Saturday, July 23, 2016

British Airways in South Africa

South Africa's British Airways (BA-ZA)is a franchise of UK's British Airways (BA-UK) operated by Comair. BA-ZA looks more or less correct, but it is not the same. They don't run up to Europe, but they do run around southern Africa and are full Oneworld alliance members, so I was able to book a flight with American miles.  I wanted to get from Cape Town to Denver, but the BA-UK flight from CPT wasn't available for mileage awards. BA-UK had space in first on the A380 in JNB, so I booked CPT-JNB-LHR-DEN on a single American award in first class.
BA-ZA Uses 737's
The Uber from the Westin (great hotel) to the Cape Town airport was about $10. Crazy cheap since the city's airport bus is $7.50. It also took no time at all and I arrived about 2.5 hours before my flight. This was a problem since the staff won't check you in until 2 hours prior. They are inflexible in this policy, so I killed a half hour and checked in. I wanted to check my bag to Denver, but due to an industrial action, bags weren't making connections in JNB. Begrudgingly I agreed it would be best to pick up my bag at JNB and recheck it. I also only received a boarding pass for my first segment.
SLOW Lounge CPT Domestic - Amazing
Security was a breeze, liquids of any size allowed and helpful private staff.  I strolled around the domestic terminal to enjoy the views and then went to the SLOW lounge (another Comair owned brand). This is the best domestic airline lounge I ever visited. It was two floors with sweeping views of the field. The design was modern and relaxing with ample food on both levels. They also had baristas on both levels. The lounge was impeccably clean and well maintained.  The Loo With a View was a fun and silly idea.  The food spread was great and rotated over to lunch around 10:30. Ample beer and soda options offered too. I left with fully charged devices and a full stomach.
Business Class Seats and Space
The 737-400 to JNB was parked at a stand gate and bus boarding process was slightly unruly. I made it on board and enjoyed a row to myself. The interior felt dated and cramped, but the staff was cheerful and hustled. The views departing CPT are stunning and that was the extent of the inflight entertainment.
Um? Lunch?
Lunch looked less than appealing. I think it was beef. The Johnnie Walker Black and Coke were perfect. I also enjoyed the cheese dessert option. Lunch didn’t bother me since I filled up in the lounge and planned on going direct to the BA-UK lounge at JNB to refill.  Interesting trip, but enjoyable.
Fairwiew Makes Good Wine Too

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