This flight is a continuation of my trip to Portugal, Morocco, and Namibia. For more information about the trip in general, please refer to my most recent Trip Report:
Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 29 2010 in Trip Reports)
After staying two nights in the excellent city of Windhoek, it was time to conclude the trip by making the LONG journey home. Our return routing back the United States was as followed:
WDH-LAD-LIS-EWR-TPA. WOW! Let’s just say I was praying everything would work out. Considering our outbound journey on TAAG, I was most definitely nervous for what this Angolan airline had in store for us. This would be an intra-Africa flight on TAAG, away from the watchful eyes of the European Commission and flight-tracking websites. There was really no way of knowing if this flight was regularly plagued with 5-hour delays, or if it even operated at all! I suppose I just had to have faith!
We were dropped off at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport roughly two and half hours before the scheduled departure time of 2:30 PM. On the 30 minute drive to the airport, we made an effort not to tell our driver what airline we were flying. I have learned that people become genuinely concerned for your safety and well-being when they discover you are flying TAAG. Or they laugh at you.
My experience with Windhoek airport was great! While small, this airport is well-kept and very nice.
The first thing I did was run inside the terminal to check the FIDS to see if our flight to LAD was on-time. It listed our flight with the scheduled departure time but it there were no remarks next to it. I assumed this meant we were supposed to leave on-time. Since check-in hadn’t opened yet, we went over to a nice sit-down restaurant in the airport where I got a tasty T-Bone steak. Yum!
Check-in opened at about 12:30 PM, which was 2 hours before departure. I stood in a line with about 10 people in front of me. It took about 20 minutes to get to the front of this line -- reminds me of the days before online and kiosk check-in. However, there was a really pretty Angolan woman standing behind me who talked to me a bit which was definitely nice!
The check-in agent was a friendly guy who worked for Air Namibia I believe. It took him a whole two minutes to check us in, so I really don’t know why the line was moving so slowly. When asking the check-in agent if the flight was on-time, he responded “I sure hope so!” Haha, oh TAAG!
What? We aren’t flying Air Namibia :
We cleared security and immigration which went smoothly, and were in the departure lounge within minutes. The aircraft was supposed to arrive from LAD at 1:30 PM. I began to get a little nervous when it was 1:45 PM and there was no TAAG 73G on the ramp, and the FIDS hadn’t been updated. At around 1:55 PM, I saw our TAAG 737-700 land and taxi to the stand. Ok, I could breathe again.
It looked like today’s flight to LAD would be operated by TAAG’s newest 73G, D2-TBJ, which was delivered in January 2007. The aircraft has been named “Luena”, which is a city in Angola.
Air Namibia (SW) 737-200:
I noticed our crew come into the terminal where I believe they purchased some duty free items. The cabin crew was black while the cockpit crew was white. I assume they were all Angolans.
At around 2:30 PM, boarding still hadn’t begun, and the screens above our gate changed to display a Comair flight to Johannesburg. Beginning to worry again, I asked the gate agent what was going on. She was friendly and explained that the incoming flight was transporting a passenger on a stretcher. At the moment, they were having trouble offloading the stretcher but she expected boarding to begin “soon”.
At 3:00 PM, boarding finally began for TAAG Angola Airlines flight DT 574.
Date: 17 August 2010
Airline: TAAG Angola Airlines
Flight: DT 574
Aircraft: Boeing 737-7M2
Aircraft Reg: D2-TBJ
Aircraft Name: “Luena”
Departure City: Windhoek, Namibia
Departure Airport: Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH / FYWH)
Arrival City: Luanda, Angola
Arrival Airport: Quatro de Fevereiro Airport (LAD / FNLU)
Scheduled Departure Time: 2:30 PM
Actual Departure Time: 3:27 PM (57 min late)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 5:00 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 5:44 PM (44 min late)
Load Factor: 60%
At WDH, everyone walks to their respective aircraft which is great. Some airports bus passengers to the aircraft even if it is within walking distance – I’m glad to see WDH is not one of those airports.
We were welcomed on board by a young and attractive flight attendant.
Ah, here we are again. Welcome aboard TAAG Angola Airlines!
An Air Namibia A340-300 was parked next to us.
Picture of a flight attendant my father creepily took:
The cabin was colored and styled just like TAAG’s 777s. I believe these seats were produced by the same manufacturer as well. Consistency is always nice!
Doors were closed at 3:27 PM. The safety video was shown on the drop-down LCD screens, and the cabin crew followed along by pointing out the exits.
I tried to move towards the rear of the aircraft to get a takeoff video from behind the wing. Unfortunately, a TAAG flight attendant told me I couldn’t sit there until after takeoff. I wasn’t sure of the reasoning behind this, but I complied with her instructions.
Taxi to the runway was short.
Here is a video of our takeoff in HD:
The climb-out was fairly turbulent, to the point where some passengers were screaming. It was a little nerve-wrecking, but I had faith in this newly-built 737-700!
I attempted yet again to relocate towards the rear of the aircraft to get some shots behind the wing. This time, I succeeded!
I must say that the cabin on this aircraft was not in good condition. The seat fabric was ripping, some seats would not recline while others would not stay upright. Not sure if TAAG’s passengers are extremely abusive towards the aircraft, or if TAAG just fails to maintain the cabin. It’s a shame, because I’m sure this cabin was really nice when this aircraft was delivered in 2007.
Shortly after takeoff, the IFE screens displayed a live moving-map display of our flight. This was the same moving-map as found on the IFE system of TAAG’s 777s. Next, “Date Night” was shown but only in Portuguese. However, it was still funny watching Steve Carell be hilarious as usual.
A meal was served shortly after takeoff. While the service started from the front of the aircraft, another flight attendant was taking orders from passengers seated towards the rear. He then brought each order out individually. Nice!
Anyway, the beef I ordered was quite tasty:
The legroom was pretty generous on this flight:
Location of the stretcher on the previous flight – I’ve never seen this before:
After what seemed like a very short flight, descent into LAD began. It rewarded us passengers with some nice views of Luanda Bay and the city.
Landing video on runway 23 in LAD:
SonAir / Atlas Air 747-400 leaving for IAH in a few hours:
EK A330-200 leaving the apron:
Shots of the airplane grave yard – also known as Quatro de Fevereiro Airport:
Here we go again! It’s time to make the infamous transfer in Luanda.
Walking down the airtairs onto the tarmac, we noticed a uniformed TAAG agent and immediately walked up to her. We told her “Transito – Lisboa!”. She responded by saying “Ah, Lisboa!”, and ushered us onto the bus with the other passengers from our flight. As the bus dropped us off at the immigration area, we were led to the far left immigration lane. We were told to wait behind the white line while the TAAG agent gave the immigration officer our passports. When she got our passports back, we were led through a corridor to some seats in front of this small office. We sat there while they took our passports into this office and entered our information into a computer. About 5 minutes later, she came back and escorted us to a check-in desk. We were checked-in for our flight without problems, and the TAAG agent escorted us back through security and to the immigration desk. The officer took our passports, and I waited for it – VICTORY! My passport now has an Angolan stamp! She then took us to another office where they asked us if we had any U.S. dollars. My dad had literally $1 and they laughed. She then led us back up to the departure lounge where she shook both of our hands and thanked us. Excellent! Good job TAAG!
Me and the “transito agent”:
** The trick to the Luanda Transit is to look for a TAAG agent at the bottom of the airstairs on your arriving aircraft. There will be one there, not at immigration!
Some pictures of LAD while waiting for our flight to LIS:
This was another nice flight with TAAG Angola Airlines. The cabin crew were friendly, the aircraft was nice, the food was tasty, and the flight only left an hour late for what seemed like a legit reason. I didn’t notice any apparent safety issues on this intra-Africa flight, although there is obviously much more that goes on than what meets the eye. I was once again very impressed with the handling in LAD, however, I won’t be able to recommend a transfer through this airport to the common passenger until TAAG becomes more “predictable”. But from an enthusiast standpoint, I highly recommend this trip – you will never forget it!
This concludes my adventure with TAAG, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it.
New license plate!
Restaurant in Windhoek:
Prior Trip Reports:
Taag Angola 777-200ER Lisbon-Luanda In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 29 2010 in Trip Reports)
Asiana Airlines 777-200ER ICN-LAX In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Apr 16 2010 in Trip Reports)
Thai Airways A340-500 CNX-BKK In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Apr 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Bangkok Airways A319 BKK-REP In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Mar 30 2010 in Trip Reports)
Asiana Airlines 747-400 LAX-ICN In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Mar 28 2010 in Trip Reports)
Delta 737-700 ATL-SXM In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 5 2009 in Trip Reports)
Air India 777-200LR DEL-JFK In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jan 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
Drukair A319 PBH-DEL In Y W/TONS Of Pix/Vid (by MHTripple7 Jan 10 2009 in Trip Reports)
Air India 777-200LR JFK-DEL In C W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jan 5 2009 in Trip Reports)
South African 737-800 JNB-CPT In C W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Sep 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
South African BAe 146-200 LVI-JNB In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 13 2008 in Trip Reports)
Delta 767-400ER JNB-ATL In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 1 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air Botswana BAe 146-100 JNB-MUB In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air France 777-300ER CDG-JNB In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air France A330-200 DTW-CDG In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Delta 737-800 JFK-TPA (Pix And Vid) (by MHTripple7 Apr 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 777 DEL-JFK Mar 28 2008 Pix (by MHTripple7 Mar 29 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 9W707 W/Diversion (Pix) (by MHTripple7 Mar 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 777-300ER JFK-DEL ( Pix) (by MHTripple7 Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)