South African Airways is the flag carrying airline of South Africa, and is also the official airline of the Association of Tennis Professionals. It’s the parent company of Mango, a low cost airline which operates domestically in South Africa. South African Airways is fully owned by the Government of South Africa.
From its hub at OR Tambo International Airport, just outside Johannesburg, South African Airways flies to 38 destinations throughout the world. As a member of Star Alliance, South African Airways benefits from code-share agreements with a range of global airlines. They also have additional code-share agreements with airlines including Emirates, Delta Airlines, Virgin Australia and Air Mauritius. Their frequent flyer programme is called Voyager.
How to Check In
South African Airways offers a range of convenient check-in options. Online check-in is available from 24 hours before flight departure. On international routes check-in closes two hours before departure, and 90 minutes before departure on domestic flights. You can check in via South African Airways mobile site, m.flysaa.com. A mobile boarding pass will be sent to your phone. Note that this service is only available on domestic routes from certain airports: Johannesburg, Cape Town, East London, Durban and Port Elizabeth. Self check-in kiosks are also available at Cape Town, Frankfurt, OR Tambo, and Sao Paulo. There are check-in kiosks reserved for domestic flights at Durban and Port Elizabeth airports too. You can also check in the old fashioned way at a South African Airways counter inside the airport.
Baggage Allowance and Fees
Checked baggage allowance varies depending on class of travel and route. Economy passengers flying from the UK to Africa can bring one piece of luggage weighing up to 23kg and measuring no more than 158cm. Business class passengers on the same route can bring two pieces of luggage weighing up to 32kg but measuring no more than 158cm per piece. Elite Voyager members have an extra luggage allowance on all routes. Between the UK and Africa Platinum members can bring an extra piece weighing up to 32kg, as can Silver and Gold members flying business class. Silver and Gold members flying economy can bring an extra bag weighing up to 23kg. It’s also possible to bring extra baggage for a fee, which varies depending on route. If you’re flying from London to South Africa bags are charged at £75 in business class and £35 in economy. If you’re flying elsewhere in Africa via Johannesburg, extra bags are charged at £90 in business class or £50 in economy. Economy class passengers flying from London to Sydney or Perth via Johannesburg will pay £50 for an extra bag, while business class passengers pay £90. On flights to other Australian destinations the cost is higher, at £80 for economy passengers and £120 for business class.
Seating – Leg Room, Choosing Seats
South African Airways has adopted Social Check-In, great for those of you who enjoy having a chat while you fly. Share your Facebook details when you check-in to find other passengers with similar interests to you. Other passengers who have shared their details will be shown on the seat map, so you can reserve the seat next to them and potentially make a new friend. If you decide not to share your details, you can select a seat in the normal way. Legroom is fairly generous. On long-haul flights, economy passengers benefit from a seat pitch between 31” and 33.5” while business class passengers can stretch out with a very generous 73”-74” seat pitch. On long-haul flights the seat pitch is 31”-32” for economy passengers, and 35”-36” for business class.
Meals, Snacks, Drinks
South African Airways have enlisted the help of celebrity chefs Reuben Riffel and Benny Masekwameng to create a delicious in-flight menu. In-flight wines have been hand-picked by the Group Sommelier, Bongdi Sodladla, so you’re sure to be in for a gastronomic treat.
South African Airways have good punctuality, with around 80% of flights arriving and leaving on time.