South African Airways (SAA) is south Africa's largest domestic and international airline - its primary hubs are in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The airline serves more than 700 destinations throughout the world and carries more than 6.5 million passengers each year and serves 34 cities in 26 countries on six continents (Source: SAA website).
Why Fly with South African Airways
Founded in 1934 and currently owned by the South African government, South African Airways is the way to travel not only throughout Africa, but also surrounding continents and countries. The airline’s headquarters are located at the airport grounds at OR Tempo International Airport. They joined the Star Alliance in 2006 and are the only African airline in its history to receive a four star airline recognition by Skytrax. They were also recognized as one of the best airlines in Africa for the year of 2011 and 2012. As a company, the airline went through many setbacks with their financial growth, including the effect of the apartheid between 1985 and 1990.
However between 1997 and 2005, they rebranded their image and began flying to more destinations in addition to restoring services to many countries. Sales were boosted when they began online ticket sales in addition to ordering more aircraft of Boeing and Airbus airplanes in order to fly to more destinations. Their fleet consists of a total of 49 passenger aircraft most of which are Airbus A319-100 and Boeing 737-800. Alongside their current aircraft load, they have recently placed orders for 18 new Airbus 300s and are planning to purchase more fuel-efficient aircrafts in the 2014. In addition, they began code share agreements and later expanded to join the Star alliance network of airlines.
South African Airways Flights and Destinations
South African Airways reaches up to 237 international destinations in 26 countries all throughout Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Australia. The airline recently added routes and destinations throughout China. The airline has a strong presence in South Africa where they serve five major cities in their country. Besides their Star Alliance membership, South African Airways has code share agreements with 12 other airlines, allowing for a larger capability to reach more destinations and serve more customers.
South African Airways Frequent Flyer Program
South African Airways offers a frequent flyer program that is popularly known as Voyager. There are five tier levels the frequent flyer member can achieve. Reaching the tier level is based on the member’s accumulated miles, destinations, and flight class. Members can accumulate their miles with South African Airways as well as 32 other airlines.
On Board South African Airways
With the easy and simple choice of either Economy Class or Business Class offered on both short haul domestic and long haul international flights, South African Airways makes traveling easy for passengers.
Economy seating on international flights have a pitch of 31-33 inches depending on the type of aircraft flown. Some aircraft offer individual flat monitors at the seat while other aircraft include a large shared monitor. Meals include two main courses along with refreshments, snacks and other beverages.
Economy seating on domestic flights is pretty standard as with other carriers and offers 17-inch wide seats and a pitch of 31-32 inches. Depending upon the length of the flight, a featured film is usually shown on an overhead shared screen. On shorter flights, usually refreshments and snacks are served to all passengers. The seats also have a slight recline for those that enjoy a quick nap.
South African Airways Business Class
Seats on the Business Class international flights have a nice pitch of 73-inches and can be positioned to a fully flat bed position. Included is a power source for a laptop and other electronic devices. Featured also is an individual reading light that is adjustable, including additional lumbar support and headrest that is also adjustable. The entertainment system provided is AVOD with a nice selection of movies and games. Large pillows and a comfortable duvet are provided. Of course gourmet meals are served along with a nice selection of South African wines and delicious desserts.
Business Class seating on domestic flights feature seats with a 36-inch pitch and a width of 17.75 inches with recline of five inches. Depending upon the length of the flight, a feature film may be shown on a large overhead screen and a meal is served.
South African Airways Holidays and Vacations
Whether you want to visit the home of Nelson Mandela, Victoria Falls, Walt Disney World, New York City, Australia or any other destination throughout South Africa and around the world, South African Airways holidays makes it easy. After selecting your desired destination on their designated, easy to use website www.saaholidays.com, you will be introduced to the most popular packages for that country. The packages are easy to purchase and some even include hotel rooms and airport transportation. South African Airways holidays not only offer travelers international flight destinations, but also offers cruises.
South African Airways Lounges
South African Airways offers three types of lounges in five of South Africa’s major domestic cities that members may use; Cycad First Class Lounge, MTN Business Lounge and Baobab Premium Class Lounge. Additionally, they share lounge facilities with their Star Alliance partners and including their code share partner airlines. The South African Airways lounges are available to Business Class passenger and Voyager Platinum, Silver or Gold frequent flyer members.
Booking Your Flight Online with South African Airways
South African Airways website is easy to navigate and provides travelers of all types of useful information. The user-friendly website answers questions all passengers may have. Booking your flight on the airlines website is easy along with the option of booking a car rental and even hotels at your desired destination.