SAA flight to Johannesburg
rating : 4/10
20th June 2007. The last flight review we did was for a British Airways flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg and back, in which we expressed the view that British Airways has lost a bit of its gloss (although we still consider it to provide the best flight in South Africa). Today it's SAA's turn to come under the magnifying glass, as we report on an SAA flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
What a pleasure it is to now be able to check in with a machine, rather than wait in the queues (many a time have I nearly ripped what is remaining of my hair out in those queues). The machine check-in can be done if you have hand luggage only - you supply your confirmation number, and then chose your seat and it prints out your boarding card. The machine also provides the option of entering your SAA Voyager number, but this doesn't seem to work properly (or at all, in fact!). Only South African Airways allows this automated check-in (sorry British Airways, a bit more of the gloss has come off!). Remember that, if you use the automated check-in you'll still need to show your ID at the boarding gates (sorry Osama!).
We reported previously on how we were impressed that Airport Security at Cape Town International Airport had improved to the extent that, if you left your laptop bag in your bag they asked you to remove it (they still don't ask you to remove your laptop at Johannesburg Airport). Today, I removed both laptops and put them on a tray together. To my surprise and delight, they asked that the laptops be seperated to go through on differeent trays - this is the same standard of security regarding laptops as is evident in the USA (happily, we don't have to remove our shoes!).
As happy a place as ever, including the fact that their bottles of sparkling water still explode onto your lap when you open them!!
Happily, despite being fully booked, the SAA flight boarded and left on time. I overheard the SAA flight attendant explaining..."This man, he knows mos that people are walking past but keeps his feet out in the aisle, when I walked past I walked into his leg and hurt myself eina sore."
Just after the plane took off, the air hostesses started serving drinks. One of the perks of sitting in row 31 is that drinks are served from the back row. I ordered a bottle of sparkling water (don't I ever learn?!) and what do you know, I am once again covered in water as I open the bottle. On the plus side I probably wont need to shower tonight.
"...and what would you like to eat Sir, chicken sandwich or a chicken sandwich?" Considering that I'm vegeterian a chicken sandwich simply does not do the job for me. I informed the air hostess that I'd ordered a vegeterian meal and she asked whether I'd reconfirmed two days prior to my flight that I wanted a vegeterian meal (wow, is that really a requirement!). In fact, I'd only booked my flight the previous day. An unkown neighbour on the plane chimed in that she wasn't too happy with the selection, and the gentleman in front of me was also missing his vegeterian order. Ah well, at least there was a jungle oats bar to nibble. In terms of cuisine, British Airways is streets ahead of South African Airways.
A bit later the head hostess came to chat to me about my missing meal. If you want to be 100% certain of getting a vegeterian meal you need to book at least 48 hours in advance, anything shorter than that and you may or may not