I usually travel to South Africa twice a year in order to visit family and friends, and whenever possible I try to get there in a non conventional route, with stopovers if possible.
Earlier in March, I flew with Ethiopian MAD-(MLA)-ADD-CPT-ADD-FCO-MAD logging some flights with the 787-800 and 777-300, and it was one of the longest flights I´ve ever done on a 737-800, MAD-ADD non stop, as the pilots skipped the tech stop initially scheduled in MLA.
This time my routing to South Africa will be: MAD-JED-RUH-JED-MRU-JNB, flying with Saudia´s 787-800 and Air Mauritius 340-300:
I´m sorry to say that I´m only reporting in the MRU-JNB leg, and then later on I will report on a domestic flight in South Africa with Kulula.
The airport was a nice surprise, small, modern and easy to find your way around.
I had checked in online in Air Mauritius website, but they do not have a passbook version of the boarding pass and as I forgot to print it at the hotel before leaving for the airport I decided to print it at the self check in kiosks available so I can easily skip the queue and proceed to the bag drop counter.
Check-in for the flight:
And voilà my boarding pass:
Days before departure I requested a kosher meal through their website but I got a message saying that my order could not be processed through the web and I should call their call centre. I did not bother to call and was surprised to see the special request printed on my boarding pass, this means I am going to get my first kosher meal on a flight not departing or arriving TLV.
After droping my bag at the counter I had some time to explore the terminal building, as I said before this is a nice modern building, and at this time of the day it was pretty empty. Next to Air Mauritius check-in counters, I found this ʺluggage repacking stationʺ, which I find very useful, though I did not see anyone using it, I believe Ryanair could make a better use of these stations :)
Views of the terminal:
Air Mauritius check-in desk:
There is also a public terrace, but with very disappointing views:
Well, I wouldn´t call this a terrace :) Basically you only get to see a part of the platform, the aircraft parked right in front of the so-called ʺterraceʺ and the runway at the distance….
Some views of the airside area of the terminal taken from the ʺterraceʺ:
And check-in area:
Then I quickly went through passport control and security checks, and I found myself in the middle of the duty free store;
It was well stocked with nice aircraft models :)
Now it´s time to go to the lounge, as a Priority Pass card holder, I had two options at MRU airport, the Air Mauritius lounge, which I thought it would be pretty full with so many MK departures and then the Salon Nenuphar, which was my first option.
It was completely empty, I believe I was the only guest, all lounge to myself:
Then I headed to the Air Mauritius lounge, for a quick visit just to check it, and as I thought, it was completely full, food offerings and drinks were very similar, but decor was nicer.
Sorry, but no pictures from inside the lounge…
It´s time to get in line in order to board first and take nice pictures of the seats :) Some more views of the terminal and several aircrafts:
Boarding started almost on time and there were separate lines for priority and economy class, although both lines were boarding at the same time, which is common in South Africa unlike in Europe and other countries, were economy boarding would start only when priority line is empty.
Aircraft types painted at the tarmac are pretty much updated:
As expected the aircraft looked dated, but clean and well kept. The decor was very tropical:
Back of the seat:
My still empty row:
First impresion is very good, IFE box in the seat in front of me was a little bit annoying as well as the TV control on the hand rest, but luckily I got an empty seat next to me.
Well packed into a plastic folder:
Inflight magazine, quite boring in my opinion:
Confusing route map:
Air Mauritius fleet, already displaying their brand new Airbus 350 (not yet delivered when I took this flight) and the Airbus 330-900 neo due to arrive Nov´18:
Inflight enterteinment guide, quite useless in this aircraft type:
Duty free shopping catalogue:
Taxi & take off:
We departed with a short 8 minutes delay, safety demo was played on the screens and as expected in such a small airport we were soon on holding position ready to take off.
Last view of this beautiful island:
Views of neighbour island Reunion:
As mentioned before I ordered a kosher meal just for the sake of getting the ¨famous¨ box that I´ve seen previously reported on this and similar sites. As we were still taxiing two crew members came over my seat and asked me if I had requested a kosher meal and then handed me the sealed box, so I could check that the seal wasn´t broken. I did not understand the rush, as this is a flight over 4 hours, so there would be plenty of time to check it after take off.
Then once they unwrapped it, they came over to me to check the next seals, and then once again when they finally served me the meal, to check that the hot meal, has still the seals unbroken.
Box info and kosher certificate:
I´m surprised to see they got the meal from Bangkok Airways catering in BKK, a destination Air Mauritius does not serve. I was expecting it to come from JNB, but I guess thai catering is cheaper. I was also surprised to see that the meal had been produced back in March 2017 and its due to expire in March 2018. The meal must be kept frozen, now it makes more sense to me why they got them from BKK… Good job Air Mauritius!
It tasted just as it looked :), unedible…
Choices for the rest of the passengers, who were served after the special meals were delivered, were omelette or eggs ´Japanese style´ About one and a half hour before landing crew made a drinks run and also offered some pretzels. Diet Coke for me:
IFE was very outdated, and I didn´t even bother using it except for the airshow:
It can only get better in their new 350s :)
Soon after the drinks run, we started our descent into JNB, not very nice views over the vindow, as the weather was awful on our arrival, rainy and cold.
Inmigration was pretty fast and bags arrived shortly after:
Thanks for reading!
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Some pictures of this beautiful island. Great beaches:
Interesting capital city:
And time for some spotting too!!!
Port Louis - MRU
Johannesburg - JNB
Overall this was a nice flight, departing from a well organized modern little airport. The lounge I rated it was the standard lounge run by the airport operator, average food options and very quite at the time I visited. The hard product was outdated but well kept, but as seen in other reports their 330s look much better, and their already delivered 350s must be top notch. I can´t really comment on their standard catering, as I requested a special meal, which was unedible, but bearing in mind that it had been produced 7 months ago in BKK and kept frozen ever since, I guess that was as good as it could get :) Arrival into JNB was pretty standard, not much hassle in inmigration, bags arriving soon, and you find yourself in a modern airport with plenty of shops, bars and different transportation options. Thanks for reading!
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