While I am hardly surprised, I am still disappointed that my Air Algérie trip is off to a rough start.
First off, Algiers was beautiful. I only spent a couple days here, but Algeria’s capital city was really wonderful, particularly my second day, and I look forward to returning again.
At least I think so, though I guess I will reserve final judgement until I fly the flag carrier, Air Algérie.
It should come as no surprise that photogprahy is viewed as suspicious in many countries around the world. Even as mobile phones and social media has become ubiquitous, photpgrahy at airports and onboard airplanes is still a touchy subject for many airline employees and security personnel.
Earlier, I arrived a few hours before my flight to Doha to check-in. I wanted to leave plenty of time for the lounge.
Air Algérie is very old fashioned, in that it website is very clunky and often unable to issue tickets. I was also told by my driver that employees will also often zero out inventory on popular routes so that they can ask for a “commission” when booking seats at the airport or city ticketing office.
While I cannot verify that, I did note that there was a large line at the Air Algérie ticketing desk at Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG).
I proceeded over to the business and first class check-in area and took a picture of the check-in desk.
“STOP! STOP! STOP!,” yelled an Air Algerie employee (in French, of course).
He ran over to me and began yelling at me in French.
I had no idea what specifically he was saying, but knew exactly what he was saying.
He kept pointing to my phone. I opened up my photo album and showed him the pictures I had just taken (I had snapped eight) of them, and he made the cross with hits hands, demanding that I delete them.
He stood over me as I did this.
Then he demanded I go into the trash and permanently delete them.
So I did.
Well, not quite. I managed to “accidentally” avoid deleting this one:
Do you see something so offensive to privacy or national security?
So I got up the check-in desk and was told by the same guy that I was too early to check-in. But his colleague, who appeared to be a more reasonable man, told him something an Arabic and turned to me and said, “passport.”
Moments later, I had my boarding pass. He also invited me to take pictures…
Onward to the lounge!