Review of British Airways (Comair) flight Cape Town Johannesburg in Business

Flight BA6412
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:00
Take-off 20 Jan 18, 13:25
Arrival at 20 Jan 18, 15:25
MN 14 reviews
Flame3601
By 3924
Published on 21st January 2018
Hello and welcome to my first flight-report.com review , or should i say my inaugural review ? I needed to pop up to Johannesburg for only a hour and did not really want to spend the night in Johannesburg, so instead booked a same day return. This will be part 1 of a 2 part trip. Additionally please let me know how you found my review in the comment section below, this will sway if i do more in the future or not.

T-24hrs and time for check in, being BA Exec Gold i had already selected my preferred seat being 1A at the time of booking and then Comair/BA South Africa who operates the flight had then gone ahead and clearly proactively blocked a load of seats to ensure that no one had someone seating next to them in Club at around T-72hrs. Comair in business class have a 2-3 layout, the middle seat is used so always be weary on full flights. The load is not too busy for this flight, BA 6412 is usually one of the more fuller flights to Johannesburg, so i was a bit surprised to see a reasonable amount of seats open. 1C had been blocked for me, but it did show as selectable , however this is only for me and no one else as they would see a unavailable icon over the seat.
photo screen shot 2018-01-19 at 5.19.15 pm


The day of the departure, i always like to make sure i check the weather and gage the wind along with temparutre before choosing what i shall wear. Blue skies with not too much wind , but more windy then usual i would say. Perfect for me !
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Obligatory bag shot before leaving the house, photo bombed by my new puppy who had god knows what in its mouth , but who cares as he is too cute to get mad at ! Oh and yes i do rock the bag tags BA sends !
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On the way to the airport, passing by the usual scenery to the airport. A combination of shacks and more formal housing built on a budget in mass for the poor. A ongoing battle that seems to never have an end insight.


Arrival at Cape Town Airport. I got to the airport in under 20 mins since leaving home, one of the reasons i love living in Cape Town so easy to get to the Airport in a timely fashion.
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I was not checking in a bag, so i made my way to self service check in kiosk, i much prefer a paper ticket then a boarding pass stored on my iPhone via the BA App. I do keep a boarding pass on my phone just incase, but still old habits die hard and the paper way is still the way for me.
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Cape Town Airport looking good as usual, nice and quiet this time of the year as the school holidays are over and everyone at work. Samsung showing their presence with their ongoing advertisement campaign within the airport.


Past security with ease, no queues at all. Since jumping out the car and making it airside, 5 mins easily elapsed.
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SAA A320 on stand at gate A7 with a Mango B737-800 passing by.
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A familiar sight within Cape Town Airport ,EK 772 arriving from Dubai before turning around as EK773 back to Dubai. Emirates fly 3 777-300ER's into Cape Town daily.
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Time to go visit the fantastic Slow Lounge, a chilled, but impressive lounges with even more impressive offerings.
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Well if it isn't Michael Mcintyre , a very famous British Comedian. He had just done a show in Cape Town and was flying back up to Johannesburg on BA6414, so not my flight. He was with his "team" having a discussion over coffee and orange juice. I did tap into my paparazzi 6th sense to try get this snap of him without being seen and looking like a utter fan boy, mission success ! The staff and passengers in the lounge did not pay him any attention one bit, not sure if they were just acting cool or had no clue who he was. I think the latter as he blended in quite well and you would of not noticed him if he was not pointed out to you. I was only interested in a snack, i enjoyed the Turkish Delight cheesecakes even if they were a bit naughty on the calorie front.

The boarding pass for todays flight. Notice an error, it should of stated club not club world , a noted error thou on other frequent flyer sites.
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ZS-ZWR on her way down to Cape Town from Johannesburg through the madness of local airspace, second image showing how busy South African airspace is contrary to what certain people believe.
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SAA A340-600 now in stand A7 before heading back to Johannesburg, SAA utilise such aircraft to ensure efficient fleet utilization.
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My ride touching down on RWY19.
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LH being attended to, while the BA 747 sits and wait until the evening before flying back to LHR even thou she arrived this morning.
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Looking down towards the domestic side of the terminal, some Flysafair 737's mostly filling up the stands. The second BA 747 service to Cape Town sitting at the far end due to space limitations on the international side of things.
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More food options at the Slow Lounge, beautifully presented and all based on the healthy side. I was a bit saddened to see a more lunch inspired offering was not on offer, it was 12pm in the afternoon and in my mind breakfast time had come and gone long ago.

The Loo with a view, sadly recently they have introduced blinds that prevents you from seeing out but you can peek out. Do not worry before no one could see in anyway, but this was a new addition since my last visit.
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Watch the airside operations while you do your business, how cool is that !?
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Time to leave the lounge, a overview of the check in area.
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Time to board, gate A12 for us this afternoon. A very light load from the people waiting to board , priority boarding on the left and general boarding on the right. It seemed the priority line was well respected.
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Time to go, ZS-ZWR up close and personal.

I was welcomed back by the crew who clearly recognised me and vice a versa from previous travel , we wished each other a happy 2018 even thou we are in mid Jan. The cabin looking nice and snazzy as well.
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Anyone spot the error here , leave your reply in the comment section if you pick it up. Loving the indentation to allow extra leg room as well , great idea !
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The headlines this afternoon, fyi the Western Cape is in a huge drought currently.
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Boarding complete and away we go, South African 7's team on the flight today and their very good looking girlfriends. One can only dream. PDB was served and i had the sparking wine instead of the water and cranberry juice also on offer , i accidentally drank it so fast before even snapping a photo - silly me! A hot towel was also given out but taken away promptly before taking a photo as the crew were on the ball.

Away we go, a beautiful scenery this evening.

Amazing cloud formation, truly spectacular.

Did i mention i am loving this extra legroom added to the bulkhead , or should i say feet room ?
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Starting the service off with a coke and some nuts, drinks service was done via a trolley and this is against the norm on Comair. Strange as business class was not even that busy ?
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Food time, tray placed down with the starter being a walnut and cranberry salad with a coconut lemon drizzle cake for dessert along with cheese & crackers. Oh and a chocolate. The cheese looked like it was liquid cheese at first and i did think oh god please do not let it be so, luckily it was not it was from Fairview which is a very well known and respected establishment. Sadly the packaging of the cheese made it look cheaper then it truly was.
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Warm bread handed out shortly afterwards, lovely bread and even better smothered in butter.
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The main being Feta stuffed Chicken with ravioli which was delicious , i prefer a beef,lamb or pork option usual when flying , but the chicken was fantastic. The other options were a BA Mainline style panini along with what seemed to be vegetarian lasagne. It seemed from what i could hear most the cabin went for the chicken.
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Clearly went down well.
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Quick trip to the lavatory , ISM opening door for me , which was nice. I have extensive travel history with Comair and the crew themselves and i have to say they were okay , not great , but okay. They had clearly been up early , but just seemed to lack that X factor that one comes to expect on Comair. I think this is growing issue and not on the odd occasion, something that i have really noticed more and more. I am not sure if it is due to crew rotation changes but i think it is coming down to fatigue.
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Tea ordered before the inflight service ends, once again i always make sure i give full attention to the crew serving me and thank them for whatever they do for me. ISM simply placed tea down and walked back off without even looking at me , which i found a bit cold seeing i was preempting to thank her for the cup of tea. That does not boil down to fatigue that comes down to being sloppy when it comes to customer interactions. I have flown with the ISM about 6 times before and know this is not her usual service, but still , this is the basics. Anyway lovely choc chip cookie and dingy sugar stick to go with my cuppa.

On this 737 the first row is 2-2 on each side then from row 2 onwards it switches to a 2-3 layout.
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Getting closer to Johannesburg, so green and lush , a far cry from dry Cape Town.

Moment before touch down , the approach was very choppy and bumpy. Loved it.

Welcome to Johannesburg.

The only other airline in South Africa that also offers a business class offering on domestic routes.
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Jet bridge, awesome as i really did not want to catch the bus this time.
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Final shot of the cabin before disembarking and thanking the crew for their service. The seat was comfortable and spacious, just what i needed.
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Thank you ZS-ZWR for flying me here safely, she is next bound to Port Elizabeth.
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See more

Verdict

British Airways (Comair)

7.4/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering8.0

Slow Lounge

7.1/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services6.0

Cape Town - CPT

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Johannesburg - JNB

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

In conclusion a very smooth trip, the report speaks for itself. Nothing to write home about, but a far better offering then what most people would get on the same time frame type of flight on another airline in Europe or America in Business.

Information on the route Cape Town (CPT) Johannesburg (JNB)

5 Comments

  • Comment 428613 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4901 Comments

    Hi there, thanks for sharing this interesting first report!

    I've always been curious about Comair's Business class product, but there aren't many reports out there. It's funny how the 2-3 configuration in regional Business class seems to be A South African thing. The only other carrier I know of that had this configuration was SAA prior to the installation of 2-2 seating.

    "1C had been blocked for me, but it did show as selectable , however this is only for me and no one else as they would see a unavailable icon over the seat. "
    - Interesting, did someone at BA/Comair confirm that the seats had been blocked, or is this normal operating procedure for them in SA?

    "Past security with ease, no queues at all. Since jumping out the car and making it airside, 5 mins easily elapsed. "
    - Are there fast track lanes for Business class/FF Elites at CPT? I remember there not being any at JNB last time I flew through, and it was a nightmare going through security there.

    Good catch on Michael McIntyre. Nice discrete Paparazzi work, haha. The lounge looks really nice and the food presentation is impressive.

    It looks like this was one of the older 738s, not one of the new ones with Boeing Sky interior, but the cabin looks nice and fresh. I assume it's been retrofitted recently. Are the new 738s in the same configuration in Club or do they have a 2-2 setup? I'm not 100% sure, but I think I've heard those were in 2-2, which would be odd and inconsistent with the rest of the fleet.

    Row 1 looks to have a ton of legroom, much better than BA Club Europe. Along with the wider seats and good catering, it seems the Club product on Comair is a notch above Club Europe.

    Thanks again for sharing your first report here and welcome to the site!

    • Comment 428687 by
      Flame3601 AUTHOR 5 Comments

      Hi Kevin,

      Yes strangely the Cape Town/Johannesburg route is weirdly not really often covered here, considering it is one of the top 10 busiest routes in the world ! Yes the 2-3 is kinda of a SA thing, SAA still rock the 2-3 layout on the A319 and the 737-800, but most the time on SAA/Comair the load does not permit the use of the middle seat being used to everyone nearly always had a seat open next to them beisdes when it is peak travel periods such as school holidays etc...

      To answer some of your questions:

      "Interesting, did someone at BA/Comair confirm that the seats had been blocked, or is this normal operating procedure for them in SA?"
      - Comair Special Services at the T-48hr mark do go ahead and block seats for elites and to also attempt to get everyone into a seat that has a seat open next to them by blocking all the middle seats in the 3 row side ... if load permits of course. I have a set of email address that go straight to Comair Special Services, so when i book i then email and ask them to block the seat for me and they are always happy to help.

      "Are there fast track lanes for Business class/FF Elites at CPT? I remember there not being any at JNB last time I flew through, and it was a nightmare going through security there."
      No there is not fast track for Domestic nor International departures/arrivals, JNB can get crazy hectic at times with the amount of traffic they handle and limit resources on the staffing front, however Cape Town moves through pretty quickly. Max 20mins wait for International and 15mins for Domestic in my past experiences.

      "It looks like this was one of the older 738s, not one of the new ones with Boeing Sky interior, but the cabin looks nice and fresh. I assume it's been retrofitted recently. Are the new 738s in the same configuration in Club or do they have a 2-2 setup? I'm not 100% sure, but I think I've heard those were in 2-2, which would be odd and inconsistent with the rest of the fleet."
      -Yeah so ZS-ZWR is about 18 years old last time i checked, but has recently had retrofit. All -400's in the fleet have 2-3 layout and there is about 2 -800's i believe roaming around in a fixed 2-2 config with Boeing Sky interior, however the seat map shows 2-2 but in reality it is 3-3 on both sides with middle seat blocked with tray table in the middle a bit like CE on BA mainline , but with more legroom.
      "Row 1 looks to have a ton of legroom, much better than BA Club Europe. Along with the wider seats and good catering, it seems the Club product on Comair is a notch above Club Europe."
      -Oh yeah far superior, from start to finish. Another perk is bags come out super fast when "club tags" are attached to bags, never had to wait more then 10mins ever for bags ....

      • Comment 428773 by
        KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4901 Comments

        Thanks for all the good information! Hoping to make it back to South Africa this year and have been looking at taking Comair for domestic flights being a oneworld loyalist. I've seen some decent prices in J and was wondering if it was worth it, but from your information it seems like it is.

        "Comair Special Services at the T-48hr mark do go ahead and block seats for elites"
        - That's amazing service...that would never happen on the big Euro or North American carriers.

        Thanks again for the info and I look forward to future reports!

  • Comment 428684 by
    eminere™ 271 Comments

    Brilliant first report. There is a B734 safety card in the right seat pocket when your aircraft is in fact a B738.

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