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Off To Zimbabwe 2. BA/Comair JNB-HRE,LVI-JNB Y & C  
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 19362 times:

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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/cover.jpg

Intro



Hi!

Thanks for clicking on Part 2 of my Zimbabwe report!

I spoke briefly about these flights in Part 1. Basically, from JNB up to Zimbabwe, I could either take a long bus ride, pay handsomely for a non-flexible economy fare on South African or BA franchisee Comair, or use my BA miles on BA (or indeed my LH miles on SA, but these were much worse value). I decide to use my Avios on BA.

Comair operates a number of routes from JNB on an ageing fleet of B737-400s in full BA livery. I booked my outward flight JNB-HRE. Comair availability was very awkward for the return. There were no award seats from Victoria Falls (VFA) to JNB, but there were from the Zambian town of Livingstone (LVI) a few miles away. There were no seats left in economy, so I had to pay double for Club. So, that’s how it worked out!

All the flights for my trip


EI 277 Birmingham BHX – Dublin DUB, A320
EI 208 Dublin DUB – Manchester MAN, A320
EY 22 Manchester MAN – Abu Dhabi AUH, A330
EY 604 Abu Dhabi AUH – Johannesburg JNB, A330
BA 6267 Johannesburg JNB – Harare HRE, B734
BA 6292 Livingstone LVI - Johannesburg JNB, B734
EY 603 Johannesburg JNB – Abu Dhabi, A330
EY 19 Abu Dhabi – London Heathrow LHR, B77W

My route, courtesy of GC Mapper, of these reports


I’ll be splitting the report into 3 parts


Part 1, BHX-DUB-MAN-AUH-JNB
Part 2, JNB-HRE, LVI-JNB
Part 3, JNB-AUH-LHR

And here’s the map of Part 2


And with some local cities to help orientate yourself


The Report



With a 19 hour overnight connection, I thought it not worth heading into Jo’burg to try and sightsee, but just to find a decent hotel for the night. I ended up at the very acceptable Airport Game Lodge. Only GBP30 a night with transfers and breakfast.

Comfy room
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8388.jpg

Nice pool
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8392.jpg

And the game
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8411.jpg

SQ overhead
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8415.jpg

My baggage…cool tag, one for the collection
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8403.jpg

Allowing plenty of time to check out the JNB lounges, I’m dropped off at the airport around 0930. First stop is the free landside viewing gallery.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8448.jpg

Hmm, what’s parked underneath?


Etihad!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8429.jpg

SA
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8433.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8434.jpg

Mango
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8431.jpg

Longhualers enjoying a rest…note the token Air Zim in there
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8440.jpg

BA just arrived in the sun
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8445.jpg

It’s baking with the big windows and streaming sun, so I soon make my way the length of the terminal to the Comair desks. Arrivals is in the middle on the basement level
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8449.jpg



Well, I almost understand the CX logo, them being oneworld (but they have their own separate check in area), but why is KL up there?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8451.jpg



After I booked my flight, I tried to preselect my seat (as I can do with CX Gold)….however, my reservation never stuck – it just showed me as sitting in the window behind Club (4A)….ok, this will do. The previous day after arriving from Europe, I had used to SSCI machines to check in…my seat had moved back to row 7, with no option to move forward – all the seats seemed to be occupied. As I was getting my visa on arrival (and I had no idea what the Zimbabwean arrivals procedures would be) I wanted to be off as quicly as possible.

When I got to the desk to drop off my bag, I asked to see if thee were any seats further forward….”no, they’re all full. Row 7 is the furthest forward”. Ok, no problem, bag tagged, and off I went.

Before going through security, I passed another viewing area. Mr O.R.Tambo
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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8463.jpg


FIDS…what a crap system. They only show 1 page, rather than scrolling through the flights for the next 2-3 hours The result? Flights aren’t shown until about an hour before departure, by which time some flights have already started boarding. 1030 is Zimbabwe time, with flights every 10 minutes (to HRE, VFA and BUQ).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8457.jpg

Security and immigration are pretty quick, and I’m soon airside. I have a choice of 3, possibly 4 lounges today. I start with the Menzies Sholongolo lounge, which has been voted best Priority Pass lounge in Africa (although what I’ve seen of lounges on the Continent so far don’t set the bar terribly high).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8464.jpg

The lounge is pretty nice….at this time of day there’s plenty of space, a good drinks selection, and a variety of hot and cold food, including some nice sushi dishes.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8466.jpg

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I spend an easy hour inside, before heading to the Bivest Lounge.

CX boarding
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8471.jpg

I assume this is my plane…well, it’s parked at the right gate at any rate. Not boarding for another hour or so.
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The Bidvest lounge is much larger than the Sholongolo, but is rather dreary. The drinks selection is similar, but there’s not much food on offer. I don’t stay long.
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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8477.jpg

A soda and OJ
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8480.jpg

I’m not sure if I can get into the BA lounge or not. Turns out a) it’s not open, and b) they ask customer to use to Comair lounge anyway.


So, over I go to the SLOW lounge. I ask at the desk again if there are any seats in rows 4-6. “Yes, there are, but only middle seats are left”. So, a new story now. I stick with my row 7 window.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8483.jpg

Wow, now, this is a very nice place to hang out for a few hours (and so much better than the generic BA style Galleries lounge). The place is chic and relaxed, with plenty of friendly staff floating around. I wish now that I hadn’t wasted my time in the other 2 lounges now. I’m surprised they even have this lounge here given that there are at most only 5 or so international Comair flights a day. Makes more sense for eligible customers to use the BA Galleries (and open that earlier). Still, I’m glad they haven’t.

The buffet area is set out like a 5* hotel, and everything looks wonderful
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/IMAG0440.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/IMAG0442.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/IMAG0443.jpg

The library


And work area
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/IMAG0447.jpg

Quiet room


Bathroom (the shower rooms looked great too)


Some comfy seats
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8485.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8487.jpg

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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/IMAG0451.jpg

Looking into the staff side of the bar
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/IMAG0453.jpg


Time to get online
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8488.jpg

And nearly a good tarmac view
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8486.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8489.jpg

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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8499.jpg

Another Comair…not mine either though
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8500.jpg


A little choice of refreshments, and a glass of champagne
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8484.jpg

Ginger Beer…. I think Planehunter would enjoy this version.


And a coffee


With the time ticking, I’m a little concerned that the Harare flight shows no sign of boarding. I go to the front desk, where a new dragon is behind the computer. She calls down to the gate, and then informs me that there was a last minute plane change, so to expect a half hour delay or so. Perfect, I could spend all day in here. I ask again about a seat change. “Let’s see. Well, row 6 is completely empty, but as the final numbers have been done, I can’t move you in the system. I’d suggest just sitting in row 6 – no one else is there”. Hmm, so why were the other staff so reticent to help I wonder? 3 different staff, 3 different stories. Just goes to show, it’s worth asking until you get the answer you are looking for!

Nice long delay on the AMS….some pricey delay compensation for KL I think…EUR 600 per pax?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8496.jpg

Finally, at 1220, our ETD, I head to the gate where there is a short line of people having their documents checked.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8503.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8504.jpg

ZS-OAM for us today, a 23 year old example, previously with Air Europe, Malaysia Airlines, Jerden Bermuda, Dan Air, British Airways (UK) and Air One.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8507.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8509.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8511.jpg


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 19600 times:

February 2013
Johannesburg (JNB) – Harare (HRE)
British Airways BA 6267, operated by Comair
Scheduled: 1220-1335 (1h15m)
Actual: 1303-1409 (1h16m)
Boeing 737-4S3
ZS-OAM
Economy (Traveller)




I’m greeted by name with a big smile, and pointed down the aisle. As expected, row 6 is completely empty, so I go with SA)">6F. This old plane is kitted out just like most of the BA 737 fleet from the late 90’s, complete with cocktail tables and cloth seats. The seat is a bit narrow (I can definitely feel my hips!), but quite soft.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8512.jpg

Good legroom at the front
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8513.jpg

No one else in row 6. The load looks to be around 50%, with some 6-7 people in Club.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8514.jpg

My guidebook ready to go


The plane is old….and it shows
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8516.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8535.jpg

After a further delay due to missing paperwork, the doors are closed, safety demo done, and we head for the runway.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8517.jpg

The safety card is distinctly British


And Highlife is the South African version (i.e. the same as the normal one, with an extra few pages at the front)


Heading for the active
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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8523.jpg

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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8526.jpg

There is some annoying plastic on the windows with little grooves, meaning my zoomed photos come out all fuzzy.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8527.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8534.jpg

Is this the 24 hour late KL plane?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8547.jpg

Off we go, 45 minutes late
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8544.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8550.jpg

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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8566.jpg

Twenty minutes after take off, the catering service is well under way. Drinks first, a G&T and a soda water. I’m delighted to be given a miniature Tanqueray gin…amazing for economy! I believe this is only on request with BA mainline on long-haul Club. You can’t even get it in Club Europe. Maybe it’s a South African thing as the last time I got one of these was on SAA from Bujumbura to Kigali. Shame about the “Chele” water. I mean it tasted ok, but who are they?


Surprise number 2, a choice of two hot dishes. Something vegetarian or ravioli Bolognese.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8573.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8575.jpg

Taste is pretty good too.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8576.jpg

Salad is nice too
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8577.jpg

The fork is a little on the measly side, losing out to the cucumber
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8578.jpg

Some nice African clouds
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8579.jpg

In the welcome aboard spiel, the crew mentioned “and tea and coffee after your meal, time permitting”. I presume that there was insufficient time, as this never materialised. I decided to use the call bell and get myself another G&T instead.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8580.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8584.jpg

Zimbabwean arrivals forms


I was asked by the friendly cabin manager to complete a survey…with pleasure


Pillows provided on request
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8588.jpg

All too quickly, the flight was drawing to a close. The cabin was secured, and we began our approach into Harare
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8590.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8593.jpg

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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8599.jpg

What was a smooth landing rapidly because a rather bumpy ride….the tarmac in HRE is not very smooth!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8601.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8603.jpg

Unlike in LHR, there wasn’t much need of any holding patterns. HRE was deserted other than a sole Air Zimbabwe B732. What once was one of Southern Africa’s busiest airports is now, well, not. Since the demise of Air Zimbabwe a few years ago, there are precious few flights. Most days see flights in barely double figures. Victoria Falls gets maybe 2 flights a day, and Bulawayo maybe 1.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8605.jpg

Interesting control tower


Nice empty terminal
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8609.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF8611.jpg

I was a bit paranoid on arrival – I didn’t really know what to expect, so didn’t take any photos from hereon in. I power walked past the slow Club passengers, and was the first the get to immigration. I was directed to the visa on arrival desk, where ten minutes (and $55) later, I had a nice Zimbabwean visa, and an entry stamp (from 2 days previously….). My bag was already doing laps on the carousel, so I picked it up, and headed out into arrivals where my aunt was waiting.

Zimbabwe



Ok, so I know that most of you are here for the planes (and feel free to skip the middle bit of this report). I’m sure, however, that most of you will also be at least a little curious about Zimbabwe itself. I had reservations before I went (and everyone I spoke to before I went thought I was mad….”isn’t it really dangerous”?). Well, after spending 2 weeks travelling around, I can assure you the country is safe (well, save for some night-time driving, and wild animals), interesting (lakes, rivers, safari parks, balancing rocks, amazing waterfalls) and perfect for an African Adventure. The people are friendly, and desperate for foreign tourists to come.

Of course it not all a bed of roses. Most Zimbabweans live on the breadline (there’s no social welfare here), and are self-employed. No tourists, no money, no food. Chronic (and almost unbelievable) mismanagement of the country have caused immense problems. Profitable companies have been stripped of resources (cash/equipment/management) and left to rot. Air Zim is a case in point. The country is large, and the roads are bad, and fares into the country are high. It’s impossible for even the worst armchair CEO to not come up with a profitable company (especially having seen the rates for air taxis). And yet, the airline went kaput. I believe now there is a new skeleton schedule linking HRE-JNB, as well as a thrice weekly triangle domestic HRE-BUQ-VFA-HRE route…one way for $397! How can you not make money!?

There’s been no investment in any public works for years meaning bumpy roads and almost no working street lights, even in Harare. Productive farms that once covered the country have gone wild, causing famines in part of the country. And of course, Zimbabwe was home of some of the world’s most impressive inflation (November 2008, inflation was ….. 89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000%. Yikes). Zimbabwe now uses USD (if you do come, make sure to bring a big wodge of clean $1 notes.)

But for the average tourist, you don’t need to concern yourself with any of that. Unless you are lucky enough to have family on hand willing to show you around using their 4x4s, you’ll need to find a reliable company to show you around, and make sure your bank balance is sturdy (it’s not a cheap destination once you get your air taxis and safari lodges booked). Come before everyone else does, and Zim once again establishes herself on the Southern African overland trail.

So, I’ve trawled through the nearly 4,000 photos I took, and selected a sample to show to you:

Wildlife



Birds
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8888.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9236.jpg

Crocs
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8908.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF9409.jpg

Elephants
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9205.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF9738.jpg

And their diminutive nephews, the elephant shrew
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0243.jpg

Impala
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF9637.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF9694.jpg

Lizards
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0089.jpg

Zebras


And their cousin, the zonkey


And with some wildebeest
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0960.jpg

Baboons
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0952.jpg

Rhino
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0978.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0987.jpg

Giraffes
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0178.jpg

And finally, my favourite animal, hippos
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9363.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF9424.jpg

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You’ll often see these handy tables showing you what’s been seen recently. Still on my to see list are the cats…lions, cheetahs, leopards.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0393.jpg

Africa is well known for her amazing sunsets



http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8770.jpg

Zimbabwe



Up in Lake Kariba, there was plenty of good fishing…a catfish
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF9563.jpg

We spent a wonderful afternoon on the Lake as the sun was going down. It was hard not to catch a fish. The lodge we were staying at cooked them up for starters…tasty!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9330.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF9343.jpg

Prehistoric cave paintings
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8970.jpg

Balancing Rocks
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9025.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0189-1.jpg

Water filled caves
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF9996.jpg

And stunning lodges. The most amazing place we stayed was a place called Camp Amalinda, near Bulwayo, in the Matopos National Park. It’s not cheap, but is possibly the most stunning place I’ve even stayed in.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0058.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0061.jpg

Amazing bathroom with a view over the plains


No glass in the room, so just a mozzie net between you and outside. Perfect for animal watching from bed
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0071.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0078.jpg

Ready for bed
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0312.jpg

Pool, carved from the natural rock
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0102.jpg

The bar
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0325.jpg

Most Zim musuems are pretty crap, lets be honest. One gem is the National Railway Musuem in Bulawayo. If you’re nearby, check it out!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0335.jpg

Rhodes’ private carriage
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0337.jpg

Of course, Zimbabwe’s trump attraction, the Victoria Falls
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0418.jpg



Ever wondered what a million litres of water a second looked like?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0441.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0555.jpg

The bridge over to Zambia
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0540.jpg

And the bungee jump on the bridge. This is the place where the rope snapped last year, and the Australian lady got dragged down the Zambezi (but survived)

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0575.jpg

Of course, I couldn’t come here and not take a rather expensive helicopter ride!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0724.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0723.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0710.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0698.jpg

That guy got to the front seat before me….grrrr. Still, good views in the back
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0664.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0594.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0606.jpg

How awesome is that gorge?! Sadly the water level was too high for white water rafting (the only other thing I really wanted to do)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0629.jpg

Back to the flying….



With my 2 weeks in Zim finished, it was time to head back to the UK. As there were no Avios seats left from Victoria Falls (VFA) to JNB, I crossed the bridge and spent my final night in the Zambian town of Livingstone (LVI) from where BA also flies down to JNB. There were no seats left in Y, so I ended up paying a little extra for Club.

Twenty-four hours before the flight, I logged onto BA.com to check in. A few hours previously I’d checked the booking – everything was fine, and I was the only one to have reserved a seat in advance. Worryingly, OCLI was not working. I click onto my booking…..i’m not impressed:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/canx.jpg

I’m initially worried (“oh no, the flight’s cancelled, I’m going to miss my connection to London”). I’m then relieved (“Fine, I’ve been rebooked, I can make the connection”). I’m then furious (“What? There’s no cancellation. There’s no time change. The only change is that I’m now in economy not business”). What is going on?

The availability shows the flight completely sold out (although curiously there are 9 J seats available?). The earlier SA flight seems busy, but at least with a few empty seats.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/baseats.jpg

I call the BA office in Lusaka. I get through to a bored sounding man. He confirms that I have been downgraded as the Club cabin is now “closed”. No elaboration as to why, or to any compensation. Grrr. I guess I can’t do much from here, so decide to head to the airport early in case there are further issues.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 19549 times:

Against the advice of the friendly hotel owner (“2 hours is too early for the JNB flight…the airport is boring!”), I arrive at LVI at T-2.5 hours. LVI had three scheduled flights that day, a SA flight to JNB, the BA to JNB and a local flight up to Lusaka, all squeezed into a half hour period. As the SA flight was due a little earlier, the single queue to get to the security point before check in has a half hour queue – I’m glad I arrived when I did, as the queue only gets longer. There’s no fast track, so I join the back.

In the queue


Half an hour water, I put my suitcase through the scanner, and then proceed to the BA desks (no Club desk here, join another queue). Twenty minutes later, its my turn. “Hi, I’m in Club to JNB”. There’s a concerning amount of typing going on behind the desk. “Sorry, there’s a problem with your ticket”. After the cancellation/time change/downgrade (or however BA would like to phrase it), my ticket was cancelled, and now I have a reservation, but no ticket number.


Half an hour later, someone comes from a back office with my passport and printout….I now have a ticket. My request for 1A is met with an “OK”, and then “will 1F do?”. Clearly I’m back in Club leaving me even more confused about what was happening behind the scenes.

With my bag tagged, and Club boarding pass issued, I proceed through immigration (no queue) and into the lounge.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1003.jpg

Well, this certainly wasn’t a lounge you should make extra time to visit. When I entered, the only vacant seat was an office chair next to the toilet door. The entire lounge was the size of a large sitting room, and crammed with people and mismatched furniture. Thankfully, a few minutes after I arrive, someone makes space on a sofa, so at least I don’t look like I’m peeking through the toilet door.

I spent an hour “enjoying” the lounge. Catering is basic. There is vodka, but no tonic or gin. I go with a Screwdriver, along with the only ice cube left in the tin. Solid catering consists of stale cheese sandwiches, stale crisps and stale popcorn. Yum.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0997.jpg

When the SA flight is called, I take a photo of the bar from my seat
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0998.jpg

Bored, bored, bored. Sadly the BA flight is running a little late, so my stay in the lounge is extended. As there’s no wifi, I occupy myself assessing the other occupants of the lounge. A chavvy looking German couple (I guess they’re richer than they look and have paid $$$ for a Club ticket), an American couple with AA status, a young white couple (the guy looks like a professional athlete or a pop star, so again I think no status, full fare Club), and a couple of African guys in suits (erm, both Club and status? – were they the VVIPs that initially bumped me out of Club?).

When the flight is finally called, I join the long line for the single securing desk (again, no fast track, no priority boarding).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF0999.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1001.jpg

Interesting notice
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1002.jpg

At last, I’m scanned, and sent on my way, walking over the tarmac. The SA A319 is just taxiing out
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1004.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/IMAG0586.jpg



March 2013
Livingstone (LVI) – Johannesburg (JNB)
British Airways BA 6292, operated by Comair
Scheduled: 1330-1515 (1h45m)
Actual: 1357-1524 (1h27m)
Boeing 737-436
ZS-OTH, 21 years old, previously with British Airways (UK).
Business (Club)



I’m welcomed aboard by the headmistress lookalike purser, and directed to my seat in row 1. “Sparkling wine, juice or water?”. I go with the sparkling wine. I’m also offered a paper, with the front page decrying the increasing violence in SA.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1006.jpg

View out the window….some Wilderness Air charters
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1007.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1011.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1012.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1014.jpg


And some albinos
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1008.jpg

I watch as everyone files onto the plane. I notice all the lounge occupants heading to the back. The door finally closes, and I’m the only one in Club. Hurrah! First time I’ve had a premium cabin to myself. Now, why on earth was I downgraded? I’ve emailed BA about it, but 10 days later, I’ve not had a reply yet. What a terrible way to piss off your customers for absolutely no reason (and with no apology).

March’s Highlife
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1010.jpg

There is a lame excuse from the flight deck about our late push back…no problem, I’ve got a long connection in JNB
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1015.jpg

The safety demo is done just for me it seems. The lady doing it doesn’t make eye contact.

My legroom. The seats are leather on this plane, and feel much wider than in the non-expanded Y seats
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1016.jpg

Off we go on runway 10, half an hour late
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1019.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1020.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1022.jpg

The terminal. A new terminal is under construction. Hopefully it’ll be more user friendly
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1025.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1026.jpg

Lucky I got an F seat…more views of the Falls. In the local language, the Falls are called Mosi o Tunya, the Smoke that Thunders. I guess you can see why.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1028.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1031.jpg

Livingstone is about 10 km from the Falls
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1032.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1036.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1039.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1045.jpg

VFA airport
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1048.jpg

The curtains are closed….I have Club all to myself!   From my conversation with the purser, Y was overbooked on the way out, but on this flight there is 1 empty seat in Y.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1049.jpg

Time for some drinks, and nuts
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1050.jpg



Sadly, despite this being a longer flight than JNB-HRE, there is only a choice of cold meals…either a chicken or vegetarian wrap. I’m not overly impressed. It seems Y has a similar choice (although maybe not on a tray?) plus a third choice of a cereal bar or something.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1052.jpg

Oh well, at least these are very tasty
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1053.jpg

Once i’m done, the purser asks if I would like anything else. As the lounge food had been so terrible, and I had told my stomach to expect some tasty hot food, I was quite unsatisfied, so ask or another wrap. The dessert was left almost intact as I don’t know what it is. They look (and taste) like some sort of cheap breakfast cereal. Why is this a business class dessert?

Clouds
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1054.jpg

With my 2nd wrap consumed, my tray is removed, and I’m asked if I’d like anything to drink. The Comair bar is quite restrictive compared to that of Club Europe. Other than vodka, whiskey and gin, the choices are either cognac (I think) or Amarula. I’m not a fan of Baileys, but decide to try it
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1055.jpg



Mm, it’s quite tasty. I like the little string.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1057.jpg

Progressing into South African airspace
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1059.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1060.jpg


I quite like the Amarula…I actually get through 4 miniatures before the cabin is secured for landing
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1061.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1062.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1063.jpg

A nice selection of languages on the safety card
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1065.jpg

Downtown Jo’burg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1067.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1068.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1070.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1074.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1076.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1079.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1081.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1084.jpg

And we’re down. It looks like it’s just rained. This is the middle of the rainy season in Southern Africa. Somehow, I managed to get through 2 weeks with less than 5 minutes of rain. Great for me and my tan, not so good for the crops.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1086.jpg

EY cargo…it’s the thing behind that’s on fire
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1087.jpg

Very long stayers
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1090.jpg

And daytrippers
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1092.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1093.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1097.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1101.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1099.jpg

I’d love a trip on Air Madagascar (preferably to Madagascar).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1104.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1105.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1107.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1114.jpg

We’re given a gate at the domestic pier, so looks like we’ll be bussed somewhere
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1115.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1116.jpg

My seats upon disembarkation
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/IMAG0588.jpg

The crew bid me adieu, and I’m let off the plane, down the steps and into the bus. Once the bus is full, we’re driven into the belly of the airport, before being release into the immigration hall.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1117.jpg

Just before going to an immigration officer, there is a heat scan (I guess looking for horrible diseases). Since the scare over SARS died down a few years ago, I presumed that these were more for show and employment purposes than anything else. However, today at least, they seemed to be working, and paying attention. Apparently I set off the red alarm. I’m yoinked out of the queue, and escorted over to the health centre. I explained to the lady that I couldn’t be sick. “I’m British you see….and I’ve had a bit to drink”. Turns out the Amarula (and gin and wine and vodka) were both doing my talking, and outing me to the health authorities. The lady grinned, but insisted on taking my temperature. With my extremely plausible story accepted, I’m escorted back to the line, where I’m stamped into the country.

Arrivals


Of course, my bag is already doing the rounds when I get to the carousel
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1118.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/DSCF1119.jpg

With my bags on the trolley, I head through customs, and upstairs to the Etihad desks. I’ll leave this part here, and tell you all about the Etihad flight home in Part 3.

So, what did I think?



Comair seem like a pleasant little airline. The catering in Y really impressed me. Choice of hot meals? Tanqueray gin? Yes, please! And that SLOW lounge….wonderful! The return flight wasn’t quite so great. Other than then awful pre-flight shenanigans, the Club service on the LVI flight just didn’t seem quite as excellent as in Y on the way out. Still, I’ve been on worse airlines! No trouble flying with them in the future.

Zimbabwe was wonderful. I had a great holiday. If you come, I’m sure you will too.

As always, all comments and questions welcome, and thanks for reading about my latest trip!

Upcoming trips reports:



Of course, the next report will be my Etihad return to London.


Late Jan/early Feb saw me complete my Star Alliance lounge tour of Europe (i.e. do the lounges I want to see before my LH Silver card finally gives way to Blue) with LH, LO & OS routing LHR-DUS-WAW-VIE-LHR. I’m writing this trip up after my African adventure
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/dubrovnik/wawtrip.gif

Easter will herald another inaugural, Cityjet’s new LCY-DRS route, along with a return NUE-LCY.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/dubrovnik/drstrip.gif

My Virgin flight up to Manchester for the A.net meet come in April


And now I have Gold staus with FlyingBlue, I thought it time to check out the Skyteam lounges in LHR, CDG and AMS:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim2/mapq.gif


Some of my other TRs:



Off to Zimbabwe, Part 1. EI & EY, BHX-DUB-MAN-AUH-JNB
La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 3, BDS-LIN-LHR
La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 2. MXP-NRT-FCO-BRI
La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 1. LHR-FCO-GOA
Dubrovnik with British Airways. Club on the B734
Autumn Asia Part 10: Take me home Saudia! DEL-RUH-LHR B777
Autumn Asia Part 9: Air India 787. Calcutta - Delhi
Autumn Asia Part 8: United Airways DAC-ZYL, Jet Airways DAC-CCU
Autumn Asia Part 7: Going Beyond Expectations. MH KUL-DAC on the A330
Autumn Asia Part 6: Silk Air and Firefly around the Malay Peninsula. SIN-LGK-SZB
Autumn Asia Part 5: Fine Dining on Scoot. TPE-SIN on the 777
Autumn Asia Part 4: First with Cathay Pacific: HKG-TPE F on the B744
Autumn Asia Part 3: Around China with KN, MU & CN
Autumn Asia Part 2: JALing it to Beijing. JL HND-PEK 772 Business
Autumn Asia Part 1: Limoncello with Alitalia. BA/AZ LHR-MXP-FCO-NRT
Va BeNe with Cityjet. RTM-LCY Fokker 50
Truly Great Britain: FlyBE EDI-IOM on Saab 340 & BA IOM-LCY on Saab 2000
Cyprus with Aegean. Business on the A321, LHR-LCA-LHR
Scotland In A Day: FlyBE GLA-BHD-LGW. DH8 & E190
Tegel A.Net Meet. SN LHR-BRU-TXL, LH TXL-BHX
Bye Bye Baby: easyJet LTN-BFS, bmi Baby BHD-BHX
Air One and Alitalia to Sicily – LGW-MXP-PMO-LIN-LHR
Part 12: Sun Air of Scandinavia & BA, DUS-BLL-MAN-LHR on the J31, D328 and A320
Part 11: Thai Airways BKK-FRA, B77W First Class & LH FRA-DUS Business
Part 10: Thai Airways Kathmandu-Bangkok, B772 Business Class
Part 9: Yeti Airlines “Everest Express” on the J41
Part 8: Biman Bangladesh A310 Dhaka-Kathmandu
Part 7: United Airways ATR Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar & Regent Airways Dash Chittagong-Dhaka
Part 6: Biman Bangladesh DC10 Calcutta-Dhaka
Part 5: SpiceJet B739 & Jet Konnect B738 Calcutta-Bagdogra rtn, with Darjeeling
Part 4: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class Singapore-Calcutta
Part 3: Sriwijiaya Airlines & Lion Air Boeing 737-900ER Banda Aceh-Medan-Jakarta-Singapore
Part 2: Valuair/Jetstar Asia SIN-MES and Garuda MES-BTJ
Part 1: U2 LTN-BCN, SQ BCN-SIN 77W Business
Africa Part 7: British Airways Club Europe B767, LCA-LHR
Africa Part 6: LX ZRH-ATH, A3 ATH-LCA. A Greek Tragedy
Africa Part 5: Dar es Salaam – Nairobi – Zurich with Swiss First
Africa Part 4: Fly 540 DAR-ZNZ in Y, and Zanzibar photos
Africa Part 3: ET KGL-EBB-ADD-DAR-ZNZ, A to Z with Ethiopian Airlines in C
Africa Part 2: SN BRU-BJM, SA BJM-KGL, Business to Burundi and Rwanda
Africa Part 1: BD LHR-CMN, TP CMN-LIS, SN LIS-BRU in Y and C
A.net meeting in snowy Tallinn. U2/FR STN-TLL-LTN
easyJet and bmi up to Aberdeen, LTN-ABZ-LHR
The Costa del Sol with British Airways. LGW-AGP-LCY
Mysterious Moldova (and Transnistria). Lufthansa LHR-MUC-KIV
BA to the Austrian Alps. LHR-MUC, INN-LGW
I can't get no Jetisfaction: LH LGW-FRA inaugural
Colombia Part 4: Colombia to London via FRA/MUC/HEL on LH & BA
Colombia Part 3: Colombia with Avianca (AV). SMR-BOG-MDE-BOG
Colombia Part 2: Colombia with Avianca (AV). BOG-MDE-CTG
Colombia Part 1: London to Colombia via ARN/MUC/FRA on BA & LH
USA and Mexico Part 4, British Airways Mexico City – London, World Traveller Plus
USA and Mexico Part 3: Around Mexico with Aereo Calafia Cessna 208B & Viva Aerobus B733
USA and Mexico Part 2: Sightseeing tour of SAN, and AA San Diego - LA – Dallas - San Jose Cabo
USA and Mexico Part 1: easyJet Luton to Paris, and BA Paris to San Diego via LHR in World Traveller Plus
British Airways to Scandinavia (LHR-CPH,GOT-LHR)
Where’s my bag? British Airways, Milan to London
What airline am I flying again? Bmi/Lufthansa Italia LHR-MXP
Albania and Macedonia: Austrian LHR-VIE-TIA, Macedonian Airlines SKP-ZRH, Swiss ZRH-LCY
Part 1, Lufthansa London-Munich-Frankfurt-Nanjing, Economy Class A321 and A343
Part 2, Cathay Pacific Shanghai to Tokyo via Hong Kong, Business Class A330 and B747-400
Part 3, ANA Boeing B767 Tokyo to Shanghai, & Air China Airbus A340 Shanghai to Beijing, Business Class
Part 4: Chinese domestics, inc. Joy Air Xi’an MA60, Tianjin Airlines ERJ, and China Express Airways CRJ
Part 5: Lufthansa Beijing-Frankfurt-London City, Economy Class A388 and E90
5 Countries, 5 Flights, 5 Days, with Ryanair (FR)
bmiFriday: Welcome to Sunny Norway, London to Bergen, A319)
Royal Jordanian, London to Aqaba via Amman. A330 and A320
Royal Jordanian, Amman to London, A330
London City to Antwerp with Cityjet and the Fokker 50
Croatian Airlines, LHR-ZAG,PUY-ZAD-ZAG-LHR, A319 and Dash 8
British Airways, Iberia & Binter to Tenerife and Gran Canaria, LHR-MAD-TFN-LPA-MAD-LHR, A320,ATR, A321
British Airways, London To Amsterdam, LGW-AMS-LHR, B737 & A321
British Airways up to a snowy Glasgow, with a change of flights and delay, LHR-GLA-LCY A321 and E90
Turkish Airlines Business Class from London to Istanbul. From Terrible To Fantastic
Turkish Airlines Business Class from Istanbul to Batumi (Georgia). Not again!
bmi Business Class, Tbilisi to London via Azerbaijan
Tallinn to London, with Estonian Air and BA, via ARN
Cuba! BA/IB London-Madrid-Havana, Business Class
Aerocarribean, Baracoa to Havana
Asia Trip, Pt 1: Qatar Airways Business Class (LHR-DOH-ICN)
Asia Trip, Pt 2: China Southern and Hainan Airlines (A321/A346)
Asia Trip, Pt 3: Malaysia Airlines, Hong Kong to Penang
Asia Trip, Pt 4: Qatar Airways Economy (HKG-DOH-LHR)
A weekend in Transylvania with Blue Air (LTN-SBZ)
Helsinki for the weekend on BA and KF
Easter in Ukraine with Austrian
UAE and Oman with BA and Air Arabia. Y & Y+
HKG-LHR-HKG Air New Zealand, Premium Economy and Economy
US Airways LGW-DCA-MSP-LGA-LGW
London Heathrow - Zurich - Venice on Swiss Business for the weekend
Chasing the Eclipse on China Eastern
Taiwan: EVA Air (HKG-TPE rtn), UNI Airways (TSA-HCN), Daily Air (TTT-KYD rtn)
UA HKG-SIN-HKG Y Class, SQ KUL-SIN C Class
Bangkok to Beijing, Egyptair Business Class
Air China Beijing to Harbin, B777 Economy outbound, A330 First Class return
Tiger Airways, Singapore to Darwin return
A selection of Chinese Domestics; China Eastern, Air China and Shenzhen Airlines
Hong Kong to London on Singapore Airlines (744/380/77W)
Qatar Airways Beijing-Doha-London Heathrow (A330/A340)
Air China First Class. Beijing-Guilin via Xi’an
Armenia with Austrian Airlines. LHR-VIE-EVN
Round Asia Trip. URC-HTN,OSS-FRU,ALA-URC-LHW-KMG-JHG-KMG-SYX,HAK-NKG-PEK-NRT-LHR,
Hainan Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lucky Air, ANA, Economy and Business Class.

SAS and Lufthansa Business Class, LHR-OSL-FRA-FRA, B73G and B744



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User currently offlineFlyFromMEL From Australia, joined Nov 2005, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 19000 times:

Thanks for this trip report!

I've been patiently waiting for part 2 ever since I read part 1.

Zimbabwe really intreags me. Nowadays it seems a bit 'off the beaten track' which sort of adds to its appeal. It's a shame though that politics has put the country on a downwood spiral, because it once had so much potential. I have read that Harare once had modern buildings, beautiful tree-lined avenues and a prosperous future. Now it has an unsafe reputation, unstable government, neglected and decaying infrastructure with basic services like healthcare and reliable electricity and water supply's practically non-existant. A shame because it seems a beautiful country blessed with natural wonders.

Being from Australia, I myself have never been there, but have always been interested in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular. It stems back to the time I saw Harare as one of the main african destinations for qantas in their inflight magazine route map. It always to me seemed an unusual destination which sparked my interest.

Since the late 1990's, qantas no longer flys there - and it seems not many airlines do.

I've always been interested in harare airport. I constantly search for trip reports about flying in to harare, but they are so rare (hense me getting excited about your trip reports).
Harare is one airport where it's hard to get information or pictures of. The only pics I've found on the Internet are external ones of that interesting looking control tower. Internal pics of the terminal interior seem practically non existant! (I was hoping you'd have sone of what it looks like inside the airport, but never mind!)

To me, it seems they have upgraded it and modernised it into a decent international standard airport, but it currently handles way less flights than its designed to. Gone are the days when it was a main african hub when British airways and qantas Boeing 747s would frequent it. Now it seems you can practically just fly a handful if B737 flights to johannesburg each day from there.
Does the airport suffer because of this? Is there a reliable airport to hotel shuttle service? Are there tour desks in arrivals? Or is it just dead as a doorknob where you have to hail an overpriced taxi to get anywhere?
It's good to see that they've spent money to seemingly modernise the terminal, but hopefully it is kept that way even with the lack of patronage. Is there signs of more flights there? Does it have the potential of being a major world class international airport again? What are the shops and services like in the airport?

I've read somewhere that KLM has now resumed flights to harare. Seems a positive note - is this advertised much within the airport? It's good that they have a major foreign international airline using it again with a scheduled route to Europe. Hopefully this opens the door for more (I'd love to see a KLM to harare trip report!)

And another question - are there many tourists in harare? Were the people on the flight mainly african locals or foreign visitors? What was your hotel like in harare and where did you stay in the city? Is there sightseeing day trips you can book from hotel front desks where a shuttle bus will puck you up from the lobby with other tourists and takes you places - and is there enough tourist in the city to warrant it and to feel safe?

Sorry for all the questions, but this city and country intereags me, and I doubt I will ever get there!


User currently offlineZS-SAZ From South Africa, joined Jul 2001, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 18875 times:

I've also been looking forward to the second part of this trip report.

Agree with you regarding the SLOW Lounge - it's really fantastic in comparison to many of the lounges I see profiled in these trip reports, which generally look really dreary and bland compared to the glam of the SLOW Lounge. I switched banks about a year ago simply because the account I subscribed to at the new bank gave me free access to SLOWs domestic lounges.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I’d love a trip on Air Madagascar (preferably to Madagascar).

I flew Air Madagascar in 2009 to Antananarivo, and then onwards to Nosy Be. Not the best airline, but Madagascar is absolutely fantastic, and really beautiful.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 18822 times:

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):
I've been patiently waiting for part 2 ever since I read part 1.

Very nice to hear

Wow, lots of questions! I hope I can help!

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):
Zimbabwe really intreags me. Nowadays it seems a bit 'off the beaten track' which sort of adds to its appeal. It's a shame though that politics has put the country on a downwood spiral, because it once had so much potential. I have read that Harare once had modern buildings, beautiful tree-lined avenues and a prosperous future. Now it has an unsafe reputation, unstable government, neglected and decaying infrastructure with basic services like healthcare and reliable electricity and water supply's practically non-existant. A shame because it seems a beautiful country blessed with natural wonders.

Well, Harare is still a bustling city. The chronic mismanagement isn't too obvious in the city centre. There are still nice avenues, and tall buildings! And most of the traffic lights work.

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):
It stems back to the time I saw Harare as one of the main african destinations for qantas in their inflight magazine route map. It always to me seemed an unusual destination which sparked my interest.

i think during apartheid, it saw quite a lot of business as companies didn't operate into JNB. It used to be really popular with tourists. it was the place to go for a safari.

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):

Harare is one airport where it's hard to get information or pictures of. The only pics I've found on the Internet are external ones of that interesting looking control tower. Internal pics of the terminal interior seem practically non existant! (I was hoping you'd have sone of what it looks like inside the airport, but never mind!)

Sorry, I was in a bit of a rush, and worried about being arrested. I probably could have taken a few. The terminal looked clean and modernish. Shops and whatnot around.

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):
Now it seems you can practically just fly a handful if B737 flights to johannesburg each day from there.

Well, ET send some big stuff (including the 787!), and 777/330 from EK and KL.

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):
Does the airport suffer because of this? Is there a reliable airport to hotel shuttle service? Are there tour desks in arrivals? Or is it just dead as a doorknob where you have to hail an overpriced taxi to get anywhere?

The terminal seemed fairly busy. The country DOES operate sort of normally! No idea about taxis or tour desks.

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):
It's good to see that they've spent money to seemingly modernise the terminal, but hopefully it is kept that way even with the lack of patronage. Is there signs of more flights there? Does it have the potential of being a major world class international airport again? What are the shops and services like in the airport?

Well, Air Zim is slowly getting its act together, so maybe there'll be more flight from them in the future. I think there were issues with refueling - not sure if that has been resolved or not. I think both EK and KL operate XXX-HRE-LUN-XXX for this reason.

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):
I've read somewhere that KLM has now resumed flights to harare. Seems a positive note - is this advertised much within the airport? It's good that they have a major foreign international airline using it again with a scheduled route to Europe. Hopefully this opens the door for more (I'd love to see a KLM to harare trip report!)

There were loads of ads for the KL service around Harare (and EK). Hopefully BA will start again soon. Nearly all white Zimbabweans have roots in the UK and go back every year or so. They all bitch about having to go via JNB. Fares are high, so there is money to be made.

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 3):
And another question - are there many tourists in harare? Were the people on the flight mainly african locals or foreign visitors? What was your hotel like in harare and where did you stay in the city? Is there sightseeing day trips you can book from hotel front desks where a shuttle bus will puck you up from the lobby with other tourists and takes you places - and is there enough tourist in the city to warrant it and to feel safe?

There were very few tourists from what I saw. Only a few people were also getting a visa on arrival, so I guess the others were Zims. I was staying with my aunt, so didn't see any hotels until Bulawayo (not touristy) and Vic Falls (very touristy). I'm sure hotels can book tours. Zim felt very safe. As far as I know, the only issues in the past have been with farmers being turfed off their land 10 or so years ago. Tourists aren't going to run into issues. My uncle has worked in Africa for the past 20 years, and says he things Harare is one of the three safest cities in Africa. it's certainly a lot safer than touristy South Africa or Kenya.

Quoting ZS-SAZ (Reply 4):
I've also been looking forward to the second part of this trip report.

Thanks!

Quoting ZS-SAZ (Reply 4):
Agree with you regarding the SLOW Lounge - it's really fantastic in comparison to many of the lounges I see profiled in these trip reports, which generally look really dreary and bland compared to the glam of the SLOW Lounge. I switched banks about a year ago simply because the account I subscribed to at the new bank gave me free access to SLOWs domestic lounges.

Such a shame I'll probably never use it again  
Quoting ZS-SAZ (Reply 4):
I flew Air Madagascar in 2009 to Antananarivo, and then onwards to Nosy Be. Not the best airline, but Madagascar is absolutely fantastic, and really beautiful.

Ha, I imagine that to be the case. Crap airline, great country!



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User currently offlineFlyFromMEL From Australia, joined Nov 2005, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 18655 times:

Thanks for the extra info grabiel!

I hope harare and Zimbabwe find their way back onto the tourist trail, and if I ever get to southern Africa I hope to have the opportunity and confidence to give harare a visit!

I'd also love to see victoria falls. I hear that there is a section called 'the devils pool' where you can enter the water and wade right to the edge of the falls! Would be great to experience - if its safe enough that is!!


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1199 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 18583 times:

I was told by my cousin that Zimbabwe is beautiful. How is Harare?

As to Victoria Falls I understand that some months the falls are dry with little water.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 18531 times:

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 6):
Thanks for the extra info grabiel!

No problem!

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 6):
I hope harare and Zimbabwe find their way back onto the tourist trail, and if I ever get to southern Africa I hope to have the opportunity and confidence to give harare a visit!

Well, Harare is a city...the true value of Zimbabwe lies outside

Quoting FlyFromMEL (Reply 6):
I'd also love to see victoria falls. I hear that there is a section called 'the devils pool' where you can enter the water and wade right to the edge of the falls! Would be great to experience - if its safe enough that is!!

I heard it was called the "Boiling Pot"...either way, sounds like fun. It the photo I took with the rainbow before the bridge  
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
I was told by my cousin that Zimbabwe is beautiful. How is Harare?

It is. Harare is an African city....don't spend time there, as it's the countryside you want to see

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
As to Victoria Falls I understand that some months the falls are dry with little water.

Yes, dry season sees the falls nearly dry up



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User currently onlinedcajet From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 431 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 18441 times:

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Shame about the “Chele” water. I mean it tasted ok, but who are they?
http://www.chele.co.za/

A local brand     - you made me chuckle with the above comment!!



"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1161 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 18425 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Gabriel,

Fantastic stuff once again, really enjoyed this report! Comair looks quite nice here although I'm not too impressed with the offerings in Club you got..
Really liked your pictures of Zimbabwe, it looks like a great country  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
My baggage…cool tag, one for the collection

You mean the Manchester Test Tag? 
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
but why is KL up there?

KLM codeshares with Comair  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
FIDS

A day long delay by KLM there!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Ok, so I know that most of you are here for the planes

Reading about the planes/service is indeed fun, but destination pictures complete a report IMHO  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Africa is well known for her amazing sunsets

Wow, that looks very nice!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The availability shows the flight completely sold out (although curiously there are 9 J seats available?). The earlier SA flight seems busy, but at least with a few empty seats.

Just out of curiosity, what site do you use to check the availability?

Looking forward to the final part!

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 18384 times:

Quoting dcajet (Reply 9):
A local brand - you made me chuckle with the above comment!!

Haha, I guess I could have Googled it myself! Good I suppose that they support a local brand...guess it cheaper too

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 10):

Fantastic stuff once again, really enjoyed this report!

Thanks Brendan, glad you liked it!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 10):
Comair looks quite nice here although I'm not too impressed with the offerings in Club you got..

No, best stick to Y.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 10):
Really liked your pictures of Zimbabwe, it looks like a great country

Thanks. It's a great place

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 10):
You mean the Manchester Test Tag?

haha, well, i've kept that one too!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 10):
Just out of curiosity, what site do you use to check the availability?
http://www.flightstats.com/go/FlightAvailability/flightAvailability.do

Not the most user friendly, but it works



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently onlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6558 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks ago) and read 18056 times:

Hi Gabriel!

Thanks for a fantastic report with fantastic pictures !

Impressive meal in Y but not so great for C on the return.....

Very nice airport hotel!

The non-aviation pictures are amazing especially from Victoria Falls! Wow! I'll get there someday....

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineSultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1703 posts, RR: 30
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17843 times:
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Hi Gabs!

Very nice report. Zimbabwe is quite off the beaten path (for me at least) but it seems well outfitted for a nice holiday. Too bad about the economics and poverty but it's not the only African country suffering from that unfortunately. Loved the pics of the wildlife! To see all those upclose must be a fantastic experience.
As for Comair, looks quite good actually although there seems to be a discrepancy in service level amongst different flights.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
but why is KL up there?

Can't tell, because it's blue or most likely they haven't got clue  

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The buffet area is set out like a 5* hotel, and everything looks wonderful

Impressive, I bet you tasted every single item on there?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
(the shower rooms looked great too)

Of course you took a nice shower and ticked it off your 'shower in airports' list  

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
My guidebook ready to go

By now you must be the proud owner of the wole LP collection, no?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The fork is a little on the measly side, losing out to the cucumber

Lol!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The lodge we were staying at cooked them up for starters…tasty!

Don't think so 

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Clearly I’m back in Club leaving me even more confused about what was happening behind the scenes.

That is quite strange, but remember you're in Africa  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 17823 times:

Thanks for all the comments to far!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 12):
Thanks for a fantastic report with fantastic pictures !

No problem. Glad you enjoyed it!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 12):
Impressive meal in Y but not so great for C on the return.....

Yes, very impressive for Y, not at all impressive for C

Quoting The777Man (Reply 12):
The non-aviation pictures are amazing especially from Victoria Falls! Wow! I'll get there someday....

Thanks Lars

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):

Very nice report.

Thanks Nils!

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):
Zimbabwe is quite off the beaten path (for me at least) but it seems well outfitted for a nice holiday..... Loved the pics of the wildlife! To see all those upclose must be a fantastic experience.

Thanks. yes, it's a great holiday destination

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):
Too bad about the economics and poverty but it's not the only African country suffering from that unfortunately.

Indeed, plenty of challenges for them. They're holding a referendumk today on the new consitition, so hopefully things will be a bit more settled in the future.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):
Can't tell, because it's blue or most likely they haven't got clue

Haha, maybe

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):
Impressive, I bet you tasted every single item on there?

Oooh, sadly I didn't. There was just too much stuff. And I'd had a good breakfast and this was lounge #3 of the morning!

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):
Of course you took a nice shower and ticked it off your 'shower in airports' list

I was tempted, but saved the shower until my JNB-AUH-LHR flight.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):
By now you must be the proud owner of the wole LP collection, no?

I have a fair few, but this was actually a library book

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):
Don't think so

What? They were so tasty!

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 13):
That is quite strange, but remember you're in Africa

Ha, well, I might be in Africa, but i'm still flying British Airways!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1935 posts, RR: 24
Reply 15, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 17387 times:
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Really cool report, gabrielchew!

Looks like you had some good flights with BA; beautiful photos from Zimbabwe! That sunset photo is amazing - definitely a magazine cover capture!  

Thanks for sharing,

Matthew


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 17298 times:

Quoting 767747 (Reply 15):
Really cool report

Thanks Matthew

Quoting 767747 (Reply 15):

Looks like you had some good flights with BA

Yes, excellent 1st flight, good 2nd flight

Quoting 767747 (Reply 15):
beautiful photos from Zimbabwe! That sunset photo is amazing - definitely a magazine cover capture!

Thanks, it's a photogenic place!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 17, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 16894 times:

Hello Gab

Interesting trip report. I did enjoy reading everything.
I'm quite impressed by the service of Comair, looks a bit better in both cabins then the usual BA routine.

Really enjoyed the Zimbabwe pics as well, Would like to go myself one day

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 16793 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 17):
Interesting trip report. I did enjoy reading everything.

Thanks Marc

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 17):
I'm quite impressed by the service of Comair, looks a bit better in both cabins then the usual BA routine.

Yes, they're great in Y, but I think CLub Europe might be a little better...who knows

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 17):
Really enjoyed the Zimbabwe pics as well, Would like to go myself one day

You really should



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26958 posts, RR: 58
Reply 19, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16342 times:

Hey Gabriel  

Nice second part to the series. Some interesting photos especially the wildlife.

SLOW lounge looks really decent . Always nice to be pleasantly surprised.  

Decent enough CE experience also which is good to see.

Looking forward to the next part.

Regards

Philip  


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 20, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 16176 times:

Quoting OA260 (Reply 19):
Nice second part to the series. Some interesting photos especially the wildlife.

Thanks Phil!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 19):
SLOW lounge looks really decent . Always nice to be pleasantly surprised.

Yes, it was a great lounge. I hope BA introduces something like this in Europe

Quoting OA260 (Reply 19):
Decent enough CE experience also which is good to see.

Well, it was ok for C, but very good in Y!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1292 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 16067 times:

Hi there Gabriel - very detailed report as usual. So detailed it took longer than my lunch break to read it and had to finish it off at home - hence my rare quoting!

Looks like you had a great time - certainly very different to the standard package holiday on one of the Spanish islands.

Must get out to Africa next year - as by then it'll be the only continent I've not visited - not counting Antarctica.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
I’m then furious (“What? There’s no cancellation. There’s no time change. The only change is that I’m now in economy not business”). What is going on?

I know that feeling...

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
Sadly, despite this being a longer flight than JNB-HRE, there is only a choice of cold meals…either a chicken or vegetarian wrap. I’m not overly impressed. It seems Y has a similar choice (although maybe not on a tray?) plus a third choice of a cereal bar or something.

Looks better than the last 'Club' meal I was given.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
I’m yoinked out of the queue, and escorted over to the health centre. I explained to the lady that I couldn’t be sick.

What happens if you were - solitary confinement?

Looking forward to the final instalment.



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 684 posts, RR: 21
Reply 22, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 16065 times:

Hi Gabriel,

great report here to a quite exotic destinations. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience in Zimbabwe. Also Comair indeed seems to be a nice little airline. It just feels a bit strange to see narrow-body planes in full BA livery in South-Africa   ..

Sorry to read about that ticketing/booking trouble on your return flight, but at least in the end everything worked out well.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The buffet area is set out like a 5* hotel, and everything looks wonderful

Wow, that definitely looks very nice, as does the whole lounge there. Quite a contrast to the one in Livingstone.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I’m sure, however, that most of you will also be at least a little curious about Zimbabwe itself.

Definitely, it is certainly not the most popular tourist destination. But your pictures are truly stunning, great wildlife shots there. And I also like that lodge with the rocky rooms, that must have been quite an experience to spend a night there.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Of course, I couldn’t come here and not take a rather expensive helicopter ride!

Yes, I would have done that as well, no matter how much it costs. It is a once-a-lifetime experience and for sure a great way to see the falls from a helicopter.

CaptainRed


User currently offlinecapicua From Venezuela, joined Apr 2011, 100 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 16000 times:

Hi Gabriel,

Thanks for this 2nd installment of your report on your travels to Southern Africa and thanks for sharing the pictures with us. Nice wildlife photos, and that lodges' bar rocks - literally!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Boeing 737-4S3
ZS-OAM
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
This old plane

I believe for some people out there these old planes will become part of the "must fly on it before they're gone"-list rather sooner than later.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Surprise number 2, a choice of two hot dishes. Something vegetarian or ravioli Bolognese

That Y meal looks pretty decent indeed. And you were treated to Tanqueray, not your common Gordon's.

Cheers
C.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 15931 times:

Thanks for all the comments!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 21):
So detailed it took longer than my lunch break to read it and had to finish it off at home - hence my rare quoting!

Ha, yes, it was quite long. The 3rd part will be a bit shorter.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 21):
Looks like you had a great time - certainly very different to the standard package holiday on one of the Spanish islands.

Yes, I had a great time. Certainly beats Spain!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 21):
Must get out to Africa next year - as by then it'll be the only continent I've not visited - not counting Antarctica.

Do it!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 21):
What happens if you were - solitary confinement?

Oh, no idea....hopefully they'd just deport me!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 22):

great report here to a quite exotic destinations

Thanks!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 22):
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience in Zimbabwe.

No problem

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 22):
It just feels a bit strange to see narrow-body planes in full BA livery in South-Africa ..

Ha, you get used to it! Was a bit odd boarding a BA 737 in Zambia...

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 22):
Wow, that definitely looks very nice, as does the whole lounge there. Quite a contrast to the one in Livingstone.

Yes, quite the contrast

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 22):
And I also like that lodge with the rocky rooms, that must have been quite an experience to spend a night there.

Yup, truly amazing that night

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 22):
Yes, I would have done that as well, no matter how much it costs. It is a once-a-lifetime experience and for sure a great way to see the falls from a helicopter.

I wanted to do a longer flight, but there were no other takers, so had to settle for the shorter more popular one

Quoting capicua (Reply 23):

Thanks for this 2nd installment of your report on your travels to Southern Africa and thanks for sharing the pictures with us.

Glad you liked it!

Quoting capicua (Reply 23):
Nice wildlife photos, and that lodges' bar rocks - literally!

haha, I guess it does!

Quoting capicua (Reply 23):
I believe for some people out there these old planes will become part of the "must fly on it before they're gone"-list rather sooner than later.

True

Quoting capicua (Reply 23):
That Y meal looks pretty decent indeed. And you were treated to Tanqueray, not your common Gordon's.

Yes, some good catering from Comair



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User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6782 posts, RR: 77
Reply 25, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 15314 times:

Hi Gabriel,

very enjoyable part II of your series with excellent insights into Zimbabwe. The wildlife and nature pictures are stunning! I agree with your opinion on Comair, nice little airline. Also flew on ZS-OTH, btw. Bad to hear what happened to your reservation, but at least you got your Club seat in the end.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):

Ginger Beer…. I think Planehunter would enjoy this version.

Sure, I'd certainly love to try it!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):

The plane is old….and it shows

Well, better maintenance would help...

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
There is a lame excuse from the flight deck about our late push back…

What did they say?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The Comair bar is quite restrictive compared to that of Club Europe.

There 's most likely a rather different demand in that specific market.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Just before going to an immigration officer, there is a heat scan (I guess looking for horrible diseases). Since the scare over SARS died down a few years ago, I presumed that these were more for show and employment purposes than anything else. However, today at least, they seemed to be working, and paying attention. Apparently I set off the red alarm. I’m yoinked out of the queue, and escorted over to the health centre. I explained to the lady that I couldn’t be sick. “I’m British you see….and I’ve had a bit to drink”. Turns out the Amarula (and gin and wine and vodka) were both doing my talking, and outing me to the health authorities. The lady grinned, but insisted on taking my temperature. With my extremely plausible story accepted, I’m escorted back to the line, where I’m stamped into the country.

You were unlucky to be selected out, but the scan certainly helps to find people who really suffer from a dangerous disease. We all know how fast these can spread in today's world and what the consequences can be.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 26, posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 15125 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):

very enjoyable part II of your series with excellent insights into Zimbabwe.

Thanks Udo

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
The wildlife and nature pictures are stunning!

Thank you

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
Also flew on ZS-OTH, btw.

Really? What route?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
Bad to hear what happened to your reservation, but at least you got your Club seat in the end.

Yes, was a bit of a hassle, but worked out ok in the end

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
Sure, I'd certainly love to try it!

I thijnk it's the best ginger ale I've tried

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
What did they say?

Can't remember, but I wasn't impressed!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
There 's most likely a rather different demand in that specific market.

I guess. Still, it doesn't cost much to stock an extra few little bottles of something.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
You were unlucky to be selected out, but the scan certainly helps to find people who really suffer from a dangerous disease. We all know how fast these can spread in today's world and what the consequences can be.

I guess I now have to had a little more faith in these sorts of things. If they do catch something, then thumbs up for them.



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User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 980 posts, RR: 0
Reply 27, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 14741 times:

Amazing report Gabriel! The pictures from Zimbabwe looks stunning, especially those of the Falls. Thank for taking and time to write it all up!

User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 28, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 14567 times:

Hello Gabriel!

Nice report as usual!
Good to see some pictures from Zimbabwe, sure looks spectacular.
Comair seems very nice, especially as you said on the Economy leg. Shame about that hassle on the return.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The lounge is pretty nice….at this time of day there’s plenty of space, a good drinks selection, and a variety of hot and cold food, including some nice sushi dishes.

Looks nice indeed.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):

The buffet area is set out like a 5* hotel, and everything looks wonderful

Wow! Very impressive!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Mm, it’s quite tasty. I like the little string.

Indeed, I prefer it over Baileys.

Martin


User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8536 posts, RR: 54
Reply 29, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 14539 times:
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Hi Gabriel,

I've been reading this with a large G&T, makes for good reading with a nice drink, I'm sure you would approve  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I quite like the Amarula…I actually get through 4 miniatures before the cabin is secured for landing

- Good man!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
ust before going to an immigration officer, there is a heat scan (I guess looking for horrible diseases). Since the scare over SARS died down a few years ago, I presumed that these were more for show and employment purposes than anything else. However, today at least, they seemed to be working, and paying attention. Apparently I set off the red alarm. I’m yoinked out of the queue, and escorted over to the health centre. I explained to the lady that I couldn’t be sick. “I’m British you see….and I’ve had a bit to drink”. Turns out the Amarula (and gin and wine and vodka) were both doing my talking, and outing me to the health authorities. The lady grinned, but insisted on taking my temperature. With my extremely plausible story accepted, I’m escorted back to the line, where I’m stamped into the country.

- That's very funny.

All in all, looks like Comair are quite good, catering looks fine, more so in Economy mind. the whole Club debarcle out of LVI is odd mind. don't understand that at all.

Nice pictures from Zim, such a shame the miss management and poor policy from the powers in be over the years have screwed the country and it's people, it seems a common African trait.

Looking forward to the homeward bound sectors.

Cheers

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 offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 30, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 14458 times:

Thanks for all the comments guys!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 27):
Amazing report Gabriel!

Thanks Robert!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 27):
The pictures from Zimbabwe looks stunning, especially those of the Falls

Yeah, it's quite the country

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 27):
Thank for taking and time to write it all up!

No problem

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 28):
Nice report as usual!

Thanks

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 28):
Good to see some pictures from Zimbabwe, sure looks spectacular.

Yes, very nice place to visit

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 28):
Comair seems very nice, especially as you said on the Economy leg. Shame about that hassle on the return.

Yes, the hassle was a hassle! But good otherwise

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 28):
Wow! Very impressive!

I know!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 29):
I've been reading this with a large G&T, makes for good reading with a nice drink, I'm sure you would approve

Oh, I do!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 29):
the whole Club debarcle out of LVI is odd mind. don't understand that at all.

Yeah, very confusing and aggravating

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 29):
Nice pictures from Zim, such a shame the miss management and poor policy from the powers in be over the years have screwed the country and it's people, it seems a common African trait.

Human nature I guess. Seems very few people use their immense power for good

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 29):
Looking forward to the homeward bound sectors.
Slowly typing it up!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 778 posts, RR: 12
Reply 31, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 13707 times:

Hey Gabriel

i can finally read and reply to this splendid TR, as usual!

i can not agree more about the like-a-sauna observation deck in JNB  
Nice for you to do, once again, some lounge hoping
Are the Club Europe meals similar to Comair service on the same duration journey?
i've stopped once or twice in HRE airport when KQ was tagging the airport with Lilongwe and Lusaka in 2008, and the airport has not changed too much.
Too bad you could not take pictures inside
Great pictures of the wildlife, you are really lucky man  
why were you disappointed by the Zim museums?
good choice for the tasty Amarula  

Many thanks for sharing



Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 32, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 12809 times:

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 31):
i can finally read and reply to this splendid TR, as usual!

Thanks Leonard!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 31):
i can not agree more about the like-a-sauna observation deck in JNB

Yeah, it gets relaly hot up there!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 31):
Are the Club Europe meals similar to Comair service on the same duration journey?

Depends on the time of day. I've not flown enough to be able to compare the two products really. I think on BA Europe, there would have been at least 1 hot option on the LVI-JNB leg (and the two meals wouldn't have been identical save for a veg or chicken filling).

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 31):
Too bad you could not take pictures inside

Well, maybe I could have got away with some, but didn't fancy trying!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 31):
Great pictures of the wildlife, you are really lucky man

Thanks! It was an amazing trip.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlineplaniac787 From India, joined May 2012, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 33, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 12757 times:

Great trip report gabriel!

I think BA did a pretty neat job in getting you from Point A to B...
The pictures, specially of the hotel was amazing..
I have just decided to definitely go there once!

The lounges look neat..The 3rd lounge being the best out of the lot..

It was very interesting to find out about BA's service here in Africa. I was not aware of this so very cool

Thanks for writing a great report again!

Cheers

Pradat



Be the change you want to see in the world- M.K.Gandhi
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 34, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 10299 times:

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 33):
Great trip report gabriel!

Thanks Pradat. Sorry about the long wait for a response!

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 33):
I think BA did a pretty neat job in getting you from Point A to B...

Yes, they did pretty well, apart from the ticketing issues on the return

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 33):
The pictures, specially of the hotel was amazing..I have just decided to definitely go there once!

you definately should!

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 33):
The lounges look neat..The 3rd lounge being the best out of the lot..

The SLOW lounge was wonderful - I hope BA opens one in London!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5089 posts, RR: 55
Reply 35, posted (1 year 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 9067 times:

Zimbabwe has been on top of my list for a while, and I am glad you got a chance to go there. Thanks a lot for writing up on Comair. It is always odd landing in JNB and finding a plethora of their birds. I don't think I have seen many reports on them, so this is great! Finally, thanks for the pictures of Zimbabwe. Very nice indeed!

Saludos,
Alex



Live, and let live.
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 36, posted (1 year 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 7908 times:

Really, Gabriel... between the fork parting ways for the cucumber and this infamous quote “I’m British you see….and I’ve had a bit to drink”, this must be one of your more entertaining reports. Very funny...

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Longhualers enjoying a rest…note the token Air Zim in there

Cool. That's always a good scene in South Africa... The Middle Eastern carriers seem to have more sense and get out their pronto.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
So, over I go to the SLOW lounge

Odd name, odder catch-phrase. Not very aviation related.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
3 different staff, 3 different stories. Just goes to show, it’s worth asking until you get the answer you are looking for!

Good lord Gabriel. Seats form a pivotal part of the trip to you eh?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Is this the 24 hour late KL plane?

a disgrace

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The fork is a little on the measly side, losing out to the cucumber

yeah, this. What inspired you? How would you explain that if the FA caught find of these shenanigans?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The people are friendly, and desperate for foreign tourists to come.

Christ. That is what really pisses me off, especially regarding that scoundrel R.M. We often taunt my mother whether she would care for him to seduce her. Repulsive lizard of a man.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
This is the place where the rope snapped last year, and the Australian lady got dragged down the Zambezi (but survived)

Shit! And a video? What a disgrace. That side of V.F. struggles now anyway as is. The rope looked so frayed. Shut down when you were there?

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
“I’m British you see….and I’ve had a bit to drink”

Being British isn't an excuse! I'm harbouring all sorts. Hope the thermometer wasn't put anywhere outragous. & excess alcohol really makes you stand out more? You must have been properly sozzled Gabriel!

A delight.

Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3258 posts, RR: 12
Reply 37, posted (11 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6162 times:

Thanks for the comments (and apologise for the slow reply!)

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 35):
Zimbabwe has been on top of my list for a while, and I am glad you got a chance to go there.

It was a great trip - you should head out there - I'm sure you know someone!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 35):
Thanks a lot for writing up on Comair. It is always odd landing in JNB and finding a plethora of their birds. I don't think I have seen many reports on them, so this is great!

No problem. They'r not a bad little airline, aside their their organisational hiccups

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 36):
Really, Gabriel... between the fork parting ways for the cucumber and this infamous quote “I’m British you see….and I’ve had a bit to drink”, this must be one of your more entertaining reports. Very funny...

Why thank you Luke!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 36):
Odd name, odder catch-phrase. Not very aviation related.

No, but a super lounge

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 36):
Good lord Gabriel. Seats form a pivotal part of the trip to you eh?

Of course

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 36):
We often taunt my mother whether she would care for him to seduce her.

Urgh, what a horrible family  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 36):
Shit! And a video? What a disgrace. That side of V.F. struggles now anyway as is. The rope looked so frayed. Shut down when you were there?

No, it was running (but I didn't see anyone one it)

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 36):
Being British isn't an excuse! I'm harbouring all sorts. Hope the thermometer wasn't put anywhere outragous. & excess alcohol really makes you stand out more? You must have been properly sozzled Gabriel!

Well, I assume it was all the Amarulas, but who knows, maybe it was the plague afterall.



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