Long flight - stop over for a little sleep - how does that work?

We'll be flying from Los Angeles to Kilimanjaro for our safari that begins on July 1, 2020. Wow! That's a long flight. I've read some posts where people have stayed overnight in Amsterdam (when using KLM Airlines) or in Doha, Qatar (when using Qatar Airlines). I've been looking at all the different flights and it would be great to get some rest between flights. My question is this: How can I arrange our flights with a "sleepover" between flights without adding a huge amount to the airfare cost? I would like to hear from those who have done this. Is this something that Tauck can help us with? Thank you!



  • edited October 2019

    Yes, Tauck can book the flights for you, but you really have to do the research first and tell them the specific flights you want. When we took our first tour to K and T, we had only taken a few tours with Tauck and used their recommended flights. We live in Philly, they had us fly Detroit, Amsterdam, Arusha. That really added lots of extra time to the journey when we realized we could have flown Philly, Amsterdam, Arusha. That was coach class too and I remember the leg room was really tight on the KLM plane. Next time, when we did the Tanzania Zanzibar tour, I think they wanted us to do the same route but we said no, we want to fly Philly, Amsterdam, which we did.
    Our upcoming trip to K and T, we booked ourselves. To save an overnight in Doha, we are getting a driver to take us to the new TWA old terminal hotel at JFK the night before the early morning flight on Qatar and that gets us in early enough not to need an overnight hotel there. We much prefer getting to our destination early. So I recommend arriving two days early in Arusha and chilling out there. Especially if budget is a consideration, we think that’s the best way to do it. It relieves the anxiety of unexpected delay, your luggage not making it for 24 hours, which has happened to us, having a full day to see Arusha National Park Or just being able to have a lie in and chill, because hey, you’re in Africa for an extra day ❤️
    The TWA Hotel looks really funky, it was featured on CBS SUNDAY morning fairly recently. We were just discussing about having to stay over in Doha because certain US flights don’t arrive in time to make a connection but there is an hotel at the airport there. I’d rather be in Africa than stay in a Doha Airport.
    We always book our flights as early as we can, so recommend you book your flights soon for the best choice. If you book with Tauck, you don’t pay for them until your final payment. These days, we more often book our own flights But when we do book them with Tauck, we love holding on to our money until the last minute.

  • Bobbette - we took KLM flights when on this tour last year. We stayed one night in Amsterdam and arrived one day early in Arusha and it worked out very well. I think the additional cost for the KLM deviation was around $200. If you choose to make arrangements directly with Tauck, I am sure that they can assist you. We have, for many years, worked with a travel agent. In either scenario, it is wise to do some independent research so that you can start to think about the options, and what you want, and discuss them with your agent or with Tauck.

  • We are flying to Arusha in January and will be spending a night in Amsterdam on the way there. I researched and booked our flights directly with Delta/KLM. I called them when I knew exactly what I wanted down to the seat assignments. I called Tauck to get their approval prior to booking, and then repeated the call after I purchased the tickets to confirm. We arrive in Amsterdam at 12:25pm and are staying at the airport Hilton. We'll probably take the train into town for an early dinner. This helps with rest and any luggage issues. Our flight the following day is the direct 10:15am - 8:35pm flight to Arusha. Tauck REALLY wanted us to arrive a day early, and since we are past guests the extra night pre-tour was included. We are doing this. Apparently the first day is an early start, so we will have a full day to recover. On the return flight we are not stopping over as we arrive in Amsterdam at 6:30am, so we will continue on to Atlanta, etc. We are flying business.

  • All the days are early starts on this tour!

  • Thank you, everyone, for your prompt and informative replies!

    British - Yes, I agree, I will do my research before I speak with Tauck to make sure I get the flights I want. We've flown with KLM several times and been happy with them. If we do a "sleepover" between flights, I think I would rather be in Amsterdam (a familiar place) than Doha. Although Doha does look like a very interesting city and the airport looks very cool. I plan to arrive in Arusha 2 days ahead, see Arusha Nat'l Park and relax before the safari adventure begins. Your plan to stay at the TWA sounds great, such an iconic work of architecture. I'm glad to know all the days start early! What time do they typically end?

    Lotusgirl - Thanks for the information on KLM. I will either have my travel agent or Tauck look into this for me.

    Sugarcreek - Good information, thank you! I sure hope my luggage doesn't get lost. Last year, my luggage was lost for 36 hours in Manchester, England. I was glad it caught up to me before we started a cruise!

  • Manchester airport, losing luggage, I’m shocked, it’s my favorite airport, was raised a few miles from there, it’s usually a very efficient airport.
    As I remember, days begin with a wake up of 5-30am, except the balloon day, that’s about 4am. Break in the middle of the day and afternoon. Late afternoon safari into Dusk, dinner, bed. But I’ll be reminded when we take this tour again in December.
    We flew KLM coach to Arusha first time, unless it’s improved, that’s a very long and uncomfortable flight time unless you fly Premium Economy or Business. One of the most uncomfortable long haul flights we have taken. I understand comfort is much better on Qatar.
    Sugarcreek, Amsterdam will be very dreary in January. We were in Amsterdam this July and it was about 100 degrees. It’s about a 45 minute taxi ride to the airport if I remember correctly. If you haven’t been there, the airport is huge and security very tight.

  • British - lucky you, that is a lovely area! We didn't spend much time in Manchester, but loved touring around that part of England. Stayed in Liverpool for 2 nights, did the Fab 4 Beatles tour one day. So fun! Hubby is a huge fan. Then we toured North Wales - oh, my! One of the best tours we've ever done, and then went down to Dover to board a cruise. It was good that my luggage caught up to me before that!
    It sounds like there will be long, full days, with a break midday. I look forward to hearing more about your tour in December.

  • On our first K&T we had a long daytime layover at LHR so we got a ‘day room’ at the Sofitel attached to Terminal 5. Terminal 5 in my view is the worst aviation place on the planet, but the Sofitel is nice and convenient.

  • We are staying over at the Hilton connected to the airport so we can walk there on arrival and back the next morning. Yes, we've been through Schiphol several times and know the security measures. We also know it will be dreary in Amsterdam in January, but still thought we would take the train into Central Station for a little walk along the canals and an early dinner.

  • Sealord - a day room, that's another thing I will look into. Thanks!

  • I like to be realistic rather than romantic when it comes to traveling across time zones. We plan that the unexpected might happen, such as the plane arriving late. This is what happened on our first trip to Arusha via Amsterdam. Our plane was delayed leaving Philly for Amsterdam. When we arrived there, we were told we would never make the KLM flight to Arusha, but we always wear shoes we can run in and have backpack carry on luggage, so we ran like crazy and got the flight, but our luggage did not make it.
    SugarCreek, I know, I know I am being a kill joy and I think it is a great idea to break the journey in Amsterdam so your luggage will make it, But you say you arrive there at 12-25pm, then you have to walk and wait for you luggage. You may not be able to check into your room until 3pm. Yes, I know you can put it in storage. But that all eats into the time you will be able to make your way into the city and you will have jet lag by then. It will be near rush hour and will be dark by 5pm. It’s not as if you will be able to get a decent lie in before you leave for your flight the next day. You mention you are staying over in Amsterdam for rest too, but might this excursion into the city so late in the day make you even more tired. Wouldn’t it be better to chill out, have dinner at the hotel, have an early night. Even though you get no exercise on the K and T tour, it’s still tough because of recovering from jetlag along with the early morning starts. Even when you are really tired, with the body clock being changed, there is no guarantee you will get a decent night’s sleep.
    We like to under schedule anything much before a tour begins. If we really want to site see something major and important to us, we arrive more than a day early. Otherwise we chill, have a massage, sit in a cafe, watch the world go by, we have seen too many people rush round before a tour begins and then conk out half way through the tour and have to forgo planned Tauck excursions.

  • We went to Portugal for a few days to get used to the time change. We did K and T in Aug of this year.
    Turkish Air has a non stop from Istanbul to Arusha. Our Turkish Air flight from Lisbon to Istanbul was late because of weather so we missed our flight to Arusha. There is only per day, but we were going a day early so it was ok. We flew home from Nairobi on Emerits. We booked our own flights and found the foreign airlines to be about half of what we were looking at for domestic carriers.
    When we were booking, 10 months in advance, the discounted flights for domestic airlines were already booked.
    We found the least expensive flights to Arusha were from Amsterdam or Istanbul.
    Flying into Arusha was a breeze. Several people who flew into Nairobi spent 2 to 4 hours getting through customs. It took us 15 minutes.

  • We just booked our air travel through Tauck for the August 22, 2020 K&T. We are flying business on KLM, and building in a 2-day stay in Amsterdam, which significantly reduced our RT business class fare. The biggest time change from Chicago is into Amsterdam; there’s only a 1 hour time change between Amsterdam and Tanzania so we’ll have plenty of time to adjust.

  • Bobbette, We will be on your Classic K & T Safari starting next July 1st. Happy to meet you and look forward to our trip. There is a relatively new flight available from the East coast, which is on Kenya Airways and goes from JFK to Nairobi, Kenya in 14.5 hours. After a 3 hour layover there is a short 1 hour flight from Nairobi to the Kilimanjaro, Tanzania airport. It departs JFK at 12:55PM, arriving in Nairobi at 10:25 AM the next day. Then the short flight is from 13:30 PM to 14:30 PM. 3 hours seems comfortable to make the connection. The flight inbound to JFK arrives 5 or 6 hours earlier, so the outbund flight is generally on time. The flight is on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which is great for long-distance travel since it keeps the cabin at a much lower altitude pressure and better humidity, which helps with jetlag. Kenya Airways can be booked via the AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue program. We found business class for that itinerary at 95,000 Flying Blue points one way, which while not great seemed fair given what it accomplishes and offers. The downside to the flight pairing is that it does result in multiple entries during the trip into Kenya, so we need to get a multi entrance visa I believe, though we have not worked on that yet. Also, if the layover should end up being extended for some travel issue and not a mere short transit, then entry into Tanzania will require a yellow card for yellow fever, but we intend to get that vaccine anyway and just need to be sure to carry our card. Both are not big deals.

  • Nairobi airport is horrible.

  • I look forward to meeting you on our upcoming tour! Thanks so much, sevenseas, for this beneficial information. You're very knowledgable about aircraft! I will check out Kenya Airways flights. We plan to get the yellow fever immunizations, as well.

  • Hurray! I was able to set up our air travel with "long stopovers" and it did not add any additional cost to the airfare. We will leave from Los Angeles on June 26 (KLM), stay over in Amsterdam for 3 nights, on to Kilimanjaro on June 30. When the Tauck tour ends, we will leave Nairobi on July 13 (Air France), fly to Paris for a few days before flying back home. Great, direct flights with short duration on the plane.

  • edited January 21

    Hi Bobbette, you have probably read my recent review of my K and T Rwanda tour in December. It turns out that our Qatar business class flight was our best experience in business class so far, we have only been flying consistently in this class for a few years. Our seats had sliding doors so you could close your seat off entirely from the aisle. You could eat whenever you wanted and in whatever order. This meant I slept the best ever on a plane, I usually don’t sleep much at all. I was tired when I first got on the plane to come home, I went straight to sleep, woke up several hours later and ordered dinner. Then even later I had Afternoon tea complete with fresh finger sandwiches and warm scones. They give you pajamas to wear. We are flying Qatar again in March to Borneo.
    I recommend flying with Two complete changes of clothing in your carry on, a lady on our tour flew from LA on three plane changes and her luggage did not catch up with her for three or four days which caused a lot of stress for her.
    Have a great time.

  • edited January 21

    We did K&T in July 2018. Flew KLM Business from Dulles to Arusha via Amsterdam and it was wonderful and without any issues. However, our biggest surprise was the return trip. We flew Kenya Business from Nairobi to Paris and Air France to Dulles. Most of our group except us and another couple flew KLM back home and the flights were within an hour of each other. We were most apprehensive about Kenya Air but it turned out to be thee BEST Business Class we've ever flown on. There was so much room and it was so comfortable. In fact, they are voted best Business annually. We would fly Kenya Air again without any hesitation.

    We agree with British on the following point. We are very surprised folks want to leave the Amsterdam (or other) airports, go into town, and have to carry bags out of the airport and then back to the airport and re-check into security for a night or two of rest. We on the other hand are very interested in getting to the starting point (Arusha in this case) as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of delayed or cancelled planes. We'd rather chill in Arusha an extra day or two and not have to worry and be stressed out about flight delays etc. But that's just us.

  • Hello British,
    Indeed, I read your review and it sounds like you had a wonderful trip. And, your experience on Qatar Airlines sounds luxurious! I would love all those special touches. I like your suggestion to pack 2 extra changes of clothing in the carry on bags. My hubby and I always cross pack at least one complete change of clothes in each others checked bag, as well.

  • In 2015, we flew from Dulles to Addis Ababa to Arusha. The aircraft, flight, layover, and service were really good. However, it was on Ethiopian Airlines and you know how that turned out in recent years! :o

  • Hi Virginia Travelers!
    Thanks for adding to the discussion. Your experience on Kenya Airlines sounds wonderful. I learn so much from the different ways people prefer to travel. For us, we enjoy the adventure of seeing different cities as long as we're going to be (relatively) close to that part of the world. Personally, I can't even imagine being on a plane for 20.5 hours, sitting up or laying down. By breaking up the flight with the hotel stay in Amsterdam and Paris, we'll get to explore beautiful iconic sights, enjoy a canal ride, visit the Dutch countryside, savor amazing French wine and cuisine and make wonderful memories. And, the best part is, I got such an incredible deal on the economy air fare. :)

  • Bobbette, We are doing Amsterdam on the way back after the tour we do with you. Since you are flying out the night of the 13th to Paris, note you will arrive in Paris the morning of the 14th. That is Bastille Day. Good and bad in my opinion. Interesting to experience. But be mindful that transit options may not be the norm - do your homework in advance.

  • I’ve only been in France once on Bastille Day but that was in the Loire Valley area. There was a fantastic fireworks celebration in the local town attended by huge crowds. I’m thinking most of the local sites and museums would be closed.

  • sevenseas, Yes, thank you for the heads up regarding the possible impact on transportation due to the holiday. I am looking forward to experiencing Bastille Day in Paris. Our flight is scheduled to arrive at 7:30am, and we'll take a pre-arranged taxi to our hotel. After the long, over-night flight, we'll need to rest so we'll skip the parade. I hope to find a good spot to watch the spectacular fireworks show that night.

  • bobbette--I would suggest not taking a nap. Have a nice breakfast at the hotel or some nice cafe and hit the pavement...otherwise, you will not recover from the jet-leg and miss the spectacular fireworks show.

  • PureLuxury

    bobbette--I would suggest not taking a nap. Have a nice breakfast at the hotel or some nice cafe and hit the pavement...otherwise, you will not recover from the jet-leg and miss the spectacular fireworks show.


  • PureLuxury and AlanS - you are absolutely right! No nap!

  • milmil
    edited February 16

    Hello Bobbette.
    I took this tour Nov. 2018, I love it!, I did a pre night gift from Tauck.
    I flew from Seattle to Amsterdam- 2 hour layover and then to Arusha-(kilimanjaro) it really didn't feel to long
    and it was all done in 1 shot, we got in at midnight , left airport around 1:00 am and as we got to hotel we were recvd with
    Mimosas! , to be honest... you are so exited about the trip , that you don't feel tired... plus you have the rest of the night to rest and since the actual tour doesn't start till 6:00 pm you can wake up late and have a relaxing day... we were offered a walk around the lake as an xtra activity about $10.00 and I tell you. it was great! , it was relaxing to walk, nature , clean air, the sound of birds etc... it makes you feel back in track, I also had a massage and like new.
    Yes, there is some or many.... I should say early starts, but is not impossible to handle and truly,,, your are so excited to see the animals that nothing else matters..... I did also another Spa treatment at the FS. and that one was heaven!
    Here are some pics, if you have any Questions please feel free to ask

  • Do be "Awared!!!! " the KLM flight gets in at midnight.... unless, they have change procedures.... you should get off the plane as soon as possible and run towards the building, agents will form a line outside the airport building to enter to immigration .
    There will 2 lines- 1 for those with visa and 1 to obtain it. normally the line to get the visa is huge!!! and also just to let you know immigration is very slow!
    I would highly recommend to get the visas here in U.S , sure they are expensive... but it is not fun to hold the group for an hour or so because you are cheap! :(( we a group of 25 had to wait 40 min. for 2 ladies that could not missed the temptation of getting something (visas) on sale.

Sign In or Register to comment.