2022 USA Trip Part 2—Travel Chaos, Albeit Self Inflicted


As the travel date drew closer, it turns out that travel chaos is real. There was virtually no way to leave Zimbabwe without paying thousands of dollars each. We tried our luck by leaving a day early on Wednesday 3 but that didn’t work. There wasn’t even a way to get to South Africa or even Ethiopia. I guess that’s why competition is good since the main reason is that British Airways went out of business days after I came home with them.

Two trolleys full of luggage going absolutley nowhere

All packed and ready to go nowhere.

The next day, Wednesday 4, my sister found space on a United flight from Cape Town to Newark, but we had to find a way to Cape Town. The only flight available was on airline for $700 each, one way (compared to $400 round trip). I protested to my sister that it was crazy expensive and she told me to just pay for it. Reason was that my mom once paid for a holiday with 6 people flying transcontinental (regular fare), taking a Caribbean cruise and spending 2 days at Disneyland and she was returning the favor. I hope to be as generous some day.

Anyways, I thought I’d have more time to pack but the flight was 3 hours from booking so I had to rush before we had sushi for lunch since my sibling wanted to have that before we leave. I had to juggle driving along with checking in which was stressful, particularly for United which needed me to upload document upon document. At that point I noticed that the flight from Newark to Miami left the next day which meant that we not only had to find a place in New York, we also had to pay for bags. Thankfully I was able to change to an earlier flight and save $30 in doing so. Would be more earlier, but we wouldn’t be able to check-in anyway.

The good thing was that I didn’t need formal clothes so I dressed down, checked in and went to the Dzimbabwe lounge, which was terrible. We then headed on the flight which was an E195 that I never knew they had. Should be a turboprop, but anyway. Boarding the plane, I noticed the flight attendants had no masks, so I didn’t wear one until I flew back to Zimbabwe (until I got ill anyway).

A pretty chill flight with a good meal. For entertainment, I watched a bunch of stoner TV. Firstly was Who Is America, which was a big WTF. I then watched Wonder Showzen which was just perplexing. I also watched a bit of the Wu Tang Show, that was engaging but more than I wanted to watch. Soon enough, we landed in Cape Town. We then made a mad dash to check into the United flight, which wasn’t necessary since we still had a lot of time though we had to check in again since I was so confused during the car ride.

A cloudy sunset behind Table Mountain overlooking the houses of Cape Town with the E195 engine and wind in the foreground

Cape Town is beautiful but that was an especially beutiful evening.

We went through security, then security again as the Americans wanted. Soon enough we boarded the packed flight onto Newark and as I sat in the blue 787, I was like “damn, this is very nice”—especially since it would be a 15 hour flight in pure darkness over the Atlantic. I then noticed that it’s because we had Economy Plus. I now think the opportunity cost of premium economy is worth it on such a long flight. My sibling didn’t get premium economy, but they’re short so yeah.

A main dish consisting of a slap of mashed butternut and alledged tomato sauced chicken next to a stale roll, sorry salad and ice cream

Honestly unacceptable for an international flight.

Soon enough we were on our way and I’ve got to say, flying United is still a mistake. The food was terrible with the only good thing being the half melted “ice” cream, the AHA soda water and cheddar biscuits. Also, the flight attendants, while very friendly, we’re inattentive. Thankfully the IFE was super responsive and I watched a lot of Sonic The Hedgehog before heading to bed. Funny enough, though it was a 15 hour flight, it went by quickly and soon enough we landed at Newark at the ass crack of dawn.

Immigration was a breeze (didn’t even get a stamp) and there was no customs so we technically could have left on an earlier flight, but we couldn’t check into the hotel anyway. Speaking of checking into a hotel, my sister found a better hotel that was in Bricknell albeit more expensive. With four hours before the next flight, that was plenty of time to relax, so I went with my sibling to get Wendy’s that I’d missed and I realized that inflation was real. Can’t expect nothing to change in 5 years, but this was the beginning of me being shocked at high prices.

We went back and ate and then my mother wanted Starbucks which was fine except for having to spend an hour in line because of the worker pay shortage. With that, we then got to wait for our flight. It was then time to board onto Miami where we got an entire row in premium economy. A couple hours later with our bags having arrived hours earlier, we got a huge Uber and headed for the Atwell Suites and I’m glad we stayed here instead as I’ll explain in the next post.

Americans come across as friendly, but the crew were genuinely nice. The crew needs better training however.