There was something in the Star.co.za the other day, Funny this thread came up.....
Andz- did I meet you at Lebombo Handover...I was the guy from Kansas City-
Ouch! We'll avoid SAA from now on
April 2, 2004
We had the misfortune to fly our annual business trip to Frankfurt aboard the pride of SAA's new fleet. It is our company policy to fly economy and over the past 40 years I have made hundreds of flights worldwide with my staff.
Passenger complaints abounded. The purser was hounded by dissatisfied passengers who no doubt experienced the discomforts as we did. I made many observations:
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.
SAA responds: SAA has taken a strategic decision in offering the leg room it currently has on its aircraft in order to match its major competitors in the markets it serves.
This not only maintains SAA's competitiveness but also follows a global industry standard. Compared to airlines across the world, taking into account SAA's major competitors flying into South Africa, one finds they all follow the same seat pitch in economy, which is 31 inches (78,74cm).
As the airline industry developed primarily in the United States, seat pitches are measured in inches. This standard is not compulsory and very slight variations, if any, will be found. Our major competitors into South Africa all offer a 31-inch seat pitch, while one or two offer a 32-inch pitch maximum.
In business and first class, a similar strategy is adopted, with competition offering a lie-flat seat. By the end of May, SAA will have fitted its entire Airbus fleet with a complete lie-flat product in the premium section as well as in the 747-400.
..uh, we'll need that to live......