Old Dec 29, 18, 5:10 am
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: JER
Programs: BA Gold/OWE, several MUCCI, and assorted Pensions!
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BA to The Western Cape - 3 Towns in 2 Weeks

Sometimes the Travel Gods smile upon you, and for us they did on 17 Jan 18 when, thanks to www.baredemptionfinder.com, we were able to acquire a pair of Club Europe/World seats for JER-LGW-CPT using our 2-4-1 Companion voucher! We happily parted with 1,005.36 in taxes and fees, and returned 137,500 Avios from our coffers to BA’s

With that obstacle overcome, it was time to get round to the detailed planning of our third successive annual trip to the Western Cape, to enjoy their Summer and escape our Winter. Previous trip reports are 16e CPT and 17e CPT [aka Eating South Africa] if you’re interested. Even if you’re not, they are there anyway.

This time we decided to bypass Cape Town completely, and having juggled our schedules settled for staying in Hermanus, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch [in that order] for 4/5/5 days. So, in April, we made the assorted reservations. F’hoek and S’bosch were easy … same hotels, and the same room please, both booked by e-mail thanks to personal contact with the respective owners. Intense research by iWife also led us to a new hotel in Hermanus. I’ll get into the details as I cover separately each town and hotel we visited - all quite different, but all equally lovely.

PART 1 - Mr T8191, You’re ready to fly!

8 Dec 19. We awoke to discover that our l/h flight (BA2041) had been rescheduled. Instead of departing at 2000, it was showing variously anything up to 0200 the next morning! A bit of a flap at this end, mainly as we had a pre-booked taxi, but eventually timings returned to normal!

BA2773, JER-LGW, 1400-1500, A319, CE Seats 1A/C.

A leisurely 1215 taxi delivered us and our 2 cases to the airport, where everything was efficiency and calm. Within minutes our cases were tagged through to CPT, and we breezed through Security to settle in the Lounge for coffee and cakes. Efficient priority boarding through the drizzle had us on our way on time, with a very pleasant BA Afternoon Tea to help us on our way. I could see that iWife was in the ‘holiday mood’ as she asked fo champagne - to avoid embarrassment, I did the same.

The usual LGW arrival process ensued … walk to bus for eventual delivery underneath the Domestic/CTA Arrival and Reclaim area. We look forward to the impending revised arrangements involving an airbridge! As usual, we headed kerbside for a last cigarette or two …

… before heading back to Airside through the ever-cheerful and efficient Premium Gatwick Security channel. Settling in to the BA First Lounge by 1530, we had a 3-hour wait before boarding which was enlivened by hosting in mtikky so that he could enjoy better wine and food than in the normal Club Lounge [in theory!]. And as the sun went down, the view showed clearly it was time to get away from UK weather!!

At 1840 Gate 27 was declared … probably the longest walk available at LGW(S), and so we obediently trotted in that direction. On reaching our destination, we grabbed a couple of seats close to the impending action, and noted with surprise that there were no Tensa barriers or signage deployed. The only sign for a priority queue was abandoned forlornly against the wall. Even more surprising was the way everyone politely stayed well back from the desks, leaving at least 15 ft of clear space!! Where were the notorious Gate Lice we read about on FT?

BA2041, LGW-CPT, 2000-0945, B772, CW Seats 5A/B

Pre-boarding commenced unusually with pre-boarding for only Group 1 and 2, followed by standard Group 1 and 2 pax - than apparently Group 3/4 pre-boarding, etc. What actually happened later we don’t know, as by 1915 we were on board and seated! The PDB champagne was nicely chilled, and eventually at 2015 the airbridge was disconnected … at which point the Captain announced there was a bit of a hold loading issue! However, he also announced an 11h10m trip time, so we should arrive on schedule. Push-back at 2027, airborne at 2045, and drinks orders at 2115 … we’re on our way! Look out, Africa, here come the Gold OAPs.

A full CW cabin, and on our side the most detached and miserable CSD and CC we’ve ever met. Slow and robotic is the kindest things to say about them … not a smile or anything disturbed a totally mechanical ‘service’. A reasonable meal ensued … here comes the menu and photos.

Steak for me [bravely/foolishly] … the vegetables were cooked almost to a pulp, and don’t ask about the steak!

... and Chicken for her [in what she described as Bisto gravy!] …

By 2200 it was time for some sleep, and to sample the new White & Co bedding for the first time. Hmmmm. The ‘mattress topper’ was completely useless, and moved around of its own accord beneath me before ending up on the floor. The light blanket was acceptable, and the pillow good. The heavier blanket smelt horrible, and felt damp … I handed it to a passing CC for disposal!

At about 0600 (UK time?) we were all awakened to the usual BA Breakfast, and through the window I could see …. AFRICA!

We beat the Captain’s initial promise of an on-time arrival, and actually touched down at 0915 [local], some 30 minutes early. There then followed an excellent arrivals process. One benefit of sitting in 5A/B is that you’re right in front of Door 2L, and are usually amongst the first to disembark. We thus headed for Immigration at the front of the pack to find an almost empty hall! Maybe 2 dozen in the queue in front of us? Within a couple of minutes we were directed to a free desk, where the Officer scanned our passports, asked no questions, applied the usual stamps … and that was it! The bags took a little longer to emerge [10 minutes?] but at least ours were among the first and finally, in Arrivals, we found our now regular driver Adriaan. After a quick cigarette outside, we hit the car park and were on the road by 1000 … is this a record for CPT?

More to follow in a few minutes once I've struggled with photos for Parts 2-6!! !

Last edited by T8191; Nov 4, 19 at 11:25 am Reason: typos
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