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Flying out of Zanzibar on Precision? Go early!

Appleton, Wisconsin
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Flying out of Zanzibar on Precision? Go early!

I wanted to share our experience with people on the forum so they know what to expect and arrive early at the airport if they are flying with Precision out of Zanzibar.

We showed up at the Zanzibar airport two hours early for our flight to Nairobi and we were the second people in line to check-in for our flight. We had confirmed our flight in person the day before at Precision's office in Stonetown. It took the people at the counter 30 minutes to check in the people ahead of us because some of them were "lost". We could see people in the office furiously digging through files and papers without much success. When it was our turn, we were also "lost" despite having an e-ticket number and a confirmation from the day before. My husband and I looked at each other and said "This is Africa, hakuna matata". After another 30 minutes and more flying papers in the office, we were checked in but were told that we could not check our baggage through to Chicago. We would need to pick it up in Nairobi first, so we assumed would be getting our luggage planeside. By this time, there was a very long line of people waiting to check in, all wondering if they were going to make the flight. Our driver said that this happens all of the time.

We got to Nairobi and had no way to get our luggage without getting another visa. We had to go to the Kenya Airways counter, have one of them retrieve our luggage, give us new tags and report back to the KA counter to have them manually input into the system as well as give us boarding passes for the next flight. Fortunately, we had a 3 hour layover, because it took almost the whole layover to get the problem sorted! The people at the KA counter were livid with the Precision Air people in Zanzibar and told us that they should be able to check the bags through.

Lessons learned:

1) Arrive very early for your flight on Precision out of Zanzibar. We did not experience this problem flying on Precision out of Nairobi.

2)Try to get your bags checked through or understand that you will be spending a lot of time at a service desk trying to get your luggage routed. We were able to get the problem fixed but it took a long time.

3) Allow plenty of time between flights.

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1. Re: Flying out of Zanzibar on Precision? Go early!

TIA - This is Africa, for sure.

Thanks for telling of your experience, as others should be aware... unfortunately.

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2. Re: Flying out of Zanzibar on Precision? Go early!

There is definitely controlled chaos at the Zanz airport when leaving. On recent trip earlier this month, it took airport staff 30 min to verify our passport info (for 4 passengers), check etix, print boarding passes, all computer driven. We checked in at 3:45 PM for a 6:20 flight to Nairobi on Wed 7/22. Problem was due to there being only one functioning computer and one person who knew how to use it efficiently. It also takes time to pay departure tax at one office window after going to some document window first. Keep smiling, with lots of Jambos, Asante sanas etc.

Re: luggage, they gave us similar argument: can't check bags to Boston, only Amsterdam. However, with further discussion, they were able to handwrite the luggage tags for check through to BOS. All bags made it OK. So gently insist with a smile; it can be done. The Precision twin-prop was goodsize (80+?), clean, new. It arrived and departed on time. Maybe we got lucky.

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North Holland Province, The Netherlands
3. Re: Flying out of Zanzibar on Precision? Go early!

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