South African Airways (SAA)
South African Airways, or commonly known as SAA is our leading, national airline – the largest in Africa. SAA is the parent organization of SA Airlink, SA Express and their low-cost carrier – Mango.
The South African Airways airline provides passengers with top-quality service before and during the flight, that leaves them satisfied at the start and end of their journey.
Under the management of CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout, SAA has established a respectable reputation for themselves over the past years, and are a great choice for traveling in comfort and satisfaction.
South African Airways is the national carrier, working from headquarters in Johannesburg and covering many destinations throughout Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia as well as Australia. It was formed in 1934 so it is now in its ninth decade of providing a service to passengers.
The lifting of economic sanctions by the world at large resulted in an expansion of its operations. The new logo in 1997 saw the aircraft tail decorated by the colours of the ‘’Rainbow Nation’’ and shortly afterwards, its fleet was renewed with an order to Airbus for 41 new aircraft at a cost of US$3.5 billion. South Africa returned to the International Civil Aviation Organisation and in 2006 joined the Star Alliance. A Boeing 737-800 and an Airbus A340-600 were added to the fleet.
SAA works in partnership with Airlink, a privately-owned company which serves the domestic routes and the smaller destinations, carrying in excess of a million passengers annually travelling within South Africa and to nine other Southern African countries.
Why Choose South African Airways?
✈ SAA was named The Best Airline in Africa for an impressive 14 years in a row.
✈ The SAA airline cuisine is prepared by notable South African chefs such as Chef Reuben Riffel and Chef Benny Masekwameng, paired with some of the finest South African wines.
✈ SAA holds a spot as South Africa’s most on-time airline carrier.
✈ A comprehensive route schedule that offers passengers routes that link Africa to many destinations throughout the world.
✈ South African Airways has 14 Skytrax Awards and is established as the Africa’s major airline.
✈ Modern fleet of aircraft offering maximum comfort to its passengers.
✈ South African Airways has built up a reputation for great service, prior to and during your flight. There is excellent in-flight entertainment and an imaginative cuisine at all times of day and night.
✈ The airline has made a commitment to eco-efficiency by ensuring it uses the latest technology to fly with the least possible environmental impact.
South African Airways check-in counters open 2 hours prior to flight departure, and closes 40 minutes before the plane takes off.
International flights require travelers to check in 3 hours prior to departure, and flight to America at least 4 hours before departure. The easiest way to check-in is mobile check-in. This is a much more convenient method, especially for international travelers, eliminating the need to be at the airport ours before flight departure.
Staff will assist you to with checking in, including issuing your boarding pass and your luggage.
There is an advanced Seat Reservation System whereby you can opt for a window or aisle seat, or ensure you sit with your companions. If you want a little extra leg room that is available for a small fee.
You simply need to log in and access ‘’Manage My Booking’’ and go to the seat map, pick your choice and tick the terms and conditions box, paying any fee that applies.
You can save time and avoid any queuing by using the online check-in procedure which is available 24 hours before departure. There are kiosks within the airport to do that leaving you simply to hand your baggage in to the drop-off counter.
You must still remember to clear customs in plenty of time and head to the departure gate in good time, and certainly well before the time when the gate might close. That information will be printed on your boarding card and may be different from airport to airport.
South African Airways offers passengers the option of flying Business or Economy Class.
Economy Class offers passengers spacious cabins to feel comfortable during the flight, delicious meals paired with some of the best wines to offer and complimentary drinks.
Business Class offers passengers world-class service that results in satisfaction. The forward-facing flat beds provide passengers with the opportunity to unwind and relax during the journey, with on-demand entertainment and gourmet cuisine and award-winning wines to enjoy.
When you travel Business Class with South African Airways turn left as you board and you will be greeted by a welcoming drink and an amenity bag with things to improve your travel experience. The a la carte menu includes fine South African wines and cheeses to make dining a real pleasure.
You will have plenty of space if you need to work so fear not that your time can be wasted in any way. You can recharge your laptop or mobile phone while you sit. Your seats can be changed to horizontal if you want to sleep with attendants providing you with pillows and duvet. Your headsets will block out any aircraft noise.
Economy Class passengers can expect good legroom and space in general. Each passenger is given an amenity kits including socks, eye shades, toothbrush and toothpaste. Those travelling with children can pre-book their meals and there are activity packs to keep them amused. In-flight entertainment includes programming specifically designed for children.
There are standard baggage allowances though there are exceptions and passengers should check the details specific to their flight. Weight restrictions do apply but there is an assessment based on the number of pieces, before weight.
- First Class allows for 40kg of luggage.
- Business Class Allowance 2 pieces, neither exceeding 32 kg. and one piece of sporting equipment, not exceeding 23 kg.
- Economy Class Allowance, 1 piece, not exceeding 23 kg. and one piece of sporting equipment, not exceeding 23 kg.
Carry-on luggage is to fit either under your seat or in the overhead carrier. Passengers are granted personal items such as purses, laptops and jackets, as long as they do not exceed 8kg.
- Business Class Allowance 2 pieces, neither exceeding 8 kg. nor dimensions of 56 x 36 x 23 and a small handbag or laptop.
- Economy Class Allowance 1 piece not exceeding 56 x 35 x 23 and a small handbag or laptop.
If the baggage weight allowance is exceeded, passengers may be charged additional fees.
Traveling with Pets on South African Airways
Good news for your fury loved ones! South African Airways accommodates travelers with pets, and ensure that the animals are well cared for and comfortable. Pets are not allowed to travel in the passenger cabin, apart from service dogs. The animals are to travel as manifested cargo as per the IATA Live Animals’ Regulations. Travelers are to ensure pets are properly crated and have the necessary health and vaccination certificates
In Flight Entertainment
SAA offers passengers entertainment to make their journey far more relaxing and enjoyable. From the latest movies, to news, music and games, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
For those who like to keep track of the flight, The SAA Airshow map provides a live feed as how much distance has been covered so far, the current flight altitude and destination arrival times.
For those who enjoy reading, Sawubona is the official in-flight magazine for South African Airways. The award-winning publication is produced monthly for all SAA flights, offering passengers stories in the travel, lifestyle and business niches in South Africa and the African continent.
You can never get bored on a South African Airways flight because you will have the choice of more than 100 films, and a similar number of TV Features. There is comedy as well as plenty for the kids. Your choice of music will be across all tastes with 170 long-playing albums, 14 radio channels and 14 games.
There are high-tech touchscreens on the A330, 12 inches in Business Class, 10 inches in Economy.
The in-flight magazine offers information of the Airline and its destinations as well as interesting features on travel and a range of other topics.
Getting to know FlySAA
South African Airways has taken every care to ensure the best quality experience when you fly with it. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, you can expect a great time.
Take for example the in-flight catering.
South African Airways’ cuisine has rightly earned a great reputation. In Business Class, the meals are the creation of two top South African chefs, Reuben Riffel and Benny Masekwameng. Reuben runs two restaurants in the Western Cape where you would need to book in order to sample the fine menu that South African Airways is proud to offer. Benny is a MasterChef judge as well as working for the luxury hotel chain Tsogo Sun.
Economy passengers can enjoy multi-course meals and snacks with all drinks complimentary of course.
Anyone with special dietary needs should make contact in advance to have their needs catered for when they fly.
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