Once I had decided on the Madagascar land tour, I had to figure how to get there. I tried the various on line flight searches, and they kept coming up with Air France, Toronto or Montreal to Paris and then direct flight to Tana (I will use the common short name for Antananarivo from now on). I did not want that for three reasons. I did not like the idea of heading west from St. John's in order to go east. Also, in reading on line reviews the seating configuration of the Air France planes was mentioned in many posts. The standard seating in the cheap seats is 2-4-2. Air France manages to squeeze 3-4-3 into their rear cabin. And, the final reason was that the Air France flight arrives in Tana at 11 pm, meaning arrival at hotel at about 1:30 or 2 am once all the arrival formalities and drive to town are completed. Then, at the end of the trip the departing flight leaves at 1:30 am.
I wanted to take the South African Air flight from London to Johannesburg, but that kept coming up as hundreds dollars more. The flights via Nairobi were not working, either, as nothing affordable came up on the searches. I was really surprised at how hard it was to find the right flights.
I finally came up with Air Mauritius flights from London to Mauritius to Tana. The connection in London is over 12 hours. I decided to book a night in London to do a bit of sight seeing and get a good night's sleep before heading out on the long flight to Mauritius. It also gives a lot more margin for error. Living in Newfoundland, there is always the worry about planes not taking off. Even though August is normally a time without fog, there are always tropical storms to think about. Not to mention the possibility of Air Canada simply cancelling their once a day flight. Our Air Canada flights are on a separate ticket from the Air Mauritius flights, so if for some reason Air Canada does not get us to London to catch our Air Mauritius flight, we are out of luck.
The Air Mauritius flights are 12 hours overnight from London to Mauritius with a fairly short 2 hour connection before the 2 hour flight into Tana, arriving at the respectable time of 3 pm.
I decided to let a travel agent, Al Been of Nexion Canada, do the actual bookings. The tickets were booked and paid for back in April, months before we had to put anything down on the Madagascar car and hotels.
Oh, there actually was another important decision made at that time. Po decided that she was going. Until that point it looked like it might be just me going on the trip. But when it came down actually buying the plane tickets, Po decided to come on board, in spite of the bad roads and creepy, crawly things that she is bound to encounter.