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.

Hi, Honey

I’m home!

And I have made the decision never to fly British Airways to or from Cape Town ever again.
We were nearly two hours late leaving Heathrow last night because yet another of their aging (G-BNLP is 26 years old) 747s had broken down. And then, once you’re on board, you have to deal with a cabin that was last updated 16 years ago. My armrest was held together by duct tape. Genuinely.

And don’t start me on the rest…

Emirates all the way for me from now on. Even if it does mean taking an extra day’s leave (as it would have done for this trip). It’s worth it.

Pretty Patterns In The Sky

BA brought their A380 down to Cape Town this afternoon to do some publicity shots in front of the mountain. You may recall that Lufthansa did this some time ago: the airline equivalent of the Germans getting their towel on the sunbed before the British had even woken up.

The weather wasn’t all it could have been, the mountain in question being shrouded by a monster tablecloth today, but judging by the flight path from, it looks like they had some fun anyway:


Those 4,000ft passes over the mountain must have been especially exciting, given that the mountain itself is about 3,500ft. As I write, G-XLED is already up to 32,000ft and has disappeared back towards Durban.

I’m sure that there will be photos galore of the passes, so I’ll select the best (so you don’t have to) and chuck them up here sometime soon.

Striking nastiness

Not much from me tonight, but here is an interesting story on the current British Airways dispute.
To be perfectly honest, I haven’t paid a huge amount of interest as to what is going on between BA and the Unite Union, but as this is slowly boiling down to workers (and the public) taking sides in what seems to be becoming a personal scrap between BA’s Willie Walsh and Tony Woodley et al of Unite, I’m getting more interested.  

Sky News was reporting some pretty nasty stuff going on and reading the Telegraph article brought back some vivid memories of the 1984 Miners’ Strike. I lived in Sheffield at the time, and the papers were full of the violence that surrounded that strike, not least the infamous Battle of Orgreave on the other side of the city. And yes, again there was that personal element at the top – Thatcher versus Scargill.
But that was the dirty, grimy mining industry and these are the guys that offer you drinks on the night flight to Heathrow. That was 1984, in the rough North of England; this is 26 years on in the shiny corridors of Terminal 5.

So why on earth do I find myself reading stuff like this?

It can be revealed that some female cabin staff braved the threat of intimidation by union workers to go to work as normal yesterday.
Some of those who worked had received threatening emails on Friday night, one of which read: “If any of you go into work tomorrow, your life won’t be worth living.”


There’s obviously more to this than just a row over whether hot towels should be dished out on short-haul flights. With the UK general election around the corner and Unite funding the Labour Party to the tune of £11million, with Charlie Whelan as Unite’s political director and with these ridiculous threats flying around, this is going to be a story worth digging deeper into.

I’m off to polish my spade.

UPDATE: Started reading on the Miners’ Strike instead of the BA one. But there are some thought-provoking and salient lines in there, relevant to the BA dispute:

Those who called the miners “the enemy within” might have won the war, but they did not win many hearts or minds.

Trouble is, I’m just not sure which side they’re relevant to.