Review of Binter Canarias flight Gran Canaria Island Dakar in Economy

Airline Binter Canarias
Flight NT6604
Class Economy
Seat 18D
Aircraft Embraer E-195-E2
Flight time 02:30
Take-off 02 Jan 23, 23:35
Arrival at 03 Jan 23, 02:05
NT   #58 out of 80 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 21 reviews
bldavid
By GOLD 440
Published on 14th January 2023

I went on a 30-day trip in December 2022 and January 2023 to leave the Icelandic winter behind me for some time. The trip had four main parts: visiting Sudan and Kenya; visiting friends, colleagues and relatives in Hungary and the Czech Republic; a family holiday in Tenerife and a business trip to Senegal, The Gambia and Sierra Leone.

I had a total of 18 flights, booked mostly as one-ways and one double open-jaw. Here’s my final list of flights after many cancellations, changes of departure time and aircraft type:

Keflavík to Paris CDG, Icelandair, economy class, B757 (no flight report)
Paris to Istanbul, Turkish, business class, A321
Istanbul to Khartoum, Turkish, business class, B737
Khartoum to Addis, Ethiopian, economy class upgraded to business class, B737
Addis to Nairobi NBO, Ethiopian, economy class upgraded to business class, B777
Nairobi WIL to Mombasa to Lamu, Skyward Express, economy class, Q300
Lamu to Malindi to Nairobi WIL, Safarilink, economy class, Q200
Nairobi NBO to Istanbul, Turkish, business class, A330
Istanbul to Budapest, Turkish, business class, B737
Vienna to Tenerife South, Wizzair, economy class, A321
Tenerife North to Gran Canaria, Binter Canarias, economy class, ATR42
Grand Canaria to Dakar, Binter Canarias, economy class, E195
Dakar to Banjul, Air Sénégal, economy class, A320
Banjul to Freetown, Air Sénégal, economy class, A320
Freetown to Banjul, Air Sénégal, economy class, A320
Banjul to Casablanca, Royal Air Maroc, business class, B737
Casablanca to Paris ORY, Royal Air Maroc, business class, B787
Paris CDG to Keflavík, Play, economy class, A321 (no flight report).

I was going from Tenerife to Dakar, Senegal. Did you know that Tenerife is closer to Dakar than to Madrid? The shortest way for me was to fly with Binter first to Grand Canaria (only 112 kms away) and then south to Dakar (another 1479 kms). The flight was expensive for the distance. All other options (flying Iberia via Madrid, TAP via Lisbon or Royal Air Maroc via Casablanca) would have meant a long detour.

I arrived from Tenerife North to Grand Canaria Airport with a delay of exactly an hour. I took the elevator up to departure floor. I had a long walk of about 15 minutes to gates D which are for the non-Schengen flights. Saying that the airport was empty is an understatement – almost everything was closed. 


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My flight to Dakar was the last flight of the day.


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I passed passport control quickly to get to the boarding area. Boarding had already started by the time I got there.


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Boarding was slow. We were bussed to our plane, an E195, registration number EC-NHA, built in 2019.


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The flight was full, most passengers had a lot of hand luggage, the overhead compartments were small on the E195 and boarding was through both doors. It took a long time for everyone to find their seats, place their luggage and sit down. It was chaotic.

The plane has an all economy 2+2 configuration in 33 rows with a total of 132 seats. 


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My seat 18D had  excellent legroom.


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Most passengers seemed to be West Africans living in the Canary Islands going home for holidays. There was a positive vibe onboard.

Brakes were released at 23.59 for a scheduled departure time of 23.35. We took off at 00.06.

Service started 30 minutes after take-off. Wine, beer, juice, soft drinks, water were available, and a sandwich was offered. While it does not seem to be bad for a relatively short economy flight, this is clearly a downgrade compared to the service I had on a very similar flight to Nouakchott a couple of years ago – see my flight report here.  


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A chocolate bar was offered a short time later.


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Night lights onboard.


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I slept for the rest of the time as did most other people – it was well past midnight.

We landed at DSS at 02.11 and were at the gate at 02.13 for a scheduled arrival time of 02.05.

Arrival to the new Dakar Airport (DSS) was a positive experience; passport control was quick.

I first visited Senegal in 1999 and this was my second trip. Senegal is one of the fastest developing countries in West Africa. The new airport, motorway and railway are all up to the highest standards. Although the majority of the Senegalese people remain poor there’s clearly an emerging lower middle-class that has a much better standard of living than before. My most positive experience was to see so many people that were smiling and in a good mood.

The renovated Dakar Railway Station. 


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The highlight of a trip to Dakar is a visit to Ile de Gorée. 


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The old fort.


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The House of Slaves is now a museum. It has been previously visited by Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and the Jackson 5, among others. 


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Overview of Ile de Gorée.


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The island is car-free.


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The police station – crime rate is very low here.


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Colourful houses in some very quiet streets.  


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Gorée is a very relaxing place.


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Verdict

Binter Canarias

7.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering7.0

Gran Canaria Island - LPA

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Dakar - DSS

7.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access5.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Grand Canaria Airport was empty but otherwise looked quite nice. Binter’s E195 was full but was nevertheless quite OK as I had an emergency exit row seat with extra legroom. There was a meal service included in the price – the choice of drinks was good but the sandwich was so-so. The cabin crew was professional.

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