Cancelled & Offended – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

While traveling by air is fast & convenient (as well as a huge novelty for me), sometimes problems occur that make your flight/flights extremely stressful, expensive or inconvenient. From delayed flights to missed connections, I’ve experienced these scenarios a few times. This was one of those times.


I had spent a few days in Victoria Falls & I wanted to go to Harare to spend time with my grandparents before I flew back home. I had initially booked & paid to fly to Harare on the Saturday, but that flight was cancelled a few weeks before the trip & the airline rebooked me on a flight on Sunday. I should also state now that although I had flown with them as a child, I had specifically gone out of my way to avoid flying with Air Zimbabwe due to their reputation.


The day of the flight, I had arranged for an airport transfer company to collect me with enough time to spare. True to “African time”, the company picked me up late. This meant that I got to the airport while check-in was open, but not for very long. I went to the airline’s counters & presented my ticket & ID.

Victoria Falls International Airport

The check-in agent couldn’t find me on her system; I wasn’t booked on the flight. This was really confusing because I had been issued a ticket for that flight so she sent me to the airline’s ticket office. By the time the office workers got to serving me, check-in for my flight had closed. As mentioned, it was Sunday so trying to get hold of someone at head office proved to be a huge waste of time. Finally, after waiting for ages, the office workers figured out there had been an administration error on their side which resulted in my booking & ticket getting cancelled. By this time, the flight had left.


I still needed to get to Harare, but there was only one more flight for the day. To my horror, an Air Zimbabwe flight. I had no other option, I had to buy a ticket for that flight.


The Air Zimbabwe saleswoman was very friendly to start off with, but that changed when I innocently asked “Will the aircraft show up? Will this flight actually happen?” I felt like these were valid questions given the reputation of the struggling airline. She disagreed, she was highly offended. She began a very long, loud rant about how “Zimbabwe can’t move forward with people like you maintaining a negative attitude.” Fortunately, I had paid & I had the new ticket. I felt very awkward & I was struggling to suppress another one of my inappropriately timed giggling fits so I said goodbye & left.

Air Zimbabwe 737-200

As it turned out, that flight was in fact delayed. There was no working aircon so it felt like I was in a sauna. We had an aborted take-off complete with screeching brakes & screaming passengers. Needless to say, I was very relieved to see my uncle & grandparents in Harare later that day.

What is the moral of the story? I’m not so sure I have one. What do you think the moral of this story is? Let me know.

Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels


46 thoughts on “Cancelled & Offended – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

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  1. Yikes! Well, I don’t think you are being unfair in saying that Air Zimbabwe is unreliable, although when my trip depends on the good graces of an airline ticket agent, I do tend to keep my mouth shut.
    Glad you made it to your grandparents place safely!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for sharing your tale. When traveling in Africa, I too made special plans NOT to fly Air Zim. I am far from a nervous traveler, but I am a practical informed traveler. Glad you made it to Harare safely! Cheers,

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I found it to be a fine experience. Flew coach from LHR to CPT then back through JNB. Tight seats but the best airline food (coach) I’ve ever eaten. Inside Africa we were always upgraded to the big recliner first class seats. Flights were short so it didn’t matter. I wouldn’t hesitate in flying them again.


  3. Omg! I’m so glad you made it to your family, but as I read this, I was boiling with frustration for you!! Glad you were patient 😊

    Liked by 2 people

      1. At least you didn’t behave like the guy whose flight got cancelled. He went ahead of a long line up to the counter and said “I need a flight immediately to Seattle”. The attendant said “sorry sir, there is a line up — you have to take your place”. He said “do you know who I am?!!” She got on the speaker and said “does anyone know who this guy is — he doesn’t seem to know”. He said ” F___ you”. She said “you have to stand in line for that too!”


  4. Dear Dan, there is a believe that all that happens to you in life you attracted yourself, with the power of images in your mind and by the power of your thoughts. You actually attract everything you are thinking about. The greatest teachers who ever lived told us that the law of attraction is the most powerful law of the Universe. Nikola Tesla said: “We get exactly what we expected to get” I truly believe in that statement, thanks to my own life experiences. Whenever I got into something with the believe that it is not going to work the way I wanted, it happen exactly like that. When ever I get into something with a lot of love, excitement and the believe that it is going to be success I experienced success.
    You expected the horror and you got it.
    I find your post very inspiring though.
    Best regards ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think the moral of the story is that traveling is unpredictable especially in countries such as Zimbabwe. Hopefully your experience teaches you something about patience and that sometimes, things do not always go as planned (even though it is really unfair towards you!). Safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We had a recent trip to Paris canceled for no reason and the airline was unable to accommodate us on another flight. After reading this, I think it was for the best. Glad you got there safely.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, as adventurerashauk says, the moral is patience and in my own experience… surrender. Once you are in the plane and are not able to see the pilot, you just have to trust that all will be as it will be. I’m glad you made it 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s so sad as a Zimbo seeing such! Your experience is very unfortunate, and one wishes our government would see the need to make this a viable airline again, but alas! Glad you arrived alive though!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The aviation industry is unpredictable. Being on both sides I can gladly confirm it’s not only an African thing when it comes to disruptions and inconveniences since it’s bitter sweet. My moral for your story is be patient and go with the flow, it’s never that serious you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel your pain and thanks for sharing. You inspired me to blog about my experience earlier this year flying to Australia and how I survived a long haul with various connections. I break it down into stages and don a variety of hats to navigate my way through the challenges. Do you find the more you travel the more resourceful you become or is it just more frustrating and stressful?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this comment, Suzanne.

      How long was your trip to Australia?
      I think it is very important to break things like that down into stages otherwise it will just get too overwhelming & mistakes will happen.

      I do find that the more I travel, the more resourceful I become. I do know that my blog makes it sound like I get frustrated often & easily, but that isn’t the case at all while I travel – I just notice the details.


  11. Remember… it’s often the things that do not go according to plan that give us the best stories… Be grateful for the inspiration. Funny story though, and yes, I also have a few airlines I like to avoid but possibly for different reasons…


    Liked by 2 people

  12. I flew Air Zimbabwe in 1993 from Cyprus to Harare on an old Boeing 707. It is funny looking back now on that experience, because the 767 we were supposed to take had mechanical problems and the smaller 707 was substituted on this once weekly flight from Germany to Cyprus to Harare. When boarding, there were no assigned seats and about 40 fewer available, so it was a mad “musical chairs” type scramble to find a seat! Then, the captain got on the radio and gave us a “pep talk” about how it was a good airplane even though it was old! Stepping off the plane in Harare, though, the fresh air and beautiful green trees made me excited to be safely there. I want to go back again one day and show my wife Vic Falls, Hwange Park and some other places I didn’t get to see during the business trip I took.


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