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Africa's Best Airline? FRA-JNB On SAA A340-600  
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:




Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz



Background
After returning from Dubai in March, it was time to plan another trip - preferably a long-haul trip over a weekend. So I considered going to Canada, the United States or somewhere in the Gulf region again. I was planning to depart on Saturday and return on Monday or Tuesday. Additionally, I was trying to add some domestic hops to the itinerary. After checking countless flight options, I earmarked an itinerary including a flight on Austrian's Boeing 777 from New York to Vienna. That would have been a nice flight on a new carrier and a great plane, but I could neither find an overly exciting westbound transatlantic flight nor really interesting domestic flights.

Just out of curiosity, I checked flights to South Africa where I had always wanted to go. South African Airways - high on my list for a long time - had some special fares from Germany. After discovering an exciting itinerary including three interesting widebodies, I also found highly interesting domestic flight options. Now I couldn't resist any more and started booking. First of all, I booked Nuremberg-Frankfurt-Johannesburg (departure on Saturday) and Cape-Town-Johannesburg-Frankfurt-Nuremberg (arrival on Tuesday) on Cheap Tickets. Operating carriers: Lufthansa (A380), Lufthansa CityLine (CRJ700 and Embraer 190) and South African Airways (A330-200 and A340-600). Then I added a Johannesburg-Durban flight and a Durban-Cape Town flight on two different carriers (details to follow). Since I would spend two nights on the plane, I only needed to book a room for one night at a Cape Town airport hotel. Four days, three new airlines, three new airports, two four haulers and a brand new A330-200 - I was really looking forward to that short trip.

By the way, I also considered flying to/from Munich on SAA's A340-300 (in place of LH's A380), but I didn't want to end up on one of two former Iberia frames with original (out-of-date) Iberia interior. Those all-white planes, actually planned to be refurbished by mid-2011, have been used on all SAA A340-300 routes. And even though I had already flown on LH's A380, I didn't mind doing so again - actually I was even curious to find out how comfortable it would be on a 10 hour flight.





Saturday, May 2011
Frankfurt (FRA) - Johannesburg (JNB)
South African Airways SA261
Scheduled times: 20:45-07:15
Actual times: 20:46-07:14
Flight duration: 10:01 (hrs)
Distance: 5380 miles
Economy Class, seat 72K

Airbus A340-642
ZS-SNC (MSN 426)
Delivered in 02/2003


1st flight on ZS-SNC
3rd A340-600 flight
14th A340 flight
116th airline



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Photo © Dominik Zimmermann
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There was no need to rush on departure day, because I had already conveniently checked in online for both the NUE-FRA and the FRA-JNB flights on the evening before. Actually I had even pre-reserved my seats on all three widebody flights shortly after booking. I had simply called SAA's office in Frankfurt and a female agent had blocked the desired seats for me.  thumbsup 

Lufthansa CityLine CRJ700 D-ACPK - a new registration for me - flew me to Frankfurt in 31 minutes. During the bus tour to Terminal 1A I logged some registrations and was watching out for my SAA A340-600 which would be a special one as I had found out on ACARS in the morning.  Cool

Once at Terminal 1B, I went straight towards my gate. However, while walking, I suddenly spotted my plane being towed to the gate. I headed to the window and quickly took out my camera, but I had to wait because a cleaning lady was taking a picture of the plane with her mobile phone camera. Finally, it was my turn. Here it is, ZS-SNC, my favorite A340-600 in the SAA fleet - what a stunning bird:



ZS-SNC was delivered in February 2003 and painted in Star Alliance colors in January 2006. It's currently the world's one and only A340-500/600 wearing the Star Alliance paint scheme:



If SAA had asked me in advance which frame in the 9-strong A340-600 fleet I'd like to get, I would have demanded exactly that one. I couldn't get enough of it:


This was my third A340-600 now - and for the third time it turned out to be a special one. My first A340-600 had been Lufthansa's oldest frame (D-AIHA) and my second one had been Virgin's G-VGOA, the oldest A340-600 in commercial service. What comes next?  Wink

Numerous people were already waiting in the gate area, but it wasn't cramped. A gate agent announced boarding by row numbers, but after the process had commenced for priority passengers, I didn't hear any separate invitations any more. People were just lining up and I joined them.

A friendly female flight attendant welcomed me at the door, but two others further down in the aisle didn't greet. Finally, I arrived at my row in the very back of the world's longest plane in commercial service. The 17 inch wide Recaro seats were a bit hard, but still quite comfortable:



The interior was in good condition - and had been cleaned well:



SAA provides a generous 33.5 inch pitch on the A340-600:



Due to its location, the big old-style IFE box doesn't take away much room:


The aisle seat next to me remained empty for a long time...and luckily that wouldn't change any more. I was glad when I heard that boarding had been completed.  thumbsup  There were several empty seats in the rear section, but I cannot estimate the load factor, because I didn't check the other two Y Class sections.

Two Russian speaking guys in the 40s were seated behind me and judging from their alcohol odor, they had already drunk too much...I wasn't amused, but once the air conditioning was turned on, I didn't smell anything any more.

What I found very nice was an announcement about the 60th birthday of a passenger. The flight attendant, most likely the purser, wished all the best on behalf of the crew - I guess the very passenger was quite happy about that special congratulation.

In-flight and shopping magazines:



Headphones and IFE controller:



Amenity kits in different colors were distributed, I got a beige/orange one:




German newspapers were also offered - in addition to magazines which had been available in the gate area. No doubt, I was quite impressed by SAA's pre-flight offerings.

SAA's winglets definitely belong to the prettiest ones in the industry, just like Virgin Atlantic's:



One of the pilots, most likely the captain, gave a short welcome speech and informed that we would take off in southerly direction. He referred to "good conditions for flying" and mentioned that we would only encounter some bad weather over Central Africa.

The following comic-style safety video was quite funny, but the reflection on the PTV screen was too strong for a decent picture. The flight attendants were really serious about safety, they even closed the seatbelt over blanket and pillow on the empty aisle seat next to me.

ZS-SNC was pushed back almost exactly on time and soon started taxiing to runway 18. I felt very comfortable and was really looking forward to the flight on this nice bird. Great reflection:



What I had been looking forward in particular were the tail camera views on SAA's A340-600:



Front camera view was also available, but that's not as spectacular as the tail camera view. It wasn't easy to get clear shots of the screen, so I was constantly taking pictures during taxi. Judging from his look, an older man in the middle row found that quite strange. Sorry, but that's what it is when travelling on the same plane as PlaneHunter.  Wink



Beautiful evening light:



Lufthansa CityLine E-Jet:



Now it was our turn. What a fantastic IFE feature:



"Springbok 261" almost ready for takeoff:



Some moments later, the four Rolls-Royce Trent 556 powerplants started howling and ZS-SNC lifted off gently after a long takeoff roll. Simply awesome view:



Gear up and locked, doors closed:



Goodbye, Germany:



Breaking through the clouds is always such a pleasure, especially during sunset:







About 20 minutes after takeoff, two charming female flight attendants started serving drinks. They took their time and asked all passengers very nicely about their drink wishes. I ordered ginger ale with ice and got two cans (Schweppes!) as well as a bottle of water.  thumbsup 



Now it was time to explore the AirScape audio/video on-demand IFE system. Welcome screen:



Main menu:



There's even a kids' main menu:



Touchscreen navigation is quite easy, you only need the handset for playing games. The system offers a choice of 40 movies, 50 TV features, 10 games and 102 music albums. As usual, I watched the airshow most of the time. You can zoom in and out if you wish to:



While certain carriers interfuse the airshow with ads, SAA chose health tips - actually a very good idea:





Menu cards would have been nice, but the dinner choices were only announced by a flight attendant. The announcement was difficult to understand, but when the "charming team" arrived at my row again, one of them kindly told me that beef, chicken and a vegetarian option were available. I ordered beef and got this highly impressive tray:


I was really surprised that an African carrier was serving German classics such as "Rinderbraten" (braised beef), "Semmelknödel" (bread dumplings) and potato salad. I usually love to eat these specialties and was a bit skeptic how this airline meal would turn out. The presentation was great - there was even parsley on the dumplings - but how would it taste? Tender meat, crisp vegetable, dumplings with "right bite" - apart from the bland sauce, the main course tasted very good. The potato salad tasted fine as well - and the cherry cheesecake was the perfect finish. No doubt, it was one of the best meals I have ever received in Economy Class.  thumbsup   thumbsup   thumbsup 

After dinner, I leaned back and relaxed while watching the airshow and listening to music. I fell asleep after a while - not long after we had crossed the Mediterranean Sea:



I woke up several times during the next few hours and also noticed some turbulence, but always fell asleep again. When I felt fully awake again, I was quite surprised to find out than more than 5 hours had passed:



The small plane icon was still stuck in the top left corner:



Brazzaville, Kinshasa, Luanda? I'd opt for LAD in order to try TAAG's 77W:



Breakfast was served 1.5 hours before landing. There was a choice between continental and hot breakfast - I ordered the latter, of course. The presentation was very nice again:


The pancakes tasted quite good, but I didn't like the greasy baked-in pieces of bacon. Everything else was fine - it was a large and filling breakfast. I also liked SAA's black tea, but it was served a bit late.

Bright sunlight ahead...



...what a beautiful composition of colors:



The small sun on the winglet seemed to be rising as well - stunning views like these are one reason why I love flying so much:



Bright sunlight flooding the cabin:



20 minutes before landing, the IFE system was deactivated - camera views weren’t available any more either. However, I preferred looking out of the window this time anyway:









We touched down gently after a flying time of 10 hours and one minute:



After spending about 10 minutes on the taxiway, we arrived at the gate almost exactly on time. I was fascinated by the low clouds over the airport - and various aircraft on the ground. Here's an Arik Air 737-800:




JNB Spotting
Due to the central location of our arrival gate, it was only a short walk to immigration. After waiting about 20 minutes in queue, I quickly got my passport stamped - without being asked anything. As soon as I had changed some money, I checked in for my domestic flight to Durban and went straight to the observation deck on the fourth floor of the International Terminal:



This statue of anti-apartheid politician Oliver Reginald Tambo was unveiled on the occasion of the renaming of the airport in October 2006:



There's only a limited number of chairs, but I preferred standing after the long flight anyway:



The facility is not suited for photographers - as clearly visible on the next two pictures - but excellent for registration spotting:



I really enjoyed hanging around there - I was able to log registrations of most arriving and departing planes, all these interesting movements kept me very busy:


After 1.5 hours, it was time to leave, unfortunately. I didn't have enough time to visit the observation deck on the domestic terminal, but I was able to continue spotting for a while in the gate area. I logged a total of 62 new registrations in about three hours at JNB which was very pleasing. Story to be continued...



Conclusion
South African Airways was named the best airline in Africa at the 2011 World Airline Awards. Justified or not? Probably. What I can say without hesitation is that SAA belongs to the best long-haul airlines which I have flown on. Seating comfort, catering, staff and service were great - and even though the IFE system on the A340-600 is a bit outdated in general, it offers most enjoyable tail camera views. I wouldn't hesitate to take a SAA long-haul flight again, but I wouldn't want to get on the remaining A340-200s (to be retired later this year) or the two ex-Iberia A340-300s. I can only hope that the latter ones will get refurbished soon.


Best Regards,
PlaneHunter



P.S.: Just in case you missed them - my previous trip reports:
Fuel Dump & Return To CDG: Enroute To LAX On 9/11
Greek Quality: Aegean, Olympic & Istanbul Spotting
Exploring A Virgin: VS A343/A346 & Dubai Delights
Superb Stübli & Crew: LAS-LAX-ZRH-MUC, LX J Class
Grand Canyon & More: Scenic Flight On Dornier 228
San Francisco Sunshine...and A Frontier Fiasco
Fully Flat Bed to SFO: SWISS' New Business Class
Mountains, Meals & More: SunExpress Vs. Pegasus
Crossing Two Oceans: AKL-SFO-MUC, NZ 777 & LH A346
Bad Weather & Other Bad Luck: Touring New Zealand
Trans-Tasman Treat: Aerolineas Argentinas A340-200
Detours To Sydney: Wildlife, Tiger, REX & QFLink
Thai Fails To Impress: MUC-BKK-BNE On 744 & 777
Painful Delay & My 100th Airline: AF A380, VO F100
Fifth Freedom Tidbit: Kuwait Airways A300-600
Ship Vs. Plane: Porto Santo Line & Sata Air Açores
Awesome Approach, Splendid Scenery: LIS, FNC & TAP
Guernsey, Ash Cloud Alarm & Mostly Empty SQ 77Ws
Totally Thrilling: Scenic Flight On Lufthansa A380
Cirrus D38, Adria CRJ & Captain Niki Lauda On Duty
Monarch Hot Meal, E195 & More: PMI-ALC-MAN-MUC
Premium Meal & Palma Spotting: MUC-PMI, DE 757-300
The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332
Cancellation Brings Joy: HKG-PEK on Dragonair A330
A380 Cacophony, 777 Star Livery: DXB-SIN-HKG on SQ
The Next 5* Carrier? MUC-MCT-DXB, Oman Air A330
Turkey For 1.5 Hrs: Daytrip To AYT On Sky Airlines
CO Scores Again: ATL-IAH-EWR-FRA On ERJ, 752 & 764
Riding The Ultra Long-Haul Twin: Delta 777-200LR
Pacific Coast Jaunt: 3 Carriers, E120, E140 & Fog
The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Bye Bye, Hell! TRD-OSL-TXL-NUE - DY/AB/HE DH4
My Trip To Hell: NUE-CPH-OSL-TRD On Cimber & SAS
SFO-YUL-FRA: Map- & Sleepless On Air Canada's 77W
Sin City Gloss & Virgin America's Chic First Class
Seat Dilemma & Canyon Glamour: FRA To LAX, AC 763
On Par With Air France? DTW-AMS-MUC, KLM A330
Goodbye, Red Tails! DC-9-40/50 & Chicago Tour
Champagne & World Of Coke: Air France A340 To ATL
"Mission A380": Disappointing Legs On BA/BD/EI
Delights Of Doha, 773 & 77W: DOH-DXB-LHR On EK
A380 Really a Step Forward? LHR-DXB-DOH On EK
Quality & Style: HKG-LHR On Air New Zealand 744
Taiwan Trio: TransAsia, UNI Air And The Taipei 101
"The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
SHA-SZX, Shanghai 757: Delayed By The Military
PEK-SHA, China Eastern A330 & Shanghai At Night
Striking Newcomer: Berlin-Beijing On Hainan A330
Short & Splendid: MXP-MUC On Air Dolomiti's 146
3 Hours On Blue1: HEL-MXP On The MD-90
Winglets On A Classic: MUC-RIX-HEL On Air Baltic
BCN-MAD-ZRH-MUC: UX Shuttle Meets Swiss Quality
MUC-MAD-BCN: Star MD-87 & The Pain Of Vueling
Low Fares, Lovely Island: AK & Best Of Langkawi
4 Stars Or 5 Stars? FRA-KUL-FRA, Malaysia 777s
First And Last Time? JFK-FCO-MUC, Alitalia 777
JFK For 1 Day: Transatlantic Hop On CSA's A310
Sardinian Sun, Shiny New 73Gs & Cramped Mad Dog
Top And Flop: KIX-HEL-MUC, Finnair A320 & MD-11
The 524-Seat Twin-jet: HND-ITM On ANA 777-300
Kobe For 1 Hour: 767-Quickie On ANA & Skymark
Rocketing To Tokyo: FUK-HND On JAL (ex-JAS) 777
Oddities & Okinawa: JTA 734 & JAL 744D(Domestic)
MUC To Nagoya: Finnair E170 & (Old) "New" A340
Mad Dog, A320 Tech Delay & Best Of Lanzarote
Canaries Prop-Hopping: Islas Airways & Naysa
Canaries And Confusion: LH CRJ900 & Spanair A321
Hubbing For 162 Miles: HOQ-FRA-STR Ret On IQ/EW/LH
BOS-JFK-AMS-MUC: SSSS-Check And KLM 777
ATL-PIT-JFK-BOS: FL B717, JetBlue E190 And Delays
MUC-AMS-MEM-ATL On NWA A332 And 40-year-old DC-9
FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343
BNE-SIN-DXB-MUC On Emirates B772ER & B773
2 Hours In Paradise: Hamilton Island (JQ/DJ)
BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Testing Qantas: SYD-MEL-SYD-BNE (B738, B763, A332)
Going Down Under: MUC-DXB-SYD On EK A332 & A345
Surprised By NIKI's Newest A320 & Screw-up By AB
Leisure Vs. Full Service: Condor & SN Brussels
"betterFly" On LH: Business Class For 99 Euro
Weekend Transatlantic Trip (2): US A321 & B762
Transatlantic For A Weekend (1): MUC-DCA On US


[Edited 2011-09-23 13:07:31]


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
78 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGjunnar From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Another Planehunter trip report - excellent as always. Thanks for putting it together.
The food really looks delicious, and the seat pitch appears also generous! Well done SAA.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 1):
Another Planehunter trip report - excellent as always.

Hi Gjunnar, many thanks for your comments! Good to hear you enjoyed it.

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 1):
Well done SAA.

  


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi PH - wow, I was not expecting this. I did not suspect you were off on another longhaul flight so soon after your Dubai adventures? A very nice report - thanks for posting.

SAA looks like they provided decent catering out of FRA. I work with a number of South Africans here in London who regularly fly SAA home ex LHR, and some of them have had some very poor experiences with food onboard SAA. Having said that, you get that with any airline from time to time.

The 340-600 looked good in the Star Alliance colours.

Good that you had the seat spare next to you too - makes it just that little more comfy for the long journey south. I've always lamented the fact that most flights ex Europe to SA seem to always be at night - I would love to do a day flight over Africa - I am sure when the weather is clear, the views must be stunning.

Great pics - I really love the sunrise pic you took as well. It's those times which I am reminded what an amazing place the world can be. Everything seems peaceful up there looking out the window.

Looking forward to the next parts of your report. Great stuff!!

Cheers P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinefra-flyer From Germany, joined Jun 2009, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hello PH,

thanks for the Report!

ZS-SNC was one of the first 346 T flew with. Since I flew with SAA more then 15 times, I can only say that you are right. SAA is definietly a very good Airline. I flew the same route this summer with the LH380. Next time I´ll visit my South Africa I think i gonna choose SAA!

Cheers!



Greetings from Frankfurt :)
User currently offlineaflyingkiwi From New Zealand, joined Nov 2010, 515 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Brilliant report PH, complete with an array of fantastic pictures. SAA's service looks very impressive, the food, the IFE & legroom all look absolutely amazing. Also congrats on getting on another special A346!

BTW you do have some dedication to do a long-haul weekend trip like that but I guess that's what you get when you're usename's PlaneHunter.  

Looking forward to the next installement!

Regards,
aflyingkiwi


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 3):
Hi PH - wow, I was not expecting this. I did not suspect you were off on another longhaul flight so soon after your Dubai adventures? A very nice report - thanks for posting.

Hi Palmjet, thanks so much for your feedback!

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 3):
I work with a number of South Africans here in London who regularly fly SAA home ex LHR, and some of them have had some very poor experiences with food onboard SAA.

That sounds quite bad.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 3):
The 340-600 looked good in the Star Alliance colours.

  

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 3):
I would love to do a day flight over Africa - I am sure when the weather is clear, the views must be stunning.

Absolutely, yes. I thought about that on the return flight - would be so nice to see the different landscapes down there.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 3):
It's those times which I am reminded what an amazing place the world can be. Everything seems peaceful up there looking out the window.

I can only agree.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 3):
Looking forward to the next parts of your report. Great stuff!!

Lots of work ahead...

Quoting fra-flyer (Reply 4):
thanks for the Report!

Thanks for your comments, David!

Quoting fra-flyer (Reply 4):
Since I flew with SAA more then 15 times, I can only say that you are right. SAA is definietly a very good Airline.

Good to hear you can confirm my impression.

Quoting fra-flyer (Reply 4):
I flew the same route this summer with the LH380.
Quoting fra-flyer (Reply 4):
Next time I´ll visit my South Africa I think i gonna choose SAA!

So you would prefer SAA's A346 over LH's A380? That's what I would do. I'll go into detail about that in the third part.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 7, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 5):
Brilliant report PH, complete with an array of fantastic pictures.

Hi aflyingkiwi, many thanks for your feedback, always appreciated! It seems we were posting at the same time.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 5):
. SAA's service looks very impressive, the food, the IFE & legroom all look absolutely amazing.

Yes, it's a true high-quality carrier.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 5):
Also congrats on getting on another special A346!

Thanks, that was luck once again!

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 5):
BTW you do have some dedication to do a long-haul weekend trip like that but I guess that's what you get when you're usename's PlaneHunter.

  Well, usually I prefer to stay a bit longer, but sometimes it's not possible due to work.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2444 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Nice TR!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
but I could neither find an overly exciting westbound transatlantic flight nor really interesting domestic flights.



WHAT?! I am very disappointed... I know plenty- Kuwait Airways B777 LHR-JFK. Not exotic enough? What about BCN-ORD on PIA B777? Well, BIMAN might be start B747 LGW-JFK soon (depends on traffic rights).

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Then I added a Johannesburg-Durban flight and a Durban-Cape Town flight on two different carriers (details to follow).



Hope we will see here soon a TR on VELVET SKY!   


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting debonair (Reply 8):
Nice TR!

Thanks!

Quoting debonair (Reply 8):
WHAT?! I am very disappointed... I know plenty- Kuwait Airways B777 LHR-JFK. Not exotic enough? What about BCN-ORD on PIA B777? Well, BIMAN might be start B747 LGW-JFK soon (depends on traffic rights).

Yes, they're all very exotic - PIA in particular. But I should have said "...exciting options for a reasonable price".

Quoting debonair (Reply 8):
Hope we will see here soon a TR on VELVET SKY!

Well, you'll get to see a Velvet Sky plane in the next report...but I chose to fly on two other carriers. Probably I'll be able to try Velvet Sky and a few other South African carriers in the future - I really want to go back there as soon as possible.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6596 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi PlaneHunter!

Thanks for an excellent report with fantastic pictures!

Very nice picture with the reflection of the aircraft in the building at FRA! The tail camera is a very nice feature! Too bad I have never seen that yet on a 777.

Meals look great; plenty of food and it looks very tasty too! Nice with Scwepppes ginger ale but too bad with the small cans. Great that they gave you two of those to compensate for the small size.

IFE looks a little bit dated but still sufficient.

I think the reason for being strict with seat belts is that sometimes there's a lot of turbulence going thru the tropics down to South Africa.

Nice pics from the observation deck where I spent about 4 or 5 hours when I was there in May 2007. Nice for you get so many new numbers there!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
1st flight on ZS-SNC
3rd A340-600 flight
14th A340 flight
116th airline

Very nice statistics especially 116th airline!

Looking forward to the next part! Thanks for splitting up the report in three parts as that make the pictures easier to load.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Thanks for an excellent report with fantastic pictures!

Hi Lars, thanks a lot for your kind words!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Very nice picture with the reflection of the aircraft in the building at FRA!

Yes, I like that a lot. Unfortunately, it's not as sharp as it should be.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
The tail camera is a very nice feature! Too bad I have never seen that yet on a 777.

I'm wondering why that feature has never been introduced on the 777 - shouldn't be too difficult from a technical point of view.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Meals look great; plenty of food and it looks very tasty too!

...and everything was kindly served.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Great that they gave you two of those to compensate for the small size.

  

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
I think the reason for being strict with seat belts is that sometimes there's a lot of turbulence going thru the tropics down to South Africa.

Could be a reason.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Nice pics from the observation deck where I spent about 4 or 5 hours when I was there in May 2007.

It's such a nice place for spotting, I loved it. That's why I immediately sent you a message after arriving there.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Nice for you get so many new numbers there!

Yes, and I'm also satisfied with the hunts at DUR and CPT.


PH

[Edited 2011-09-23 14:20:27]


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5173 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi, PH,

great stuff, well done.

For sure a pretty good evening read surrounded by nice pictures.

Neither been to Southafrica or on SAA, so much more interesting to follow for me.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
It wasn't easy to get clear shots of the screen, so I was constantly taking pictures during taxi. Judging from his look, an older man in the middle row found that quite strange. Sorry, but that's what it is when travelling on the same plane as PlaneHunter.

He know it the next time, definitely!
 

Looking for the next part now.

Best regards,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6596 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi again!

Forgot to mention that you had an interesting routing; right on the border between Tunisia and Libya. I think if things would have been normal in Libya, you would have flown straight over Tripoli......

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
South African Airways was named the best airline in Africa at the 2011 World Airline Awards. Justified or not? Probably.

I think so too and I can compare with ET, KQ and MS.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 14, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 12):
great stuff, well done.

For sure a pretty good evening read surrounded by nice pictures.

Hi Markus, thanks for your feedback!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 12):
He know it the next time, definitely!

Yes, no doubt!  

Quoting The777Man (Reply 13):
Forgot to mention that you had an interesting routing; right on the border between Tunisia and Libya. I think if things would have been normal in Libya, you would have flown straight over Tripoli......

Yes, very likely.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 13):
I think so too and I can compare with ET, KQ and MS.

I have only tried MS and SW. Btw - MK was voted second best at the 2011 World Airline Awards.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6596 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 14):
Btw - MK was voted second best at the 2011 World Airline Awards.

Forgot; I flew MK as well but only a very short flight MRU-RUN so can't really compare.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 16, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
I flew MK as well but only a very short flight MRU-RUN so can't really compare.

Yes, I remember you told me about that once. What aircraft type did you have?


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi!

Many thanks for the report. I see South African Airlines' planes all the time at Heathrow near where I live in the UK so was nice to read about how they are and good to read you had a good time. You had some really nice inflight pics above the clouds and everything. Sunrises at 30,000ft are always something quite unique.

Many thanks,

Pierre


User currently offlinejoffie From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 812 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great report. Enjoyed reading it. Whats with the BA 737 in JNB? I can see its got a South African Rego?

User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1313 posts, RR: 13
Reply 19, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hey PH,

Thx for another well written report. I must say that I'm not a night flights fan like you. Looks like SAA did good job, too bad they don't fly to TLV anyone.

Thx for shearing,

Jonathan



"In Israel, on order to be a realist, one's must believe in miracles" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineROGERBCN From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 20, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 32321 times:

Hola PH!

Great reading in this dull and rainy morning.

Great to see that SAA delivers such a great product in Y.

Food, seat and IFE look very adequate and the charm of the crew you described seems to make really deserve the award of Best African Airline, probably not only Africa though; they seem to be quite above many European and American carriers as well.

Looking forward to reading the following ones.

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineKaphias From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 310 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 32265 times:

Stunning pictures PH! Thanks very much for sharing, you're always an inspiration.  


Flown on: C150, C172, C206, Beaver, Otter, Jetstream 32, Q400, CRJ7/9, E135/40/45, A320, B732/4/7/8/9, B744, B752, B763
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1221 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 32141 times:

I am impressed. Not many airlines offer decent legroom, especially 33" ++ and a great meal in Y anymore. If they flew where I go I would pick them over US or European airlines.

User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 23, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 32027 times:

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 17):
Many thanks for the report.

Hi Pierre, thanks for your feedback!

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 17):
You had some really nice inflight pics above the clouds and everything.

I'm glad that I chose to sit on the right side.

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 17):
Sunrises at 30,000ft are always something quite unique.

  

Quoting joffie (Reply 18):
Great report. Enjoyed reading it.

Thanks a lot, Brent! Good to hear that!

Quoting joffie (Reply 18):
Whats with the BA 737 in JNB? I can see its got a South African Rego?

Comair operates scheduled services on domestic trunk routes as a British Airways franchisee. More to follow about the airline and ZS-OTH in particular in the next part.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 19):
Thx for another well written report.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for commenting!

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 19):
I must say that I'm not a night flights fan like you.

Actually I prefer daylights flights because I usually don't get much sleep on night flights. It was different this time, though.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 19):
Looks like SAA did good job, too bad they don't fly to TLV anyone.

I remember they operated 767-200ERs to TLV.

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 20):
Great reading in this dull and rainy morning.

Hola Roger, muchas gracias!

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 20):
Food, seat and IFE look very adequate and the charm of the crew you described seems to make really deserve the award of Best African Airline, probably not only Africa though; they seem to be quite above many European and American carriers as well.

Yes, SAA easily beats most American and European carriers. I'd put it somewhere high up among the international top carriers.

Quoting Kaphias (Reply 21):
Stunning pictures PH! Thanks very much for sharing, you're always an inspiration.

Hi Kaphias, thank you very much, that's nice to hear!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 22):
I am impressed. Not many airlines offer decent legroom, especially 33" ++ and a great meal in Y anymore. If they flew where I go I would pick them over US or European airlines.

Yes, SAA's product on the A346s and A343s is quite impressive. However, it seems pitch was reduced to 31-32 inch on the new A330-200s. More about that plane in the third part.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1364 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (3 years 1 month 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 31861 times:

Great report, SAA looks impressive! If they would update their interior it would be even better!
I m looking forward to the continuation of your trip!


25 PlaneHunter : Thanks for commenting, Reifel! SAA has already switched to brighter colors, the cabin on the A332s looks very nice. Pictures to follow in part III. P
26 The777Man : A319 The777Man
27 Post contains images TCASAlert : Brilliant trip report, I loved the pictures. You're right, the winglet looks beautiful in SAA's colours, one of the best liveries out there IMO. All t
28 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Thanks for reminding me! I took a nice picture of an MK A319 at DUR, I will include it in the next part. Many thanks, Noel! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
29 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi PH, Another great report! SAA indeed looks very good, quite surprised really, somehow I did expect them to be quite average in economy at least! I
30 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Hi P., thanks for your feedback, always appreciated! Well, there has been a lack of consistency in terms of cabin equipment. You don't find PTVs on t
31 Post contains images signol : Excellent report as usual, thanks! Especially as I travel to SA regularly (usually every year, twice this year). I've still yet to sample SAA though,
32 PlaneHunter : Hi Signol, many thanks for your feedback! Very interesting. You should give SAA a try in the future. I decided to try BA/Comair on that route. Yes, t
33 thegivenone : Awesome, awesome! I have been wanting to read an SAA economy trip report for a long time. I'm glad to hear that you had a good trip and that SAA is st
34 PlaneHunter : Thanks a lot! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Things get even better in terms of hardware once the A342s are retired. PH
35 Post contains images OA260 : Great report Love the meals served much better than I thought they would offer. Some great pics also especially the sun rise and the wing shot Thanks
36 atrude777 : Excellent Report! I read just about every single word! I enjoyed the pictures too. The Seat and Cabin comfort looked very nice for SAA. The desire to
37 FlyKev : Another enjoyable read, thanks for sharing with us Plane Hunter. The food looks very good, and the IFE looks adequate; although the external cameras o
38 PlaneHunter : Hi Phil, thanks a lot, I'm glad to hear that! Yes, I was really surprised by the catering. Many thanks, Alex! You should book a flight on that awesom
39 abrelosojos : What a fantastic report - wasn't expecting you to go to SA! A pretty glowing and positive endorsement for SAA. Hope they can maintain it. Thanks for w
40 Post contains images ronerone : Wow, what a fantastic read PlaneHunter. I have been waiting for this, because i have always been a 'fan' of South African Airways (haven't flown with
41 robso2 : Great TR again PlaneHunter, thanks for posting as usual. Look forward to the rest!
42 ba319-131 : Great report PH, thanks for sharing. - Great short trip and cheaper due to the lack of hotels needed! - Indeed, I did the FRA-JNB route with this mach
43 MSS658 : Hi PH SAA was a term that I did not hear that much about yet... This fantastic report shows how good SAA really is. Seems like SAA does have a decent
44 Post contains images eastafspot : Hi, PH in Sub-Sahara Africa? hum, that sounds very nice indeed! well, you know how is Aviation in DRC... Well, I can't say if they the best, but your
45 Post contains images sultanils : Hi PH, I very much enjoyed this trip report. SAA is not too much featured here, so very warm welcomed. Good to see it's Y class is pretty decent. Good
46 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Hi Alex, many thanks for your feedback! Good to hear from you. That's what I hope, too. Hi Roni, thanks so much for your nice comments! You should tr
47 flightsimboy : Looking forward to the reports and the SA A332. (And LH A380). I cannot believe how fortunate you were to fly on this magnificent colour scheme on th
48 Post contains images deltamartin : Hi PH! Nice tripreport, well written and great pictures! SAA seemed nice, the meal looks great! The seat looks comfortable and the legroom seems nice.
49 lukeyboy95 : Hi PH, Really nice and unexpected TR there. To be honest, I am still struggling to believe it was just SAA i read about. I mean it really is an airlin
50 Post contains images infodesk : Hi PH, A longhaul trip for a couple of nights at your destination, that's dedication for you! You got rewarded with another special frame for your log
51 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Hi flightsimboy, thanks for your feedback! Yes, I was really lucky with that bird. That's true. SA named the first A332, but that's it. I think you c
52 Shudu : Hi PH, Another excellent report..I have flown on ZS-SNC on a domestic short haul from JNB to CPT. I applaud SAA on keeping their cabins on long haul b
53 Post contains images akhmad : Hi PH, Finally I get around to reading another marvelous report of yours. You really know how to bring back the romance of flying! Me too for reading
54 Post contains images flightsimboy : Looking forward to your MS 773ER report soon
55 767747 : Another great report, PlaneHunter! SAA looks very good; all aspects of your flight make it look like it was a memorable one. I'm glad the meal in Econ
56 Post contains images RvXKaz : Hi PH, As always, I have thoroughly enjoyed your TR and thanks very much for this delightful insight into South African Airways! It was a really excel
57 Post contains images signol : Aha, the "fruit" plane I'll be taking my first flight on them myself in December. I was interested to find that for only R150 (EUR15) you can upgrade
58 Post contains images SloAir : Another great story from Planehunter I never thought SAA would be this good, but every report I read it seems they are quite good. And I love the poss
59 Post contains images N62NA : Maybe it's BA's new "10 stop" flight between LHR and JNB!
60 ColAvionLover : Great Trip Report! How did you get to know ACARS?
61 ba319-131 : - Agreed, but the international sector catering was pretty poor, perhaps it's the food is better ex JNB than CPT? Cheers Mark
62 MarcoPoloWorld : Thanks PlaneHunter for yet another superb and expertly-done report!! I could only dream of going to all the destinations that you are able to trek.
63 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Hi Shudu, thanks a lot for your feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed reading. I can only agree. Yes, the A346s are very quiet. Very interesting - I just ho
64 MHTripple7 : Great trip report. This airline is rarely covered here on A.Net, which is a bit surprising in my opinion. SAA looks like a great airline, and I have f
65 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Thanks a lot! I can only agree. I guess you won't see one anytime soon - but I'd really enjoy a flight on their new 77Ws. PH
66 SPLTA : Hi PH, Very interesting story with some great pictures! Glad to hear you had a very good flight on that quite unique airframe. SAA's Y product on long
67 Post contains links PlaneHunter : Part II can be found here: BA Vs. LCC, African Way: JNB-DUR-CPT, Comair/Mango (by PlaneHunter Oct 8 2011 in Trip Reports) Hi SPLTA, thanks a lot for y
68 Post contains images fxramper : I don't know what percentage of readers agree with you, but any airline but SA is better. Just tell us how grand you travel like always instead of sel
69 PlaneHunter : So you want to tell us that SA is the worst airline on the planet? Interesting. Have you tried them all? I have flown on 123 different carriers from
70 TupolevTu154 : So because you've had nothing but bad experiences on SA, somebody that had a good flight is a liar? I see a common denominator here, 50+ different fl
71 PlaneHunter : Thanks for your comments, Tom! PH
72 Post contains images parton87 : Hello PH! Yhanks for the nice story. You don´t see that many SAA reports. It looks like a descent carrier with good services. How about their fares?
73 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Hi Robert, thanks a lot for your feedback! Yes, but both SAA and certain European carriers were more expensive than Emirates or Etihad. The A332 cabi
74 Post contains images LH4116 : Hey Sir PH, great report! Interesting. If I may ask, how did you get access to the ACARS? Lucky, you got the flagship of the SAA fleet. Love the video
75 Post contains links and images PlaneHunter : Hi Jonas, thanks a lot for your reply! Better don't continue to call me Sir, I could get used to it. Here's the link, the search function is accessib
76 Post contains images Avianca : great report! would love to use them once on the EZE-JNB or GRU-JNB flights! The food looks good, nice that they are providing "traditional" german fo
77 Post contains images parton87 : Hello again PH! They are? I looked on BA a couple of years ago to Capetown just for fun and their fares started on 400 euros from ARN which I find che
78 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Thanks, Avianca! I'm sure you'd enjoy it. That's certainly true. Would be interesting to know. 400 Euro? That's very very cheap. I have never seen su
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