I had long-planned to fly on Comair – the British Airways subsidiary and Oneworld affiliate – in South Africa. I finally got the chance this week, from Zambia‘s Livingstone (near Victoria Falls) to its hub in Johannesburg in South Africa.
The Comair hub lounge at JNB (called SLOW) gets rave reviews as the best airport lounge in Africa, but since this flight was into the hub, I would not get to see it.
The Livingstone – Johannesburg flight was scheduled for 1.30PM and check-in at noon was rather deserted. Livingstone has precious little traffic so you can plan your arrival at the airport rather well. The immigration and security agents were nice and friendly and the modern terminal, with its well-functioning air conditioning, lifted the mood.
Boarding was called at 12.30PM – a solid one hour to board a small A319. It was a short walk across the apron and the flight attendants helped us get settled in to the 2-3 configuration. While this sounds like a lot of seats in one row for business, it did feel rather spacious.
The flight attendants offered champagne and water as pre-departure drinks and to my surprise we started taxiing at the small airport at 1.10PM – a full 20 minutes before our scheduled departure time. Livingstone Airport has very little traffic, so planes just go when they are ready.
After a quick takeoff with too many clouds to see Victoria Falls, we flew at 35,000 ft and the lunch service started. I did not have high hopes for it but the lunch was excellent – all of the salad, crackers and bread were of exceptional quality. The main course was a great chicken curry that actually had some taste and the vegetarian and beef options were also really good.
Throughout the whole flight, the flight attendants seemed extra-observant and super-friendly.
I felt that I got great value with 9,000 Avios and a $50 fuel surcharge for my flight. It was on time (early, in fact), there was precious little drama and the food was excellent. How much better can short-haul business class get?