And right on cue…

I was moaning yesterday. Sorry.
I was tired.
And justifiably irritated and disappointed.

Having said that I wouldn’t be using BA’s services for my Cape Town related air travel again (at least until they source some new aircraft to use on the LHR route) (and remembering that they have suggested that there will be 777-300s on the new LGW route from the end of the year), I received this missive from Emirates in my inbox this morning:

Dear Mr 6000,

When you’re planning your next adventure, choose a travel time that suits you. Our third daily flight from Cape Town to Dubai starts on 4 July 2016, so you’ll have more flexibility when it comes to exploring the world.

Good timing, Malcolm.
And it’s a bit of a gamechanger. That previous lack of flexibility was the reason that we didn’t use Emirates for our flights this time around, meaning that we missed out on:

  • Decent food
  • Wider seats
  • Bigger (working) touchscreens
  • Inflight wifi
  • Inflight live news and sport
  • 2,400 extra inflight entertainment options
  • Choosing seats when booking your flight
  • 30kg baggage vs 23kg
  • Flights to Manchester (handy for Sheffield)

(and that’s before my frequent flyer benefits)
But we gained:

  • 2 hour delays due to broken equipment
  • Cabins last updated in 2000
  • 7 pieces of broken trim visible from my seat in a quick check
  • Leaking air con system dripping on family sitting next to me
  • My armrest held together by duct tape

But now, with EK778 and 779 (to go with EK 770 and 771 and EK 772 and 773), things are easier still.

From 4th July, you’ll be able to do CPT-DXB like this (all times correct at local airports):

EK773 departing 1325 (arrives DXB 0110)
EK771 departing 1805 (arrives DXB 0530)
EK779 departing 2005 (arrives DXB 0735)

and come back:

EK772 departing 0350 (arrives CPT 1125)
EK770 departing 0850 (arrives CPT 1630)
EK778 departing 1050 (arrives CPT 1830)

And, in the bigger picture: more seats = greater flexibility, greater competition and that means prices should be kept in check as well.

It’s a win, win, win situation.

New Gatwick flight

This almost snuck in under the radar (LOLz – aircraft pun), but here’s some great news for people living in Sussex:

British Airways has announced it is launching a new route from Gatwick Airport to Cape Town later this year.
The major airline is expanding its fleet or aircraft at Gatwick as new three-times-a-week flights are being added to its schedule.

And I suppose it’s good news for anyone in Cape Town too, as adding more flights means more seat, means less competition, means cheaper flights overall. This good news is tempered somewhat by the realisation that if you take one of these new flights, you will end up landing at Gatwick Airport though.

Have you ever been to Gatwick Airport?
Hmm.

You’ll probably recall that it’s almost 4 years since SAA stopped flying the Cape Town to London route, citing “dwindling passenger numbers” on flights to Europe from the Mother City. Something that doesn’t seem to have stopped Swiss, Turkish, Condor, Air France, KLM and (of course) BA from operating such services.

But, back to the new (Northern hemisphere) “winter only” Gatwick flights:

The three flights will depart on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6pm, arriving in to Cape Town at 7.50am the following morning.

This winter BA will add a fourth three-class Boeing 777 aircraft to its Gatwick fleet, bringing the total number of Boeing 777s at the airport to 12.

Note that those are two separate lines: there’s no suggestion that the LGW-CPT flights will be on 777s – BA currently operates 747s on its Cape Town to Heathrow route (for the moment, anyway).

I’ll get in touch with BA and see if they can tell me what aircraft they are planning on using. It would be nice to move on from the aging jumbos. After all, we were promised 787s way back in 2013…

 

UPDATE: And here’s the answer – 777s!

Fullscreen capture 2016-03-30 022832 PM.bmp Fullscreen capture 2016-03-30 022916 PM.bmp

That does help, Jamie. Thank you.

Should I pay or should I go?

File under: titles which sounded good at the time, Blog post

BA have asked me very nicely if I’d like to pay R225 (their version of £20, with the Rand’s current stupidly high levels) for the privilege of choosing my seat for my flight to London next month. And they also offered me the chance to pay the same amount again to choose my seat on the flight back.
Having long legs and being sat on a plane for 12 hours is no fun (although it’s really cool the rest of the time). If you have young kids, you get one of those bulkhead seats, which is better; but what the journey giveth, the journey taketh away, because then you’re travelling with young kids. I covered the trials and tribulations of that about a year ago. Good post, that.

I was almost tempted with BA’s generous offer until I found out that my R225 wouldn’t actually allow me to choose a decent – and by “decent”, I mean “exit row” – seat.
No – I have to cough up £50 each way for that. And that’s a lot of money. Especially when you convert it into a universal currency that everyone can understand: dollars beer. I can’t actually book those seats until 14 days before I fly, but working on BA’s current exchange rate, £50 = R562.50. And at bottle store prices, that’s more than 102 bottles of Carling Black Label.

Each. Way.

So, no. I’ll take my chances with the normal 24 hour online check in and I’ll settle for an aisle seat. Virtually any aisle seat. And if I don’t get an aisle seat and I have a dreadful flight, then I’ll reconsider booking an aisle seat for the return journey for £20.

And I have a good day to look forward to when I arrive. Tickets are in the process of being acquired for the undisputed Match of that Day, Bristol City versus Sheffield United, which I am very excited about and which means my journey from Cape Town to Sheffield will take about 26 hours. Plus check-in time. Plus getting to the airport early so the kids can come along and see me through the departure gate.
Bring forth those 102 bottles of Carling Black Label. And a couple of Red Bulls as well.

In other news (and somewhat off-topic), please take the time to look at this:
5 Things That Have Been Found In Fat People’s Skin Folds