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 369 reviews
6/10
4 star Skytrax Rating
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7/10

"nice flight overall"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | London Heathrow to Gaborone via Johannesburg. Outbound A330-200 oldish aircraft with narrow uncomfortable seats - take a cushion - seats are hard. Plane was full. Had an aisle seat. Cabin crew efficient and evening meal was quite good - better than some airlines serving this route. Cabin crew virtually disappeared after evening meal but reappeared with breakfast 2 hours before landing. Again breakfast was good. Plane arrived late due to slightly late departure and traffic control strike over France. On to Gaborone with SA express - short hop and a bouncy landing. Return trip SA express from Gaborone to Johannesburg - Bombardier CJ70. On time. Depart Johannesburg Airbus 330-200, plane nearly full. Pilot announced that this aircraft was brand new - certainly seats were better than the outward flight - seemed more comfortable and a little more room. Had seat 62 C aisle seat. Evening meal did not match the outward flight - hake and rice and quite tepid. Breakfast again served - SAA serve two full meals per long flight, unlike some others where you get an evening meal and a cereal bar in the morning. Some of our local airlines take note! Landed on time and a nice flight overall.
AircraftA330
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteLondon Heathrow to Gaborone via Johannesburg
Date FlownMarch 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
7/10

"They went out of their way to help"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | Flew Johannesburg to London Heathrow. I have read many bad reviews of South African Airways so I was pleasantly surprised with our experience on board. Economy seats were comfortable, with sufficient legroom and recline. The only issue being the excessively stiff seat pocket. Anything thicker than a magazine is difficult to stow. On the flight to London we were given dinner and breakfast plus a good selection of drinks. Food choices were OK and if your choice was not in their cart the FA's were happy to find the meal in another cart if they could. They went out of their way to help. Service was generally very friendly, polite and efficient. Cabin crew seemed to be enjoying their job too, which makes a change from the sullen service on some European carriers. Inflight entertainment selections were a bit dated but OK. The major problem was sound quality. On this flight the movie voice soundtrack at my seat was completely garbled (though the music track was fine). Perhaps the different language tracks were interfering. As I mainly wanted to sleep on this overnight flight this was not a big loss. Overall I was satisfied by SAA's inflight service, it was way above expectation. Ground service at OR Tambo Airport is shockingly bad but that's another story.
AircraftA330
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJohannesburg to London
Date FlownFebruary 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
4/10

"there are no snacks on board"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | Cape Town to London via Johannesburg. I will start with a few positives about the experience: The staff are personable and the meal service is conducted quickly to allow the maximum sleep time on the JNB-LHR route. Access is provided to an arrivals lounge, which is essential as the airlines serves only powdered coffee. Now for the many negatives, these relate primarily to the seat and to the airline's schedule instability. The aircraft was the advertised A330-200. These are widely marketed as lie-flats by the airline and independent websites, however they are angled at about 170 deg and uncomfortable for sleeping. SAA is rare in having a different Business Class seating product on each long-haul aircraft type and also unusual to go from the extremely comfortable and 2-metre long long lie-flats on the A340-600 back to an angled version. The schedule is unstable. I was booked on SA354 at 17.05. SAA did not inform either my travel agent or me of the change in flight plans, it was only by chance that I had wifi access and attempted an online check-in to notice we had been rebooked on SA346 at 15.00. This flight operates 2 hours earlier than our original booking. For much of our trip we were in the bush and off grid so would have missed the flight if we had been coming from elsewhere. This lack of communication of a significant flight change is terrible, as we would have missed the flight had we turned up for a 17.05 departure. On check-in it became apparent that the SA352 at 16.05 was cancelled and passengers being moved from SA352 to SA354. However, a 5-hour wait at JNB was not expected or particularly welcome and no attempt was made to move us to the earlier SA234 from JNB to LHR. Staff professionalism - staff chatted in the galleys throughout the night on both LHR flights, which disrupted sleep despite ear plugs. Furthermore, my request if a snack might be available before the breakfast service commenced, only to be told there are no snacks on board. Other airlines on similar flight lengths would at the very least be able to offer a pack of nuts or crackers.
AircraftA330-200
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteCape Town to London via Johannesburg
Date FlownMarch 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"very disappointed"

(Brazil)

Trip Verified | In September, 2017, I bought three tickets from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg for me, my girlfriend and her godson (12 years old). I informed, on the same day that I bought such tickets, that there was a little error in the passenger name, and I asked what would be the procedure in this case. It was a material and irrelevant error, I just had written his middle name with an extra “r”. In the e-mail dated 26 September 2017 sent by the Reservations Service Recovery team as described herein, they confirmed that the error in the name would not be a problem and also informed the occurance of a schedule change on our flight, as transcribed below: “Kindly be advised that we have endorsed on the system for the airport to allow passenger to board. Please note that there has been a schedule change on your flight from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg.” Unfortunately, on flight day when I tried to do the kid's check in at the airport, I was informed that his ticket was cancelled, although his seat was still booked in the system. We know that because I did my check in and my girlfriend's check in online one day before the flight and kid's seat was there. South African employee informed us that his ticket was cancelled, because the name was wrong and the company policy sets forth that the ticket must be automatically cancelled. However, I did not receive any e-mail about such cancellation. And also we confirmed five months ago with the company if the error in kid’s name would represent a problem and the answer was no, as I mentioned above. The employee at the airport said that the ticket was cancelled and refunded and she could not do anything about it. The wrong information of South African Airways employee, and the lack of cancelation notice cost us 3.281,89 Rand, almost four times more than the ticket that I originally paid for the kid to travel with us. I still want to understand why his ticket was cancelled and once cancelled why I did not receive a notice about it. We were on vacations and we booked two days in Sun City Hotel. So I did not have other choice than buy another ticket to the kid by a huge price. I look foward to their return. The ticket was arbitrarily cancelled. We were badlly guided by South African's team regarding the error in the kids name and the cancelation of his ticket. It cost us more 2.465,80 Rand. It is our first flight with SAA and we are very disappointed with the way that we have been treated by their employees since the beginning.
AircraftA319
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RoutePort Elizabeth to Johannesburg
Date FlownFebruary 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"horrendous customer service"

(United States)

Trip Verified | George to Johannesburg. I have never encountered such horrendous customer service in my entire life. Our flight was delayed and then our bags “misplaced” for another 45 min, causing us to miss our international flight. South African airways did nothing to compensate us nor helped us rebook. I was directed to speak to a supervisor who then simply told me over and over again that they apparently have no responsibility to get us to our other flights on time. I will never fly this airline again, and I would recommend that they be avoided at all costs. It cost $8000 just to get home.
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteGeorge to Johannesburg
Date FlownFebruary 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"never set foot on SAA again"

(United States)

Trip Verified | I booked a flight for two people on SAA going from Cape Town to Mauritius via Johannesburg on airline website. Never have I had this happen and we travel out of country every 3 months on average. The first part of our vacation was spent in Cape Town. Using ET from LAX, we had no problems, very pleasant flight. Now were ready for our second city so its back to the airport to head out for Mauritius. The SAA counter looks at my passport and says," You can't leave the country on this ticket". Why? "This is not your ticket. Your Passport says Gregory but your ticket says Greg". I tried to explain to her this is very common for Americans to shorten names. She say," Your Ticket much match your Passport Exactly" . I wanted to say, with that logic my GF can't fly either because her ticket doesn't have her middle name as does her passport but I thought better. They told me I had to cancel my ticket and buy one from them. I said, how can I cancel someone else's ticket? what If "Greg" shows up, since you people think Im not Greg? The lady didn't appreciate that lol. They ended up charging me 800USD to go from Cape Town to Mauritius. I was stuck. The sales counter even had the nerve to ask, what about your return flight, aren't you going to buy it now? I said, I worried about that in Mauritius. I believe this is a legal scam they pull to shake down customers. The sales lady say had i bought my original tickets on "Their" website, they would have just issued me a new ticket no charge. Forgive me if I don't believe. Once in Mauritius, I called my ticket broker and they said because i was a "No show" on the first leg of the flight, my return ticket was cancel and they couldn't update my name in the system. I decided to buy two new return tickets. Needless to say, I will never set foot on an SAA aircraft again. Lesson learned.
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteCape Town to Mauritius via Johannesburg
Date FlownJanuary 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
3/10

"was a huge disappointment"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | Johannesburg to Hong Kong. SAA was a huge disappointment for my daughter and myself. The seats and TV screens were dirty. The selection of movie were old and outdated. They hostess informed us they have run out of certain drinks on the first service order. When all the lights were shut down in cabin I assume that means we can all have a nap but it was impossible, the staff never stopped talking, this went on for hours. We would like to support our local airline but after this flight will rethink my future travel decision.
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJohannesburg to Hong Kong
Date FlownDecember 2017
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
10/10

"consistently excellent service"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | East London to London via Johannesburg. Huge credit to SAA for providing a consistently excellent service onboard and on the ground. For passengers departing South Africa to Europe and many other routes, they have an amazing deal for excess baggage with an extra 3 bags allowed at 450 ZAR per bag (just over GBP20) compared to KQ, BA and ET all charging 7 times that - a massive advantage for long term residents travelling heavy. Good entertainment and (three) nice meal choices, with unlimited, quality alcohol throughout the overnight flight to London and also on the short domestic flights continue to set them apart. Don't expect never ending smiles from young staff, but this is part of the appeal. Very sad to hear SAA are pulling out of East London next year. We experienced some hectic storms on both journeys, but both pilots kept passengers updated and transfer at ORT was efficient.
AircraftA319 / A330
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteEast London to London via Johannesburg
Date FlownNovember 2017
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
1/10

"administrative fees for cancellation"

(Belgium)

Trip Verified | After many years travelling with South African Airways I must say that I had the most horrible customer care experience of my life. Another bad experience was some years ago and it was again with SSA, so this time I promise myself that I will never fly again with this airline and strongly recommend to avoid them. After request of cancellation of 4 tickets for very serious health problems with 2 month notice communicated to the airline company we received a feedback that administrative fees for cancellation were amounting to almost the total of what we had paid for our tickets. A real shock. In the same occasion the other airline company with which we had booked another segment of the trip refunded us against a minor cancellation fee.
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteWindhoek to Livingstone via Johannesburg
Date FlownDecember 2017
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"filthiest plane I have ever been on"

(Zambia)

Not Verified | Johannesburg to Durban. Flight was on time, no great shakes for a 50 minute domestic flight. A drink and a sandwich severed during the flight. However - this must have been the filthiest plane I have ever been on and I have been on hundreds. The dirt, grim and filth on the table and seats was beyond a joke.
AircraftBoeing 737
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJohannesburg to Durban
Date FlownNovember 2017
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes