My flight to Johannesburg has been cancelled!!!...

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May 22nd, 2003, 05:52 PM
  #1
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My flight to Johannesburg has been cancelled!!!...

What's a Fodorite to do?!

Looks like I will not be flying to JNB via JFK (New York) and will now have to catch the redeye out of L.A. and connect to JNB in Atlanta. In the end it will just get me to JNB in the morning instead of the afternoon.

My wife and I were good little Fodorites and took all our shots at the doctors office yesterday and picked up our Malarone and Cipro (anti-diarrhea) prescriptions.

I have been ordering things like crazy off of EBay in preparation for my trip and I think now I will just pick up a second pair of binoculars for my wife (since she may be doing morning game drives in South Luangwa while I am off on game walks), a pair of sunglasses and possibly a satellite phone.

I really want to pass on the satellite phone. I WANT to be out of contact with the world for my 5 nights in South Luangwa. I have not been out of contact with the world for five days....EVER!!!

My only regret with this trip is that there is not more time and that I do not have more money!!! What a shame that I will come all this way but have neither the time nor the money to see both Botswana and Namibia on this very trip and that I will only have four nights in Cape Town and will again not have a chance to see the Garden Route or Durban. There is so much that I want to see in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and that is not even counting Eastern Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) yet.

Fortunately I am young and hopefully have many years ahead to return numerous times to Africa.

Well, its off to San Francisco for the weekend, followed by a short work week due to the Memorial Day holiday, another weekend, and then just three more workdays and then off my wife and I go to South Africa!!!
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May 22nd, 2003, 06:20 PM
  #2
sandi
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When we went two months after 9/11, SAA had changed their schedule from daily out of JFK to four flites, so we would up leaving a day earlier. And instead of the non-stop to JNB, a stop at Isle de Sol (Cape Verde Is). No matter we'd have an extra day in CPT.

The only problem was that the flight was very crowded (having combined other passengers) and not an empty seat. Luckily we sat up top (SAA has some coach seats upstairs) so it didn't seem as crowded and once passengers deplaned at Isle de Sol, we had plenty of room to stretch out.

There were changes to our return flight which was fairly empty (enough so that we both had own rows to sleep) till stop at Isle de Sol, where we picked up passengers, but still there were plenty of empty seats.

It's just the times we live in. Be patient, take a deep breath, smile, keep your sense of humor and enjoy your holiday.
 
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May 22nd, 2003, 06:53 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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I am sorry.

However, please remember that many Americans and Canadians travelling to South Africa go via Europe, a much less convenient routing. You are still better off than them.

In the past, at least some advance purchase SAA fares allowed stopovers. Ask if Atlanta could be one for you. Many hotels--in many price ranges--are adjacent to Atlanta airport.

Now if this does not work, international fares often allow connections up to 24 hours long. Just ask to be scheduled into Atlanta by early evening the day before your last hop.

The airline folks should be kind to you. After all, this was not your fault.

Alles van die beste! (All the best--if I remember correctly)
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May 23rd, 2003, 02:06 AM
  #4
 
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Rocco -

Somehow just looking at the title of the message I knew this had to be yours!

A few words of advice. I learned about 10 years ago on a 2 week trip to Thailand just how good being unreachable can be. I was still living in the states at that time, (where as soon as you announce you are going on vacation everyone wants to know which hotel you are staying at and if you are checking email and voicemail).

I decided to test the system.

I told my company I was staying in a hut on an island off the coast with no electricity or phones, and on my voicemail I simply stated I was on vacation with no way of being reached or of checking my messages, but gave names of my assistants that could help my clients in my abscence.

Now, in reality I was staying at the Oriental in Bangkok and the Chedi on Phuket, but they didn't know this, and as a result it was my first EVER vacation that was just that -a VACATION.

I returned to ONE voicemail - from my alumni club. I can't even leave my desk to go to the bathroom without having 10 messages, so this was shocking, to say the least!! The point I am trying to to make is that if you are not self employed (like I am now) and have a support network of colleagues and assistants, USE THEM! Vacations are not opportunities for you to simply move your overworked brain to a different place where you are still as available as if you were at your desk.

Take a stand!!! (If anything, the money you save by not buying the phone can start next year's "Africa Trip Fund". : )

As for the other points in your message, be greatful that you are getting the JNB earlier than later. Even a day later on our trip we would have to swallow the already paid for cost of a lost safari day!

I promise to post all about the Garden route from our trip and maybe some of it will be helpful for your next trip. I, for one, am totally excited about the treetop safari!

Melissa
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May 23rd, 2003, 02:57 AM
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Rocco
Sorry to hear about the flight mix up - I know you'll work out the best solution and still enjoy your trip.

I'm with Melissa on the phone issue.

I've known too many people who are convinced they are indispensable. My take on this is that if a person is actually as good at their job as they think they are, that they should be able to forward plan expertly enough to take a _proper_ vacation without anything falling apart back in the office, especially when it's only a 2 or 3 week absence.

This is particularly true of managers - a truly good manager should have built up a team that is capable of doing the job without his/ her physical presence every day. A little extra time establishing schedules and planning for contingencies in advance should be all it takes.

For those who are self employed - don't forget - your clients pay for your expertise, experience and professionalism - they don't pay for a pound of flesh or for you to be at their beck and call 24/7. Well, mine don't anyway! Your mileage may vary!!!

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May 23rd, 2003, 07:58 AM
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I flew SAA last year from New York via Atlanta to Johannesburg, and while I showed up on time, my luggage didn't, which was a problem b/c I was catching an immediate flight to Swaziland. My luggage did show up in Swaziland the next day, but the reason it missed the flight was a very tight connection at Hartsdale (I hate that airport), so my one piece of advice it to pack one day's clothes and carry on if you have a tight connection in Atlanta. One second suggestion -- leave the phone home. I am a high-powered corporate lawyer and I thought I was indispensable, but even I managed a few days at Kafunta w/o a phone and the world didn't come to an end and no clients had any problems (they just dealt with my partners in my absence).
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May 23rd, 2003, 09:08 AM
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Have a great trip Roccco
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May 23rd, 2003, 11:41 AM
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I think I am going to take the advice on this board and pass on the satellite phone! I just hope I don't end up taking a wrong turn in South Luangwa and ending up in Congo!

The difference between the flights is my original flight flew out at 8:20AM Thursday and now it looks like I will be flying out Wednesday night at 11:45PM. I actually prefer this schedule but I am fearful that I will be hit up with an extra charge due to SAA's cancellation of my original flight. Do they have the right to charge me extra???

Also, I am concerned that the 11:45PM flight that connects into Atlanta will go directly from Atlanta to Cape Town, meaning that I would have to then connect back to Johannesburg, adding an extra four hours or so to the flight.

If that is the case, I would be better off starting my holiday in Cape Town for four nights, followed by Vuyatela for three nights, followed by Joburg and ending with South Luangwa but it would nearly impossible to make all those changes last second, and that is if Kafunta and Vuyatela even had availability for the alternate nights.

Although I will be flying out 8.5 hours earlier, if I have to connect in Cape Town, it is possible that I will arrive only 3.5 hours earlier than the original 8:20AM flight out of LAX would have arrived...5 extra hours of travel, possibly!

I do have very good news about South Luangwa. I have been confirmed on the larger 19 seat aricrafts for each direction. Although I didn't spell it out on the board, for obvious reasons, there was a challenge in getting my return flight aboard the bigger aircraft.

I have been going crazy on EBay lately and buying anything and everything that I think may enhance my trip. I have never bought so much on EBay in my life, so much that my credit card company suspected fraud and froze my card until I called them to clear it up.

Just a note to those travelling abroad...call your bank/credit card company and let them know that you are going abroad. Otherwise, they may suspect fraud and freeze your card and while it may be easy to talk to a rep while you are at home, try getting ahold of Wells Fargo from Mfuwe, Zambia, if you really want a challenge.

Something interesting I learned from American Express...Gold and Platinum Card members get free travel insurance when they buy their trips through AMEX's travel department and it includes trip interruption insurance, baggage protection, trip cancellation insurance and I believe medical evacuation insurance. Also, I just was offered an upgrade to AMEX Platinum and if I buy any future Business Class airfares from AMEX travel department, my companion flies free. If I stay three nights minimum in a participating hotel, I receive a complimentary upgrade to the next level room at the hotel, also.

Well, thanks for all the feedback on this thread. Seven more workdays and 12 more days total!!!

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May 23rd, 2003, 02:27 PM
  #9
sandi
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thit_cho - I believe you were transfering thru "Hartsfield" airport in Atlanta. Not "Hartsdale" - I was kind of wondering what you were doing in Westchester, NY where we have a Hartsdale, but you might have been thinking of Hartsdale. No matter, easy enough to confuse.

As far as the phone and being able to reach-out-and-touch-someone - never. Sorry, in truth, yes, once, when we did a self-drive through Provence and Languedoc in France. It was the first time in five years either of us had driven a car and it was "just in case" we got lost or had an accident. We had rented a cell for the two weeks - never took it out of its case. And I don't have a cell here at home - have yet to find an occasion when I just had to speak with someone right them out on the street, in car, on train, anywhere. If really urgent, I've found a pay phone, and I can't remember the last time I did that. Haven't had a situation that couldn't wait till I arrived home or to the office.

Certainly I leave a list of phone numbers for family, but they know they are under "penalty of death" if anyone calls. Even if someone dies, I don't want to know - can't do anything for the deceased, and for the living (sorry to sound so cruel), but they'll get over it! I certainly wouldn't call anyone home from a vacation.

And I would never ever let an employer know where I could be reached. Can't remember how many times I've told them "I'm on vacation and unreachable"

Nor would I go out of my way to find an Internet cafe. I realize some people have family issues at home and certain situations require a "check-in" but just to send a "Hi, arrived safe, I'm okay, today we saw/did/went" it's a convenience that I can do without while on vacation - prefer to be incognito and glad not to hear the phone ring or "you've got mail".

I prefer to think of the time when it could take weeks for a message/letter to get to you. Now that was nice.

But we each have to find our own level of comfort for always being available.

 
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