Six months ago I made my first plans to travel from Portland, Oregon to Moshi, Tanzania. Obviously there are no airlines that provide direct, non-stop routes between these two cities. And I doubt that there are more than a couple people that travel these city pairs every day. This means connecting at least twice. Portland used to have a couple of direct flights to Europe, but the pandemic took care of the obvious routes, at least temporarily.

Wanting to use frequent flyer miles, I booked an itinerary that took me from Portland to Chicago, then to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, and finally to Moshi/Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This was a combination of flights on United Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines. Finished booking, I somehow convinced myself that the complicated part of the travel planning was over. Uh, until it wasn’t.

My original itinerary on United Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines

In early January I received an email from Ethiopian telling me that they canceled my flight from Chicago to Addis Ababa and because there were no alternatives, they just canceled the whole itinerary. What?!? I now needed to find alternative air transportation a mere 30 days before the climb and, as we all know about inflation, the prices for tickets went up. I won’t bore you with all the details. But, a benefactor came to my rescue. I now have new tickets that go from Portland to Seattle, then on the Doha, Qatar, and then finally to Moshi/Kilimanjaro. Whew! I was saved having to shell out extra money to fix a problem that the airlines simply washed their hands of. Nice, eh?

My new itinerary on Alaska Airlines and Qatar Airlines

It’s so strange that with this small change I now travel through Middle East instead of infra-Africa. It’s also a faster itinerary so go figure. Regardless, unless something else happens I still end up in the right location, only several hours earlier—the itinerary is actually shorter. God is good.

Oh, and notice the strange arc from Seattle to Doha? That’s because the flight is more or less polar—I go over the North Pole. It’s hard to map a globe onto a flat piece of paper.


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