Review: Air Namibia A319, Cape Town – Windhoek
Air Namibia was the national airline of Namibia and operated a small but interesting route network across the southern saharan African belt. At the time of our travels, they operated a fleet of 4 Airbus 319’s, 2 Airbus 330’s and 4 Embraer 135 jets. Instead of staying with the mainline carriers on South African Airways or British Airways Comair, we used them to fly from Cape Town directly northward up to Namibia for our onward adventure.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates via Emirates First Class, South African Airways Business Class and Qatar Airlines Business Class
- American Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Los Angeles
- American Airlines AAdmirals Club: Los Angeles
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Los Angeles
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Los Angeles – Doha
- The Westin Hotel and Spa, Doha, Qatar
- Souq Wahif, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Doha – Johannesburg
- The Slow Lounge, O.R. Tambo Domestic, Johannesburg, South Africa
- British Airways Club Class: Johannesburg – Cape Town
- The Westin Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
- Winelands of Paarl, South Africa
- Shark Diving at Gaansbai, South Africa
- The Hermanus Coastal Walk, Hermanus, South Africa
- Returning to Stellenbosch & Franschoek, South Africa
- A Repeat Visit to the Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
- Air Namibia: Cape Town – Windhoek
- Overland Travel: Driving to the Desert; Windhoek – Sesriem
- The Sossus Dune Lodge, Sesriem, Namibia
- The Majestic Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Sesriem – Walvis Bay, Namibia
- The Pelican Point Lodge, Walvis Bay, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Walvis Bay – Spittskope – Windhoek, Namibia
- The Hilton Windhoek, Namibia
- Air Namibia Windhoek – Maun – Victoria Falls
- The Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Stopping Hippopotamus on a Zambezi River Cruise, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Feeling the Smoke that Thunders, a day at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- British Airways Club Business Class: Victoria Falls – Johannesburg
- The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class: Johannesburg – Mauritius
- The St Regis Mauritius, Le Morne, Mauritius
- Emirates First Class: Mauritius – Dubai
- The Grosvenor House, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- The Heat of the Desert at Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class Lounge Terminal “B” Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class: Dubai – Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines Board Room Lounge, Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Seattle
- Delta Sky Club Lounge Seattle South Terminal
- Delta Airlines First Class: Seattle – Vancouver
Review: Air Namibia A319, Cape Town International – Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport
“Air Namibia offered independent ‘no nonsense’ service between Cape Town and Windhoek providing scenic gateway views into our time in Namibia”
Getting to Namibia:
As I mentioned at the start of the story, we had the option of taking South African Airways or British Airways Comair from Cape Town to Namibia via Johannesburg. This would have taken us about 6 hours at the quickest. The alternate was to take the non stop flight on Air Namibia (in a third of the time) from Cape Town taking less than 2 hours. I happened to find a fairly cheap fare including our trip to Victoria Falls so we booked a one way Cape Town to Victoria Falls ticket, with a stopover in Windhoek, for about $315 USD per passenger, including all bag fees and seat assignments. Unfortunately, Air Namibia is not part of any frequent flier reward alliances, so we got no frequent flier points for this flight.
We had another dreadful early morning 3:15 AM wake up for this flight. We checked out of the Westin Cape Town and we were on our way down to the Cape Town International Airport by 4 AM on a self drive basis. We returned the car to Hertz and after attending to the counter inside, I was able to get my $7,000 deposit refund processed immediately (on view) and a final invoice printed off and emailed.
Checking Into Air Namibia:
We located the Air Namibia counters. There were only 3 of them open today with 1 being a business line but without any lines at 4:30 AM, we were checked in quickly. MrsWT73 opted for baggage wrap at 70 R after the Qatar theft fiasco. Air Namibia wasn’t too worried about us being a few pounds over the 50 lbs bag economy baggage allowance weight. Truth be told, the bags were stuffed full of wine that we had purchased on our visits to the various wineries.
We were one of the few headed over to the international departure lounge gates at this hour. Most of the other flights departing this hour were on the domestic side. We were stamped out of South Africa. There was only a coffee bar open at this hour in terms of eating and many of the shops were just opening for the day. There was a sole souvenir shop that gave us a last browse of Cape Town nik naks. While there was a South African Airways International Departures Lounge, we didn’t have access to it.
CPT-WDH (Cape Town International – Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport)
April 21, 2016
Booked: Airbus 320
Flown: Airbus 319
Departure: 6:35 AM
Arrival: 7:45 AM
On Board Air Namibia:
When it came time to board, it was a scramble all at once with no priority boarding was announced. I took this photo of the business class seats on the walk by. We didn’t bother to pay for the up charge for business class today at a $400 premium per person for a 1.5 hour flight. No lounge was available by the looks of it and with no priority board or line up at check in, this was likely money well saved.
We settled into a typical Airbus 319 economy configuration of 3-3 seating.
There was plenty of bin space for the rollies as many people traveling were not carrying rolling suitcases. While we were waiting to depart, I took a look at the odd yellow coloured boarding card. The yellow was similar to Lufthansa colours and is about the only other yellow boarding card out there.
We had a quick departure out of Cape Town and a very friendly announcement from both the in flight stewards and the captain on the flight deck. The service orientation of Air Namibia seemed much greater than the usual legacy carriers and the new upstarts of the Middle East “3”.
The Meal: A Full Hot Breakfast
After we got to altitude, we had a full hot meal offered in economy class. The meal consisted of a breakfast quiche, sausage and baked mushrooms and tomatoes. It was accompanied with a cello wrapped roll and a strawberry yogurt. This was followed by a tea / coffee service.
There are no individual entertainment screens on this aircraft. There were general entertainment promoting Namibian tourism and Air Namibia were displayed on the communal screens similar to the usual Airbus 320 series models.
Arriving to Windhoek Namibia:
I was looking out the window on the descent and the scenery just looked awesome. I was really looking forward to getting out and exploring on our self drive holiday around Namibia and the views were really interesting.
We arrived to a non gate position, and walked down the open jet bridges. All the aircraft here park on the apron. There was also a Condor Airlines and an Air Namibia A330 sitting on the apron. I enjoyed taking the photographs but I again got yelled at by security agencies at the airport for taking pictures of the planes.
The last photo is of the Airbus 330 that serves their sole long haul route to Frankfurt, Germany. It was one of two Airbus 330’s in their long haul aircraft in their fleet.
My Thoughts on Air Namibia:
All in all the Air Namibia flight was a great first impression to Namibia. It was clean and professional and all we could have asked for on our short hop up to Namibia. I was surprised that we actually got a full breakfast on a short international flight. The service was also pleasant and professional.
Unfortunately, Air Namibia suffered as a result of years of government debt and insolvency. It ceased operations in February 2021. It’s service regionally is now filled by South African Airways Airlink and British Airways Comair.