TAAG Angola’s Old First Class — My Worst First Class Flight Ever

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Travel

Our flight from Lisbon to Luanda in TAAG Angola’s first class was in some ways pleasant, and in other ways subpar. However, there was nothing about the experience that was actively bad or uncomfortable. It was about what I was expecting the experience to be, except the pleasant surprise of the seats and wifi.

I was very much looking forward to the second flight from Luanda to Sao Paulo, which was operated by a 777-300ER with TAAG’s old first class product. The first excitement with this flight came with the delay. We were made to sit in the departure lounge (as they take your boarding pass when you enter, and there are no bathrooms) for three hours, and our flight kept getting delayed, five minutes at a time. At first the ground staff denied there was a technical fault, and then eventually they admitted that was the issue.

Fortunately the flight ended up departing, and a two hour delay wasn’t a huge deal. How could I not be excited boarding this beauty of a plane?!

Once onboard the plane I was thrilled to find a retro first class cabin. There were 12 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, and I couldn’t have been happier with it. In many was I prefer this to the new first class product we had on the previous flight, as the cabin just feels so spacious. By the way, big props to Oman Air, because their A330 business class is basically like this.

Unfortunately this is where the mess began. Let me note that up until this point I had been asked probably almost a dozen times why I was taking so many pictures. Everyone was curious, and when I explained, they said “okay.” So it’s clear the airline and Luanda Airport don’t have a policy against photography as such, as everyone asked me why, acknowledged it, and let me go on doing what I was doing.

Not the cabin manager on this flight. I recognize that sometimes things are lost in translation, so I don’t want to judge the words someone uses too much. However, one thing that’s universal is aggression, and this cabin manager was aggressive and downright rude.

I took some pictures during boarding, and the guy walked past me and flailed his hands in the air, basically sarcastically signaling that something is wrong with me. Fair enough, I don’t really care what he thinks. I stopped taking pictures for a bit.

Two minutes later he returned and the following transpired (I’d mention that he was speaking in an incredibly confrontational and aggressive tone):

“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?”

Are you freaking kidding me?

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 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.”

Holy eff…

So, what was the 7hr40min flight straight across the Atlantic like?

The amenity kit was the same as on the previous flight, as was the horrible bedding. There were no pajamas or anything.

The meal service began right after takeoff. I felt comfortable taking pictures of the food because the cabin manager fell asleep in the jumpseat right after takeoff, and stayed asleep throughout the dinner service. Since the other flight attendant seemed fine with my picture taking (and since it doesn’t violate TAAG’s policy as such), I figured I’d take my chances and subtly photograph the food.

Dinner began with a salad and an appetizer with salmon and squid.

For the main course I had an excellent fish dish.

For dessert there was a chocolate tart with caramelized apples.

Then there was also a cheese course.

Even though the flight attendant was okay with me taking pictures, she was actively rude. Nothing would be delicately placed on the tray, but rather she’d put it down with force, she’d intentionally ignore things I asked for (like I very loudly said “excuse me” as she walked away because I wanted some more water, I could tell she heard it, but she kept walking), and she was just awful.

Between meals I went to the lavatory and found all three first class flight attendants asleep in the forward jumpseats. I guess I should at least be impressed that they didn’t sit in the empty first class seats?

I was never asked if I wanted to be woken up for breakfast. 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.

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

Good morning to you too…

Rather than bidding farewell to passengers, the crew was dividing up the leftover food as passengers deplaned.

I think the only award that TAAG is going to win for their premium cabin is that they have the world’s best (and only) firts class.

Here’s how TAAG advertises their service in first class:

With a crew fully dedicated to satisfy your needs, this is the right flight class for those who seek a true luxury flight experience.

I can appreciate we came across as strange, and that some things may have been lost in translation, but I couldn’t believe the level of aggression that I got from the crew.

  1. Could be worse, Lucky! On our last TAAG flight the crew ate the passenger meals in the galley and denied they had ever been loaded.

  2. Maybe you should just say that you are a travel writer. You and others enjoy seeing the pictures and, if they like it, they will buy an airplane ticket.

    Don’t start about points or miles or credit card spend because that will just confuse them.

  3. Hey Ben,
    Just curious but when people ask why you’re taking photos do you ever show them your website for a better understanding? Sure sounds like a memorable flight!

  4. LOL!

    This really made me laugh. TAAG will never change. The worst cabin staff of any airline I’ve ever flown. You weren’t treated this way because of the pictures you took, btw, you were treated this way because that’s how TAAG cabin crew treat customers, even in first class.

    It’s just too bad that you had to waste so much money and time for this “experience.” Which I totally get, you want to try new things, even if they’re as awful (or worse) as people warn you about, so I’m glad you did it, but it still sucks.

    Can’t wait for a full write up, though! 🙂

  5. I personally don’t think it would be worth the time and money spent to just to say you have experienced all FC products. It’s painfully apparent to me that a FC product such as this won’t be around long enough for your readers to even care about.

  6. I just hope nobody will ascribe this to “cultural differences”, “you have to understand”, “that is how they are” etc. Nothing of this is true. In F especially, the norm would be an almost servile service, maybe not polished but *nothing* like this. And all staff there know that pix are normal – this is a selfie and social media nation if there ever was one. So, this kind of incredible rudeness is specific to this crew and/or your team; it has nothing to do with Angola.

  7. LOL!!! This is what happens when you deal with Angolans…And you were lucky enough for not to have to pay some bribes.

  8. @derek TAAG was banned from the EU from July 2007 to November 2008. From then until now, TAAG only has a partial ban – they are allowed to fly certain aircraft (737-700, 777-200, 777-300) to the EU.

  9. I will repeat my suggestion from awhile back – should an airline’s employees stop you from photographing, punish them by hastily drawing each part of the experience with a crayon, and then using those to publish onto the review 😉

  10. should have never flown them also what did you do did you show him the notes and did you delete the pictures?

  11. @ Morgan — I did indeed delete them… and then restored them from my recently deleted folder. 😉 As far as the notes go, I just sort of flashed the notes at him, and then he walked away.

  12. My major concern would be it’s safety aspect and to that end I wouldn’t be comfortable flying them especially in light of them being banned until recently- and as far as first class is concerned save your coin

  13. The irony is that they didn’t want you taking pictures because they were paranoid that you would use that against them in some way; as it turned out their actions turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  14. Waste of time and money who really cares about such airlines even such country with difficult visa procedures,Angola might be a country i wouldnt visit even in my nightmares.

  15. Lucky, have you ever considered carrying some sort of summary of who you are/why you do what you do in multiple languages so that you could show that to people who are concerned or frantic about your actions? This might calm some people down a bit. Although probably not in this situation. Lol

  16. @Lucky, think of it this way, you just flew a carrier from a country as obscure as North Korea. They’re reaction probably stems from confusion and paranoia. They clearly don’t see many tourists much less an enthusiastic travel blogger like you. It’s very sad how being so isolated from the outside world can make someone act so different, but hopefully with the recent visa policy they can see more people like you and treat it as normal.

  17. Lucky, you had this coming to you, got exactly what you put yourself in position for and, if I may add, got away cheaply. Had this happened on an Angola-bound flight, you would most likely have been arrested on arrival and I can guarantee you that the Police precinct does not have toilets either. You would not have been sentenced to death but held long enough to be very uncomfortable and willing to cough up a ransom (I mean a “fine”). Do not get me wrong, I totally appreciate what you are doing and I enjoy it, but there are boundaries not to cross and that was one. Angola has never been a nice place. The visa-on-arrival scheme has been introduced strictly for money and as a bait for unsuspecting naive souls to be trapped.

    Nigeria Airways does not exist anymore but you might have tried that one too in its time, with equal or worse experience (Lagos Airport probably beats Luanda as a s***hole).

  18. You must be seriously bored lately, flying a bunch of crappy airlines from regions most people wouldn’t fly to just cuz you have flown pretty much everything out there already.

    You know very well it will be a crap experience, you go for it and then you complain it was a crap experience.
    Hm. Okay.
    Please don’t risk your life unnecessarily with flying a bunch of airlines with very questionable safety profiles. We all care about you!

  19. If Lucky told them that he was the author of a blog doing reviews of airline flights and cabins, he would get: 1) different than normal treatment from the crew (likely better); 2) criticized by some here for trying to scam his way into extra benefits.

    There may be sometimes that it is appropriate to mention the blog (e.g., when arrest was imminent) but otherwise, it’s probably better to TRY to keep it anonymous. I’m certain that there are some airlines who know who he is and when he is flying and there are undoubtedly hotels that know that too (especially because he has a Starwood Ambassador) and there have been references to the blog in arrival amenities, etc.

  20. What an experience! I appreciate the comments above re why bother with this airline etc, but its cool reviews like these and analytical posts (like the one on Emirates a few days back) that make this a unique/informative blog (yep, I do complain when there is a diversion from this!). Heck, I think these sometimes obscure routes and airline reports akin to the travel shows by Ian Wright on Lonely Planet – which BTW is fantastic video journalism. Keep this up pal!

  21. How can you complain? What did you expect ?
    As for taking pictures Have the courtesy to ask. Don’t assume

  22. Hi Ben,
    Thanks for this. It is these less flown routes and smaller national airlines in remote places (at least from the ‘Wests’ point of view) that fascinate me. Everyone writes a review of Cathay or Singapore or British Airlines first class – but only on this blog do we get the truly unusual. Africa has long been a fascination to me, and given my partner was born there – a desirable destination. You have added to my store of information about traversing the continent. I hope to be able to use your insights soon.

    Thanks once again.

  23. I seriously don’t get why people whine about Lucky flying TAAG – for a top professional airline blogger, comprehensiveness is obv a virtue, and as we see from the responses, dozens of readers actually have flown TAAG. Angola is a thing and economically not negligible. It’s not fun, it’s work.

  24. @Ben
    In extreme situations like these, would it be better to amp the tourist angle by taking selfies and then asking the crew to take a photo of you in your seat? Better that they believe that you are a traveling narcissist then a travel spy.

  25. Well you took the bullet and hit a lot if stories to tell.
    I find it all interesting, especially since I won’t every be going to Angola or using their services.
    Thanks Ben.

  26. The amount of negativity that gets thrown at you in these comments sections fascinates me. As someone for whom TAAG has occasionally come up as a possible transportation option, I really appreciate you taking the dive to review the product for the rest of us. Airline reputation is one thing, but it is nice to have an updated review of reality. Thank you for what you do!

  27. I know this is 1-2-1 but those seats look really narrow. Did you use a wide lens or is it actually that narrow? My biggest issue on planes is always width. I have broad shoulders and muscular arms so to sit comfortably I need 23-24 inches of width and this, for a first product doesn’t seem to have it.

  28. @ORD Flyer has a great point Lucky. You should carry around a laminated sheet that gives a brief explanation in every language of what you do. I’d be happy to translate the Spanish one for you.

  29. Ben, it isn’t rude to say “do you know who I am” politely, demurely, to cabin staff when they misunderstand what you’re doing. Humbly explain that you’re a travel writer and your job is to review airline products. Or, do you attempt to fly undercover to see what the real passenger experience is supposed to be? As much as I sympathize with you in some of these ham-fisted exchanges with poorly trained staff, could I ask that you put a better foot forward as a traveling American and explain yourself to these people? This is a teachable moment, and remember that you represent us, all Americans, when you’re traveling abroad. So do I. So do we all. It’s important to be transparent. It’s important to always be an Ambassador.

  30. These were the F seats on two of OZ‘s 3 class 772 HL7775 and HL7791 that used to be exclusively flying OZ235 and OZ236 ICN-ORD, it was only until the past year they reconfigured both of them to be 2 class and removed the F seats.

  31. In retrospect, traveling is more than airports. I love airplanes and airports. However, a brief stay in Luanda may have been good. Now, Lucky has technically visited Angola but really didn’t visit Angola.

    As far as taking pictures, once I was “caught” taking pictures. I thought it was legal. I was surrounded by about 5 police. They made me delete it. They said the next time, I would be arrested and go to jail. Yes, sir!

  32. What do you expect when you fly on an airline that follows the pan am model of flight service training. ..I.e. rude nasty and aggressive behavior is perfectly acceptable.

  33. I have customers who work at the Angola consulate in Houston.
    8 out of 10 are plain rude with the attitude of a prince.

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

    Laughed out loud. This is just hilarious.

  35. @ORDnHKD very similar to the old Asiana first class and whilst probably the same seat, their window seats had an extra V shaped space next to the aisle arm rest which is missing on this version.

  36. I don’t understand why you don’t just tell them the truth about why you are taking pictures and show them your blog if it gets to that point.

  37. I doubt these barbaric morons would understand anything Lucky is trying to achieve. They live in the past and will always be in the past. Poor Angolans need a better representation of their people which are generally very nice.

    Thanks to Lucky we now get to save thousands by not needing to consider this experience.

  38. Would have loved to see a photo of the lazy F FA’s dozing in their jumpseats! I do understand you may have thought that a bridge too far, given their aggression while awake! Still……….

  39. @ number 1,

    Here we go again, another uneducated American with their racist comments….you only can wonder what their life must be life daily……..living a life full of hatred….

    poor souls to stupid to understand what self worth means………..

  40. I grew up in Africa, and fly F/J regularly. Would you be surprised if you were flying a North Korean airline (imagine they had tons of natural resources the world wanted) and got shitty service? Except not with a Supreme Leader but purely controlled by oil (economic) interests at the expense of all else.

    In Angola, anyone in a position where they staff first class, or economy for that matter, will have had major tribal/familial (think of it in the same way) connections/influence to actually get the job in the first place. When you travel to and from countries with this sort of economic disparity, this is a natural result.

    What do you expect? More clicks I’d imagine – which is the point. I love your blog, realize the focus, and appreciate the lifestyle you have created for yourself.

    However – there is an obvious lack of cultural awareness for someone so well traveled. Maybe try expanding your acquaintances and world view, and perhaps time between deplaning and departure (from the cheap seats :).

  41. As many have suggested here “to reveal who Lucky is” to the crew would probably made things worse. For the country that doesn’t have any freedom of press, once they know he’s a “famous journalist” they could have got paranoid even more to the extent Lucky could have been off-loaded the plane and God knows where he would have ended up. He’s so brave to confront in such situation and bravo to his risk taking!

  42. Sounds like typical Angolan hospitality. As pdxparse explained, anyone well-connected enough to land a job with TAAG likely comes from an upper- or upper-middle class family in Angola… in other words, people who callously live a first-world lifestyle and turn a blind eye to the grinding poverty all around them. Empathy and warmth toward others aren’t going to be the strong suit of people like that. Final approach into 4 de Fevereiro Airport in Luanda is over mile after mile of slums and human misery… pretty hard to ignore a thing like that, but Angola’s ruling class does it easily.

    The country’s got oil money, which is the only reason the country has seen any progress beyond the end of Portuguese rule in 1975… although first they spent twenty years fighting with each other and destroying the excellent infrastructure the Portuguese left them, so everything that’s been built since 2002 is really just a replacement for what was there before.

    There are plenty of African nations where people are poor but still manage to be genial and friendly hosts to visitors. Angola ain’t one of them. Miserable country full of miserable people, almost without exception.

  43. Makes me wonder what it’s like in coach. Do they let you land inside the aircraft or issue you a parachute and push you out the back?

  44. A friend who flew them said that business class had to go without the main for dinner since the crew ate them instead after crew meals weren’t loaded:)!

  45. the airline does not care if their staff was rude or meals are not loaded. it is your fault, for choosing them, and u made them work extra.

    the staff are happy if they could work in empty planes. they do not care.

  46. To be honest, you deserved it. If they say that it’s against policy, even if they made it up, what use is arguing going to do there?? Are they going to change their mind… no. So why not grow up and just do what they say rather than sink to their level and be obstructive.

  47. I’m probably going to be banned from this website for my opinion but I think Lucky was the rude one in this situation not the cabin manager. Sometimes it’s ok to take an L. He should have shown some respect and complied with the cabin manager and stopped taking photos. No need for an argument . Kind of came accross as entitled here. Plus he already had the report and photos needed from the previous flight. Just my opinion.

  48. This is odd for flight attendants, but not at all odd in central Africa. People with authority often expect you to do what they say and they become aggressive if you question them.

    I lived and worked there. Trust me, this was out of place during a flight, but not out of place culturally.

  49. No other BoardingArea blogger (or even TPG) would ever take one for the team and fly TAAG. You are devoted to your craft.

  50. Hey Ben. As a daily reader I LOVED that you did this trip. Thanks as always – forget the haters. Keep up the Fantastic work.

  51. I really loved this review too! Angola is a great example of pure capitalism. BP and Shell should be proud of their legacy. This blog is a perfect place to skewer a first class flight to and from one of the poorest nations on earth. I bet social media will love it!

  52. Some comments here show an unbelievable amount of ignorance. Comparing Angola to North Korea is a bit too much. Angola is just like any other country where 99% of the wealth is with 1% of the population. Those who can actually get that kind of jobs, like being FAs at TAAG, feel like they have all the power in the world.

    The comment by Paullax says it all.

  53. If a flight attendant in the US (for some reason) would have asked stopping to take pictures and you started arguing, most likely you would have been arrested or pulled off the plane by security.

  54. @YYC – That’s incredibly ignorant and patronising towards Angolans. They don’t live on another planet you know… They are fully aware what photos are and why people would take them, and it doesn’t “confuse” or scare them…

  55. Hi Lucky…I’m going to repeat myself here..but thanks again for taking the time to write up what made for very interesting reading.

    As per your initial TAAG flight from LIS, again I am going to admit I was not at all surprised by the results of your experience to GRU.

    As I explained in my previous reply (and as has been articulated very well by one or two readers above) this very much sounds like a cultural problem – probably the Company culture at TAAG.

    Whilst I agree the reported reaction and dialogue the staff engaged you in was shall we say, regrettable, I suspect their background, that of the Company and the country itself (which only emerged from Civil War relatively recently) is definitely relevant here.

    I don’t know much about Angola or TAAG admittedly (although I have travelled to Angola twice for work), but I do know that getting a position in TAAG in a country like Angola is likely to be very difficult unless you have connections…draw your own conclusions!

  56. @Tommy Trash – I for one would love to see TPG reviewing this airline. I believe he travels with a photographer now (or ropes in one of the other reviewers to take them) when he does a review (not that he does many anymore), so I would be very keen to see how TAAG would react to him.

    I’ve commented before how we rarely see Lucky in any of his review pictures, maybe sometimes only caught in reflection from an IFE screen. Compare that with the TPG reviews, where he is clearly the focus of the pictures, not the product. Things like that makes me appreciate Lucky’s blog much more.

  57. I too agree with some of the comments here and I might be banned for saying so…

    I work in the cruise industry and I do find some of our American guests feel very entitled to just about everything under the sun even if we tell them that it is international maritime law. We cannot help but think that they may be ignorant of basic rules or just plain rude.

    Try to put yourself in their shoes. The company have rules and must be implemented. No ifs and no buts.

  58. Being downright rude, delivering subpar service and using an aggressive tone is not a “cultural difference”, it is unacceptable and inexcusable in the service industry. TAAG should put on its big boy pants and stop the cronyism that gives jobs to people who don’t want or deserve them. But as a review, this was fascinating insight into an airline very few have reviewed.

  59. @Jamie: “Being downright rude, delivering subpar service and using an aggressive tone is not a “cultural difference”, it is unacceptable and inexcusable in the service industry.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Great job Lucky on this review of an obscure airline and first class product. Love what you do.

  60. An airline is only “obscure” until you end up flying it. I have no plans to go to Angola or to fly TAAG, but the same could have been said until recently about my plans to go to Kazakhstan and fly Air Astana from Astana to Almaty. At that point, Lucky’s review of his Air Astana flight became very relevant indeed and in addition to booking with a bit more confidence because I had some insight into the product, my enjoyment of the flight was enhanced because I was comparing my assessment with his. (Note though that I said “enjoyment” — Air Astana was excellent from start to finish.) So keep up the interesting work reviewing non-mainstream careers — some of us out in the blogosphere are flying them!

  61. @Drew. The definition of obscure in Merriam Webster that I was using in reference to TAAG is “relatively unknown”.

    My perspective is that this is a global blog and from a global context TAAG absolutely is “relatively unknown”. Relative to Lufthansa, United, JAL, Cathay, Emirates etc. TAAG entirely fits that definition. You may personally have experience flying TAAG, but the vast majority of the people reading this blog do not. In addition, the coverage of TAAG in airline reviews are rare. That makes it obscure or “relatively unknown”.

    If you prefer to use the term “non-mainstream” that is your call, but your argument against “obscure” is at best semantic.

  62. I for one would prefer that Lucky review the airlines we are all likely to fly more often. Many of us have hundreds of thousands of UR points and are using them to fly United business. I wish Lucky would review United’s 787 business class, 767-300, 777-200 etc. These are the planes we need to choose from and instead Lucky only reviews its best product which is only a fraction of their fleet.

  63. Lucky, next time some total jagoff sky waiter on a banana republic’s state carrier barks at you about “policy”, ask if they can provide you with a copy of said policy. Have fun watching them squirm when they make excuses about why they can’t.

  64. It will be interesting to learn if or how TAAG reacts to this. Who knows how plugged into social media they are. Generally, the level to which a business monitors and reacts to reports on the internet is directly proportional to the level at which they care about their service and reputation. I’m guessing any response will be nil but am interested in updates if they do respond. This seems like the type of operation that would make a bunch of excuses rather than seriously and honestly dealing with their issues.

  65. Lucky, hi very nice to see you published this! I work at TAAG, and I will most certainly take this to customer serice! If you would be so kind as to give me an e-mail where I can reach you, I would very much like to talk to you a little more about this embarrassing experience you had onboard our flight. Hope to hear from you

  66. As an Angolan I believe we have the potential to be Africa’s best comercial Airline, but due to the political and Social mindset we far from achieving that goal. The Rudness and aggression is from some1 that doesn’t have passion for what they do and instead take all there frustration from home to work. TAAG is a company that in the past had a crew with ages ranging from 30-70 years and now are slowly changing that mindset. They still have a lot to learn and implement and I believe that in 10 years from now with the new airport TAAG will improve its services all round.

  67. @Callum, thank for you replying to my comment. Let me be clear, I don’t condone the cabin crews’ aggressive behaviour but we can’t ignore the fact there’s differences in culture.

  68. With some truth and a pinch of humor you could have told them that you are a travel writer, and that you are trying to promote Angola and TAAG to your readers.

  69. I am usually very intolerant with regular blogs and the like dropping in my inbox. After a few weeks I usually unsubscribe. (I am a journalist. I read and write for a living, and something has to be pretty good to hold my attention.)
    I just want to take this opportunity to say that I absolutely love One Mile At A Time. Every time it drops in the inbox, no matter how busy I am, I read it. There is always something interesting, informative, entertaining or amusing. I don’t know how you guys do it, producing such excellent material on such a regular basis. It is also crisply written and edited. There is never any ego, which is often hard to avoid in blogs. It is truly excellent.
    And this review has to be one of my favourite for a long time. Just hilarious, but also written in a beautifully understated style. As many commentators have noted, Ben could have gone in to the “do you know who I am?” routine, but he didn’t. He just played along with it to see where it would go. What a wonderful review, and how could this level of service be even possible in economy, let alone first class.
    I’ve just got home from work, and want to thank you for an excellent piece that has brightened up my evening. I am sure I speak for many of your readers in saying much of the above, those readers who look forward to receiving your blog, but don’t comment. You are producing something fabulous, and my complements to the entire team. Thank you! Chris

  70. Hei Lucky,

    First let me tell you, thanks for your comments, as Angolan im going to see them as lesson to learn( will share your link as much as possible)

    Then will start to say that, a few comments or persons say that all Angolans are rude (not true ), i’m not and know a lot of people that it is not. In fact we are good people, kind, warm and educated (at least the old generation) outsiders used to think that we are ignorants no we aren’t.

    Yes we do have a high level of people to alphabetise, yes we are coming from a war, yes we do need to learn A LOT and yes TAAG have a few cabine crew that needs to go home, but have you stoped to think on your behavior for a while, i bet that if you was on a emirates or American airlines and crew tell you that you are no allowed to take pics you would stop! Or at least take your pics quietly! My point is maybe just maybe you have did something and someone that should not work as public attendant couldn’t understand and was rude to you then, convince the others to act like him/her,
    Not an excuse, it should not be motive but one thing that people in angola use to do is “them (we) all against the world”

    Bad experience
    See it from the right perspective your travels couldn’t be all wonderful

    Some day some how we will be better than we are today.

    Thank you

  71. Hard to be believe that someone in FC was asked to delete pictures!!! I small something fishy in this story…

  72. @ Lucky: “I think the only award Taag is going to earn for their premium cabin is that they have the world’s best (and only) first class.” This sentence doesn’t make sense.
    I enjoy your blog. Thanks.

  73. Most of the comment are based on ignorance the same old story when it comes to Africa the whole world comes down I’ve traveled with BA and America Airlines the experience wasn’t the best I remember flying from London to Dallas with my son who at time was 4 years old and he was refused a glass of juice according to the cabin crew it wasn’t time to serve yet I did not say anything because of a fear of being accused of being destructive and end up being arrested in Dallas which is a common practice with the Americans Angola doesn’t manufacture any planes this planes are manufactured in USA i truly believe that they were badly advised by them in installing old first class seats on a new plane

  74. “Don’t step on the grass”
    Sometimes you just have to follow the local rules.
    Angola still has still remnants of the Socialist Era. Authoritarian figures continue to be the order of the day, but it’s not an overall picture of the Country or airline.
    I had bad experiences in some airlines ,where the steward completely ignored my request.

    I didn’t certainly regard the all population as rude.

    I am sure that your review is based solely in the airline, but by the comments above,a lot of readers are jumping in the train wagon ,blasting Angolans as rude.

    Well,come & see for yourself, we are a welcoming and happy population,despite the hardship that we have been through and still going through, in our daily lives,our people still greet you with a smile in most days.

    I am still to encounter a smiling immigration official in my travels, so don’t expect a broad smile at our airport also,for now.

    Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.

  75. I have lived in Luanda, Angola for two years now. I can tell you it is one of the most beautiful countries I have seen. I have met plenty of locals, and have been made one of their own despite my color and background being different. I can also tell you they don’t like pictures being taken, as a matter of fact we travel with letters from the government allowing us to take pictures for when we travel the country. It is a new country, just out of war, yes with corruption and bad people but those are present everywhere and don’t identify any one country. It makes me sad that people assume things, and bash a culture that is not known to them. I have traveled, North, South, and central Angola to always find beauty and happiness in people who have very little, we could learn a lot from them…

  76. Thanks Lucky for the curiosity and for using an Angolan brand.

    As an Angolan I can categorically say that good customer service isn’t Angolan people’s forte.

    I sympathize with some of the criticism from the comments. No excuse but as a 16 years young nation out of 37 years of civil war there is always room for improvement. There is a LOT to change and adapt in terms of behaviour and mindset let alone meeting western standards. It’s work like yours that helps us as a nation realise the need to be competent and competitive.

  77. Wow… its unbelievable the amount of lack of knowledge and ignorance that some so called (intellectual and the well educated) have about a country that they have not yet even visited. Or probably knew existed … But I guess each one is entitled to their own opinion as well as choices… I neither agree or disagree with this report. But have worked for an oil British company based in Angola I can say that the same people that are talking trash about Angola and it’s people in general and not the airline and it’s staff alone, are also the same ones that are more than happy to get an assignment to go to Angola perhaps because they will get paid twice as much above their pay grade and get treated with respect and dignity from the company they work for as well as their Angolan colleagues.. like I said nothing against the review… but amazed of some of the comments made…

  78. TAAG Airlines is one of the best companies I fly with! As a customer service I agree that there is way’s of saying and do things however if the crew told u not to take pictures why did u insisted???? If they have rules then we as a customer have to respect!!! do I am rigth or wrong? At least u love the food and comfort!

  79. @Sandra: If you actually read Lucky’s report carefully you’ll have noted that Lucky addressed whether it was a real rule or note. Here’s the quote from the review:

    “Let me note that up until this point I had been asked probably almost a dozen times why I was taking so many pictures. Everyone was curious, and when I explained, they said “okay.” So it’s clear the airline and Luanda Airport don’t have a policy against photography as such, as everyone asked me why, acknowledged it, and let me go on doing what I was doing.”

    So, this idea that you’re contending that somehow lucky should have ‘respected’ a rule is ridiculous. THERE IS NO SUCH RULE. There are plenty of cases of flight attendants making up policies and rules just to exert power or avoid a real conversation and that sounds like exactly the case here. And in the highly unlikely case that there is such a rule, it is nonsense for the airline to have it. Just look at Lucky’s reviews. He’s written literally hundreds of airline reviews with thousands of pictures. If it’s not an issue with all those airlines, then it’s asinine for TAAG to have it.

  80. @lucky, have you Ever considered that someone “ powerfull” was in first class with his lover, or something of that nature, and did not want to be photographed? Taag treat people bad in the Economic class because people travelling are basic. It is unusual for a 1st class passenger to experience that. The crew looks more snobbish then the passagers from First class to Bussiness class.

  81. Dear Sirs

    I’m Angolan and I couldn’t be more agreed about the way they treats they costumers it’s shameless. Feel sorry for their behaviour, but saying that Taag has the worth First class attement just because one experience, a bad one. it’s unprofessional from your side has a blogger. if you hadn’t have this experience I would be right good things about it, and still they need to improve their customers attendance.
    looks like you right to revenge and its unprofessional act. Just like they have with You.
    Our planet needs too be united, people like you could help to create bridge not walls.
    Best wishes

  82. Its because of people like you that the world can become a village. Welldone for the review . But a lot of other comments are Just nonsense you can’t judge a book by his 1st page. Angola has a lot to explore and if you want to see raw nature but don’t use Luanda and flight attendants has your reference point.

  83. Lucky, I don’t think the issue with picture taking is a cultural issue, if you remember the incident with LH. I’m rather surprised you don’t have more such issues.

    And rude flight attendants in First – well, that can even happen in SQ (on my last flight with SQ in F from SIN to LHR they denied socks, at least firstly … later they apologized)

  84. funny experience 🙂 , did you wrote any emails to the management? how was the reaction?

  85. Lucky, this issue with taking pictures is a cultural issue. I’ve quite familiar with Luanda for more than 15 years and taking pictures is not something they appreciate, especially when its a Caucasian behind the lens.

    If you did this downtown police would come and seize your camera unless you paid a bribe. You would lose your photos and risk losing your camera. It happens more than it should, and now it will get worst with the visa on arrival bringing more tourists to Luanda.

    Evidently, Angolan people are not rude, neither are they aggressive like other countries in Africa, they are in fact quite welcoming. You just need to understand that Angola’s culture is based on crony communism which means that is little to no incentive to improve. This coupled together with a country that was at war for +20 years led to the creation of myths in the population and government in regards to people’s true intentions when they are taking pictures of something rather than themselves.

    Ever since Emirates took over TAAG management (which they abandoned after a dispute), workers are afraid that an English guy taking pictures and notes is making a report to present to management. They don’t understand why someone would devote so much time taking pictures in such detail for something other than what I mentioned above.

    If you think TAAG is currently awful, you should have tried flying with them 10 years ago. Not that TAP is any better though.

  86. I love the humour in your writing, your reviews are among the best!

    Hope you got some compensation for this terrible service.

  87. Way back in the early 90’s the TAAG use to fly Russian aircraft, I remember catching an Russian il-62 from Luanda to Lisbon. 30 mins into the flight we returned back to Luanda to get fuel. Good to see they are filling up before they depart. For quirky long haul flights perhaps try Surinam Airways A340 Amsterdam to Paramaribo.

  88. Sounds like United but at least you weren’t thrown off the flight and/or forcibly arrested. The legacy US flight attendants must get the same training as the TAAG Angola folks.

  89. As an FA who has just had someone taking pictures on an aircraft I was working on, it can be intimidating when you don’t know the nature. Personally when I had this customer pointing a camera at me from a short distance without my permission or any sort of explanation I found it very uncomfortable and almost threatening as you don’t know why they are taking the pictures or where it could end up. Although I am not agreeing with how you were treated by the crew I just thought I’d explain how it made me feel and maybe that’s why the crew were defensive and rude. Once this customer actually came into the galley and had a conversation with us about what he does and why he enjoys to take pictures of aircrafts I had an understanding and was happy for him to proceed. However he didn’t do this until the end of the flight so for the entire flight I was extremely wary of him which reflected on how I served him. This could have been very different if he explained during/after boarding. Again I don’t agree with how the crew treated you especially when you are very innocent in the situation. But as we are trained to ensure constant security I’m sure you could imagine what goes through our minds when a camera is pointed at us.

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