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

"refused to refund my money"

(United States)

Trip Verified | South Africa Airlines canceled my flight New York to Polokwane via Johannesburg and has refused to refund my money I paid. According to the Department of Transportation they are required to refund my money because they canceled my flight due to Covid19.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteNew York to Polokwane via Johannesburg
Date FlownJuly 2020
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"lounge was closed due to lockdown"

(South Africa)

Trip Verified | I arrived to Johannesburg on an international flight on 26 March 2020, which was the last day before lockdown in South Africa. Due to the lockdown, most domestic airlines already stopped flying on the 25th. This seat in Business Class on SAA was the only option I had to get back to Cape Town, as US$275 one way for the 2 hour flight. When I arrived at the Business check in counters it was like the airline had already shut down. I went over to the Economy check in area and again there were no passengers and no staff. I turned to walk away, and that is when I saw 3 check in agents dragging themselves back to checkin. The explanation offered was that things were quiet, so they all decided to take a lunch break together. After I was checked in, I enquired about the lounge, as this was a business class ticket, however I was informed that the SAA lounge was closed due to the lockdown. Fine, I understand that they need some time to shut things down, but how about offering a voucher for a coffee and a sandwich like any respectable airline would do? I did pay full fare after all. I enquired about this at the ticket counter, but the very agent told me that "there are no contingencies in place for the lounge. When I stated that normally a voucher would be offered, he became defensive and started telling me that he was about to lose his job. The flight boarded on time. This was probably the only thing they did right. After everyone was on board, we waited for a good 30 minutes while the crew kept telling us that "there were more passengers on the way", and that we needed to wait for them. No boarding refreshments were offered in Business. Eventually the person we were waiting for boarded the aircraft, and no, this was not a passenger at all it was a cabin crew. The business cabin on this A320 showed serious signs or wear. On my seat, the cover for the lifejacket in the central armrest would not stay shut as the catch was broken. We took off about 45 minutes late. Shortly after take off, the crew made an announcement: "due to the Coronavirus, we will not be serving lunch today. Instead you will each find juice in your seat pocket." That was it for the service.
AircraftA320
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeBusiness Class
RouteJohannesburg to Cape Town
Date FlownMarch 2020
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"poor customer service"

(Canada)

Not Verified | Very poor customer service. I could talk to a real person. And the one time I did, I was given a number that goes straight to voicemail, don’t even bother leaving a message because they don’t return calls and reply to your emails.
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteToronto to Johannesburg
Date FlownJanuary 2020
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"$300 charge for me changing my ticket"

(United States)

Trip Verified | Washington to Accra. I'm scheduled to fly in September 2020. I haven't flown with them yet and I'm already having a terrible experience with their customer service. I reschedule my flight amid the covid 19 craze. The guy schedule me on a wrong time. Two days later I found out and try to call to reschedule on the best date. After being on the phone for 45 mins, this agent came up on the phone to tell me about an extra $300 charge for me changing my ticket which is not my fault. This will be the first and the last time I will use this airline.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteWashington to Accra
Date FlownSeptember 2019
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"Had a terrible journey"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | Bulawayo to London via Johannesburg. Had a terrible journey trying to get back to London. I understand that there is a Health pandemic, but a little courtesy and information goes a long way. My flight was cancelled whilst I was in transit. No warning or information given. Instead they told us that it was non of their business what we did next and not their responsibility to cater for the passengers. I was absolutely disgusted by the Customer service. I was stranded for 48hrs at the airport. No water, no food provided. Slept on the floor at the airport, not even a blanket provided. Now trying to claim my refund back and am being told I have to claim via my travel insurance or choose to use it for another day. I don’t think I will be using this airline in the near future. AMake matters worse, my luggage was lost and there is nothing they can do about it.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteBulawayo to London via Johannesburg
Date FlownMarch 2020
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"tell me there's nothing they can do"

(Australia)

Trip Verified | Perth to Nairobi via Johannesburg. This was the first and last time to fly with the airline. We get to Johannesburg only to be informed that the last part of the journey i.e. to Nairobi had been cancelled. The day before I received an email asking me to upgrade my ticket and clearly the fact that the flight had been cancelled was more important. Then the staff at the airport tell me there's nothing they can do yet there were other airlines plying that route. My agent goes to the Perth office and gets other tickets with another airline. Then they forget to load my baggage into the KQ flight, something they said they would do.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RoutePerth to Nairobi via Johannesburg
Date FlownMarch 2020
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

"worst airline I've ever"

(Canada)

Trip Verified | I asked for champagne on board which every airlines serve on business class but SA doesn't. They don't have menu to choose from. The cabin crew comes and take your order and they only have 2 options to choose from. In flight entertainment is poor. Their worldwide call centers are the most terrible one I've ever came across. I was trying to change my date from Accra to Washington. I contacted the Accra office 3 times. Someone picked the call then hangs up as if I'm disturbing their peace. I contacted Johannesburg office and I was placed on hold for 30 mins until I ran out of airtime credit. I called back again and after being on hold for 25 mins a customer service rep came on the phone and placed me on hold again for another 30 mins until I hanged up. I called the Washington office and again I was placed on hold for one hour until someone answered then she placed me on hold after taking for my booking code. She kept me on hold for 1.5hrs and never returned to me. As I write this review I'm still on hold waiting to talk to someone because my flight takes off tomorrow and I need to do these changes before tomorrow. My husband is also on hold for 2 hrs hoping someone answers his call so he can talk to them on my behalf. It's quite expensive to call from Africa and I spent over $60 buying airtime credit just to call SA customer service but to no avail. What a horrible customer service and airline. This is my second time flying SA and I'm done with them. I'll advise my friends and family and everyone to stay away from this horrible airline. It's been 2.5hrs now and I'm still on hold. At this time I'm going to hang up and close the chapter with SA the worst airline I've ever.
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Seat TypeBusiness Class
RouteWashington to Accra
Date FlownMarch 2020
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

"Service was obliging"

(United States)

Trip Verified | Accra to Washington Dulles. Given the current situation globally, just glad that I got home. South African Airways is way below current standards for business class. My seat arm rest was broken and wouldn't collapse. This took about 6 inches off my sleeping space. My food was unappealing and limited options. Even though it is a flight with a late departure with only a light meal offered for dinner, I found that I was hungry after that service and there were not even biscuits or any sort of snack available. Service was obliging but seems their company has left crew with limited options to satisfy their premium cabin customers. Flight departed and arrived on time. Pursers announcements were the classiest I have heard in ages and announcements from the cockpit equally charming and informative -- something I told the captain when we met near the baggage carousel.
AircraftA330
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Seat TypeBusiness Class
RouteAccra to Washington Dulles
Date FlownMarch 2020
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
7/10

"crew did the minimum possible"

(United States)

Trip Verified | Washington to Accra in business class. South African Airways uses TK lounge in Dulles which was jam packed with line ups for the washrooms. Boarding smooth with early departure from IAD. I was initially in 2A, but moved to 9K in the second business class cabin when I saw some kids a couple rows behind me. Big mistake because there was a young woman two rows behind me who wanted everyone to know that she was there and travelling in business class. She fussed over everything, talked loudly from her seat to a passenger behind her, flirted shamelessly with the male cabin crew and in the middle of the flight, when everyone else was asleep, talked a full volume in the galley. I had to get and tell the crew to tell her to shut the hell up. To no avail. Then, on final approach to ACC, she was sound asleep and couldn't be woken up. She was a complete idiot. At one point, she stood in the second galley and pointed to the first, larger business class cabin and announced, "that must be business class, but where I am (the smaller second business class cabin) must be first class because it is small". A complete idiot. Shame on the crew for letting her talk so loudly in the galley in the middle of the night. Service was ok but definitely no way near the standard of many airlines. The business cabin was just over half full, but the crew did the minimum possible. When I inquired as to how the seat is made up for sleeping, one FA just pointed at the two packages of blankets/padded cover and said, "there they are", as if I hadn't already seen them. No effort at all to help prepare my seat for sleeping. During the meal service, when it was time for dessert, I was asked what I wanted. I said I'd have the cheesecake and the cheese plate, then was told that it was 'company policy' that I could have one or the other. Really? In business class with a nearly half-empty cabin? Food was mediocre overall. I liked the bulkhead seat in the second cabin (row 9) because the foot area is double size, unlike a lot of the new coffin-like business seats where you feel like you are undergoing the world's longest MRI.
AircraftA330
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Seat TypeBusiness Class
RouteWashington to Accra
Date FlownMarch 2020
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
1/10

"sue for compensation"

(Russian Federation)

Trip Verified | On March 5, we were scheduled to depart at 1 p.m. from Livingston to Johannesburg on Flight SA49. But, without warning, the airline cancelled the flight, and all passengers were transferred to the swing flight SA9040/SA41, which we had to fly from Livingston to Victoria Fall, and only then to Johannesburg. Since we had to catch a flight from Johannesburg to Istanbul at 7:15 p.m., we requested confirmation of the cancellation of the flight in order to return the money, buy other tickets and fly off a normal flight of another airline, British Airways. A Nsw representative from SA refused to do so, assuring us that we would arrive in Johannesburg just 1.5 hours later than the originally set arrival time (15:15 instead of 14:45). That was still enough to catch our plane from Johannesburg at 7:15 p.m. We were denied the return of tickets and sent to board the plane, where we and other passengers were simply blocked for several hours. The plane did not take off at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. First they sorted the luggage, then it turned out that they did not have a flight permit to fly to Victoria Fall. At the same time, we were not allowed back from the plane and were physically deprived of the opportunity to fly on a flight of another airline, British Airways, which took off from Livingston on schedule at 13:30 and arrived in time for Johannesburg. As a result, we flew to Johannesburg at 6:25 p.m., 3 hours 40 minutes late than the scheduled arrival time. Despite the assurances of the crew that we would be helped to board our flight at 19:15 through the transfer corridor, this was not done. We were just escorted out of the plane and dumped at the airport. When we independently found the South african Airways office at Johannesburg airport and asked us to issue a certificate about the late arrival of the flight due to the fault of the airline, we were rude, our passport was taken away and did not want to give it away. To get the document back, we had to call the police. After that, immediately returned the passport and issued the required certificate. As a result, we lost our flight to Istanbul at 19:15, were forced to purchase tickets for alternative flights at our own expense. One of the passengers became ill at the SA (South African Airways) office, but the spokeswoman refused to call a doctor. The reason for the situation was the greed of South African Airways, which instead of two planes (the airline sold two flights to Johannesburg - from Livingston and from Victoria Fall) sent one plane, which was supposed to gallop around Victoria Falls, picking up and unloading passengers of two flights. At the same time, the airline did not even have permission to fly under such a scheme, but knowing that the flight in time is impossible, denied passengers their law the right to return tickets and tricked them to the plane, which was doomed to fly with great delay. The fact that the airline has problems is already written in the media. But perhaps it's time to stop selling tickets for flights that no airline is going to perform? We are preparing to sue for compensation for late services, denial of the right by law to a forced return of an cancelled/altered flight, and for leaving a passenger in danger in a state threatening his health, an official of South African Airways and refusal to call for medical assistance. We hope that Star Aliance, of which South African Airways is a member, and IATA will also pay attention to the situation.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Seat TypeEconomy Class
RouteLivingstone to Johannesburg
Date FlownMarch 2020
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no