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Rules for Traveling to Africa
1. No matter how early you leave for Kennedy Airport, it is not early enough. The morning traffic, 45-min. wait at the GW Bridge, and construction along the Van Wyck will absorb every extra second you allowed and more.

2. Paper tickets are bad news. They force you to wait a half hour behind people with problems that can’t actually be solved. Be nice to the agent who leads you and the others waiting to the electronic ticket check-in that she told you that you couldn’t use a half hour earlier.

3. Do not believe the Delta TV monitors that, as you are boarding your flight an hour late at 12 noon, show that it took off on time at 11 a.m.

4. Do not believe the Delta ticket agent that tells you he will give you a better seat (36E) than your current last row seat (42E) for the long flight from Atlanta to Senegal. What he fails to tell you is that 36E is the dead center of the on-board nursery and pre-school section.

5. Do not look back at the 6-year-old girl in 37E who is trying to get your attention by banging her tray table and kicking your seat. She and her brother in 37D now make it a game to see if they can get the old man in 36E to look back and scowl at them by banging the tray table, kicking my seat, ringing the hostess call button (which is meaningless on Delta), and standing on their seat and tapping me on the head. A word with their mother in 37C, who is carrying on a loud non-stop conversation with the mother in 37B, who is trying to placate a screaming baby, falls on deaf ears. The two kids do not sleep at all, but continue this game for the entire 8-hour flight. You can’t make this stuff up.

6. Do not expect any relief from the in-flight “entertainment.” The classical channel consists of works of modern composers played at music festivals around the world. One composition from China (there were two!) is the sound of jack hammers on different surfaces interspersed with scraping pieces of broken glass on a blackboard. The movie was produced by MTV and most of the TV shows that followed were from BET. Grim.

7. Did I mention that Delta charges $5 for a warm can of beer on an 8-hour international flight? Cold beer is not available.

8 Do not fly Delta.
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