South African Airway

Oct 10th, 2000, 03:14 PM
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South African Airway

We flew to SA in June on SAA using Delta ff miles. We found their service to be fine -- as good as any US carrier. Also, we thought they were far superior to other African airlines we took within Africa. If you have any questions, please e-mail me directly.
Oct 11th, 2000, 12:00 AM
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I flew SAA last year when they were partnered with American Airlines. I thought the service was great. It was a very comfortable flight to be so long (14 hrs. straight from Miami to Cape Town) and I was introduced to foods on the flight I never had before.
Oct 11th, 2000, 03:39 AM
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Try and locate a consolidator ( no advertising on this forum) as their prices are usually a lot lower than directly booking with the airlines (if price is an issue). I believe that some flights on certain days of the week make additional stops - if you have the choice try to pick the most direct route. Despite stops etc I think it is more convenient to fly from USA to SA directly rather than through Europe. I don't have recent experience with intra-SA travel but I know it is very expensive. Not sure if there is even a choice of airlines at this time.
Oct 11th, 2000, 04:29 AM
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I flew SAA from Atlanta to Joburg and back from Cape Town earlier this year. The service was fairly good with the only negative being that they never seemed to have enough bottled water - carry your own if you like to have water on such long flights. On intra-SA travel we had good service and flew on small 40 seater Bombardier jets. I would rate the airline to be quite good.
Oct 11th, 2000, 11:53 AM
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I flew them last year-Miami-CT-Port Elizabeth-JNB-Vic Fallas-JNB-Miami. They were great! Much much better than any US Airline and the crew really made an effort. The only slight problem is that there has just been a ruling in a South African court that SAA must employ an HIV positive person to be a flight attendant. Already sales have started to fall and people have been cancelling reservations so this may be one thing you want to bear in mind.
Oct 13th, 2000, 07:00 AM
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We've flown SAA many times, when it was a partner with American Airlines & flew from JFK and Miami, but not since it's changed to partnering with Delta and flying from Atlanta.

Every flight but one was excellent, with good food, good wine, staff who knew their job. Flying direct from the US is nice--if you go through Europe you have a whole day of layover, which means you arrive in SA in the morning having missed two nights of sleep. From the US, you arrive in late afternoon, having spent only one night on the plane.

The problem we encountered was on the return flight of our November 1999 trip. The checkin in Cape Town was chaotic. A flight to England was leaving at about the same time, and they were checking in people for both flights at all desks, rather than allocating different desks for each flight. However, occasionally people would stand in long lines only to get up to the desk and be sent to a different line. Our seat assignments weren't honored on this flight either, a thing which has never happened to us on SAA before (and which was probably the fault of our travel agent, not SAA). All our previous experiences with SAA had been very orderly, so we were really nonplussed by this one.

I'd still recommend SAA, mostly because of the direct flight.

(When USAfrica Airways was flying, it was great, almost as good as SAA at its best.) I'd give thumbs down to BA service to SA - they lie about seat assignments, and put you in smoking when you ask for non-smoking, and generally treat you like a problem, instead of their source of revenue.

For the most comfort (Ha!) on such a long flight, try to get a seat in the upstairs, assuming it's a 747. They're more comfortable than the ones down in steerage.

Within the country we found SAA to be just fine, unexceptional.

If you deal with a travel agent, be sure to ask if they charge a fee for credit card use! Some are doing that now on flights to SA, and it's a hefty fee. If your credit card gives you frequent flyer miles, you definitely want to use it to pay for the trip, so ask about this upfront.

I get flyers from a couple of travel agencies specializing in SA (I think they are consolidators, or at least they discount the fares somewhat) -- they are Premier Travel & Tours,; Travel Spirit, 1-800-770-4326; Karell Travel,

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