Dakar to Paris: Layover in Algiers or Tripoli?

You think that you know things about airlines until you start searching for flights in and out of African. There, the old knowns of KLM and British Airways go out the window and replacements like Afriqiyah Airways and Air Algerie come into play, carriers that many never knew existed.

The current itinerary on which I’m working involves a one way flight between Dakar and Paris, a three thousand mile trip over the Sahara Desert, Mediterranean Ocean and Southern France. With a connection.

Where is that connection you ask? Depends on the airline. Of the above two airlines, one (I’m sure you can guess which) involves a four hour layover in Algeria‘s capital, Algiers, in the Houari Boumediene airport. The other offers a similar stay in Tripoli, the capital of Libya.

The most comedic part of the operation in the the fare codes. Typical local carriers have complex fare codes like QE07A0NA to dictate the rules and routes of a flight. On Afriqiyah Airways? My fare basis (copied above) would be “BLOW.”

Whatever. The real question is whether I should fly through Algiers or Tripoli. Technically it would be interesting to spend a day or two exploring the cities on my layover (if that’s possible,) but North African nations aren’t the most welcome place for Americans — and could I go to a country that bans alcohol? I would have to bring a book or something.

So where would you go?