Even with the amount of effort Katie puts into travel plans, you just never know. We chose to fly Qatar Airways, despite our preference for Emirates, mainly because they were just ranked best airline in the world for 2017 (Skytrax). Two days before we are set to leave, we get a phone call our flight time has been changed. In the past, we have gotten a similar call, for an hour or so, but this call was different. We are now leaving 24 hours early!
This less than ideal change, made for a fun 4th of July, by fun we mean a bit stressful, and a chaotic morning on the 5th (maybe a few too many cocktails on the 4th). Next inconvenience, Qatar Airways doesn’t fly out of Orlando, so our lengthy drive to Miami seemed like we were driving to San Diego since we were late out the door. Chaos turns into lucky as we walk through the gate to board with less than a minute to spare (literally)! Made it!
So our journey to Kenya will have one more obstacle. When we booked our journey on Qatar Airways, we didn’t anticipate countries in the Middle East accusing Qatar of aiding and financing terrorism. Here is a clip from Aljazeera News:
The Gulf crisis
“Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a land, air and sea blockade on the country.
They also ordered Qatari citizens to leave their territories and took various steps against Qatari firms and financial institutions.”
This has caused an unprecedented turn of events for Qatar and especially their award winning airlines. The airspace around has been shut down to them. Thus, our flight pattern changed as the airline is restricted on where it can fly, as we have a layover in Doha, Qatar on our journey to Nairobi. Note below the flight pattern. We had to fly over all the countries that have banned them. Typically it would go straight through.
Well, besides us realizing the inflight experience is not quite up to Emirates, we have to give Qatar Airways a bit of credit. We were lucky to get emergency exit seats on our 13-hour flight to Doha, and they hooked us up with a hotel in the city for the duration of our 10 hour layover.
So, what did we do… we took advantage of the opportunity to explore a bit of Qatar, an oil rich country that boasts about its new airport costing 17 billion dollars (yes, that’s billion)! Qatar is known for its futuristic skyscrapers, as well as its access to the Persian Gulf from the peninsula shaped Arab country.
Enjoy a few pictures of our stop at the Souq Watif, and a drive along the Corniche.
Back to the airport for a grueling leg from Doha to Nairobi (a 5.5 hour flight), and our African adventure is officially underway!