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 376 reviews
6/10
4 star Skytrax Rating
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8/10

"Happy to fly them again"

(Australia)

Trip Verified | Perth to Johannesburg. My first time on South African Airways and returning to Africa after leaving 50 years ago. There is a saying 'TIA', This is Africa. So it proves with SAA in parts. The aircraft is well used. Old style armchair seating with ample legroom but pretty old. The IFE was vintage. A smooth flight over. The FA's were friendly but swift and once the meal service was done were not seen until the morning. No snacks during the night or anything like a midnight walk through. Get the PAX fed and to sleep was the motto. For a 11 hour flight it was fine but SAA lag behind likes of Qantas and the ME3 on long haul. Had a short haul SAA from Johannesburg to Cape Town and they were fine. Much like all other carriers. Happy to fly them again.
AircraftA340
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RoutePerth to Johannesburg
Date FlownAugust 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
8/10

"a very pleasant flight"

(Germany)

Trip Verified | Munich to Johannesburg.Having read some recent reviews about SAA on Skytrax, I was a bit apprehensive about flying SAA. I booked Economy, but put in a bid for an upgrade to business and the offer was accepted. Business class configuration on the older A330-200 aircraft looks a bit dated, compared to the product on other airlines and newer aircraft, but the seat reclined to a 180 degrees flat seat. The bedding was comfortable. Lavatories were clean.The cabin crew was very attentive. Four meals options were available, with dessert and cheese selections. Wine selection from selection of South African vinyards.All meals served on porcellan. Breakfast is a choice of continental, full english, or fruit salad and cereals. Cabin lights were dimmed immediately after meal service, so that seats could be reclined for sleeping. Those who wanted breakfast were woken an hour before landing. On schedule arrival in JNB. All in all a very pleasant flight, even if the aircraft used was beginning to feel it's age a bit.
AircraftA330-200
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteMunich to Johannesburg
Date FlownSeptember 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
2/10

"complaint remains unanswered"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | Johannesburg to New York. During flight entertainment system was out of order which made this 15 hours journey extremely unpleasant. In addition air temperature in the cabin was very high and crew were unable to adjust it to the comfortable level. Looks like this aircraft if very old and never was refurbished. One can experience bad service, unpleasant situation, delay or break down during air travels. It happened to me on quite a few occasions but every time carrier involved responded to complain and at least apologised, promising improvements. Unfortunately this is not how SAA works. My complaint remains unanswered for over 2 months.
AircraftA340-600
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJohannesburg to New York
Date FlownJune 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
6/10

"Cabin crews seemed efficient"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | London to Harare via Johannesburg. Depart Heathrow on time, plane full to Johannesburg no spare seats. Served dinner then breakfast both of which were standard fare. Landed in Johannesburg on time then bussed to remote stand in Joburg - flight to Harare again plane full, served a hot brunch type meal and arrived on time. Cabin crews on both flights seemed efficient. Return flight from Harare to Johannesburg again full - SAA seem to fill their flights and yet manage to serve a meal on the 90 minute hop from Harare to Johannesburg. Johannesburg to London on another totally full flight, despite online booking and seat selection I was allocated a middle seat -complained at check in and ended up in an aisle seat at the back of the plane. Departed on time and evening meal served - a sort of tepid beef stew, after which all the blinds came down and lights turned off - announcement was "so that we can unwind and relax" but on the outward flight same procedure of blinds down "for security reasons" - translated these both mean dont bother the crew. Seats are hard and narrow so sleep is difficult. Breakfast served before arrival. To be fair they provide meals instead of cereal bars etc and this is appreciated .
AircraftA330 / A319
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteLondon to Harare via Johannesburg
Date FlownAugust 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
3/10

"I regret my choice"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | New York to Johannesburg. South African Airways was not my first choice for this trip to New York. Based on my previous experiences with them, I had explored other alternatives with a superior product (Qatar, Emirates and several EU carriers), but SAA is the only airline serving JFK non stop out of Johannesburg and I could not afford traveling 1-2 days vs the 15h direct flight. Having flown to and back from New York with them last week, I regret my choice for the following reasons: Airport services: OKish, uneventful check-in and boarding experience. SAA flies their old A340 600 to New York. Even though I purchased an emergency exit seat on both legs (45D, 45F resp) and had a very decent legroom, the experience was not pleasant as the seats were hard as a rock (even with lumbar support and additional pillows) and the aircraft clearly showed its age and it felt like its interior was falling apart. Inflight Entertainment more than half of the passengers travelling on my row complained about technical issues with their IFE system. Some of them simply didn't work, others like mine worked but with lag and poor sound. Not great when you have a 15h flight ahead of you. Cabin crew service: I did see a slight improvement vs. previous flights as crew seemed a bit nicer and more customer oriented. Don't think I would fly them again for such a long route again and will rather increase travel time by flying EU or Middle East carriers.
AircraftA340 600
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteNew York to Johannesburg
Date FlownSeptember 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
3/10

"very unpleasant flight"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | On flight SA 208 from Washington to Johannesburg we had the situation where the inflight entertainment did not work on my wife's seat (61G) after travelling the week before to JFK without any inflight entertainment for all passengers. The flight was full and the attendants could not move my wife to another seat. They were rude and unhelpful. During the night I only saw the attendant on duty came around with water once. A very unpleasant flight.
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteWashington to Johannesburg via dakar
Date FlownJuly 2018
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

"not even an apology since"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | On Flight SA203 to JFK New York 21 June 2018 the entertainment etc was not working. Not only our family of five but all the passengers on the flight. The staff did not know how to resolve the problem, served dinner and vanished leaving one staff member in the galley who I did not see once came round to offer water. The staff emerged again for breakfast service and advised us to take the matter further with customer services from SAA. We reported the incident, got a reference number and not even an apology since.
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteJohannesburg to New York JFK
Date FlownJune 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
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