We got to fly on South African Airways for the first time on January 16, 2017, in the second segment of our round-the-world air tickets which our family of four had redeemed for free on Business Class with Star Alliance by using the one million air miles we earned in 2016 from our credit card rewards. These free Business Class air tickets are worth US$54,000, so we were stoked each time we boarded a plane during this epic 6-month family trip around the world to five continents.
We had earlier on the same day flew into Johannesburg from Singapore on Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 after a 10.5 hour flight, arriving in Terminal A. The queue at the passport control entering Joburg from outside South Africa was horrendous, to say the least. Few counters were manned, and international flights seemed to be timed closely with one another, so you get hoards of tired passengers in a never-ending queue just to get their passports stamped. After about an hour in the queue, we finally went to collect our luggage, and got them re-checked at Terminal B for the domestic flight SA 323 from Joburg to Cape Town on Business Class.
In this South African Airways A340-300 Business Class review, we'll share with you what it's like to fly Business Class on this plane.
South African Airways Business Class Lounge at Johannesburg
South African Airways A340-300 Business Class Review
We didn't know what to expect from this South African Airways flight as we hadn't flown with SAA before. The last time we were in Africa, we flew with British Airways.
All we knew was that SAA was part of Star Alliance, which was why we could fly with them on our RTW ticket for free, and that it has a 4-star ranking by SkyTrax.
Having just stepped off from the blissful Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class flight from Singapore to Johannesburg, we knew that flight SA 323 would be a different experience.
This South African Airways Airbus A340-300 has 38 Business Class seats and 216 Economy Class seats. Business Class seats are configured 2-2-2.
We had the seats 2A, 2C, 2D and 2G, which were in the second row. Boarding was on time.
Our JNB-CPT flight took 2 hours and 5 min, departing at JNB at 10:10, with CPT arrival time at 12:15.
We were only seated in the upright position the whole time, and legroom was very spacious. The seats were comfortable and spacious. There weren't any fancy bells or whistles, but that was to be expected. There wasn't any individual inflight entertainment (IFE).
The South African Airways Business Class cabin crew were mainly average, ranging from aloof to mildly helpful.
Grace approached a flight attendant in the galley to request for help to wash a milk bottle, and he did do a thorough wash with boiling water, then normal temperature water. However, this same attendant didn't seem that helpful after that during inflight service.
Toilet hygiene in the SAA Business Class cabin was average. The fixed soap dispenser by the wash basin was empty, so I alerted an attendant about it. He pointed to a loose plastic bottle of hand soap that was sitting in a top shelf, and then fiddled with the soap dispenser, which wasn't refilled with soap at all. Maybe it was too much trouble for him.
We didn't get to taste any snack as we were too tired, so couldn't comment on the food quality.
As we descended from cruising altitude approaching Cape Town, the view of the Table Mountain range was quite something.
Overall, I would say the South African Airways Business Class cabin service was quite a letdown as it was inconsistent, considering we were in Business Class.
Follow Us On Instagram (@roundtheworldfamily)
Read our trip reports on GET.com/rtw.
Pedro Pla is co-founder of GET.com. He has been around the globe several times and considers collecting air miles and points from credit cards to be a hobby, if not, an obsession. Email: email@example.com.Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
At GET.com it's all about your saving and getting experience. There's nothing more helpful for all of us Getters than a true life experience, a tip or a trick relating to a reviewed product. Read more about comments.