An Unscheduled Night in Kenya

An Unscheduled Night in Kenya

In travelling to Kilimanjaro Airport, my friends and I took a flight from Singapore to Mumbai, staying for a 8 hour transit there before flying to Nairobi for a shorter transit of 2 hours. We then took a one hour connecting flight to Kilimanjaro from Nairobi. Unfortunately for us, our flight from Mumbai to Nairobi got delayed by 2 hours. As a result, we missed our connecting flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro. More worryingly, our next flight out from Nairobi would be 9 hours later, at 8 am.

In other words, we would be spending an unscheduled night in Nairobi, Kenya. This post chronicles our experience and the claim process upon return to Singapore. We were enroute to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and do a safari tour (see Part1 and Part2) after that.

 

Flight delay

Once our flight was delayed, we checked that our delayed flight and our connecting flight were from the same airline – luckily they were. To us, there was a higher probability that the airline will take better care of passengers whose connecting flight was from the same airline as the delayed flight.

2 hours after our scheduled flight, at 1940 (time in India, GMT +5:30), we took the delayed flight from Mumbai and reached Nairobi at 2255 (time in Nairobi, GMT +3), a flight of about 6 hours.

At Nairobi, we queued up together with other passengers who missed their connecting flights for the tickets for our next flight out to Kilimanjaro. However, our ordeal was not over yet.

We realized that we had to complete visas forms in order to get into Kenya. The forms were duly completed and we joined the long line for the airline’s attendants to complete even more paperwork to settle our accommodation for the night.

Panari Hotel

After all the administrative matters were settled (or so we thought), it was made known to us that we had to take a bus to get to our accommodation for the night. By this time, it was nearly 2 am in Nairobi.

Our check-in luggage was automatically transferred to our new flight in the morning so we only had our carry-on luggage at this point of time. It was fortunate that I packed some clothes into my carry-on.

DSC03542
The bus ride we did not expect

Thankfully, we arrived at Panari Hotel after 15 minutes. There, forms again needed to be filled in as the staff rushed to complete the requisite paperwork. All told, by the time we took a bite to eat and got to our rooms it was 3 am.

DSC03546
Room for two for one

The good news was that each one of us was given one room to sleep in. The bad news was that since the flight was at 0800 , we needed to be at the airport by 0600 which meant the bus would be leaving at 0530. After taking a quick shower, my head barely touched the pillow when the morning call came 2 hours later.

Travel Insurance

Then came time for the insurance claim when I returned to Singapore. For this trip I went with DirectAsia insurance as they had coverage for hikes with a licensed guide and had very good rates. You should check the terms of your coverage to ensure that they meet your hiking requirements.

For DirectAsia the excerpted terms are, accurate as of 01 Jun 16:

  1. You must not be competing professionally.
  2. You are not taking part in any speed-time trial or any form of race other than on foot, cycling or swimming.
  3. You are not trekking or hiking above 6,000 metres altitude.
  4. You have a licensed guide for: trekking, hiking or mountain biking in extreme areas, off-piste skiing, scuba-diving, rafting, canoeing or kayaking in white water rapids, parachuting, sky-diving, paragliding and parascending or other similar activities, rock climbing, caving, pot-holing, mountaineering or any activities that require use of ropes, hang-gliding, hot-air ballooning

Insurance Claim Process

While it may look imposing, the list of documents needed for submission to the insurer is specific to your insurance provider and type of claim.

Documents needed for travel delay

  1. Travel claim form (you may find the one for DirectAsia here)
  2. Copy of passport and with departure/return dates
  3. Copy of travel itinerary/air ticket
  4. Written confirmation of delay from Airline stating
    1. Period of delay
    2. Reason of delay
    3. Any remedial actions taken
Delay
Example of a written confirmation

Time Taken and results

The whole claim process took around 3 days for the claim to go through to approval. We were delayed for 9 hours and 45 mins and the rate quoted was 100 SGD for every 6hrs of delay. 100 SGD was paid out to us in the form of a cheque within 2 weeks of approval.

Credit is due to DirectAsia for their processing efficiency. I only had to submit the documents to DirectAsia in hardcopy once to initiate the claim process. The very next communication I got from DirectAsia was notice that my cheque will be mailed to me.

The written confirmation of delay from our Airline took approximately the same amount of time due to a back and forth regarding the number of people who needed the letters. If I had to do it all again, I would let the contact from the airline know the names of my group of friends on the same flight who will be obtaining the same letters.

Conclusion

Besides getting insurance to suit your travel needs, it is important to note the agency’s efficiency in filing your claim. For this particular instance, the claim process was fairly quick and painless. Due to this, I would consider using DirectAsia again based on this experience.

Additionally, while it certainly takes time to process the claim on DirectAsia’s end, it also takes time for document requests from third parties like Airlines.

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