Austin –> Houston –> Washington, DC –> Dakar, Senegal –> Johannesburg, South Africa, in just 27 short hours!
We came prepared. We brought phones, tablets, and my laptop – and a power brick for recharging the phones & tablets should they run out of juice on the 16 hour flight. I knew from the Internets that our seats in steerage wouldn’t have electrical outlets under the seats, but I *didn’t* know that there’d be a low-voltage USB port next to the screen in my seatback entertainment center. My iPhone didn’t register a charge when I plugged it in, but my Kindle Fire did, so anytime I wasn’t using it I just plugged it in and let it charge, compliments of South African Airways.
The flights weren’t nearly as bad as we’d feared. I have had a hard time breathing on several flights in the past, but I didn’t have any issues this time. We had a refueling/crew change stop in Dakar, Senegal about halfway through the trip, so I had an hour at sea level to catch my breath, but I didn’t really need it. Christopher had an empty seat between him and the woman next to him, so they took turns laying down and he got several hours of sleep. And the leg room / seat recline was better than I expected.
Johannesburg was a waste of time on this trip. We just went to the hotel, ate, slept, ate again, napped, and then jumped on a flight to Durban to meet our friends. If we were to do it again, we’d either schedule another day in Johannesburg so we could actually see things there, or just skip it altogether. I wasn’t too disappointed, though, as we’d been told by lots of folks that it can be a pretty dangerous city.
In Johannesburg, this made us giggle:
One travel tip before you go to South Africa: make sure you have an entire blank page in the back of your passport. If you don’t, they won’t let you on the plane. You will need to order extra pages for your passport if you don’t have a completely blank one.