Fly Airlink An Updated Guide April 2021

Botswana is open for International Travel

International air travel has resumed into Botswana and travellers can now fly into Kasane, Maun and Sir Seretse Khama International Airports. Before flying into Botswana with Airlink the following COVID19 requirements need to be met by all travellers.

COVID 19 protocols on arrival in Botswana

  • Present a printed original test certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted within 72 hours of departure for Botswana.
  • Undergo health screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If arriving at Maun Airport, a Rapid Antigen Test (free of charge) is required. Results are available after about 20 minutes.
  • Complete a traveler locator form with accurate contact information while in Botswana so that the local Health Authority can contact you.
  • Mandatory quarantine
  • Any visitor showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to undergo a PCR test, and possible isolation and or quarantine for 14 days.
  • COVID19 protocols on departure from Botswana
  • Travellers are required to undergo a PCR test 24 hours before departing Botswana. A PCR test can be done at Kasane Airport or Maun Airport before departure. Your lodge or hotel would be able to assist you in booking the PCR test before departure. You are liable for the costs of these tests.
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Airlink Flight Review Economy Class Kasane to Johannesburg

My international flight review of local South African carrier, Airlink has been updated to reflect changes brought on by the COVID19 pandemic. The flight from Kasane, Botswana to Johannesburg, South Africa was taken after spending time at Chobe National Park. Flight 8307 was a full economy class flight although I have seen this flight offering business class fares. Currently as of April 2021 the are 3 flights a week between Johannesburg and Kasane International Airport. The airport is along the A33 Road, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south of the town and was a ten minute transfer from our hotel, the Chobe Marina Lodge.

There are two main airline carriers work out of BBK, Airlink and Air Botswana and a number of small charter companies that run flights into the Okavango Delta. Check in at Airlink offers a premium section for business class passengers if offered on the day and your economy class check in. Although the flight was full economy class to Johannesburg, all counters where open and used for check in. The check in and baggage drop was fast and efficient and the staff at the counters were friendly and polite. Airlink suggests downloading boarding passes to your phone before your flights departure. All boarding passes need to be scanned by the passenger and NOT handed to airline staff. Once our boarding passes had been issued, customs departure forms needed to be filled out prior to departure through the security area and all COVID19 requirements needed to be met.

What Is The Airlink Baggage Allowance?

  • Economy Class cabin baggage. One piece of cabin baggage no more than 8kg in weight and a laptop bag.
  • Business Class cabin baggage. Two pieces of 8kg each plus and a laptop bag.
  • Economy class checked baggage. One piece at 20kg.
  • Business class checked baggage. Two pieces at 30kg.

Airlink - Coronavirus

When arriving for your flight with SA Airlink try arrive at least two hours before departure. Face masks are required inside the terminal building and on board the flight. 

Try to check in online and keep your boarding pass on your phone. At the airbridge passengers sitting on window seats are boarded first. All passengers are hand sanitized as they board the aircraft.

All passengers disembark from the front to back, one row at a time.

For the most up to date information about flying during the COVID19 pandemic please follow this link for more on COVID19 protocols.

Kasane Airport And Lounge Options

Kasane Airport is small and there is little in the way of shopping land side. There is one restaurant land side if you want drinks or a snack before departure but again with very limited choices. We chose to rather clear customs and security and relax airside. There is no free wifi available anywhere inside Kasane International Airport at the time of writing this review.

The Airlink flight is an international flight so you will find that there is a duty free area once though immigration. The choices at duty free are very limited and not that cheap at all. It’s better to wait until you land in South Africa if you must do duty free shopping as there is far better choices and much better prices at O.R. Tambo International Airport. 

On this Airlink flight there was no lounge access no matter what tier status you have with any international airlines or with Airlink. The lounge airside, Nthula Lounge is not open to business class passengers on any airline travelling out of Kasane International Airport. The lounge is open to various credit card clients and Priority Pass card holders only. The other option is a cash visit that will cost you $30.00 per person.

The lounge offers limited drinks, food and WiFi with comfortable seating and clean toilets. If you have a long wait for your flight this is a comfortable option. The lounge was very quiet with only three other passengers in it. Charge all your devices in the lounge as there are no charging facilities once on board your flight to Johannesburg.

The Embraer ERJ 135 air jet that we flew on carries 37 passengers and thankfully arrived on time from Johannesburg. We watched the passengers disembark before the plane was cleaned and disinfected. We then got called to board our flight to Johannesburg. At Kasane International Airport you walk out to board your plane across the tarmac and there is no shelter from the elements. Keep your sunglasses handy.

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On board our Airlink flight to Johannesburg it was business as usual. All hands are sanitised as you board the plane and the only items you really need to touch are the seat belt and the over head storage space for your luggage. Once everyone was seated there was a quick safety briefing and then an easy take off for Johannesburg. Keep your cameras close at hand during the take off phase of the flight as it offers you spectacular views of the Chobe River as you climb out of Kasane International Airport.

The seats on board our Airlink flight to Johannesburg did not offer charging facilities so make sure you have all your devices charged up before departure. The seats offer a width of 17.3 inches and a pitch of 31 inches. The best seat for a single traveler in my opinion is 1A as its a single seat with slightly more leg room.There is also no entertainment on board although watching some passengers proved the best entertainment on the flight. The flight time is approximately 90 minutes. The single cabin crew member provided fast friendly service throughout the flight. At the moment no on board catering is offered due to COVID19 restrictions. The single on board toilet was kept very clean during the flight.

Airlink is financially independent of South African Airways and this was stressed during the flight. It has nothing to do with SAA and Airlink has changed its branding from SA Airlink to Airlink in an effort to disassociate itself with SAA. Flying Airlink on this route was quick and easy and everyone I came into contact with provided great service. I would recommend looking at Airlink if you are planning flights within Southern Africa. You might like to check out my flight review of low cost South African airline, FlySafair here.

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