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SAA - Experience Anyone?  
User currently offlineCxsjr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1648 times:

Hi, I'm looking at flying to CPT next February. Choice of airlines from UK are BA, VS and SA. Having flown both BA and VS in the past, I'm thinking of trying SA - has anyone any expereince of them and if so, what can you report? Thanks folks!

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePiedmontnut From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1622 times:

Hello,

Having flown all three I can say that I enjoyed my experiences with SA quite thoroughly. I would add that out of the three BA was the most enjoyable. But everyone has their own preference. I would be willing to give SA a whirl if I were you.

Kind Regards.  cheerful 



May the A380 arrive @ MCO in the near future.
User currently offlineCxsjr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1610 times:

Piedmontnut,

The thing that appealed to me about SAA as much ans anything was being able to fly out on a 744 and back on a 346. Apparently SAA still have economy on the upper deck (?) and I've not yet flown on the 346. SAA alternate daily between the two types on this route, or at least they do at this point in time.


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8440 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1603 times:
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Yes indeed, upper deck on the 744 is economy, and with 3" more seat pitch than main deck. I would highly recommend it, especially a window seat as the bins below the windows are useful legrests and create the illusion of even more space.

The 346 is a bit tight unless you can get the seat at the underfloor crew rest escape hatch, currently 74D but not sure if that has changed with some of the 346s being re-pitched. Overwing exit row 45 is also good, just not the AC or HK seats as they have seatbelt airbags as do the bulkhead row seats.

Other than that service and food are usually good, 346 and 744 have PTV at every seat and AVOD.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineCxsjr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1597 times:

Thanks guys, two thumbs up is enough for me - SAA it is and I'll do my best to get upstairs on the 744 going out .... and 3" extra legroom too! Thanks again!

User currently offlineAT502B From South Africa, joined Dec 2004, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1594 times:

Which class you wanting to go in?
If in Economy, avoid the A346 on SA. Those seats are tight! I definitely recommend SAA's Economy on the B744 upstairs. You get 34 inches for the price of a regular economy seat. I've flown BA but never VS, I'd say SA economy is on the same level as BA's World traveler in terms of food, IFE etc.
To be fair to the A346, SA has said they will be improving the Economy product this year but not sure when they will complete this switchover.
Enjoy Cape Town Big grin



I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning.
User currently offlineAT502B From South Africa, joined Dec 2004, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1593 times:

Darn it Andz beat me to it Big grin


I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning.
User currently offlineCxsjr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1585 times:

Thanks again guys - economy I'm afraid as to pay business myself would be at the expense of 2 or 3 more trips! However, as I'm not off there until Feb 2006, I guess (  crossfingers  ) that SA will have fixed the pitch in their 346's by then?

User currently offlinePiedmontnut From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1555 times:

Cxsjr,

I've not been on an SA A346 as of yet. So I would do it just for that fact if it was me. Do please enjoy your flight.

Safe Journey.

[Edited 2005-04-17 02:18:02]


May the A380 arrive @ MCO in the near future.
User currently offlineAviationwiz From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 961 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1547 times:

SAA is by far the best airline I've flown with. Avoid the A346 at pretty much all costs, but if you can't, try and get the row before the bulkhead, so the last row in the set of rows. Also, try and avoid the A or K seats, the window seats, the IFE Box is a killer on leg room.

Their B744 is by far the best for Economy, and even better on the upper deck, with increased pitch, and bins to store things next to you, so you don't have to store it above you or under the seat in front of you.



Proudly from the Home of the Red Tail.
User currently offlineShankly From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 1538 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1546 times:

Flew SAA Business LHR-CPT in March (having previously flown LH on this route) and SAA blew them away. Great service, great seat, good IFE and excellent crews. Having also regularly flown BA and SQ on Business, I put SAA on equal terms

Can't wait to get back on the SA221 in December for my next trip back to my house in Cape Town

Fly SAA!



L1011 - P F M
User currently offlineRichie87 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 61 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 1521 times:

Good time of year to be visiting South Africa, too ! Nice weather ! I think the SAA B744 would be the way to go... especially if you can get an upper-deck coach seat. I was lucky enough to be on one of those in Jan of 2003 from ATL to JNB. I also had it RESERVED on the return but they bumped me off of it with no explanation or apology whatsoever... but it was nice on the outbound flight. I had a window seat all the way forward just aft of the flight deck and it was FANTASTIC ! The PTV devices were pretty nice, too.

I have heard very little to thrill me about the A346 service until the airline completes the coach seat refit as noted in this thread. I'm very likely planning a return to SA in January of 2006... and will prob try the new service from IAD Washington Dulles which flies a B744 via Ghana to JNB. That service leaves in the morning, and arrives back in the morning at IAD... which makes overnight ( from the west coast of the US ) pretty easy and connections for the return equally easy. At this point I'd rather be on the B744 over the Airbus, and besides... I have never seen Ghana... even late at night !

Have a great trip... and you are certain to really enjoy South Africa ! It's a really "kiff" place.....  Smile


User currently offlineSA006 From South Africa, joined Sep 2003, 1883 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 1460 times:

Quoting Richie87 (Reply 11):
and besides... I have never seen Ghana... even late at night !

You're not allowed to get off the aircraft in Ghana and you land in the dead on night so you won't see a thing.

I have flown SAA A346's on two occaions just to Cape Town in economy. I mst say a 2 hour flight in that economy class is enough for me. Can't imagine something like a 17 hour flight to ATL.

flysaa's 744's Big grin

-SA006  wave 



Proudly South African
User currently offlineJoKeR From Serbia, joined Nov 2004, 2232 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1415 times:

SAA is excellent, excellent, excellent!

Always enjoy flying with them; good service, great planes, excellent wine  drunk 

Strongly recommended!



Kafa, čaj, šraf?
User currently offlineXpat From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 634 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1392 times:

Flew ATL-CPT, JNB-ATL in 2004 on a 346. It was quite cramped for the 15+ hour trip. But, service, food, AVOD are quite nice! After about hour 10 I wanted to get off that bird, really badly.


The only thing we have to fear is the sky falling on our heads. -Asterix
User currently offlineRichie87 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 61 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1356 times:

SA006... your pics on this site are pretty cool...
And most of the comments here lead me to think that flying the B744 at this point is probably a "little better ride" over the A346... for now. I'm barely 5 foot 6 inch and if I'M cramped... larger folks must really suffer at times on a loooong flight ! Yeah... and I know I can only "see Ghana at night" from the window of the plane, ha ha. But that's better than zip.

Actually... I'm thinking of taking the weekly "Premier Classe" ( as they call it ) deluxe overnight train from Joburg to Cape Town... it's a special service overnighter and looks like it might be kind of fun. Any experience with that one? Thanks for the comments, folks....  Smile


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8440 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1305 times:
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You mean the Blue Train?? Man if you can afford that you can afford to fly business class!


After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1277 times:

I too can highly recommend SAA's upper deck on the 744 - but you will have to reserve the seats by phone, and make sure you do it early. The best are the bulkhead at the front but any on the upper deck are great. I have flown LHR-JNB x2, CPT-LHR and JNB-LHR with them.

You can read more about the upper deck and my trip in my TR from last October, here.

Oliver



Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineRichie87 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 61 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1211 times:

Planes and Trains? No, Andz.. it's not the Blue Train or Rovos Rail or any of those hugely expensive trains.. it IS a special class of train that goes southbound on Thursdays and northbound from CT on tuesdays, op'd by, I believe, the national train "Spoornet" system... it's about $350.oo USD for a solo passenger... sleeper car, all meals, lounge car, etc.... and is a nice option for a one-day/night deluxe train service. Nope, I can't EVEN begin to think about business class. Advance purchase coach, freq flyer miles domestically and LONG planning are what makes my little middle-class butt able to travel overseas.

I'm really hoping that SAA continues the service to and from IAD in January... because I'm really convinced that I'd like to do the trip on a B744 and if I'm incredibly lucky... I'll get a seat on the upper deck coach again. Fingers crossed... still... it's aircraft like that and the A340, etc... that makes it possible to do that kind of travel from a $tandpoint of money....


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1206 times:

I flew ZRH-JNB (742), CPT-JNB (346) and JNB-ZRH (74L) on SA. All flights were nice, especially because I got a new aircraft type every time I flew on them.

The 346 flight was awesome because there is a camera in the tail installed and you can see the camera view on your PTV. A disadvantage on the 346 is that the seat pitch is quite narrow but I read a few days ago that they removed two rows in order to provide a more comfortable pitch, so it should be ok now.

Patrick


User currently offlineSpringbok747 From Australia, joined Nov 2004, 4387 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1193 times:

Having flown both the A346 and the B744, I can tell you the ride is much better on the B744. The seats are a bit wider, and more leg room. Try to get the exit row seats.

I enjoyed flying on the A346 also, like Sabena332 said, its pretty cool to see the aircraft take off on your PTV, the first time I saw that I was like...man, that's cool!!  bigthumbsup 



אני תומך בישראל
User currently offlineBlooBirdie From Lesotho, joined Sep 2003, 253 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1175 times:

In Feb we flew CE LGW-JNB-CPT-JNB-LGW and they were great. The cabin crew really tried hard, good food EXCELLENT service. Fabulous people!

Unfortunately JNB-CPT on the world's oldest and creakiest 727:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Zak Economides



User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8440 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1111 times:
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Richie then I have no idea, never heard of it! Have you checked the website?

http://www.premierclasse.co.za/



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineRichie87 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 61 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1083 times:

Andz.. yep, that's the one.... where I got my info on the Premier Classe from, and they wrote me back.

Interesting that there are still a few grand ol' B727 aircraft flying around southern Africa. I did many many flights on those around the American northwest and up to Alaska twice during the mid to latter 80's. I was on one from Denver to Portland on UAL about 5 or 6 approx. years ago... that was the last time.. and I don't think any of the US carriers are flying them now.


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8440 posts, RR: 10
Reply 24, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1022 times:
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I am flying JNB-CPT tomorrow and CPT-JNB on Thursday with Nationwide, hopefully I can get a 727 on one of them!


After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineTimRees From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2001, 354 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 985 times:

Flew LHR-CPT-LHR in March 2000 with SA. Outbound 744 and back on an aircraft you won't be able to fly now..one of their 742's.

The service both ways was excellent (Y) class and the captain's in both directions gave some of the best in-flight commentaries I'd ever heard. On landing into CPT the captain gave a guided tour of all the sights inbound (which was fantastic for a first time visitor). On the return, the captain was extremely entertaining, the chat going something like...
'Welcome aboard this SA 747 to ...where are we going....FRA..(worried looking passengers around me)..no I think it's LHR tonight. I'd like to share a few statistics with you about this fabulous aircraft. When we leave the ground in a few minutes time, we will be travelling at x mph and with y tons of fuel and weigh the same as z London buses (Can't remember the numbers now!). I always think it's amazing these things get off the ground'.

Great to hear that even the captain was impressed with the abilities of such an amazing aircraft as the 747.

Enjoy your trip, CPT is a fantastic city. I can't wait to go back one day.


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