SunAir From India, joined Jun 2009, 0 posts, RR: 1 Posted (12 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2159 times:
I had to go down to Cape Town for 2 nights for a funeral. I had to find the cheapest full-service fare, which turned out to be Nationwide Airlines. Their fares were $200 cheaper than both BA/Comair or SAA. If you want to know more about Nationwide, click here: http://www.flynationwide.co.za and it'll show you everything you need to know about this South African airline. Here's the report:
From: JNB (Johannesburg International Airport) To: CPT (Cape Town International Airport) Airline: Nationwide Airlines Flight: CE712 Aircraft: Boeing B737-200 Registration: ZS-OEZ Name: NA Time of Departure: 6:00pm Actual time of Departure: 6:10pm Time of Arrival: 8:00pm Actual time of Arrival: 8:15pm
I was travelling with my dad. He was going to fly Business class, and I was to fly economy. We arrived at the airport at about 4:20pm, and parked our Audi A4 Avant in the Execuport parking lot, which is cheaper than the normal parking lot. We went to the check in desk, and within 5 minutes, the nice lady at the counter gave us our boarding passes, as well as our tickets to the Nationwide business class lounge. We met my aunt and my two cousins just as we were coming into the airport, and after we had checked in, we went to have coffee with them at the Fournos Bakery in the airport. They were also going to Cape Town for the funeral, but on Kulula.com, the new low fare airline in South Africa. Their flight was leaving at 5:30pm, so at 5:00pm we all went through security to the domestic terminal. The domestic terminal at JNB is not that advanced, but they are building a brand new one which looks like it'll be the 10 times the size of the original one, and looks like it will be of equivalent quality to JNB's international terminal. We said our goodbye's to my aunt and went upstairs at around 5:10pm to the Premier Club lounge which is the business class lounge of Nationwide, and I think BA/Comair shares it with Nationwide.
The lounge was quite comfortable. There were maroon chairs, a fully stocked bar, a counter with sandwiches, crisps, muffins and fruit on it, as well as a closed off smoking room. I had some sandwiches and a drink, before boarding was called at 5:30pm. We left the lounge at about 5:40pm, and headed back downstairs to gate 65. All the passengers going to CPT were crammed into one bus, and eventually at 5:50pm the bus left for the aircraft.
Now, Nationwide parks their aircraft 10000000000 miles away from the terminal. And to get there, you have to go under the International terminal, past all the international aircraft. You get a close up view of all the aircraft when you drive by. I saw close up the noses of many SAA 747's, a KLM 747, an LH 747, and VS and AF A340's. We arrived at the aircraft, ZS-OEZ, at about 5:50pm, and I was seated in my seat, which was 15A at about 5:55pm. Current music was being played whilst we waited for pushback.
This is an ex-Lufthansa B732. And somehow I don't think the interior has been updated since it was first delivered as D-ABFH to the airline in 1981. The interior can only be described in a photo, which I'll post when the spool gets developed. In words, the closest I can describe it is brownish. First class's interior was hilarious!
ZS-OEZ eventually pushed back at 6:10pm, and we taxied all the way down to the end of Runway 21R/03L at quite a fast pace. The safety demo was demonstrated by the crew, and every move was perfectly syncronised. The chief pursur was called Michelle, and she introduced the crew to us. Jana was in first class, Steven at the front of economy, and I forgot the others. As we were taxying, the captain also came on the PA. His name was Captain Ben Hall, an oldish guy. He was full of information. He told us the weight of the aircraft (50 tons) as well as how much fuel comprises that weight (11 tons). He also told us we would be taking off at a speed of 355km/h, which he told us was almost the land record in South Africa.
We were behind a Jetstream 41 of South African Airlink, and behind us was a Nationwide BAC1-11, going to Durban. We reached the end of the runway at 6:20pm and 3 minutes later, take off started. After a 47 second take off roll, using the full runway, we lifted off and were up in the air by 6:24pm. At 6:25pm, seatbelt signs were turned off, so people started going to the bathroom whilst the aircraft was still gaining height.
Anyway, at 6:35pm the flight attendants came around with fruit juice. I thought this was going to be the only bar service, but there was infact, bar service after dinner. At about 6:50pm, dinner was served. Dinner was beef stew with rice, carrots and brocalli. There was coleslaw on a bed of lettuce for starters, and some kind of a pudding which I'm afraid I didn't recognise. But nonetheless, it all tasted very nice! I had some coffee when they came by with the drinks, and for the rest of the flight, I read the whole of Reader's Digest, which is their inflight mag, from start to end. I will count this as their inflight entertainment below in my ratings.
At about 5:55pm we started our descent into Cape Town. We came round over False Bay, and landed on runway 19 from the south, which I have never done before. Cape Town was wet, wet, and dare I say, WET!!!! We landed at 6:10pm on a very wet runway, which was quite exciting, and by 6:20pm we had our bags and were at the Avis car hire office.
From: CPT(Cape Town International Airport) To: JNB (Johannesburg International Airport) Airline: Nationwide Airlines Flight: CE707 Aircraft: Boeing B737-200 Registration: ZS-OMG Name: NA Time of Departure: 11:00am Actual time of Departure: 11:04am Time of Arrival: 1:00pm Actual time of Arrival: 00:55pm
We arrived at Cape Town International Airport at 10:00am. We dropped off our car at Avis, and went to check-in. We went through security at 10:15am. This time, both my dad and I were flying economy class. We sat in the terminal until boarding was called at 10:40am, and saw a great view of KLM PH-BFG coming in. Boarding was supposed to be called at 10:30am, but I think the buses were late to pick us up at gate 7. CPT's domestic terminal is much nicer than JNB's, just a bit smaller. At 10:50am, my dad and I went to the gate, and caught the last bus to the aircraft. This time they didn't cram us all into one bus, and we left for the aircraft at 10:55am. By this time I thought we were going to be late again, but by 11:00am I was seated in my seat, 17A. The interior of this aircraft, ZS-OMG was totally different to that of the one coming down. These were navy leather seats, and very comfortable.
This time I caught the names of all the f/a's. They were from the front, Mary, Jana (the same lady that we had coming down, this time doing economy), Michelle, Debbie and Jenny was the pursur. The captain in charge of this flight was Mark Nel, and he wasn't as full with information as the previous captain was. He did tell us though that we would be cruising at 33000 feet, and would be heading for Welkom in the Free State.
ZS-OMG pushed back at 11:04am, and at 11:10am we were up in the air. We had a 28 second take-off roll on runway 19. As we took off, I could smell the wonderful aroma of herb and garlic bread being cooked. Also as we took off, I noticed a British Airways Boeing 777, which I never knew was flown on services to Cape Town. A few minutes later, the f/a's came around with fruit juices, and then a few minutes after that, they came around with lunch.
Lunch was toasted herb and garlic bread, with cheese and bacon inbetween the two layers. There was fruit salad for starters and a Lunch Bar chocolate for pudding. This meal was easily the best airline lunch I have ever had. It was tasty, and it sure smelt great. I had a coke afterwards, and after I'd finished my coke, and finished reading the Cape Argus, I wasn't sure what to do.
I looked at at the rugged terrain of South Africa for a bit, and then fell asleep. I woke up as we were on descent into JNB. We passed over all the tin shacks reminiscent of South Africa, then over the East Rand, the East Rand mall, then over the R24 highway, and we finally touched down on the far runway of JNB international, 5 minutes before scheduled time.
It took quite a bit of time to collect our bags, but by 1:20pm we had them and were ready to go.
Overall: Nationwide is a superb airline. The service is slightly better than SAA, but for $200 cheaper, Nationwide rules the South African domestic airline market in my opinion.
I think that if they keep on going at the pace at which they are going, they'll go very far. My only criticisms of Nationwide would be their old aircraft that they still have and the interiors of some of their aircraft.
Swiss-airplane From Switzerland, joined May 2000, 591 posts, RR: 4 Reply 4, posted (12 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2037 times:
Very good trip report. Seems you enjoyed flying with Nationwide. I just know that Sabena had a Code-share agreement with Nationwide, but canceleld it, because Swissair owns shares of both SAA and Sabena. Do they still have the BAC aircrafts in service? I really would like to fly to South Africa soon and and to visit your country. But the nonstop twice daily Swissair and SAA flights between Zürich and JNB are always full. Crazy. Just in generall, which languages does the crew spoke on this domnestic flight? Was it only Africans and English or another language?
Greetings from Switzerland
SunAir From India, joined Jun 2009, 0 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (12 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2024 times:
Thanks for all your comments guys!
Marco - Yeah I guess the BAC's are very old. But I don't think Nationwide has the money to replace them. They have a tough enough time competing against SAA, that replacing their aircraft isn't at the top of their list yet. But I think soon enough you'll see new aircraft being introduced.
B737-700 - Thanks!
Zizou - I took the Iberia flights a week ago, and yes, these flights were much better than the IB ones. Look, the European flights weren't that bad, but the intercontinental's....ugh!!!! Glad you enjoyed reading it!
Swiss-Airplane - You MUST come to South Africa! I think another reason for SN stopping their codeshare with Nationwide was because they stopped flying to JNB. When you come to South Africa, why don't you come through Cape Town first. You can go BA direct from LHR, and I read somewhere that LTU was resuming flights to CPT, I would assume from Dusseldorf? So you could fly up to Dusseldorf and then catch a flight to CPT, instead of trying to find a seat on the crowded SR flights to JNB? As for you other question...English is spoken everywhere in South Africa. At home, people speak their mother tongue, but outside of the home, english is the main language. Thanks for your comments BTW!
Swiss-airplane From Switzerland, joined May 2000, 591 posts, RR: 4 Reply 6, posted (12 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2022 times:
Yeah, I would like to come. Maybe next spring. When is the best time for travelling to South Africa? I would love to fly SAA, SR or BA. If Swissair is member of Oneworld next year, then I could fly BA one way. Due I'm collecting miles on Swissair's qualiflyer frequent flyer programme mostly I fly with them, and their service is absolutely great. But I would also love to try South African Airways, I heard good stories about them. I don't think that I would fly LTU. But the others sounds great. Anyway Cape Town must be wonderful, as well as Krueger national-park, Durban and other nice parts.
By the way, have you ever been to Switzerland? if no, you should also come.
Ok, hope to hear from you
SunAir From India, joined Jun 2009, 0 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (12 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2014 times:
Swiss-Airplane - I would think the best time to come is in March/April. It's not that hot anymore from the summer and not cold yet. March/April is Autumn/Fall in South Africa, so it would be your spring. The other best time to come would be October/November because it's not that hot yet, and not that cold either.
Yeah, Cape Town is a beautiful city. The Kruger Park is also nice, but there are lots of other game reserves in south Africa as well that are just as nice. If I were you, I would drive through South Africa, as I believe it's the best way to see my country.
And nope I've never been to Switzerland. The closest I've been is Austria on the one side and just recently this month France on the other side. But I'm sure I'll get to Switzerland when I backpack Europe sometime in the near future. Can you recommend any nice places...Skiing (sp?) especially? I love skiing!
Swiss-airplane From Switzerland, joined May 2000, 591 posts, RR: 4 Reply 10, posted (12 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2004 times:
Switzerland is a very famous place for skiing. For example Zermatt, with the famous mountain. Or Gstaad or Grindelwald. And there are other big regions in Switzerland for example in Graubünden, Wallis and the mountains of Berne. The resorts are quite big. I from te area of Berne and I can recommand it to you. But for all this areas you should book in advance. I also love skiing and I would love to go once to Canda or the USA for skiing there. And since there are two daily ZRH-JNB flights there are good connections. That's funny, you will come to cold Switzerland for skiing when it is summer by you and I would like to fly to warm South Africa when it is getting colder and darker in Switzerland. I would love to fly the NG Boeing 737-800 and maybe also the brandnew Emb 135 opereted by SA Express.