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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 331 reviews
6/10
4 star Skytrax Rating
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2/10

"one of the most miserable flights"

(United States)

Johannesburg to London Heathrow. This was one of the most miserable flights I have ever taken. The aircraft looked run down, my IFE had no sound (so, in essence, I could play solitaire for the 11 hour flight) and the apparatus under my seat that contained the life vest kept falling onto my legs. Combine that with terrible food (I took Delta over to South Africa and the food blew SAA's away) and a 2 hour delay due to a faulty wing light, change in runway usage and ATC delays because "too many planes were headed north from JNB" (which other direction do most flights from JNB go?) and I was not pleased. Plus the use of remote stands for too many flights made the "basement" gates at JNB overcrowded - not a pleasant experience. Will avoid SAA for future long haul routes. Cabin crew was OK except they did not comet through the aisles at all overnight with water or anything and then one FA in particular put his arm up to prevent economy passengers from deplaning before "premium" passengers (his word) even though we were 2 hours late and most people (myself included) had very, very tight connections to try and make in LHR.
AircraftA330
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJNB to LHR
Date FlownSeptember 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"customer service is non-existent"

(United Kingdom)

Livingstone to Johannesburg. The customer service is not just poor - it is non-existent. I have been trying to make a simple request to locate a lost article but this seems beyond the capability of SAA to even direct me to the right department. I have spend hours and not insignificant money on international calls to SAA and they keep just passing me on to another department who often denies it is their responsibility or they simply never answer the phone. Their Customer Service phone number results is a very very long menu system where none of the options are what I want. And choosing one of the option results in no answer. This is an appalling company - if you need to contact their Customer Service - forget it - they are useless.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteLVI to JNB
Date FlownAugust 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
1/10

"old, uncomfortable planes"

(United Kingdom)

As a family we travelled from London to Cape Town via Johannesburg return with SAA. We live in the UK, but thought we would support our home country's air carrier. Never again! Delays all round for us and I have heard many other complaints regarding delays with SAA. Not enough meals were provided (had to make do with vegetarian option). Why are old, uncomfortable planes used for long-haul flights? In-flight entertainment sound quality very poor so had very boring flights. I must add that the ground crew and on-board SAA crew were very helpful and it's a pity that they are so good and the airline itself is so bad. Taking away the direct flight from London to Cape Town makes it a very tiring commute. Why was this done? And to top it all I received an email from SAA asking for a review. I filled it in, but when I tried to send it I got this message "error occured". From now on I will use British Airways.
AircraftAirbus
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteLHR to CPT via JNB
Date FlownSeptember 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
8/10

"good service and inflight entertainment"

(United States)

Verified Review | I travel from New York JFK to Johannesburg at least once a year. For the last 10 trips I have flown non-stop with South African Airways. We usually travel in a group of 4 people. This has proven to be the best flight, with comfortable seats, good service and inflight entertainment. The staff has always been available to help, whether with late night food, extra pillows, a change of seats etc. We have tried 2 other airlines who fly this route, but SAA is the best.
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJFK to JNB
Date FlownFebruary 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
7/10

"flight attendants were miserable"

(United Kingdom)

Verified Review | Johannesburg to London with South African Airways. The flight was excellent, the inflight entertainment was good and even the food was acceptable. However, the flight attendants were the most miserable bunch I've ever met. I was sat next to one as I had an exit row. I smiled and said hello when they first came to their seat and got no response. Even later in the flight when they came back, I got nothing. I presume something must have gone wrong for them - they did all look exceptionally tired. It's a shame as other SA Airways flights were good with no staff issues.
AircraftA330
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJNB to LHR
Date FlownAugust 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
1/10

"cancelled due to technical issues"

(South Africa)

Johannesburg to Frankfurt with South African Airways. After checking in for this flight, the 279 passengers were informed it was delayed to the next morning at 07:00h. All passengers were managed by 3 employees of SAA. We were put up in the Southern Sun Hotel. Airport Shuttle has a 14 seat capacity. By the team I reached Frankfurt at 18:00h the following day my transatlantic connection to Toronto was long gone. I was put up in the airport hotel in Frankfurt and rebooked to Canada the next morning. Reached Sudbury after a 60h trip. On the same trip, my return flight SA208 Washington to Johannesburg was also cancelled due to technical issues. I was rebooked with British Airways via London - by that time SAA must have realized that they are not able to fly passengers - never again.
AircraftA340
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJNB to FRA
Date FlownAugust 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"entertainment system didn't work"

(United Kingdom)

Verified Review | London Heathrow to Johannesburg with South African Airways for the first time. The entertainment system didn't work the whole journey (11hrs flight), the food had no choice by the time it got to my row, it was very cold. I normally travel with Emirates as last minute booking but I thought I would try South African which has left me completely in shock. I paid a lot of money for this service and the same problem on my way back to London. Very disappointed and would never use again.
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteLHR to JNB
Date FlownAugust 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
3/10

"seating was comfortable"

(New Zealand)

Johannesburg to Cape Town. Boarding was not good. Very steep stairs and no control by staff. Seating was comfortable. Drinks were nice. I was surprised that some passengers were given 3-4 small bottles of wine each. Food was nice. Disembarking was quick. Cabin staff were a bit abrupt and showed annoyance with some passengers. What puzzled me was how people ignored warnings about mobile phone use and kept using them during takeoff and landing. No communication from the cockpit and a brief announcement by cabin staff just saying thank you for flying with this airline. In the safety briefing they left it up to the video which did not show me where the nearest exit was.
AircraftA320
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJNB to CPT
Date FlownAugust 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"dishonest about our connection"

(South Africa)

Verified Review | Flight was booked through an agent for Lufthansa operated by SAA. We arrived at Johannesburg Airport for our flight only to discover it was cancelled and re-scheduled for the following morning, but cannot blame SAA as they apparently communicated with the agent who did not inform us. I must commend SAA for the hotel booking at the airport overnight. The next morning we checked in and asked about our connecting flight from Germany which was operated by another airline and we were informed it was not yet booked but we will find out in Germany as an agent from SAA will be waiting on the ground. However, on arrival it was not the case and found our way to Lufthansa service desk where we were assisted. Upon enquiry about the connecting flight we were told that SAA booked us on flight that departed at 2pm the same day yet they were very much aware that their flight would arrive at 6pm. The next connecting flight was only available the next day at 11am - yet another night we had to spend. This time on airport chairs and cabins without showers - very uncomfortable night as non could book at a hotel as we required visa's to leave the airport. I was fortunate to be allowed to go out on an emergency visa due to a condition but I had to leave my husband behind at the airport. My disappointment is directed at the manner in which SAA was dishonest about our connection in Germany even after we took the initiative to enquire before departure in RSA as we would have elected to board an overnight flight rather than being stranded in another country and left on our own. This non disclosure of our connection also affected other arrangements we had initially booked at our destination for both accommodation and other flights since Washington was not our final destination.
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJNB to IAD via MUC
Date FlownAugust 2016
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
5/10

"an overall tacky feel to it"

(South Africa)

Flew Johannesburg to London Heathrow. The service on South African Airways flights is always pretty good and I cannot find a reason to fault them on that. Even on other flights I've found the staff to be friendly and attentive. The food is nothing to write home about, but its not the worst I've had and it was a pleasant experience. Where it starts to come undone however, is the equipment/aicraft. The A340 feels like it came out of the 90s. The decor is old, the seats are old and it just has an overall tacky feel to it. The LCD (if it was even LCD) screens are so old they're tiny little squares with black lines where the "touch" sensors are. Its a pity because the flight was smooth, and service good but it was let down by equipment that should really have been removed and upgraded LONG ago.
AircraftA340
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJNB to LHR
Date FlownDecember 2015
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes