Sunday, May 13, 2012

Travel to Uganda

Flights to Entebbe 11-12 May 2012 Once I got underway the travel to Entebbe wasn't really that bad. I only had one delay, for two hours, at the beginning and I got window seats that I liked. The food wasn't too bad, but almost 27 hours of transit gets old. Flying economy is always the same- crying kids, no leg or arm room, and the person in front of you reclines their seat all the way into your space, but that's economy travel. This time flying into Africa I flew through Brussels and I was amazed at how the African travelers were segregated. They cut the terminal in half with a glass wall with guards who will only let people in and won't let you out. In the African side of the terminal there is only half of one bar (the partition goes through the middle of it) and one shop selling a limited variety of watches, sandals, and sunglasses. Through the opaque glass I could make out the shapes and colors of a variety of stores and restaurants, but the guards frowned if you spent too much time by the wall. I guess the toilets and seats were adequate but the African transfer terminal in Brussels is in no way like the regular terminals. It was also obvious that Brussels Air used older aircraft for their African flights. Maybe I was spoiled by the new Boeing 777 that took me to Brussels, but the plane to Africa was falling apart. I had an in-seat monitor that didn't work and the controller in the armrest was busted. No blankets, dark dingy toilets, and no air conditioning made a stark contrast in my two long distance flights. Tickets for my African leg of the trip were just as expensive as the European flight but you get less and the experience was not the same. I've flown South African, TAP, Emirates, Royal Air Moroc, and United into other African cities from Europe and the States but have never seen the blatant treatment of Africans as second class customers as with Brussels. Perhaps it has something to do with their colonial legacy and brutal mistreatment of Africans (as in the Belgian Congo).

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