Since we were connecting same-night back to Istanbul, it made sense to fly instead of take a ferry back. Tickets were $37 each purchased the day before on Fastjet.
Fastjet hopes to become the African continent’s “first low-cost, pan-African airline” but thus far is only flying in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. (Easyjet // Fastjet …. get it?). The UK-based company has yet to turn a profit.
Tickets were only $37 each and easily reserved and paid for online at fastjet.com. Fasjet also charges a $5 credit card “convenience fee”.
I checked-in online earlier in the day, but re-checked in at the airport to check on better seats. Seats were automatically assigned: we were given middle seats toward the rear of the plane.
An agent first stated that no seats were available but when I asked about exit rows he re-assigned us seats in the first row of the plane. The flight turned out only to be about 20% full.
As you enter Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar, you go through a brief pat down and document check walking from the parking lot to the check-in area. Our passports were checked and our tickets verified. I did not have a physical print out of our reservation or boarding pass, but did pull up the reservation on the phone and that was accepted.
The check-in area has a covered roof but is semi-outdoors and quite run down. There are grand plans for a beautiful new airport, but without more funding those plans will just remain sketches on a wall.
Just beyond the check-in desks is a consolidated security line. Lines moved fairly efficiently and I was asked to remove my laptop from my bag. Water bottles were also collected (but for sale on the other side). Past security is a very congested gate area with a few concessions. If you have Priority Pass or are traveling in a premium cabin, use the Dhow Lounge upstairs.
Boarding was called late, about 10 minutes prior to our scheduled departure at 8:30p. But with front and rear air stairs and a very light load, it took mere minutes to fully board.
Fastjet (FN) 952
Zanzibar (ZNZ) – Dar Es Salaam (DAR)
Thursday, April 24, 2016
Depart: 08:30 PM
Arrive: 90:00 PM+1
Seat: 1E (Economy Class)
There is not much to say about a 20-minute, 45-mile flight, but I am happy to vouch for Fastjet:
- Airbus A319 – clean and new
- Seats – leather and comfortable
- Crew – courteous
- Flight – arrived on-time
Unsurprisingly, there was no service on a 20-minute flight, but the seat back pocket contained buy-on-board menu for longer flights. I’ve included it below.
Checked baggage is not included in the fare, but we were traveling with only one carry-on and it was not weighed or sized. I noticed a sizer when we reached Dar Es Salaam–
There are over 30 flights per day in each direction between Zanzibar and Dar Es Salaam. Had it been a day flight I may have opted for a smaller Cessna plane, but for a night flight I enjoyed flying on a larger aircraft.
Fasjet has plans to expand to Zambia next and I wish them great luck in doing so.