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Review: South African Airways


A very pleasant change!

  • By SilverTraveller Jacks10

    9 reviews

  • Nov 2012
  • London, Heathrow
  • Oliver Tambo, Johannesburg
  • Solo
  • Economy

83 people found this review helpful

Having been tied in by Loyalty Points to the 2 main British carriers, BA and Virgin Atlantic for many years, I was feeling rather nervous about flying on a carrier other than those. This change was dictated by cost as the SAA fare was considerably cheaper than other direct flights.

What a pleasant surprise!

Check in was fast and stress free. Plenty of counters – all fully staffed.

Boarding was handled efficiently in economy class, boarding those with children and special needs first followed by rows from the rear forward. What a pleasure! Instead of fighting one's way through everyone and scrabbling for overhead locker space, we were all able to make our way quickly and efficiently to our seats allowing the boarding process to be free flowing. Crew members also endeavoured to assist people with their overhead lockers instead of just standing around looking bored.

Boarding was completed well inside departure time and the doors were closed and we took off well on time. Once cruising level was achieved the staff immediately started their well rehearsed service, drinks and special meals and then the main meal service. Efficient and caring it was completed in a reasonable time allowing people to settle down early for the nights ahead. The In-Flight entertainment had a varied package of films which should have kept everyone occupied.

Seat pitch was 33" compared to BA and VS 31". Width 17" slightly narrower than the 17.5" afforded by BA and VS. Comfortably adequate for me. these measurements do vary with the aircraft equipment used.

The catering was good and tasty. Nice to be on a different carrier that offers a different variety of choice. Sometimes Virgin Atlantic, in particular, can get rather monotonous in their offerings .

We arrived early in Johannesburg and I left the aircraft feeling rested and not as if I had "endured" 11 hours plus in a sardine can. Baggage arrived safely too. In all a more pleasant experience than I had expected.

Maybe it's time for all of us to try an alternative – might be good for us! I also did receive my air miles as SAA is an alliance partner with Virgin Atlantic. I think we are all too tied in with the air-miles system to somehow think outside the box and try another airline. Let's be a bit more adventurous with our travelling! Happy Christmas to everyone!

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 1 Comment(s)

  • JohnP
    over 3 years ago
    I agree; we flew Heathrow-Joburg with SAA and much preferred it to BA. On a later visit we found the Alliance consortium had levelled down the service: a pity.