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Topic: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-11-07 19:02:31 and read 26765 times.



Introduction:


This is not my first time around the block with TAAG Angola Airlines. Exactly two years ago I flew this same route on this same airline, and it was quite the experience. Probably one of the more stressful ordeals of my life, which begs the following question: Why the HELL would I do it again?! I am truthfully still trying to pinpoint my exact desire for this, and I hope this report will provide insight for both me and you.

Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 29 2010 in Trip Reports)

Angola is not a popular tourist destination for a variety of reasons, one of them being an insane visa application process. I know I’m American so everyone will yell at me for complaining, but I’ve never seen anything like it. Invitation letter (notarized in Angola and written in Portuguese), bank statements, proof of yellow fever vaccination, a passport photo wearing a dress-shirt and tie (no joke), and finally the actual application form are the plethora of requirements for an Angolan visa. I think this “exclusivity” made Angola more appealing to me. You always want what you can’t have right? You think I’m crazy yet?

When I flew TAAG in 2010, as described in the trip report linked above, I did not actually enter Angola. I had tried to get a visa, but had failed miserably after the Angolan embassy in Washington D.C. simply never processed my visa application. After the aforementioned TAAG experience, a feeling of unfulfillment continued to linger. I couldn’t exactly figure out why at first, but I eventually realized that this was the result of my failure to actually stay in Angola. I had the biggest desire to visit this place and I had no idea why!

TAAG Virtual:


As a fan of Microsoft Flight Simulator, virtual airlines (yes, they exist), and TAAG; I was obviously on the lookout for a virtual airline for TAAG. I found what I was looking for in late 2009, shortly after real-world TAAG was removed from the EU Blacklist, and joined immediately! It is called AVAGroup – Angolan Virtual Airliners Group, which consists of both TAAG Angola Virtual and SonAir Virtual (www.flyavagroup.com).

Shortly after joining, the TAAG Virtual CEO sent me an e-mail expressing how surprised he was to see an American showing an interest in TAAG Virtual and Angolan aviation. He apologized that his website was only in Portuguese, but said that I was more than welcome to fly for them.

His name is Nuno Sousa, and I discovered that he actually lived in Daytona Beach where he was studying aviation management. I began making YouTube videos for TAAG Virtual, which helped them out a bit at this annual international business fair in Luanda called FILDA (Feira Internacional de Luanda). They have a pretty cool stand at FILDA, where they set up a decked-out flight simulator for everyone to try out. Nuno and I talked on Facebook from time to time, which was great as I got to learn about Angola and TAAG from an Angolan’s point of view. It was refreshing to hear a positive outlook on matters in Angola, which was a far cry to what I’m accustomed to hearing about Africa here in the States. I finally had the opportunity to meet Nuno and his two friends Nelson and Neila for lunch one time in Orlando, which was an awesome experience.

TAAG Virtual has a private Facebook group for its pilots, which I am obviously a member of! It is in this Facebook group that pictures and statuses are posted about tons of different things – Flight Simulator, Real-Life Flying, TAAG Virtual events & gatherings, and just your average day-to-day Facebook nonsense. I’ve been taught my whole life that “strangers” on the internet are automatically pedophiles or kidnappers. But my gut knew that this was far from the truth. These people were really cool guys who loved aviation just like me!

Enough was enough. I needed to go Angola.

I chatted Nuno on Facebook and asked if there was any way I could travel to Luanda and visit them. He was extraordinarily generous, told me I am always welcome to Angola, and that I could even stay in house. This was too good to be true.

I promptly booked my flights.

But there was still that dang visa.

Nuno was confident I could get it. He suggested that instead of sending the application to the Angolan embassy in Washington D.C. (probably one of the most useless buildings in the U.S.), I send it to the Angolan consulate in Houston. We guessed they’d be much better at processing visas in a timely manner than Washington (oil industry). Plus, Nuno knows people in the consulate! After getting a yellow fever vaccination and the invitation letter from Nuno, I sent away my documents to Houston without much confidence at all.

Well, you can imagine my surprise upon receiving the “documents processed” e-mail from Travisa. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe this. And it only took 5 days! Pretty sure I just got accepted to college or gained admittance to an exclusive country club. I was set. I was actually going to Angola. Wow.

Lisbon (LIS):


Having just arrived from MIA on a TAP A330, I just needed to re-clear security. I had checked-in online the day before at my house in TPA for my TAAG flight, which went seamlessly.



LIS is not well-designed for transiting. There was no one at the transfer desks by immigration, so I tried to follow the transit signs to the international departures area. The signage led me up a staircase, where there were hoards of passengers walking in the opposite direction. That couldn’t be right. I had a lot of time, so I decided to just try it. I ended up walking through this very long hallway, which finally opened up into this small security checkpoint. I told them “I’m going to Luanda”, to which they responded “Yes Luanda, right this way”. I cleared this security checkpoint, and was in the deserted international departures area. What a weird experience, but hey, it worked!



I went to the bathroom to try and clean myself up. I changed clothes, brushed my teeth, and washed my face. I felt much better after that.

The TAAG flight from LAD arrived 20 minutes early, and the 77W could be seen parked at a remote stand. TAAG’s striking color scheme definitely stands out among the dozens of Euro-white aircrafts. Additionally, I was surprised to see the mysterious CEIBA Intercontinental 77L parked at LIS. Some of rarest 777s at the same airport!









I had a lot of time to spare, so I decided to get breakfast at this restaurant called “First Class Café”. I had a pretty good ham and cheese sandwich with coffee. I needed to be energized for my upcoming flight!

After some spotting and walking around, I decided to plop myself down at our gate. I wanted to let the anticipation build inside me.

TAAG Angola Airlines flight DT 651:






Think Emirates A380, BA London City Premium Service, or SQ's Newark flight, this is TAAG's version of a flagship route. In TAAG's world, this is the perfect flight offering the full-on service to its full potential.
-Ronerone


Transito!: A Connection On TAAG-Angola (B743/B772) (by ronerone Jul 31 2010 in Trip Reports)

Nothing could better describe this flight than the above quote. LAD-LIS-LAD is extremely important to TAAG’s operation, and the airline will do anything in its power to make sure this flight always goes without any problems. TAAG operates newer, nicer, and bigger planes than competitor TAP; this flight is about showing the best of Angola and TAAG to the western world and its former colonial power.

The gate area slowly began to fill up. I had never been around such a passenger mix. The majority of the passenger demographics appeared to be younger Angolans – incredibly fashionable, youthful, and friendly looking. Then there were the old Angolan men, who truthfully looked rather angry and intimidating. And then lastly there were the Portuguese going to Luanda for whatever reason – be it work or visiting family. Oh, and there was me of course! The lone blonde-haired American on this flight. Boy was I sticking out!

Date: 11 August 2012
Airline: TAAG Angola Airlines
Flight: DT 651
Aircraft: Boeing 777-3M2/ER
Aircraft Reg: D2-TEH
Departure City: Lisbon, Portugal
Departure Airport: Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS / LPPT)
Arrival City: Luanda, Angola
Arrival Airport: Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport (LAD / FNLU)
Scheduled Departure Time: 11:00 AM
Actual Departure Time: 11:07 AM (7 minutes late, from stand)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 6:30 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 6:17 PM (13 minutes early, on stand)
Class: Economy
Estimated Load Factor: 80%

Boarding was called exactly an hour before departure at 10 AM. I walked up to the gate agent and presented my boarding pass. He checked my visa and for some reason asked to see my ticket. I handed him my ticket, which he seem satisfied with. Then, he scanned my boarding pass, tore it in half, and gave it back to me.

Since this was a bus gate, I took the escalator downstairs. Once downstairs, I began walking to the doors of the bus. Out of nowhere, this guy grabbed my carry-on and took it. WTF. I turned around and he was picking it up. He mumbled something “Too Heavy”. I tried to protest, but this guy was having none of it and was only speaking Portuguese. He tagged my bag to LAD with a handwritten bag tag and sent it away.

This frustrated me as I HATE checking bags. The manner this guy did it was also rather unpleasant. I know my bag was within the limits because I just took everything on an AA 737-800 and a TAP A330-200. The 777 cabin has much more space than both of these planes!

Anyways, I put that behind me and got on the bus. Again, the drive to the aircraft was a long one. Arriving at the mighty 777-300ER, registered D2-TEH, I took in the scene and snapped a picture. Obviously some guy had to yell at me for taking the photo but whatever, he will get over it. I’m not a terrorist.



We boarded from the rear air stairs, where a TAAG flight attendant greeted and directed me to my seat. Manufactured and delivered new to TAAG in 2011, not only was D2-TEH’s cabin modern, clean, and very aesthetically pleasing, but it was incredibly comfortable. TAAG is the only airline in the world to have switched FROM a 3-4-3 configuration to a 3-3-3 configuration on their 777s. Pitch was very generous at 34 inches.







Angolan music was played during boarding, occasionally interrupted by a recorded announcement asking passengers to stow their bags and make sure their seatbelts are fastened. Like my prior TAAG flights, boarding was incredibly slow. Angolans are never in a rush to go anywhere!







At 11:01 AM, exactly 1 minute after the scheduled departure time, boarding was completed and the doors were closed. The First Officer came over the P/A saying “Welcome about this TAAG Triple Seven with nonstop service to Luanda”. He then proceeded to give us extensive details about our route and thanked us for flying TAAG. His English was extremely good.

Pushback commenced at 11:07, 7 minutes late, followed shortly by a safety video. The flight attendants followed along, pointing out the exits and the safety card. Then came the 777 engine start which was very loud and exhilarating.

We taxied to runway 03 where we held short of the runway where the captain announced over the P/A “Cabin crew, prepare for takeoff please”. We taxied into position and waited for an Orbest A330 to land on intersecting runway 35. I had no clue they landed widebodies on that runway.



Takeoff power was applied, and the roar of the GE-90s was like nothing else I’ve ever heard (except on other 777s of course).









Shortly after our powerful takeoff, the purser introduced herself over the P/A and explained the in-flight service. We were to be served lunch first and then an afternoon snack before landing in LAD. Additionally, there were to be duty free items for sale on this flight.

Like most foreign airlines, the seat belt sign was switched off at 10,000 feet.



Our climb was relatively quick. The 777 was definitely louder than the A330 I just flew on, but for some reason the noise didn’t bother me at all.



I was beginning to get rather hungry, so I was relieved when the cabin crew began the meal service promptly after reaching our cruise altitude. It was a choice between beef and fish (classic), with me choosing the former. TAAG also gave passengers the entire “mini” wine bottle, unlike TAP. Alcohol was free and flowing generously.



I thought the meal was pretty good. In terms of taste, it was above average compared to other Y class meals I’ve had. They gave us a toothpick and a moist “towel” in the silverware packet. This was nice because I always feel like my hands are disgusting after boarding and sitting in an airplane. Also, the butter wasn’t extraordinarily hard like it usually is on flights!

They came around again after the meal offering drink refills and coffee.

I began to explore the IFE system, which I thought was a disappointment. The system interface was fantastic with fast response times and all, but the movie choices were pretty terrible. There were less than 10 choices, most of them being movies I have never heard of. Come on, if you have a nice system, you might as well use it right!

I ended up watching some sub-par movie about fishing in Yemen, but the in-flight map was to be my main source of entertainment. After lunch the purser announced that duty free sales were now open, and the mood lighting was activated.





I napped a little throughout the flight, watched some other sub-par movie, and listened to music. I still couldn’t believe how comfortable this seat was; I was able to doze off while sitting straight up in the seat, which is usually impossible for me.



Roughly 2 hours before arrival into LAD, an afternoon snack was served. I was very impressed with the quantity, especially considering this was less than a 7 hour flight.



The cabin crew on this flight was a bit of a let-down. They did their jobs, responded to call buttons, but really didn’t seem happy to be on board. They rarely smiled or anything.

But then right before descending, a flight attendant came to my row and asked “Are you Will?” I was a little confused and told him “Yeah that’s me!” to which he responded by saying “You’re the flight guy! My name is Ednei and I have your profile on Facebook. It’s very nice to meet you in person.”

That was really cool, and definitely left me with a better feeling about this flight. Stuff like that doesn’t happen too often!



Getting close!







Descent into Luanda began just as the sun was starting to set. Luanda is usually cloudy this time of year, and today was no exception.





ANGOLA SIX-FIVE-ONE, cleared to land runway TWO-THREE.



Final approach was incredibly smooth followed by a very soft touchdown on runway 23.









We landed at 6:05 PM and coasted all the way to the end of the runway where we turned around and back tracked to taxiway E. Taxi to the ramp was very slow, where we parked at the stand furthest away from the terminal at 6:17 PM (13 minutes early).

Luanda (LAD):


I was incredibly nervous about clearing immigration in Luanda. I know that sometimes they detain people if they are suspicious of your intentions in Angola. I’m pretty sure they NEVER get American visitors who aren’t traveling to Angola for work, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

As I exited the bus at the arrivals terminal, all of a sudden I hear “Hey Will!” Startled, I turn to see Nuno’s friend Nelson (he works in flight operation for TAAG) waving to me. I went over where we shook hands and hugged, and he proceeded to make sure I got through immigration without problems. We then went to baggage claim where it took 30 minutes for my bag to come out. Next, we cleared customs successfully and I was officially in Angola. I DID IT. This wasn’t real.

Nuno was waiting for me outside the secured area, where he was very excited to greet me with a “Welcome to Africa!”

Conclusion:


TAAG did well this time around. Their hard product is competitive with the world’s premier airlines (seats, IFE, mood lighting, and food). The flight arrived early into LAD, which was a first for me with TAAG. Safety seemed to be taken seriously, which I was pleased to see. From those perspectives, TAAG is easily amongst the best in Africa. Where they still need to improve, however, is with their cabin crew. For the most part, the flight attendants were not the most pleasant to interact with. They didn’t seem too comfortable with English, which was probably a factor in the disappointing service. But I know TAAG has significant expansion plans beyond Lusophone countries, so they’ve got to improve their English if they want to succeed. The younger crew members were noticeably better and friendlier than the older, and my nice encounter with one of the flight attendants definitely “saved the day” and left me with a better impression than I would’ve had otherwise. I’d recommend TAAG to a “regular” traveler if the price was right and they cared more about hard product than cabin service. To any aviation enthusiast, it’s definitely worth the experience!

Continued Below

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-11-07 19:04:02 and read 27129 times.

Angola:


Friends and family members were at large extremely concerned about my trip to Angola. Americans really don’t know much about Africa, and people seriously thought my safety was at grave risk. A 19 year-old white American kid traveling to Africa by himself to stay with a guy he’s met once sounds incredibly sketchy to most people. I am not crazy, I realize my trip was “out there”, but my gut was telling me that I HAD to go and I am so glad I did.

I can confidently say that my experience in Angola was one that no other American has had, nor one that another other American will have. Putting your full trust in someone you don’t really know can be a risky move, but its payouts can be incredibly rewarding. I was able to completely immerse myself in the unique Angolan culture, and feel I have grown significantly as a result of this trip. One of the most important lessons I’ve taken away: do not stress about things you can’t control. There were multiple stressful and desperate situations (visa process, flying domestically, having my camera confiscated by the police, etc) where I felt I was in way over my head. I wanted more than anything to take control of the situation and fix the problem myself. But that was simply impossible; the situation was very much out of my control, and I just sat there worried and stressed. About halfway through the trip, I realized this stress was unwarranted. It made no sense to lose energy over something I simply couldn’t change. I had to relax and just hang on for the ride.

This trip wasn’t intended to be a sightseeing vacation. I wanted to learn what it means to be Angolan, and essentially discover a culture I knew next to nothing about. Traveling for me is about meeting people and building relationships more than anything else. Angola satisfied this aspect to its fullest extent. I met some truly great people, and despite the language barrier, feel that I became really close with many of them. Looking back on this trip, the memories of just hanging around with the TAAG Virtual guys and simply taking in the local culture are the ones that truly stick out. Angola is not for everyone by any means; it can be very stressful and frustrating. However, if you the adventurous type and happen to have an Angolan friend, I would definitely recommend the trip. It’s a truly unique place. And with that, I will leave you all off with some pictures from my trip.

Lubango:





Nuno:



























View of the airport from Nuno’s house:



Bairro Cassenda neighborhood:





















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Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: Speedbird741
Posted 2012-11-07 19:46:51 and read 26813 times.

Will,

Thanks for the report! Great job as always. I am glad you enjoyed Angola and got to go to other cities beyond Luanda. I see you also got to know the new Marginal which is quite beautiful. You missed the FILDA by a few days, which is a pity, as the TAAG stand was quite nice and that simulator sure was popular. I am bit surprised that you posted no pictures of Mussulo. It is a must for any person visiting Angola and I do hope your friends take you there (or took you there). If not, I'll invite you next time for a proper tour of the country as we seem to be around the same places - Florida, Portugal, and Angola!

I got to fly TEG and TEH this summer and I must confess those birds are lovely to fly on. If only the bloody service got some improvements! See my Youtube channel for some videos I shot, which you might enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=700ZdF7Hjos&feature=channel&list=UL

Cheers =)

[Edited 2012-11-07 19:47:45]

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: ATLFlyer323
Posted 2012-11-07 20:11:21 and read 26790 times.

Awesome report! Their 77W is a real beauty, and you had some great photos of Angola too! I always like it when people include some personal photos. Glad to see you had a good time.

-Brandon

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: thegivenone
Posted 2012-11-07 22:33:24 and read 26786 times.

Fantastic report! I enjoyed every bit of it. The uniqueness of the route, the pictures from Angola and the amazing backstory. It is one that will lie close to the hearts of many people in this community: flying half way around the world to a new country to meet up with fellow aviation enthusiasts.

I admire your openness to culture and exploration. And I am also happy you ignored all the concerns people had before your trip. I live by similar principles to those you discussed. I believe in trusting people.

Good stuff.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: AirAfreak
Posted 2012-11-08 00:45:51 and read 26784 times.

Very well done and very nice to see you have an open mind for Africa!!!

I agree with you how sometimes, the media tends to over-sensationalize a situation (good or bad) which in turn discourages travel to such destinations as Luanda. Well done and bravo!

I hope you were able to earn valuable miles for your flight to Luanda!

Bon voyage,

AirAfreak

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: lychemsa
Posted 2012-11-08 02:18:04 and read 26786 times.

Seems like a great airline.

How was TAP from Miami?

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-11-08 02:25:15 and read 26787 times.

Very nice report Will - it's great that you were abel to get to Angloa with such ease and then meet up with some great people!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):

I began to explore the IFE system, which I thought was a disappointment. The system interface was fantastic with fast response times and all, but the movie choices were pretty terrible. There were less than 10 choices, most of them being movies I have never heard of. Come on, if you have a nice system, you might as well use it right!

It's the same on AI 787's. Lovely system, but there's nothing to watch. They don't even have any TV to watch (no Simpsons etc). BTW, I quite like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
But then right before descending, a flight attendant came to my row and asked “Are you Will?” I was a little confused and told him “Yeah that’s me!” to which he responded by saying “You’re the flight guy! My name is Ednei and I have your profile on Facebook. It’s very nice to meet you in person.”

Shame they didn't contact you earlier....you might have been able to do a tour of the plane or somthing?

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: globalflyer
Posted 2012-11-08 06:57:04 and read 26783 times.

HI Will. Great Trip Report and I am so glad that this one carried on without a hitch (except of course the cabin baggage). How cool was it for a F/A to know you from Facebook. It just goes to show how small the world really is! The pictures were incredible. I am very happy for you! Cheers, Will

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: mikeology
Posted 2012-11-08 08:45:43 and read 26778 times.

Hey will,

Great report on a seldomly covered destination. And I must say TAAG has one of the best liveries on a 777. Love it.

Would you reccomend Luanda to other Americans to visit? Good food & drinks?

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: CaptainRed
Posted 2012-11-08 10:50:51 and read 26782 times.

Hi Will,

what a great report, really enjoyed it a lot. Ever since I saw the TAAG 777 last year in LIS I was quite interested about them, so good to read something about their flagship flight. Actually service seemed to be quite decent, especially the food they served.

And of course great of you to visit Angola, certainly not a usual or easy travel destination. Well done to dismiss all the concerns from other people. And great from your friends to invite you and show you around, in Africa in general everything is much easier when you have someone local to help you, who know how things are going, but I am sure you have experienced that yourself.

Thanks a lot again for this report (and for the nice pictures as well)
CaptainRed

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-11-08 14:54:58 and read 26793 times.

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone, it means a lot!

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 2):
Thanks for the report! Great job as always. I am glad you enjoyed Angola and got to go to other cities beyond Luanda. I see you also got to know the new Marginal which is quite beautiful. You missed the FILDA by a few days, which is a pity, as the TAAG stand was quite nice and that simulator sure was popular. I am bit surprised that you posted no pictures of Mussulo. It is a must for any person visiting Angola and I do hope your friends take you there (or took you there). If not, I'll invite you next time for a proper tour of the country as we seem to be around the same places - Florida, Portugal, and Angola!

Hi Speedbird741! Nice to hear from you. Yes the new Marginal looked great, however, I just missed its official opening unfortunately. Much nicer than what was there before! I know, I wish I could have been there for FILDA, but work constraints back home prevented me from going then. Didn't get a change to visit Mussulo, it was a very quick trip and we didn't have the time sadly. A boat is required to get there, correct? Yes, we must meet up some time!

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 2):
I got to fly TEG and TEH this summer and I must confess those birds are lovely to fly on. If only the bloody service got some improvements! See my Youtube channel for some videos I shot, which you might enjoy.

I have actually seen your videos before. I had no clue it was you! Beautiful footage.

Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 3):

Awesome report! Their 77W is a real beauty, and you had some great photos of Angola too! I always like it when people include some personal photos. Glad to see you had a good time.

Hey ATLFlyer323! Yes, TAAG's planes look great. I am glad you liked the photos of Angola!

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 4):
Fantastic report! I enjoyed every bit of it. The uniqueness of the route, the pictures from Angola and the amazing backstory. It is one that will lie close to the hearts of many people in this community: flying half way around the world to a new country to meet up with fellow aviation enthusiasts.

Thanks, thegivenone. I really appreciate it.

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 4):
I admire your openness to culture and exploration. And I am also happy you ignored all the concerns people had before your trip. I live by similar principles to those you discussed. I believe in trusting people.

Thanks. I like to think that it's a better way to live my life. But it's hard at times when people repeatedly tell me how crazy and reckless I am. Oh well!

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 5):
Very well done and very nice to see you have an open mind for Africa!!!

Thank AirAfreak!

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 5):
I agree with you how sometimes, the media tends to over-sensationalize a situation (good or bad) which in turn discourages travel to such destinations as Luanda. Well done and bravo!

Yeah, and this has resulted in many people grouping Africa as one holistic place, leading them to ignore that it's made of up many entirely different countries.

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 5):
I hope you were able to earn valuable miles for your flight to Luanda!

I got UA miles on TAP thankfully. TAAG, however, does not have frequent flyer agreements with any other airlines now... Maybe in the future!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6):

Seems like a great airline.

How was TAP from Miami?

Thank lychemsa! TAP from MIA was great. Here's the TR I wrote about that flight:

TAP Portugal A330-200 Miami-Lisbon In Y (by MHTripple7 Aug 19 2012 in Trip Reports)

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 7):
Very nice report Will - it's great that you were abel to get to Angloa with such ease and then meet up with some great people!

Thank you gabrielchew. Yes, it all worked out in the end (thank god). It was an awesome experience.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 7):
It's the same on AI 787's. Lovely system, but there's nothing to watch. They don't even have any TV to watch (no Simpsons etc). BTW, I quite like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen!

Doesn't seem to be too uncommon on new IFE systems. Wonder why?

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 7):
Shame they didn't contact you earlier....you might have been able to do a tour of the plane or somthing?

I know that would've been so cool. Next time maybe!

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 8):

HI Will. Great Trip Report and I am so glad that this one carried on without a hitch (except of course the cabin baggage). How cool was it for a F/A to know you from Facebook. It just goes to show how small the world really is! The pictures were incredible. I am very happy for you! Cheers, Will

Glad you enjoyed, globalflyer! Yes, TAAG was very reliable this time, which I must admit was a pleasant surprise. I know, I was stunned when he knew who I was! Pretty cool for sure.

Quoting mikeology (Reply 9):

Hey will,

Great report on a seldomly covered destination. And I must say TAAG has one of the best liveries on a 777. Love it.

Would you reccomend Luanda to other Americans to visit? Good food & drinks?

Thanks for stopping by, mikeology! Luanda is a tricky city to visit. I would not recommend going there on your own without knowing anyone that lives in the city or having a guide take you around. Angola really isn't set up for English-speaking tourists at this point, but I think they are trying to change that. Additionally, the visa process is truly outrageous. With that said, if you have someone that can take you around the city to local beaches, restaurants, and events, I would definitely definitely recommend the trip if you enjoy going off the "beaten path". Angolans are really cool people for the most part -- love to party and dance! If you can overlook the price, food & drinks are great, and there are some very cool restaurants.

Also, other parts of Angola are truly beautiful. Benguela has some excellent beaches and very pretty women I've heard. Lubango is also a nice city with some great lodges.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 10):
what a great report, really enjoyed it a lot. Ever since I saw the TAAG 777 last year in LIS I was quite interested about them, so good to read something about their flagship flight. Actually service seemed to be quite decent, especially the food they served.

Thank you CaptainRed! I agree, the product was very nice. Very 'traditional' in that since. If only the flight attendants could be a bit friendlier!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 10):
And of course great of you to visit Angola, certainly not a usual or easy travel destination. Well done to dismiss all the concerns from other people. And great from your friends to invite you and show you around, in Africa in general everything is much easier when you have someone local to help you, who know how things are going, but I am sure you have experienced that yourself.

I am glad you support my decision to go! I meant to mention this in the report, but yes, Nuno and the TAAG Virtual guys were INCREDIBLY generous. I can't even describe it. I mean, how many people host a random American in their house? I feel guilty that I couldn't really offer much in return.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: 9V-SPJ
Posted 2012-11-08 18:31:34 and read 26778 times.

Great report! The B773ER has to be one of my favorite aircraft! Nice to hear that you enjoyed your trip to Angola! I have only been to South Africa and that was years ago, but a trip of a lifetime!

9V-SPJ

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: Speedbird741
Posted 2012-11-08 19:55:22 and read 26776 times.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 11):
A boat is required to get there, correct?

Yup, in practice you do need a boat to cross to Mussulo, and if you don't have a boat there are some water taxis you can take. I can't promise that you won't have to swim through a portion of the route given how they overload the boats, but I promise you it's worth it! However, there is also a, very impractical, way to get there by land. You have to head south from Luanda until you reach the Palmeirinhas, point at which you make a sort of u-turn and then follow the route of mostly sand that is already already on the "island" of Mussulo. You have to head way north on the "island" of Mussulo until you see the houses and the nice places to be. It's a fun trip by land, but takes a long time and the only reason to do it is for the trip itself. You'll have MIGHTY fun driving along that route in a Jeep Wrangler or a Defender!

Speedbird741

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: Lufthansa
Posted 2012-11-08 22:14:50 and read 26778 times.

great trip report!

And i gotta say, please don't take this the wrong way but American boy you're quite a looker!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: baggageinhall
Posted 2012-11-10 00:39:04 and read 26769 times.

A fantastic report on an airline that isn't featured very often.

I admire you courage and intrigue aged just 19 to visit a country that isn't on the usual tourist trail.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: ojas
Posted 2012-11-10 01:46:42 and read 26769 times.

Very nice TR, really loved it. The new B77Ws, pictures of Angola ... everything.

Thanks for sharing.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-11-10 11:38:24 and read 26772 times.

Quoting 9V-SPJ (Reply 12):

Great report! The B773ER has to be one of my favorite aircraft! Nice to hear that you enjoyed your trip to Angola! I have only been to South Africa and that was years ago, but a trip of a lifetime!

Thank you, 9V-SPJ! The 77W is my favorite aircraft after the 77L. I'm glad you too had a great trip to Africa, it's a special place.

Quoting Speedbird741 (Reply 13):
Yup, in practice you do need a boat to cross to Mussulo, and if you don't have a boat there are some water taxis you can take. I can't promise that you won't have to swim through a portion of the route given how they overload the boats, but I promise you it's worth it! However, there is also a, very impractical, way to get there by land. You have to head south from Luanda until you reach the Palmeirinhas, point at which you make a sort of u-turn and then follow the route of mostly sand that is already already on the "island" of Mussulo. You have to head way north on the "island" of Mussulo until you see the houses and the nice places to be. It's a fun trip by land, but takes a long time and the only reason to do it is for the trip itself. You'll have MIGHTY fun driving along that route in a Jeep Wrangler or a Defender!

Wow that sounds really fun. Next time!

Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 14):
great trip report!

And i gotta say, please don't take this the wrong way but American boy you're quite a looker!

Haha appreciate the compliments.

Quoting baggageinhall (Reply 15):

A fantastic report on an airline that isn't featured very often.

I admire you courage and intrigue aged just 19 to visit a country that isn't on the usual tourist trail.

Thank you, baggageinhall! I'm currently trying to find the next place to visit. It will be someone difficult to "one-up" Angola though.

Quoting ojas (Reply 16):

Very nice TR, really loved it. The new B77Ws, pictures of Angola ... everything.

Thanks for sharing.

Thank you for the kind words, ojas.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: ba319-131
Posted 2012-11-10 12:05:33 and read 26770 times.

Hi Will,

Great report & pictures, quite a trip and a brave one for one so young an American!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Exactly two years ago I flew this same route on this same airline, and it was quite the experience. Probably one of the more stressful ordeals of my life, which begs the following question: Why the HELL would I do it again?!

- I did wonder myself!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
TAAG also gave passengers the entire “mini” wine bottle, unlike TAP. Alcohol was free and flowing generously.

- Interesting, I 'wrongly' assumed service would be lacking, however TAP is no real comparison, their Y product is pretty weak.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Roughly 2 hours before arrival into LAD, an afternoon snack was served. I was very impressed with the quantity, especially considering this was less than a 7 hour flight.

- Very impressive!

Nice images of Angola too, looks like some nice old buildings there.

Glad you enjoyed your trip.

Cheers

Mark

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: eastafspot
Posted 2012-11-10 14:17:45 and read 26768 times.

Will,

Unique and beautiful TR, you've really outdone yourself this time,
very well written, captivating and containing great pictures too, i've read it in one go

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I ended up watching some sub-par movie about fishing in Yemen,
Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Angolans are never in a rush to go anywhere!

  , brilliant!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
where he was very excited to greet me with a “Welcome to Africa!”

How touching!

You've convinced me to eventually consider TAAG for a next African trip.

thank you so much for sharing

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MSS658
Posted 2012-11-10 15:22:31 and read 26769 times.

Hi Will

Great trip report, thanks for sharing! TAAG seems to have made some great improvements, it indeed looks like one of the better airlines in AFI!

Thanks for sharing the Angola pics as well, they look nice

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
TAAG is the only airline in the world to have switched FROM a 3-4-3 configuration to a 3-3-3 configuration on their 777s. Pitch was very generous at 34 inches.

Great 

Greetings
Marc

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: AirAfreak
Posted 2012-11-10 17:51:46 and read 26765 times.

Hello again!!!!

I did a quick research to see what other options are available to you since you travel quite extensively. Here is a copy and paste from airfrance.us for members of Flying Blue:


TAAG Angola Airlines (TAAG - Linhas Aereas de Angola) is Angola's national flag carrier, operating long-haul and domestic flights. DESTINATIONS: From Luanda to Benguela, Brazzaville, Cabinde, Dundo, Harare, Havana, Huambo, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Kuito, Lisbon, Lubango, Lusaka, Malange, Menongue, Moscow, Ponte Noire, Rio de Janeiro, Sal, Sao Tome, Soyo and Windhoek.
Earning possibilities¹,²
You can earn Miles on TAAG-operated flights between Paris and Luanda.

You earn:
First Class: 300% – A, F
Business Class: 150% – C, D, Z
Economy Class: 100% – B, H, L, M, Y, S, N, Q



Again, great job on this report and I am looking forward to reading more and more!!!

Bon Voyage,

AirAfreak =]

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: reifel
Posted 2012-11-12 13:30:53 and read 26764 times.

Hi Will, what an excellent report! Never read any report out of Angola, so that was quite unique. Nice to see that TAAG is doing pretty well. I've been in LIS this weekend and this airport is crap. It's looooong and narrow and old. It's not made for transiting and TAP - while quite ok product - was always late on my flights I had with them. I believe they wanted to see your ticket to make sure you don't overstay your visa.

You should scan your visa and passport stamps (and blank out important data), as it would be really interesting to see it  

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: fxramper
Posted 2012-11-12 14:28:44 and read 26764 times.

Great trip report.   

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: 767747
Posted 2012-11-12 19:09:10 and read 26763 times.

Great report, MHTripple7!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I went to the bathroom to try and clean myself up. I changed clothes, brushed my teeth, and washed my face. I felt much better after that.

No matter what class of service you travel in, you always want to change and freshen up a bit after a flight. When we landed in CPH from an overnight from IAD that's all my wife and I wanted to do was to shower and clean up!

TAAG Angola looks like a really interesting airline; thanks for sharing your report with us! What a great trip it looks like you had.

Best,

Matthew

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-11-12 21:20:30 and read 26816 times.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 18):
Great report & pictures, quite a trip and a brave one for one so young an American!

Thanks ba319-131, I appreciate it.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 18):
- Interesting, I 'wrongly' assumed service would be lacking, however TAP is no real comparison, their Y product is pretty weak.

You are right; however, I have found TAP to be very generous when it comes to meals and drinks. Have your experiences been different?

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 18):
Nice images of Angola too, looks like some nice old buildings there.

Yes, it was an interesting juxtaposition of old colonial buildings, new skyscrapers, and completely dilapidated structures.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 19):
Unique and beautiful TR, you've really outdone yourself this time,
very well written, captivating and containing great pictures too, i've read it in one go

I'm glad you enjoyed it, eastafspot!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 19):
How touching!

Yeah, it was a good start for sure. Nuno and his entire family were incredibly hospitable, which is something I am still very thankful for to this day.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 19):
You've convinced me to eventually consider TAAG for a next African trip.

Yes, I'd recommend giving them a try. I'm not sure which passport you have, but just be careful if transiting via LAD!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 20):
Great trip report, thanks for sharing! TAAG seems to have made some great improvements, it indeed looks like one of the better airlines in AFI!

Thanks MSS658, and yes, I agree about TAAG!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 20):
Thanks for sharing the Angola pics as well, they look nice

I'm glad you liked them!

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 21):
I did a quick research to see what other options are available to you since you travel quite extensively. Here is a copy and paste from airfrance.us for members of Flying Blue:

Thanks AirAfreak! However, I think AF's website is a little outdated. It says that miles can only be earned on TAAG CDG-LAD-CDG flights. However, TAAG doesn't even fly to CDG anymore!

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 21):
Again, great job on this report and I am looking forward to reading more and more!!!

I will posting a domestic trip report soon, so hopefully you will enjoy that one too!

Quoting reifel (Reply 22):

Hi Will, what an excellent report! Never read any report out of Angola, so that was quite unique. Nice to see that TAAG is doing pretty well. I've been in LIS this weekend and this airport is crap. It's looooong and narrow and old. It's not made for transiting and TAP - while quite ok product - was always late on my flights I had with them. I believe they wanted to see your ticket to make sure you don't overstay your visa.

Thank you reifel! Yes, I'm not a huge fan of LIS. They say a new airport is coming but I don't know how soon.

Quoting reifel (Reply 22):
You should scan your visa and passport stamps (and blank out important data), as it would be really interesting to see it

Here you go:





Quoting fxramper (Reply 23):
Great trip report.

Thanks, fxramper.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 24):
Great report, MHTripple7!

Thank you Matthew!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 24):
No matter what class of service you travel in, you always want to change and freshen up a bit after a flight. When we landed in CPH from an overnight from IAD that's all my wife and I wanted to do was to shower and clean up!

That's a fact! I'm not sure what it is, but flying just makes me feel very groggy and disgusting. I find that coffee also helps a bit.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 24):
TAAG Angola looks like a really interesting airline; thanks for sharing your report with us! What a great trip it looks like you had.

It was an all-around very unique experience for sure; I had a great time. Thanks for reading!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: flightsimboy
Posted 2012-11-13 00:13:34 and read 26782 times.

Hello Will!!

Thanks for the great write up and the explanation of how things came about for you to visit Angola!! I must say getting to know the people before you even went there helped things for you, if not speed up the process.

Nice to get an insight into Luada and above all TAAG!! Having Portugese roots myself though rooted from India, it was nice to see the familiar last names you mentioned. Of course I think Angola is one of the remaining portugese colonies where Portugese is still widely spoken.

That tail shot of the 77W is awesome. A pic of more of the plane from the outside would have been amazing, but you would have only got yelled at even more lol

Thanks for sharing

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: The777Man
Posted 2012-11-13 21:43:49 and read 26819 times.

Hi Will!

Thanks for an amazing report with amazing pictures from the trip of a lifetime ( and you are ver young!) !!!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
LIS is not well-designed for transiting. There was no one at the transfer desks by immigration, so I tried to follow the transit signs to the international departures area. The signage led me up a staircase, where there were hoards of passengers walking in the opposite direction. That couldn’t be right. I had a lot of time, so I decided to just try it. I ended up walking through this very long hallway, which finally opened up into this small security checkpoint. I told them “I’m going to Luanda”, to which they responded “Yes Luanda, right this way”. I cleared this security checkpoint, and was in the deserted international departures area. What a weird experience, but hey, it worked!

This reminds me of my transfer at LAD in 2007. Amazing the LIS would even be compared to LAD when it comes to transit...

Taag 777 LIS-LAD 17May07 With Pics (by The777Man Jun 12 2007 in Trip Reports)

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
The TAAG flight from LAD arrived 20 minutes early, and the 77W could be seen parked at a remote stand. TAAG’s striking color scheme definitely stands out among the dozens of Euro-white aircrafts. Additionally, I was surprised to see the mysterious CEIBA Intercontinental 77L parked at LIS. Some of rarest 777s at the same airport!

Nice to see the Ceiba 77L! It looks like there are two TAAG 777s there ?

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I began to explore the IFE system, which I thought was a disappointment. The system interface was fantastic with fast response times and all, but the movie choices were pretty terrible. There were less than 10 choices, most of them being movies I have never heard of. Come on, if you have a nice system, you might as well use it right!

I thought the selection was okay when I flew them. I had the same experience as you when I flew Biman Bangladesh in May this year.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 11):
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 7):
It's the same on AI 787's. Lovely system, but there's nothing to watch. They don't even have any TV to watch (no Simpsons etc). BTW, I quite like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen!

Doesn't seem to be too uncommon on new IFE systems. Wonder why?

I also quite like that movie!

I think that the carriers have to pay for the content ant the more you content you, the more you have to pay. I guess they don't want to pay that much.

It seems that you had a great time there and I would love to go there some day to see the sights and have a unique experience.

Very nice silhouette of a TAAG 743 in your stamp in the second picture of your passport! Very cool!

You had a very unique experience since you met people there and they took very good care of you.

Thanks again for posting and for all the non-aviation pictures from Angola as well.

Very much looking forward to your next report!

The777Man

PS how was the beer ? DS

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-11-14 18:15:40 and read 26825 times.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 26):
Thanks for the great write up and the explanation of how things came about for you to visit Angola!! I must say getting to know the people before you even went there helped things for you, if not speed up the process.

Thank you flightsimboy! Yes, it was great having them on the ground in Angola helping me out. Although, I will comment that the sense of time and urgency is not the same as here in the United States. In Angola, there seems to be much more of an attitude to "chill out and everything will work itself eventually", which is a far-cry to the culture I'm used to of high stress and trying to get things done as quickly as possible.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 26):
Nice to get an insight into Luada and above all TAAG!! Having Portugese roots myself though rooted from India, it was nice to see the familiar last names you mentioned. Of course I think Angola is one of the remaining portugese colonies where Portugese is still widely spoken.

The Portuguese influence in Angola was very apparent to me. An interesting cultural fusion of European and African for sure.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 26):
That tail shot of the 77W is awesome. A pic of more of the plane from the outside would have been amazing, but you would have only got yelled at even more lol

Yes, I was very frustrated about that. I wanted to take another picture so bad, but was just too afraid of getting in actual trouble.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
Thanks for an amazing report with amazing pictures from the trip of a lifetime ( and you are ver young!) !!!

Hello Lars! Thanks for the kind words!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
This reminds me of my transfer at LAD in 2007. Amazing the LIS would even be compared to LAD when it comes to transit...

Haha, I'd even argue that the LAD transit is better than in LIS thanks to the personalized escort!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
Nice to see the Ceiba 77L! It looks like there are two TAAG 777s there ?

Speaking of Ceiba's 77L, there is a new 777 mission for you. Ceiba (operated by White Airways) is now flying their 77L on scheduled service between SSG and MAD, thrice weekly. I thought that aircraft was a BBJ, but apparently it's actually configured as a pax aircraft. And guess what? No visa is required for U.S. citizens for entry into Equatorial Guinea!

Ceiba Intercontinental has no functioning website, nor seems to have much GDS presence.

Looks VERY interesting haha.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
I thought the selection was okay when I flew them. I had the same experience as you when I flew Biman Bangladesh in May this year.

Yes I remembered you Biman trip report, and felt the IFE was of similar quality.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
I also quite like that movie!

Okay, it wasn't that bad I suppose!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
I think that the carriers have to pay for the content ant the more you content you, the more you have to pay. I guess they don't want to pay that much.

Ahhh I see. Interesting.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
It seems that you had a great time there and I would love to go there some day to see the sights and have a unique experience

It was awesome!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
Very nice silhouette of a TAAG 743 in your stamp in the second picture of your passport! Very cool!

You had a very unique experience since you met people there and they took very good care of you.

Thanks again for posting and for all the non-aviation pictures from Angola as well.

I got lucky for sure; I have never experienced such great hospitality.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
Very much looking forward to your next report!

Yes, next up will be Luanda-Lubango on TAAG's 737-700.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 27):
PS how was the beer ? DS

Not bad at all! Apparently there is another, superior Angolan brand, but I can't recall the name.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: The777Man
Posted 2012-11-15 14:09:46 and read 26814 times.

Hi Will!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 28):
Speaking of Ceiba's 77L, there is a new 777 mission for you. Ceiba (operated by White Airways) is now flying their 77L on scheduled service between SSG and MAD, thrice weekly. I thought that aircraft was a BBJ, but apparently it's actually configured as a pax aircraft. And guess what? No visa is required for U.S. citizens for entry into Equatorial Guinea!

Ceiba Intercontinental has no functioning website, nor seems to have much GDS presence.

Looks VERY interesting haha.

Yes, I know. I have decided not to fly on 777 carriers that have got the 777s second-hand. White technically falls in that category. Also, it seems impossible to book a flight on them.

That said, since C2 flies under their own flight number, I may still try to have a go at it......

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 28):
Yes, next up will be Luanda-Lubango on TAAG's 737-700.

Very much looking forward to that!

The777Man

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-11-18 20:03:18 and read 26810 times.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 29):
Yes, I know. I have decided not to fly on 777 carriers that have got the 777s second-hand. White technically falls in that category. Also, it seems impossible to book a flight on them.

That said, since C2 flies under their own flight number, I may still try to have a go at it......

I say go for it! I would love to take the flight myself, however, I don't have much money left after Angola and my parents refuse to finance my crazy trips.

I am going to do some research and see if there's any way of booking a flight with them without having to physically show up at the airport. I'll PM you if I find out anything.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: The777Man
Posted 2012-11-20 10:30:09 and read 26803 times.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 30):
I am going to do some research and see if there's any way of booking a flight with them without having to physically show up at the airport. I'll PM you if I find out anything.

Thanks ! I appreciate your efforts regarding Ceiba.

The777Man

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: I39OO
Posted 2012-11-20 14:48:34 and read 26803 times.

Will,

well done! Visiting Africa is on my "to do list" by a long time. I know many people from various African countries and, even though most of them are either Nigerian or fellas who've escaped poverty in Mali for Lybia (and was subsequentially kicked out of the country when the war started) I recognise in your Angolan friends the same good spirits and friendliness that I see in mine. Well done for going all the way down there while most 19-years old guys would rather spend two weeks boozing in Ibiza. Heck, I used to do the same!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Angola is not a popular tourist destination for a variety of reasons, one of them being an insane visa application process. I know I’m American so everyone will yell at me for complaining, but I’ve never seen anything like it. Invitation letter (notarized in Angola and written in Portuguese), bank statements, proof of yellow fever vaccination, a passport photo wearing a dress-shirt and tie (no joke), and finally the actual application form are the plethora of requirements for an Angolan visa. I think this “exclusivity” made Angola more appealing to me. You always want what you can’t have right? You think I’m crazy yet?

And I thought Russian and American visas were a pain in the neck!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Since this was a bus gate, I took the escalator downstairs. Once downstairs, I began walking to the doors of the bus. Out of nowhere, this guy grabbed my carry-on and took it. WTF. I turned around and he was picking it up. He mumbled something “Too Heavy”. I tried to protest, but this guy was having none of it and was only speaking Portuguese. He tagged my bag to LAD with a handwritten bag tag and sent it away.

Well, gate agents (and node agents) on certain routes are very keen on restricting cabin baggage. I've witnessed enough BA departures to India and some African countries to know that people carry nothing short of livestock on board as cabin baggage (I've seen at LHR T3 a guy boarding an Ethiopian flight with a big pumpkin under his arm, but I digress) and, therefore, they try and do they best to reduce the amount of stuff clogging the overhead bins. Usually they go for a polite approach, but I guess the no fuss style you've witnessed is equally effective!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
TAAG is the only airline in the world to have switched FROM a 3-4-3 configuration to a 3-3-3 configuration on their 777s.

Great livery, enlightened management, on-time flights...what's not to love about this airline?

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):

I ended up watching some sub-par movie about fishing in Yemen,

It's a matter of personal taste, but i found it quite nice.

Looking forward to read again from you!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2012-11-23 22:38:06 and read 26316 times.

Hi Will,

great report with many good pictures! TAAG's product looks fine in general, but the IFE is certainly disappointing. Why not choose a slightly better system when getting a high end bird such as the 77W?

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Invitation letter (notarized in Angola and written in Portuguese), bank statements, proof of yellow fever vaccination, a passport photo wearing a dress-shirt and tie (no joke), and finally the actual application form are the plethora of requirements for an Angolan visa.

Wow, that's totally ridiculous!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Obviously some guy had to yell at me for taking the photo but whatever, he will get over it. I’m not a terrorist.

Hearing that turns me mad - it's the EU after all, not North Korea!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
TAAG is the only airline in the world to have switched FROM a 3-4-3 configuration to a 3-3-3 configuration on their 777s.

Interesting. Would be nice to hear the reason.


PH

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-11-25 16:35:16 and read 25772 times.

Quoting I39OO (Reply 32):
well done! Visiting Africa is on my "to do list" by a long time. I know many people from various African countries and, even though most of them are either Nigerian or fellas who've escaped poverty in Mali for Lybia (and was subsequentially kicked out of the country when the war started) I recognise in your Angolan friends the same good spirits and friendliness that I see in mine. Well done for going all the way down there while most 19-years old guys would rather spend two weeks boozing in Ibiza. Heck, I used to do the same!

Thanks I39OO! Yes, you should definitely make the trip to Africa. It's a special place. Haha, I would love nothing more than to party with my friends in Spain! However, if I am going to spend the money, I'd rather it be on experiences that are unique and that I would actually remember!

Quoting I39OO (Reply 32):
And I thought Russian and American visas were a pain in the neck!

No kidding! It's a shame; the Angolan government is extraordinarily stupid regarding the matter. If visa requirements were removed or even relaxed, the country would benefit tremendously. Unfortunately, the Angolan government doesn't really think that way.

Quoting I39OO (Reply 32):
Well, gate agents (and node agents) on certain routes are very keen on restricting cabin baggage. I've witnessed enough BA departures to India and some African countries to know that people carry nothing short of livestock on board as cabin baggage (I've seen at LHR T3 a guy boarding an Ethiopian flight with a big pumpkin under his arm, but I digress) and, therefore, they try and do they best to reduce the amount of stuff clogging the overhead bins. Usually they go for a polite approach, but I guess the no fuss style you've witnessed is equally effective!

Yes the LIS duty free seemed to be a favorite among the other TAAG passengers. I was just frustrated because I well within the limit. Also, they let me carry it on while departing out of LAD without any issues...

Quoting I39OO (Reply 32):
Great livery, enlightened management, on-time flights...what's not to love about this airline?

Indeed! They've got some work to do, but I am optimistic about their future.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 33):
great report with many good pictures! TAAG's product looks fine in general, but the IFE is certainly disappointing. Why not choose a slightly better system when getting a high end bird such as the 77W?

Thanks PlaneHunter! I agree completely about IFE system. Just doesn't make sense.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 33):
Wow, that's totally ridiculous!

I know. Really hoping to see that changed.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 33):
Hearing that turns me mad - it's the EU after all, not North Korea!

I was frustrated. I would have taken more pictures, but I didn't want to risk getting in further trouble and being offloaded from the flight or something.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 33):
Interesting. Would be nice to hear the reason.

From what I know, the old seats broke all the time and were a paint to maintain. However, I think TAAG also saw it as an opportunity to "one-up" their competition. They have a more comfortable configuration than pretty much any carrier flying internationally to LAD.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: adamspotter
Posted 2012-11-26 14:52:41 and read 25476 times.

Fantastic trip report, thanks for sharing it with us!
Its great to get an insight on the TAAG 77W, I have to say I am quite impressed by them. Cabin looks clean, food looks acceptable and the seat pitch great. Shame about the IFE system and the FAs though.
Great pictures of Angola too, well done!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):

Since this was a bus gate, I took the escalator downstairs. Once downstairs, I began walking to the doors of the bus. Out of nowhere, this guy grabbed my carry-on and took it. WTF. I turned around and he was picking it up. He mumbled something “Too Heavy”. I tried to protest, but this guy was having none of it and was only speaking Portuguese. He tagged my bag to LAD with a handwritten bag tag and sent it away.

Very unprofessional to do it that way..

cheers,

Brendan

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: jwhite9185
Posted 2012-11-27 13:06:45 and read 25153 times.

Hey there - great report from an airline and country I knew existed - but never gave much thought to either.

TAAG look pretty good actually - certainly better than some other airlines I've seen on here, that many consider to be better!

Good of Nuno to take you in too - you say people were worried about you staying with a stranger - well he was in the same situation!!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MilesDependent
Posted 2012-11-27 18:49:11 and read 25052 times.

Great report - I'd be very curious to visit Angola one day - it's definitely on my radar. I have read that Luanda is an outrageously expensive city to buy just about anything there, did you find that?

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-12-10 09:50:26 and read 24015 times.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 35):
Fantastic trip report, thanks for sharing it with us!
Its great to get an insight on the TAAG 77W, I have to say I am quite impressed by them. Cabin looks clean, food looks acceptable and the seat pitch great. Shame about the IFE system and the FAs though.
Great pictures of Angola too, well done!

Thank you adamspotter! I am glad you enjoyed the read!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 35):
Very unprofessional to do it that way..

Yep. I guess he worked for the outsourced ground handling company, but it didn't reflect well for TAAG.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 36):

Hey there - great report from an airline and country I knew existed - but never gave much thought to either.

Thanks jwhite91. Angola and TAAG do seem to fly under the radar in the English-speaking world.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 36):
TAAG look pretty good actually - certainly better than some other airlines I've seen on here, that many consider to be better!

I agree! They have a clear vision to improve as well.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 36):
Good of Nuno to take you in too - you say people were worried about you staying with a stranger - well he was in the same situation!!

I would say that neither Nuno nor I were worried in the slightest. But you're right, and Nuno could not have been more generous.

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 37):

Great report - I'd be very curious to visit Angola one day - it's definitely on my radar. I have read that Luanda is an outrageously expensive city to buy just about anything there, did you find that?

Hi MilesDependent! Thanks for the kind words. Yes, it's the 2nd most expensive city in the world for expats / foreigners. Hotel prices are expensive along with pretty much everything else. It is beginning to get a little better as supply increases, but prices are still outrageous. I spent money only at restaurants for the most part, and they were priced similarly to an expensive restaurant in New York.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: abrelosojos
Posted 2012-12-16 09:59:33 and read 23185 times.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 1):
This trip wasn’t intended to be a sightseeing vacation. I wanted to learn what it means to be Angolan, and essentially discover a culture I knew next to nothing about. Traveling for me is about meeting people and building relationships more than anything else. Angola satisfied this aspect to its fullest extent. I met some truly great people, and despite the language barrier, feel that I became really close with many of them. Looking back on this trip, the memories of just hanging around with the TAAG Virtual guys and simply taking in the local culture are the ones that truly stick out. Angola is not for everyone by any means; it can be very stressful and frustrating. However, if you the adventurous type and happen to have an Angolan friend, I would definitely recommend the trip. It’s a truly unique place. And with that, I will leave you all off with some pictures from my trip.

= And this is the attitude why I think you are awesome  . This is exactly the approach one should have to traveling - instead of whining and going to places and expecting every amenity to be just like home. Trust me, never lose this!

Thanks for sharing this. It made my Saturday night at the office so worth it.

Saludos,
A.

PS: I am going to PNR in a week  .

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: abrelosojos
Posted 2012-12-16 10:00:26 and read 23180 times.

WOW! I know you were looking forward to this trip for a while and I am glad you did it, and enjoyed it. TAAG was good and the cabin looked fresh - but more importantly, can I just say how awesome it was to read again about Angola and see pictures. It was just awesome.

(Am having issues posting).

Saludos,
A.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: abrelosojos
Posted 2012-12-16 10:00:52 and read 23180 times.

Hey there - sorry it has taken me a while to get back to all the backlog of things to read. As some know, I have been locked up in the Western Hemisphere (ugly city) on a key merger that will soon be announced ...

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2012-12-23 13:18:26 and read 22332 times.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 41):
Hey there - sorry it has taken me a while to get back to all the backlog of things to read. As some know, I have been locked up in the Western Hemisphere (ugly city) on a key merger that will soon be announced ...

Sounds interesting!!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 40):

WOW! I know you were looking forward to this trip for a while and I am glad you did it, and enjoyed it. TAAG was good and the cabin looked fresh - but more importantly, can I just say how awesome it was to read again about Angola and see pictures. It was just awesome.

Thanks so much for the kind words.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 39):
= And this is the attitude why I think you are awesome  . This is exactly the approach one should have to traveling - instead of whining and going to places and expecting every amenity to be just like home. Trust me, never lose this!

Thanks for sharing this. It made my Saturday night at the office so worth it.

Thanks again! I agree, but many of my friends continue to mock me for this trip. "You should have died", "You should have been kidnapped", and "You probably got AIDS" are some of the most common things I hear. I try to tell them how ignorant and spoiled they are, but it doesn't seem to change their opinions! Some think my trip was cool, but they are in a small minority.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 39):
PS: I am going to PNR in a week  .

Have fun! Look forward to hearing about it.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: WROORD
Posted 2012-12-23 18:45:10 and read 22182 times.

Hi Will,

Great report and pictures! Definately it was a lifetime experience. I am always travelling with the locals not in tourist buses that's how you taste the local culture. However, as a parent, I do understand your family's objection to your trip.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I was incredibly nervous about clearing immigration in Luanda. I know that sometimes they detain people if they are suspicious of your intentions in Angola

Naturally, especially after you hear horror stories.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I began to explore the IFE system, which I thought was a disappointment. The system interface was fantastic with fast response times and all, but the movie choices were pretty terrible. There were less than 10 choices,

You mean they even did not have re-runs of "I love Lucy" or something?That sucks.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I still couldn’t believe how comfortable this seat was; I was able to doze off while sitting straight up in the seat, which is usually impossible for me.

Are you sure it was the comfy seat? After all that flying you were probably ready to fall asleap standing.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2013-01-09 08:23:48 and read 20662 times.

WROOD -- thanks for the comments. Sorry it took me so long to respond; I have been on a training trip with my swim team without internet access.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 43):
Great report and pictures! Definately it was a lifetime experience. I am always travelling with the locals not in tourist buses that's how you taste the local culture.

Thank you! Yep, trips are much more memorable this way as well.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 43):
However, as a parent, I do understand your family's objection to your trip.

If I were in their position, I would probably be opposed as well. My parents came to terms with the trip after realizing how passionate I was about it, which I really appreciated.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 43):
Are you sure it was the comfy seat? After all that flying you were probably ready to fall asleap standing.

Yes 100% sure. I fell asleep for 6 hours straight on the return flight. It was the second-most comfortable Y seat I've ever sat in after Jet Airways.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: knightsofmalta
Posted 2013-01-16 13:30:26 and read 19810 times.

Hi Will

Thanks for writing this up, it certainly was a very interesting read. It really is so much more rewarding when you have a local to show you around a place and explain things to you.

TAAG don't look half bad actually, although probably the mere fact that they fly the mighty 777 is a serious plus point in itself!

So thanks again for posting this, for your candid take on your experience and for the refreshing read.

Cheers,
William

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: WROORD
Posted 2013-01-16 18:53:53 and read 19686 times.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 44):
Quoting WROORD (Reply 43):Are you sure it was the comfy seat? After all that flying you were probably ready to fall asleap standing.Yes 100% sure. I fell asleep for 6 hours straight on the return flight. It was the second-most comfortable Y seat I've ever sat in after Jet Airways.

I totally understand. I was on a couple of trips like that where you do not care what is happening around you and all you want to do is sleep. I had once returned from a very long trip, I told my brother and my mother who came to pick me up the whole story in three different languages without even realizing that. They did not interrupt me, but when I was done my Mom turn to me and said: "This is all great honey, but now tell us all in English".

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: planiac787
Posted 2013-01-29 22:22:02 and read 18525 times.

Great trip report mate...
Dont get to see too many Taag reports , so this was definitely a pleasant surprise..
Great pictures and there on board product looks nice..777 in there colors also looks pleasing..
Food quantity does look good... Infact i would say you got more to eat than me when i was travelling J class on lh..
Well done on the pics as well..
Sorry to hear the IFE was not to yours ( or anyone s) standards...
And it was indeed pretty cool of the cabin crew to remember you from facebook..nice touch I must say..

Here is my tr.. oh lh

DEL-FRA-ATL On J Class With Lufthansa (by planiac787 Jan 11 2013 in Trip Reports)

Hope you like it..

Cheers

Pradat

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: flyenthu
Posted 2013-01-30 09:28:10 and read 18290 times.

Great trip report. I saw a TAAG 777 in DXB early this month. It took a pic on its take off roll (see Houston-kolkata trip report). Their livery is very neat!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2013-02-01 21:50:38 and read 17609 times.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 45):
Thanks for writing this up, it certainly was a very interesting read. It really is so much more rewarding when you have a local to show you around a place and explain things to you.

Thanks for the nice comments, William! Indeed it is, and I have made it a goal of mine to befriend locals on future travel experiences. It's so much better than just seeing the "sights".

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 45):
TAAG don't look half bad actually, although probably the mere fact that they fly the mighty 777 is a serious plus point in itself!

They really are a solid airline; much better than people give them credit for. TAAG's poor reputation is probably due their rather turbulent past (EU blacklist, old planes, extreme delays, and general incompetence), but they have come a long way. They still have a lot of problems facing them, especially regarding human resources, but TAAG is better-positioned than many other airlines in the region. Assuming they continue on a pattern of improvement, I think the outlook for TAAG is a positive one.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 46):
I totally understand. I was on a couple of trips like that where you do not care what is happening around you and all you want to do is sleep. I had once returned from a very long trip, I told my brother and my mother who came to pick me up the whole story in three different languages without even realizing that. They did not interrupt me, but when I was done my Mom turn to me and said: "This is all great honey, but now tell us all in English".

Hah the wonders of jet-lag. Oddly enough I've found it easier to sleep on planes as I've gotten older. I used to be so excited when flying long-haul that I was unable to sleep. I still remember how excited I was for my first 777 flight from ATL to NRT in 2005. It was like Christmas! Now that the novelty has worn off a bit, I am much more relaxed and sleepy on planes.

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 47):
Dont get to see too many Taag reports , so this was definitely a pleasant surprise..
Great pictures and there on board product looks nice..777 in there colors also looks pleasing..
Food quantity does look good... Infact i would say you got more to eat than me when i was travelling J class on lh..

Thanks planiac787!

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 47):
Well done on the pics as well..
Sorry to hear the IFE was not to yours ( or anyone s) standards...
And it was indeed pretty cool of the cabin crew to remember you from facebook..nice touch I must say..

I hope they improve the IFE. It shouldn't be difficult considering the system is already in place, and I know it has the capacity to hold many more movies. Yes, the interaction with the cabin crew member was a great way to wrap up the flight.

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 47):
Hope you like it..

Great report! I will take the time to comment more in depth in the thread tomorrow or Sunday.

Quoting flyenthu (Reply 48):

Great trip report. I saw a TAAG 777 in DXB early this month. It took a pic on its take off roll (see Houston-kolkata trip report). Their livery is very neat!

Thank you flyenthu! Nice catch in DXB! I wonder DT performs in DXB considering they go head-to-head with EK on the LAD-DXB route. Angolans seem to like Dubai quite a bit. Also, very nice trip report! I'll make sure to comment soon.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: YYCSpotter
Posted 2013-02-11 17:16:32 and read 16621 times.

So what is this flight group you are talking about? it sounds interesting

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: laolao
Posted 2013-02-13 21:53:16 and read 16166 times.

Great trip! You really know how to travel.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: christao17
Posted 2013-02-13 23:16:12 and read 16129 times.

Wow, what a trip! I remember reading your previous report and am glad that this time you actually were able to enter the country. Thanks for sharing the trip with us.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: MHTripple7
Posted 2013-03-02 09:56:57 and read 14759 times.

Thanks for the comments guys. Sorry it's taken me a while to respond; life has been hectic lately.

Quoting YYCSpotter (Reply 50):
So what is this flight group you are talking about? it sounds interesting

It's simply a Microsoft Flight Simulator virtual airline for TAAG. There are virtual airlines for pretty much every major real-world airline out there, such as Delta Virtual, United Virtual, American Virtual, etc. After joining, you can download their respective fleets to Flightsim, and there are usually online dispatch, ACARS, and PiREP systems. Most also have forums and facebook groups where pilots can interact. Since most members of TAAG Virtual live in Luanda, they have all become real-life friends and hangout with each quite a bit. Additionally, TAAG Angola (the real version) reckognizes TAAG Virtual, which allows them to do things such as having LAN parties in the lobby of LAD airpot. It's pretty interesting.

Here's the website. In Portuguese only though.

http://flyavagroup.com/

Quoting laolao (Reply 51):
Great trip! You really know how to travel.

Thank you laolao!

Quoting christao17 (Reply 52):
Wow, what a trip! I remember reading your previous report and am glad that this time you actually were able to enter the country. Thanks for sharing the trip with us.

No problem, christao17! Thanks for reading, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the visa in my passport for the first time.

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: celestar
Posted 2013-04-12 01:59:57 and read 12568 times.

Hi, I am not too sure that Angola airline is the world's only airline that switch from 3-4-3 to 3-3-3 for 777 economy class seating. Cathay/EVA/JAL are among the three that I had flown, had this economy class seating arrangement.
Enjoyed very much on your trip report!

Topic: RE: Taag Angola 777-300ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y
Username: stipica
Posted 2013-04-12 14:12:53 and read 12401 times.

Hi Will !
what to say expect wow and I am jealous ... nice that you put together so personal trip report ... you are so young but already on the right path ... so glad ... thanks stipica  


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