Difficulties at Airports

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Sep 18th, 2013, 05:12 PM
  #1
KBD
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Difficulties at Airports

I was reading Amyb's trip report from Feb. 2013 to Tanzania and if you scroll down to her later add on to her report (Mar.14th, I think) she tells of a scam by a security guard at the JRO airport. She ended up paying a bribe of $250 to enter the airport to finally get to a KLM desk to straighten out her ticket problem.

I'm wondering how we can prevent those types of incidents. I'll be leaving from Zanzibar, and realize I could be vulnerable to a similar problem. I e-mailed my hotel and asked if they had a printer that would allow us to print our boarding passes prior to leaving for the airport. They replied yes, however, not all airlines allow that. I wrote back that we are flying Precision AIr to Nairobi and she answered that Precision Air does not allow people to print their boarding passes via internet. OH, NO. Right now we have e-tickets. When we arrive in Zanzibar we could ask for verification of our return flight, in some form that would grant us entrance to the airport without hastle? We'll be on the island for 3 nights/4 days. I'd assume a boarding pass is usually only printed 24 hrs in advance, so they probably won't give me a boarding pass. Does anyone have any suggestions? Have any of you flown out of ZNZ and know what the airport is like? Airports presently in the US allow you to come into a basic entry where you can access a machine to convert e-tickets to boarding passes or walk up to the appropriate airline desk to get assistance. Security stop points are beyond that basic entry area. Is the ZNZ airport similar, or would we find entrance to the airport difficult as Amyb did at JRO? Perhaps I'm worrying this for nothing, but advice is appreciated. On our arrival flight, when we fly into Nairobi maybe we can get Precison Air to provide printed tickets for our return - oh wait a minute, Nairobi international airport is presently in tents. Don't laugh. Tell me I'm worrying this for nothing.
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Sep 18th, 2013, 05:43 PM
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Just to clarify, the money was to get someone to change my ticket. No one could get into the airport at all without a valid ticket for a flight going out that night. I'm told that's common the more people I talk to. Guards at the first door off the sidewalk checked for that ticket and would only let ticketed passengers in once checkin was open. I don't know if Nairobi does the same.

Personally I think you're fine. If it helps calm you I'm flying KLM to Nairobi this Feb. I would never fly Precision again though, as their canceling the flight was the cause of the ruckus. My having boarding passes printed at my last hotel would have made no difference, as I didn't have a ticket for that night due to precision rebooking me.
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Sep 19th, 2013, 05:36 AM
  #3
KBD
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Thanks Amyb. Hopefully all will go smoothly for us - there is no way to predict cancelled flights. I wonder if going to a travel agency is a better option to getting a cancelled flight rebooked, especially when being denied access to the airport to fix your problem yourself. A2T was not responsible for your departure flight, but would perhaps have told you what travel agency in Arusha to deal with - their home office is in Arusha. They certainly have reason to want their customers to travel without conflicts. Stories of bad airport experiences are not good for their business. You still might have needed to pay the travel agency something for their assistance, but doubt that it would be $250. I don't mean to make you feel bad about your own decision. I understand that time was of the essence for you and you wanted to get home. I'm just pondering on what I would do. Now I need to focus on having fun. I have no doubts that A2T will take good care of me while in the Tanzania parks. I've read too many great reports of their trips.
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Sep 19th, 2013, 06:03 AM
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Not a problem, KBD. I don't feel bad about it and give how little time I had to work the problem out...had I not checked email when we got to our day room in Arusha (arrived about 2, I didn't check email until 4) I wouldn't even have known my flight had changed. I called KLM directly to see what could be done and they were the ones who told me to go to the airport to get it dealt with. The A2T rep who was taking us the airport stayed with me the entire time and talked to whomever he could to iron things out. I think at that late hour in the day, a travel agent wasn't really an alternative.
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Sep 19th, 2013, 06:19 AM
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At ZNZ the ticketing counter is at the curb and you would straighten out anything there. If you don't have a ticket then no reason to go through "security." At DAR you need something to actually get inside the airport where the airline counters are. We were flying on e tickets and couldn't find our email confirmation so they asked to see our liquid bag instead. Go figure. If they had been hard nosed it could have been a problem there.

They did ask us for a tip (we think) at ZNZ but we smiled and shrugged and kept on walking.
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Sep 19th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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Whether NBO, JRO, DAR or ZNZ... no way you get into the airport for checkin without a ticket (e-ticket or boading passes). You place bags on scanner and then offload to checkin counters.

Departing ZNZ these days, there is a departure fee*, payable at that time. And though these fees had been included previously in cost of your ticket, ZNZ didn't want to wait for the reimbursement and thus re-started asking for the fee... it is thus NOT a SCAM. Fee is about $8/pp (more/less... but not a lot more, depending on whether flight within TNZ or other country.)

*depending on when your tour operator paid for the ticket, the fee might be included, which please ask your outfitter if so... they'll provide you with the 'cash' to pay the fee so there is no double dipping.

But for the fee above, if anyone at any of these airports has a hand out or asks for a bribe ( 'chai'), say an emphatic NO and ask for a supervisor... that should be the end of the attempt.

And, please do not compare what we have/do in the States with how things operate in Africa. Just be aware of what's happening around you... smart to do anywhere.
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