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  • Jonah, NJ

FLIGHT REVIEW: SAA: JFK-Cape Town via Johannesburg

My wife and I decided to spend a couple of weeks in South Africa in November. In researching various airlines, we opted to go with South African Airways.

The primary reason for choosing South African Airways was that the flight from New York was direct to Johannesburg with a short flight to Cape Town. Our return flight was a direct flight from Johannesburg to New York. The crew was friendly, helpful and accommodating on the New York to Johannesburg leg of the trip. There was a small amenities bag, which included a pair of socks, sleeping mask, toothbrush and toothpaste. There was a beverage service both prior to and after the lunch. It was nice to be served a full unopened can of tomato juice as well as an unopened bottle of water. Lunch was pretty good: chicken curry with basmati rice, pesto pasta salad, cheese & crackers, roll & butter and a slice of cheesecake with raspberry sauce for dessert. The meal even included a snack sized snickers bar! I did not eat everything, but I was impressed with the quality of the meal in Economy Class. This was an older plane, but it was clean and fairly comfortable. However due to the age of the plane, the Airscape entertainment system was old and the selections pretty limited. Still, programs offered helped pass part of the time in the long flight. On the Johannesburg to Cape Town leg of our trip, the crew was equally friendly. The plane was also comfortable and appeared to be a slightly newer plane. A snack of a cheese sandwich was served; it was packaged and I decided after one bite that it was not very good and would not be finished. On my return flight from Johannesburg to New York, the plane was newer and the Airscape screen worked with no problems. However the earphone jack on my seat was not working, so I had no sound. This was very disappointing.

The dinner choices were almost the same as my flight to Johannesburg and again the dinner was pretty good; I opted for the beef with pasta. This meal came with a custard dessert that was quite good. Passengers even had the option of order small bottles of wine--my wife opted for a red.

A snack of a cheese and tomato or ham and cheese sandwich was offered. I found this sandwich to be pretty good. The breakfast options on this flight were a frittata or French toast. I must say that for the most part, the food served on South African Airways was pretty good. All in all, I was very satisfied with my South African Airways experience, with the exception of Airscape! On a 15 hour flight every system should be function--every seat. That being said, the flights were smooth, the cabin crew was friendly and accommodating, and we arrived at our destinations safe and sound with efficient luggage retrieval.

This review was originally published on

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