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Flights to Windhoek, Namibia
I am going on a bowhunt to Namibia this July and need to fly to Windhoek. The route I flew last time was to Johannesburg, overnight, and fly the next day to Windhoek. Alternatively, there are some routes through Europe and the Middle East that offer directs to Windhoek at a cheaper price. The best prices are with Qatar Air from Chicago to Doha airport in Qatar with a direct flight the following day to Windhoek. Has anyone flown this route? Any comments regarding the comfort/customer service on Qatar Air? Any issues with having a bow and arrow as checked baggage? Thanks.
You will need to get pre-approval for hour bow and arrow with Qatar. Otherwise, good airline.
I have flown ATL to Windhoek via Frankfurt via Delta Airlines.
I flew ALT to Frankfurt. Arrive early AM. Get a day room right across the street from the airport and get some sleep. Ck out mid aft and walk back across the street and take an Air Namibia to Windhoek. Arrive in Windhoek early AM next morning. Have possibility of catching an afternoon hunt if concession is not too far from Windhoek airport (4 hrs + or -).
Windhoek airport is much less chaos than Joburg airport. The airport is about 25 miles outside of the city in the desert. You will deplane on a tarmac and walk under airport security to the airport building to go thru immigration, customs and baggage claim. Not your ordinary airport arrival procedure.
I would stick with some proven travel routes rather than flying all over the Middle East where rules,regs, restrictions and language are vague. A lot of Germans fly out of Frankfurt to Namibia to hunt so the airlines know what is happening. The same is true for the Joburg airport. Afton House and African Sky are the two hunter "lay-over" facilities in Joburg. You will get excellent service and treatment from both.
Eric, What is involved in getting pre-approval with Qatar?
Don't forget to use a companion fare coupon to get a cheaper fare for Lena!
I have done the Frankfurt to Windhoek route before too. It's an easy process and if you do not want to leave the airport you can get a day pass to one of the lounges for around $35. It gives you a shower, food, and a nice place to take a nap.
You will need to call the airline directly and get approval at least 48 hours in advance in order to fly Qatar. I would call them and get all of the details before buying a ticket.
I have sent an email to Qatar air asking about flying with checked archery equipment. Their website says "no weapons" but does not specify if that pertains only to carry on. I will let all know what I find out. I would much prefer the direct Delta flight from Atlanta to Johannasburg with a flight the next day to Windhoek but that option is quite a bit more expensive. Right now I am looking at Iowa to Windhoek via American/Qatar Air for $1700. Iowa to Johannasburg via Frankfurt on United/Lufthansa is $2100. An additional $250 to fly from Johannasburg to Windhoek. The days you choose to fly have a modest impact on price.
I just flew with Qatar to Windhoek with bow in Terraglide. Nobody asked any questions, and I never heard about any preapproval. Maybe from US it is different requirement, at least not when flying from Europe. Flying with rifles is a different story.
My first two trips to WDH, I took flights from ORD to Frankfort then Air Namibia direct to WDH. The layover was a pain, Air Namibia is notorious for canceling flights at the last minute, and I don't speak German. My last two trips to WDH, I took British Air from ORD to LHR to JoBerg to WDH. There's an 8 hour layover in London, but they speak English there and a Tubes ride into downtown is about $6.00 US one way. British Air was MUCH cheaper ($1235 roundtrip all in) , and the food and service was very good.