Experiences of Hajj 2017
I have split them into the various parts of the whole trip.
Flight to Jeddah: - Very good, no issues. Managed to get through Jeddah airport very quickly, which was good, but then had to wait a long time for coaches (not a fault of Zam Zam).
Arrival at Aziziyah: - It was very good that all room allocations were listed on the walls as this made it very easy for us to find our rooms. Facilities at Aziziyah were good, Reception, Restaurant (accessible fridge for drinks and ice creams was a nice touch) and Prayer area. The local staff were very helpful.
Improvements that could be made;
- Add a little bit more variety in the food that is prepared, got a bit repetitive after a while.
- Make the prayer area a little better. Eventually a rug appeared which made it better.
- Wifi was very hit and miss. Only available at Reception and dependent of how many people were on the connection. The bandwidth should be increased to allow more people wifi access, as well as adding the signal throughout the building, not just in reception.
- Would have been good if Zam Zam hired a minibus that was just for Hajj travellers. This could then travel between Aziziyah and Makkah at set times, so we didn’t have to worry about getting taxi’s.
The rest of the journey
Allocated tents at Mina, Arafat and area at Muzdalifah: Overall, as expected, a bit crowded in the tents, but presence of air condition was excellent. Food wasn’t very good at Mina, but understandable for the sheer numbers of people.
Makkah Hotel: Check in process could be improved. Overall excellent hotel and great location. Good that room allocations were kept similar to previous stay at Aziziyah. Breakfast was excellent. Only problems here was having to use so many lifts and escalators to get in and out of the complex.
Madinah Hotel: Check in process could be improved. Overall excellent hotel and great location. Good that room allocations were kept similar to previous at Makkah. Breakfast was excellent. Lifts were very poor in the hotels, but luckily I was on 1st floor so always used the stairs.
Return flight from Madinah: Unfortunately the last part our Hajj trip ended up being the worst experience. It started off well, but then deteriorated into something I felt was unnecessary. We had lunch around 2pm and received call at 2.45pm to tell us that the coach had arrived and that we should come down with all our bags. We got onto the coach and it eventually left at 4pm for Madinah Airport.
We received our Zam Zam water and then eventually checked in for domestic flight to Jeddah and advised on what to do at Jeddah. With all the waiting around and not being able to leave the queue there was no time to get any food. We managed to get a drink and a snack after security in Madinah Airport at approximately 7:30 and headed for the Gate for our flight at 8.15pm to Jeddah.
We landed at Jeddah and then there was a long delay in waiting for our baggage. Baggage turned up about 10.30pm and we collected and rushed upstairs to departures. We checked in again all our bags and then headed through immigration and the double security. We rushed through all of this, so again no time to get any food and got onto the plane at about 12.45am. The plane left at about 1:30 and then stopped at Madinah for about 2 hours before leaving for Heathrow. It was only after we left Madinah did we get some food.
My main question is why did we get the domestic flight from Madhina to Jeddah, when we could have got to Madinah airport much later and got on the flight to Heathrow, instead of having to go to Jeddah? Even if we checked out of Madinah hotel at 3pm, we could have left our bags in reception and carry on as normal until coach arrived at night. Obviously there may be a very important reason as to why the travel arrangements were made this way, but I feel this could be a major improvement to the return journey.
Experience with group leaders
The seminars were very good and useful. Only technical issue with the microphone and speakers.
Generally experience with all the group leaders was excellent. Most interaction was with Abdul Hassan and Shariful Haque. Others were helpful when approached. I would definitely recommend more use of Zam Zam Travels flags/poles for guidance during the walks. Sometimes these were unavailable and made it difficult to keep track of our group.
Hopefully it doesn’t sound too negative, as the overall trip was very positive. But I feel by letting you know some of the negative things, will help improve the trips for future travellers. If you require anything else please feel free to email or call.
Mohammed Fateh Uddin