1Time 1T124 CPT-JNB ZS-OPZ MD-87

Once again, this was my first experience of this LCC. We arrived at Cape Town International in plenty of time as we had been warned of potential delays in the airport. As it turned out, it was a good idea as, even though it was a Sunday morning, it was still pretty busy. 1Time have not been around too long on the South African market (compared to the likes of Comair in the form of British Airways and Kulula.com) and started off with some very old DC-9-15s and -30s. They have no got rid of all but a couple of the DC-9s and are operating with MD80s (although I dont think these will last too long as the SA market is trying to get rid of all of the MDs they are terribly inefficient particularly operating at the high altitude of FAJS Kulula.com got rid of all their MDs for the same reason). 1Time is definitely not as advanced as most airlines in the check in procedures. There is a seating chart at the one check in desk for the flight (one per flight) and they manually record all the passengers seating information and baggage information number of pieces and total weight). Then, the info is entered into the boarding system and the boarding passes are issued. The baggage tags are manually written out and the numbers recorded on the seating chart. Antiquated was what I thought as we checked in. What was also interesting here is that although we had three bags in total with one overweight, but they took the total weight and we didnt have to pay any excess baggage costs (see later Delta international flight for a real rant on this subject). After the check in process was complete, we headed up to what used to be the viewing area at FACT which gave great access for photography bummer it is now a restaurant and bar area with everything closed off. I didnt let this stop me and got some shots from there. There were some that I didnt both with as I knew Id be doing some spotting at Johannesburg International a couple of days later BIG regret the weather in Johannesburg was abysmal for the next few days didnt shoot at Johannesburg International at all! Oh well will have to make another trip to SA for these. After eating breakfast in the restaurant, we headed through a not too long security line in the boarding area. Here is where Cape Town is very different to a lot of other airports. The area between security and the boarding gates is not very wide at all. However, Cape Town is very long and there are plenty of shops everywhere staff always alert for the ever present tourist! Our MD-87, ZS-OPZ was at the gate already and precisely before departure time, the boarding process was started. Here again is where South Africa is different, even at the larger airports like Cape Town and Johannesburg. No zones, row n to row n Flight 124 to Johannesburg is boarding everyone board through gate 1 everyone boards at the same time! We had rows 6 and 7 A/B boarding through the front door yes they board through the tail stairs as well for the rows at the back! Sitting down, this was not the same leg room as the Kulula B734 it was a little tight again for a tall person. What was nice however is that as soon as my son was through the boarding door, they presented him with their complimentary childrens package of boxed juice, potato chips, coloring page and crayons a great distraction for him!

Push back was perfectly on time and here was another thing I had never seen before. The tug, which is a self propelled unit no bars attached to the front gear - attaches to the main gear and pushes the aircraft back like that. Taxi was short to the active, line up and power down runway 19. Lift off and climb out was really smooth. Having down this flight many many times in the past, I was surprised by the slightly different routing climb out, turn parallel to the coast and only later turn on track to Johannesburg. It did give the tourists a wonderful view of the coast line on a perfect Cape Town day. Then a turn back over land and the track at FL350 to Johannesburg. Like Kulula.com, everything is for purchase on 1Time (except for the kids pack) and the prices are reasonable. As we got closer to Johannesburg, the clouds started to get thicker and thicker which was the forewarning of the bad weather that would remain for the next 3 days. The approach was a little bumpy and break out of the clouds was about 1,000 above the ground and it wasnt long before a very smooth touch down on runway 3R at OR Tambo Johannesburg International. The 10 minute taxi in from the outer runway into the gate and arrival at the jetway (thank goodness with all the rain) ended a pleasant flight on this LCC.

Much like Kulula, for people travelling around South Africa, 1Time gives very reasonable prices and a good flight. The LCCs in South Africa are very much cheaper than mainline SAA and SAAs LCC, Mango and in my experience are as good, if not better. Try them if you get out there!


Still to come - the return trip on Delta!