“ Based in Accra, Ghana. Formerly Ghana Airways. „
My father travelled from London to Accra on Sunday 27 July. His baggage did not arrive with him. He waited for over an hour for his bags in full view of the customer service agents. Only found out there was a problem when he approached them. He was then informed the baggage was left behind in London and would follow on 30 July. On 30 July, we went to the airport, but no bags. Then to Ghana International Office where no senior manager would come and speak to a large group of customers whose bags hadn't arrived. We were assured the baggage would arrive on 31 July in the morning. Except later, we were told it would arrive at 4.20pm. Got to the airport to find the bags hadn't arrived, then we were given copies of a letter from Ghana International to say the bags would arrive on 2 August!
Having been transferred to Ghana in the year 2000 and having lived their for a period of over one year I thought I might write an opinion on Ghana Airways, with whom I traveled with many times. Ghana Airways is the national airline of Ghana and their slogan is “Your Star in the Sky” They operate a fleet of DC10 aircraft, which they use for their long haul flights, and a fleet of DC9 aircraft, which they use on the short haul flights. Although these aircraft are quite old, they are maintained and serviced very well. The destinations covered by Ghana Airways, from and to the capital city Accra, are: Long Haul Flights ----------------- New York, Baltimore, London, Dusseldorf, Johannesburg, Harare, Dubai Short Haul Flights ------------------ Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Conakry (Guinea), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Banjul (Gambia), Cotonou (Benin), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Lome (Togo). Monrovia (Liberia), Bamako (Mali) New Destinations in development ------------------------------- Las Palmas, Washington, Toronto, Beirut, Luanda, Lusaka, Addis Ababa and Niamey. Passengers wishing to go to the destinations on the short haul flights have convenient connections through Accra, as these shorter flights are quite frequent. They also have joint ventures or affiliations with a few other airlines and can therefore offer different destinations (using some sectors with other airlines but with there cheap fare base) such as Beirut, Addis Ababa etc. In view of the immense competition from other airlines, Ghana Airways have faired quite well. At present there are many airlines operating too and from Ghana and these include, British Airways, KLM, Swissair, Alitalia, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air, South African Airlines, Middle East Airlines and a few others. The main incentive of flying with Ghana Airways, on say a
flight from London to Accra and back, is the price. This sector on average (Peak season/Off Peak season) would cost you about £600 return on Economy Class. Other airlines such as British Airways would cost about 25% higher than this. Their safety record is also very good and from what I understand they have not had one fatal crash (a death of a passenger) in their history. On the long haul flight they operate all three classes i.e. Economy, Business and First. This is beneficial to those who prefer First Class, since a majority of airlines have discontinued First Class altogether. Service on a off the ground, although sometimes erratic, is on the acceptable level. Considering the savings on the airfare, I for one can tolerate this slight inconvenience. Baggage is not a problem since most flights are direct, either from or to Accra. The only two major flaws, with Ghana Airways, is firstly the long queues at time of Check-In, at Accra, and delays on departure, especially during Peak Season Travel (Summer and Christmas). The first flaw, being the queues, is caused mainly due to excessive haggling by a majority of the passengers, over the payment of Excess Baggage. Many Ghanaians, traveling to Europe and the States, tend to take goods for sale and since the ticket handlers do allow negotiation, in the first place, it therefore causes this situation to always arise. This is very inconvenient for those passengers on normal holiday or business travel. The second flaw, being the delays, is actually not that bad in most cases. Delays are normally not more than a couple of hours. However there are the isolated cases where flights have been delayed for 12 hours or more. These delays are mainly for flights leaving Accra. Irrespective of these two flaws I personally would still continue traveling with Ghana Airways. Their fares are the cheapest, the service is acceptable and the staffs are polite and cordia
l at most times. I have not experienced any problems with them except one short flight delay of one hour. The airline is also improving and expanding at a brisk rate and over a short period of time, I am sure, Ghana Airways will become one of the major airlines of Africa. If you need to know more or check schedules etc you can visit their website at: www.ghana-airways.com
BA's only competitor on the direct route to Accra, and also useful for neighbouring destinations such as Banjul. Where is the best place to buy tickets on Ghana Airways? This is my best advice based upon 10 years experience of selling discounted airline tickets - but if you think you already know everything, and just want to find out the cheapest place to buy it for this airline, then skip to the last paragraph! Lets face it, all airlines can get you from A to B, sometimes you have to change at C, sometimes you have to hang around at C, but if price is your main concern, read on .... First, as an ex-travel agent, let me explain how the system works. Nearly all airlines belong to a cartel known as IATA, which amongst other duties, helps to regulate the official prices between each pair of worldwide destinations. My first piece of advice is, never phone the airline for the official fare, except as a last resort - their staff are trained to extract the highest fare they can get away with, and they are never going to tell you that one of their competitors has a better deal, or that you can save money going the next or previous day. Furthermore, they can only sell at the officially agreed price. Luckily for us consumers, and unluckily for the airlines, they cannot sell all their seats at the official price, especially if a much better, more direct airline has the same price. For example, if the official fare to, say, Bangkok is £600 from airline A (non-stop in 12 hours) and the same price from airline B (19 hours with a 7 hour wait changing planes in Karachi airport) then it is obvious which will sell out first. In order to generate market share, less popular airlines will unofficially discount their fares through wholesalers known as "consolidators" - these can sometimes save you more than half of the official fare. These consolidators appoint specialised agents, and sometimes
you can even save more money if the consolidator will deal with you direct. You may be surprised to learn that, depending on the length of the journey, the consolidator is only charging you £10 - £40 more than the "factory" price given to them by the airline. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not risky to deal with these so called "bucket shops" - If they let you down, they can be heavily fined or even jailed - everything is covered by the government ATOL scheme, so it is a lot safer than, for example, paying for a three-piece suite in advance to a High Street furniture chain. To summarise, these are my recommendations: Contact the airline for their best official price, on 0207 499 0201 Call the consolidator on 0207 - 323 0826 (Circle Travel - ATOL 84134)