TRIP REPORT

Written by Matjaž Nose

In today’s trip report I am going to review my recent trip to Zanzibar. The outbound flight was a 3-leg journey out of Zagreb with multiple carriers. The main one was KLM and since I hadn’t seen many trip reports featuring this European airline on this website, I have decided to share my experience with you in the following trip report.
I had to wake up early on my departure date. It was Thursday, 25 April when I was on my way to Zagreb Airport to catch the morning Croatia Airlines flight to Amsterdam. The drive was smooth, no traffic jams and after an hour and a half I entered the terminal to check in. I bought my flight ticket months in advance and upon checking all options, I decided to book an Air France/KLM return flight comprising of the following flights by these two carriers and two codeshare partners: Croatia Airlines flight from Zagreb to Amsterdam, KLM from Amsterdam to Nairobi and Kenya Airways from Nairobi to Zanzibar. Return flights were all Air France, a Dreamliner flight from Zanzibar to Paris (with a stop in Dar Es Salaam) and a HOP operated flight between Paris and Zagreb. I paid a few euros under €700 to book these flights.
My first destination upon arriving to Zagreb Airport were the check-in counters. Very few people were queuing in front of the Croatia Airlines counters. I had already checked in online in advance, so I just had to collect my boarding passes and drop my bag. It was through checked all the way to Zanzibar. 9A, 54H and 16J seats were my winning combination down to the Zanzibar island. Croatia Airlines was my first host. One of their two active A320 aircraft at the moment, the one with Star Alliance livery (9A-CTO) was assigned for the OU450 (KL3080) flight to Amsterdam that morning. Once you enter this aircraft you can immediately feel Portuguese vibes. Yellow and red colours on the edges of headrests, notifications in English and Portuguese. Yes, this aircraft served TAP Air Portugal before, between 2006 and 2020, before flying for Croatia Airlines since 2022 where it celebrated its 20th birthday. The other A320 operating for Croatia Airlines was a leased Trade Air jet.
Already on the airside of the airport my first destination was a cafe where I enjoyed a very good Meinl coffee along with a fresh croissant. That was a very good start of a long day spent above the clouds.
Zagreb Airport cafe

Airbus A320 (9A-CTO)

The flight to Amsterdam was on time, we were served complimentary crackers with black olives and water. I enjoyed the flight and appreciated a printed inflight magazine Croatia, where you can find interesting articles on Croatia and other destinations as well as information related to Croatia Airlines. About two hours after take off from Zagreb we were disembarking at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

Approaching Amsterdam Airport
There were no additional security checks at Amsterdam Airport, I only had to clear immigration as I was leaving the EU. It was easy and fast to use eGates with automatic face recognition and passport check. I had a two hour layover before my next flight, more than enough time since Amsterdam Airport is easy to navigate and not too big. You can see many different carriers there as it is also one of the main hubs for SkyTeam partners in Europe (along with Paris CDG of course). Gate E9 was assigned for my KL0565 flight to Nairobi. This flight was initially planned to be operated by a B787-10 aircraft, but the equipment was later changed to B777-300ER (our flight was operated by the aircraft with PH-BVK registration). Departure time was 12:30 and as you can see on the photo, the screen at the boarding gate fives you a lot of information related to the flight and even the operating aircraft type. Really well done Amsterdam Airport, I liked it very much.

Amsterdam Airport
Boarding was carried out in groups. It was a smooth on time boarding. I opted for an aisle seat for this 8-hour daytime flight to Nairobi. Upon boarding, we found a pillow and a blanket waiting for us at our seats. Later we were also given refreshing towels and headphones of rather lower quality were also available. The seats in 3-4-3 economy class configuration were comfortable enough to enjoy this southbound flight to Kenya. The entertainment system was responsive with standard content including movies, music, games etc. You can also check your flight progress on the interactive map. There was also real-time information shown in the upper part of your screen telling your where you were at that moment related to scheduled meals and arrival/departure time. The safety video was unique too, it was based on Delft tiles, traditional motifs were in our case replaced with different safety information related to our flight, blue motifs on white tiles. Wifi was also available on this flight. These were the options you can choose from: message – €0, surf (1 hour) – €8, surf (full flight) – €18, stream (full flight) – €30. You can also pay in Miles, €30 was 6000 miles.
We departed almost on time, heading south towards Germany, Austria and the Adriatic Sea. We overflew Albania, Greece, Egypt and, avoiding Sudan, we turned right towards Eritrea and Ethiopia before entering Kenyan airspace for our final approach to Nairobi Airport. It was a daytime flight, so most of the passengers were awake during the flight. We were offered two meals. The first, main one, had two options, chicken or pasta and drinks of your choice. I asked to be served the chicken meal. Additionally, I ordered a small bottle of red South African wine. The meal was average, but I liked the wine. Trays were collected after we finished our meals and desert was served next. I ordered a coffee with milk – the coffee was really good. The flight was pleasant, I watched some movies and walked to the rear galley from time to time to have some snacks and drinks that were available there as self-service. About two hours before landing we were served a second meal, a hot snack actually. It was a small pizza for everybody, drinks were served as well. Soon we started our descent to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. We landed on time, at 10pm local time (9pm Amsterdam time).
KLM business class seat

Economy class seat

Safety video

Main meal – lunch

Pre-arrival hot snack
Again, I had two hours to catch my last flight of the day to Zanzibar. We had to pass security check. I did not have any special desire to walk around Nairobi Airport so I headed straight to the departure gate for my Zanzibar flight. Kenya Airways had two scheduled flights to Tanzania that evening, one to Dar Es Salaam and the other one to Zanzibar departing at approximately the same time, at midnight. Both of these two direct flights were cancelled that night, but it was not as bad as it seems. They simply cancelled these two flights and created a new one for both destinations, Nairobi-Dar Es Salaam-Zanzibar-Nairobi was the new flight plan.
Kenya Airways is one of the key Sky Team partners in Africa. Their widebody fleet consist of nine Boeing B787-8 aircraft, while regional flights are mostly operated by Embraer 190 jets. This was also the aircraft type used for our flight KQ488D to Tanzania, 5Y-FEE was its registration. It was a rainy evening when the bus transferred us to a remote stand where our aircraft was parked. The flight was almost full. Our first destination was Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam. During approximately an hour-long flight we were served sandwiches and drinks. There was also an inflight magazine with interesting information on Kenya Airways fleet and destinations available. We landed at around 1am. Passengers bound for Dar Es Salaam disembarked, while Zanzibar bound passengers stayed in the airplane. It took about an hour to briefly clean the aircraft and board new passengers heading to Nairobi before we took off for a short, 15-minute flight to Zanzibar.
Nairobi Airport

Some of Kenya Airways’ African destinations

Kenya Airways fleet

Snack served on our flight to Dar Es Salam

Abeil Amani Karume International Airport (Zanzibar)

We landed at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport near the capital city of Zanzibar. It was still raining when all of us whose final destination was Zanzibar disembarked. All of us also had to show our boarding passes upon disembarking to confirm our final destination was really Zanzibar on this combined flight.
I enjoyed all of the flights, Zanzibar was great, and the weather was perfect, sunny all the time.


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Article source: http://www.exyuaviation.com/2024/05/trip-report-zagreb-zanzibar.html

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