History was created at Wellington airport on the 8th August. The first international flight of the day was to depart at 6am for Philadelphia; four check-in counters for economy class and two for business/first class opened at 2:30am so that passengers could start checking in 3 hours prior to the departure. Prospective passengers queued up. 4 passengers were asked to come forward to the 4 economy class counters and two business class counters ushered two business class passengers.
‘Sir, your ticket and passport please’, said the Airways staff in the first check-in counter. The passenger handed over the documents. The Airways staff looked at the e-ticket and said, ‘so you’re travelling to Philadelphia’, then she looked into the passport, matched the face of the passenger with the photo of the passport; it was alright; then she turned the pages of the passport to find the visa to US; there was none.
‘I don’t find your visa to US; I can’t check you in. Do you have the visa in your old passport? If yes, please show me that passport.’
‘I don’t need any visa to US; I am a citizen of the World.’ The passenger replied.
‘No, Sir.’ The Airways staff replied, ‘You are a New Zealand citizen, I can’t let you board the plane without the visa. Do you have any luggage to check in?’
‘No; I’ve only this cabin bag.’ The passenger replied.
‘Please stand aside and let the next passenger come forward.’ Said the staff and glanced at the other check-in counters. She was overwhelmed as she heard the same words from five other check-in staff.
None of these passengers had any luggage to be checked in; each was carrying only a cabin baggage. None of them had US visa stamped in the passport. None of them stood aside to let the next passenger come forward. The airport staff looked at the queue of passengers; none of them were carrying any big bags to check in; as if all of them had come here for a bus ride.
In each counter, the passenger showed the air ticket and passport, but no visa for US. One of the Airways staff phoned their boss to ask for instructions. The boss of the Airways was at a loss; he asked the top boss of Wellington airport. Security forces were mobilised to arrest the passengers who refused to move from the check-in counter unless boarding passes were issued. Six passengers were arrested, moved the next six passengers to the check-in counters; none of these passengers had visas attached to their passports; none agreed to step aside to let the next passengers come forward; so they were all arrested.
Next six passengers moved to check-in counters; none of them had visas attached to passports, none of them agreed to step aside to let the next passengers come forward; so they were arrested as well.
This continued till all 215 prospective passengers were arrested; no boarding pass was issued, no luggage was checked in.
Baggage handlers got worried when no luggage was passed to them for two hours after the start of check-in. They came to see what was happening at the check-in counters. The flight crew was sent messages about delay in boarding the passengers for the flight; they should wait for the next message before starting for the airport. The flight was cancelled and all prospective passengers arrested.
The next flight to leave Wellington Airport had the same fate, as all the passengers booked for the flight appeared without any visa in the passport. The flight after that had the same fate, and all the remaining flights of the day weren’t any different. No international flights took off from Wellington on that day. Soon the news was received from other airports of New Zealand — Auckland, Christchurch and so on. No international flight has departed from New Zealand.
Hours later same sets of events started in Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and other airports. Norton had set up his network in every country of the world and mobilised enough people to buy all tickets for all flights supposed to leave the airports on that day. All the tickets were brought on credit cards, along with travel insurance; Norton checked that that insurance company would pay the compensation if the flight hadn’t taken off at the scheduled hour and the passenger was not allocated a boarding pass; there was no clause for passenger’s inability to get the visa in time, because the ticket was issued.
This situation made an extra-ordinary impact for the aviation industry, the insurance companies, the airport staff, the airport security, even the prisons of the country. Most airlines checked their booking for the next weeks and found that the passengers with very similar names were supposed to fly in the forthcoming flights. One emergency meeting was convened by United Nations to address the plea of the aviation industry that had no other options but to let people fly without adequate visas. But the countries at the destination of the flights would have a big problem if the passengers arrive without adequate visas. But people all over the world wanted to fly without any visa; at least the bookings for next few days suggested that, what should United Nations decide now? Some wise men of United Nations could easily see the popularity of Norton over the social media; they thought Norton should be arrested and questioned to find out how things are going and how these could controlled. But how one would arrest Norton? Many persons were claiming to be Norton, millions of Norton-s are scattered all over the world; as if everyone in the world is a Norton. Developed countries of United Nations opined that all passengers involved in these cancelled flights were terrorists, violators of the established visa regulations. They had been already arrested and questioned; two names emerged from this extensive questioning: one is Norton and the other is John. Norton couldn’t be arrested, as the security forces couldn’t identify the real Norton from millions of so-called Norton-s. John was arrested for questioning.
Norton considered there should be a World Anthem to suit the citizens of the world; he thought of seeking permission for using Imagine Lyrics of John Lennon. He dreamed that the citizens all over the world danced to the tune of IMAGINE:
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too’
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish