I had to fly down to Durban last Sunday to speak at a conference. Unfortunately this meant that I had to cut short my visit to the BMW Polo at Inanda and miss the inevitable after party. Some years ago I used to be the MC at the polo and then that dreadful rag The Sunday Times decided to besmirch my name by calling me a racist which meant that the MC job went to somebody else. So it was rather nice to be readmitted once again to polite society as a VIP guest of BMW where, interestingly, there were no guests from The Sunday Times. Well not at the top table at any rate.
Rather than drive to O R Tambo airport I decided to take the Gautrain and what a pleasure it is. Fifteen minutes from Sandton to ORT and in superb comfort. This is something we Joburger’s should be very proud of. I was so fired up and enthusiastic about the train that I decided to try a Gautrain bus this week and went off to Rosebank in search of a bus stop. I asked the info desk at The Mall and they hadn’t a clue where the bus could be caught. I asked the locals and nobody knew and some didn’t even know there was a Gautrain bus. Someone told me that all you had to do was stand by the roadside and hail the bus and it would stop. So I tried that and it didn’t work. It’s hardly surprising the buses are running empty if people don’t know where to catch them. Eventually the incredibly helpful concierge at The Hyatt told me where to go and assured me that the bus stop was easy to find and very visible. It was, although the surrounding litter and stench of urine didn’t make it a very enjoyable experience. Come on guys, this is supposed to be a premium service. After a short wait the bus arrived and, like the Gautrain, it is pristine, comfortable and efficient.
Which is more than can be said for my brief encounter with 1Time Airlines. I could never understand why they called it that until last weekend but now I know. It’s because you’ll only ever want to use it the one time before moving back to a competitor. My flight down was delayed by over an hour and we all sat or stood like lemons at the departure gate wondering what the hell was going on. The 5pm boarding time passed and by 6pm there was no announcement and not even the words “Delayed” on the board. Eventually we boarded and only then came an explanation for the delay and an apology for any inconvenience caused. Then precisely the same thing happened the next day with the flight back to Jo’burg. Vague promises that we would be boarding soon turned out to mean 40 minutes later than schedule. The result was that I almost missed the last Gautrain back to Sandton and I did miss the bus service to Rosebank. If I had known how late we were likely to be I could have made alternative arrangements but nobody from 1Time communicated. So I have a 100% dissatisfaction score when it comes to 1Time and even though other passengers defended them and said how good they normally were I’m not sure I want to risk my hard earned money finding out. All they had to do was to tell passengers what was happening but they didn’t seem to know and when an airline doesn’t appear to know what it’s doing it seems sensible to make alternative travel arrangements.