United Airlines’ quest for growth has led it to re-launch nonstop services to Accra, Ghana, adding to the carrier’s long-haul list after cutting the route back in 2012. The airline aiming at connecting Washington’s Dulles International Airport and Kotoka International Airport with thrice-weekly flights.
With the flights currently up for sale starting May 14, outbound flights from Dulles will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays while return flights from Accra’s Kotoka International Airport will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
With just 5,282 miles between the two destinations, the 10-hour service will be operated using the Boeing 787-8 airliner configured with a 243-seat configuration consisting of 28 Polaris business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, 36 economy plus seats and 159 economy seats
This new service is also part of the ongoing efforts to deepen the already-existing bilateral relationship between Ghana and the USA, according to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter in an official statement.
“The national capital region is home to one of the largest population of native Ghanaians in the United States, and we are honored to welcome United Airline’s new route from Dulles international Airport to Accra, as we work together to forge an important new link between our two countries,” said Potter.
“Today, Accra joins nearly 40 other nonstop international destinations currently served from Dulles International Airport, offering our customers more global connectivity as demand for air travel continues to rise,” Potter added.
United says its new nonstop service to Accrameans the airline is the only U.S. carrier offering the nonstop flight from Washington, D.C. The United States has more than 116,000 Ghanaians living in the country, making the US the third-highest Ghanian population in the world. DC is home to the second-largest population of Ghanaians in the United States.
Arizona native Chanice a.k.a. Queenie is a New York State agency employee and the CEO of Fly With Queenie, a company specializing in curating worldwide experiences for travelers.
The 32-year-old mother of one is of Jamaican heritage and has traveled all over the world. Her most recent trip to Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya however, has been her most memorable trip to date.
“My first experience in Africa was in Morocco, but I didn’t feel like I was in Africa and I didn’t get that feeling of connection when I was there,” she told Travel Noire. “I spent a week in Kenya, where I saw animals I’ve never seen before on the safari, ate delicious Swahili food, and swam in beautiful clear water.”
In Kenya, Queenie also visited a Maasai tribe in a remote village about a four-hour drive from Nairobi. There she had the opportunity to learn about their culture and daily lives
“I learned that Masaai men have multiple wives and got to meet all three wives and the husband, which was pretty cool. It’s funny because although the family dynamics are very different from how we do things in the United States, when it came to marriage everybody was happy. The wives and all the kids were just so happy.”
“The Maasai people rely on very little to survive, which taught me the importance of simplicity. Unfortunately, the Maasai are a dying tribe. The dry seasons in East Africa are becoming longer due to climate change, and they are suffering from droughts and drying crops.”
Queenie encourages others to visit the Masaai tribe and support them to aid in their survival. A conscious traveler, she also visited an orphanage during her time in Kenya.
“I feel like there’s no way I can be blessed and not bless others, especially, in the land of my ancestors and where my brothers and sisters reside. I wanted to do an act of kindness so the kids could know that they are loved. It really takes a village and I want to be part of that village. Meeting the kids made me feel complete in a sense.”
“I danced and sang with the children and gave them lots of hugs. I told all the girls how beautiful they were and how nice their hair and skin was. Little Black girls often struggle at some point with their self image, so I wanted them to know that they were absolutely beautiful. My friends and I passed out items we brought with us from the States, like toothbrushes, toothpaste, toys, school supplies, hair items, candy, and more.”
Queenie returned home feeling like she needed to do more for the children. After receiving many messages from people who also wanted to give back to the orphanage, she decided to do a fundraiser.
With an outpouring of love and support, Queenie and her friends raised over $1,000 within 72 hours. This was enough to pay two months worth of rent, and purchase food and personal hygiene products for the children.
Queenie says one of the reasons she loves Africa is because of the sense of belonging she feels there.
“In Kenya I didn’t feel Black, I just felt human. I blended right in and I didn’t have things like people and systems constantly reminding me every day that I was Black. I could just exist as a human being.”
She encourages all Black people to visit Africa to learn more about their history and to dispel any misconceptions they may have about the continent by seeing and researching for themselves.
“When you mix the controlled media with the lack of true education in the school system you get ignorance. People are sponges who listen to the media and believe it because they assume a news outlet must be telling the truth. The failure to take initiative and do one’s own research is the reason people are so miseducated.”
As someone with a passion for studying and learning about Africa and Black history, Queenie was well aware that Africa was not what the Western media portrayed it to be long before she even booked her flight.
“I was just excited to showcase Kenya’s gems and show people that it is a luxury travel destination and more than just slums. To be honest, though, I never knew ‘hakuna matata’ was a real Swahili phrase. I thought it was a phrase that was made up for The Lion King movie.”
That is part of the beauty of traveling. You learn more about not only the world, but yourself as well. Queenie says she never realized she had a soft spot for animals until she experienced the Kenyan safari and saw animals such as zebras, giraffes, and warthogs up close.
For this year’s travels, Queenie plans to focus on seeing more of Africa. She has a trip every month and is most looking forward to exploring Ghana in August. You can follow her at @flywithqueen
Your parents, grandparents, or distant relatives could be your ticket to dual citizenship.
Several countries around the globe will grant citizenship if your parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents were born in said country. Not only will you become a citizen of your family’s native land, but it allows you to have a variety of opportunities such as living, working, voting, and even owning property without the need for a visa.
While a number of countries including France, Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Nigeria, Kenya, Brazil, South Korea, and the Philippines—require applicants to have at least one parent who was a citizen of the country at the time of the applicant’s birth, others are a bit looser when it comes to demonstrating jus sanguinis, or the right of blood. If you can dig up the birth certificates and other required documentation that proves your family ties are legitimate, and you are willing to pony up the administration fees, you could be looking at dual citizenship between six months to three years, which is still far more expedient than if you were to seek citizenship through naturalization.
If you’ve been looking to acquire dual citizenship, here are five countries that will issue you a secondary passport if you meet their requirements.
Brazil was one of the most frequented destinations during enslavement. Its culture and history are deeply rooted in African and Portuguese ideology.
Requirements: Have at least one parent that is a Brazilian citizen at the time of your birth.
When Ghana declared 2019 the Year of Return, one of the major goals of the program was to inspire members of the African diaspora—specifically Black Americans descended from victims of the transatlantic slave trade—to embark on a birthright journey to their ancestral homeland. The country granted citizenship to more than 100 interested African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans as part of the initiative. Now Ghana is following up its successful Year of Return with a decade-long project called Beyond the Return, aimed at promoting tourism, bettering economic relations between countries, and carving out a clear pathway to citizenship for people of African descent whose parents or grandparents are not Ghanaian. This expands upon the country’s pre-existing Right of Abode law passed in 2000, which allows a person of African descent to apply for the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. Those with a Ghanaian parent can currently apply for dual citizenship by providing proof of the parent’s nationality through a birth certificate or passport, as well as the names and addresses of two relatives residing in Ghana.
South Africa extends citizenship opportunities to people born abroad who have at least one parent that was a citizen at the time of their birth. The law also applies to people whose adopted parents are or were South African citizens. South Africa also extends citizenship to children whose parents were in the service of the South African Government, an associated individual or an international organization to which South Africa is a member
Ireland, also known as “The Emerald Isle” for their deep peaks and valleys of greenery, have over 32 million descendants living in the United States.
Irish descendants are mostly found in cities like Boston, New York and New Jersey.
Requirements: Must have at least one parent or grandparent with Irish citizenship.
In Italy, descendants of Italian citizens are often eligible to become citizens themselves — and there is no limit on how many generations ago your ancestors left the country as long as they maintained their own Italian citizenship until they had kids of their own, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. You can prove this lineage through things like birth and marriage certificates.
Anna Acheampong’s daughter came home upset from school one day in The Netherlands, after questions came up about her race. What was most shocking to Anna was that her daughter insinuated that she would have more friends if her hair was straighter and her eyes were blue.
“My daughter started noticing that she was different from the rest of her classmates and when the questions came up, I asked myself, ‘do I want to raise my kids in this environment?’” said Anna to Travel Noire. “For me growing up in a white neighborhood with white people around me in The Netherlands, I have what I call a ‘race radar.’ I felt racism so much, and I don’t want that for her.
Anna and her husband have Ghanaian fathers and Dutch mothers. They decided to use their daughter’s experience as a teaching moment and moved to Ghana to teach their two-children more about African culture and heritage.
The Acheampongs began their journey during the Year of Return campaign in 2019. It was only supposed to last one year
“I remember our immediate circle saying, ‘Are you crazy?’ ‘Why would you go to Ghana for a year?’” said Anna. “That’s why we started documenting our time here in Ghana on YouTube.”
Through their family YouTube channel, the Acheampongs hope to change the narrative of what it’s like to live in Africa. Anna admits that she was exhausted from the hustle-and-bustle in Europe. In Ghana, the family spends more time on their mental health and wellness and spending quality time together. Anna tells Travel Noire that the best part of living abroad is the fact that they are celebrated in ways they were not in The Netherlands.
“It’s still a very strange thing that we’re learning to deal with. We’re coming from receiving racism to being celebrated. When we tell people that we’re Ghanaian, we came back, people are genuinely happy to be to meet us. It’s amazing,” she said.
Dr. King may have never delivered that speech if not for Henderson Travel Service breaking borders to become the first Black-owned full-service travel agency established in the United States.
Transatlantic travel by plane in 1964, at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, was not easy for Black Americans. It was only nine years prior that Rosa Parks was arrested and charged for breaking segregation laws for refusing to move further back on a bus to allow 4 white people to sit in her place.
Black people traveling through airports often faced discrimination. While the individual airlines were not legally segregated, airports often were.
Congressman Charles C. Diggs Jr. of Michigan supported a bill in Congress to desegregate federally-owned Washington National Airport, but the bill did not pass. In December 1948, after direct appeal to President Truman by a member of his Committee on Civil Rights, National Airport’s restaurant was desegregated. Subsequently, other airports started to follow after legal and political pressure.
But it was the help of Freddye and Jacob Henderson, the co-founders of Henderson Travel Service, that ultimately made travel for Black Americans easier.
Courtesy of Gaynelle Henderson
The birth of Henderson Travel Service
Mrs. Henderson’s desire to start an association of Black women fashion designers inspired the creation of the company. The Atlanta-based fashion designer and Spelman College professor founded an organization called the National Association of Fashion and Fashion Accessory Designers at the suggestion of Mary McLeod Bethune.
After launching NAFAD, Henderson wanted to host a fashion convention. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt suggested that she try to have it in New York City because it was the epicenter of fashion as we see it today.
But it wasn’t going to be easy.
She wanted to host the convention inside Midtown’s luxurious Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue. Even in the north, which was often viewed as a safe haven for Blacks in the south, the hotel initially denied Henderson’s request to hold a convention because of her race— until First Lady Roosevelt stepped in.
“They were able to hold the conference in one of the ballrooms, but they were not able to stay in the rooms,” Gaynelle Henderson, heir and now president of Henderson Travel Service told Travel Noire. “There were women from all over the US who came together in New York for this convention.”
Despite the challenges, it was at this convention where Mrs. Henderson connected with the French Ambassador to the United State’s wife, who suggested that the group travel to Paris for the Christian Dior spring fashion show.
“My mother ended up organizing the travels for this group of Black fashion designers where they sat front row of the Christian Dior show,” Gaynelle added. “Since they were already in Europe, she also arranged for them to go to London to see one of the biggest designers at the time, and then on to Spain.”
Henderson returned to the United States with her eyes wide open. She was amazed by how well-received the group was in Europe compared to the US, especially in the deep south.
“She told my father that if more Black people knew how easy it was to travel internationally, and how well-received they would be in Europe, that more would travel internationally,” said Gaynelle. “That was the driving force for starting a travel agency.”
Similar to the difficulty with organizing the travel convention in New York City, the Hendersons came across some roadblocks when launching the company. White men owned most travel agencies at that time, and to be a recognized company, sponsorship was needed as well as an Airline Reporting Commission bond
Mrs. Henderson met a woman at a familiarization trip for travel agents who helped her get the ARC appointment, and she officially opened the doors to the first fully appointed African American travel agency.
Founded in 1955 in Atlanta, the agency is responsible for getting Dr. King safely to Oslo, Norway, where he became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at that time, for his nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice.
“We were the official travel agents for Dr. King and organized his travel to receive the Nobel Peace Prize,” Henderson said. “That was an interesting project because he and his wife never traveled on the same plane just because Dr. King’s life was always being threatened. They always chose to travel separately, so someone could be there for their children.”
The Henderson heir said the Kings were dear friends to her parents, who handled most of the Civil Rights leader’s trips to Europe and other destinations.
Like the Kings, many of Black history’s most notable figures and prominent organizations relied on Freddye Henderson’s travel planning expertise. Everyone from The National Medical Association, James Baldwin and Olympic track star Jesse Owens, utilized Henderson Travel Service to get them safely to their destination.
Two years later in 1957, Mrs. Henderson took a small group of travelers to the Ghana to celebrate its formal independence from Britain.
It was her hope that Black Americans would become more educated about the Motherland by traveling there, and in turn African Americans and native Africans would begin to foster meaningful relationships.
This was so important to her that the agency’s motto became “education through exposure.”
“My mother had to charter a plane from Paris to Africa because there were no commercial airliners flying to Africa. During that time, Africa was still considered the ‘dark continent.’”
In 1984, as the US transitioned from segregation to integration, Gaynelle moved her parents’ company to Washington, DC, after graduating from Howard University.
“The beauty of a business like Henderson Travel Service, is when you look back at the times in which they were founded,” said Shellée Haynesworth, founder of Black Broadway on U Project. “A time of segregation and blatant racism. We were often regulated to our own communities. Their business and the work that they were doing gave us an opportunity to move beyond our own communities to learn something new, explore and see the full possibilities waiting for us outside of America.”
Henderson Travel Service has been credited for pioneering African American travel to West Africa well before there was a “Year of Return,” and the company has received numerous awardsfor its trips to the Motherland.
The agency has also partnered with Landtours, a travel agency in Ghana owned by Mona Boy, to continue Black cultural heritage trips to Africa.
They managed to create and open a lane for Black Americans to travel to Africa when it wasn’t possible
Henderson Travel Service present day
“That [creating a lane] is a major contribution of our tours throughout these last six decades,” said Gaynelle. “I’m really interested in encouraging more tourism to West Africa and through this partnership with Landtours, we will continue to thrive as Henderson Travel Service here in the US, and continue sending hundreds of people to Africa.”
Even though she’s now in her 70s and her parents have transitioned, Gaynelle continues to oversee the day-to-day operations of the business and is still very active in helping groups plan trips. She was recently credited for helping a semi-large group of Black lawyers plan a trip to Ghana and Senegal.
As early as the 1600’s, enslaved men and women were brought to Bermuda on ships in route to the southern states of the United States. They worked mostly in the the maritime and tobacco industry, but often fought back and rebelled.
During Bermuda’s period of enslavement, Black men and women would come together in the wee hours of the morning to build their own structures and community buildings. While it was all illegal, they never stopped creating and laying the bricks that would later inspire Black Bermudians of present day.
The report valued potential leisure-travel spend among the four states analyzed at $34 Billion.
Overall, the relative importance of African American culture in choosing a destination is high, with 36% of all travelers ranking it either “very important” or “somewhat important.”
The report also sheds light on the most desired cultural experiences. “Experiencing local cuisine” was cited by 65% of the travelers surveyed, setting the stage for more investment in educating Americans about traditional Gullah Geechee foodways and creating more cross-cultural culinary experiences around Gullah Geechee restaurants, farms, and chefs.
“I introduced the legislation creating this National Heritage Area to help preserve this important culture and create heritage sites that could become touchstones for attracting tourists,” said House Majority Whip Leader Congressman James Clyburn, representing South Carolina.
Just off the east coast of the island of Madagascar, is where you can find some of Africa’s most pristine beaches and exotic wildlife. Mauritius, an island nation itself, draws in visitors from all over wanting to walk its soft-sand beaches
What if we told you that you could make this exotic island your home office for the next year?
Well, you can! The nation recently announced a new Premium Travel Visa program for non-citizens, looking to change the scenery as we continue to move through this new normal of remote work. The visa is valid for at least 12 months, with an option to extend your stay.
The new Premium Travel Visa for Mauritius is available to all non-citizens and valid for up to one year, though it can be renewed. Travellers interested in an extended stay must arrive to this island nation as a tourist, retiree, or as a professional traveling with their family and intending to work remotely.
Applicants must also show proof of their long-stay plans and have travel and health insurance coverage for the initial part of their stay. As with most programs in the new wave of long-stay visas, visitors in Mauritius are not allowed to enter the country’s workforce and must have a source of income outside of Mauritius. Other supporting evidence that must be supplied include details about the applicant’s purpose of visit and their accommodations, as well as other basic immigration requirements.
Once you arrive, you are required to quarantine for 14-days, as well as present a negative COVID-19 PCR test. Mauritius has been able to keep their cases pretty low throughout the pandemic.
The applications for the visa will be available soon. To learn more and to apply once available, visit; edbmauritius.org.
Since March, we’ve all watched as the coronavirus forced the closures of nearly every border around the globe. Countries around the world are starting to welcome back tourism by reopening their borders to international travelers. After nearly six months of lockdown, South Africa is one of the latest countries on that list.
‘We are ready to open our doors again to the world,” South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement announcing the decision, “and invite travelers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities, and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence.”
High-risk travellers: are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa.
Medium risk travellers: are from countries with relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa
Low risk travellers: obviously originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.
Leisure travellers from high-risk countries will not be permitted, amongst them includes the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
“Travellers intending to visit the country will be expected to produce a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. This test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and should have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted such test,” said Pandor.
Upon arrival in the port of entry, the traveller will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Travellers will also need to provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country.
Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or been in contact with an infected person(s), they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10 day quarantine at a designated site. The accommodation at a quarantine site will be at the traveller’s cost.
However, South Africans are able to travel to any country that currently allows travellers from the country to visit.
Data for the mentioned countries will be reviewed every two weeks, and categories may change based on the data.
All visas that may have expired during the lockdown period remain valid until January 31, 2021.
Three airports will be opened and operational for international air travel. These airports are OR Tambo International (in Johannesburg, Gauteng), Cape Town International (in Cape Town, Western Cape) and King Shaka International ( in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal).
As air travel continues to slowly pick up amid the ongoing pandemic, many airlines are completely reimagining their route networks. For United Airlines, that means announcing seven new long-haul routes, including three new destinations in Africa. United says it’s adding international flights where there’s existing demand, especially tapping into traffic from travelers from the African diaspora visiting their friends and families
Newark, New Jersey—Johannesburg: beginning spring 2021
Washington, D.C.—Accra, Ghana: beginning late spring 2021
Washington, D.C.—Lagos, Nigeria: beginning late spring 2021
Tickets will be available for purchase on united.comand the United app in the coming weeks, the airline says.
“Now is the right time to take a bold step in evolving our global network to help our customers reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues around the world,” Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network and alliances, said in a statement.
Throughout the crisis, United has been taking an “opportunistic approach” to expanding its network, driven by demand, says Patrick Quayle.
United highlighted that when its new nonstop Accra service launches, the airline will be the only U.S. carrier offering the nonstop flight from Washington, D.C., home to the second-largest population Ghanaians in the United States, according to United.
In addition to Africa, United is adding nonstop flight routes to Israel, India, and Hawaii.
The new routes include:
Chicago—Tel Aviv, Israel: beginning September 2020
Chicago—New Delhi, India: beginning December 2020
San Francisco—Bangalore, India: beginning spring 2021
Last week, the carrier announced that it would end change fees for all domestic flights in premium and regular economy cabins. On Wednesday, it also expanded that policy to flights to Mexico and the Caribbean.