Showing posts with label South African Airways. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South African Airways. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

South African Airways Johannesburg to Cape Town

The ground experience in JNB leaves something to be desired, even for transoceanic business class customers. The customs agents arrived at their well after the aircraft landed. Contrary to what was said onboard, they wanted filled out immigration cards from everyone too. Once I got through that issue, I went to the SSA business class arrivals lounge for a shower. It was closed. I waited for 15 for it to open, even though it appeared fully staffed. The shower/changing room was nice, but the coffee machine was broken and the food spread unappealing.
Arrivals Lounge Look
Slightly dejected, I worked my way through security and to the domestic lounge. The food spread was ample, English style breakfast options mainly, and the coffee machines was manned by baristas. I enjoyed some caffeine and eggs while waiting for my departure to Cape Town. The view was wonderful and I enjoy watching aircraft land with the sunrise.
SAA Business Class breakfast
SAA A320 Business Class Seat
There are 24 business class (like first class in the USA) seats onboard the A320. This is twice the number United carries, so award space is always ample. The cabin was less than half full, so there was plenty of room to spread out.  The crew was very friendly and I felt like they were genuinely excited to fly with me that morning. The breakfast, my third of the morning, was tasty and was nice to pick at. Sadly, it was too early for alcohol.  It's a pretty arrival on the way into CPT and I was glued to my window for the final 30 minutes of flight.
SAA 737

Monday, June 13, 2016

South African Airways’ Business Class Was Cool

South African Airways introduced the Airbus A340-600 in 2003. An obsolete jet now (the world prefers two engines); it was the height of innovation 12 years ago.  The interior was also state of the art with 42 angled flat seats in business class and 275 seats in coach. Every seat came with its own on demand video screen.  The A340 has an impressive range and can route anywhere because it isn’t bound by ETOPS restrictions.  
Upright Business Class Seat
Think back and recall what other airlines were flying in 2003.  United’s 777 flagship aircraft featured Lazy Boy style recliners in business class and a TV with 9 channels of looping video content. First class was a flat bed with on demand video because a flight attendant brought around video tape cartridges for the system.  ATA was an airline and flying L-1011’s while Northwest was going strong.  SAA looked like a cool foreign carrier with a top notch product.
Seat Fully Flat
Leg Room in Row 1
The average onboard experience has progressed in the last decade and SAA’s aircraft feels antiquated.  Flat beds not parallel to the floor are being removed and direct aisle access is the new norm.  The seats onboard are in good shape and reasonably comfortable.  Everything works as designed, TV’s were thicker and fuzzier back then, and there were no personal space issues even with a full business class cabin.

Breakfast 10 Hours After Take Off
Dinner Immediately After Take Off
I did enjoy my 11 hour flight from Perth to Johannesburg. The service and catering were great.  Dinner and breakfast were both satisfying and the wine list was wonderful.  I was easily able to sleep for 6+ hours and left the aircraft relaxed, rested, and excited for my wine tour the next day. The ground experience in JNB left much to be desired, but that’s a story for later.