Asky Airlines

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  JohnnyG 9 Apr 2019
at 00:42
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  • DavidSmith2
    Participant

    Afternoon all,

    I am due to experience the West African regional airline, ASKY, this weekend.

    Travelling from Accra to Banjul (with a short stopover in Monrovia) in business class.

    Any members have any experience of ASKY and what to expect? Online reviews are mixed but more negative than positive, but some are probably a bit outdated now.

    Grateful for any advice.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    When I used to fly in that part of the world I used to reckon that if I arrived alive, uninjured and without the contents of someone’s stomach over me that was the best to hope for.

    My golden rule was always to take non-stop rather than direct or connecting flights since most incidents occur in the landing and takeoff phases, and the transits are generally hellish too. That said, I don’t think there any nonstops ACC BJL.

    I have a friend who still flies a fair amount in that region and he says ASKY is one of the better ones. The average age of their 737s is 14 years, they are leased from ET and presumably maintained by them, and they have had 0 fatal events despite one a/c written off.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    DavidSmith2
    Participant

    Just to complete the thread…

    I flew Asky Accra-Monrovia-Banjul last week, returning Banjul-Freetown-Accra.

    Total journey time is a little over 4 hours, with a 40 minute touchdown in either Monrovia or Freetown, depending on the day of the week.

    The plane is a Boeing 737.

    Business class was like a journey back in time, probably to the mid-1990s. The seats are the big, wide leather ones with a decent recline and footrest. They even still had ashtrays in the arm. Very comfortable. The food was plastic and pretty tasteless with everything cellophane-wrapped. The wine was undrinkable and the orange juice was a sugary nectar. There was no IFE.

    But check in and boarding went fine, the flights were more or less on time, the cabin crew were decent and the pilot announcements were short but relevant.

    So no real complaints and will certainly use them again – not that I will have much option anyway in this part of the world.

    Next week I am flying Kenyan Airways business class but just the last leg of the Nairobi-Accra-Monrovia flight. We will see how that compares!

    Cheers.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    DavidSmith2
    Participant

    Well, Kenyan Airways was quite ok. An unusual fight because it flies from Nairobi to Freetown, Sierra Leone, but with stops en route in Monrovia and Accra. I was therefore on the middle leg of three. But service was decent – edible meal of chicken/rice and a small dessert on my 2 hour flight.

    The ‘adventure’ however was Monrovia Airport. I have never seen such a disorganised airport, particularly as they were only checking in the one flight. 4 queues, 3 check-in counters and the allegedly ‘business’ queue was shared with one of the economy queues, although it probably wasnt even as organised as that.

    After 20 mins, with only 4 people in front of me, and going nowhere, I moved to an economy queue which seemed to be moving much faster. Another 20 minutes later I got to the front and the lady told me I should be in the business queue. I pointed out that the person in front of me in that queue had still not been processed so she sorted me.

    the security check was the highlight though. Neither the scanner nor the metal detector were working so we had a very basic physical search of my computer bag and a 5 second pat down. Not something I have seen in an international airport for many years.

    The lounge lived down to my expectations with room-temperature water and coke, a plate of dry biscuits and some airline magazines from 2016.

    Anyway, I loved it so much, I am going back next month for another go. Then on to Sierra Leone and we’ll see what Freetown has to offer.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    SenatorGold
    Participant

    Freetown is an interesting place. The journey from the airport at Lungi to Freetown is an adventure. I haven’t been there in nearly ten years. At that time the options for the transfer were (a) helicopter flown by Utair (a Russian airline I believe) (b) hovercraft or (c) ferry. At that time all services had encountered problems to put it mildly. I took the helicopter service which offered an amazing aerial view of the Sierra Leone river. I believe the helicopter service doesn’t operate any more and there is a high speed boat transfer. I’m not sure how reliable it is. At least there’s a Radisson in town now. I stayed up in Hill Station.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    DavidSmith2
    Participant

    Thanks SenatorGold. Yes, the helocopter service no longer runs so the boat it will be. I gather its ok though. Will almost certainly be staying at the Radisson Blu.


    JohnnyG
    Participant

    DavidSmith2
    Freetown is amazing, Travelled there 3 times last year, twice LHR CGN FNA and once LHR -AMS-FNA.

    As SenatorGold has stated Lunghi to Freetown is an experience, the 35 minute Sea Coach ferry is the only option compared to a 3 hour drive. Lunghi is light years behind anywhere else I have been to. After collecting your luggage you will be faced by a wall of either sea coach personnel (use them) or others offering to carry your bags to the bus transport (read minibus) and purchase your ferry ticket. The fare is $40 or the current equivalent in Leones or GBP. Give them the exact $40 then a small tip after otherwise you will not, I guarantee it, see any change at all.

    First time I got ripped off for $20 for a 60 second walk. Non Sea coach personnel will also try to pass you onto another person so that they will expect tips as well, Quite funny when you suss it out. The bus will take you to the ferry pier, where you might be lucky in only waiting a short period of time or it might be over an hour while the staff push you for drinks etc, Not particular welcome at 4a.m.

    The ride s only 35 mins and is ok, the ferry’s are equipped ok. The landing point in Aberdeen is now better as they new facility has been opened. The Radisson is only about 15 mins from the ferry, it is full of NGO oicks, so arrogant, the food there is ok,

    The Rad’ is on Lumley beach, if you have time certainly go for a walk down there. If staying in Freetown itself, you will find it amazing from great poverty to wealthy Lebanese. The sights, sounds, smmells etc are incredible, but the traffic is horrendous. Finally, if using taxis, have fun. You certainly need a broad sense of what is roadworthy and what isnt, Incidentally the locals are very friendly.

    Enjoy your time there,

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Swissdiver
    Participant

    I might miss something here: why don’t you ask the hotel to arrange this for you? It seems the service exists: https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-freetown/services. And I am sure it can be customised if needed.


    openfly
    Participant

    Do they still carry out executions on Lumley beach at 9am on the first Saturday of the month??!!


    JohnnyG
    Participant

    Under the guidance of the new mayor, Freetown is going under a huge change not only in the physical nature but also in the mentality of the people. Gone are the days of letting things go, she has instigated many new policies to help the people of Freetown to not only look after the environment more but also make them realise that tourism will be there saviour , as opposed to the wealth being stripped out of the country by the Chinese.

    I can also recommend Lagoonda, a Lebanese owned Restaurant and Casino complex a few minutes from the Radisson, Great food and staff.

    Lumley beach on a Sunday morning is a hive of activity, I loved it.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    as opposed to the wealth being stripped out of the country by the Chinese.

    I wish her every success in avoiding that, as it’s happening in many other countries in Africa, making white colonialism look like a vicar’s tea party.


    prosborn
    Participant

    What a glorious picture: the Rad being full of glad-rag “NGO oicks”. Can see it now. Full of their logical framework guff, skipping from one networking break to another empowering SWOT analysis, all the while being the foot soldiers of the Lords of Poverty. (Once a too-true book from back when the Internet had no Web).
    So many good people, still, again, in Freetown. Banana beach, yummy.


    DavidSmith2
    Participant

    I guess this thread could be expanded to other west african regional airlines. I have now used ASKY, Ethiopian and Peace Air. yesterday was my first experience with African World Airlines (AWA), which is a small Ghanaian company, running regional and short haul flights with a fleet of Embraers.

    I flew Monrovia to Accra, via Freetown. Impression was very positive. Ontime departure and arrivals. Captain out of the old BA school of comforting and interesting announcements, fresh and tasty sandwich and exotic selection of juices (single cabin service). Very friendly cabin staff and all seats vacated in Freetown were inspected and cleaned before new passengers boarded. Subject to timings, I think they will be my carrier of first choice, especially as they plan to introduce a ‘business class’ service very soon.

    Still a couple of other options to look at yet though, and Binter to look forward to in August (Banjul to Gran Canaria).


    SenatorGold
    Participant

    I guess this thread could be expanded to other west african regional airlines. I have now used ASKY, Ethiopian and Peace Air. yesterday was my first experience with African World Airlines (AWA), which is a small Ghanaian company, running regional and short haul flights with a fleet of Embraers.

    I flew Monrovia to Accra, via Freetown. Impression was very positive. Ontime departure and arrivals. Captain out of the old BA school of comforting and interesting announcements, fresh and tasty sandwich and exotic selection of juices (single cabin service). Very friendly cabin staff and all seats vacated in Freetown were inspected and cleaned before new passengers boarded. Subject to timings, I think they will be my carrier of first choice, especially as they plan to introduce a ‘business class’ service very soon.

    Still a couple of other options to look at yet though, and Binter to look forward to in August (Banjul to Gran Canaria).

    Very interested to read about African World Airlines and to hear of a positive impression. I should be visiting Ghana in July and am likely to be flying on their domestic services so I’m encouraged by your report.


    DavidSmith2
    Participant

    @senatorgold,

    I cannot yet vouch for their domestic service but I hope my review will not raise expectations unreasonably. My wife is due to take a domestic flight next month so I may be able to update my review on that basis – plus I am doing another AWA flight in April from Freetown to Accra so we will see if the levels are maintained.

    And of course you (and any other BT members) are welcome to a regional social event in July, over a glass or two, at Smoke n Barrels in Accra.

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