Harrowing PIA episode.

I AM a Canadian permanent resident with a valid Pakistani passport, and faced an absurd situation at the Islamabad airport while on my way back to Toronto on Oct 1.

I purchased a confirmed online ticket for Islamabad-Muscat-Dammam-Amsterdam sector. I reached the airport three-and-a-half hours before the scheduled flight (PK-291) departure. After a little while, when I approached the PIA counter for check-in, the airline staff refused to board me, saying I had a short transit time at Muscat airport. It was two hours, actually.

I asked them how the airline could issue a ticket if it had not verified its internal agreement with another airline. I also knew for sure that the minimum connecting time at Muscat airport is one hour. I told them that I had flown around the world with similar and even slightly shorter transit times as well. But the PIA staff were not willing to pay heed to anything that I was saying.

I told them that I had no checked luggage and that I already had online boarding passes from KLM for Muscat and Amsterdam, which would help save time at Muscat. But the staff still would not let me board the plane. I sent emails to the ticketing website's customer service while at the airport, but no one responded. I contacted the KLM helpline, but was asked to get the matter sorted out with PIA.

As it happened, I stayed at the airport for an additional...

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