22 June 2007. Give credit where it's due - every odd week I am on a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town and so the airport facilities get used fairly extensively. I am very impressed with the automated check-ins that ACSA has put in place at Cape Town International Airport, and Johannesburg Airport (OR Tambo). I used it on my flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and again today used it on the flight back. What you do, is if you've got only hand luggage you simply type your confirmation number into the machine (or Voyager number - but this doesn't work at Cape Town Airport), choose your seat and hey presto, the machine spits out a boarding pass...no more long queues :) At OR Tambo Airport there were even 2 young ladies (courtesy of ACSA) to help you using the machine (but ACSA stationed nobody at Cape Town to help - I guess they assume that Capetonians are smart enough to use the machines on their own!!). I've used the machine twice and I'm sold.
I mentioned recently about how impressed I was with the security at Cape Town International Airport - unfortuanately the same cannot be said for security at OR Tambo International. I placed two laptops on top of each other in the same tray, and unlike Cape Town International they allowed it through. OR Tambo International Airport needs to lift its game before we can say that South Africa's Airport Security is bulletproof.
There was a loooong trip in a bus to the SAA plane (part of their cost cutting initiative? - drive halfway and fly the other half!). I had my usual aisle seat and a backpacker plonked herself next to me. SAA remembered my vegeterian meal; in fact they must have been trying to make up for forgetting my vegeterian on the flight from Cape Town, as they placed a double thick layer of margarine on the sandwich.
As has become tradition, my bottle of sparkling water bubbled all over the show when I opened it up - this makes it 3 times out of the last 4 sparkling waters I'ved ordered on board SAA flights, a 75% track-record. Fortuanately this time I came prepared, opening the bottle below my laptop (I guess I'll have to shower myself tonight). It probably comes with the territory that it's difficult to not get the bottles shaken up - a novel idea would be for SAA or any other airline to put a warning sign on the bottles!
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