Date: May 30th
Route(s): PHW - JNB; JNB - CPT
Aircraft: Beachcraft J41 and 737
After a nice week of safari's and excursion in and around Kruger National Park it was time to go to Cape Town. I had chosen the morning flight out of Phalaborwa to connect to an afternoon flight from JNB to CPT. I had not realized at the time of booking that BA also flies this route. Very annoying since the return flight from JNB to CPT could have secured me another year of Silver status. When I tried to check in online it did not work. I had already received a text message to inform me that my flight out of JNB was going to be 30 minutes late, but what they meant was: 'your flight is cancelled and you are on the next one'. Not a real problem but of course by the time I got to JNB there was only 1 exit seat left: a middle one.
Ah well, lets start at the beginning. I already fell in love with PHW airport upon arrival and this time I had a little more time to make some nice pictures.
The Car Rental Centre...
The cutest bagage 'carousel'...
The food court...
Don't you just love it? It is so tranquil and peaceful. Anyways, after a nice drink on the terrace it was time for my plane to come in.
It took about half an hour for the plane to be ready to accept passengers for the return trip. I noticed we had a very cure female captain, but I did not manage to take a good picture of her. Some people may hate the J41, but I like it. Pretty little plane.
Ready to accept the passengers
You cannot really make out the captain, but the plane is pretty too...
Again we had a very light load. I think it was about 9 passengers. I chose to sit behind the engines this time. This a/c must have been more modern than the one on the way in. It had a 1A seat and the safety demonstration was on a recording this time. Maybe this is why the plane seemed much quiter too, but I am sure there are more technical people out here who can clarify the difference.
Seat 9A. Looks more comfortable than it really is.
After a couple of minutes we raced to the end of the runway and started our take off. I was once again pleasantly surprised by the agressive style of flying.
Racing to the runway
And after 5 minutes or so we were at cruising altitude
The flight to JNB is very short. About 1 hour. What I liked was that they gave you a bag of chips and a role of chocolate cookies as catering. Nice to take with you. The flight attendant looked a little like Naomi Cambell so that was no punsihment either. After 40 mins or so we started our descent into JNB.
On final approach for JNB
Touchdown! Rather fast again. Look at the airbreaks.
We once again raced (and I really mean: raced!) to our parking spot and quickly disembarked to the bus that was waiting for us. I had asked for my carry on to be tagged only to JNB so I could take it on board the JNB - CPT flight. The bag was at the carousel before me. What I noticed during this trip is that bagage handling is very efficient at JNB Domestic.
After checking in at the check in desk and securing at least an exit seat (albeit a middle one) I went to the restaurant section of JNB and had a very nice lunch at a seafood place. Forgot the name. I made my way to the gate and had to wait about 1 hr before the bus arrived and boarding started. The plane was absolutely full. On board I noticed that the seating in this 737 has a lot of Y seats with extra legroom and that their C class is really rather nice and certainly worth the extra money. Unfortunately it was so busy and cramped that I did not take any pictures on board. I did manage to get some nice shots of our plane when we boarded. Notice that it's Rudolph the Red Nosed 737...
Lots of people in one bus.
Santa Claus. Soon after I took this picture they told me to put my camera away.
The 2 hr flight to CPT was rather boring. I had a middle seat and was stuck between two rather large gentlemen. Now I am 1.96M myself, so it wasn't very comfortable. I don't remember much from arrival other than it was darker than I wanted. I had to pick up my rental car from Avis and this would me my first experience with driving on the left side of the road. Avis is really close to the arrival area and it all went rather smoothly. I hoped that I would be able to rent one of the nice BMW 3 series convertibles that were outside. They were not more expensive than the Mercedes I reserved but they had a EUR 1700 liability you could not insure. Not in South Africa and not when driving on the left for the first time.
I was going to spend 3 days in Cape Town and then fly to MRU via JNB. That trip report will follow shortly.
As always: feedback is appreciated and thank you for reading it!
PS: One picture I really liked of the impressive Cape Coast skies
[Edited 2008-06-09 14:22:52]