Hello everyone, I am very proud to write here the first FR onboard a brand new Cessna 208-B from Airlink on a non-reported route or even the first FR on that kind of aircraft in South Africa ! Let's see how they perform !
We were transferred by our hotel (Protea Paul Kruger Gate) to the airport a bit early but I do not regret it as the airport is really nice. As soon as we arrived we went for the check-in where a regular agent did the job. Not too much friendliness but doing her job quickly so everything's fine. You have to note however that on this flight, no suitcase is allowed as hold luggage. You have to carry your items in a duffel bag. So I had to take a duffel bag for the whole trip instead of the suitcase I normally use which is really more convenient with wheels^^, so everything just for this very flight ! Huh!
Our BP : you can see we were booked in Y class, that is why it was a bit expensive
Landside, the toilets were perfectly clean but I have no pictures of them.
There is a small garden straight ahead when you enter the building.
We obviously passed security in seconds (left on the picture above)
Airside, this is so relaxing… really comfortable, I'd even say luxurious sofas, miniature garden and waterfall. Simply the most relaxing airport in the whole world and I really mean it. There is furthermore a small café on your left hand side just after security.
You don't have a really nice view on the tarmac though
Boarding was called on-time and all of the staff here was really pleasant to interact with
I really love the Airlink livery, especially this bird
The FO is on the right hand side of the picture and you can see he looks very relax and friendly (he is). However, the Captain did not seem in a good mood and was not very talkative so we did not have any interaction with him which is too bad in such a small aircraft. He however authorized us to take as many pictures as we wanted to and told us we would cruise at 4500 feet ASL.
The great First Officer introduced himself and told us we had to leave our hand luggages right at the back of the aircraft inside a stowage compartment. He also told us that seating was free but not to sit row 1 because there was the sunshades placed there. And… I had a seat row 1… Now I don't know why we choose our seats if it is free seating^^
So I went for the 2A instead and my mother seated there took the 3A but afterwards he removed the shades and two kids siblings seated row 1… hopefully not in front of me, only to play iPhone games the whole flight. What a pity! If I was them, I would have enjoyed it at their age, not that i'm old but, I don't know, everything seems so normal for them it's a pity, really.
Anyway, I realize I forgot to take a picture of the actual cabin, but we had brand new beige leather seats, very comfy. The pitch was not that great but again, there was plenty of space because we were just 7 pax out of 12 seats available. Other than that, you'll find that the layout is a 1-2 configuration. So the layout is comfortable enough for very short flights considering a C-208B Grand Caravan Ex can carry up to 14 pax.
What a nice feeling to take off with such a machine which is suprisingly quiet for a "large" turboprop, compared to… let's say a C206.
On the flight deck, what is the most visible is obviously the Garmin G1000
Most of the flight time (25 minutes) was spent over the Kruger National Park
In the back stowage compartement, there were many beverages and food but we were not told that we could grab some so maybe it was just for the lodges flights.
Seatback pocket content : The luggage questionnaire front
The safety card, front
and last page
The Skyways magazine is here as well
And we are already approaching the big city of Nelspruit
Landing was smooth despite the aircraft having absolutely no rear suspension.
We deplaned once instructed to do so and the FO was at the bottom of the stairs to ensure everyone was deplaning smoothly on the stairs. I thanked him for the flight and the nice pictures I could take, because it is more a scenic flight or an aviation experience than just a regular commercial service to be fair.
Spotting right on the tarmac ! Amazing. I was the slowest walking person on earth that day. The agent that walked us to the landside part of the terminal was very friendly, like the FO. Here is a Grumman Beechcraft Baron BE G58, very famous bi turboprop
The arrival airport, KMIA as they call it (perhaps to joke about the iCAO code of MIA in the US, which is KMIA) was very nice and the staff extremely pleasant (more to come when we depart from here but not really in pictures ;) !) But here it is just Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport ahah
A zebra skin my mother wanted to buy : 1400€ ? No, finally she was not interested anymore ahahah. But I have to admit this was a beautiful skin. BUT, it is cheaper in JNB, if you still can afford it (1200€).
Skukuza - SZK
Mpumalanga - MQP
An excellent flight with "Lodge Link" as they call it. Professional ground staff and pilots, great on-time performance, nice aircraft to try (that is worth 2.3M USD) despite the ticket price that is... not cheap for 25 minutes of flying. I just regret they did not offer something to drink or eat before starting the flight as there was nothing free at SZK.
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