Review: TAAG First Class 777 Luanda To Sao Paulo

Filed Under: Other Airlines

TAAG Angola 745
Luanda (LAD) – Sao Paulo (GRU)
Sunday, March 11
Depart: 11:15PM
Arrive: 3:30AM (+1 day)
Duration: 8hr15min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 3J (First Class)

By the time we boarded the plane it was 1AM, so we were well over two hours behind schedule. Since we were departing from a remote stand, we boarded via air stairs through door L2. There I was pointed left into the first class cabin. While the previous plane had TAAG’s new first class, this plane had TAAG’s old first class cabin, consisting of a total of 12 seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration.

TAAG 777 first class cabin

TAAG first class cabin 777

TAAG first class cabin 777

TAAG’s old first class is in an open layout, and the seats as such remind me of what you’d find in Oman Air’s old business class. While not the most modern first class out there, I really do love this layout, especially when the cabin isn’t full, since it’s so spacious.

TAAG first class seats 777

TAAG first class cabin 777

I selected seat 3J, the window seat on the right side in the last row.

TAAG 777 first class seat

TAAG first class seat 777

While the seat was old, it was well padded and comfortable, much more so than on the previous flight.

TAAG first class seat 777

There was an ottoman, which could also act as a buddy seat in case you want to dine face-to-face with someone. Underneath the ottoman was an exposed storage compartment, where I left my laptop during the flight. However, there was also a huge amount of storage on the console to the side of the seat. The 777 has a wide cabin and these seats are angled, so there’s a lot of room where you can place things, including one big storage bin (sorry I couldn’t get a picture of that, for reasons I’ll get into below).

TAAG first class legroom 777

To the side of the seat were the seat controls, as well as a 110v and USB outlet.

TAAG first class seat controls

A minute after settling in, one of the flight attendants stopped by my seat to offer me an amenity kit and a glass of water. There was no choice of drinks, and she didn’t say a word to me. Talk about a warm welcome!

TAAG first class amenity kit & drink

I proceeded to take some pictures of the cabin given that it was empty. Let me once again remind you guys that I had taken pictures throughout the entire experience up until now and I repeatedly got asked why I was taking pictures, but was never told by a TAAG employee that I couldn’t. Rather they just seemed to be curious, which is fair enough.

Unfortunately this flight was different, and in particular, the attitude of the cabin manager was horrible. I understand English wasn’t his first language so I don’t want to judge his exact words too much, but one thing I can’t stress enough is how insanely aggressive he was when speaking to me.

I was taking pictures during boarding, and I noticed the cabin manager walking past me and just flailing his arms in the air, sarcastically signaling that something is wrong with me. He also rolled his eyes. I realized I was clearly causing some sort of an alarm here, so I stopped taking pictures for a bit.

Two minutes later he returned and the following transpired (let me once again emphasize that his tone was confrontational and aggressive):

“What do you think you are doing? You can’t take photos.”
“Oh I’m sorry, it’s my first time flying with TAAG and the first class cabin is so beautiful. I really like trying different airplanes.”
“You can’t do this, it is wrong, it is against the security policy.”
“I don’t have pictures with any people in them, but I won’t take any more pictures of the cabin. I will just take pictures of the food and drinks.”
“You can’t do that, it violates the security policy.”
“Taking pictures of food does?”

He walked off. Again, it’s not what he said, but how he said it. There’s a polite way to address people and a not polite way.

A minute later another flight attendant came by my seat.

“What is wrong with you? Why? Why do you take pictures of everything? Why? Why?”

I figured I’d explain it to her.

“I just want you to understand nothing is wrong, I am just really enjoying the experience and wanted to take pictures for memories.”
“Oh okay, so nothing is wrong?”
“No, everything is great” (maybe a bit of a stretch, but…).

Then a minute later the cabin manager returned, with another male flight attendant behind him, and the captain watching from the galley.

“Delete all your pictures right now. I want to see your phone. Do it now.”

I did that, though of course since I have an iPhone, those photos just went into my “recently deleted” folder, which can easily be recovered.

I had been writing in my “notes” app, as I always do on flights to take notes, and I guess he saw me typing.

“What are you writing? I want to see it.”

I flashed the “notes” app of my phone at him, and he huffed off.

I don’t want to be a drama queen, but I’ve never felt so intimidated on a flight, and for a second I thought they were going to kick me off the plane, or something. Like I said, it’s one thing if he had politely said “I’m sorry sir, you can’t take pictures of our plane, it’s against our policy” (even if it’s not). But the way he addressed me was next level, and it’s clear that he was fuming over what I was doing. Fuming. It’s obvious that was the case because it was a few minutes between when he first approached me and when he returned to tell me to delete everything.

It sure seems to me like he was scared he was being watched or judged, or something, which is fair enough. But what he didn’t seem to realize is that he can’t have me delete my memory, and now I can still write about it.

As you can imagine, my picture taking for a while was limited.

Finally at 1:20AM the main cabin door was closed, at which point the safety video was screened. At this point the captain announced our flight time of 7hr40min to Sao Paulo, and anticipated that we’d be landing after 5AM, about two hours behind schedule.

The cabin was then sprayed. Usually they just pass through the cabin once, though they used an entire can in the first class cabin, so we got four passes. By the end of it the cabin smelled like a Bath & Body Works.

In addition to the three of us, there were three other first class passengers, seated in 1A, 2A, and 3A. I believe these were TAAG employees based on their luggage and interaction with the crew.

At 1:35AM we began our taxi, and there was no pushback required, since we were at a remote stand facing the taxiway. We were airborne by 1:40AM, just five minutes after starting our taxi.

The seatbelt sign was turned off five minutes after takeoff. About 10 minutes after takeoff I headed to the forward lavatory, and found the cabin manager in his jumpseat sound asleep. For someone so concerned about security…

20 minutes after takeoff I was offered a warm towel and was brought my tablecloth.

I figured I would risk it and keep taking pictures, though I did so very subtly, and frankly was startled, so I apologize for the quality of the pictures.

I wasn’t asked whether I wanted dinner or not, but rather the flight attendant just automatically took out my tray and didn’t say anything to me.

“Champagne please.”
“For food you want chicken or fish?”

I’m not sure why there were only two options, because there should have been three, based on the order sheet that was openly hanging in the galley. I’m guessing the crew chose from the selection first, for “security reasons,” I’m sure.

The service began with a salad and an appetizer consisting of calamari and some veggies. I wasn’t terribly hungry, so just had a few bites of it. I had a glass of still water and champagne to go along with it.

TAAG first class dinner — appetizer

The main course consisted of some fish and potatoes. I’m not sure exactly what kind of fish it was, but it was quite good.

TAAG first class dinner — main course

Then for dessert I had a chocolate pear tart, which was excellent.

TAAG first class dinner — dessert

I asked if I could also have a cheese plate, since I wanted to see what it looked like. When I asked for that the flight attendant said “you want that as well?”

“Yes, if that’s okay.”

She rolled her eyes, and returned with it a minute later.

TAAG first class dinner — cheese plate

The meal service was done about 80 minutes after takeoff, and I’d be shocked if we exchanged more than a dozen words the entire meal. The service was cold and not at all attentive, though at least the meal was served quickly.

Before going to sleep I checked out the airshow. The Luanda to Sao Paulo route sure is a straight shot across the ocean, without many diversion points.

Airshow enroute to Sao Paulo

Airshow enroute to Sao Paulo

Airshow enroute to Sao Paulo

The entertainment selection looked very similar to what was offered on the previous flight. However, unlike the previous 777, this one didn’t have Wi-Fi.

TAAG inflight entertainment

TAAG inflight entertainment

The entertainment system could be controlled with an easy to use controller.

TAAG 777 entertainment controller

However, I was tired, so just headed to the forward galley to go to the bathroom before going to sleep. The bathroom was pretty no frills.

TAAG first class lavatory

TAAG first class lavatory amenities

While visiting the bathroom I saw three flight attendants asleep in the jumpseats, including our beloved cabin manager.

At that point I reclined my seat with about six hours remaining inflight, hoping to get some shuteye. TAAG has the same awful bedding on this flight that they had on the previous flight, which is so pathetic. This is economy bedding, or at best the bedding you’d get in short-haul business class. To offer this in international first class on a redeye is downright unacceptable.

TAAG first class pillow & blanket

Not surprisingly the crew didn’t ask if I wanted to be woken for breakfast, and for that matter I didn’t really want to be woken anyway. I woke up 30 minutes before landing, and had absolutely no expectation of being served breakfast. I didn’t ask for it, but rather just started to put my seat upright.

Airshow enroute to Sao Paulo

At this point the flight attendant lectured me — “why did you sleep so long? We only have 30 minutes, you need to eat fast. I give you 10 minutes.”

The food was forcibly placed on my tray table, which is to say that the flight attendant didn’t put any effort into placing it down gently, but rather seemed to intentionally just “drop” the dishes a couple of inches above the tray.

Breakfast consisted of an omelet, steak, potatoes, bacon, yogurt, and some bread.

TAAG first class breakfast

I guess on one hand I have to appreciate that she served me a meal at the top of descent (most airlines wouldn’t), on the other hand… wow.

We ended up having a smooth touchdown in Sao Paulo at 5:15AM, and then a five minute taxi to our remote stand. This time around there was a first & business class bus, so it left pretty quickly.

This was my best chance to snap a picture of the gorgeous TAAG 777 exterior. Unfortunately that was the only good part of the experience. Boy was I happy to be off that plane.

TAAG 777 upon arrival in Sao Paulo

TAAG 777 upon arrival in Sao Paulo

TAAG first class bottom line

It’s not often I say this, but what an awful flight. I really wanted to like TAAG. I found the 777 first class cabin to be extremely charming, and if it had been combined with some well intentioned service, I’d probably give them more credit than they deserve. However, I’ve never in my life had such a disinterested and downright aggressive crew. I felt uncomfortable on this flight.

I was almost scared to go to sleep. I’m also amused that the cabin manager is so security conscious when it comes to pictures, yet thinks it’s acceptable to sleep in the jumpseat for nearly the entire flight.

  1. It’s shocking to me that this is a first class experience. I suppose considering Angola to Brazil isn’t exactly a large market, they have no drive to be better.

  2. I’ve never personally had to complain to a company in my life but I genuinely think it might be a good idea for you to shoot an email to TAAG in this case, Ben. I’d feel pretty upset having spent money or miles on that experience. If it’s a poor seat or food, that’s maybe not so quick for the airline to change but I think those employees could do with a reality check. They’re just gonna drive away customers.

    Just my two cents.

  3. That cabin looks almost the same as Gulf Air’s first class cabin 10 years ago. Currently they sell those seats as “sleeper seats” for J class pax on a first come, first serve basis. Not bad to sleep in, if you’re asking me.

  4. @Chris, yes I am sure TAAG is going to give a flying fart about Ben’s experience. Waste of time.

  5. Why are you shocked flying on an airline like TAAG? What did you expect ? Amazing service? In which case fly with the European carriers who operate to Luanda

  6. Curious as to what nationality the pilots were, Ben. If you got any idea from accents or their appearance.

  7. Very interesting report. Thanks for the experience, which I will never do myself. Why subject myself to high fares, yellow fever, expensive country, etc.

  8. @ Icarus — I wasn’t expecting amazing service, but I was expecting something a little more well intentioned than what I got.

  9. My guess: They are worried you’re taking pictures to incriminate them to their superiors or shame them on social media.

    Also, taking pictures of everything is probably quite foreign to them.
    They may not be able to comprehend a benign reason for this

    This in no way excuses their behavior

    Flight sounds horrific

  10. What a horrible experience @Ben. I think you should complain. No customer should be treated and intimidated like that regardless of cabin class.

  11. Im wondering why you’re using your iPhone instead of the RX100 camera I thought you got last year? Any particular reason ?

  12. @ Points Pinnacle — Yep, in this case because I thought it would raise fewer red flags. When I think people might have issues with pictures I always start with my phone, because that makes it look most like I’m just taking pictures for fun.

  13. How about returning to Lufthansa First Class or more interestingly try out every economy class possible in the world. At least the number of passengers present in Y, the picture taking antics would not alarm them as much.

  14. @AJO

    Gulf Air has revamped most if not all of its J class for the long haul and I guess it’s now up to standard compared to most up to date airlines. So I guess TAAG is outdated. Period. And any decent management would travel with other airlines to make some comparison. In this case evidently it didn’t happen.

  15. @ Da — Laurent Perrier champagne. Since there was no wine list, I’m not sure what else they were serving (and I wasn’t about to ask for pictures of the bottles). 😉

  16. Thank you Lucky..for a great report inspite of the difficulties and fear you had to endure. I am in total shock over your experience. Until today I never thought that a purser or FA oran airline employee could actually be that nasty and intimidating and threatening.

    I can tell you Lucky and the others here.. I am really angry while reading this report..on one side because of the poor service you encountered and the unspeakable audacity you are confronted with…on the other side because you did not even try to talk those terrible bixxhes back to their position! You are the pax and you should not let any FA..white or black or yellow or braun or green to you like that! It does not matter in what culture or continent or airline…every human being has a dignity and their are boundaries, Lucky! Honestly I would like to meet these TAAG FA and Purser so I can give them the right “service” which they deeply deserve! Too busy sleeping on the jumpseats? I personally would have woken them up and asked to be served! These lazy persons called FA have it coming and they deserve to be remembered why they are on that plane and dare these idiots say they were there for safety reasons!! You mean they were the safety hazards!!

    And to those who are trying to hide these hideous atttitudes because of colonialism or civil war or poverty of Africa..shut it up! A decent attitude and a proper upbringing is for everyone there! It is not a matter of rich and poor!

    So let us come to the F product…a seat which is already said here..has been in the market since 10 years. I also know this seat from Gulfair First class which later became their premium business seat.
    Later Oman Air used them as their first internat. Business class seat..Korean Air had these seats in their First class as well, later phased out..So this seat is an old product but I still remember how comfortable my flights with it, so I hope you could at least sleep well Lucky.

    About the stingy blanket and pillow..trying to ignore these inferior and bad choices. What does TAAG think about this! Probably nothing as they do not care if their F pax can sleep comfortable or not.
    Regarding the food choices..seriously not in every aspect a worthy F class meal! At this point I do not even care if it is more a business or PE or economy meal..just frankly vile! One reader has said the crew might have spat on your meal..did it really made a difference on that moment?

    Overall this TAAG F product has nothing to do with a First product! They might fool first time travellers with it, but for those who are experienced…it is an insult and not worth paying for!!

    Actually it is not worth to say another word and lose another breath..bottomline TAAG you are one airline I definitely do not want to fly and will definitely not recommend…even to my fiercest enemies!

    So to end this nicely….NEXT PLEASE !!

  17. You should understand that most airlines train flight attendants to assess risks and in terms of security their manual indicate that they must observe any suspicious activity. Any person taking pictures of the airplane and cabin crew, especially during boarding time, is considered suspicious. There have been 35 documented cases last year alone of passengers taking pictures to plan attacks on airplanes in the US alone. So yes you are a drama queen of you can’t understand that. I rather have a FA overreact than have one that misses a possible terrorist plot.

  18. Ben, I’m Brazilian and I usually travel to Sao Paulo. Please, which hotel did you stay there?
    I’m sorry to read this review, the crew of that airline acted very rude with you.
    Kind regards,

  19. I hate to say it, but most of Africa has a long, long way to go. This is just another example of it.

    And no, it has nothing to do with muh colonialism. It has everything to do with culture and life approach.

  20. I’ve got to say I’m almost as disappointed as you about your dislike of TAAG, since I got very infected with your excitement over this experience (it’s a shame it was such a bad one).
    Hopefully the next very rare airline you fly will be better. Already anxious for that!

  21. well, we’ve finally discovered what it takes for an airline to receive an “actively avoid” rating from Lucky 😉

  22. As Trump says, “a shit hole with oil”. About what you’d expect from a government owned African airline. Lucky will you never learn

  23. I am not surprised by the attitude. I am Brazilian and I went to university in Portugal, where I had many classmates from Angola. The 2nd generation of Angolans born and educated in Portugal would always complain about their own people. Angola is still a wild place, unfortunately, where the only way to succeed is to be corrupt and loyal to the ruling families. The lucky few escape and build their lives in Portugal. Basically nobody can afford to be fired and any boss or manager could be very abusive (especially towards women, of course)

  24. @Brad C you obviously haven’t flown UA. As a 1K and 31 years as a FF I have had all sorts of service ranging from amazing to awful on UA but never has it come close to this review. Lucky – You were too nice to these idiots. You’re a paying customer. Next time tell them to f_ck off.

  25. I will say Lucky you have a lot of cojones. The only African airlines I would consider flying with are ET, SA & KQ and that mainly on safety grounds. The problem with flight crews in a number of developing nations is that they are revered in their culture as superior. When you become an inflight Manager you are regarded as one who bears God’s word to the masses. The reality is advancement is based on fear and intimidation and I am sure if you got his crew to relax after a couple of drinks you would have heard tales that would have made your hair curl.
    Not even on IA & SU in the old days have I come across such appalling and rude service.

  26. Ben, you should have woken the cabin manager up and told him that the plane was on fire… and it was being hijacked by terrorists. 😉

  27. I totally get why you were extremely frustrated by the service but did not feel in the position to complain. The last thing you would have wanted is to have been thrown off the plane in Luanda to spend a night or two in an airport holding cell (especially since you didn’t have a visa to enter). I think there’s about a 98% chance it won’t do anything, but I still think you should write a note to TAAG HQ with a link to your blog and trip report for TAAG. You might not have felt able to complain on the plane, but you should be able to try at least once to see if management responds. This sounds like one of your worst flights ever, and that says something for someone who spends so much time flying and management should be made aware (even if they don’t care). Love the reviews and the site, great work!

  28. I’m a little shocked by some of the comments here that contain thinly-veiled racism. How do you expect the TAAG flight crew to treat a colonist who enslaved and mistreated their people for hundreds of years? You expect them to be rosy and cheerful?

  29. Well…you were warned. Lots of people have posted their experiences here in the comments section before.

    None of this is surprising, including the cabin crew sleeping in their crew seats, except for the apparently unchained Confrontational Cabin Manager and his sidekick, Confrontational Flight Attendant. I had never predicted screaming at anyone on TAAG, so I learned something new.

    I laughed at “What is wrong with you? Why? Why do you take pictures of everything? Why? Why?”

    The absurdity of the question is remarkable. And the mere fact that she thought any good was to come of further litigating something that had already been (seemingly) deescalated makes one think that she should work in a job that doesn’t require interaction with living people or animals. That may only lead to a career in taxidermy, but at least no living creature would have to engage with her.

  30. It’s very sweet of you guys to suggest that Lucky should complain about his experience. But this is Africa. In suggesting that, you assume that
    1) there’s actually an email address for complaints / customer relations
    2) this address actually works
    3) there’s actually a person who reads the emails sent to this address
    4) this person reads English
    5) this person is interested enough to read through the complaint
    6) this person understands the western culture of taking pictures
    7) this person knows what a travel blog is and/or understands the concept of writing flight reviews
    8) this person writes English
    9) this person cares enough to actually write a reply
    10) this person has authority to not only write the reply but to also do something about the matter
    That’s a whole ot of assumptions. If the email actually reached somebody, it would be very unlikely that they would even understand the reason behind the complaint. TAAG took Lucky where he was going, safely, and by African standards, they weren’t even late, so they would probably feel that all is well. This isn’t Delta.

  31. Welcome to the Africa that is for real. I feel for you Ben. As a privilged person of non-colour, you would have been skewered had you complained during your flight. Good on you for keeping your cool. I have had similar experiences in Mauritius by S.A. “educators” who were attending a retreat at my hotel there, and it was very unsettling.

  32. As mentioned previously even if it’s unlikely you’ll get any response at all it’d be interesting to log a complaint with the airline and see if they even try to react and if so how good their response is by international standards.
    The ridiculous bedding, average food or IFE selection is one thing and well it can be understandable but the crew’s aggressive behavior and rudeness just cannot be explained. I guess every culture has its own codes of what is considered as “polite” or polished behavior, and even by Angolan standards the crew’s behavior was unacceptable….

  33. idk if it was just me, but after seeing the first part of the review, plus the food, i got a major case of Deja-vu.

  34. People keep harping on about Africa.
    I flew J in Ethiopian Airlines and that was a complete pleasure. The onboard staff were so lovely and well intentioned.
    I think race/ethnicity should be kept out it.

  35. Glad you were willing to suffer the slings and arrows on behalf of your readers. Hope you learnt a lesson re: Africa and Angola. A bit of Wiki-level research on Angola might have better prepared you for reality. Culturally, economically, politically the place is tough. It’s safe to say that many of the TAAG employees are nepotism hires. It’s just that way there. It’s happened in South Africa as well. Please note Angola’s national symbol: The hammer and sickle. You might have fared a bit better by wearing a worn-out Che Guevara t-shirt, a dark blue beret with a tiny red star in the front. Perhaps you would have been feted as the grandson of a revolucao fighter – the Cubans having aided Angola in their fight against South Africa. Strange people, strange country. That or say you are a historian writing about Chester Crocker.

  36. “No photos” policy is very common on airlines and airports from 3rd world countries. I experienced this on Turkmenistan Airlines for example (where you risk to go to jail just by doing that) but also in nearly all Alfrican and ex-Eastern block countries aiports.

    When you’re in that kind of countries always be very careful and take pictures very discretely or at least inform yourself directly at the airline of cabin crew about their policy. An attitude like you had might be seen in some countries ad a serious security threat and may cause you some problems.

    I know it’s a ridiculous policy 🙁
    That said I experienced the same kind of attitude from the crew on TAP, Vueling and a few other “first world airlines”.

    Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear your bad experience on TAAG.

  37. The experience was horrible. I get it. The review was very well written though, Lucky. Thanks for your honest take — and thanks, as well, for your tact.

    While some people, unfortunately, are entitled to their own opinion — I can’t really see a reason to attack an entire continent of people, as have some of your readers, because of the actions of a single airline.

    What’s interesting to me, here, is that I don’t see the same freedom of intent to insult when it comes to non-savory experiences on American run airlines…or, on European run airlines, for that matter.

    The actions of the crew, on this particular flight, are indeed deplorable.

    However, some of the comments freely written about the continent of Africa, and the people who call her home, are much worse — as one flight crew does not determine the sum of the whole.

    I never ceases to amaze me, the courage of people, when they have the “internets” to hide behind.

    Once again, Lucky, thanks for the well-written review. And, more than anything, thanks for your tact.

  38. @William Y.

    I think she has a good reason. Despite limited resources Ethiopia tries harder. South African has a good reputation. I agree. Those judging an entire continent are wrong.

  39. Where is Wiliam Y’s comment to the EK Gold Tier Lady has gone?? Lucky did you censored it and removed it? Why??

    @the ek gold tier lady

    You are asking tact from some readers here? So where is the tact when Lucky was flying with them? Stop the hypocrisy! Do not fool youself and mostly do not fool us!

    Stop right there! before you start again to mention the whole continent of Africa is being attacked again!?!?..Would the lady of bling pls. be aware the our anger and rage are entirely focused on the purser and FA…and not the entire Angolan nation!!

    Believe it or not I won’t keep my savoury comments out, because we are talking about european or us american carriers…and there for about white or braun or yellow or green..etc. I would read you to filth!..if you deserve to be treated like one!

  40. I knew the comments would go there:

    I had a really hostile crew on a United Airlines flight once. Should I blame the entire North American continent, or just the USA?

    Some of the crew was Caucasian and one lady was Asian. Should I blame both races, or just pick one?

    Sorry you had a bad experience Lucky. Thanks for keeping your review criticisms specific to the airline and the crew, where they belong.

  41. @Rich

    “There have been 35 documented cases last year alone of passengers taking pictures to plan attacks on airplanes in the US alone.”


  42. @1K Brad: +1

    @Rich: Lucky’s JOB is to take photos of airlines. And in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a whole sub-culture of aircraft reviewers out there photographing in-cabin experiences. He literally takes dozens of flights per year, taking photos on all of them. He is transparent in his reporting about the experiences. So, I trust him when he says that this reaction was completely out of the ordinary. For you to defend the flight attendant is asinine considering Lucky’s extensive experience and well-documented precedent in this regard. Lucky even made the point of saying that it wasn’t the FA questioning him that was the issue but the MANNER in which he was questioned.

  43. @Points Ninja, screw you. You are the racist. Calling every white person a “colonist” is asinine:

    “How do you expect the TAAG flight crew to treat a colonist who enslaved and mistreated their people for hundreds of years? You expect them to be rosy and cheerful?”

    The employees are employed to provide a first-class service to the customer, regardless of race. You seriously are trying to give their atrocious attitude a free pass? By your logic, if a white FA had a bad experience with a person of color in the past, then they should be entitled to treat every person of color with contempt because of it. YOUR REASONING MAKES NO SENSE!! It’s clear that you are the one applying “thinly-veiled racism.” To further my point, Angola was colonized by the Portuguese. Ben isn’t Portuguese, so your drivel is further discredited. You seem like one of these imbeciles that think it’s fine for people of non-European heritage to be racist because of the past. It’s the 21st century, racism in any form is not okay, no matter who perpetuates it. Nice try pulling the race card, but it failed spectacularly.
    Lastly, it’s no secret that many African countries lag behind. Look at the continent as a whole. It’s by and large a cesspool of conflict and corruption, all too often as the result of greedy politicians who pamper themselves at the expense of the population of their country. Try to blame that on “colonists.”
    You, sir, win the racist moron of the year award.

  44. @Ben
    I really think you should complain! I’m usually very hesitant to complain, but this behavior is just plain unacceptable! If they were intimidated by your photos, then there is a chance that your complain might actually achieve something.

  45. @ Jesse

    +10 !

    Touché..nothing more to be said…

    so @Lucky you will be a persona non grata in Angola..just kidding!

  46. Sorry to hear about your horrible experience. But, your readers are now forewarned and this horrible airline will lose our business.

    Jokingly, you should have taken a picture of the manager asleep! LOL And sent it to the airline with a complaint about the service! LOL

  47. Wow, such a horrible experience from all aspects. I would certainly post this on social media hash-tagging them (if they have one) to just wake them up. This is basically corruption in a different form (I am sure all the crew have some relation somehow to someone within the airline management team or some government official) and indeed I am very sure the main reason they were so upset about the picture taking is because of situation like this, where they do not want you to report on how bad the airline is and the crew are.

    I am wondering how bad is the service back in J and Y class if it is so bad in First….no service?


  48. @mike

    We should send James to try TAAG in J and Y. Perhaps his boyish and innocent look my melt down those harsh attitude towards white people..James should also play his charm to be served sweetly.
    Let us see which kind of caucasian boy is more appealling to those dragon ladies called FAs..our Ben aka Lucky or Ben aka James!!

    And it is a good way to give TAAG the chance to vindicate itself…see we are giving you a chance to prove yourself for the better

  49. DUDE! What a torture reading it, couldn’t imagine experiencing it!
    It goes without saying.. that was a great reminder to avoid flying shithole countries airlines at all cost!

  50. Welp, we got the usual mix of abject racism and well thought ideas in the comments.

    Sucks you had that experience Ben. You’d think the completely service-disinterested FAs would have been happy you slept well and didn’t ask for breakfast. TAAG is a government carrier, so maybe some minister would be interested in this? I know Angola can be a bit of an odd country with regards to security (theater) and the like, but there doesn’t seem to be an excuse. Maybe this could be like the Dux de Paris experience?

  51. As someone who has done work in Angola, I am not surprised by any of this. Angola is a deeply dysfunctional kleptocracy that continues to be plundered by the Portuguese-speaking, mixed-race elite that comprises the ruling party MPLA and its oligarch hangers-on, to the detriment of the desperately poor black African majority in the country. Those elites are extremely well-treated on TAAG, although deeply resented by the staff. TAAG is a government-owned enterprise that exists to cater to those elites and provide sinecures for a lot of lazy employees.

    Angola is a police state and an increasingly xenophobic place. You and your friends were anomalous travelers in a country that has no tradition of tourism and where expatriate workers are hated by much of the population.

    Much of the commentary above regarding Africa is idiotic. Angola bears more similarities to Russia and Venezuela than it does to a lot of other African nations.

  52. I believe the airline has First Class, because they are a wealthy (nation not majority of people) oil nation. The above comments about the Mulatto elite, I believe to be true and the hatred of Texans (the oil men) is true as well.

  53. @lucky this was quite disheartening to read. I can’t believe the flight was so terrible. Did you ever get down to filling and official complaint or do a review of the place? They should know what a terrible experience you had! They need to make it up to you

  54. From wiki travel:

    “Avoid using your camera in front of police (dressed in blue uniforms). Photography will result, at best, in a very heavy fine, but could also have more dire consequences. Throughout Angola, taking photographs of sites and installations of military or security interest, including government buildings, may result in arrest or fines and should be avoided.”

    There’s no excuse for the behavior of the crew but there may be a generalized fear or cultural suspicion of photographs of what is perceived to be “official” or “security sensitive”. When traveling in Liberia for business a few years ago I was advised not to take pictures of the airport or of aircraft for the same reason.

  55. I have read the review and it is well written. Moreover, I have read people’s comments and I think they resonate with the review. I have just flown from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo via Luanda on TAAG First Class. I have a different view to most, based on pricing. An Direct flight from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo is available on LATAM and SAA costing $1000 in economy class. For $2000 I managed a First Class seat and $1600 for business class. Let’s consider that business class on both SAA and LATAM is about $3000. Therefore the price is right for the half baked product you get. An in all fairness and honesty, my treatment on the flight was great – perhaps your review, made the management redo training of cabin crew on the art of smiling. So in conclusion, given the price of the ticket, I have already booked my next flight to Rio de Janeiro for $1900 in First Class. Could the airline do better = YES, is the product not worthy of being called First Class = YES. But, for a flat bed, lounge access and some attempt to be a great product, i think its bang for buck.

  56. This is a very unfortunate failure on TAAG’s part, but not entirely surprising. The Angolan Civil War (1975-2002) combined with the years of communist rule has left many Angolans very suspicious of spies taking photos of things. The idea of being free to photograph something, without needing permission or justification, is still alien to some Angolans in positions of authority. In 2016, my friend and I were arrested for “spying” while on a kayaking expedition in Angola, to raise money for landmine clearance. They tried to deport us!

  57. What a bad bad airline. Product seems reasonable enough, but wow I am blow aware on how the cabin staff acted towards passengers. I fly business international a LOT, but I have never seen anything like this. Frankly this is one airline I will avoid for dear life.

  58. I mean Angola is run by a far-left socialist party. What can you expect?? Socialism (and communism) is deemed to fail

  59. Having spent 4 years working in Angola, I am not in the slightest bit surprised. The whole country is rude, uneducated and quite possibly the laziest people i have ever met.

  60. Hi BBB, my name’s Oscar Scafidi and I’m the author of the only English-language travel guide to Angola, the Bradt Travel Guide. We just published the third edition in July 2019.

    Having spent five years living and working in Angola, which involved visiting all 18 provinces, I disagree with your statement. You should not be labelling 31 million Angolans as “rude, uneducated and quite possibly the laziest people i have ever met” based on your personal experience or the second hand experiences of the author. It’s probably safest to avoid making any blanket negative statements about entire national or ethnic groups…

    Lucky’s experience was terrible. TAAG need to sort it out and do better.

    It tells us a lot about the poor attitudes and training of the TAAG cabin crew, but nothing about the 99.99% of Angolans who were not on the plane that day!

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *