Anyone going to Victoria Falls from Los Angeles?


Aug 12th, 2012, 07:10 PM
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Anyone going to Victoria Falls from Los Angeles?

We are going to Zimbabwe in a few weeks and as part of our safari we are going to be going to a school in Hwange National Park. I have collected over 250 pounds of school supplies and am trying to figure out how to get it all there. The schools in Zimbabwe are apparently in desperate need so I really want to try to get everything there if possible. I have spent hours on the phone with Jet Blue and South African Airways, the former being really great and understanding, the latter being absolutely horrible and rude. Does any one have any experience with the airlines waiving some of the fees for luggage for charity purposes? Each extra bag is $150. We are going to bring five bags and pay for one extra but we definitely have had to cut some things out which I don't want to do. I am also going to bring a carry on full of paper and hope that the weight is not a problem on SAA, Jet Blue said it was not a problem. If anyone is going to Victoria Falls or Somalisa in Hwange and has some extra space, maybe only bringing one bag and can bring another for no charge, I would be happy to supply the bag and the school supplies to bring. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.
lhgreenacres is offline  
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Aug 13th, 2012, 05:24 PM
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Would it be more cost effective to send the supplies by UPS or the USPS?
Femi is offline  
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Aug 13th, 2012, 05:47 PM
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Our experience two years ago was not good from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls. We had a duffel full of school supplies and made sure before leaving here that including our own bags, we were under the weight allotment. When we checked in, we were told we were over and there was no bending at all. Fortunately, I had a small scale with us and proved we were under the weight allowed which was accepted. I can't help but think they were trying to make money from us and could have cared less about the supplies.
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Aug 13th, 2012, 09:36 PM
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Femi- I think the concern is the it might get there and I think It would be more expensive.

Louise- I have heard other stories such as yours. We have a scale as well and I am going to pack it. I actually spoke with someone higher up at SAA today and told my story and I actually think that they might make an exception for some of the luggage. It is extremely sad that SAA seems to have no empathy but I am somewhat hopeful.
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Aug 14th, 2012, 05:20 PM
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Back in 2009 I flew to Malawi on SAA and brought with me medical equipment and supplies which we had collected from two local hospitals.

Our experience is quite different from yours in that the airline was extremely helpful and generous when it came to allowing some additional luggage as well as shipping some of the items as cargo at a discounted rate. I can't speak highly enough of SAA and their efforts.

Surely they must be inundated with charity request - if nothing else by virtue of them being based in Africa - and it must be impossible to say "yes" to everybody. I think it unfair to fault them and calling them "horrible and rude" because they were unable to assist.

We have since made a point - when asking for donations - to always calculate a shipping allowance and ask that any donations be accompanied by a small amount of money to cover the cost of getting the items to those in need.

Keep up the good work. Your efforts are no doubt appreciated... But please be fair to those who are in a position to help out.

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Aug 14th, 2012, 06:43 PM
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DownandOut- I completely agree that they can not help everyone and that was not the issue. The woman was yelling and showed absolutely no compassion. It would have been fine to just explain the situation but to say that they never make any exceptions is just not true. I have talked to someone higher up at SAA and she was lovely and listened to my requests. She is going to see what they can do but at least I will feel that an effort was made. We also had a bad experience with the flight attendants on our last flight which the woman acknowledged that they have received numerous complaints about the flight attendants.
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