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South African Airways

Customer Reviews

4 star Skytrax Rating
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Seat Comfort 12345
Staff Service 12345
Value for Money 12345
Customer rating from 347 reviews
6/10
4 star Skytrax Rating
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1/10

"seats in business class are worn"

(Namibia)

Verified Review | Windhoek to Hong Kong via Johannesburg. As SAA Voyager member of many years I find that my miles and being a member of this club hold very little to no privileges. This is reflective in how hard it is to even contact somebody at the airline as the phones just ring - I have to employ a travel agent to do this. The bad experience already starts in Biz Class Lounge in JNB - hopelessly overfilled, poor selection of food and drinks and they run out of ice. No departure anouncements. We get onto the aircraft, we find that my wife's seat belt installed incorrectly very much to her discomfort which they could not fix. The electronics in my seat played up which they could not fix either. On the flight to Hong Kong the temprature setting was far too high and cabin staff ignored the request to lower it. The food selection was bland and of very poor quality. No selection of newpapers or magazine - the racks remained empty on both flights. On the return flight my inflight entertainment system broke down in the middle of the movie I was watching. They could not fix. Overall the seats in business class are worn and and the same applies to the blankets and bed mat that cabin crew hand out. After dinner service the Cabin Crew is nowhere to be seen - when I went behind the galley where the door to the cockpit is siuated I actually found a signboard which read "Silence Cabin Crew resting". The airline has been plagued by politcal interference, lack of funding and management - this has also become clearly evident in the passenger flying experience.
AircraftA340
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteWDH to HKG via JNB
Date FlownJanuary 2017
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
2/10

"had the worst customer experience"

(United Kingdom)

Verified Review | I have flown with SAA every year for the last 3 years between London and Johannesburg, and I am normally pretty relaxed with not having the best travel arrangement as I know things happen and go wrong, and you can’t blame the airline. But 3 flights in a row I have had the worst customer experience, and what pushed it over the edge was my flight being cancelled 2 days before Christmas. They knew the flight would not take off from Heathrow when I checked in at 5pm but checked all their passengers in without telling them the flight had been cancelled, and only when they were at the gate ready to board did they inform everyone the flight was cancelled. They gave us an empty promise of EU compensation which they fully knew didn’t apply to the situation we were in, which we all found out afterwards when we tried to receive compensation for the delay. If they had told me when I had checked in at 5pm I could have made alternative arrangement to fly back to SA without missing my connection flight, but they made sure we were all checked in and couldn’t catch any other flights out and only told us the flight was cancelled at 8:30pm. Long story short it was shocking customer service, with very little help and assistance, and ended up costing me £300+ extra to pay for accommodation and changing flights to get home on Christmas day, more than a day later then I should have arrived home. SAA have taken no accountability for the lack of service and communication and refuse to reimburse me for part of my costs incurred. I have been a loyal SAA voyager member for over 20 years, as I want to support my home airline. But I can quite honestly say I will never fly SAA again. And for the amount of money paid for the tickets the quality of the aircraft, service and food is acceptable. I paid £1500 to fly economy, with a TV that didn’t work, food that was disgusting, no charging dock for my phone, and a very disappointing before and after customer service.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteLondon to Johannesburg
Date FlownJanuary 2017
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
9/10

"thanks to the outstanding crew"

(South Africa)

Verified Review | Early morning flight from Dakar to Johannesburg. The aircraft came from Washington, and a new crew took over. The seats are beginning to show their age, but are still very comfortable (they provide you with a mattress, a duvet and an oversized pillow). The configuration was 2-2-2, but I heard that in the new aircrafts it is 1-2-1. The crew did a fantastic job, especially during the emergency landing in Accra to evacuate a passenger who had a stroke. They were very professional and friendly. However, as usual, the meals are nothing special and SAA should really look at the quality of their catering. Overall, a great flight thanks to the outstanding crew.
AircraftA330-200
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteDakar to Johannesburg
Date FlownJanuary 2017
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
7/10

"as usual the service was rushed"

(South Africa)

Verified Review | Overall, a pretty good flight from Johannesburg to Dakar, although the seats were old (first seat did not recline, second seat the audio was not working, and the third seat was finally OK). However, they are very comfortable and a mattress and duvet are provided. The crew were very friendly, but as usual the service was rushed: five minutes after serving the cocktails, they showed up with the starter, followed by the main dish another 5 minutes later, it would be nice if they would let the customers relax, especially if the business cabin is less than half full and the flight departed at 7pm. On an 8.5 hour flight, no second service was provided which is poor. Was it worth the €2500 fare? No. The friendliness of the crew and the amarula saved the experience on SAA.
AircraftA330
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteJNB to DKR
Date FlownJanuary 2017
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
1/10

"avoid OR Tambo International Airport"

(Australia)

Verified Review | South Africa is a wonderful destination if you avoid OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg. SAA staff, particularly in the business class lounge, were rude and incompetent. They could not explain the layout of the airport, an important skill one would assume when the airport has no maps and the point of departure for Flight SAA 280 changed back and forth from Gate A15 to A01 to A18, a journey of several hundred metres through and around retail outlets. After several delays we were allowed to board the aircraft only to discover that the baggage handlers had loaded the stowage bins for the forward compartment into the rear of the aircraft and vice versa, not a comfortable mistake when the aircraft is facing a 10 hour flight over the Indian Ocean. The skipper explained to the hot, tired and thirsty passengers that the reshuffling of the containers would take 10 minutes, in fact it took 40, and to add insult the only in-flight entertainment was a tumbling kaleidoscope of photographs, projected on small screens, of apparently happy and competent ground staff.
AircraftA343
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteCPT to PER via JNB
Date FlownDecember 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
8/10

"seats were comfortable and seat pitch was great"

(Greece)

Verified Review | JNB-VFA-CPT. Not problem of the airline but getting through immigration at JNB is a hustle. Airplanes were clean and new. Going to VFA we had 20 min delay and returning we had 1 hour and half delay. Service was good and if you ask they bring you pillow and blanket. Food was great also, in the international and in the domestic service. E-check in was 24 hours before flight time but in the domestic flight you could not change seat selection. Seats were comfortable and seat pitch was great. Overall a good experience.
AircraftA320, Boeing 737
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJNB to CPT via VFA
Date FlownDecember 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
2/10

"my worst business class experience"

(Australia)

Verified Review | Perth to Johannesburg with South African Airways was my worst business class experience. Seating ordinary and food diabolical with no real choice. 11 hour flight and no snacks available, despite raising the issue twice. Unfortunately I have a return flight booked in a few weeks. Not looking forward to it.
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RoutePER to JNB
Date FlownDecember 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
8/10

"revive belief in the joy of flying"

(United States)

Verified Review | Durban to Johannesburg. South African Airways aircraft might be a bit older but they are clean and comfortable. Ground staff seem knowledgeable and friendly, while flight crew are courteous and quite personable. Food is a bit amateurish, but what do you expect from short domestic flights? For someone like me, who correlates domestic flying to a form of torture due to years of flying with airlines in the US, SAA will revive your belief in the joy of flying, regardless if they are domestic or international flights.
AircraftA320
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteDUR to JNB
Date FlownDecember 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
1/10

"worst customer service imaginable"

(United States)

Verified Review | New York JFK to Harare return via Johannesburg. One of the worst travelling experiences I've ever had. On my leg from JFK to Johannesburg , the entertainment system on my seat was not working. I had to spend the flight with no TV while everyone else around me enjoyed their entertainment systems. When asked, the air hostess stated she had attempted to reset the system but failed and since she was not an engineer, there was nothing else she could do. I asked if I could be moved to different seat, but that could not be accommodated. One my flight back to JFK, the airline lost 1 of my 2 suitcases. The suitcase literally vanished into thin air and has not been able to be traced. I called the airline for 2 weeks straight with no one able to give any information regarding my bag. I literally called SAA at least 50 times, each time getting a different service agent who was less helpful than the last. This trip was an absolute nightmare - I'm still missing my luggage and have not been compensated for it. Not a single person from SAA has contacted me and they have the worst customer service imaginable.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJFK to HRE via JNB
Date FlownNovember 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
8/10

"positives offset the negatives"

(United States)

New York to Johannesburg with South African Airways. The legroom on our 15 hour flight was excellent. The crew were the friendliest I have experienced. The flight left and arrived on time. On the southbound flight, the audio was not working, the window had so much condensation I was unable to enjoy the views and the window shade was filthy. However the route map kept me entertained. We were well fed. A generous lunch; stroganoff, pasta salad, cheese, cheesecake and a snickers bar. Excellent. Halfway a smoked chicken sandwich and a pre-landing cheese pancake breakfast with fruit, yoghurt and a croissant. The positives offset the negatives and the time passed by. I was able to sleep a little. Overall, I enjoyed the flight and the fact that we flew nonstop. We saved over 10 hours by doing so. On our return flight, the entertainment worked on my row but not in the row behind me where my friend was sitting. Also a wonderful friendly crew. We left on time and arrived 40 minutes early. I enjoyed both flights and was impressed by the legroom, the food and the crews. However flying out of Johannesburg, they are fussy with luggage weight. We were 2.5 kilos overweight on one suitcase and the check in agent made a fuss about it asking me why I had so much stuff. When I told her I would pay for the excess luggage she told me she did not know how to calculate the extra fee. She told me I would be excused this time.
AircraftA340-600
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJFK to JNB
Date FlownOctober 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes