My big adventure had finally come to an end and it was time for me to leave Cape Town and South Africa. As I wrote in my trip report over my trip down to Cape Town I tried to re book my flight home to SA since I already had to change the date, but LH said I couldn’t do that with the kind of ticket I had. I wasn’t displeased with LH, but it would have been nice to try a different airline and a new airliner (the A340-600).
There are two previous trip reports regarding my South African journey:
Lufthansa ARN-FRA-CPT (with Pics) (by SK A340 Aug 17 2005 in Trip Reports)#ID62444
Kulula.com CPT-JNB-CPT (with Pics) (by SK A340 Oct 22 2005 in Trip Reports)#ID65889
I also had an interesting flight CPT-MQP-CPT, via JNB both ways, with Nationwide and two of their 737-200s.
I had made a plan that my last days in Cape Town should be some lazy and sunny days by the pool, but I was totally wrong. When my friends, who had been visiting me for two weeks, left I found out that I had the opportunity to go to Johannesburg for a meeting with a company that I would like to work for to introduce my self and my work that had kept me occupied for almost six months in Cape Town. Of course I couldn’t miss this opportunity so I called them. “Unfortunately” the only day that they could meet me was on Thursday the 8th of December, which was the day that I was supposed to leave South Africa for Sweden. I tried to reschedule my flight back home, but all LH flight were full until the 15th, which was too late for me, and I wasn’t allowed to upgrade, fly via JNB or fly on another Star-airline. LH was adamant on that point. So the only option left for me was a day of flying, which isn’t the worst thing.
Flight no. 1
Date: 8th of December 2005
Departure Airport: Cape Town International [CPT]
Arrival Airport: Johannesburg International [JNB]
Airline: Kulula.com [MN]
Flight: MN 100
Equipment: MD 82
In order to get back to CPT in time for my flight back to Europe I had to take the first flight out, which meant a departure time of 6:30 am. Even though the cab I had ordered didn’t show up on time I managed to get to the airport in time and check in went very smoothly. Despite the early hour the domestic terminal at CPT (there is only one, even though the signs says there are two) was quite crowded. The flight to JNB with one of the green machines went very peaceful, but I expected more jokes from the cabin crew like the last time I flew with Kulula.com. As the last time I ordered a sparkling mineral water and a “giant chocolate muffin” and as the last time I got the answer that the muffins were all sold out. This time I didn’t bother to ask the other flight attendant at the other cart which turned out to be successful the last time. Instead I was pleased with my bottle of water and started to prepare for my presentation. I was now getting more and more nervous and the flight just passed by.
Flight no. 2
Date: 8th of December 2005
Departure Airport: Johannesburg International [JNB]
Arrival Airport: Cape Town International [CPT]
Airline: British Airways [BA]
Flight: MN 6419
Equipment: Boeing 737
My meeting in Johannesburg went very well and they even arranged transportation back to JNB for me. I arrived quite early and checked in. I saw a sign to the observation deck and went up there to check it out. The only thing of interest, beside numerous of South African Airways planes was a SQ 777 and some widebodies from the big European carriers waiting for their redeyes back home. After being there and making some phone calls back home I went to the security check. I looked up my gate and saw a BA 737 standing outside. It wasn’t a big surprise since the flight number was four numbers (MN usually has three) and Comair operates both BA’s and MN’s flights in South Africa. It was nice to pay for a low fare flight and get a full service one with both drinks and food. The flight was quite full and got a window seat, which meant that I was stuck for the 2 hour flight. I was getting quite tired and had a hard time not falling asleep. I wanted to save that to the 11+ hour fight to FRA later. We landed at CPT on time and taxied to the stand and got transported to the terminal by buss.
After 6 months you have quite a lot of stuff to take with you and I didn’t want to take that with me to Johannesburg. My house mates were very kind and met me at CPT with all my stuff when I arrived and helped me to the check in counters.
Flight no. 3
Date: 8-9th of December 2005
Departure Airport: Cape Town International [CPT]
Arrival Airport: Frankfurt International [FRA]
Airline: Lufthansa [LH]
Flight: LH 577
Equipment: Airbus A340-300
When you fly with LH, and many other airlines, in economy you are allowed one piece of checked in luggage (20 kg) and one piece of carry on luggage (8 kg). There’s nothing strange with that and I knew it. Despite that I had one suitcase that weighed 30 kg and two pieces of carry on luggage. I only brought one of them to the check in counter and it weighed about 15 kg and the other wasn’t lighter, quite the reverse. The guy behind the counter said that he was nice and gave me 5 extra kilos, but I had to pay for the rest, around 100 USD. I didn’t want to do that so I went back to my friends and started unpacking my hand luggage and re packing my luggage. I came back to check in and since there were no people at the business class counter I could go there. She said that my luggage was too heavy (no surprise since I hadn’t unpacked much from it). I told my story, but instead of saying that I had left about 13 kg with my friends I said that I had thrown it away and asked if I could set it off with the overweight in my checked in luggage. The girl behind the counter were devastated when she heard that I had thrown all my things away so she checked in my very heavy suitcase right away. I then went and picked up my other bags, said goodbye and went to the security control. That and passport control went very quick and I came in into the nice, but quiet departure hall at CPT.
When boarding began I saw the guy from the check in counter that refused to check in my overweight luggage starting to prepare for boarding. Since I had all my bags with me I didn’t want to meet him again. Luckily he was gone when I came up to the gate, but was standing outside the aircraft instead, but he didn’t say anything. I boarded the “christmas decorated” aircraft, took my pre booked aisle seat and the flight began like any other flight. Drinks were served and later dinner. From a menu that was chicken curry or beef with pasta I took the beef. Since the IFE at LH isn’t the best (I claim it is non existent in economy) I decided to sleep. I hoped a glass of red wine would help me fall a sleep, which I did but only for an hour at a time.
During one of those hours the cabin crew came on the PA system and asked for help in the rear galley. I woke up and saw the cabin crew running around with flashlights. After five minutes or so they asked, also over the PA system, to have the lights on in the whole economy section. Apparently there was a passenger that had fallen in the dark when he exit the toilet and hurt himself. The cabin crew came running with first aid equipment and oxygen and half an hour later they rolled the passenger, who now looked more like a mummy, in some kind of wheelchair to the rear galley/crew rest bunks. Just before breakfast, they rolled him back.
Other than that the flight was very calm. Breakfast consisted of bread, tea/coffee, juice and omelette. After that, and 11 hours and 30 minutes after take off from CPT we landed in FRA.
The big airport was calm at this time of the day. I came to customs and had to x-ray one of my bags. The officers found something that they thought looked suspicious and I had to open the bag. It turned out to be my contact lenses that were the problem and then I had to close the bag again, which wasn’t the easiest thing. After that it was time for the security check, which is very thorough at FRA. Of course there were some problems again with my baggage. I accidentally had packed my Swiss card, which contains a tiny tiny knife in my hand luggage. I had it in my necessaire, which during all the packing and unpacking at CPT had ended up in the hand luggage. There wasn’t much choice for me than to throw it away and then start my long walk to the gate.
Flight no. 4
Date: 9th of December 2005
Departure Airport: Frankfurt International [FRA]
Arrival Airport: Stockholm Arlanda [ARN]
Airline: Lufthansa [LH]
Flight: LH 3000
Equipment: Airbus A321-200
I forgot to pre book an aisle seat for my last flight when I checked in at CPT so I ended up in a window seat. The plane was quite full, but the two seats next to me were empty, until 0.0000001 seconds before departure when two guys came running (apparently from a flight from BKK). The guy that sat on the aisle seat was talking all the time to his friend, who was sitting next to me, but he didn’t seem to like it and only answered very briefly. I later understood why. Just after pushback he “panicked” and asked a flight attendant if he could go to the bathroom. Of course she said no, but when he said that he “had to puke” she said he could go on his own risk. He was at the bathroom during take off and climb and when he got back he switched seats with his friend and then ran back and forth to the bathroom during the whole flight. After a small breakfast I watched the sun rise over Europe and just waited for the two hour flight to end.
I got my baggage quickly at ARN and then went out to meet my family. Again, as I wrote on my last trip report with LH, I can’t complain on anything but on the IFE on longhaul. But this time the big CRT screen in the ceiling didn’t turn out all green at the end of the flight – it became red