Precision Air Review: How to Fly Domestic in Tanzania

Last Updated on April 3, 2024

If you’re headed to Tanzania then you’ll likely be looking to use domestic flights to transfer between Arusha (the starting point for most safaris) and Zanzibar (an island off the mainland of Tanzania). 

While it’s possible to make the trip between these points overland, it’s a long drive. Domestic flights in Tanzania are reasonably priced, and so it’s worth doing the 1.5 hour flight instead of a 12+ hour overland trip.  

To transfer from Zanzibar to Arusha, we flew Precision Air. This Tanzania-based airline operates short flights throughout Tanzania and to some cities in Kenya and Uganda. 

Ahead of the flight, we didn’t know what to expect. But I’m happy to say up front that we had a great experience with Precision Air. Our flight was on time, check-in was smooth, and the flight experience was very pleasant. 

Read on to learn the details of what it’s like to fly domestic in Tanzania, and tips for flying Precision Air. 

a precision air plane on the tarmac at Arusha Airport
A Precision Air plane on the tarmac at Arusha Airport.

Precision Air Review: Our Experience

Here’s a run-down of our experience booking and flying with Precision Air, in January 2023. 

Booking Precision Air

While in Tanzania, we needed to get from Zanzibar to Arusha on a specific day, to join our group camping safari trip. 

There are several domestic airlines that you can fly between these two locations, including Air Tanzania, Regional Air, and Coastal Aviation. We decided to go with Precision Air for two reasons. 

Reviews of Precision Air were generally positive, and they offered a flight time that worked well for us. 

We booked our flight through the Precision Air website. The booking process was straightforward and we paid with no issues using our Canadian credit card. 

We received a confirmation email. The email didn’t include the boarding passes. These are issued at the check-in desk at the airport. 

the views of the countryside around Arusha on a flight into Arusha airport in Tanzania
The view flying into Arusha Airport.

Our Flight Experience With Precision Air

 Ahead of our flight, we received just one reminder email to check in. The link for checking in didn’t work for us, but our hotel told us not to worry. 

We headed to the domestic airport in Zanzibar, which is right next to the international airport (Abeid Amani Karume International Airport). We arrived 2 hours in advance, which honestly, was way too early. Check-in and security went very fast. 

When we got to the airport we went to the check-in desk where they printed out tickets and checked our luggage. 

From there, we went through security and then waited in a lounge. The lounge had a drink and snacks canteen, and bathrooms.  

view of the chairs, television, and canteen in the waiting lounge of Zanzibar's domestic airport.
The domestic waiting lounge at Zanzibar domestic airport.

About 20 minutes before our flight’s departure, we were called to the door where we showed our tickets and then boarded a bus that transported us to the small plane. 

We were guided from the bus, across the tarmac, to stairs for boarding onto the plane. I was surprised, we boarded via the back of the plane. 

Our flight was only about 25% full, and so boarding went fast! Since the flight wasn’t full, my partner and I both took a window seat. Before we knew it, we were taking off. 

a small airplane a transport but at Zanzibar's domestic airport.
One of the transport busses at Zanzibar’s domestic airport.

During the flight, the flight attendants came around with drinks and a snack. There was a selection of juices, sodas, beers and wines to choose from. 

The snack offered was a small bag of nuts (I had to say no to this, because of my peanut allergy).  

After a quick 1.5 hour flight, we landed in Arusha. We walked off the plane onto the tarmac and were led to an outdoor area where we waited a few minutes for our luggage to be off-loaded. 

It was a smooth and comfortable experience from start to finish!

a Precision Air airplane on the tarmac in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Boarding our flight in Zanzibar.

Must-Know Tips for Flying Domestic in Tanzania

1. Book Your Flight in Advance

Domestic flights in Tanzania can be booked on the spot or just days in advance if needed. There are several domestic airlines operating and typically, the planes aren’t full. 

That said, if you have a strict itinerary in Tanzania, then it’s best to book your flight in advance. A week or a couple weeks in advance is generally enough time, we were told. Booking in advance just ensures you are able to book the airline and flight time you prefer. 

2. Book Morning Flights to Avoid Delays

Although our afternoon flight operated right on time, we did hear that these domestic flights are occasionally delayed. 

If you need to arrive at your next destination in a timely manner, it’s worth booking a morning flight to reduce the risk of delays. 

Domestic flights in Tanzania run the same planes back and forth throughout the day, and so a delay on one flight triggers delays for all the following flights. This is why a morning flight is your best bet. 

nuts and a small beer offered as a snack on a Precision Air flight in Tanzania
The snack and drink offered on Precision Air.

3. Arrive 1 Hour in Advance of Your Flight

Ahead of our flight from Zanzibar to Arusha, we asked our hotel in Stone Town how in advance we should arrive at the airport. 

Domestic flights in Tanzania operate out of smaller airports that are attached to the country’s larger, international airports. 

These domestic flights use smaller planes, and often the flights aren’t fully booked up. 

For these reasons, check-in, security, and boarding goes quite fast. Our hotel told us that arriving at the airport one hour in advance gives you plenty of time. 

4. Check in Large Luggage

Domestic flights in Tanzania are operated using smaller planes that international flights typically use. 

These planes have smaller luggage stowage compartments within the cabin. Therefore, you’ll want to check any luggage that is larger than an average backpack. 

Although our luggage is carry-on sized, we still needed to check it because it would not have fit on the plane. 

Precision Air offers free checked luggage, so you’ll simply drop your bags at the check-in desk. Because these flights are short and direct, it’s highly unlikely that any luggage will be lost. 

the outside of Arusha domestic airport in Tanzania
Arriving at Arusha Airport

5. Opt In For Text Alerts 

When booking your domestic flight in Tanzania, you’ll have the option to provide your mobile phone number. 

It’s a good idea to provide it, and ensure that you can receive international texts. This is because Precision Air and other Tanzanian airlines tend to send alerts about delays via text message. 

6. Request a Window Seat

What not to do in Tanzania? Never skip the window seat! Regardless of where you’re flying within Tanzania, you can expect beautiful views out the window, especially if it’s a clear day. 

The views on our flight from Zanzibar to Arusha were absolutely gorgeous. It’s worth it to select a window seat if you have the option during checkout, or, request a window seat when you check in for your flight at the airport desk. 

A Precision Air plane on the tarmac in Arusha.

Enjoy Your Domestic Flight in Tanzania

Our flight from Zanzibar to Arusha was a simple and enjoyable experience, from start to finish! Flying domestically in Tanzania is a great way to reduce your travel times between places of interest. 

Although we can’t speak for other domestic airlines in Tanzania, I expect that most airlines follow a similar routine in operating their flights.

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