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Travel Tuesday: Gearing Up!

I have finally gotten around to sharing the latest chaos in our lives.  My husband and kids have left me.    Well not for good but for a vacation in Morocco!  It’s safe to say that our oldest was very excited for the trip.  He was able to grasp the concept of where he was going and we were able to do things beforehand to get him prepared and looking forward to the experiences he would have.  I’ve got a lot more time to myself for a few weeks and I’m trying to use it to get a lot of work done around the house and on here. 
Now, getting ready to go on vacation is not fun.  Especially when you’re not the one going.  Packing for three boys who like to voice their preferences but have no desire to help in the packing process = not fun.  So let’s see…..
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Here we have the start of the big suitcases.  You might notice bags of candy for my nieces and nephews and to the right is my children’s stockpile.  I know, I know that I am all about whole foods, good foods, healthy food for my kids – I am.  Most of what they will be exposed to food wise in Morocco they have seen because we eat it at home.  But kids are finicky and so I felt I had to send some back-up items for my husband just in case they freaked out.  So there’s some oatmeal, nesquik, velvetta (mac and cheese), and some cookies.  Not healthy, not whole foods – but comfort foods.  So far they have used them but are getting more used to regular foods.
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The suitcases and more chaos.  Our room looked like a tornado and I literally had to pack everything in one night because it looked like our closet threw up.  I guess we could have slept on the couch..but who wants to do that?
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Departure Day.  So you saw the suitcases, we had 5 of them + 3 backpacks+ an overnight bag for me+ a stroller + 2 adults + 2 kids in booster seats…..in our car….a hatchback Versa.  For 5 hours.  My kids are thankfully excellent travelers.  But I knew it was a stretch for them.  Once at the airport there were more issues, but they were sorted out and I was even able to get a gate pass to take the kids to the gate and wait until they boarded the flight.  The report I got back was that upon takeoff both boys magically fell asleep until dinner was served.  The rest of the flight was smooth.  I won’t bore you with details of immigration, but let’s just say Spain is not a country we’ll be flying through again anytime soon. 
Heading to Morocco? 
The only direct flight is from Royal Air Maroc from JFK to Casablanca.
Flights with a Stop:
Into Casablanca- Air France, Iberia, TAP, Alitalia, Lufthansa, KLM, Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc
Into Marrakech – Royal Air Maroc, Iberia, Air Europa, Atlas-blue, Ryanair, easyJet, TAP, SwissAir, and several more discount carriers based out of Europe.
Into Fes- Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair, Transavia.com, Jet4you, Atlas-blue
Traveling around Morocco?  If you plan on going long distances in Morocco (say Marrakech to Tangier) and don’t have a lot of time.  Check out Royal Air Maroc flights.  They fly all around the country and tickets can often be had for a decent price.  This is a great option when you really have limited time in country and don’t want transportation eating up a lot of it!
Reviews
I have flown a lot of airlines into Morocco and around Morocco.  My favorite was British Air but they no longer are flying into Morocco.  I also really like Air France.  I’ve had very few problems flying with them (with children) and when there was an issue they always resolved it quickly and easily (even when my sister missed her flight home and every single flight was booked solid at the end of summer…she got home).  My sister in law uses Alitalia and says that they are very good to fly with also.  I’ve always loved SwissAir and Lufthansa so I would say they are a safe bet as well.
Now onto my naughty list.  Iberia.  Iberia.  Iberia.  *wringing of hands*  They lost all 5 of those bags I so diligently packed and have yet made no monetary concession for them being lost for over three days.  Also there was a huge hiccup in the airport in which my husband was not allowed onto a connecting in-Spain flight because he didn’t have a Spanish visa…resulting in a 9 hour layover and no refund for the cancelled flight.  Bad, bad customer service.  Royal Air Maroc, as much as I don’t mind using you as transportation in country for short-haul flights, I try to avoid the long haul flight.  Yes it’s direct into the US but I’ve never been happy with the service or the flight. 
I have really been wanting to fly TAP, as I’ve heard good things AND they mentioned me in their in-flight magazine this spring!!  (Thank you Mr. Freire!).  Uhh and a layover in Lisbon? – yes! 
If you’re traveling from
the US to Morocco and might attempt to link up with a low cost carrier once hitting European soil, move forward with caution.  Make sure you read and understand the baggage allowances that are given to you and the airport locations.  Often the baggage allowances are less than on a trans-Atlantic flight and airports are less trafficked (think flying out of Midway instead of O’hare).
Have some more transport tips into Morocco?  Do Share!

Comments

  1. If I remember correctly, it was actually GB Airways (a codeshare partner of British Airways) who flew to Marrakech from London and that airline has folded so I guess BA hasn't picked up the route? Plus, with the budget airlines that go from there, they probably didn't want to bother.

    My best experiences have still been through Iberia, although I have heard horror stories – including yours! :(

    Good idea pointing out about flying through the low cost carriers. I've toyed with the idea, but when you look at the conflicting schedules, extra baggage fees, visa issues, hotel costs (since the connection times do go well together), the cost of the ticket comes out to just about the same.

  2. Great advice ladies! Pam – I think BA backed out of Morocco due to the growth of the low cost carrier market flying in. (although that doesn't help us coming from the US!)

  3. I've actually enjoyed traveling RAM internationally. Air France was nice too. I haven't traveled there much though, so don't have any other experience. I will never buy tickets on CheapTickets.com again though. Abdel missed his flight out last time and it was a week before they could get him back home. They insisted on only putting him on the exact same flight I had booked for him and wouldn't accept any substitutes for any part of the route, even if I paid extra for them. I'd always bought either directly from the airlines or through Orbitz.com before, so I'll be sticking to those options from now on out.

  4. I'm surprised that British Air would dump Morocco but keep Algeria. That's the airline we are taking over there. It's DH's 2nd time with them but he likes them best so far and we can usually find the best prices. It's also convenient since we need to stop over in London to visit other friends & family.

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