South African Airways & local airports...

Apr 30th, 2001, 02:15 PM
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South African Airways & local airports...

I am planning a trip to South Africa in the next few weeks and I'm concern about the safety record of South African Airways. Any one knows much about this airline? Included in my itinerary, I have a lot of domestic flights to get from one point to the other. Also, are the airports in South Africa as chaotic as Egypt? Just want to be mentally prepared before I get there. Thanks for the info.
May 1st, 2001, 03:35 AM
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Although I do not have the statistical information to back it up, I believe that South African Airways have a very good safety rating. Their last major accident (one of only two or three total over many decades) was in 1987 or thereabouts. SAA is also a very punctual airline, with practically all flights taking off on time. The airports in South Africa are small by US standards, but operate quite effectively. The entire SAA operation is decidedly 'first-world', so not to worry.
May 1st, 2001, 04:24 AM
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Bert is right. I have traveled on SAA extensively, from major overseas flights lasting 18 hours to small planes lasting less than an hour. Its a real treat compard to most US flights.

Actually, Conde Nast Traveler magazine usually rates it in the top 10 airlines in the world based on many criteria.

Safety records are excellent.

And in terms of service, every time we are on a flight where we get a crummy bag of pretzels, my kids ALWAYS say, now if we were on SAA we'd be getting a proper meal, (even on hour long flights!)

Sunair and British Airways also operate domestic flights and are also good.

You may have to walk or take a bus from where your plane has parked to the terminal but all facilities are excellent.

My only gripe is the smoking they allow in the terminals.

But to end on a positive note, one thing I love, is that there is always help with your luggage. You don't have to lift any bags. Tips used to be R5 per bag.
May 1st, 2001, 05:59 AM
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On our last trip to South Africa in November 1999, we found the Cape Town airport to be chaotic, something we had never experienced before in our 20 years of travel on SAA. Getting items examined and certified for VAT refund was cramped, disorganized, inefficient. Getting checked in for the flight was chaotic, as agents were dealing with two different flights at the same desks at the same time. This was the first time we had experienced anything less than stellar conditions in an SA airport. It wasn't as bad as Nairobi, for example, but not as "first world" as it used to be. Durban and Johannesburg airports seemed to be suffering some too. As I understand it, airport operations had just been privatized. Maybe we hit them at a rough period in the transition.

May 1st, 2001, 09:44 AM
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On the contrary, I thought the Joburg airport to be the nicest I have ever seen. The shopping is great and it is clean and beautiful. I asked a coffee server if there was a sit down restaurant anywhere, and he took our hefty bags and us, sat us down at a nice restaurant and got the waiter for us (It was very busy). On the contrary, in Nairobi, people were fainting and being carried ot of the waiting area because it was about 110 degrees crammed with people on 2 large flights. I love SA!!
May 1st, 2001, 09:52 PM
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Maybe I am a bit biased towards SAA because I stay here but also very critical towards their service and I can not complain. The other domestic airlines such as BA and Nationwide are also good - the competition between these airlines bodes well for the traveller.

I also never had reason to complain about the airports, so, enjoy your visit!

Don't forget to get some biltong and "droŽ wors".
May 9th, 2001, 01:24 PM
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SAA Is awesome. We flew them a year ago from Miami-CT and then Port Elizabeth-JNB-Victoria Falls-JNB-Miami. All of the flights were on time, they used very modern equipment (compare that to US airlines) and the service was excellent.
Cape Town airport is small and you have to walk out to the plane, but Jan Smuts in Johannesburg is one of the best airports I've been to-clean, decent shops and restaurants. Compared to my local airport-Washington Dulles it is great.
Jun 11th, 2001, 06:55 AM
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SAA have a very good safety record. Airports are nothing like Egyptian airports - they are clean and well run. Incidentally, Cape Town has a brand new international terminal.
Jun 19th, 2001, 02:05 PM
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Thank you for all your postings. Just returned from my trip to South Africa and Zambia and in effect South African Airlines offered excellent service. Flights were always on time and meals were preatty good.

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