboard--with all the other stacked up travelers--and took off for Aswan, eight hours behind schedule. Over the intercom came the calm, cool voice of an American pilot, with a gentle Southern accent, apologizing for the inconvenience and saying he would get us to Aswan very shortly.
This was a private, American-owned 707 charter jet under contract to Air France that Swan had found in Cairo and commandeered.
What could have been a dreadful beginning to the trip turned out to be but a blip in a splendid, informative and fascinating two weeks.
The following day we flew to Abu Simbel to see the great temples of Ramesses II and his wife, Nefertari. Upon our return, we learned that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was in Aswan, and so we would not be allowed anywhere near the main terminal. On landing, we saw the airport was ringed with the presidential guard--a seedy collection of slouching, slovenly, unshaven soldiers, many with unbuttoned blouses and cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. I remember thinking that if this was the caliber of men protecting the president, he had problems. (Sadat was assassinated the following year.)