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 397 reviews
6/10
4 star Skytrax Rating
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4/10

"Worst airline ever"

(United States)

Trip Verified | Cape Town to Sao Paulo via Johannesburg with South African Airways. Worst airline ever. Disorganized, not very clean. Very old in every way. Very noisy, seats uncomfortable, little service. Food more like coach. Can’t believe I used lots of points for this experience. Worst business trip ever. Love Africa but need a better way to get there.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeBusiness Class
RouteCape Town to Sao Paulo via Johannesburg
Date FlownJune 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
6/10

"hardworking, efficient and cheerful"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | London to Harare via Johannesburg. Left on time, seats uncomfortable for a long flight, but aircraft not full. Dinner served, beef stew, followed by breakfast at the end of the flight. Cabin crew disappeared during the flight. A319 from Joburg to Harare no empty seats. Served a snack which was an inedible cheese roll. Departed Harare on Airbus 320-more room on return flight and served a midday meal- tasty and good service on such a short hop to Johannes burg. A330 from Joburg to Heathrow a newer plane with much more comfortable seats than the outward flight. Served an evening meal which was not as good as the outward flight then cabin crew disappeared - turbulence so no hot drinks could be served. Went to the galley to get a coffee, obviously this is an unwanted intrusion on crew space, did not get the coffee. Breakfast was later served- an amorphous puddle of yellow calling itself an omelette. Saving grace was the female cabin crew who served us, very hardworking, efficient and cheerful.The pilot was good at communicating with the passengers as we went along.
AircraftA330 / A319
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteLondon to Harare via Johannesburg
Date FlownMay 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
10/10

"very enjoyable flights"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | London to Cape Town via Johannesburg. I just wanted to say how impressed we were with South African Airways. The staff at the check in desk and the cabin crew were very helpful, professional and friendly. The plane and its seats were very comfortable and extremely clean. This is in comparison to British Airways. The food was also very tasty. Overall we had very enjoyable flights. Well done SAA and we look forward to fly with you again. Thank you!
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteLondon to Cape Town via Johannesburg
Date FlownApril 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
5/10

"Serving lunch at 0930"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | Johannesburg to Maputo. I like SAA, and they are always punctual. What I take exception to is their business class cabins on the A319 aircraft with 5 across seating, noticeably different to their A320s with only 4 across. SAA should not be selling the middle seat to ensure conformity. As the airline is struggling financially, I would have though it can't afford to alienate premium customers, but henceforth, if a flight is operated with an A319, I'll downgrade to Economy and save a small fortune. Serving lunch at 0930 in the morning is silly. Most passengers wanted tea and coffee and the crew had a trolley full of wine and champagne. Net effect, the crew really struggled to effectively serve hot drinks to a full cabin, they did just about manage, but it's obvious here whoever makes the catering decisions at SAA has done so to make his/her life easier, not the crew or the passengers.
AircraftA319
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Seat TypeBusiness Class
RouteJohannesburg to Maputo
Date FlownApril 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
1/10

"could not cancel my flight"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | Cape Town to George. I have never come across a more unprofessional, inefficient airline in my life. After having unplanned surgery days before my flight, I couldn't make my flight. As a result, (and including the travel insurance which I bought) I could not change my flight without paying the fee of the flight again and could not cancel my flight and get a refund on my booking. After calling in and being on hold, I spoke to an extremely rude woman who did not understand and could not answer my basic questions. I was told that if I were a gold-card member that I would be able to change my flight but as I am just an economy member, there is nothing they can do for me. After asking to speak to a manager I was put on hold for 30 minutes and eventually decided to write this review.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteCape Town to George
Date FlownApril 2019
Value For Money 12345
no
4/10

"not willing to help

(Brazil)

Trip Verified | Sao Paulo to Hong Kong via Johannesburg. I had a okay flight from São Paulo to Johannesburg even tho the food experience was not good at all. My flight from Johannesburg to Hong Kong was canceled after we waited 3 hours inside of the plane for technical problems fixing. Apparently the aircraft had less then 50% air pressure and it was insufficient to a flight over 12 hours. We had to wait inside of the airplane for 3 hours (without airconditioning) just so they end up telling us that the flight is cancelled and we would flight the next day. They provided hotel but my flight was over 24 hours after. They could have changed aircraft or being nicer to costumers that were in the delayed flight. Instead I had to keep calling them for information about when I would flight and got very rude attitude from the staff (I wanted to upgrade my flight from economy to business due to being 6 months pregnant). They were not willing to help and were very inefficient even tho I was paying for the upgrade. The last problem was that I had a connecting flight in HK and they said they were unable to check my luggage straight to the final destination so I would have to check out in HK get my luggage and check in again with the spare time of 1 hours between flights.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeBusiness Class
RouteSao Paulo to Hong Kong via Johannesburg
Date FlownMarch 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
2/10

"could not have been more disappointed"

(United States)

Trip Verified | Flew New York City to Johannesburg. Overall I could not have been more disappointed in this flight and airplane. For a 15 hour flight, the majority of the headphones jacks did not work and there was no option to use different headphones. There was no way to charge devices and no offer of internet (even at a charge). The crew was incredibly rude. We asked for water when they were serving coffee and got a strong eye roll even though water was on their cart. It was very disheartening. The food was packaged months ago and the majority of it made me nauseous from the smell. The only benefit to this flight was the cost however next time we will be paying the extra to fly Delta from Atlanta. It is time for South African Airways to update this plane or to only use it for shorter trips. It is just simply too out of date for this time of trip and is not fair to customers.
AircraftA340-600
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteNew York City to Johannesburg
Date FlownMarch 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
8/10

"SAA is a solid airline"

(Australia)

Trip Verified | Johannesburg to Perth was a mirror image of of the outbound. Hardly surprising since it was the same aircraft. Friendly crew and everything pretty much on the dot. Improvements? Firstly the quality of F & B. Par for the course but what about adding say a fiery Durban chicken curry to the mix? Something which says South Africa. Secondly the IFE is a bit dismal. It works and has a choice of viewing but its old. Thirdly, new aircraft. The A340 is a favourite but showing its a bit dated. A shiny 330, 350 or 789 would really elevate the experience. If not then refurbish the interiors. SAA is a solid airline but not yet up there with the Asian carriers. A word on OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg. I fell in between alliances. Im One World with Emerald status but flying Star Alliance (having insufficient status there). So the Emirates and SAA lounges were off limits, the Aspire lounge was pay as you go and so ended up at the Shongolo lounge which Qantas uses. Its ok as a place to shower up and sit. OR Tambo airport is terrible for seating if not in a lounge. Overall and being born in SA and a regular visitor, the whole experience was like Africa: chaotic in part, colourful but it will get you there eventually.
AircraftA340 -300e
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteJohannesburg to Perth
Date FlownFebruary 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
8/10

"get you there safely"

(Australia)

Trip Verified | Perth to Johannesburg. This was by far the most economic way to get to Johannesburg from Sydney. Qantas, my usual rise, was roughly double for direct service. Flying to Perth first with Virgin meant all my check in and boarding cards were issued in Sydney. Not having any checked baggage meant a clean passage through from Sydney to Johannesburg. Flight to Perth was fine, nice shiny A330-300 and typical Virgin cheerfulness. Now the SAA experience. Perth airport, Terminal 1, is a dismal place for an international departures terminal. Being a Qantas FF meant little and could not enter the lounge there run by Qantas but for other airlines. The lack of F & B amenity is simple to explain: Perth is not a major destination for international airlines. It is linked to the rest of the world with Emirates, Cathy I assume and Singapore airlines plus a few others. The boarding process was fine, seat was comfortable and a smooth ride. One single meal service in the evening which I declined having had something at the terminal (a burger and chips fills the gap). No snacks or refreshment between meals. Breakfast I usually avoid and so it was the case here. Smooth landing and into Johannesburg at 4.30 am. Out of the terminal doors by 4.55am. SAA are remind me a bit of British Airways. Good in parts, not so good in others and they get you there safely. It would be nice if they could have a little bit more of Africa in their overall experience.
AircraftA340-300
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RoutePerth to Johannesburg
Date FlownFebruary 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
9/10

"very pleasantly surprised"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | London to Cape Town via Johannesburg. Bearing in mind previous reviews it was with some trepidation that we boarded SA235 on 5 Feb. However we were very pleasantly surprised. The flight took off only 5 minutes late and arrived 30 minutes early. The plane was pretty new, the cabin was bright, cheery and the crew friendly and cheerful with great uniforms. Great food too and a proper breakfast not a cereal bar! Sadly the whole experience knocked BA in to a cocked hat. The onward flight to CPT was in an older plane but still on time and we had no complaints other than in the new A330-300s the seats are a bit hard and the tray tables ridiculously small! However we would certainly fly SAA again.
AircraftA330-300 / A340-600
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteLondon to Cape Town via Johannesburg
Date FlownFebruary 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes