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Air Namibia Business Class FRA-WDH-FRA (+pics)  
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Namibia is one of the countries I have wanted to visit for a long time. This year in became true and I was on a two-week tour around this county in the Southern part of Africa. The best option for me to fly there was with Air Namibia. They are serving FRA and LGW from their home base Windhoek (WDH). The only other airline offering direct flights between Europe and WDH is LTU with a weekly service from MUC. If you don’t fly with Air Namibia or LTU, you have to change at JNB or CPT.

As Air Namibia offered an acceptable fare for Business Class, I decided to go for this option. I had never been on Business Class of any airline before, so this was a new experience for me which I wanted to try out once. Seats on Air Namibia’s long-haul flights can be reserved with the booking and I chose seat number 5A for both flights.


Thursday, 16 August 2007
Frankfurt (FRA) – Windhoek Hosea Kutako International (WDH)
Airline: Air Namibia
Flight number: SW 286
Scheduled departure time: 22:45
Scheduled arrival time: 07:45 (time difference was – 1 hour, so flight time was 10:00 hours)
Type of aircraft: Airbus A 340-300
Registration: V5-NME



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Photo © A J Best
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Photo © Christian Galliker




This aircraft was built in 1994 and delivered to Sabena who leased it out to Air France (F-GNIE) till 1997. From 1997 until 2002 the aircraft was in service for Sabena (OO-SCZ). Then it was returned to Airbus Industrie. From 2003 until 2005 the aircraft was leased to Lufthansa (D-AIMG). Since November 2005 this plane is flying for Air Namibia as V5-NME.

Here are some pictures of this aircraft with its former operators:


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Photo © Carlos A. Morillo Doria
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Photo © Matthew Lee - Contrails Aviation Photography




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Photo © Staffan Hardie
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Photo © Rico Reuter




As Air Namibia isn’t part of any alliance, they are working together with German Rail. A railway ticket between any railway station in Germany and Frankfurt Airport is included in the flight price on the FRA-route (Rail&Fly). If you are travelling in Business Class, you get a First Class rail ticket (otherwise Second Class). I took a direct ICE-train service from my home town Stuttgart and arrived at Frankfurt Airport at about 16:30 as I wanted to do some spotting as well. As the viewing deck in Terminal 2 was already closed, I spent some time at the food court close to the viewing deck. At around 19:00 I returned to Terminal 1 where the check-in for my flight would take place:



There were sings in the check-in area that Economy Class passengers could buy a one-way upgrade to Business Class for EUR 275.00 (seat only with Economy service) or EUR 375.00 (full Business Class service). Payment was accepted in cash only.

Check-in opened 3 hours before departure at 19:45 with 4 counters for Economy Class and 1 counter for Business Class and was done by Lufthansa – like the complete ground handling. When they opened, a long queue had already formed and a Fraport staff member organized the queue and tried to avoid that the Air Namibia passenger got mixed with those from Qatar Airways who were using the counters next to Air Namibia. At the luggage screening in front of the check-in counters I was chosen for a random security check. I had to open my bag and take out my electric shaver. A member of security staff rubbed the surface with a piece of cloth and went away to test it on explosives. I had to wait for about 10 minutes, then he returned, told me that everything was all right and I was allowed to proceed to the check-in counter. A friendly male agent checked me in, gave me my boarding pass for my pre-assigned seat and invited me to visit Lufthansa’s Business Class lounge near gate B44 which he wrote onto the boarding pass for me to remember:



After passing security check and customs quickly I followed the invitation and visited the LH Business Class lounge which is located on the upper floor of the international gate area. Free drinks, different kinds of snacks and some fruits were offered at several service stations:



Besides, German and international newspapers and magazines were available.

The working area of the lounge:



The lounge offers some good views as well (outside you see the former viewing area of Terminal 1 which remains closed):



Later I walked down to Gate B42 where my flight was to depart. The gate opened 90 minutes before departure and boarding passes were checked when entering the gate area. Our aircraft, V5-NME, was already present:






Our flight was catered by GIC International Catering – I had never heard of this company before:



The captain arrived shortly after the opening of the gate, the cabin crew about 20 minutes later (I didn’t see the first officer). Cabin crew consisted of 7 flight attendants (6 female, 1 male). The captain on this flight was white wile all members of the cabin crew were coloured.

Boarding started at 22:15 which was 30 minutes before departure. There was a separate air-bridge for Business Class in front of the aircraft. Passengers were welcomed by the cabin crew and directed to their seats. Here is a picture of the Business Class cabin:



“My” seat:



The cabin was still from Sabena-times but in a very good condition. Seats were comfortable and could be adjusted electrically at 5 different parts of the seat. Headphones, blankets, pillars and an amenity kit were present at each seat:



The Business Class section has 30 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. The numbering starts with row 4, so my seat 5A was in fact in the second row. In addition to that, there were two Business Class seats in front of the centre part next to the galley that weren’t offered to passengers. The area in front of these seats was used for the preparation of the meal service and during the night these seats were used as a crew rest.

During boarding, they were playing German folk music – Bavarian style – in a very loud voice (“Resi, I hol di mit mei’m Traktor ab” and things like that). Really bizarre and definitely not my kind of music. Maybe they wanted to please their German passengers?

By the way: The great majority (probably more than 90%) of the passengers on this flight seemed to be tourists from Germany and other European countries like France or Italy; later at the customs at WDH, a couple from Slovenia was queuing in front of me. As I already mentioned, there aren’t many connections to WDH, so a lot of passengers are routed via FRA.

Load factor in Business Class was 100%; not a single free seat. Next to me on 5C there was a Business man from South Africa who was connecting to JNB (Air Namibia probably offers the cheapest Business Class product between FRA and JNB).

3 of the 7 flight attendants were serving in Business Class: the female purser who was extremely friendly and attentive and two other female flight attendants. One of them was friendly as well, the third one didn’t say much.

They came through the cabin and offered German and international newspapers and magazines, later pre-flight drinks were served followed by hot towels. Then they distributed the menu cards that included the wine list as well (7 different red and white wines, most of them from South Africa). They already took the drink orders for dinner in order to perform a quick service so that passengers were able to sleep soon.

The captain made a welcome announcement before take-off as well. He addressed his passengers in English and fluent German; obviously he was a Namibian with German heritage (Namibia used to be a German colony between 1884 and 1915 and there are still some people with German heritage living in the country). The announcements from the cabin crew were made in English only. A safety video was shown and we were off-block on time. We taxied the long way to runway 18 “West”, then we took off into the night.

I know that some of you are interested in the food selection, so here is the menu:



Hors d’oeuvre (starter)

Rack of Lamb with Marinated Vegetables


Hot entrée selection (main course)

Beef Strindberg served with Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables

or

Breast of Duck with Mango Chutney Sauce, served with Potato Noodles and Red Cabbage

or

Scallops with Saffron Sauce, Pan Fried Rice and Seasonal Vegetables


Dessert

Venezian Peach Cake and Passion Fruit Cake

or

A Selection of Cheese

or

A Variety of Fresh Fruit

or

A selection of finely baked bread rolls


And here are some pictures of the meal as well. The starter:



As main course I chose the duck:



…and for dessert the Variety of Fresh Fruit:



All in all, quality of food was excellent. The portions weren’t too big which was all right as it was long after midnight when we had finished dinner and breakfast would be served only a few hours later.

The captain came over the microphone again and informed us about our flight route. We were just flying along the Italian coastline and there was a very good view to the City of Pisa and later the Island of Elba. Unfortunately it was dark outside and I couldn’t take any pictures, so you have to get along with the air-show:



Cabin crew performed their duty-free sales quickly (nobody in Business Class bought anything), then the cabin light was switched off completely. I put my seat into a sleeping position and put out my personal monitor which was located in the arm-rest to check the in-flight entertainment system. There were 7 different TV-programmes available (not on demand), each one in English and German language, so all in all there were 14 channels plus the air-show that was shown on Channel 15. The movies were Spiderman 3, Shrek the Third, Meet the Robinsons, Next, Lucky You, Fracture, Blades of Glory. In addition to that, there was a comedy channel (Friends, Just for the Laughs), A Sports Programme and a Culture Programme. Apart from that, 10 different audio programmes with different kinds of music and a children’s programme were available.

I wasn’t really in the mood of watching a movie so I switched my monitor to the air-show and left it there until landing (switching it off during night to reduce light sources). By the way: I was the only passenger in the whole Business Class section who used his monitor at all – all other passengers let it stowed away in the arm-rest.

I found some sleep as well, but woke up several times. Then I switched on the air-show for a short time to see where we were about to fly. By the way; after leaving Europe, our flight route lead us to Tunisia, then via Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon (crossing the Equator there), Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), Angola to Namibia:



The first sunlight of the day:



Sunrise above Angola:



Breakfast was served at around 6:00 am Namibian time. According to the menu, it was supposed to consist of Cream Yoghurt – assorted fruit flavours, Fresh Fruit slices as well as a hot breakfast (Scrambled Egg with Chicken Sausage and Rosti Potatoes). However, the purser went from row to row to apologize that the hot breakfast was not available as it had been somehow destroyed (if I got her right it stayed in the oven for a too long period of time). So we only got the cold breakfast (bread rolls were served later as well):



It wasn’t much but it was fine for me as it was still very early I the morning. Those who were very hungry could eat several bread rolls. But I found it more interesting to look out of the window and watch the dry but fascinating African landscape outside:



Immigration forms for the Republic of Namibia were distributed for those whose journey ended at WDH (Air Namibia offers connection flights to JNB and CPT as well).

Water is rare in Namibia:



A dried river:



A farm in the middle of nowhere:



On short finals into WDH:






We touched down on runway 26 and taxied to our parking position. The terminal building of Windhoek International Airport:



WDH doesn’t have any air-bridges, so we came to stand on a parking position on the apron. We were on-block at 7:30 in the morning, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The purser made her farewell announcement and informed us that taking pictures on the apron was strictly prohibited. She repeated this twice and there were members of security staff on the apron every 50 metres, so I guess you better stick to that rule. Anyway, it was nice to leave a wide-body aircraft on the “classic” way via stairs and walk the way across the apron to the terminal building.

The only aircraft on the whole airport besides our A 340 was an Air Botswana Beech 1900D. While we were walking the quite long way on the apron, a South African Express Fokker F28 arrived from JNB, followed by a DHL Cessna Caravan and two sightseeing / safari flights with Cessna aircraft.

You have to know that Windhoek has two airports – despite the little traffic. On the one hand, there is the “old” city airport “Eros” that handles Air Namibia’s domestic traffic, operated with Beech 1900 aircraft, and most of the sightseeing / safari flights that are quite frequent in Namibia. On the other hand, there is Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport which is located 45 kilometres away from the city (Windhoek is surrounded by high mountains so they had to go that far away when they built the new airport). This airport handles all international traffic. Besides Air Namibia, it is served by South African Airways (JNB, CPT), British Airways / Comair (JNB), Air Angola (LAD) and LTU (MUC).

Anyway, I passed customs which took some time and entered the baggage claim area. There were two luggage belts but no signs which belt was used for which flight, but it soon turned out that the larger belt was used for our Air Namibia flight from FRA while the smaller one was used for the South African flight from JNB. I waited and waited but my bag didn’t arrive. After some time I walked through the baggage claim area to the other luggage belt just to find out that my bag had been placed on the JNB-belt – together with some other luggage from FRA. Obviously the FRA-belt was full, so they just used the second belt as well. Anyway, I collected my luggage and entered the arrivals hall where a member of a tour operator company was already waiting for me and some other passengers to take us to the city.



I was on a tour around the South of Namibia which is famous for its landscapes (especially the Namib Desert and the Kalahari Desert). This was really fascinating for me and I would like to share some pictures of the country with you as well.

The City of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, with the “Christuskirche” (Christ Church), a protestant church of the German community in Windhoek:



Sunset at the edge of Kalahari Desert:



The Quiver Tree Forrest, a plant you find only in Namibia and South Africa:



The Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world (after Grand Canyon):



Rocks in the Karas Mountains in the evening sun:



The City of Luederitz in the South of Namibia:



The Atlantic Coast near Luederitz:



The famous dunes of Sossusvlei in Namib Desert:






I was also on a domestic flight on Air Namibia from Windhoek to Walvis Bay and back, operated with Beech 1900. This flight will be covered by a separate trip report soon. If you should be interested, watch out for it.



After two weeks of holidays it was time to go back home.


Thursday, 29 August 2007
Windhoek Hosea Kutako International (WDH) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Airline: Air Namibia
Flight number: SW 285
Scheduled departure time: 19:00
Scheduled arrival time: 05:55 (time difference was + 1 hour, so flight time was 09:55 hours)
Type of aircraft: Airbus A 340-300
Registration: V5-NME



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Photo © A J Best
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Photo © Rolf Wallner




I arrived at Windhoek International Airport at 16:30 which was 2:30 hours before departure. Nearly all counters in the small check-in hall were staffed, 6 of them for the Air Namibia flights to FRA, JNB and CPT and some others for an SAA flight to JNB. There was one counter for Air Namibia Business Class all flights, about 10 passengers in front of me. After about 20 minutes waiting time, a friendly female agent checked me in. I got a boarding pass with my pre-assigned seat as well as a hand-written invitation to “Oshoto Lounge” (not on the picture):



I passed customs and security check and entered the small gate area which consists of one room with 4 gates:



Traffic is only moderate at WDH; the 3 Air Namibia flights (FRA, JNB and CPT) plus the SAA to JNB were the only remaining flights of the day. There are no flights leaving or arriving after 19:00. Our A 340 was already parked on the apron; it had arrived from FRA early in the morning. As all Air Namibia long-haul flights are night flights, their two A 340-aircraft always have day-stops at WDH, FRA or LGW, their only destinations served by A 340. FRA is served 4 times weekly while LGW is served 3 times weekly. The two A 340 never meet at an airport, so there is one long-haul flight leaving WDH every evening (either to FRA or to LGW). Every aircraft is serving FRA 4 times in a row, then it changes to LGW for 3 rotations before it returns to the FRA-route again. So it was obvious that I would be on the same aircraft as on my inbound-flight again as I stayed in Namibia for 2 weeks. And so it was – the parked A 340 was V5-NME again.

I decided to visit Oshoto Lounge which is the only lounge at WDH and is located next to the gate area on the same level. It is rather small, consisting of one room with comfortable seats and a bar (free drinks and some cookies and small sandwiches) and a very small second room that is used as a smoking lounge. Here you can see a part of the main room:



One lady was operating the lounge. With 4 flights that were about to leave, the small lounge was quite crowded. After having a drink I left the lounge again and had a look through the duty-free shop.

About 1 hour before the departure of our flight, the crew arrived, this time with a black captain and a white first officer. Again 7 flight attendants (6 female, 1 male).

I watched the 2 Air Namibia B 737-200 departing for JNB and CPT. Those aircraft are leased from Safair and they spend the night at the airports in South Africa, returning to WDH on the next morning. So there are no scheduled night-stops at WDH; the airport is completely empty after 19:00.

Boarding started 30 minutes before departure and all passengers walked across the apron to the parking position of our aircraft. It was already completely dark outside – it is winter in the Southern hemisphere, so sunset takes place at about 17:30 at this time of the year.

There were 2 stairs at the aircraft, one in the front for Business Class and one at the second door for Economy Class. After being welcomed by the crew I took my seat 5A which was the same as on the inbound flight. Newspapers from Namibia and magazines from Namibia and Germany were offered (offering German newspapers wouldn’t make much sense as they would be from the morning of the last day, so they would be nearly 2 days old).

This time there were 6 empty seats in the Business Class section, so load factor in Business was 80%. The seat next to me remained empty as well.

Pre-flight drinks were served again, this time together with a small snack which was “Biltong”, a Namibian specialty made of dried game meat, or alternatively salted cookies.

The captain made a very detailed welcome announcement as well. He apologized for the heat in the cabin which resulted from the fact that the APU wasn’t working properly. He explained to us that this problem had to be fixed at FRA (all larger maintenance works of Air Namibia’s A 340-fleet are carried out by Lufthansa Technik at FRA as Air Namibia has got only a very small maintenance at WDH). The captain then told us that our flight level would be 31,000 feet but we would climb up to 38,000 feet when reaching Tunisia.

We were off-block at 19:20 and taxied to the runway, then we taxied on the runway to the end of it as there are no taxiways parallel to the runway which is probably not necessary due to the little traffic. Then we took off from runway 08 into the night. As there are no towns near the airport, you see only darkness outside when leaving WDH at night.

Shortly after take-off, the captain came over the microphone again. He was very informative and told us everything about the flight route which would lead us towards Angola, then to the Democratic Republic of Congo – Congo – Cameroon – Nigeria – Niger (Sahara Desert) – Libya – Tunisia – the Mediterranean Sea towards Sardinia – Corsica – Elba – Italian mainland and then via Switzerland to Germany, crossing Stuttgart towards FRA.

3 flight attendants were serving in Business Class again, this time 2 female and 1 male. Menu cards were distributed. Here are the choices:


Hors d’oeuvre (starter)

Smoked Salmon served with Herb Cottage Cheese


Hot entrée selection (main course)

Game Fillet with Red Wine Sauce, Savory Rice and Seasonal Vegetables

or

Chicken Schnitzel with Lemon Butter Sauce, Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables

or

Fresh Salmon on Leek Sauce and a Herb Crust served with Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables


Dessert

Chocolate Mousse Cake

or

A Selection of Cheese

or

A Variety of Fresh Fruit

or

A selection of finely baked bread rolls


And here are the pictures. The starter:



I had the Game Fillet for main course:



…and for dessert the Chocolate Mousse Cake:



Food was excellent again.

Once more I was the only passenger in Business Class who used his monitor, and once again I switched it to the air-show:



As it was a night flight, there didn’t happen too much for the next hours. The lights were switched off completely and everybody tried to get some sleep. Window-shades were left open, so I was able to look out of the window from time to time. For some reason the entertainment system didn’t work during the night (probably it broke down or was switched off), so no air-show as well, but luckily the system returned in the morning.

The cabin lights were switched on again at 4:15 in the morning (European time). Breakfast was served, this time consisting of the usual cold items (bread rolls were added later)…:



…and hot items, which was a Cheese Omelet served with Fried Bacon, Potatoes and Grilled Tomato:



Alternatively to the hot breakfast, a Selection of Namibian Cold Cuts was available as well.

Reaching European airspace again:



We reached Germany soon and I had a nice view to my home-town Stuttgart. Unfortunately it was still dark, so here is only a picture from the air-show:



The captain made a last announcement and informed us about our landing at FRA, which would take place on runway 07L, and about the weather. Soon we touched down and taxied to gate A 15 where we were on-block at 6:05. No doubt, we are at FRA again:



I thanked the crew and left the aircraft. Here are some pictures of V5-NME at the gate at FRA (sorry for the bad quality due to the light conditions):









I passed immigration quickly, collected my luggage, and 45 minutes after landing I was sitting in an ICE-train to Stuttgart where I arrived at about 8:00.

Conclusion: This was my first flight in Business Class and I was really impressed by the seat comfort and the service level. Flights were on time, crews were very friendly and attentive and food was very good as well. As I don’t have any other experiences with Business Class flights, I can’t compare Air Namibia’s Business Class to the products of other airlines. Anyway, Air Namibia is a fine little airline, and if you should consider flying Business Class to Namibia or South Africa and you don’t want to pay more than EUR 3.000 for a Business Class ticket with LH, BA or SAA, Air Namibia might be the way to go.


Thanks for reading my report, I hope it didn’t turn out too long. This report doesn’t contain as many air-to-ground pictures as my usual reports as both flights were operated during night-time. Questions and comments are always appreciated.

Regards

Christoph

47 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTwoLz2Rn From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 452 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great job! I love reading TR's about lesser travelled destinations and it seems recently there have been a few!

[Edited 2007-09-01 14:32:10]

User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27100 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Very nice report and photos. The J class looks nice. Food looks quite good. Nice photos of Namibia also.


Thanks

OA260


User currently offlineRineanna From Ireland, joined Jan 2007, 880 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Very interesting TR! After reading quite a few reviews of them on other sites I was hoping to see a TR done on them here. Thanks!

User currently offlineMSYYZ From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 851 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Very nice report of an Airline that is hardly covered on A.Net .

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
Load factor in Business Class was 100%



Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
so load factor in Business was 80%

Load factor may be low in Economy class for flights to Africa , but J class can go full (or near full) for most Airlines serving sub-saharan Africa . That is why load factor may be low but yield is high .

[Edited 2007-09-01 15:49:45]


A346,A343,A342,A332,A333,A310,A300,AB6,A319,A320,A321,B741,B744,B777,B767,B732,B735,B727,B707,B757,MD80,F-70,E-170,B738
User currently offlineHummingBird From Jamaica, joined Mar 2007, 3096 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
Cabin crew consisted of 7 flight attendants (6 female, 1 male

I am curious about their service level on a full flight.I got this info from their website.

A340-300 -- Airbus

Economy Class
• 234 seats
Seat Pitch 31 inches
Seat Width 23.50 inches
• Seating 2:4 2

Business Class
• 44 seats
Seat Pitch: 60 inches
Seat Width: 27.7 inches
• Seating 2:22


3 in Business and 4 in economy. That seems to be a very low cabin crew to pax ratio.



When you feel tired, never stop..Keep climbing
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Wonderful report. Thanks for posting pictures of Namibia. It seems worthwhile visiting one day.

User currently offlineCaspritz78 From Germany, joined Aug 2007, 518 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great report. Looks like a Air Namibia offers a good quality product. Still I think it is funny that the breakfast was "destroyed".

User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great report, Christoph! The pictures from Namibia are really beautiful - definitely a place which I want to visit in the future.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
There were sings in the check-in area that Economy Class passengers could buy a one-way upgrade to Business Class for EUR 275.00 (seat only with Economy service) or EUR 375.00 (full Business Class service). Payment was accepted in cash only.

Reasonable offer, though I'm wondering about the yields. Interesting that they don't accept credit cards.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
During boarding, they were playing German folk music – Bavarian style – in a very loud voice (“Resi, I hol di mit mei’m Traktor ab” and things like that). Really bizarre and definitely not my kind of music. Maybe they wanted to please their German passengers?

Not what I would expect on a plane heading to Africa...or anywhere else.  Wink

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
3 of the 7 flight attendants were serving in Business Class: the female purser who was extremely friendly and attentive and two other female flight attendants. One of them was friendly as well, the third one didn’t say much.

Good to hear. I still remember the great crews on my FRA-LHR-FRA flights on SW's B744 Combi some years ago. Very friendly F/As and fantastic captain who invited us to take the jumpseat even before takeoff at LHR - and in the end we were allowed to stay there until we arrived at the gate at FRA. We were even served a C-class snack and drinks in the cockpit.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
However, the purser went from row to row to apologize that the hot breakfast was not available as it had been somehow destroyed (if I got her right it stayed in the oven for a too long period of time). So we only got the cold breakfast (bread rolls were served later as well):

Would be interesting to know whether there was a hot breakfast on offer in Eco class when the hot C-class breakfast was not available.

While the main meals look ok, the breakfast offererings could be better in C-class. Some carriers serve more even in Economy.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6341 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Excellent report! I've been meaning to write up an SW report for a long time now, but have never gotten around to it.

So glad you enjoyed our little airline and our big huge country. I am proud as hell to be Namibian - it's a place that is full of diversity beyond many places in the world. Germans, Afrikaaners, Coloureds, a few Brits and others, some Angolans, and a whole ton of fascinating tribes. It always amazes me when you can go to the grass and tall buildings (well, somewhat tall...ok not really haha) of Windhoek to the arid dunes of the desert to the German colonies on the Atlantic. Hope you come back someday, but don't tell all your friends, we like still being somewhat of an unknown!!!  Wink

About the pilot on your first flight - he may have been of German heritage, and probably was, but not necesarilly. I am of American heritage (born and raised in Windhoek to American parents from Chicago), and I speak fluent German. Many of the whites, be them German or Afrikaaner or otherwise, will speak at least some German, and many will be quite fluent, and even a few of the blacks will speak magnificent German. However, I do know there is an A340 pilot at SW who is indeed German (maybe even German born, or at least a first generation Namibian).


User currently offlineLH417AF025 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 277 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

great TR.

I must say though, quite disappointed by the food on offer!


User currently offlineGjunnar From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Absolutely great TR. Namibia indeed looks like a wonderful place.
Food looks good, but the amounts don't appear too big...Looking forward to reading bout your domestic flight!


User currently offlineDALelite From Switzerland, joined Jun 2000, 1770 posts, RR: 25
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

A great and rare TR. Lovely pictures as well. Thanks for posting.

cheers: DALelite



They loved to fly and it showed..
User currently offlineBAStew From Australia, joined Sep 2006, 1028 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hey really really enjoyed your trip report! I have actually considered flying from London to Australia using a London-Windhoek-Jo'Burg-Sydney routing as a travel agent in the UK that specialises with travel industry/airline staff offers really good J class fares on Air Namibia to JNB. Your trip report has sold it to me!  Smile

7 F/A's on a 340!!!! WOW. I wonder what the service is like in economy?? Only 4 crew for 234 passengers? Oh dear! At BA we have 7 cabin crew working in the economy cabins configured with approx the same amount of passengers - and THAT feels like hard work lol


User currently offlineAntskip From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 936 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thanks for a very fine report. Contact Air! Especially welcome were beautiful pictures of Namibia! I am envious of a long journey by jet that barely suffers from time-zone problems! A night-flight, and then dawn at just about the normal time. Very pleasant!

User currently offlineSketty222 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1778 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Very good report!
One of the airlines that ive never seen on here before and to be honest I think they look quite good.
Namibia is one fo those places that is thought of as a really poor country but they offer reat facilities to tourists. Safarsi's, visits to the desert and fantastic shark fishing

Lee



There's flying and then there's flying
User currently offlineAH332 From Algeria, joined Mar 2007, 276 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi,

Great Report! Thanks for sharing.

Interesting that SW's FRA flights are with the A340 now. Last summer, and this past summer, when I was in Frankfurt in June (both days were Thursdays) The SW plane at the gate was an MD-11.

Cheers,
Imad



Bledi Heya Al Djazaeer! // Next Flights: AB MIA-DUS-ORY, AF ORY-MRS-ALG
User currently offlineJakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Fascinating trip report. I especially enjoyed the history of the aircraft and the description of Air Namibia logistics between FRA and LGW. It always interests me how the smaller airlines adapt to provide a level of expected service--especially at airports where other carriers dominate. I was also interested in the fact that they provided First Class train service to the airport (that is something that isn't offered in the United States that I am aware of). Short of the breakfast being "destroyed" it seemed like the service was a typical business class experience. The pictures of Namibia were also amazing. Again, great job!

User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6341 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting AH332 (Reply 16):
Interesting that SW's FRA flights are with the A340 now. Last summer, and this past summer, when I was in Frankfurt in June (both days were Thursdays) The SW plane at the gate was an MD-11.

They did run the MD-11 before getting the A340's. Before the MD-11 they ran the 747-400.

Quoting Jakeflyer (Reply 17):
I was also interested in the fact that they provided First Class train service to the airport (that is something that isn't offered in the United States that I am aware of).

Yeah I love that about Air Namibia - I've taken advantage of it a few times...well, four to be exact...Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, and Erfurt.


User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17078 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Wonderful TR with really cool pics. Thank you for posting it.


Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineGQ From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Well done! I love the pictures of the Kalahari and the canyon, nature at its best!


Traveling somewhere, could be anywhere...there's a strangeness in the air but I don't care
User currently offlineCV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi!

Very nice report regarding your Air Namibia flight. It looks to me that LH takes some of the supervision of this airline...am I right? I smiled when you shared that taking photos in WDH was forbidden....it looks to me more and more that in anyplace in Africa ( or mostly ) we cannot take pictures in the airports!!! I had the same experience in FIH also having a guard every 50 meters!!! When I was taking my last shots still INSIDE my plane ( AF A332 ) the AF F/A adviced me to me carefull about taking photos in Kinshasa and also at the airport...I could go to jail!!! But I was very frustrated..I saw so many awesome planes that I would take lot's of pictures but....I couldn't!
Regards


User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi everybody,

I want to thank you all for your replies and for the great feedback. I really appreciate it.

Quoting MSYYZ (Reply 4):
Load factor may be low in Economy class for flights to Africa , but J class can go full (or near full) for most Airlines serving sub-saharan Africa . That is why load factor may be low but yield is high .

Yes, I have also heard about that. However, traffic to and from Namibia depends to a high degree on tourism. July, August and September are the main tourism month in Namibia, that's why flights are always full in these months, also in Economy. My flight FRA-WDH was completely sold out in both classes. I talked to a local tour operator in Windhoek who told me that loads on flights to / from WDH could be quite low in the off-season (January, February).

Quoting HummingBird (Reply 5):
Business Class
• 44 seats
Seat Pitch: 60 inches
Seat Width: 27.7 inches
• Seating 2:22

I have read this information as well; however, it is not actual: V5-NME was equipped with 30 seats in Business Class (5 rows with 6 seats per row). I can't say whether their second A 340 (V5-NMF) is equipped differently, but I wouldn't think so.

Quoting HummingBird (Reply 5):
3 in Business and 4 in economy. That seems to be a very low cabin crew to pax ratio.



Quoting BAStew (Reply 13):
7 F/A's on a 340!!!! WOW. I wonder what the service is like in economy?? Only 4 crew for 234 passengers? Oh dear! At BA we have 7 cabin crew working in the economy cabins configured with approx the same amount of passengers - and THAT feels like hard work lol

I was wondering about that myself. If you take the industry's minimal standard (at least 1 flight attendant for 50 passengers) they are still within the normal range. However, 4 F/A's for Economy doesn't sound much. I didn't realize if the Business Class F/A's helped out in Economy after Business service was finished. That would have been an option. On the other hand, you might keep in mind that both flights were night flights, and there is a long break during night with no service at all. I think dinner and breakfast are stressful for the crew, but the time in between is more relaxed.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 8):
Reasonable offer, though I'm wondering about the yields. Interesting that they don't accept credit cards.

I also found this a bit strange. After all, they are handled by LH at FRA and LH for sure accepts all cards at FRA for their own services. But maybe they don't want to take credit card payments on behalf of other airlines. Of course it might be an Air Namibia policy as well, I'm not sure.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 8):
While the main meals look ok, the breakfast offererings could be better in C-class. Some carriers serve more even in Economy.



Quoting LH417AF025 (Reply 10):
I must say though, quite disappointed by the food on offer!



Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 11):
Food looks good, but the amounts don't appear too big...

About the food: while I found quality to be excellent, I agree with you that it wasn't really much. I for my part was happy with it as I don't eat too much on night flights. But if you are really hungry, it might be a bit small. But at least they offered bread rolls and butter several times ("all you can eat"). OK, bread and butter might not be the typical Business Class meal, but you won't stay hungry.

Quoting SW733 (Reply 9):
About the pilot on your first flight - he may have been of German heritage, and probably was, but not necesarilly. I am of American heritage (born and raised in Windhoek to American parents from Chicago), and I speak fluent German. Many of the whites, be them German or Afrikaaner or otherwise, will speak at least some German, and many will be quite fluent, and even a few of the blacks will speak magnificent German. However, I do know there is an A340 pilot at SW who is indeed German (maybe even German born, or at least a first generation Namibian).

Hi SW733, very nice to get some feedback from Namibia as well. You are right, I also met some people of all heritages in Namibia who spoke some German. So of course I can't know if the captain was really of German heritage - I was just guessing it.

I agree with you - Namibia is a fascinating country with lots of different aspects. And don't worry - it is still far away from mass tourism...  Wink

Quoting BAStew (Reply 13):
Hey really really enjoyed your trip report! I have actually considered flying from London to Australia using a London-Windhoek-Jo'Burg-Sydney routing as a travel agent in the UK that specialises with travel industry/airline staff offers really good J class fares on Air Namibia to JNB. Your trip report has sold it to me!

Definately an interesting routing for London-Sydney. Have a good trip!

Quoting Jakeflyer (Reply 17):
I especially enjoyed the history of the aircraft and the description of Air Namibia logistics between FRA and LGW. It always interests me how the smaller airlines adapt to provide a level of expected service--especially at airports where other carriers dominate.

Yes, I find this aspect interesting as well. It is always more difficult for a small airline to set up a schedule that works than for a big airline that can afford back-up aircraft.

Quoting AH332 (Reply 16):
Interesting that SW's FRA flights are with the A340 now. Last summer, and this past summer, when I was in Frankfurt in June (both days were Thursdays) The SW plane at the gate was an MD-11.



Quoting SW733 (Reply 18):
They did run the MD-11 before getting the A340's. Before the MD-11 they ran the 747-400.

Yes, I guess their flight crews have to be very flexible...

Quoting CV990 (Reply 21):
It looks to me that LH takes some of the supervision of this airline...am I right?

LH is responsible for the maintenance of Air Namibia's two A 340-aircraft. Normal maintenance works are done during the regular day-stops of the aircraft at FRA. The day-stop at FRA is scheduled with nearly 17 hours which should be enough time for the normal maintenance works. On the other hand, LH is Air Namibia's handling agent at FRA. At LGW they are working together with Virgin Atlantic as far as I know.

Quoting CV990 (Reply 21):
I smiled when you shared that taking photos in WDH was forbidden....it looks to me more and more that in anyplace in Africa ( or mostly ) we cannot take pictures in the airports!!!

Yes, I was also really disappointed. Leaving an A 340 aircraft via stairs on the apron would have provided a good photo perspective.

Once again, thanks to everybody for your feedback!!!

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8561 posts, RR: 54
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
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Hi Christoph, another great TR, many thanks.

Quite an interesting report on a lesser flown/reported airline - interesting how they schedule the use of these 2 340's.

Whilst the seating and meal service may not be up to BA/SQ standards, at times, at times who cares, all you really need is more space to stretch out, at least that's my view.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
All in all, quality of food was excellent. The portions weren’t too big which was all right as it was long after midnight

- Looks quite simple but honest.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
According to the menu, it was supposed to consist of Cream Yoghurt – assorted fruit flavours, Fresh Fruit slices as well as a hot breakfast (Scrambled Egg with Chicken Sausage and Rosti Potatoes). However, the purser went from row to row to apologize that the hot breakfast was not available as it had been somehow destroyed (if I got her right it stayed in the oven for a too long period of time). So we only got the cold breakfast (bread rolls were served later as well):

-That's a shame, I'd have been looking forward to this.

Thanks for the pictures too, very nice.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineBok269 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 2104 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Very nice report and pics about a less traveled route. Thanks for posting.


"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
25 SR 103 : That was an excellent trip report with some great pictures. I have always wondered about Air Namibia and I was thrilled to finally see such an in-dept
26 Post contains images Mexicana757 : Fantastic trip report! Nice to see an Air Namibia TR. Great pictures of Namibia. Another country on my list to visit in the future.
27 FLIEGER67 : Hi, Christoph, I´ve join the line, thanx for posting this superb report. Namibia is also a "dream destination" for me and especially after reading yo
28 Contact Air : Thanks again to all of you for your replies! I have never been on Business Class of any other airline before, so I can't really compare. But from what
29 RICARIZA : What an interesting report and a beautiful country.. thank you for sharing!!!
30 Post contains images Ndebele : Great report with amazing pics of both the Air Namibia Business Class and the country Namibia! Really enjoyable to read and watch. What can I say abou
31 Post contains images Contact Air : Thanks Ricariza and Alex for your replies! OK, I agree. However, unfortunately we didn't receive the full famous Swiss Business Class service on this
32 HALFA : Just wanted to thank you for writing your report. It brought back really good memories of my trip to Namibia in 2000. My vacation to Namibia still ran
33 Post contains images TriStar500 : Thank you for a highly enjyobale report about one of the lesser known airlines and countries - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
34 DTManiac : Great report, beautiful pictures, especially those featuring the Namibian landscape. Amazing!
35 Contact Air : Thanks for your comments HALFA, Jens and DTManiac! I also found this country to be absolutely fascinating. On this journey I visited only the South of
36 Khaleej777 : Thanks for a really enjoyable report, Contact Air. Your photos of the Kalahari sunset and Sossussvlei dunes brought back very happy memories of some f
37 Omoo : Nice trip report, Namibia is a really nice and quite place to visit, off the beaten path.
38 DALCE : Hi Christoph, What an amazing report! Namibia looks great. You really must have had a supertrip! Great pictures aswell. I loved to read about Air Nami
39 Post contains links Contact Air : Hi Khaleej777, Omoo and Joost, thanks a lot for your comments! Well, as this report is already a few months old, the domestic trip report already exis
40 Davescj : Awesome TR!! I esp enjoyed the pics of Namibia itself. Dave
41 CO7e7 : Great report about such a small airline. Your pictures were also very good. Thanks.
42 Post contains images TriStar500 : Hi Christoph! My wife and I will be visiting Namibia für two weeks in June/July of this year - which of the sites and attraction you went to were d
43 Contact Air : Hi Jens, nice to hear that you are going to visit Namibia. On my Namibia trip I visited the Southern part of the country which is famous for its lands
44 Post contains images TriStar500 : Hi Christoph! Thank you very much for those details I think that we will visit both the South as well as the North of the country - did you rent a con
45 Christao17 : It is always a pleasure reading a detailed report about an airline that you don't read much about. Thanks for taking the time to put this report toget
46 Contact Air : Hi Jens, in fact I was on an organized tour; we were a group of 5 people, so I didn't drive myself. We had a mini bus that was driven by the tour gui
47 Golftango : Beautiful TR! I love seeing such remote locations.
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