A few weeks ago, this column covered some conditions for flying while ill owing to the high number of Africans seeking medical treatment abroad.
One reader, while giving feedback on the article, said how they flew a terminally ill family member back home to prevent a death overseas and avoid the cost of transporting a dead body.
Expectedly — not for the family though — the passenger’s condition deteriorated hardly two hours into the flight.
While making his opening remarks at the just concluded Africa Aviation 2017 conference in Kigali, President Paul Kagame threw his weight behind the Africa Open Skies crusade.
But he wasn’t just lending a voice to a cause that’s been much talked about — with little progress made towards its achievement — by African states, Kagame was also letting his peers know that his government was actively working with others who are willing to liberalise African airspace.
The highlight of his opening address was when he asked why an African travelling to another country within the continent should transit outside the continent, a question that left many policy makers hanging their heads in shame.
Victoria Falls, the majestic Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) sits pretty between two city airports — Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, formerly Livingstone Airport in Livingstone town in southern Zambia, and Victoria Falls International Airport, in northern Zimbabwe. The falls is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The two airports are just 25 minutes apart by air and compete for visitors to the natural wonder on the River Zambezi.
Victoria Falls was named after the queen of England by explorer David Livingstone, who also lent his name to the town and island on the river.
While Livingstone Airport is the closest to the waterfall, Victoria Falls Airport got an edge after a recent facelift and renovations gave it a new four 4 kilometre long runway and a new terminal, increasing its capacity to nearly 1.7 million passengers annually.
Tel Aviv International Airport, also called Ben Gurion Airport, is known for its stringent security procedures, and has over the years emerged as the best airport in the Middle East and one of the most secure in the world.
There is no last-minute check-in option at Ben Gurion, and it is recommended that you reach the airport at least five hours before your flight, to clear with security ahead of check-in.
Last week, an interesting picture of falcons in an aircraft cabin was shared widely online.
As with all content that goes viral, the spinoffs from the picture were hilarious and clever: “Saudi prince brings 80 hawks on plane,” “Raptors on board,” “Magnificent birds of prey take flight.”
The picture was not that strange, considering the appetite for exotic pets in the Middle East region.
Before the falcons, there was a picture of an Emirati man and his cheetah taking a drive in a luxury car.
Falconry is a traditional hobby for the rich in the Middle East, and most if not all carriers in that region accept their transportation in the cabin if the paperwork meets their requirements.
Forecasts for the global medical tourism market predict a growth of at least 18 per cent over the next decade, to reach about $99 billion by 2025.
Per these reports, some of the leading global medical tourism destinations are Singapore, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mexico and Costa Rica, with Thailand and India taking the lead in having the largest number of accredited medical facilities.
India, which is listed as a top destination for Africans seeking treatment overseas, is poised to more than double its medical tourism market from the current $3 billion to over $8 billion by 2020.
Just to bring it closer home, by 2015 East Africans were spending about $1 billon on medical treatment in India.
I have never seen a child on a leash. So you can imagine what crossed my mind when I saw this kid, hardly three years old, on a “child leash” aboard an aircraft.
The kid on the leash was dishing out terror in the aisle with ease, only limited by the restraint.
At the other end of the leash was a bloodshot-eyed middle aged male who appeared beat. He looked like he was about to give up on life itself.
Earlier this week I noticed an oil leak from my car. To avoid an impending breakdown, my first stop was the nearest garage.It was nothing compared with my regular service centre but I figured they could at least identify and plug the leak with ease.
After a preliminary examination of the car, each of the three mechanics had their own gut feeling as to the cause of the leak.
The guesswork and theories they all had were least to say, petrifying. I knew it was time to get my car to safety when the leader of the pack returned with a final verdict that the car engine needed to be taken apart.
I ended my 2016 flying activities just 4,000 miles shy of the 200,000 frequent flyer miles mark. That’s an average of 3,700 miles a week.
At this rate, I am well on the way to achieving the coveted “Million Miler” status that rewards members of certain airline alliances for their extraordinary long-term loyalty.
When you fly so frequently, tucking away all those flyer miles week on week, there is no excitement in flying anymore except for the possibilities that await at your destination.