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JNB-GBE (Gaborone, Botswana) via SA Express

JNB-GBE (Gaborone, Botswana) via SA Express

Old Apr 22, 10, 8:55 am
  #1  
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JNB-GBE (Gaborone, Botswana) via SA Express

belated TR 1st posted in SQTalk:

Background
This is a write-up on my flight from JNB to GBE (Gaborone, Botswana). Having flown into JNB on SQ478, which i have slept thru with the 2.30am flight-time and hence have nothing to say, and sitting off 2 hrs of layover in the SAA Baobab lounge [see separate thread], i proceeded towards Gate A19 for my flight to GBE (Gaborone, Botswana).

The holding area for the remote standing gates resembles more like a bus terminal for passengers to be transported to the remote standings.


At 09:00, 20 min ahead of scheduled flight time, the 'gate' was opened:

Though most of the passengers boarded the bus, the driver and ticketing agent took quite a while before dispatching us to the plane, resulting in this scene:

In the meantime, i had the opportunity to witness a pallet of luggage [is there a proper term for this?] fallen off a tractor-wagon to block a service road. Took abt 5 mins before a forklift was summoned. I had fished out my camera by now, hoping to capture the drama, alas mine was no SLR and the scene was beyond my point and shoot. My fears that the forklift was the wrong machine was confirmed when the pallet tipped over to spill out the luggage therein, including one brown box with red FRAGILE labels all over it. At this juncture, the driver and agent decided we have waited enough and i was only able to capture this shot. Looks like some pple will be missing their luggage:

After a slow tour of JNB from the airside [the bus had to stop at every junction to check if any aircraft wld jump on us] we finally caught sight of the South African Express ramp.


JNB-GBE
Flight: SA1783
Aircraft: de Havilland DASH 8
Class: Economy
Seat: 5B


SA1783 was to be a DASH-8; cabin trolleys went to the trunk (aft of plane).

As we were boarding, this sight of engineers hurriedly fixing [whatever] to the nose-wheel was most re-assuring.


Customary leg-shot

View of towards cockpit from Seat 5B

The props started turning 5 mins before flight time, and at 09:20am sharp the plane rolled off from its standing. 5 mins later, it started down the runway.

Snack bag: 1 x short-cake, 1 x choc bar, 1 x cheezels. and juice and water

Glad they are still turning...

We landed at 09:55am, 15 mins ahead of schedule, at GBE – Sir Seretse Khama Airport. A new terminal building is underway, supposedly to be completed by June in time to ride on tourism fever arising from South Africa’s World Cup, but now probably only to be completed next year.

The new terminal is being built on the turf in front of the old single-story terminal building, a better perspective can be gleaned from this 2005 pic when i last visited.

A SAA A321 - a much smoother and faster ride, i'm sure - pulling away to return to JNB

The arrival hall, and the rest of the public area.

jammed is offline  
Old Apr 22, 10, 9:01 am
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Thanks for this nice TR!

I couldnt believe they dropped the boxes marked "fragile"!
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Old Apr 22, 10, 5:02 pm
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Thanks for the report - I enjoy hearing about obscure airlines and exotic locations!
falconred is offline  
Old Apr 25, 10, 11:01 am
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Thank you very much for this report - definitely brings back some memories [I lived in Gabs for two and a half years at 1998-2000].

Even though I travelled a lot between Botswana and South Africa in that period, I took only one :O flight, and it was this same route, just in reverse: GBE-JNB, on 31DEC00, when I left Africa.

Looking at these 2 photos:


it looks like it hasn't changed at all in last 10 years. As I said, only flown once there, but been many times to the airport either seeing people off or waiting for them.

Interesting note on the Airbus, when I flew [on same/similar Dash] there were only 2 airlines flying there: SAAEx with Dash and Air Botswana with their ATRs. Very different to late 90s when you could see B747s [for example, BA tag on LHR-JNB----GBE].

How was the actual flight? I still remember it as one of the bumpiest flights in my life [and what a beatiful clear day it was] - I managed just about to hold it off, but somebody was sick on apron while departing aircraft in JNB [no buses back then].




Apologies for rambling....
jms_uk is offline  
Old Apr 26, 10, 3:52 am
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Originally Posted by jms_uk View Post
Thank you very much for this report - definitely brings back some memories [I lived in Gabs for two and a half years at 1998-2000].

... it looks like it hasn't changed at all in last 10 years. As I said, only flown once there, but been many times to the airport either seeing people off or waiting for them.
oh you did? =) you'll see the airport is constructing a new terminal building and looks promising, with aero-bridges and all. Heard from locals they are upgrading runway to accommodate larger jets too.

Originally Posted by jms_uk View Post
Interesting note on the Airbus, when I flew [on same/similar Dash] there were only 2 airlines flying there: SAAEx with Dash and Air Botswana with their ATRs. Very different to late 90s when you could see B747s [for example, BA tag on LHR-JNB----GBE].

How was the actual flight? I still remember it as one of the bumpiest flights in my life [and what a beatiful clear day it was] - I managed just about to hold it off, but somebody was sick on apron while departing aircraft in JNB [no buses back then].
oh you should read abt my GBE-JNB return, it was more dramatic than a bumpy ride. Thanfully this particular JNB-GBE was alright; I remember a GBE-JNB on DASH8 that nearly sent my heart out of my mouth, together with other contents, somewhere as it approach JNB. More seasoned travellers were explaining to me abt effects of African continental pressure meeting with ocean pressures etc which all sound Greek to me
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Old Apr 26, 10, 5:59 am
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Interesting report. Thanks for posting.
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Old Apr 26, 10, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by jammed View Post
oh you should read abt my GBE-JNB return, it was more dramatic than a bumpy ride. Thanfully this particular JNB-GBE was alright; I remember a GBE-JNB on DASH8 that nearly sent my heart out of my mouth, together with other contents, somewhere as it approach JNB. More seasoned travellers were explaining to me abt effects of African continental pressure meeting with ocean pressures etc which all sound Greek to me
I read it last night - very dramatic adventure. Strange to see that ticketing for transit passengers at their home airport hasn't changed in 10 years - I remember handing ~4500 Rands to some SAA agent, hoping he'll bring me back my ticket.
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