How To … (Second in a new series …)


How to cope when your plans to escape Outpost fall apart  


  • Try, when faced with news that your flight is delayed by 1 ½ hours, to remain positive.  Try not to feel irritated that, when you called the airline before leaving home for airport, you were assured everything was running on time.
  • Continue to assert calm optimism when, an hour and a half later, the plane you are supposed to be flying out on has yet to appear on the tarmac. Or – in case of Outpost – dust. Try not to say Fucking Precision Airways every two minutes. Instead pass the time making telephone calls trying to ascertain whether your son, the patient, has left school to meet you yet or not, and wondering whether you ought to stall him
  • Wish you had – stalled him – when Mr Abdallah, local representative from Effing Precision Airways (who are the biggest fibbers in Africa because they suggest they are Tanzania’s Finest and as such ‘successfully networking the entire region with our unique combination of speed, convenience and reliability’) appears to inform passengers in the confidently named Departures Lounge (an airless room with a few benches from which most of those waiting usually depart to car park when told to come back and try again another day) that the flight has been delayed a further 45 minutes.
  • Realise that as a result you will miss your connecting flight north.
  • Try to ascertain from Effing Precision Airways whether there will be an alternative connection later in the day. That they say ‘yes’, you realise, means little given your current predicament.
  • Field calls from desperate son who is now on way to a rendezvous which you look increasingly unlikely to make.
  • And which is confirmed when Mr Abdallah from Effing Precision Airways reappears, looking sheepish, to announce that the expected plane, on account of bad weather and overloading, has had to fly low and therefore needs to take more fuel on board and as a consequence will not be able to take all the passengers or any baggage. Will three passengers please oblige by stepping off the flight, Mr Abdallah asks. You, who have missed your connection anyway, hear only two things: ‘Overloading’ and ‘Bad Weather’. You abandon all your plans and opt off flight with alacrity.
  • You call son to cancel plans, apologizing profusely. He, an equally nervous flyer, has enormous sympathy and kindly says he’d have done the same.  He finds a lift back to school.
  • Call babysitter, doctor, sister in about that order and renegotiate assorted plans and appointments.
  • Call husband and ask if he will please come and collect you from airport as you don’t appear to be going anywhere.   Suggest a beer would be a very good idea.
  • Depart Departure Lounge for Car Park. 
  • Spend weekend sleeping, drinking wine and generally concentrating on keeping firm lid on rising feelings of frustration and disappointment.  Try very hard to keep seeing the funny side: Mr Abdallah’s evident and increasing fear of waiting passengers (especially you) every time he had to step into the Departure’s Lounge with more bad news and Effing Precision’s Airways’ excuse as to their stuff up: shauri ya mungi (God’s fault, essentially, presumably because he choreographed Bad Weather?) and nothing, of course, to do with colossal human ineptitude and error.
  • Monday morning (at which point you should have been in doctor’s surgery with son having his health checked and your anxieties salved) gather frayed courage in both slightly trembling hands and start all over again.
  • ‘Morning, I’d like to make reservations for a flight please …’






19 Responses to “How To … (Second in a new series …)”

  1. ANN Says:

    I will never, ever, complain about how difficult my life is again! Good luck today. Hope you get it sorted.

  2. nuttycow Says:

    ARG! You poor thing. And Effing Precision Airways (although noted for next time I am down your way!) When does the next adventure begin?

  3. rosiero Says:

    Oh no! After all those arrangements. Come have a hug!!!!!!

  4. grit Says:

    oh my goodness. this reminds me of so much travel in china and india where no information is ever going to be forthcoming and when it does, it’s nothing more than what the speaker thinks you’d like to hear. and this is so much worse! well at least you didn’t spend the night somewhere in a remote departure lounge far from home where the only source of entertainment is the door to the toilet that’s fallen off.

  5. lulu Says:

    Poor you. How frustrating. It would be funny if it wasn’t involving one of your children and health worries….Lx

  6. laurie Says:

    oh, man.

    that’s worse than flying Northwest.

    (i remember one time checking the flight from the computer at home and seeing that it was delayed two hours. so i putzed around, wasted time, happened to check back…and suddenly it was scheduled as ON TIME. man did i have a scramble to get to the airport in time…. but that’s nothing like what you went through.)

  7. choppysunflower Says:

    Life over there must be filled with these sort of frustrations. Not that you ever get used tot hem, I’m sure. Is incompetency a special business requirement there, or does it come naturally to the more professional class? They get away with it I suppose, because you are at their mercy and there is no competition. Still, you would expect some pride in a job well done, instead of disappointing people over and over again. Is there anyway into shaming them to behave better? They ought not to get away with it. I hope you have better luck the second time around. Toi, toi.

  8. janelle Says:

    oh effing hell anthea…i would have exploded!! don’t deny yourself the rage are so allowed you know…flip. i Hate Precision Air. anyway darlin’ do let me know if you ever get out the outpost…dying to see you. xxx

  9. Mud Says:

    Good Lord! You need to vent some of that rage. Why is so much of the worl run my incompetants?! Good luck on the next phase of the saga.

  10. Iota Says:

    Vent, vent, vent. Get it all out.

    Mind you, here in efficient US, I went to pick my mother and sister up from the airport last Christmas. Checked the website before I left – fight was on time. Checked the monitor in the airport lounge – flight had arrived. Watched all the passengers come through (tiny airport, so you can see which passengers arrive from which flight). No sign of them.

    Started process of trying to work out if they’d missed the connection in Dallas. Asked at information desk. They said “that flight isn’t in yet”. Pointed to monitor, saying “look, it’s landed”. Information desk said “oh, you can’t trust that information. Let’s have a look here on my list…. Yes, that flight has been delayed an hour”. Mother and sister duly arrived.

    Turns out that the “information” is supplied by the airlines, who need to keep their punctuality statistics up, so they just type in “on time” and “arrived” when they feel like it. And according to the monitor, my mum’s/sister’s flight had turned round and headed off to Dallas before it had even arrived.

    I was truly amazed, I have to say. If I had moved to Outpost, I’d expect that kind of thing. But here in the heartland of efficiency and customer service, it was something of a surprise.

  11. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks Ann. a whole other story i think … having spent a substantial part of my morning in Effing Precision Air’s office this morning. I was bloody mindedly delighted to discover they had cancelled both today and tomorrow’s flights. nice to know one is not alone …

    thanks nutty. avoid it. at all costs. i am going to drive 500 miles north to Kilimanjaro and get a flight from there. because it is not as low down on effing precision air’s food chain, it is less likely to endure cancellations!

    oh thanks rosiero. i needed that x

  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    grit. absolutely … nothing more than the speaker wants you to hear. but you are right. at least i wasn’t subjected to ghastly airport lounge overnight or dodgy hotel as Hat and i were last time effing precision air did their usual. at least i could go home and drink own wine in comfort of own house.

    thanks lulu. except you do have to seek the funny. or you’d go mad, wouldn’t you. even, especially, under these circumstances.

    hi laurie, thanks for dropping by. i agree tho, airlines are extraordinarily whimsical.

  13. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    oh choppy, what intuition. you are absolutely right. i met a tanzanian friend the next day who explained that the airline is squeezed by corrupt politicians and the like who run it as they wish and cream the profits which leaves the airline short of planes. i felt awful after that. for mr abdallah and the likes, who have to pick up the pieces. furious passengers like me.

  14. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    do you know Janelle, i just didn’t have the energy. just sort of didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing they’d beaten me. mind you, when i went in to reschedule flights, lady in effing precision air’s office here picked up phone to dar and kiswahli, assuming i did not understand i suppose, said ”the mama mkali is here”. that was HUGELY gratifying!

  15. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Mud. i am steeling myself to be brave!

    that’s an amazing story, Iota. incredible. i can see it happening here and its clearly how effing precision air work their stats to support their ”tanzania’s finest” theory, but i couldn’t see it happening in ”the heartland of efficiency and customer service”. what a bunch of cheats!

  16. Maggie May Says:

    Life is a series of ups and downs…….
    Bitter and sweet.
    Thanks for sharing the photos and for making life here seem not so extreme over here.

  17. Maggie May Says:

    That comment should have gone into Reasons to be Cheerful! Sorry!

  18. Hadriana Says:

    I commiserate wholeheartedly! You must feel extremely grim. Hope the beer helped a little. The Arabs usually say “inshallah!” God/Allah willing…..! Hxx

  19. ImPrecision Air 2/Me Nil « Reluctant Memsahib Says:

    […] It’s partly out geography; it’s mainly Precision. […]

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