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chacheetah Aug 2nd, 2007 08:43 AM

Found the Where; When: Need the "HOW"
Hi all, with the help of the forum I have decided on a trip in Sept. 2008 - looking at different itineraries in Kenya and Tanzania- the Senegetti, the Mara, Amboselli, Etc. but want to ask those of you who plan so far you go ahead and book your lodges without air tickets in hand, or do you just hold your breath and hope the space is available (i.e. that 330 day rule for booking air travel) I am worried if I put down a deposit I may not be able to get air on those dates, or is that a natural concern that will eventually work itself out? If I put down a 20 percent deposit and for some reason the air is not available at that time will I get it back?? I realize I need trip insurance but I don't think that covers "no seats available"..any recommendations? Thanks, CC

sandi Aug 2nd, 2007 09:11 AM

Patty, of course, is our air FF expert, but if you're looking for paid tickets, it would be most unusual NOT to find tickets from point A to B 330/days out, when schedules and fares become available.

Once you settle on your itinerary and your space is confirmed and held as provisional reservations, your deposit will be due. With September being peak season and in demand, it's the accommodations on the ground you want to to assured of and locked in.

Then with almost a year before you have to be in Kenya (more carriers fly to/from Nairobi) or Kilimanjaro Tanzania , I can guarantee you'll find the flights at the price you want on your days of travel.

For my end-May trip, tickets were booked only 30-days before travel.

going_2_africa Aug 2nd, 2007 09:19 AM

chacheetah, it sounds like you're planning on using FF miles for your airtravel. Yes? If so, are you trying to get Biz or First class?

If trying for Biz/First class, from personal experience, I would wait until you get airline tickets to book accomodations. I have never used FF miles for international economy, so I not familiar with availability. But, availability for Biz/First is very limited. Throw into the mix that you may end up using partner airlines for some legs and it gets even trickier sometimes. e.g. In order to get anywhere close to my desired dates for my upcoming trip, each leg of my return trip to the U.S. is on a different airline.

You also run into the fact that the airline may not release reward travel seats on each flight. They may only release 1 or 2 initially, but then release more. It's just a messy game.

Bottom line, from my experience, I would wait to finalize dates until you see how the air travel works out.

Good luck and happy planning,


dssxxxx Aug 2nd, 2007 09:24 AM

From experience:

If using FF miles, book the airfare first @ the 330 day mark. Believe it or not, you can get the lodges, camps, etc. at a year out with very little trouble.

chacheetah Aug 2nd, 2007 09:35 AM

Sandi,Shane,and ds.. - No I am not using ff miles; I have to buy them - economy at that. Hey I am lucky I get to go at all! But it sounds like I won't have a problem getting there. I thought with all the people who go to Africa, there must be plenty of seats,but I'd hate to put down a deposit only to find out I cannot get two. Does Patty have a company that will obtain air? If so could someone give me her email. This just came up because one t/a told me I needed to book asap not to lose a room. Thx again to the gurus of African-travel, CC

sandi Aug 2nd, 2007 09:59 AM

Surprisingly, if paying for tickets you can do just about as well going direct to the air carrier as some of the discounters or consolidators.

To simply search for what's available when the time comes, check our Enter your point of departure and where you're going, i.e.

Departing from: IAD, then enter date
Returning from: NBO, then enter date

fill in other info, such as # of people, whether any seniors, etc. the click

Kayak will search all carriers flying to/from your destinations and bring them up for you to review. Kayak does not sell tickets. If you find a routing, carrier and price that works for you, there will be a link taking you to whomever is offering the fare. This maybe the airline, a discounter (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets) or a consolidator.

Again, if you find a fare you like, you can often do just as well with the airline itself.

Play around with the kayak site, using closer dates (less than 10/months out) to see how it works.

Space is booking quickly for '08, but don't let anyone, this far out (1+/yr) rush you into anything. Certainly not before you've discussed a possible itinerary with your new found friends here on Fodor's. :)

Patty Aug 2nd, 2007 10:07 AM

I agree with everyone else. If you're planning to purchase tickets, I wouldn't be concerned about not being able to get air. I've redeemed miles for all of our trips, so always secure our air first because the availability of award seats is limited.

going_2_africa Aug 2nd, 2007 11:00 AM is another consolidator discussed frequently on I have also found good deals on

Not sure where you're leaving from. I did a couple quick searches and found:

On airlineconsolidator -

LAX - NBO on BA $1500 a/i
ORD - NBO on KL $1100 a/i
NYC - NBO on KL $1050 a/i

On farecompare -

LAX - NBO on BA $1500 a/i
ORD - NBO on SN $1311 (KL, just to compare to airlineconsolidator was $1750 on this website) a/i
NYC - NBO on CO/VA combo $1093 (KL, to compare was $1663) a/i

I usually go check these out since they compare all airlines. Then I go to the airlines website and check out the fares directly through them. As Sandi said, sometimes it's even better yet.

The advantage to buying directly from the airline is there is not worry about whether you'll get miles for the trip. Sometimes, when tix are purchased through consolidators, they don't give you your miles. BAD THING!!! This trip alone is enough or is nearly enough miles for a free domestic ticket - depending on the airline.


chacheetah Aug 2nd, 2007 11:47 AM

Thanks Shane; I am on East Coast..can get to Washington, Baltimore, Charlotte, Atlanta and NY. You helped quite a bit; one quote I got from a t/a was $2,300! I would not have been able to buy two! Thanks again; I will have a look at those sites and call the airlines direct. We do appreciate your help; have never gone so far before and trying not to make too many mistakes. CC

sandi Aug 2nd, 2007 12:11 PM

I just did a quick search for JFK/NBO and IAD/NBO leaving next month, and got fares from $1,250-$1,325. That's darn good. Flights were with KLM thru AMS or Virgin thru LHR.

And, there are plenty of other carriers.

You'll be okay when time comes to book tickets for next year.

chacheetah Aug 2nd, 2007 01:21 PM

Sandi, you made my day. I will take note and hope I find them too. I guess it really is not necessary to book flights so far ahead if you were looking at Sept. this year and I am thinking September next year. This may sound really naive' but if I purchased tickets early and they went down in price, would I get the lower price..or is it a crapshoot? I really don't know what airlines do these days; everyday one gets in trouble! Thx. CC

thit_cho Aug 2nd, 2007 01:34 PM

Different airlines have different policies. I booked a trip on Delta to Nicaragua for March 2008 for around $600, and they later offered a sale which reduced the fare to $450. They charge $100 for re-ticketing, so I ended up with a $50 credit. I always buy my tickets 11 months in advance (in rare instances the price will drop, like it did with Nicaragua, but in my experience the prices tend to rise). But I don't really study the price after I book -- I just happened to notice the Nicaragua sale on Delta's website, so I called and they offered me the credit.

Patty Aug 2nd, 2007 01:37 PM

<i>This may sound really naive' but if I purchased tickets early and they went down in price, would I get the lower price..or is it a crapshoot?</i>

It depends on the airline. Some will charge a reissue fee and for international itineraries this could be a couple of hundred dollars depending on the carrier.

sandi Aug 2nd, 2007 02:04 PM

Over the next couple of weeks, use one of these sites and put in different sets of dates. This will give you and idea of what the going rates are between IAD/NBO or IAD/JRO or an &quot;open jaw&quot; (into one city, out of another) IAD/JRO/NBO/IAD. Once you find a range, you'll know how much it will cost to fly the route.

And, as Michael says, once you book your ticket, at a price you are willing to pay, don't keep checking. More often then not the price will go up; with someone else's luck :) it may go down... don't beat yourself up on that, besides if you have to pay a rebooking fee it'll more than likely eat up any savings.

Cha - you'll be ok!

chacheetah Aug 2nd, 2007 04:14 PM

Thank you All! Working on it; will get it done, post it, and you guys can throw in your very impt 2c. CC

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