Print from Airliners.net discussion forum
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/174960/

Topic: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2010-08-29 13:18:40 and read 30175 times.



Introduction


About the Airline:

TAAG-Linhas Aéreas de Angola – What comes to mind when you think of this airline? It is probably one or more of the following:

A) Never heard of it
B) Sketchy African airline
C) Recent EU Ban
D) Has several brand-new Boeings with some more on order
E) Ronerone and The777Man both wrote excellent Trip Reports covering the airline

It’s indeed a contrasting array of thoughts. TAAG Angola is really something else, and I’ve never seen anything like it. The airline has some new 777s equipped with AVOD, flat seats in J and F, and mood lighting. They now have a functioning website with live online booking, online check-in, and have plans to introduce a Frequent Flyer program. Their hub in Luanda has been renovated with self-check-in kiosks and what appears to be a much better airport experience. On the other hand, TAAG is flying 732s and 743s from another time period, has a notoriously poor on-time record, possesses well documented safety issues, and is blessed with possibly one of the worst airline reputations in the world.

So is TAAG a modern African carrier on the same playing field as Kenya Airways and South African Airways, or is it some questionable airline similar to the DRC’s Hewa Bora and several defunct African carriers?

Perhaps my determination to find the answer to this question is the source of my fascination for this airline, although I am still unsure at the moment. The only thing that mattered is that I needed to be on a TAAG flight as soon as possible to find out for myself!

I suppose a brief history lesson might be of interest to those who want to learn a little about this mysterious carrier.

To my surprise, TAAG’s origins actually date back to the 1930s when the airline was founded as DTA - Divisão dos Transportes Aéreos de Angola by the Portuguese colonial government to provide basic air service for the then-Portuguese colony. Shortly before Angola acquired independence, the carrier’s name was changed to TAAG - Transportes Aéreos de Angola. In 1975, it was finally changed to what we now know the airline as today, TAAG - Linhas Aéreas de Angola.

Oddly enough TAAG somewhat benefited from Angola’s brutal civil war, as the carrier was the only practical way to get around the country due to poor road conditions. People were thus “forced” to use TAAG. This is most likely where TAAG developed its infamous “ways” of enjoying completely full flights, expensive tickets, and yet not having to put any effort in customer service or operating an overall safe and reliable airline. Quite honestly, this is the best position of all from a business perspective!

Well, the airline seemed to continue with their ways until 2005 when they ordered 6 Boeings (3 77Es, 2 73Gs). All signs seemed to be pointing to a brighter future for TAAG, and it was re-affirmed when they actually took delivery of the aircraft. However, the EU commission was apparently able to see through these glossy new planes when they banned TAAG from EU airspace in June 2007.

TAAG had reached a point where it must choose between joining their friends at Hewa Bora Airways in the DRC as an operational disaster, or striving to be a major player in Africa. Well, it took a year and a half to make the decision, but the Angolan government chose the latter. TAAG’s board was ousted, and a new board of directors was appointed. The new board immediately professed their desire to remove TAAG from the EU blacklist as soon as possible. Things seemed to be finally improving – for real this time. In 2009, TAAG passed IATA inspections with the help of South African Airways, and received permission from the EU to operate their Next Generation fleet (777s and 73Gs) into Lisbon. In 2010, they continued their pattern of improvement. By ordering 2 777-300/ERs, receiving permission to fly their NG fleet to all European airports, and introducing a fully-functional website; you really have to be somewhat inspired by their drastic turnaround.

Now, let’s see what it’s like to fly on this airline on its flagship route.

Ticketing & Such:

We had originally planned to fly LIS-LAD-LIS in early August, which would include a nice day flight on TAAG’s 777 along with two days in Luanda. We had everything set up with a reservation at the chic Talatona Convention Hotel, and decided the plan would work well by combining this destination with Lisbon and Marrakech. Well after over a month of waiting, our visas still had not yet been approved or denied and they seemed to be sitting in visa limbo on some bureaucrat’s desk doing nothing. Thankfully, during some intense last-minute re-arranging, we were able to fly on TAAG by moving the flights to the end our trip and connecting onward to Windhoek, Namibia. This should work out perfectly as you can transit without a visa in Luanda, and I’ve always wanted to go to Namibia!

The flights were booked through a U.S.-based travel website known as vayama. It worked perfectly and they accepted American Express which is something I’m sure TAAG is unable to do itself.

We were booked on the following flights:

14 Aug: TAAG, DT 653, LIS-LAD, Departs 11:00 PM, Arrives 6:30 AM
15 Aug: TAAG, DT 5173, LAD-WDH, Departs 2:30 PM, Arrives 4:55 PM, Operated by Air Namibia
17 Aug: TAAG, DT 574, WDH-LAD, Departs 2:30 PM, Arrives 5:00 PM
17 Aug: TAAG, DT 650, LAD-LIS, Departs 10:00 PM, Arrives 5:10 AM

Lisbon Airport (LIS):


Because our experiences from this point on were so eventful and nerve-wracking, I felt compelled to be more descriptive than my usual Trip Reports. If you find it too lengthy, then I apologize!

Leaving our hotel in LIS for the airport, the concierge tells us “You know what we tell people who are about to fly TAAG?.... You’re a brave man!”

Why yes, I am brave! Thank you very much.

As we arrived at Portela Airport in Lisboa, everything was complete chaos from this point on.

Flight Delayed:

I knew before leaving for the airport our flight would be delayed since the incoming aircraft wasn’t supposed to land until 11:00 PM, which was our original departure time. Apparently the aircraft had some technical problems in LAD which was the reason for the delay. So, common sense has it that our flight would just depart at 1:00 AM or something which was not a huge inconvenience. Well, you can imagine my shock when the check-in screens listed 6:00 AM the next day as our departure time. “Oh Sh*t” was the first thought that came to mind. Apparently LIS has a curfew from midnight to 6 AM and there was no way they could turn the aircraft around quickly enough to take off before curfew. However, a TAAG agent directing the check-in line assured us that TAAG has booked everyone in a hotel and ushered us to a check-in agent to receive our boarding passes.

Huge check-in line in LIS:



Facing our new departure time, we would have exactly 1 hour to connect in LAD IF the flight left on time. Arriving at the counter, we explained our situation to the agent. She told us she would check our bags to LAD only because she thought TAAG wouldn’t be able to transfer them properly to WDH. When we told her this would not work due to our short connection time in addition to not having Angolan visas, she replied by saying “What?! No visa?! It is not possible to transit through Luanda without a visa”. It was then that I proudly handed her the form from TIMATIC stating that a Transit Without Visa through Angola is possible. After more typing on her computer, she told us to go to TAAG’s ticket office and speak with a woman named Ms. Elga. Envisioning some evil lady who had earned her position through “connections” and was completely unqualified, it turned out this person was one of the most helpful ground staff I’ve ever encountered.

At the office, the TAAG staff told us they tried to get us on the TAP flight to LAD but it was full. They also told us our connection in LAD would be too short considering we would have to reclaim our baggage and such. They continued typing on their computer to find a solution.

Without much hope, we walked to the TAP ticket office to explore the possibility of returning back to states ASAP and ditch the trip to Namibia. Well, TAP told us ALL flights to the U.S. were fully booked up until our original date of departure. I could not believe this was happening. Things were not looking good at all.

Problem “Solved”:

Then we thought of a “revolutionary” idea. What if we stored our checked baggage at the storage facility here in LIS and moved only the necessary clothes to our carry-ons? Then we might have a shot of making the connection in LAD since we wouldn’t have to reclaim any baggage.

Going back to the TAAG sales office with our proposal, they instructed us to go Ms. Elga at the check-in desks. There, she told us that she was not confident the flight would leave on-time at 6:00 AM as the aircraft apparently still had a mechanical problem. We told her we really did not have any other options. She agreed with us but said she needed to call her supervisor to make sure it was acceptable. She got off the phone saying we were set, and had her colleague print out two sets of boarding passes. She kept one set to herself and told us that she would be faxing them to TAAG’s ground operations in LAD so they had our information and knew we were coming. She also told us that despite the fact we were checked in, we could opt not travel at any time up until the flight leaves and get our tickets refunded. Asking her if they could print our connecting boarding passes for the LAD-WDH flight here in LIS, she smiled and said “My airline does not have through check-in!” Ms. Elga then instructed us to go back to the TAAG ticket office where they will issue us hotel vouchers.



Asking what would happen if we missed our connection in LAD, she replied by saying if you are in transit for over 24 hours you be deported back to LIS. Oh no… What have we gotten ourselves into?

After getting our boarding passes stamped at the TAAG ticket office, we still needed to store our bags which would not be going with us to Namibia. A Portway (TAAG’s handling agent in LIS) representative was waiting to take a group of TAAG passengers, including ourselves, to the hotel. We told him we needed to store our bags, and he said it was okay but we needed to be as quick as possible. As soon as that was taken care of, the Portway agent escorted about 20 of the stranded passengers to a modern bus which then drove us to a really nice Marriot about 10 minutes from the airport.

Checking in at the hotel, the receptionist informed us the wake-up call would be at 3:30 AM and the bus would leave at 4:30 AM. This time seemed a little late for a 6:00 AM departure…. I really began to worry even more.

Hotel room which was not bad at all:



After a good 4 hour nap, the phone rang to wake us up at 3:15 AM. What? I thought it was supposed to be later? Perhaps the bus will leave earlier now?

Downstairs in the lobby you could really tell how happy all of the TAAG passengers were to be up at 3:45 AM with their flight delayed 7 hours. The expression on everyone’s face was full of bliss, joy and happiness. The hotel receptionist told us that the bus was actually coming at 4:15 now. Good sign I suppose.

At 4:16 AM, the bus drove into the hotel pick-up area. The bus was fully loaded and another bus was sent to transport the remaining TAAG passengers to the airport. Once we arrived at LIS, we were hoping to find Ms. Elga at the ticket office to give some insight on whether the flight would leave on-time. The ticket office was closed so we went to the check-in desks from the previous night to find our whole crew standing there. We asked a TAAG agent if the flight was on-time and he told us it will leave at 6, but if it does not leave at 6 it will leave at 7. Ah, how reassuring. Not.

Walking through the airport, I observed several people sleeping on the floor and many fellow TAAG passengers who seemed to be sitting down sporadically and in no rush to clear security.

Point of No Return:

Regardless, we cleared security and immigration hoping to find Ms. Elga at the departure gate. These processes went smoothly at this quiet hour and I was delighted, thrilled, and relieved to see that our TAAG 777 had parked at a jetway. This meant the boarding process would go much quicker than if it had parked at a remote stand. I saw the culprit for our delay was D2-TED, TAAG’s oldest 777 which would be operating our flight today. Bad boy, TED!



I noticed the crew boarding the aircraft from a bus about 1hr 5min before the new scheduled time. Definitely a good sign. They seemed surprised the aircraft had docked a jetway as they were all pointing at it and seemed confused about it. I then saw Ms. Elga at the gate desk, and my father went over to talk to her while I watched our bags. He told me that Ms. Elga thought the flight would leave on-time and she would call TAAG’s operations in Luanda right after our plane took off to ensure we made the connection. Seriously, what a great person! It’s rare you will find someone so helpful even on supposedly more reputable carriers.



Three flights to Luanda this morning:



Boarding began at 5:18 AM, and I had never been so stressed, nervous, and afraid while boarding an aircraft than I was at this point. In fact, I was on the verge of throwing up! My natural instincts were telling me not to board this TAAG flight, but I somehow ignored them and boarded D2-TED regardless.



Flight DT 653:


Date: 14 August 2010
Airline: TAAG Angola Airlines
Flight: DT 653
Aircraft: Boeing 777-2M2/ER
Aircraft Reg: D2-TED
Aircraft Name: “11 de Novembro”
Departure City: Lisbon, Portugal
Departure Airport: Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS / LPPT)
Arrival City: Luanda, Angola
Arrival Airport: Quatro de Fevereiro Airport (LAD / FNLU)
Scheduled Departure Time: 11:00 PM
Actual Departure Time: 6:18 AM (7hr 18min late)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 6:30 AM
Actual Arrival Time: 1:55 PM (7hr 55min late)
Class: Economy
Load Factor: 98% in Y

We were welcomed on board the 777 by a TAAG flight attendant who directed us to our seats. There was no turning back now; we were flying to Luanda regardless of when this flight left.

Welcome aboard TAAG Angola Airlines!





Through my ongoing panic attack, I noticed the cabin was attractive, well-colored, and had a comfortable feel. This was completed with several young and good-looking flight attendants dressed in smart uniforms.



We were seated in row 36, which is the last row on TAAG’s 777. The seat was comfortable, although I could have used some more legroom. I noticed some wear in the cabin such as my footrest not stowing properly, my seat not staying in its upright position, and some other minor issues. During boarding, recorded announcements with a posh British accent were played over the P/A which sounded very nice and professional.





Unfortunately, my fellow passengers appeared to be in no rush to leave. I painstakingly witnessed one of the slowest boarding processes I’ve ever seen which only added to my stress level!

Departure time came and went, but passengers were still boarding the aircraft. I felt the urge to get up and start pushing people to their seats and stowing their bags just so we could leave quicker. Finally at 6:18 AM, 7 hours and 18 minutes late, the 777 pushed back from gate 43, and I could not have been more relieved! I noticed another TAAG 777 parked at a remote stand which must have just operated a flight from LAD. The safety video was played throughout the IFE system, and the English version had a smart British accent. Taxi to the runway was SLOW which absolutely killed me! During the taxi, we were given candy by the cabin crew which I have never experienced on any other airline.

Takeoff was very powerful in typical 777 fashion and the wheels left the Portuguese soil at exactly 6:40 AM.

Here is a video of the takeoff in HD:







As we were climbing, the mood lighting was activated which of course I always appreciate.



The seat belt sign was switched off after passing 10,000 feet, and captain came over the P/A to welcome us on board and give us general information about our flight. He “apologized” for the delay but it was pretty obvious he wasn’t really sorry at all.



Shortly after, the purser came over the P/A and informed us about the in-flight service on today’s flight.

Ah, Homer Simpson on TAAG!



A snack was served shortly after departure. I hadn’t had anything to eat in over 15 hours so I ate this in lightning speed and was still hungry after! I will say the cookie was really tasty, however.



TAAG’s IFE has this really cool airshow which shows where your flight is on a 3D animation of Earth. Then the “camera” zooms in to where your aircraft and circles around showing all the cities which surround the aircraft.

Here is a video I recorded of the airshow in HD:





TAAG’s blankets follow the same alternating blue-orange pattern as the seats.



There were several little children on this flight who were pretty much destroying the interior of this 777. One of them took the IFE remote out of the seatback and began hitting things with it. What a brat! On the return flight, another kid was climbing around the seats and removing the “Fasten seat belt while seated” placards.



Interestingly, the airline has actually branded its economy class as HighFly. This logo is on the food trays, blankets, etc.



TED’s wing:





TAAG’s IFE is actually really nice! It has several movie choices and is superior to all of its competition.







For lunch, the choice was between chicken and fish. Not really liking seafood at all, chicken was the obvious choice. The meal was tasty, but I was so hungry at this point that taste was the least of my concerns.



Legroom was a little tight for a long-haul flight:







I spent the remainder of the flight staring at the airshow in hopes that some magical tailwind would enable our flight to land half an hour early. The airshow was giving an estimated arrival of 1:50 PM, which meant we would be parked at the gate around 2:00 PM.

As the cabin crew was picking up our meal trays, we asked a flight attendant if she thought we had a shot of making our connection. She studied our itinerary and said “It will be no problem. We will let you two off the plane first, and my colleague will meet you on the ground in Luanda”. Ok, it was definitely good to hear that. She also told us that passengers exit out of the rear door in LAD, which was great for us since we were in the last row of the aircraft.

Descent into LAD was uneventful and we made a large number of turns before lining up for our final approach.







A video of our landing in Luanda in HD:



Luanda (LAD):


Touchdown finally occurred at 1:55PM. We turned off the runway and waited for a South African 747-400 to take off before beginning our backtrack towards the terminal.





Our 777 parked next to one of TAAG’s 747-300s. Just as the seat belt sign was turned off, we quickly got our bags out of the overhead bins and sprinted towards the rear door. The flight attendants helpfully ushered my father and me to the front of our fellow passengers and we waited super anxiously for the door to open.

At 2:05 PM and with 25 minutes to our connecting flight’s departure, the door was opened but the crew pulled what looked a little like caution tape across the doorway so that no one could exit. I heard a flight attendant talking on an aircraft phone, and I heard the word “transito”. I assumed she was talking about us. About 30 seconds later, the tape was removed for just my father and me, and we practically jumped down the airstairs.

At the bottom of the stairs awaited a bus driver and some sort of ground agent. Remembering Ronerone’s advice from his truly excellent Trip Report (see here), we just started panicking and telling them “Transito”. They ushered us into a bus, and we really didn’t know what would happen next. Then, from under the wing of D2-TED I see a smiling TAAG agent running towards us, waving two boarding passes in her hand.

NO WAY! TAAG had actually checked us in for our AIR NAMIBIA flight! I had never been so happy and relieved before! I could finally breathe as I knew at this point we would make it to our final destination. With just me, my father, and the TAAG agent on the bus; the doors closed and we made way for the terminal. The agent escorted us through immigration, helped us scan our carry-on baggage, and then lead us through a back corridor which brought us to passport control. She told the officer that we were transiting to Namibia. The officer took our boarding passes, seemed satisfied with them, and let us through. The nice TAAG agent then took us upstairs to the departure area where we got in line to board our Air Namibia flight. It was now 2:15 PM, which meant the whole process took 10 minutes. I’d like to see that happen anywhere else between two international flights.



Before going down the escalator, we thanked this truly awesome TAAG agent multiple times and she even let me take a picture with her haha.



About 5 minutes later, we were on the bus to our Air Namibia 737-500. Right before the bus left the terminal, we saw the TAAG agent smiling and waving goodbye to us from the terminal. We happily waved backed as our bus pulled away.

Conclusion:


Most airlines can offer at least a relatively good experience when everything is running smoothly from an operational standpoint. What separates the good airlines from the bad, however, is how they handle situations when things go wrong. This area is where TAAG really surprised me. Don't get me wrong, a 7 hour delay is pretty much disastrous. However, they did send us to a nice hotel near the airport, we did make our connection, and did end up arriving on-time to our final destination. Surprisingly, what impressed me most were actually TAAG’s staff members. Ms. Elga, tha cabin crew, and the TAAG agent on the ground in Luanda went far beyond what most other airline employees would do in the same situation. It was obvious they genuinely cared that we got to our final destination, and that we had a good experience with the airline. While so many other employees could tell us it is not their problem, they are too busy, and give other excuses to not help, these TAAG employees went beyond their call of duty. For this, I thank them immensely.

Would I recommend TAAG to others? On a point-to-point basis I definitely would. I can only speak for the LIS-LAD-LIS route, but I can say TAAG completely dominates TAP in pretty much EVERY aspect. I don’t believe 7 hour delays are the norm for this airline, and this delay could have happened to ANY airline. Before my journey, I constantly checked TAAG’s on-time record on their LIS flights through www.ana.pt, and I can confirm that TAAG flights to LAD rarely leave more than 45 minutes late. So if you are a frequent traveler of TAP’s LIS-LAD flight, I suggest you give TAAG a try.

So to answer my question, is TAAG on the same playing field as South African Airways? Or are we dealing with a joke of an airline with virtually no hope of success? While I still believe TAAG has a ways to go, I do think it is heading in the right direction. If TAAG continues with its current pattern of improvement, I truly believe it will be competitive with Africa’s best carriers.

Here is some of the in-flight literature I collected during the flight. Oops, the safety card must have been stuck in the in-flight magazine I took off the aircraft!



Thank you for reading!

Some of my prior Trip Reports:

Asiana Airlines 777-200ER ICN-LAX In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Apr 16 2010 in Trip Reports)
Thai Airways A340-500 CNX-BKK In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Apr 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Bangkok Airways A319 BKK-REP In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Mar 30 2010 in Trip Reports)
Asiana Airlines 747-400 LAX-ICN In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Mar 28 2010 in Trip Reports)
Delta 737-700 ATL-SXM In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 5 2009 in Trip Reports)
Air India 777-200LR DEL-JFK In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jan 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
Drukair A319 PBH-DEL In Y W/TONS Of Pix/Vid (by MHTripple7 Jan 10 2009 in Trip Reports)
Air India 777-200LR JFK-DEL In C W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jan 5 2009 in Trip Reports)
South African 737-800 JNB-CPT In C W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Sep 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
South African BAe 146-200 LVI-JNB In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 13 2008 in Trip Reports)
Delta 767-400ER JNB-ATL In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 1 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air Botswana BAe 146-100 JNB-MUB In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air France 777-300ER CDG-JNB In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air France A330-200 DTW-CDG In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Delta 737-800 JFK-TPA (Pix And Vid) (by MHTripple7 Apr 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 777 DEL-JFK Mar 28 2008 Pix (by MHTripple7 Mar 29 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 9W707 W/Diversion (Pix) (by MHTripple7 Mar 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 777-300ER JFK-DEL ( Pix) (by MHTripple7 Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)

[Edited 2011-03-03 22:51:44 by ManuCH]

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: globalflyer
Posted 2010-08-29 13:38:59 and read 30079 times.

Excellent report. I bet your stomach was in a knot for hours. That was really awesome of DT to have that special service! Most of the times they say they will assist but never come through. Glad to know that DT cane through for you. How was Namibia and the Air Namibia flight?

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: 767747
Posted 2010-08-29 13:39:48 and read 30080 times.

MHTripple07,

What a great report! Looks like you had a really eventful trip with TAAG. I'm always fascinated to read about people's experiences with flights; I think everyone can relate to being stuck in a tough situation like what you faced, and how there are certain people who can really make the difference. Sounds like TAAG did a really great job with taking good care of you and your father! This trip will probably be one you'll remember for sometime.

I was trying to get down to Liberia, CR for my brother's wedding back in February of this year, and with a delay from MSP to Atlanta, it looked like we wouldn't make it down there for even the wedding! But, a really helpful customer service agent, was able to pull some strings and got us down the following day! Its those experiences that you remember, even if at the time, you can feel yourself getting pretty stressed out!

Looking forward to your next report! I'm excited to hear about Air Namibia ..

Matthew (767747)

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: airbuseric
Posted 2010-08-29 14:16:46 and read 29941 times.

Hi, MHTripple7!
Fantastic reading here. It's good so read so many positive stories on TAAG lately. This groundservice is definitely high-end! You won't get it often, and it fully depends on the groundcrew. One of my collegues is like her, she does everything possible to get satisfaction from the customer. TAAG can be proud with her.
Nice to read about your very professional assitance in LAD also!
I must say, aside from the delay, there seems nothing wrong with the airline. Delays happen everywhere, as you said already. You just had to be on that unlucky flight. btw, are you sending a letter to TAAG pointing out your very positive story, mentioning the name of the helpful staff etc? I think that would be highly appreciated at some point.

Looking forward to more reports...

Eric

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: JetBlue777
Posted 2010-08-29 17:14:52 and read 29314 times.

Nice trip report! It's nice to see airline employees going beyond their duties. It was also nice of TAAG that they placed the pax in a hotel, once, when AA canceled my mom's flight from BNA to LGA, all of the passengers didn't get anything. no hotel. no food vouchers. nothing. Luckily, it was a paid trip, so she checked-in in a hotel and she didn't spend a penny.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
A snack was served shortly after departure. I hadn’t had anything to eat in over 15 hours so I ate this in lightning speed and was still hungry after! I will say the cookie was really tasty, however.

At first I thought this was the only meal you got for the entire flight! lol

Once again, nice trip report. It's also a surprise that they have a good IFE.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: burj
Posted 2010-08-29 17:40:56 and read 29244 times.

Wow! Great TR! So glad you made it and that TAAG came through for you and your family!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: sw733
Posted 2010-08-29 20:01:13 and read 28918 times.

Excellent report! I have flown TAAG a few times (also LIS-LAD-WDH, and WDH-LAD-WDH roundtrips) and always found them fine...mostly friendly staff, and a lot better than most people make them out to be. I'm glad that you largely found this to be true!

Hope you enjoyed Namibia - the greatest country on Earth!  

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: Speedbird741
Posted 2010-08-29 21:23:15 and read 28728 times.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
732s and 743s from another time period

Believe it or not those were the days I enjoyed flying TAAG on the LIS-LAD-LIS runs! The days when if they had overbooked they would bring along another passenger who got to jumpseat for the whole flight! And frankly I did feel they had better service a few years back!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Well after over a month of waiting, our visas still had not yet been approved or denied and they seemed to be sitting in visa limbo on some bureaucrat’s desk doing nothing

The usual! Believe me you would have waited a hell of a lot more, and if you were Portuguese you could forget about it. Their usual drill is waiting for you to get tired of waiting to a point where you pass some money under the table...

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
As we arrived at Portela Airport in Lisboa, everything was complete chaos from this point on.

You should have tried the queue for the tax-free desk....Now that is pure chaos and it starts 2/3 before the LAD bound flights.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Apparently LIS has a curfew from midnight to 6 AM

I was once stuck for four hours in a TP A340 bound for LAD. The plane was supposed to leave at about 1130 pm, had a technical problem (which they thought would be fixed rapidly) and they were trying to get a special clearance to leave after 1am (which they got), and we ended up not leaving that night as they could not take care of the issue. We left the mid afternoon of the next day.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
They seemed surprised the aircraft had docked a jetway as they were all pointing at it and seemed confused about it

Just as I was after looking at that picture lol

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
we were flying to Luanda regardless of when this flight left

Highway to hell!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
but I can say TAAG completely dominates TAP in pretty much EVERY aspect.

Nah man, ain´t true. See you may have had a good experience with DT (delay aside), but the problem with them is how wildly inconsistent they are, you realy NEVER know what to expect, aside from a delay which is a must on TAAG. TP, from my experience not so much. And, above all, as far as the J cabin goes, TP has the upper hand (only, and ONLY in comparisson with TAAG), I have never tried DT Y though but I have heard some horrid things about it. Flying TAAG First instead of J is like flying Y+ instead of Y on BA for example. Very minor difference aside from the seat.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I don’t believe 7 hour delays are the norm for this airline

I do admit they are a little better today but up to about 3/4 years ago any TAAG frequent would be surprised with any delay under 1 hour. But still they have some major works ahead of them to improve their ontime performance.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
we were able to fly on TAAG by moving the flights to the end our trip and connecting onward to Windhoek, Namibia.

I hope you know how lucky you are for having gone to one of the most organized and civilized contries in Africa (IMHO), instead of spending two days in the worst traffic on earth and paying insanely overpriced meals, after all Luanda is the most expensive city in the world. Now, don´t get me wrong I love Luanda and Angola as a whole, it is my home country, but if you do not know that place from the inside out, it can turn out to be hell on earth...


Fantastic report mate!


Speedbird741

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: The777Man
Posted 2010-08-30 01:15:07 and read 28350 times.

Excellent report with very nice pictures! Welcome to the "I flew on TAAG"-club! Too bad your flight was delayed so much but amazing what some really nice agents can do to save the trip ! I hope that your return trip worked out better ? Will you write a report about it ? TAAG seems to have improved from when I flew with them. There was no functioning website then....

Great to see another Anetter trying TAAG!

The777Man

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: ba319-131
Posted 2010-08-30 01:36:45 and read 28301 times.

Excellent read!

A most inspirational read, really enjoyed, despite the stress of the whole thing!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
TAAG-Linhas Aéreas de Angola – What comes to mind when you think of this airline? It is probably one or more of the following:

A) Never heard of it
B) Sketchy African airline
C) Recent EU Ban
D) Has several brand-new Boeings with some more on order
E) Ronerone and The777Man both wrote excellent Trip Reports covering the airline

- Yep, E!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I knew before leaving for the airport our flight would be delayed since the incoming aircraft wasn’t supposed to land until 11:00 PM, which was our original departure time. Apparently the aircraft had some technical problems in LAD which was the reason for the delay. So, common sense has it that our flight would just depart at 1:00 AM or something which was not a huge inconvenience. Well, you can imagine my shock when the check-in screens listed 6:00 AM the next day as our departure time. “Oh Sh*t” was the first thought that came to mind.

- Bummer, never had a delay of anything like that!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
A snack was served shortly after departure. I hadn’t had anything to eat in over 15 hours so I ate this in lightning speed and was still hungry after!

- That's tiny coinsidering it's breakfast time.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
For lunch, the choice was between chicken and fish. Not really liking seafood at all, chicken was the obvious choice

- Now this looks a better meal.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
from under the wing of D2-TED I see a smiling TAAG agent running towards us, waving two boarding passes in her hand.

NO WAY! TAAG had actually checked us in for our AIR NAMIBIA flight!

- Now that is customer service, never seen anything like that before, very nice.

Rgds

Mark

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: LY777
Posted 2010-08-30 03:15:48 and read 28096 times.

Nice TR!
I love these mood lights...
Is the seating config 3-3-3 or 3-4-3?

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2010-08-30 04:12:22 and read 27967 times.

Great report, very entertaining - good to see you were able to go to Namibia in the end.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Facing our new departure time, we would have exactly 1 hour to connect in LAD IF the flight left on time. Arriving at the counter, we explained our situation to the agent. She told us she would check our bags to LAD only because she thought TAAG wouldn’t be able to transfer them properly to WDH. When we told her this would not work due to our short connection time in addition to not having Angolan visas, she replied by saying “What?! No visa?! It is not possible to transit through Luanda without a visa”. It was then that I proudly handed her the form from TIMATIC stating that a Transit Without Visa through Angola is possible. After more typing on her computer, she told us to go to TAAG’s ticket office and speak with a woman named Ms. Elga. Envisioning some evil lady who had earned her position through “connections” and was completely unqualified, it turned out this person was one of the most helpful ground staff I’ve ever encountered.

At the office, the TAAG staff told us they tried to get us on the TAP flight to LAD but it was full. They also told us our connection in LAD would be too short considering we would have to reclaim our baggage and such. They continued typing on their computer to find a solution.

Without much hope, we walked to the TAP ticket office to explore the possibility of returning back to the States ASAP and ditch the trip to Namibia. Well, TAP told us ALL flights to the U.S. were fully booked up until our original date of departure. I could not believe this was happening. Things were not looking good at all.

Wow, what a nighmare...

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Asking what would happen if we missed our connection in LAD, she replied by saying if you are in transit for over 24 hours you be deported back to LIS. Oh no… What have we gotten ourselves into?

Interesting. What do they do if all flights are full?

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
A snack was served shortly after departure. I hadn’t had anything to eat in over 15 hours so I ate this in lightning speed and was still hungry after! I will say the cookie was really tasty, however.

Was that all?

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
About 5 minutes later, we were on the bus to our Air Namibia 737-500.

Can we expect a report about this flight?


PH

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: lychemsa
Posted 2010-08-30 08:12:52 and read 27376 times.

Same happened to me in Lisbon with TAP. The Agents knew nothing but the Customer Service Agent was fantastic and saved us.

That breakfast is a bit of a joke. I would have thought they would serve a decent hot breakfast and just a snack before landing.

Do you need shots for Namibia?

Great report.Thanks.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: pacifique75
Posted 2010-08-30 08:21:57 and read 27357 times.

I really enjoyed reading your report MHTripple7! You were soooo lucky to have made your connection to WDH...
It is great to see the ground staff at LAD did all they could to assist you. They are actually not TAAG but a ground
handling company - Ghassist.
I have been to LAD many times but only as crew, so things work in a different way. However, we often hear passengers complaining about their airport experience once they get onboard.
I have never flown TAAG myself but I heard comments that they improved a lot in the past couple of years.
However, many companies will still not allow their staff to fly TAAG mainly due to safety concerns and ofcourse TAP
gains a lot from that...
Just like Speedbird741 points out, another big issue used to be reliability and punctuality and people wouldnt mind
paying a higher fare to fly TAP.
About Helga, their rep in LIS, she is a very professional person - I met her before. She used to be a purser and cabin
services trainer before she moved to Portugal to work at LIS.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2010-08-30 18:06:17 and read 26739 times.

Wow, thank you all for your comments!

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 1):
Excellent report. I bet your stomach was in a knot for hours. That was really awesome of DT to have that special service! Most of the times they say they will assist but never come through. Glad to know that DT cane through for you. How was Namibia and the Air Namibia flight?

Thanks globalflyer! Yes, during the whole flight I was pretty much panicking. Wish I could have spent more of my energy actually enjoying the flight! Honestly, I would've been surprised to see even the world's best carriers assist us as much as they did, so you can imagine how surprised I was when DT did this. Namibia was fantastic, however, I wish we had more time to spend there. It's a really nice country. The Air Namibia flight was great, although I was too exhausted to do a trip report but I can recap how the flight was in a reply to this thread if you want.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 2):
What a great report! Looks like you had a really eventful trip with TAAG. I'm always fascinated to read about people's experiences with flights; I think everyone can relate to being stuck in a tough situation like what you faced, and how there are certain people who can really make the difference. Sounds like TAAG did a really great job with taking good care of you and your father! This trip will probably be one you'll remember for sometime.

Yes I will definitely remember this one forever. The stress during this journey was really something else.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 2):
I was trying to get down to Liberia, CR for my brother's wedding back in February of this year, and with a delay from MSP to Atlanta, it looked like we wouldn't make it down there for even the wedding! But, a really helpful customer service agent, was able to pull some strings and got us down the following day! Its those experiences that you remember, even if at the time, you can feel yourself getting pretty stressed out!

Yes, very true! Things will screw up, but if an airline handles it extremely well, it really means a lot.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 2):
Looking forward to your next report! I'm excited to hear about Air Namibia ..

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pics from the SW flight. Although I will be posting one from my DT flight from WDH to LAD on a TAAG 73G.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):
Fantastic reading here. It's good so read so many positive stories on TAAG lately. This groundservice is definitely high-end! You won't get it often, and it fully depends on the groundcrew. One of my collegues is like her, she does everything possible to get satisfaction from the customer. TAAG can be proud with her.
Nice to read about your very professional assitance in LAD also!
I must say, aside from the delay, there seems nothing wrong with the airline. Delays happen everywhere, as you said already. You just had to be on that unlucky flight. btw, are you sending a letter to TAAG pointing out your very positive story, mentioning the name of the helpful staff etc? I think that would be highly appreciated at some point.

Thanks airbuseric! I would like to send a letter to DT, although I'm not really sure where to send it. I posted a link to my report on TAAG's facebook page so hopefully someone from TAAG will see it.

Quoting JetBlue777 (Reply 4):
Nice trip report! It's nice to see airline employees going beyond their duties. It was also nice of TAAG that they placed the pax in a hotel, once, when AA canceled my mom's flight from BNA to LGA, all of the passengers didn't get anything. no hotel. no food vouchers. nothing. Luckily, it was a paid trip, so she checked-in in a hotel and she didn't spend a penny.

Thanks JetBlue777! Yes, I despise AA. Nothing ever seems to go right when I fly them.

Quoting JetBlue777 (Reply 4):
At first I thought this was the only meal you got for the entire flight! lol

Once again, nice trip report. It's also a surprise that they have a good IFE.

Yeah, that would have been bad! And yes, I was very impressed with their IFE.

Quoting burj (Reply 5):
Wow! Great TR! So glad you made it and that TAAG came through for you and your family!

Thank you, and yes it was a pleasant surprise!

Quoting sw733 (Reply 6):
Excellent report! I have flown TAAG a few times (also LIS-LAD-WDH, and WDH-LAD-WDH roundtrips) and always found them fine...mostly friendly staff, and a lot better than most people make them out to be. I'm glad that you largely found this to be true!

Yes I do find it a little bizarre the airline has such a poor reputation. Everyone either laughed or worried when we told them we were flying DT.

Quoting sw733 (Reply 6):
Hope you enjoyed Namibia - the greatest country on Earth!

I definitely did! I want to got back and spend more time there! WDH is actually one of the cleanest cities I've ever been in, it was amazing.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):
Believe it or not those were the days I enjoyed flying TAAG on the LIS-LAD-LIS runs! The days when if they had overbooked they would bring along another passenger who got to jumpseat for the whole flight! And frankly I did feel they had better service a few years back!

Haha, I wouldn't mind being in a 777 jumpseat for a flight. I suppose those practices have stopped since their EU blacklisting though.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):
The usual! Believe me you would have waited a hell of a lot more, and if you were Portuguese you could forget about it. Their usual drill is waiting for you to get tired of waiting to a point where you pass some money under the table...

That's weird, I would have expected their offices in Portugal to be much more efficient. It was disappointing, but there was nothing we could really do about it.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):
I was once stuck for four hours in a TP A340 bound for LAD. The plane was supposed to leave at about 1130 pm, had a technical problem (which they thought would be fixed rapidly) and they were trying to get a special clearance to leave after 1am (which they got), and we ended up not leaving that night as they could not take care of the issue. We left the mid afternoon of the next day.

It's a shame they don't make exceptions for delays, but I suppose then you have flights constantly taking off in the middle of the night.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):
Just as I was after looking at that picture lol

Yes, I figured this wasn't the norm.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):
Nah man, ain´t true. See you may have had a good experience with DT (delay aside), but the problem with them is how wildly inconsistent they are, you realy NEVER know what to expect, aside from a delay which is a must on TAAG. TP, from my experience not so much. And, above all, as far as the J cabin goes, TP has the upper hand (only, and ONLY in comparisson with TAAG), I have never tried DT Y though but I have heard some horrid things about it. Flying TAAG First instead of J is like flying Y+ instead of Y on BA for example. Very minor difference aside from the seat.

I'm sure you are more knowledgeable on the subject than me, but compared to my flights with TAP (EWR-LIS-EWR), TAAG was better. But again those are just a few flights, so I trust your perspective.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):
I do admit they are a little better today but up to about 3/4 years ago any TAAG frequent would be surprised with any delay under 1 hour. But still they have some major works ahead of them to improve their ontime performance.

It's funny that TAAG continues to have ANY passengers considering their reputation!

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):
I hope you know how lucky you are for having gone to one of the most organized and civilized contries in Africa (IMHO), instead of spending two days in the worst traffic on earth and paying insanely overpriced meals, after all Luanda is the most expensive city in the world. Now, don´t get me wrong I love Luanda and Angola as a whole, it is my home country, but if you do not know that place from the inside out, it can turn out to be hell on earth...

So I hear! We had a guide and such set up, but obviously it didn't work out. Luanda is developing rapidly and I really wanted to see that. Maybe another time!

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):
Fantastic report mate!

Thank you!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 8):
Excellent report with very nice pictures! Welcome to the "I flew on TAAG"-club! Too bad your flight was delayed so much but amazing what some really nice agents can do to save the trip ! I hope that your return trip worked out better ? Will you write a report about it ? TAAG seems to have improved from when I flew with them. There was no functioning website then....

Your trip report was the one that perked my interest in TAAG. I have read it many times!

The return trip was without issues. All flights left an hour late though, but that was expected. I'll write a report on the WDH-LAD flight on TAAG's 73G which will have a bunch of pictures of the ramp in LAD.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
Excellent read!

A most inspirational read, really enjoyed, despite the stress of the whole thing!

Thank you, ba319-131!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- Bummer, never had a delay of anything like that!

Me either... except for cancelled flights of course. I suppose one could argue that the flight was only delayed 2 hours or so, but of course the curfew in LIS messed everything up.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- That's tiny coinsidering it's breakfast time.

Indeed!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- Now this looks a better meal.

Yes, it was very tasty.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- Now that is customer service, never seen anything like that before, very nice.

Yes, I was shocked to say the least.

Quoting LY777 (Reply 10):
Nice TR!
I love these mood lights...
Is the seating config 3-3-3 or 3-4-3?

Thanks, and TAAG's 777s are configured in a 3-4-3 configuration. However, it is 2-4-2 towards the back which is where we were sitting.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Wow, what a nighmare...

Oh yes! It was quite stressful.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Great report, very entertaining - good to see you were able to go to Namibia in the end.

Thanks!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Interesting. What do they do if all flights are full?

I'm not really sure but I was definitely thinking about that.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Was that all?

For breakfast, yes.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Can we expect a report about this flight?

I can post some details in a reply to this thread, but I didn't take any pictures. You can expect one from my DT flight from WDH to LAD.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 12):
Same happened to me in Lisbon with TAP. The Agents knew nothing but the Customer Service Agent was fantastic and saved us.

Very nice!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 12):
That breakfast is a bit of a joke. I would have thought they would serve a decent hot breakfast and just a snack before landing.

I agree, but I suppose the flight was catered to be an overnight flight so it kind of got messed up.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 12):
Do you need shots for Namibia?

Great report.Thanks

No you don't and thank you!

Quoting pacifique75 (Reply 13):
I really enjoyed reading your report MHTripple7! You were soooo lucky to have made your connection to WDH...
It is great to see the ground staff at LAD did all they could to assist you. They are actually not TAAG but a ground
handling company - Ghassist.
I have been to LAD many times but only as crew, so things work in a different way. However, we often hear passengers complaining about their airport experience once they get onboard.
I have never flown TAAG myself but I heard comments that they improved a lot in the past couple of years.
However, many companies will still not allow their staff to fly TAAG mainly due to safety concerns and ofcourse TAP
gains a lot from that...
Just like Speedbird741 points out, another big issue used to be reliability and punctuality and people wouldnt mind
paying a higher fare to fly TAP.
About Helga, their rep in LIS, she is a very professional person - I met her before. She used to be a purser and cabin
services trainer before she moved to Portugal to work at LIS.

Thank you! Do you happen to have Helga's contact info?

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: abrelosojos
Posted 2010-08-30 21:43:45 and read 26507 times.

What a fantastic trip report. And I think I know the woman in the picture   ... is her name Monica? Curious.

I can completely relate to the TAAG experience. And, to be honest, I am glad you got through LAD in one piece. It can be an extremely frustrating place ... just take the word from those of us who have actually been there. And, whatever you do, if you go back, PLEASE have the visa sponsorer be there at the airport. I know several people who have been "detained" by immigration despite having all the right paper work - next time you're transiting, notice left hand side of the immigration counters.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):

The usual! Believe me you would have waited a hell of a lot more, and if you were Portuguese you could forget about it. Their usual drill is waiting for you to get tired of waiting to a point where you pass some money under the table...

= He is right. Angolan visa is one of the few places where I've told a client that they fix it, or I am out of the project ... and a lot of money was at stake ... having said that, I have got my visa in 1 day in Washington DC, and 2 days in Delhi.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 7):

I hope you know how lucky you are for having gone to one of the most organized and civilized contries in Africa (IMHO), instead of spending two days in the worst traffic on earth and paying insanely overpriced meals, after all Luanda is the most expensive city in the world. Now, don´t get me wrong I love Luanda and Angola as a whole, it is my home country, but if you do not know that place from the inside out, it can turn out to be hell on earth...

= Haha. You speak very much like the rest of the expats in Angola ... and it is one of the few countries where the expat bitching is justified. I just paid USD 530 to stay @ Skyna - oh, and of course, the "amazing" USD 80 buffet lunch was totally worth it  .

Saludos and thanks for sharing. I really admire your reports.

Saludos,
A.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: The777Man
Posted 2010-08-31 01:23:25 and read 26382 times.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 14):
I'll write a report on the WDH-LAD flight on TAAG's 73G which will have a bunch of pictures of the ramp in LAD.

Great to hear that! Looking forward to that report very much!

The777Man

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: b737100
Posted 2010-08-31 02:50:52 and read 26277 times.

Wow! Well done! what a great TR. Glad it all worked out!

regards,

will

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: ronerone
Posted 2010-08-31 06:47:01 and read 26014 times.

Excellent report MHTripple7!

I am very glad you managed to do this trip, and thanks a million for quoting my TR   .. After all, you did not even need any advice, as it seemed that the Luanda staff were even more helpful in your experience than in mine! I stand by my word that my experience in LAD was a thousand times easier than many more reputable airports i have transited through.

I think from an 'airline' perspective, TAAG's 777's are a great experience and quite comparable with other airlines. However, from an 'aviator' perspective, you should give their 743 a try! You will find cracked window panels, squashed mosquitoes, and finger nail clippings but still, its a 743 and it's a must-try!

Looking back, i think it would have been more appropriate to fly TAAG's Economy Class to Lisbon as it seemed to have a more solid offering than J class (when compared to other airlines). Nevertheless, they really aren't so bad! If only they had 5th Freedom Rights between DXB and PEK, i would make them an airline i would fly more regularly!  


Thanks a lot for sharing this with us, and as The77Man mentioned, welcome to the 'I-flew-on-TAAG' Club!  


Cheers,
Roni

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: sw733
Posted 2010-08-31 06:49:58 and read 26013 times.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 18):
I think from an 'airline' perspective, TAAG's 777's are a great experience and quite comparable with other airlines. However, from an 'aviator' perspective, you should give their 743 a try! You will find cracked window panels, squashed mosquitoes, and finger nail clippings but still, its a 743 and it's a must-try!

I'll second this - it's disgusting! But quite a lot of fun. I remember they once subbed a 743 on LAD-WDH back in the mid-90s and I ended up on it because their normal a/c (forget what kind, 732 perhaps?) was broken down. Quite a lot of fun with a 737 load on a 747. That and I did the LAD-LIS-LAD route on the 743 a couple times...what a blast.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2010-08-31 07:44:10 and read 25932 times.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 14):
I can post some details in a reply to this thread, but I didn't take any pictures. You can expect one from my DT flight from WDH to LAD.

Alright. How was the service on Air Namibia?

Which kind of aircraft was used between WDH and LAD?


PH

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: akhmad
Posted 2010-08-31 08:18:38 and read 25896 times.

Hi MHTripple7,

Fantastic report! Truly entertaining! I like how you incorporate the airline's history into your motivation to fly with them and what a brilliant idea to minimize your belongings to only carry-ons.  

Thanks for all the efforts. I think that the picture of you and the TAAG agent is the highlight of your report.

Cheers,
Suryo

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: WhereToNext
Posted 2010-08-31 23:32:21 and read 25461 times.

Thanks for the great trip report, MHTripple7!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
hat?! No visa?! It is not possible to transit through Luanda without a visa”
Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
“My airline does not have through check-in!”
Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
We asked a TAAG agent if the flight was on-time and he told us it will leave at 6, but if it does not leave at 6 it will leave at 7

This is why I never get sick of reading a TAAG trip report. There always seems to be a we-have-a-problem-but-don't-worry-about-it motif to their service. Luckily, it looks like you had some very outgoing TAAG employees trying to assist you on your itinerary.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
NO WAY! TAAG had actually checked us in for our AIR NAMIBIA flight!

I'm really astounded by the quality of assistance that TAAG provided to you. Top notch service on the part of TAAG and a ray of hope to expand on in Angolan aviation.

Thanks for taking the time to write a TR on your journey and respond to our comments!

-Matt

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: JL418
Posted 2010-09-01 03:44:09 and read 25352 times.

What an adventure, thanks for sharing with us MHTripple7.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):

Because our experiences from this point on were so eventful and nerve-wrecking, I felt compelled to be more descriptive than my usual Trip Reports. If you find it too lengthy, then I apologize!

I don't know about other A.netters but for the longer a TR is, the better. And in your case it was really worth it. Keep them coming, please!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Downstairs in the lobby you could really tell how happy all of the TAAG passengers were to be up at 3:45 AM with their flight delayed 7 hours. The expression on everyone’s face was full of bliss, joy and happiness.

Oh, the irony!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
There were several little children on this flight who were pretty much destroying the interior of this 777. One of them took the IFE remote out of the seatback and began hitting things with it. What a brat! On the return flight, another kid was climbing around the seats and removing the “Fasten seat belt while seated” placards.

And of course the parents were nowhere to be seen, weren't they?I'd make them pay for the damages caused by their offspring.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
They ushered us into a bus, and we really didn’t know what would happen next. Then, from under the wing of D2-TED I see a smiling TAAG agent running towards us, waving two boarding passes in her hand.

That's Africa I believe. It can be way different from what we're used to, but Africans' empathy and willingness to help is unbeatable. I was once lost in Frankfurt, had to go to Main from Hahn but I boarded the wrong bus and ended up in the wrong place. No one willing to help, no one understood (or pretended to) my frantic questions, and I was running really late. Eventually a family from Sierra Leone helped me and basically escorted me to Main. And they didn't want anything as a reward. African empathy at its best I guess.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: sw733
Posted 2010-09-01 07:39:00 and read 25193 times.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 23):
That's Africa I believe. It can be way different from what we're used to, but Africans' empathy and willingness to help is unbeatable

As a born and raised African, I'll chime in on this...when Africans don't want to help, they will go out of their way NOT to! But when Africans DO want to help, you can't stop them!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: pacifique75
Posted 2010-09-01 11:26:10 and read 25075 times.

MHTripple7, I have sent you a PM

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: JL418
Posted 2010-09-01 12:47:14 and read 24999 times.

Quoting sw733 (Reply 24):

As a born and raised African, I'll chime in on this...when Africans don't want to help, they will go out of their way NOT to! But when Africans DO want to help, you can't stop them!

You must be right, but I feel like I've just found helpful Africans on my path!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2010-09-01 17:07:40 and read 24894 times.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
What a fantastic trip report. And I think I know the woman in the picture   ... is her name Monica? Curious.

Thanks abrelosojos! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get her name but if she was a really nice woman she is probably the same person. She remembered us when we were coming back through on the return trip, and seemed really happy to see us!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
I can completely relate to the TAAG experience. And, to be honest, I am glad you got through LAD in one piece. It can be an extremely frustrating place ... just take the word from those of us who have actually been there. And, whatever you do, if you go back, PLEASE have the visa sponsorer be there at the airport. I know several people who have been "detained" by immigration despite having all the right paper work - next time you're transiting, notice left hand side of the immigration counters.

Yes we were VERY lucky to have made it through. I can't even imagine what would have happened had we missed the flight.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
= He is right. Angolan visa is one of the few places where I've told a client that they fix it, or I am out of the project ... and a lot of money was at stake ... having said that, I have got my visa in 1 day in Washington DC, and 2 days in Delhi.

I fail understand why their visa requirements are SO strict. Invitation letter, bank statement, etc -- I mean really? I know that USA visa requirements are really strict so it's "wrong" for me to complain, but this is simply ridiculous!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
Saludos and thanks for sharing. I really admire your reports.

Thanks again, that means a lot coming from you.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 18):
Excellent report MHTripple7!

Thanks ronerone!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 18):
I am very glad you managed to do this trip, and thanks a million for quoting my TR   .. After all, you did not even need any advice, as it seemed that the Luanda staff were even more helpful in your experience than in mine! I stand by my word that my experience in LAD was a thousand times easier than many more reputable airports i have transited through.

No, your advice was extremely helpful. "Transito" came in handy in LIS, on the aircraft, and in LAD. In fact, I found a little "trick" to the transit in LAD that I'll go into more on my next report from WDH to LAD. So in a way, you are partly responsible for the success of my journey! But I do agree that LAD is a great airport to transit through. The fact the airport is not designed for transiting actually makes it easier if that makes any sense. You always get "VIP" treatment since you need an escort.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 18):
I think from an 'airline' perspective, TAAG's 777's are a great experience and quite comparable with other airlines. However, from an 'aviator' perspective, you should give their 743 a try! You will find cracked window panels, squashed mosquitoes, and finger nail clippings but still, its a 743 and it's a must-try!

I wouldn't mind flying their 743s except for the fact I've heard they routinely have lengthy mechanical delays. I'm sure it would be quite the experience though.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 18):
Looking back, i think it would have been more appropriate to fly TAAG's Economy Class to Lisbon as it seemed to have a more solid offering than J class (when compared to other airlines). Nevertheless, they really aren't so bad! If only they had 5th Freedom Rights between DXB and PEK, i would make them an airline i would fly more regularly!  

I always like to be in economy when I'm writing Trip Reports for some reason... I like getting shots from behind the wing. But I agree, TAAG isn't as bad as everyone makes the airline out to be. I can't believe they don't have 5th freedom on the DXB-PEK flight. That's just crazy since the flight is so long. Then again, this is TAAG we are dealing with.

Quoting b737100 (Reply 17):
Wow! Well done! what a great TR. Glad it all worked out!

Thank you very much, b737100! Yes it would have been a disaster had I been stuck in LAD.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
Alright. How was the service on Air Namibia?

Which kind of aircraft was used between WDH and LAD?

I found Air Namibia to be a great airline. The flight was SW 173 from LAD to WDH nonstop, and was operated by an ex-Air France Boeing 737-500. It left about 20 minutes late because boarding went extremely slowly, and the flight was completely full in all classes. The crew members were all young and very good-looking, and were also extremely friendly. We got a hot meal on the flight, which was a choice between beef or chicken. I chose the beef and it was quite tasty, especially considering we were flying out of LAD. Landing was smooth into WDH, and I saw a bunch of private jets plus an Air Zimbabwe 767 since SADC was taking place while we were in WDH.

On the return flight from WDH to LAD with TAAG, the aircraft was a Boeing 737-700 with winglets.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 21):
Fantastic report! Truly entertaining! I like how you incorporate the airline's history into your motivation to fly with them and what a brilliant idea to minimize your belongings to only carry-ons.

Thanks akhmad! Hehe yes I spent quite a bit of time making that introduction but it was fun. We were lucky we were able to store our bags so easily in LIS.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 21):
Thanks for all the efforts. I think that the picture of you and the TAAG agent is the highlight of your report.

Yes, I'm happy I was able to get a picture with her. I got a picture with the woman who helped us on the way back too. They were both more than happy to take a picture with me which was cool yet surprising.

Quoting WhereToNext (Reply 22):
Thanks for the great trip report, MHTripple7!

Thanks, WhereToNext.

Quoting WhereToNext (Reply 22):
This is why I never get sick of reading a TAAG trip report. There always seems to be a we-have-a-problem-but-don't-worry-about-it motif to their service. Luckily, it looks like you had some very outgoing TAAG employees trying to assist you on your itinerary.

Very true, and yes we got extremely lucky.

Quoting WhereToNext (Reply 22):
I'm really astounded by the quality of assistance that TAAG provided to you. Top notch service on the part of TAAG and a ray of hope to expand on in Angolan aviation.

Yes I was astounded as well! I would've loved to see my face when I saw the TAAG agent running with our boarding passes. It was seriously one of the more surprising and relieving moments of my life.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 23):
What an adventure, thanks for sharing with us MHTripple7.

No problem, JL418.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 23):
I don't know about other A.netters but for the longer a TR is, the better. And in your case it was really worth it. Keep them coming, please!

I usually prefer shorter TRs that get right to the point, however, I think I'm in the minority there. Thanks though, and look out for my WDH-LAD report.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 23):
Oh, the irony!

Indeed! Although to their credit, the other TAAG passengers did handle the delay extremely well.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 23):
And of course the parents were nowhere to be seen, weren't they?I'd make them pay for the damages caused by their offspring.

Haha - you are correct. It was unbelievable.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 23):
That's Africa I believe. It can be way different from what we're used to, but Africans' empathy and willingness to help is unbeatable. I was once lost in Frankfurt, had to go to Main from Hahn but I boarded the wrong bus and ended up in the wrong place. No one willing to help, no one understood (or pretended to) my frantic questions, and I was running really late. Eventually a family from Sierra Leone helped me and basically escorted me to Main. And they didn't want anything as a reward. African empathy at its best I guess.

Wow, that's a nice experience. I've found Africans as a whole to be extremely helpful or extremely unhelpful.

Quoting sw733 (Reply 24):
As a born and raised African, I'll chime in on this...when Africans don't want to help, they will go out of their way NOT to! But when Africans DO want to help, you can't stop them!

YES. From my limited experiences, this the case exactly.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: TUNisia
Posted 2010-09-01 20:24:51 and read 24760 times.

Hands down this TR was the best I've read in a long while. It wasn't boring with mundane statistics, bloviating about nonsense, and numbering schemes that put you to sleep. Your TR felt like it had a plot and was going somewhere and it was full of human emotion!

Also, truly wonderful pictures which made you feel as if we were there with you.

Please continue to share more of your travels with us all!

THANK YOU!

-TUNisia

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2010-09-03 19:16:59 and read 24346 times.

Quoting TUNisia (Reply 28):
Hands down this TR was the best I've read in a long while. It wasn't boring with mundane statistics, bloviating about nonsense, and numbering schemes that put you to sleep. Your TR felt like it had a plot and was going somewhere and it was full of human emotion!

Also, truly wonderful pictures which made you feel as if we were there with you.

Please continue to share more of your travels with us all!

THANK YOU!

Thanks a lot, TUNisia! Yes I tried to make it as interesting as possible.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: Severnaya
Posted 2010-09-04 10:29:37 and read 24104 times.

Hi MHTripple, thanks for posting this very interesting trip report.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
We asked a TAAG agent if the flight was on-time and he told us it will leave at 6, but if it does not leave at 6 it will leave at 7. Ah, how reassuring. Not.

Haha, those kind of replies really help you when you're nervous  

What a great way the TAAG ground crew handled your 'transito'!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2010-09-06 04:48:16 and read 23741 times.

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 30):
Hi MHTripple, thanks for posting this very interesting trip report.

No problem, and thank you!

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 30):
Haha, those kind of replies really help you when you're nervous

Oh yes it was quite calming indeed. It was weird the guy said that though, because there was absolutely no reason for the plane not to leave at 6. They had roughly 7 hours to turn the aircraft around!

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 30):
What a great way the TAAG ground crew handled your 'transito'!

Yes, I would say they redeemed themselves nicely.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: ronerone
Posted 2010-09-06 05:06:14 and read 23718 times.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 27):
No, your advice was extremely helpful. "Transito" came in handy in LIS, on the aircraft, and in LAD. In fact, I found a little "trick" to the transit in LAD that I'll go into more on my next report from WDH to LAD. So in a way, you are partly responsible for the success of my journey!

I am glad i could help  

I am also quite looking forward to your Air Namibia portion too. Another airline that struck my attention!

Cheers,
Roni

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: sidneys
Posted 2010-09-08 01:06:03 and read 23327 times.

Excellent report!
We will continue to improve TAAG services, try to make a difference, and continue our pattern of improvement to do our job the best way we can.
This ladies that I see as ground crew service are TAAG employees, not Ghassist's.
...Mostly friendly staff, and a lot better than most people make them out to be. I'm glad that you largely found this to be true! as "sw733" said, and that's how we want to be...
Thank you all for the very good comments. We will keep up our good job and improve the safety standards of our company to make it one of your options for travel in the near future.
Thank's for the report.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2010-09-08 18:33:59 and read 22969 times.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 32):
I am also quite looking forward to your Air Namibia portion too. Another airline that struck my attention!

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the Air Namibia flight. I'm now really mad at myself, but I was seated in the last row in a center seat, so it wasn't really possible to get any good views of anything. I have nothing but good things to say about Air Namibia though! If you want more extensive details, just let me know. Really sorry about not getting the pictures!

Quoting sidneys (Reply 33):
Excellent report!
We will continue to improve TAAG services, try to make a difference, and continue our pattern of improvement to do our job the best way we can.
This ladies that I see as ground crew service are TAAG employees, not Ghassist's.
...Mostly friendly staff, and a lot better than most people make them out to be. I'm glad that you largely found this to be true! as "sw733" said, and that's how we want to be...
Thank you all for the very good comments. We will keep up our good job and improve the safety standards of our company to make it one of your options for travel in the near future.
Thank's for the report.

Hi, sidneys! Nice to hear from someone in Angola.

I agree about the TAAG ground staff in LAD, they were definitely very friendly despite their rather poor English skills. Your profile says you work for SonAir, but do you also have an affiliation with TAAG? If so, please keep up the good work!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: linglesou
Posted 2011-04-22 08:46:29 and read 17267 times.

Quoting TUNisia (Reply 28):
Hands down this TR was the best I've read in a long while. It wasn't boring with mundane statistics, bloviating about nonsense, and numbering schemes that put you to sleep. Your TR felt like it had a plot and was going somewhere and it was full of human emotion!

Also, truly wonderful pictures which made you feel as if we were there with you.

Please continue to share more of your travels with us all!

THANK YOU!

"

  

Yeah yeah I know say something original but that is pretty well exactly what I wanted to say! So well written and yeah, one of the, if not the best, TR's I've ever read!

Keep up the good work, mate!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2011-04-24 10:41:37 and read 16084 times.

Quoting linglesou (Reply 35):
Yeah yeah I know say something original but that is pretty well exactly what I wanted to say! So well written and yeah, one of the, if not the best, TR's I've ever read!

Keep up the good work, mate!

Thank you! I did put a significant amount of effort into this TR, so it's nice to hear that.


The messages in this discussion express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of Airliners.net or any entity associated with Airliners.net.

Copyright © Lundgren Aerospace. All rights reserved.
http://www.airliners.net/