Kulula Economy Review Johannesburg (JNB) to Cape Town (CPT) and Bidvest Sky Lounge Review
Kulula is a Comair subsidiary and is one of many airlines plowing the Johannesburg to Cape Town route - one of the world's busiest. Comair itself is a small airline that is owned and run by British Airways. The Johannesburg to Cape Town (and also Durban) market is very competitive. Kulula is not part of Oneworld (unlike Comair) and tickets can only be booked using cash and not Avios. Cash tickets are just about $50 if booked more than three months out and $100 booked last minute. This includes a free checked bag for economy flights. A carry-on is also free, but needs to be under 7kg (which is strictly enforced). I used the Bidvest Sky Lounge right behind security at JNB. This domestic lounge is accessible by any Priority Pass members and as such, I did not expect much. Nevertheless, it was a positive surprise and it is clearly one of the best Priority Pass lounges in the system. There was ample food (just OK quality though), at least 30 different wines to try and an internet connection that worked well. The lounge certainly isn't on par with the superb 'SLOW Lounge' at the same airport, but still. Boarding was exactly on time and very orderly, with two lines snaking through the terminal. As you would expect at these prices, the planes are full - like full to the last seat. While the Kulula planes look fancy and new from the outside, the interior of this one was old - really old. It seems that Comair used the oldest equipment possible - gave each plane a new engine but did nothing to the interior other than reducing the seat pitch. It's agreeable for a short flight, but really, it's no fun. There is no IFE or WiFi - just the overwhelming sound from the engines outside. It was more like my flight with Sriwijaya Air than a modern, no-frills airline. Landing into the 40 mph wind at Cape Town International Airport that evening was fast and furious. In sum, I did not expect much from the flight and was surprised that a free bag was included. However, the state of the plane was unacceptable for a modern airline. One can do better - even for a low price; look out for my Mango review soon to see just how much better. You can book your Kulula flight here.