I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.
I can count on one hand the number of contributors I’ve featured on this blog. I write every post myself, but over the course of 17 years have had three people share trip reports with experiences very different than my own that seemed really interesting.
For instance a work colleague, a young solo Pakistani female, shared her experience traveling Saudia’s business class with a 18 hour layover in each of the Riyadh and Jeddah airports. It was worth it just for a glimpse of the Lahore, Pakistan CIP lounge.
Five years ago reader Doug Hess shared his experience flying African low cost carrier: Fly540. Since this was something I haven’t done, but I enjoyed hearing about it, I asked if he wouldn’t mind briefly writing up the experience so that I could pass it along.
Now Doug is back with his experience flying an Air Tanzania Airbus A220 from Lusaka, Zambia to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Oh yes, and he did redeem points for the flight. Thanks to Doug Hess for doing this!
Booking Air Tanzania
Following a fun safari in Zambia, our family headed to Zanzibar for a few days at the beach. Africa is a huge continent with a still-developing air transport network, so getting from place to place can often be complicated. For this route, there were basically three options:
- Ethiopian via Addis Ababa
- Kenyan Airways via Nairobi
- Air Tanzania via Dar es Salaam
Although I would have rather booked something using United or Delta miles, both of those options had terrible schedules, so we decided to book Air Tanzania. I booked directly via their website, at a cost of $208 per person. I paid with my Spark Miles card and then promptly “erased” the charges using points. It wasn’t the most exciting reward, but ~100k points to get the five of us across Africa didn’t seem too bad.
Air Tanzania offers online checkin, which we always prefer given that we travel with only carry-ons and therefor can skip the counter all together, but unfortunately the website wouldn’t work.
Thankfully, we arrived quite early to am empty check-in counter, and didn’t have to wait at all. I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t give us any hassle about our carry-ons, as it is common for airlines overseas to want to weigh carry-ons (and ours would never pass).
We quickly passed through passport control and security and found ourselves in the less-than-exciting departures area of the Lusaka airport.
Lusaka Airport Lounge
Although there is no airline lounge, Lusaka does have a Priority Pass lounge. It was quite small and basic, but did have WiFI, although it was painfully slow.
There were a few snacks, soft drinks, and some alcohol on offer. We passed 45 minutes slowly surfing the internet and made our way to the gate.
Flying the Air Tanzania A220 from Lusaka to Dar es Salaam
Boarding commenced a few minutes early. There are no jetways in the Lusaka airport, although a new terminal is currently under construction which may change this. We boarded via the stairs in the front and were greeted by two flight attendants who checked our boarding passes.
Air Tanzania has two A220 aircraft, one of which was recently impounded and later released in South Africa. They are configured in a two-class configuration with 2-2 business class and 2-3 economy class.
Air Tanzania Airbus A220 Business Class
We were seated in row eight, with the five-five-across configuration working perfectly for our family. The aircraft still smelled new, and the interior looked spotless. Air Tanzania opted for slimline seats, although for now these aircraft operate only relatively short flights.
Legroom was average, and I would estimate the pitch to be around 32”.
Air Tanzania Airbus A220 Legroom
There was no IFE, however the seats did have a USB plug at every seat as well as a universal AC plug in between the seats (one for the 2 side and two for the 3 side). They alsohad small screens at every row which displayed the airshow throughout the flight.
There was one bathroom in the front (for business-class) as well as two in the rear. They were a nice size and even had a window.
Air Tanzania Airbus A220 Economy Lavatory
Shortly after takeoff, flight attendants care through with a drink service, followed by a “hot snack.” There was only one option, which consisted of a meatball, a chicken roll, a small piece of fried fish, and a short of hash brown. It tasted about as good as it looked.
Air Tanzania Inflight Snack
After the snack, there was a coffee and tea service, then they came through and cleaned up. Although the food was underwhelming, it wasn’t bad considering this was economy-class on a 2 1/2 hour flight.
I had fairly low expectations for a short intra-Africa flight on a virtually unknown carrier. Overall I was pleased with an on-time flight, brand new aircraft, and above average service. I would not hesitate to fly Air Tanzania again.