Het kan sneller gebeuren dan je denkt. Het houdt steek om te reizen met wat cash geld op zak. En ik durf zelfs verder te gaan. Het houdt steek om steeds te reizen met wat edelmetaal op zak, voor in het geval cash geld niet meer wordt geaccepteerd.
Een verhaal dat ik enkele dagen geleden las:
The anxieties of an unexpected landing in war-ravaged Syria were compounded for passengers on an Air France flight when they were asked by the crew if they couldn’t possibly, you know, come up with some cash to help out with the refuelling.
Passengers on Air France Flight 562 were headed from Paris to Beirut on Wednesday, but the religious and ethnic tensions of the civil war in Syria have spilled over into Lebanon, too. Unrest around Beirut’s airport made it impossible to land, Air France said Friday. The crew sought permission to divert to Amman, Jordan, but lacked the fuel to make it safely, so ended up in Damascus itself. (As if the Syrian capital were any safer.)
Air France stopped flying to Damascus in March as fighting escalated in Syria, and Paris and Damascus are not exactly on good terms these days, with France one of the most vocal countries calling for President Bashar al-Assad and his government to step down and face charges of war crimes.
France pulled its ambassador from Damascus in March, and in a reflection of the current state of relations, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, visiting a refugee camp for Syrians on the Turkish border, said Friday: “The Syrian regime should be smashed fast. After hearing the refugees and their account of the massacres of the regime, Mr. Bashar al-Assad doesn’t deserve to be on this Earth.”
And then there is the small matter of European Union sanctions on Syria, which make even buying jet fuel, let alone on credit, a little complicated.
Authorities at the Damascus airport told the crew that they could not accept credit cards because of the sanctions – cash only. So as a precaution, an Air France spokeswoman said, the crew asked the passengers how much money they happened to have in their wallets to help pay for fuel.
A friend of one passenger told Reuters that the passengers were willing. “Because of the terrible relations between the two countries and the situation in Syria, the passengers were really worried about landing there,” the friend said. Neither the friend nor the passenger wished to be identified; press officers for Air France normally do not allow their names to be used.
In the end, the airline managed to settle the bill without help from the passengers and the plane took off two hours later to spend the night in Cyprus, where the troubled Cypriot banks still take credit cards. The plane landed safely on Thursday in Beirut, which had apparently calmed down sufficiently in the interim.
Air France refused to say how much it paid for the fuel or how it did so.