Flight-Report

Review of TAAG Angola Airlines flight Luanda São Tomé in Economy

Flight DT510
Class Economy
Seat 5A
Aircraft Boeing 737-700
Flight time 02:00
Take-off 13 Oct 17, 22:10
Arrival at 13 Oct 17, 23:10
DT 5 reviews
Davidu
By 1258
Published on 21st October 2017
After being in Luanda for a long 5 weeks it was time for a bit of a getaway. I decided to go to Sao Tome, which is easily accessible by a two-hour long flight operated by TAAG from Luanda. I can't lie I was really looking forward to trying this airline since I get a lot of mixed feedback on it from friends (it's either great or horrible). The fare was also very reasonable so Sao Tome here I come! For those of you who are unfamiliar, Sao Tome and Principe are a group of islands (the largest being Sao Tome and Principe) off the coast of central Africa.

I arrived at the airport at 8:20 for my 10 pm flight (the flights are always delayed from LAD so coming to the airport 2 hours before departure doesn't make sense) also there really isn't anything to do at the airport.

When I arrived the airport was a mess, as is the norm for Luanda. The lines were extremely long (but I can skip them so it didn't really bother me). Check in was very disorganized, I mean seriously there were 4 lines for the one TAAG flight and there ended up being a heated argument about which is the correct line. The lady doing the check-in was very confused and ripped up my boarding pass 3 times, and bit into it once. I suppose technical difficulties.

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A busy Luanda Aiport at 8:30

I really won't add pictures of Luanda airport. There is nothing to report on, except a rundown deli and a couple of old ceiling fans.


Bus boarding was called at 9:50 pm (hahaha, we will definitely be in the air by 10:10), we were taken to our 737-700 in the gorgeous TAAg livery. Did I mention that I absolutely adore this livery? the colors are really out there and the finishes of the Namib Ram are really distinctive

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The 737 while boarding


Flight information

Origin: Luanda (FNLU)

Destination: Sao Tome (FPST)

Aircraft: D2-TBJ (aged 10.8 years)

Flight Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

As I got into the aircraft I took a picture of a seat row. The finishes were Blue and Golden yellow (the middle seats were gold and the two on the sides blue)

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A row of seats on board

When I sat down I noticed the shabby condition of the aircraft. The seats were padded really badly, I had to use my jumper as a pillow because it felt like I was sitting on an ironing board. The aircraft was a bit dirty too. Also, a fast forward for the takeoff, one of the light casings popped off and fell on a passenger. yikes. Even though the plane was worn the legroom was the best I ever got in economy class (and that's saying a lot since I travel so much). I could comfortably starch our with my legs and not touch the seat in front of me. I estimate the pitch at around 35 inches and the width of the seat around 19 inches.

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The legroom

I wanted to take some pictures of the wing from my seat, but the windows were grimy and scratched so that wasn't an option.

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The dirty windows of the 737

The contents of the seatback pocket was somewhat small, with just a safety card and a duty-free magazine. No company magazine with the fleet and routes.

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We eventually took off at 22:40, roughly 30 minutes behind schedule. the captain apologized for the delay in perfect English (something not that common in Angola, as most people only speak Portuguese), he said that we would be flying across the cost before turning left to the Sao Tome islands.

about 20 minutes after takeoff the three chipper flight attendants serving economy sprung into action. I was surprised that a full meal was served on this short late night flight. The options were chicken or fish, I went with the chicken. The food was good and the portion was satisfying. along with the chicken (which seemed to be some sort of curry), the meal also consisted of a bread roll, a chickpea salad, a cream dessert and a drink. TAAG doesn't serve the tiny 185ml coke cans, they serve the full-sized 330ml cans, same goes for alcohol, the wine bottles aren't the usual 185ml, they are f the 330ml variety.

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The late night meal

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The cabin in flight

I must say that the crew was genuinely nice. They always smiled and responded to thank you's with tour welcome's and it's a pleasure. I do sense that there was a bit of a language barrier since my Portuguese is abominable, so I tend to combine it with my french bringing a very confusing mishmash of words to life, but this usually works.

At this time I decided to pay a visit to the bathroom which was actually pretty clean. There were no amenities, not even soap or tissues.

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We landed in Sao tome just 10 minutes behind schedule, we made up a lot of time in the air which was very useful. Since there are no airbridges I could take a few pictures of our beauty tonight.

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I tried to take some pictures at the airport but got yelled at. there wasn't really a lot to photograph in the first place anyway.

Bonus : Click here display


As a bonus, I will share some images from Sao Tome

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The blue lagoon

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Pictures from the northern Neves region

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The central Santana region

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The capital, Named Sao Tome
See more

Verdict

TAAG Angola Airlines

6.9/10
Cabin4.5
Cabin crew8.0
In-flight Entertainment7.0
Meal/catering8.0

Luanda - LAD

3.9/10
Efficiency2.5
Access6.5
Services3.5
Cleanliness3.0

São Tomé - TMS

5.6/10
Efficiency6.5
Access6.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness4.0

Conclusion

This was a perfectly pleasant flight on TAAG. The soft product was better than many European airlines (the food, drinks etc.) but the cabin really does need to be refreshed. TAAG should also look into some English language courses for their crew.

Related

11 Comments

  • Comment 416801 by
    East African 1442 Comments

    Thanks you for sharing this great and rare FR about TAAG.

    Old aircraft but generous meal seems a pretty standard formula for regional routes in Africa
    I would prefer a route map on the airshow than a movie/serie if no earphones are handed out...

    "The blue lagoon" what is this strange metallic ball in the picture below?

    Looking forward to the inbound trip

  • Comment 416821 by
    okapi GOLD 2799 Comments

    Hi there! I rarely cross the border between the French and English versions of this website nowadays but tonight was an exception. So lucky to find your FR featuring one of the most striking airline liveries ever. I too just love it. Great read, great photos. Hope you did enjoy your stay in Sao Tome.
    Thanks for sharing this gem. Cheers!

  • Comment 416838 by
    Davidu AUTHOR 17 Comments

    @east African,

    Yup, I can agree on this, the good food and old aircraft are a staple of African aviation. I don't think I'll do an inbound trip as it was uneventful since I fell asleep. However, I am flying on TAAG again in a week to Capetown and I think that will be a more interesting flight as it's operated by their 777-300 and takes close to 4 and a half hours.

  • Comment 416918 by
    KL651 TEAM 4304 Comments

    Thanks for this FR on a mysterious airline.
    Really nice meal indeed, too bad the confort and cleanliness wasn't as good.

  • Comment 417028 by
    joaointhesky 54 Comments

    Thanks for this FR! Love TAAG, it is definetely on my to-fly list, haha.
    The meal seems pretty decent.
    I have two questions: Was the flight full? And is Angola a nice country for exotic tourism?
    Hope you write a FR of the flight to CPT!
    Bye bye
    João

  • Comment 417035 by
    Davidu AUTHOR 17 Comments

    The flight was nowhere near full, it was less than half full, actually. Angola is a good place to come for some tourism, Luanda is pretty nice once you get to know it and the ocean and beaches are quite nice too. There is a safari just an hours drive from Luanda and the entire country has places worth visiting like the southern Namib region which is basically Namibia but less crowded. The places are nice but the services are rudimentary. The hotel situation is really sad (there are just two good hotels in Luanda and outside of Luanda it's even worse as there are no world-class resorts) no one speaks English, only Portuguese. I speak a fair bit of French so I manage to get around but for most, the language is a problem. Basically, I'm saying that the country itself is beautiful but the services not so much.

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