Help w/Zanzibar (& Fly540), please!

Oct 11th, 2011, 12:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 55
Help w/Zanzibar (& Fly540), please!

I posted back in August asking for ideas for a few days to be spent post-safari in Tanzania, with Zanzibar being top of mind. I received lots of good advice and information--Thank you all!

But now I've acted on some of that advice and am dismayed at how complicated this all is.
Is there a way to make this work? Or should I abandon the idea of a few days on Zanzibar and just return to the States with the safari group? I still have a few days in which I can change my departure date back.

Instead of returning with the group on Dec 22, I decided to return on Dec 27 and see fabled Zanzibar. My flight to the U.S. (via Amsterdam) now leaves from Kilimanjaro on Dec 27.

I booked a flight on Fly540 roundtrip Kilimanjaro-Zanzibar, with departure from Kili on Dec 23 and return on Dec 27.
I would spend the night of Dec 22 at KIA Lodge near Kilimanjaro and also get a day room there for Dec 27. KIA has free transfers to the Kili airport.
I contacted the safari outfitter (Kibo) about arranging hotel and tours on Zanzibar; they referred me to ZanTours. I contacted ZanTours and made arrangements for hotel and some tours.

Now the problems, starting with the most serious:
Fly540 has changed my departure city to Arusha, and they have changed my return flight to Dec 28. They tell me that they have simply changed their schedule, and that's the way it is. The Dec 28 flight is obviously impossible.
If I ask for a refund, do you think I'm likely to get it?
Is there another carrier that won't constantly change its schedule?

KIA said I could pay with a credit card by calling them and providing the number. (I didn't want to send my credit card number in an email.) Without payment, they would cancel the reservation. But they don't answer their phone. When I emailed to ask when would be convenient to call, the response (which I read many hours after it was sent, as it was sent around 4 am my time) was, "Call now. This is a good time."
They answer their phone only by pre-arrangement and at 4 am my time?

ZanTours wrote that everything was arranged, and they would send an invoice. The invoice didn't arrive and didn't arrive. After a couple of emails to them, I got an out-of-office until Oct 20 message from the invoice person.
Although I'm not used to long delays in being billed, I suppose this could still work out.

But if I can't get to/from Zanzibar, it doesn't really matter. Is there a solution? Or should I just eat my $284 airfare if Fly 540 won't give me a refund and abandon my few days on Zanzibar?

Advice greatly appreciated! I thought I'd have this all arranged before September, and it's almost mid October.

Cindy_S is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
A reason it's best to work with one outfitter to handle as much of your safari (even if on a group tour and extending with their ground operator), though it is not unusual for Kibo to use their preferred outfitter (ZanTours) on Zanzibar (they can't be in two places at one time... most mainland outfitters work with a partner for the coastal islands). However, you did, so... where to go from here.

1) I can't advise about Fly540 whether they'll refund ticket price. I don't use them. They're still relatively new and though good prices, their scheduling seems to be fluid as you've found. But, no harm in asking. Or cancel and turn it back to your credit card company to handle. If Fly540 can, good. Then have Kibo book flight from JRO/ZNZ and ZNZ/JRO with one of the preferred/regular air carriers as Regional or Coastal. And pay Kibo, whether by wire-transfer or payment on arrival.

2) As to payment for KIA, again since you booked direct... you have to pay, unless you can speak with Kibo and have them handle and you then straighten out payment by wire-transfer prior or payment on arrival Tanzania.

3) ZanTours on Zanzibar... again, ask Kibo if they can assist. Beg, if need be (along with #1 & #2 above). Then arrange to pay Kibo by wire-transfer or payment on arrival Tanzania.

Other ideas are welcomed.

Good luck Cindy.
sandi is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 02:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 55
Hi Sandi,

Thanks for the reply! I did ask Kibo to arrange the lodge, and they said no. They sent me to the website for KIA, which is why I made the reservation myself. They also didn't want to handle Zanzibar (and sent me to ZanTours). No one offered to do the airfare piece, which is why I booked it myself.

I'll try begging Kibo but they really seemed not to want to handle any of these arrangements.
Cindy_S is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 07:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 692
FWIW - If Fly 540 changed their schedule surely they owe you a refund as the new dates do not work for you. Be firm. If that doesn't work do as sandi suggested & if you paid for your flight with a credit card maybe speak with them about it.

I flew Fly 540 from ZNZ to Nairobi in June with no problem.

Precision Air is another airline that flies that route. Check out the link below.

I wouldn't panic just yet and cancel your plans for Zanzibar. You have till Oct 20 to get Fly 540 to refund your money and book with someone else. Perhaps since Fly 540 i sthe one who changed their schedule they can book you with someone else. Again be firm.

As for KIA I'd work out the time difference and keep calling them at different times until you connect with someone that can help you. Sometimes perseverance pays off!

Good luck and keep us posted.
KathBC is offline  
Oct 12th, 2011, 02:29 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
might also insure my trip quickly

Usually Patriot or Amex Global Travel Shield

Just to be safe...

Then do your best to work connexion issues out

if all else fails contact the Tourist Board they can help
qwovadis is offline  
Oct 12th, 2011, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Sorry to hear that Kibo isn't even trying to run interference. Guess at this point, and not to cancel Zanzibar, as Kathy-BC, keep at it. And, yes.... when it comes to Fly540, as they changed the schedule, have them book you on another carrier... Coastal, Precision, Regional.

Good luck!
sandi is offline  
Oct 31st, 2011, 11:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 55
Thank you all for the help! It's working out.

Fly540 refunded my payment.

ZanTours took the ball and I now have a reservation on ZanAir.

And Kibo took care of reservations at Olasiti Lodge in Arusha (where the safari ends, so it made sense to spend the night there now that I'm flying out of Arusha to Zanzibar). So no need to get payment to KIA, as I'm not staying there.

I still haven't received an invoice from ZanTours (it's been a week since the final details were settled), but I assume that's coming. I'm making an effort to be patient; "Africa time" is much slower than what I'm used to!

Thank you again for all the suggestions and help!

Cindy_S is offline  
Oct 31st, 2011, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 692
Phew! Glad things are finally coming together for you!

Where are you staying in Zanzibar?
KathBC is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2011, 12:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 55
I'll be staying at Tembo, in Stonetown.
Cindy_S is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2011, 07:23 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 692
I'm looking forward to hearing all about it!
KathBC is offline  
Nov 4th, 2011, 04:54 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,238
Make sure you get down to the beach resorts and have a swim. It is so beautiful at the beaches.
I did not enjoy the actual town that much but that is just me.
irecommend is offline  
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