I travelled to and from Maun via Air Botswana over the festive season, and I’m pleased to say both journeys were decent. However, there were 25 – minute delays both ends; something that Air Botswana still needs to sort out. But Air Botswana more than made up for the delays, as we landed bang on time each time. In fact, we landed a bit earlier than the stipulated ETA on both journeys.
Both journeys were smooth and without incident. The staff in Gaborone and Maun were very courteous and helpful at all times. I will say, however; whenever announcements were made over the tannoy, the audio was barely audible. I found the same thing applied aboard the flights. I feel that part of the problem is because staff do not clearly articulate and enunciate words properly. If I can barely understand what’s being said as a Motswana there’s no hope for foreign passengers.
The Snack Offer
The main thing I was disappointed in was the snack offer on the Gaborone – Maun leg! Not that I want a snack on such a short flight, anyway. I’ve always said the journey is so short (approx. 1.5 hours) it really doesn’t require any snack offer. But if it’s being offered, I may be tempted to dig in. Anyway, on the journey to Maun, Air Botswana offered the weirdest snack yet.
We received a stale bread roll, sliced peppers in what looked like brine and grey looking strips of some meat. I really couldn’t tell what it was. The meat looked dry and like it had been boiled. There was no accompanying condiment or spread.
I sneaked a look around and observed that most people had cast the lot aside and didn’t touch it. My husband did work his way through half of the tiny bread roll. Based on this observation, I strongly feel Air Botswana should consider either scrapping the snack option altogether, which I’m told is not an option. OR stick with the peanuts/raisins and biltong offer that we’ve all become accustomed to. At least these will get eaten at some stage. I feel it’s such a waste because Air Botswana pays someone for it, but most of it ends in the bin.
We flew back via the largest Air Botswana plane I’ve ever been on. I was very happy to observe that it was very clean and looked new. But as we were getting settled for takeoff, it broke my heart to see the plane was virtually empty. I know that Air Botswana was running festive season specials, with some tickets going for as low as P1 500, which I suppose was still too pricey for some. But even still, I was shocked at just how empty it was.
Based on this, I feel they could have offered even better fares to avoid flying empty.
There was a time when the airline offered ‘standby fares’, where passengers were able to snap up last minute bookings at a snip of the regular price. This meant the flights were never empty, and I reckon Air Botswana was able to claw back some of the potential losses. Of course, there was always the risk some people would always wait until the eleventh hour before purchasing their tickets. So I can only surmise that’s why Air Botswana scrapped it.
Based on the small handful of passengers onboard the flight, I also couldn’t help but wonder if Air Botswana couldn’t have used a smaller plane to save on expenses. Obviously, I’m no expert and don’t know the full story regarding some of the decisions Air Botswana makes. But from my layman’s standpoint, the plane being so empty seemed to be wasteful.
Overall, travelling Air Botswana was painless. Additionally, I feel Air Botswana could very well be improving its service offer. We’ll just have to wait and see and keep our fingers crossed that that is indeed the case; that 2017 is the year that we finally see this national treasure soar.
Have you travelled Air Botswana recently? How did your journey go? Please feel free to share any feedback, whether negative or positive.
Picture credit: By Bob Adams from George, South Africa (Air Botswana ATR-42-320 A2-ABC) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons