Vaud: Nailing it on the Riviera after spending a fortune on a safari in Africa


VaudStranded on the Riviera after spending a fortune on an African safari

Mismanagement at the airport leads to a series of disasters for a couple in their thirties. Despite spending 13,000 francs on the trip to Tanzania, the trip ended in… London.


Abdulaye Penda Ndiaye

Chaos at the airport and a clash between two airlines devastate a couple whose dreams of a safari in Tanzania have been dashed.


Brian* and Melissa* have already seen each other in Tanzania. The couple, based on the Vaud Riviera, were delighted to drive a 4X4 with an open roof, visiting elephants, lions, zebras and other wild animals, tourist sites or even meeting the Maasai people. But instead of an eight-day dream safari in Tanzania, the two thirty-somethings had a long and painful odyssey with its share of bitter setbacks.

Abandoned baggage, delayed flights

On July 6, Brian and Melissa board a flight to Vienna to Cointrin from where they will catch a plane to East Africa. Unfortunately, takeoff had to be delayed. They arrive in Vienna about thirty minutes before their next flight. “After a sprint, we managed to arrive fifteen minutes before the start of our connection. But boarding is over,” Melissa sighed.

No boarding pass

After more than an hour of research with Austrian Airlines staff, a solution was found with a flight the next day from Vienna to London before flying to Ethiopia and then Tanzania. “The reservation was done in extremis because, everywhere, the planes seemed to be full. We only get boarding passes for Vienna-London and are told that the rest will be given to us in London with Ethiopian Airlines,” recalls Brian.

Overbooking problem

If, at the beginning in Vienna, everything went according to plan for the two thirty-somethings, in London problems arose again. From the Ethiopian Airlines counter, the couple is asked to go to the boarding gate to claim the card. “From there, we are told that we have to pick them up at the Austrian Airlines counter. It takes about 15 minutes on foot each time. We have been informed that there is a communication problem between the systems of the two member airlines Zodiac alliance. Flight is full. There was overbooking.” The two companies are blaming each other.

1400 fr for a one-way ticket to Geneva

No room on flight to Tanzania for two days. With their safari already scheduled for the day and the couple already making other commitments later, Brian and Melissa realized they wouldn’t be seeing Arusha, Kilimanjaro or Tarangire National Park anytime soon. Heartbroken, after a night in a London hotel they must decide to return home. “We paid 1440 fr for a one-way ticket to Geneva,” they complained. Who knows where they disappeared to without their luggage. “After spending more than 50 hours going from one counter to another in three airports, we returned home empty-handed… Between the safari, the cost of the vaccine, the hotel, the taxi and the return flight to Geneva, we spent more than 13,000 fr”, Melissa laments. .

A refund… 127 euros

For the compensation claim asserted by Brian and Melissa, Austrian Airlines stated in its terms that to be entitled to compensation, it takes less than 25 minutes of connection time. The company agreed to make a “tip” by reimbursing 127.88 euros for the couple’s taxi and meal expenses in Vienna. “We are upset, disappointed, angry and confused,” the couple summed up.

To wrap up the suffering of four years

In 2018, Brian had a fairly disabling mobility accident. Since then, he and his partner have set aside money to make the theology student’s dream come true: to go on safari in Africa. This year, after two months of relapse, the 30-year-old’s healing process ended on a good note. Brian’s recovery is over. But instead of the trip to Tanzania being the icing on the cake, the couple suffered disappointment after disappointment. No company is responsible for that.

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