Friday, June 12, 2009

Getting to Cote d'Ivoire from the United States

Twice I have traveled to Abdijan, Cote d'Ivoire, from the United States. Each time I went by a different route. I thought for those of you contemplating going to this part of West Africa, my experiences might help you decide which airline to take.

On my first trip, I went via Emirates Airlines. Since I am in Northern California, I first had to fly to JFK in New York, then board the Emirates Airlines flight. This flight took me across Africa (and across the Sahara) to Dubai, were I had about 8 hours layover. Emirates included a free night on a nearby hotel, so I got at least five hours sleep before boarding my next Emirates flight. To reach West Africa (first a brief stop at Accra, Ghana, and then a one hour flight on the same plane from Ghana to Cote d'Ivoire), we onhce again had to cross the Sahara. Let me tell you, the Sahara is immense. Simply overflying it in either direction took a huge amount of time. The Emirates trip took forever. I think I was traveling close to two days. not something you want to do if you can avoid it.

Fortunately for us folks on the West Coast, Emirates has since started flight from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Ghana. If my sense of geography is not totally confused, this would involve only one overflight of the Sahara, and would also avoid the flights between San Francisco and New York. I haven't flown by this route yet -- perhaps I will try it the next time I go to Cote d'Ivoire.

Let me just say that Emirates is a superb airline. The service is wonderful and the food is considerably better than the food served on most of its competitors.

The next year (2008) I went to Cote d'Ivoire by a different route. Again I went to JFK, but this time I boarded an Air France flight to Paris. I had several hours at the airport in Paris, then I boarded the flight to Abidjan. Again, excellent service and excellent food.

So your choice must be based on convenience and whether or not you perhaps wish to spend a few days in Dubai or Paris. I plan to spend a little while in one or another the next time I journey to Cote d'Ivoire.

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