In reviewing my travel plans to head to South Africa to hunt, as many have seen, there are lots of flight options to choose from. Ive heard many members of this forum book the Delta flight from Atlanta to JoBerg for its ease, and while I looked at that flight, it ended up being $400 more than the flight I booked. On a budget and having heard better reviews from international carriers, it made my decision to NOT fly delta easy. In my research process, it seemed every flight I would pick had a layover in a foreign country. This is understandable since planes need to refuel and rarely does a flight these days go from your home airport to a destination (at least for me in KC area). So in seeing I would have to have a layover, it became a decision what carrier and where the layover would be. There were tons of options to choose from, some close in price and some far outside the others. In my initial planning, it came down to Qatar, Turkish, Ethiad, KLM, Ethiopian, and another European carrier I cant recall. So now that ive narrow down the searches to a handful, I started to review the layovers and times. The European flights laid over in Amsterdam, London, Paris, or Zurich. Since I had never visited Europe, this sounded like a good plan...until I researched leaving the airports on long layovers. Most of the layovers I was seeing were 5-10 hours, but the time needed to clear customs, travel from airport to anything worth seeing, and the travel back to airport, plus the cost of all of that, just made it not something I was interested in paying for. So European layovers were off the table, since I had plenty of options elsewhere. Now we hit the African and Middle Eastern carrier options. The Ethiopian flight did layover in 2 different African countries, but the layover was only 1-2 hours and since I couldn't leave the airport to see any of those countries, it made no sense to have that many planes...so it fell off the list. THis left Qatar, Ethiad, and Turkish. Ethiad had a 22 hour layover in Abu Dhabi, which would allow me plenty of time to leave the airport and explore the country, but in researching Abu Dhabi, it didn't seem like there was much to do there and that long of a layover might include a hotel, but again...why when there were other options that were better. So now it was between Turkish and Qatar. Price was only $20 difference between both carriers, times were similar in flights and layovers, so the only difference was the layover destination and the US Carrier to use to get to a hub. Turkish used United, Qatar used American. Turkish and Qatar airlines both offer a free city tour of their hub/layover, something that was a nice bonus if your stuck at the airport for hours waiting on your next flight. Both tours seemed to be about 4 hours, offered for free by the airline itself, and seemed to be a bus tour of the major highlights of the city with a guide. They seemed like a nice way to see a few things and be a part of a group. In the end, I decided on Qatar over Turkish because Qatar had better reviews internationally on service and the options in Doha Qatar seemed a bit easier than in Istanbul Turkey...plus I had heard that if there was a delay due to weather or cancelations, Istanbul didn't seem to handle the distruption as easily as they did in Doha. So I booked my flight with Qatar Airways, for just at $1200 with insurance included for roundtrip economy from KC to Chicago, then Chicago to Doha, then Doha to Johannesburg...and of course back the same route. The layover in Doha was just at 10 hours, plenty of time to clear customs and leave the airport to enjoy the city rather than sit in the huge airport. Id hear that Qatar was voted best airline for 2017 recently, so it made my choice a little more assured that it was a good move. In the posts following, I will detail the entire process of flying with Qatar from start to finish...with photos of the seats, amenities, meals, and drink options.