SAA Flyers - ATL Changes

Old May 6th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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SAA Flyers - ATL Changes

I've been hearing about the new Airbus flights - being much more crowded than the 747's and being a longer flight. SAA was using the same flight times for the Airbus as they were for the 747 even though it was landing 1-1.5 hrs late. So it looks like they are changing the flight times to actually reflect how long the flight is. Here is a SAA announcement to travel agents about this.

Dear Travel Partner,

South African Airways Schedule Update - Atlanta Summer Schedule 2004

Effective June 1st 2004 South African Airways will be making a change to its Atlanta schedule.

The Airbus A340-600 has been operating the Atlanta to South Africa services since February 1st and with this experience it has been decided that a short fuel stop in Ilha do Sal en route to South Africa over the summer period is an operational necessity.

We apologize for the late notification of this schedule change. Despite our best efforts to accelerate the decision making process, it has taken longer than we would have liked.

The good news is that we will now operate with a full passenger load.

The schedule effective June 1st until August 31st 2004 will be as follows (all times local):

Atlanta to Johannesburg and Cape Town (Monday/Wednesday/Sunday)
SA212 Dep. ATL 1030 Arr. JNB 1015 Arr. CPT 1325

Atlanta to Cape Town and Johannesburg (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday)
SA210 Dep. ATL 1030 Arr. CPT 0955 Arr. JNB 1255

Atlanta to Johannesburg (Friday)
SA212 Dep. ATL 1030 Arr. JNB 1015 Johannesburg and Cape Town to Atlanta is unchanged.

The New York operation is unaffected . Flight SA 202 JFK-JNB will continue to operate non-stop over this period.

These schedule changes will be displayed in the CRS's tomorrow, Thursday May 6th.


Please ensure that your customers whose flights now misconnect with domestic or regional flights in Johannesburg or Cape Town are rebooked. Tickets will not need to be re-issued unless the routing is changed e.g. via New York. In this case the original fare can be used as a credit towards a higher South African Airways fare. Any normal South African Airways re-issue charge will be waived.

We appreciate that this change is an inconvenience, but would also like to stress that we are committed to minimizing this wherever we can. Amidst the frustration there will be one big advantage, you will have access to more seats during the peak travel months.

Thank you for your patience and as always, thank you for your continued support.

Director - Sales Operations
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Old May 6th, 2004, 08:54 AM
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Thanks so much for posting this information, Sundowner. Someone on this board (I think it was Liz) said that SAA has sometimes substituted a 747 for a scheduled Airbus, resulting in botched up seat assignments. Do you know if they are reliably using the Airbus now, or are they still changing planes sometimes?
Celia is offline  
Old May 6th, 2004, 02:25 PM
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I haven't heard that they have substituted 747's since they started the Airbus.

I did read the following about the new planes (and I always sat upstairs with the 34" and in-seat entertainment). Sounds pretty scary to me. This is a comment from a passenger on the new planes.

The seat pitch on the 747 was 32" downstairs (seat pitch on the upper deck of the 747 was 34"), the Airbus is less at 31". SEAT PITCH: This is the distance between a row of seats - the measurement from the same position on two seats, one behind the other - it is NOT the legroom area as some believe. (For example, the back face of the seat in front of you, measured to the same point on the back face of the seat you are sitting in).

The seating configuration of 2.4.2 is uncomfortable and congested.

Leg room is inadequate.

Every second seat has restricted movement due to the placing of a large box under the front seat. This, we believe, is to house the personalised entertainment system. You can only sit with one leg extended.

Ergonomics have been abandoned for economy - the seating is hard and has a lot of exposed hard metal edges.

Arm-rests have recessed cavities to access sound controls and are very uncomfortable. We filled the recesses with balls of rolled paper to achieve a semi comfortable flat surface on which to rest our arms.

Seats don't recline as far back as those of a Boeing, nor does the back-rest offer equivalent support.

The seating configuration has resulted in very narrow aisles - it's difficult to pass fellow passengers let alone avoid the refreshment carts. Passengers on aisles complain of arms and legs being bumped.

The galley areas are small and difficult to work in ... staff comments.

Overhead lockers seem smaller and storage space is a problem.

Toilet numbers have been reduced per passenger conveyed - queues congregate outside toilets. One toilet was out of order.

Toilet/wash-basin design is hardly ergonomic. It's very difficult to access a basin with one's face without dripping water all over the floor. It's design is to accommodate short people, and necessitates wiping up floors after moderate use.

My observations are based on thousands of flights over the years. The bad flights - few stand out. This one was, however, the worst I or my staff have experienced.

We are loyal SAA passengers, but even as SAA Voyager members, we would rather have sacrificed voyager miles for comfort on an alternate carrier.

Airbuses are not unfamiliar to me. They are adequate substitutes for Boeing, but the latest con-figuration in economy class is an absolute disaster. Many passengers, including ourselves, will obviously avoid booking SAA where alternative comfortable economy facilities are available.

The Airbus A340-600 is a very economy class passenger-unfriendly aircraft.

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Old May 6th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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That's the Airbus for you. Have yet been on one that has been comfortable. The interiors were never designed for passenger comfort. Oh, to have those Boeings 747s, (upper deck especially)any day! Now we'll have to see when they change to the Airbus on the route out of JFK.
Old May 8th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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Ugh. Sounds pretty miserable. But we're assigned to one of the 2's in the 2-4-2 configuration, so at least we'll be sleeping against only each other, and not a stranger.

Our last flight to SA was on Virgin, from Boston to London to Jo'burg. It was the most uncomfortable flight I've ever had. The seat padding was minimal (to put it as nicely as I can), and while I don't know what the pitch was, it was not very much. I hope SAA will be better.

I don't know if there's any comfortable way to get to SA without paying business class prices. You'd think some airline would notice that there's a market here!
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Old May 27th, 2004, 08:10 PM
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Starting in July SAA will be traveling out of Wash DC ( I think Dulles) rather than Atlanta. Heard he SAA staff talking about the change.
Have not see a press release yet.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 06:09 AM
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Rumor also has it that the partnership between SAA and Delta is likely to change/end. So if word has it that SAA will be flying out of IAD as of July, SAA might be partnering with United. Guess we'll find out soon enough.
Old May 28th, 2004, 06:35 AM
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Star Alliance welcomes South African Airways' decision to join the Alliance

FRANKFURT - March 4, 2004 - Star Alliance, the airline network for Earth, today welcomed South African Airways' decision to pursue membership in Star Alliance.

"We are always interested in adding quality airlines to our alliance, particularly those which already have long-standing and successful relationships with our member carriers," said Jaan Albrecht, CEO, Star Alliance. "South African Airways is the most prestigious carrier in Africa and will significantly enhance our network across the continent and beyond. It's good for customers, good for South African Airways and it's good for Star Alliance."

Albrecht said Star Alliance member carriers will be looking forward to making an official announcement at the next Star Alliance Chief Executive Board meeting in June.

Star Alliance was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer customers global reach and a smooth travel experience. The members are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Mexicana Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, Thai Airways International, United, and VARIG Brazilian Airlines. US Airways is scheduled to join the alliance in 2004.

SAA said once it joined the alliance, it would gradually do away with its independent partnerships with other airlines, such as Air France (3112.FR), Delta (DAL), Cathay Pacific (0293.HK), El Al (ELAL.TV), Qantas (QAN.AU) and Emirates Airlines (EA.YY).
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Old May 28th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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sundowner - thanks for the update - got lots of UAMiles.
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