Charter flights vs. scheduled flights on safari

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Feb 14th, 2005, 04:58 PM
  #1
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Charter flights vs. scheduled flights on safari

Am planning a safaari to Kenya and Tanazania in Feb. 2006. There are several internal flights scheduled. How reliable are these airlines? Since we have a rather large group, would a charter flight be an option? How much more expensive would this be? What are the good and bad sides to a charter flight? Are they more likely to be on time? Thanks for the info.
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Feb 14th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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I am going to Zambia rather than East Africa, but from my own experience, I can tell you that it is cheaper to charter a plane, in most cases, for my party of four than to pay "seat" rates on scheduled flights.

Plus, by chartering the flights, I am avoiding unnecessary stops at places where I do not want to stop.

For example, in Zambia, most every transfer between game lodges takes the passenger back to the hub of Lusaka instead of flying direct from one national park to the next.

So, while many people will have to fly from Lower Zambezi to Lusaka, switch planes and then fly from Lusaka to South Luangwa, for example, by chartering the plane, I am able to fly direct from Lower Zambezi to South Luangwa, and again, at less than the scheduled flights with other passengers.

You should make out your exact itinerary, locate a few charter air companies, and e-mail each of them for quotations. The prices may vary widely, so you are best off getting as many quotes as you can and then see if you can get any feedback from past clients on the air charter company.

Anybody going to Zambia, for example, would be well advised to contact Airwaves Airlink, as they offer the best pricing and they offer excellent service with very good pilots and newer planes.
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Feb 14th, 2005, 05:57 PM
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Billmarie-
How large is your group? The flights on the Mara and the Serengeti are just about the best you could hope for. If your group is large enough to have your own plane and pilot, that would be an option but I've not seen anyone do it before in East Africa. In Botswana it is more common and affordable. However I'm just not sure about it as most people either fly the routes they have or drive from location to location.
I think that East Africa is a great place to start and you have picked a great time to be on the Serengeti. Liz
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Feb 14th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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Billmarie

I checked into charters last year.

An hour long flight (say from Masai Mara to Nanyuki) was to cost about $2200 per 13-seater Caravan in 2004 if I remember correctly.

Do not worry about delays, etc. for scheduled flights. The system works very well in Kenya/Tanzania.

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Feb 15th, 2005, 05:09 AM
  #5
sandi
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billmarie - If ou'd provide us with the itinerary you are considering, we can advise where or if charter flights are adventageous. For some destinations, only charter flights are available; other places the scheduled flights work and can take a large group along with other passengers.

Just how large is your group? Six, ten, or more? And from where to where does your itinerary require flying, as even with charters the prices are different based on size of plane and distances.
 
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Feb 15th, 2005, 07:23 AM
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Sandi,
Our itinerary has a flights scheduled to and from Masai Mara to Nairobi, Nairobi to Arusha, Serengeti to Arusha, Arusha to Nairobi. There will be 10 people for all the flights except the Serengeti portion which would have 12 people.Also, if we are planning to go Jan / Feb 2006, should we make international air reservations as soon as possible or try to wait for consolidator fares to be in place?
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Feb 15th, 2005, 07:47 AM
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sandi
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billmarie - Well, I'd just check with whomever your tour operator is what the prices are for charter versus scheduled flights? I certainly don't have prices. See which works out better, costwise. Whether scheduled or charter, the flights take off, they land. It's possible with scheduled flights, say from Serengeti back to Arusha, there might be a stop or two to pick-up/drop-off passengers; not so with a charter. There are plenty of group tours that get on scheduled flights - your tour operator will have prices - check with them.

As to International Flights - I haven't seen consolidator prices going out to next year. I'm currently looking into prices and have found that fares direct from BA, KLM, NW, Emirates, etc. are actually the same or less than consolidators. So it depends on from where you're flying what will be available and what you're expecting to pay. Is anyone planning on using FF flyer miles, for actual flight, upgrades? Anyone hoping to accrue FF miles into their individual accounts? Gotta determine all of that. If you're planning to book for everyone you might do better going to an airlines Group Sales Department and see what they have to offer.
 
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