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Travel to Kakum National Park and being the only obruni on the bus to Accra


From walking among the treetops, to an hour long sermon on a bus ride.  My last few days in Ghana had some unique experiences, and only some of them were intended.   Since my time in country was pretty brief, I didn't get to explore too far, but I tried to make the most of the time I did have.

Kakum National Park, Ghana

A group of us went to Kakum National Park to partake in a canopy tour.  It was ...

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Exploring history of the slave trade in Cape Coast, Ghana


Besides being in Ghana for the wedding, we wanted to do some local exploration.  Ghana does not have much of a developed tourism industry.  There are several worthy sites, one of them was rather close to where we were staying, so we hired a tro tro (minibus that functions similar to a taxi for more people) to take us there.  I'll talk more about transport options in my next post.

Cape Coast, Ghana

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Around the world in a week - preview of Germany, Malaysia, Cambodia, Costa Rica

I recently returned from another fun trip.  It really was 2 trips, and I'll provide a full report for each, but for now, while trying to settle back into work and finish up other reports here, I'll provide a preview of my trip thanks to some photos I posted to Instagram.

It was my last Star Alliance First Class reward with United miles booked before the devaluation.  This trip started when Lufthansa opened up space on their new Munich to Toronto ...

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A stay at the Ko-Sa Beach Resort, Cape Coast, Ghana


We had a long, but fun road trip from Accra, and we finally made it to our destination and the site of the wedding, the Ko-Sa Beach resort.  This is unlike any other beach resort I've been to, much more simple but perfectly nice, and rooms are less than $70 per night even for their best rooms.  It is definitely not over the top, and its not hard to forget you are in a remote spot in Africa, power occasionally comes and goes and not surprisingly, only cash is accepted.  It is a ...

Road trip from Accra to Cape Coast in a van


It is maybe 100 miles from our hotel in Accra to where we were staying for the wedding, but due to heavy traffic getting out of town, and along the way, it took several hours to cover that distance.  A big portion of the wedding party and guests traveled together to the site of the wedding, on the beach at a resort near Cape Coast.  We were all packed into a van.  It was a fun trip that reminded me somewhat of riding the school bus

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Cash only in Accra, Ghana and Africa in General

Independence Arch

Now that I was finally in Africa, I had one short night to relax in Accra, meet up with friends, and then head up the coast to the site of the wedding.  After my extended layover in Lagos, I was one of the last to arrive at the hotel in Accra, but it was good to see some familiar faces after a long trip to get here.  



Great photo of Independence Arch in Accra by George Appiah ...

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Extended layover in Lagos Nigeria and flying Africa World Airways


Many travelers have heard horror stories about the experience of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos Nigeria.  Here is my story, I don't think it was necessarily a horror, but I'll let you decide.  Others have alleged some major issues when flying through Lagos, including bribes from immigration officers and baggage not being transferred between flights.  I didn't encounter either of these, but here are a few examples of some horror stories others ...

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United Airlines 787 Dreamliner BusinessFirst from Houston to Lagos


Although I was flying to a new and exciting destination, the initial part of this trip was pretty typical for me, with domestic flights on United. Thankfully, they were uneventful, and actually arrived ahead of schedule.   I got to Houston with plenty of time to relax before the long flight to Lagos.  Unfortunately, when I checked this status upon landing, this flight had already posted a delay.  It was strange in that the inbound flight (from Heathrow) had arrived on ...

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Winners of Singapore, Turkish Austrian amenities and United Club pass giveaway

My giveaway of items from Singapore, Turkish and Austrian Airlines seems to have been quite popular, at least based on the number of comments.  Thanks for reading, and especially the many kind words.  

Using, I drew numbers for the 7 prizes plus a few alternates just in case.  The comment number in the original post was selected at random thanks to  Those selections are listed below, and the 7 winners have been notified.  

Stay ...

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Giveaway: Amenity kits and pajamas from Turkish, Singapore, and Austrian premium classes

Singapore pjs

I'm an avid collector of airline amenities, especially amenity kits and other goodies from premium cabins.  I've collected much more than I need for myself on various trips, so I thought I'd offer some up as a giveaway to readers.

Each item is unopened condition, and in most cases is sealed.  I have photos of each item, plus a link to the trip report and in some cases a review of the kit itself.

Update 5/21/14:
Thanks for all of your entries.  Winners have ...

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Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class from Istanbul to Houston


The last portion of my trip report of my Business Class award on Turkish Airlines is the return trip between Istanbul and Houston.  I had already had an eventful day, getting up early to see some of the sites in Istanbul.  I then returned to the crowded airport and had a brief visit at the famous Turkish Airlines Lounge before departure.  Turkish Airlines is a frequent topic on Upgrd, and James just reviewed his flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul.

 I ...

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A new take on the Turkish Airlines CIP Business Class Lounge Istanbul Airport

IST lounge

While there is no doubt that the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul is excellent, but after 2 visits there, I'm am not as impressed as I hoped or expected to be. The experiences I had did not match the hype.  

The lounge design is beautiful, Mike was more fortunate than me for it not to be packed.

 Both times on the two separate days I visited it was terribly crowded.  Despite very tasty fresh food being prepared, it is ...

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United's poor social media strategy

United Twitter team

Clearly I'm not alone in my annoyance with United these days or with airline social media teams.  Matthew's recent post on the complete lack of trust in United leadership is excellent and on point building on the HuffPo piece he linked. I discuss how that affects other aspects of the United operation.  Also, Rocky had a poor experience with the USAirways twitter team, and my post is about more general frustrations with the United social media team over time. ...

Touring Istanbul on my short overnight layover


After a nice time in Belgium, and an easy flight back to Istanbul, while I had the business class cabin to myself, I would finally have some time to leave Atatürk Airport and see a few of the sites in Istanbul.  Of course, a few hours exploring is not nearly enough time, but I was pretty happy with what I got to see in the short time I had.  

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, commonly known as the Blue ...

Initial thoughts on my first trip to Africa

As I mentioned previously, last week returned from my first trip to the African continent.  I am planning a complete trip report, but I'll try to finish a few other reports first. Here are a few comments and some photos from my trip.

My first view of Africa from the air:


Lagos airport wasn't as bad as I feared, and bribe requests were laughed off.  It was not a great place to have a layover while in transit, but once I was able to get online, ...

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Swiss Air Lines Business Class to Luxembourg


After Liverpool, another leg on my trip was to Belgium for some touring and tasty beers.  I also was able to and get the somewhat elusive passport stamp in Luxembourg.

Early morning in Manchester UK 

My trip began early in the morning in Manchester Airport.  The security line was a bit of a mess, but once through, I had enough time for a quick stop in the lounge for a snack and some tea before ...

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A trip of Firsts: United 787 Business Class to Africa

United 787

My next trip is one I've been anticipating for quite a while and for a few reasons.  It is my first trip to the African continent, my first trip in a premium cabin on a 787, and the first time on a intercontinental flight in United's current (subsidiary Continental) BusinessFirst cabin.

United 787 Business Class (Photo from Rocky's 787 report)


A good friend is ...

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Exploring Liverpool


The main reason for my trip to Europe was to attend a English Premier League match at Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club.  I've visited Liverpool before, but never attended a football match there.  I'm a fan of most sports, and love attending live events, but I've really started following Liverpool closely over the last few years, so a friend and I decided to make the pilgrimage to this historic city and stadium.

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Turkish Airlines 737 Business Class Istanbul to Manchester - True Business Class intra-Europe


After a nice flight from Houston, I had an overnight layover before my flight onward to Manchester.  Thanks to Turkish Airlines generous offer of a hotel during my layover, I stayed at the Renaissance Polat Hotel near the airport.  

My 737-900ER above the clouds somewhere over Europe


Unlike most airlines flying in Europe, Turkish still maintains a true Business Class cabin on many of ...

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New Destinations and New Perspectives


I’ve spent the last week in Dublin for a work trip.  My employer is going through some transitions following a merger.  The merger has led to much uncertainty, but maybe things are becoming more clear at least for me personally.  It looks like my business travel patterns will be changing a bit, with likely much more international travel.  This is something that I used to do, but for the last several years, most of my work travel has been in North America.

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