So let’s say, we get our flight permissions and you want to take a flight with PACTEC from Kabul to Bamian. How does that work? The first thing you would do is call or go to the PACTEC office to talk to one of these two guys pictured below.
They would make sure you are with an approved agency since we only fly NGOS. Then they would schedule you on a regular run or charter depending on what you need. For charters, you might have to wait a bit, since they would need to check with Noel or our country director to see if we have the pilots and planes to do the charter.
Now you are approved and paid at our finance office for your ticket in cash. No online billing or credit cards here, it is a cash society. As you look at your ticket, you see you need to call in the day before to the booking guys above to confirm your seat and that everything is on schedule. They tell you when you need to be at the airport. If you are leaving from Kabul, it might be pretty early since flights sometimes leave as early as 6:30 especially in the summer. If it is at another strip, they give a good estimate of when the plane will arrive.
Since you are leaving from Kabul, you would go to the Kabul International Airport’s domestic terminal. On your way to the domestic terminal, you will probably go through three checks before even entering the terminal. One will be to x-ray your bag and the others will be pat downs. Don’t worry ladies, you get to go in your own special room for a pat down from a lady.
Now you arrive at the domestic terminal where you have one last x-ray and pat down. You know, you might be dangerous!! After getting through security, you head to the check in desk where you will meet up with Rohullah, our passenger handler.
Besides helping with passengers, Rohullah helps with permissions for parking passes and airport badges. He also helped navigate customs when Noel’s visa was wrong. This last December, he met our kids coming in for winter break to help them navigate from the International to the Domestic terminal so they could make their PACTEC flight.
Back to check in, you would show Rohullah your ticket and passport. Then you would have your bags weighed. Not only would your bag be weighed but you would also step up on the scale. Since our planes are smaller, it is important to have the weight and balance just right. This helps the pilot know how to seat the passengers. Our baggage handlers will take your luggage while you go through one last baggage scan and detector.
Now it is time to wait as the PACTEC guys finish getting your plane ready. Before you know it, Ruhullah will be back to guide you to a passenger van that will take you to our hanger and airplanes. There you will board and be on your way.
Yama will be your flight dispatcher following your flight. He monitors the flight as well as making sure the pilots have permission to land where they are going.
If you are lucky, you might get this cute pilot.
Upon arriving in Bamian, you will unload and hopefully have a ride waiting for you. You will have to walk a way with your luggage so hopefully your luggage is light or has wheels. If you have to wait, no big deal since the view is gorgeous. The airport security guys might even invite you to join their game of volleyball.
I thought you might like to see a glimpse of the local guys who help make PACTEC what it is. It is a team effort, and we are blessed with great workers. Each worker is important from the ladies in the finance office to the guys who make sure the plane is cleaned and fueled. We consider it a privilege to work beside and invest in each one. Pray for these workers in this season of waiting. Pray we can have opportunities to speak into their lives about that hope that is in us.