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Velvet Sky Johannesburg - CPT review

Having recently reviewed a Velvet Sky Cape Town to Johannesburg flight, we were looking forward to see what the consistency of experience was like with Velvet Sky Airline.

Velvet Sky? You mean Airlink? Perhaps Kulula?

Our enthusiastic porter got confused when we asked him to take us to Velvet Sky's check-in, replying "Do you mean Airlink?" When we said we did mean Velvet Sky, he suggested Kulula! (we had never checked in with Velvet at O.R. Tambo, so couldn't direct him). Luckily 1time airline's on-the-ball ground crew were hanging around, and they helped. Velvet Sky's check-in in Johannesburg is in fact right next to Mango Airlines.

Velvet Sky's plane parked at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo

A Mango queue snakes past Velvet Sky

With our Velvet Sky check-in Cape Town we had to wait a while due to a "check-in delay", and my heart stopped when I saw an even longer queue next to Velvet Sky's check-in at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, but then soared when I realised it was a Mango Airlines queue, not a Velvet Sky queue. In fact there was no queue at all for Velvet Sky (I found out later that this was partly because the plane was fairly empty).

My heart stopped once again when it turned out that my name wasn't on the system for the flight. This was impossible since I had booked a Cape Town to Johannesburg return flight, and had been allowed on the outbound leg! Fortuanately my name was found on the flight schedule, but it's peculiar that one's name can be on one system but not another, and even that there are 2 seperate systems.

After checking in our hold luggage, we were then asked to allow our hand luggage to be weighed and tagged. In all my years of flying, I have never before been asked to have my hand luggage weighed on a domestic flight. After weighing the luggage, it turned out the tagging machine wouldn't produce tags, and this turned out to be not so important after all and we were allowed on our way.

Boarding delay

Five minutes before our plane was due to leave, an announcement was made that our flight was delayed, "as a result of the late arrival of the plane from Durban". No estimate was given of by how much the flight would be delayed, but it was mentioned that an update would be given in 15 minutes. We investigated further to check whether the plane had in fact left Durban, and a Velvet Sky representative said that it was expected to be about 20 minutes late. At 12h40 they announced that boarding was expected to begin at 12h50.

Velvet Sky plane

Fairly empty plane

The aircraft was fairly empty, and after take-off I took a seat at the emergency exit, allowing me to stretch my feet. What's interesting is how the plane is stacked at take-off to balance it - even though it was fairly empty, from row 21 to the back the plane was full, and the front rows were also fairly full, with the middle of the plane sparsely populated.

Bits and pieces

I enjoy being able to identify the buildings and places as we fly over them. As we came in to land, here's the suburb of Plattekloof in Cape Town:

Plattekloof, Cape Town

Here you can see the grounds of Tygerberg High School near the bottom left, and Avondale Railway Station near the bottom right:

Tygerberg High School

Here's the view of Parow, with the Sanlam Centre tucked under the wing, and Voortrekker Road cutting through the middle of the photo.

Parow, Cape Town, from a plane

Here's Tygerberg Hospital:

Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town

Ravensmead High School, with Parow Industria in the background:

Ravensmead High School

Here's another striking Europcar ad I saw as I was leaving Cape Town Airport.

Europcar ad at Cape Town Airport

I'm an avid follower of the Super 15, so it was quite exciting to see the ACT Brumbies at Johannesburg Airport (domestic departures). They play the Sharks next week, so no doubt they were on a flight to Durban.

Velvet Sky northbound takeoff from O.R. Tambo

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