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 400 reviews
6/10
4 star Skytrax Rating
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1/10

"never use this airline again"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | Johannesburg to Hong Kong. As we got on the flight we noticed on my pillow there was blood, and our entertainment system did not work! I feel it is totally unhygienic. After telling the flight attendant about the pillow she just grabbed one from an open seat and did not even apologize. I will never use this airline again.
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteJohannesburg to Hong Kong
Date FlownAugust 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
2/10

"entertainment system glitched"

(Mozambique)

c✅ Trip Verified | Maputo to New York via Johannesburg. The entertainment system glitched throughout the entire flight to JFK and the seat function controls didn't work several times throughout the 17-hour flight (for up to 15-20 minutes per glitch period). Some people were stuck in a reclined position while others were stuck upright when it was time to sleep. On the returning flight, the TV screens were hardly responsive to touch and were very frustrating to use. The seats are hard and uncomfortable, if a passenger is seated next to a window, they can't step around or over their seatmate when the latter is in a reclined position. This means they have to wake up their seatmate to go to the bathroom, etc. The seat spaces are fairly cramped. For both SAA flights, I had to store my handbag in the overhead compartment for takeoff and landing. On the flight to JFK, they ran out of eggs for breakfast. This has never happened to me before. On the return flight for lunch, they ran out of salmon. On the departing flight, the flight attendant took away my untouched serving of butter and then, when I asked for butter later, said that each passenger is allocated only 1 serving of butter. Apart from the desserts, I found the food not that much better than what's served in economy class. For most of the departing flight, there was one overworked flight attendant serving our section, which meant that the service was very slow and they were not always prompt and sometimes forgot to offer hot towels, blankets, etc. I must say that my returning flight was much better in terms of service, quality, food, etc.) The lounge in OR Tambo is okay but a little chaotic, and the food looked unappetizing. The SWISS lounge for SAA business class flyers in JFK is awful. The food was okay, but the atmosphere was cold and staff were rude and distant. In general, the business class experience was certainly not worth the price of the tickets.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeBusiness Class
RouteMaputo to New York via Johannesburg
Date FlownMay 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"electricity went out"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | SA 260 on 29 July from Johannesburg to Frankfurt. About 30 minutes into flight, electricity went out and did not came back on for 10hr duration of flight. The air hostess was extremely rude and unhelpful. They did not notify the passengers as to what was the cause/reason for the black out. When asked, I was told ‘We will not notify the passengers as it is a safety precaution’.
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteJohannesburg to Frankfurt
Date FlownJuly 2019
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
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