• Thursday, June 03rd, 2010
Can I get an nonstop upgrade for $1?
I wondered as I shuffled through the OR Tambo International Airport to pick up my bags from the international baggage claim and take them to domestic check-in. It was getting to be a bit too much.
I mean how would you feel after a Memorial Day trip to Atlanta, then returning to Tallahassee at 4:30 a.m. With about ¼ of the sheep counted, you wake around 9 a.m., finish packing bags and trek down I-75 for four and a half hours. You run into the Tampa International Airport.
Stand here. Adjust your weight. Pull out your passport. Take off your shoes. Walk to gate E8. Board at zone three. Put your seat in the upright position. Turn your phone off.
An hour in the air and then it’s time to rest for the night. Don’t forget checkout is at noon. At 12:01 p.m. you are shuttled to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. After an eight-hour wait you finally head across the Atlantic to Johannesburg. With an uncomfortable night’s sleep, this brings me back to my original point.
Is there an easier way?
I dream of traveling the world, but I guess there’s a price to pay for such a perk. I will take my lengthy experience over any nonstop, domestic flight, ANYDAY!
• Thursday, June 03rd, 2010
I touched down in South Africa after a very long (15 hours!) and disappointing flight on Delta Airlines. Now, before you ask how I could tell it was that bad, let me say I was on an Air France flight that was quite spectacular less than three weeks ago.
Delta’s flight attendants were quite rude. I’ll paraphrase a little bit of my conversation with an attendant after she offered guests seated in the last few rows a choice of water, Sprite or Diet Coke served in cups.
Me: May I have a Sprite please?
Me: No, a Sprite.
She walked away, and five minutes later came back with a cup of water. I then noticed a male attendant making his way toward the back offering drinks. I asked for orange juice, explaining what the previous attendant had done, and he tried to force me to keep the lukewarm cup.
I have to say everything and everyone has been great since we landed in South Africa. Arriving in Cape Town around 11 p.m. to a pleasant face waiting to pick up the team and our luggage was great. Twenty minutes later we arrived at our lodge. We were greeted by Christina (Wang Fen), one of the Shantou University students, waving her hand from her bedroom window.
Meeting the Chinese half of the FAMU-Shantou team has been great. There’s been no communication barrier at all. Although any hope of blending into the crowd has all but disappeared as I could feel the stares wherever we turned up. I don’t know if it’s the size of the group traveling, the odd mix of black and Asian people walking together, the presence of cameras and a tripod, or a combination of these things gave us away, but it has become quite clear we are not from here. I’m definitely looking forward to the next six weeks free of Delta Airlines customer service.
Signing out from South Africa, with love!