Ballooning Special Extended to August

SAA flight (South African Airways)South African Airways is South Africa's national carrier offering both domestic and international flights from their hub in Johannesburg.






SAA has been awarded the 2015 Best Airline in Africa by Skytrax and the Best African Airline at the Business Traveller Awards in London!

Op soek na SAL?
Or were you looking for FlySAA?

SAA Flights, Bookings, Reviews & Vouchers

SAA flights are rated 4.6/5 based on 54 customer reviews

Up, up and an-SAA! South African Airways (SAA) is South Africa's government owned national carrier. They used to offer the most comprehensive coverage of flight routes within Africa (including South Africa) and selected routes beyond. Nowadays they operate flights from regional flights into Africa and a limited domestic and international route schedule.

As a full service carrier, SAA offers free meals and drinks and a limited free checked luggage. Do not however expect them to compete with the prices of low-cost carriers like FlySafair. The airline was awarded a 4-star ranking by Skytrax for 2015 for the 13th year in a row. South African Airways is a member of the Star Alliance, allowing seamless bookings with partner airlines.

Latest News:

  • 27 June 2024: SAA has secured three Airbus A320 aircraft through a Chinese leasing group. These aircraft were previously part of Vietnamese carrier, Pacific Airlines's, fleet. After 90 years of intermittent service, SAA remains committed to Africa. The airline plans to expand their route network on the continent to include routes they have previously operated on. These destinations include Maputo and Nairobi.

  • 14 March 2024: Government's plans to sell a 51% stake in SAA to the Takatso Consortium has finally and officially fallen apart. This follows a renegotiation process in which government allegedly tried to increase the sale price of the airline. Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, promised that the airline will not receive further government bailouts and that employees are not at risk of losing their jobs. Many in the industry are not surprised by the sale ultimately not taking place.

  • 31 October 2023: SAA has re-introduced international flights between South Africa and Sao Paulo, Brazil. The first direct flight between Cape Town and Sao Paulo took off today. Flights from Johannesburg are scheduled to start from 6 November 2023. They are operating four weekly flights a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays departing from Cape Town and Mondays and Thursdays departing from Johannesburg.

  • 4 November 2022: SAA is launching a host of new regional flights just before the festive season. Thet will start flying to Lilongwe and Blantyre in Malawi, Windhoek in Namibia and Vic Falls in Zimbabwe.

    SAA is also planning on increasing the frequencies from Johannesburg to Cape Town and Durban as well as Accra, Harare, Lusaka, Mauritius and Kinshasa.

  • 3 March 2022: SAA is finally adding another domestic route to their schedule! Flights between Johannesburg and Durban are resuming tomorrow, 4 March 2022. Flights prices start from around R800 one-way, which is only slightly more expensive than what their competitors are offering. .

  • 24 February 2022: The day no-one thought would come has finally arrived! Government and Takatso Consortium have finally signed for the sale of 51% of SAA shares. This has been more than 8 months in the making and follows confusing reports on the future relationship of SAA and RwandAir earlier this year. The purchase is now subject to approval by various regulatory bodies, one of which will be the Competition Commssion. This marks the end of government bailouts for SAA, at least for this financial year. The Takatso Consortium is expected to put R3 billion into the airline to keep it flying for the next three years.

  • 5 January 2022: SAA spokesperson Vimla Maistry has denied reports that SAA and Kenya Airways will merge, instead sighting just the earlier released Strategic Partnership Framework. The agreement reached in November last year will see the airlines working closely together to increase passenger traffic, cargo opportunities and general trade. Many see this agreement as the first step to creating a pan-African airline, but the two will continue to operate independently for the time being.

  • 3 January 2022: Kenyan president Uhuru announced that SAA and Kenyan Airways will merge into a new pan-African airline in 2023. This announcement follows previous talks about the airlines working more closely together to reduce operating costs. It it unclear whether the deal with the Takatso Organisation will still be realised, though it seems unlikely.

  • 30 September 2021: Shortly after their re-launch, SAA has already announced changes to their international schedule. This is due to low demand and the airline reportedly trying to act financially responsible. Flights to Maputo should have begun on 27 September and will only start in December. They have also reduced flight frequency to Kinshasa for the months of September and October. Daily flights to Lusaka were also due to start on 27 September 2021, but have been scaled back to four weekly flights in September and October. The three weekly flights to Harare seems to remain unchanged for now.

  • 28 September 2021: The new SAA has resumed services late last week. Funded by the taxpayers, the airline added three daily flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg from the 23rd of September 2021. They are also adding flights from Accra, Harare, Kinshasa, Lusaka and Maputo. The Takatso Consortium has confirmed that their purchasing of 51% of SAA has not been finalised yet and that they did not fund the airline in order to resume flights.

  • 27 August 2021: The airline announced yesterday that SAA will resume operations on 23 September 2021. Their focus will initially be on flights between Johannesburg - Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare and Maputo. More destinations will be added at a later stage. Tickets are already on sale on their website. Travel credit redemptions will be available from 6 September 2021. It has been reported that the airline currently only has 2 aircraft available.

  • 17 June 2021: SAA finally announced who their new equity partner will be, ending months of rumours that no interested party existed. The news that government is selling 51% of SAA to Takatso Consortium, comprising Harith Management Partners (HMP) and Global Aviation, has shocked everyone. Government will reportedly shoulder historic debt and then take a back-seat once they are a minority shareholder. The sale has not been finalised yet. Gidon Novick is the founder of LIFT airlines and former co-CEO of Comair, so has considerable experience in the SA aviation industry.

  • 3 May 2021: SAA officially exited business rescue on 30 April 2021, when the business rescue practitioners handed operations back to the airline's board. The airline has received R7,8 billion of the promised R10,3 billion. The board is headed by new interim CEO  Thomas Kgokolo who needs to decide on when the airline will restart and with which routes. It has been suggested the airline slowly resume some domestic and regional routes some time during July and August this year.

  • 30 March 2021: SAA has officially suspended all flights until at least 30 April 2021. This is reportedly due to the ongoing business rescue proceedings and COVID-19 pandemic. Government is still talking about a possible equity partner for the airline, more details of which might be released soon.

  • 26 January 2021: Plans for SAA to restart operations this month seem to have shattered as the airline has not introduced any flights or made any public announcements. Currently six of the airline's nine aircraft are on sale, which would leave the airline with only three to operate their ambitious route network. The airline has also not spent the full R1,5 billion initially allocated to them as they haven't reached agreements will all unions yet. All SAA flights were removed from booking systems until the end of March 2021 at least. It seems unlikely that operations will resume before April 2021.

  • 5 January 2021: Plans for a "renewed SAA" shocked this week when many realised that the airline plans to retain 27 of their former 32 routes, many of which hadn't turned a profit in years. The business rescuers had cancelled all existing leases, leaving the airline with only nine aircraft that they own. International routes to Washing (via Accra), New York, London, Frankfurt and Perth will be retained. Only Hong Kong, Munich, Guangzhou and Sao Paulo have been cancelled. The only regional route to face the chop is Johannesburg to Abidjan via Accra. Despite earlier rumours of the airline only retaining their Cape Town -Johannesburg route domestically, they will now only abandon their East London route. The plan is to introduce a full domestic schedule in January and then slowly re-introduce regional and international routes as demand increases. Current estimations are not favourable though as many project the airline will again face financial troubles at the end of the year. With not enough changes made to call this a "new SAA", it will likely suffer the same fate as its predecessor.

  • 29 October 2020: SAA has received a R10,5 billion cash injection from the government, who is refraining from calling it a bailout. This is reportedly to fund the airline's turnaround plan while previous funding was to help them settle outstanding debt. This is possibly the worst time airlines have faced in recent history, so SAA has no small task ahead of it.

Telephone Numbers :
- Bloemfontein : 051 408 4830
- Cape Town : 021 936 1111
- Durban : 031 361 3010
- George : 044 801 8434
- Hoedspruit : 015 793 3681
- Johannesburg : 011 978 1111
Website :


Mezzanine Level, Domestic Departure Terminal, OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, Gauteng 1627, South Africa

Read the older news in our news archive.

Latest Review

(These are not the views of SouthAfrica.TO)

  • Rating 5/5 : "I flew from IAD to DKR on 4/28/17 and returned on 5/10/17. Both flights were great. I flew economy and the seats were comfortable and the flight attendants were great, even the food was very delicious. I was seated behind a couple that had a baby that cried for hours, to my delight one of your flight attendants took the baby and rocked her to sleep, much to the delight of my fellow passengers. It was a great experience and I will definitely use SAA instead of Delta Airlines on my next flight."

Latest Sawubona

  • In the December edition of Sawubona : In the last Sawubona edition of 2019, CEO Zuks Ramasia, shares her highlights of the year. "The absolute highlight was when SAA welcomed the first A350 aircraft to South African soil. Our four new aircraft will boost SAA's fleet with modern, fuel-efficient aircraft that presents a superior customer experience," she shared.

Want to know what Myeni said last month? Access older Sawubonas on our in-flight magazine page.

Flight routes


SAA operates direct flights from Johannesburg to the following destinations:
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Antananarivo
  • Dubai
  • Frankfurt
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Mauritius
  • Mahe Island
  • Munich
  • New York
  • Perth
  • Sao Paulo
  • Singapore
  • Washington (sometimes via Accra)
  • Zurich
SAA's 27 New Destinations with Etihad Codeshare (via Abu Dhabi)
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Bahrain, Bahrain
  • Kuwait City, Kuwait
  • Muscat, Oman
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Dammam, Saudi Arabia
  • Male, Maldives
  • Edinburgh, UK
  • Manchester, UK
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Bangalore, India
  • Mumbai, India
  • Delhi, India
  • Chennai, India
  • Hyderabad, India
  • Trivandrum, India
  • Colombo, Colombo
  • Seoul, Korea
  • Amman, Jordan
  • Narita, Japan
  • Nagoya, Japan

The airline will use the Abu Dhabi as its hub for the flight SA278, SA 279, EY603 and EY604.


  • Abidjan
  • Abuja (from Jan 2016)
  • Accra
  • Addis Ababa
  • Beira
  • Blantyre
  • Bulawayo
  • Cairo
  • Contonou
  • Dakar
  • Dar es Salaam
  • Douala
  • Entebbe
  • Gaborone
  • Kasane
  • Kigali
  • Kinsasha
  • Lagos
  • Libreville
  • Lilongwe
  • Livingstone
  • Luanda
  • Lubumbashi
  • Lusaka
  • Maputo
  • Maseru
  • Maun
  • Nairobi
  • Nampula
  • Ndola
  • Pemba
  • Pointe-Noire
  • Swaziland
  • Tete
  • Victoria Falls
  • Vilankulos
  • Walvis Bay
  • Windhoek


Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, George, Hoedspruit, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Maseru, Nelspruit/Kruger, Phalaborwa, Pietermartizburg, Polokwane, Richard's Bay, Port Elizabeth, Umtata and Upington

Get more information on the following routes:


International flights

SAA operates international flights from Johannesburg to many major cities in the world. It flies from Cape Town to Walvis Bay and Windhoek. From Johannesburg, South African Airways flies internationally to Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Antananarivo, Bangkok, Beijing, Beira, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Buenos Aires, Bujumbura, Bulawayo, Cairo, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Entebbe, Frankfurt, Gaborone, Harare, Hong Kong, Kasane, Kigali, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, London, Luanda, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Manzini, Maputo, Maseru, Maun, Mauritius, Mumbai, Munich, Nairobi, Nampula, Ndola, New York, Pemba, Perth, Phalaborwa, Pietermaritzburg, Pointe-Noire, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tete, Victoria Falls, Vilankulos, Walvis Bay, Washington, Windhoek and Zurich.


Meals & drinks on South African Airways flights are included in the airfare.

In 2013 the following wines are served on South African Airways domestic, international and regional flights (and in business class lounges): Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 201, Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Anura Brut Chardonnay/Pinot Noir 2009 and KWV Tawny Port N/V.

Baggage restrictions

SAA has changed to a piece luggage concept. Very basically, in economy class 1 piece of checked-luggage is allowed, weighing a maximum of 23kg; and one piece of carry-on luggage with a maximum of 8kg (there are also dimension limits). There are some exceptions to this, so check with SAA at the time of your travel. "Excess baggage charges will apply for:

  • Each piece of baggage over and above the passenger’s baggage allowance

  • Each piece of overweight baggage

  • Each piece of oversize baggage"

See SAA Bicycle transport for how to book & the rules for transporting your bike.


South African Airways have certain rules for transporting pets - see SAA pets for details.

Frequent flyer program

SAA Voyager frequent flyer program; which has several tiers depending on how much flying is done with South African Airways - blue is the beginning tier, silver, gold, platinum and lifetime platinum.

SAA Voyager Miles Partners

SAA boasts a whole host of Voyager Mile partners and as a member of the Star Alliance, it is easy to start racking up those miles with members from around the world.

SAA has also partnered with a number of non Start Alliance members, including but not limited to the following:

  • SA Airlink
  • Emirates
  • SA Express
  • JetBlue
  • Virgin Australia
  • TAM Airlines
  • Avis
  • Bidvest Car Rental
  • International Continental Hotels Group
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
  • Legacy Lifestyle
  • Bidvest Bank
  • Total
  • Cruises International
  • SpecSavers
  • Seeff
  • El Al
  • Jet Airways
  • Etihad Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Mango
  • Europcar
  • HealthSpas
  • Rocketmiles
  • Taj
  • Radisson
  • Best Western
  • Ucount
  • Diners Club
  • Miles for Style
  • Wine of the Month
  • Nedbank

(Up to date from October 2015)

Star Alliance

SAA is part of the Star Alliance, which includes Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethopian Airlines, LOT Polish Airliens, Lufthansa, Scandanavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, United and US Airways.

Partner Airlines

Mango Airlines is a subsidary of South African Airways, whilst it also has a strong partnership with SA Express. Airlink, SA Express and sometimes Mango Airlines flights are listed as results when using SAA's flight booking system. SAA and Etihad have signed a codesharing agreement, which came to an abrupt end in 2016 after SAA cancelled their direct flights to Abu Dhabi amid rumours that the profitability of this route was faked.

Business class

Business class differs between short and long haul flights. On a short haul the main difference between an economy and business class seat is that it's slightly larger. On long haul flights you get a seat which can be folded back so that it's flat, with the armrests folding down to increase the width of the "bed". The seat can give you a massage, if you feel the need. There's a pricavy screen, and on request you'll be supplied with a pillow & duvet. There's a power point for you to charge up your electronic equipment. Since December 2012 SAA have been providing noise cancelling headsets and an bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb/brush, shades & socks.


SAA have the 2nd largest fleet of Airbus A340s in the world (after Lufthansa).

List of south african airways' aircraft fleet

Airbus A300


Airbus A319-100


Airbus A320-200


Airbus A330-200


Airbus A340-200


Airbus A340-300E


Airbus A340-600


Boeing 737-800


Boeing 737-300 (F)


Boeing 737-200 (F)


SAA are in the midst of a controversial Airbus deal, which could see them exchanging their order of 10 Airbus A320's to lease 5 A330-300's.

The new A320 are configured with 114 economy class & 24 business class seats. Business class has 2 seats on each side of the aisle each one with legrests and adjustable headrests, which offers more comfort than the 5-seat setup of the A319s and B737-800s. On the back of each seat in business class there's a spot to store a tablet, which also has a USB power point.

Boeing 737-800



Cruise Speed

809.5 km/h


39.5 meters


35.8 meters

Airbus A319-100



Cruise Speed

820 km/h


33.84 meters


34.09 meters

Airbus A330-200




58.8 meters


60.3 meters

Airbus A340-200



Cruise Speed

870 km/h


59.4 meters


60.3 meters

Airbus A340-300



Cruise Speed

860 km/h


63.6 meters


60.3 meters

Airbus A340-600



Cruise Speed

886 km/h


75.3 meters


30.5 meters

interior of an SAA Airbus A320

Power Supply System

Over the years, SAA has steadily introduced an in-seat power supply system for passenger use. All the A319, A340 and the A330s have power outlets in business class. The latest aircraft introduced into SAA, newer generation A320s, have power outlets in business and economy class. With the ongoing fleet upgrade, the next generation of long range aircraft will equally have power outlets throughout the cabin.  The older generation aircraft, such as the B737s and some A320s, do not have power outlets. An in-seat power supply system provides power for portable electronic devices (PEDs), such as laptops, notebooks, tablets and mobile phones in flight mode. Typically the power outlet is located in or between the armrests or on the backrest forward of the seat. Depending on the type of power outlet, a power of 110 V 60 Hz DC and/or 5 Vdc is supplied. The in-seat power supply system however, should not be used to power portable medical or respiratory devices (such as a oxygen concentrator or CPAP machine). In such case and provided that the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations limitations are adhered to, passengers are recommended to ensure that they have an adequate number of fully charged batteries in their carry-on luggage to operate the device for not less than 150% of the expected maximum flight duration. The power outlet has protection features that prevent electrical shocks that could occur if the outlet is not used correctly (e.g. inserting foreign objects into the outlet). It also has integrated sensors to release power only when a plug is engaged and is fully inserted. Each power outlet has an LED indicator that indicates the current power status. The power supply to the power outlet is usually deactivated during take-off and landing (when all PEDs must be switched off and stowed) and will automatically be activated at a flight level of around 10 000 ft (when the fasten seat belt signs are switched off). The Cabin Crew are also able to control the use of the electrical power at any time should any effect to the aircraft system be detected. If a passenger uses the in-seat power outlet, a light (installed at seat seat row) indicates the activation of the outlet to the Cabin Crew. 


1997 saw several changes for our flag carrier, not least of which it changed its name from die Suid-Afrikaanse Lugredery (SAL) to South African Airways. The airline subsequently also had to change its livery, replacing the Afrikaans name on the side with the more frequently used South African Airways. The old flag's orange and blue was also abandoned in favour of the bright colours of our new flag.


Since the 14th October 2006 South African Airways no longer compensate their passengers who miss a flight as a result of overbooking.

Car Hire

Renting a car with SAA is often cheaper than going directly through the main car rental agencies, because of the discounts which SAA has negotiated. SAA car rental partners are Avis, Budget, Europcar & Hertz.

SAA Holidays

In June 2012 SAA Holidays was launched - as well as offering SAA flights, accommodation & car hire may be booked through SAA Holidays.

Pilot training

SAA is busy with a program aiming to increase the number of black pilots, through its accelerated programme for black cadets. Other domestic South African airlines have not shown as great an urgency to increasing the percentage of blacks amongst their crew, as South African Airways.

Safety record

  • 29 December 2012. South African Airways flight SA208 from Dakar to Johannesburg encountered air turbulence which caused serious but non-fatal injuries to two cabin attendants who fell.

  • 16 April 2011. A South African Airways B737-800 was taxiing at OR Tambo International Airport for a flight to Dar es Salaam when a loud thud was heard, and on inspection it was established that the right axle of the nose landing gear had fractured. There were no injuries.

From 1970 to 2000 South African Airways flew some 1.6 million flights with 1 fatal accident (0.6 fatal events per million flights). The fatal flight occured on the 28th November 1987; when a South African Airways 747- 200 Combi (the Helderberg), flying from Chiang Kai Shek International Airport to to Johannesburg via Mauritius, crashed during flight over the Indian Ocean, between Taiwan and South Africa, apparently as a result of a fire in the main deck cargo area. All 19 crew and 141 passengers were killed.

Before 1970 there accidents included the following:

  • 20 April 1968. Flight SA228 crashes near Windhoek, with the loss of 123 lives.

  • 13 March 1967. SA406 crashes into the sea near East London, with all 25 people on board dying

  • 6 March 1962. Only the pilot & first officer die when SA512 crashes near Seymour, Eastern Cape

  • 8 April 1954. All 21 people on the plane die when SA201 crashes off the coast of Italy.

Skytrax ratings

SAA has a 4 star rating with Skytrax. SAA flights have been voted the best in Africa, by Skytrax, for 11 years up to 2015.


Something interesting to do when in Johannesburg is visit the SAA Museum at Rand Airport.


Airline tickets are mostly sold online. Like major competitors like British Airways, Air France, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and KLM; SAA has set up affiliate marketing agreements to leverage sales on the internet. They do it via Admarula, which is based in Cape Town.

Board of Directors

SAA is headed up byThuli Mpshe (acting CEO), with Wolf Meyer serving as Chief Financial Officer and Sadile Dlamini as Company Secretary. Musa Zwane is CEO of SAA Technical, Martin Kemp is CEO of Airchiefs, Bulelwa Koyana is CEO of SATC.

On the 23rd March 2014 Business Day reported that Lindi Nkosi-Thomas had resigned as an SAA director, because she couldn't "carry on working with some of the board members, given the professional relationship breakdown". Since then SAA has appointed a string of acting CEO's, most notably Nico Bezuidenhout from Mango. Just as things were starting to take a turn for the better after Nico cancelled a few loss-making routes, he was dismissed without any apparent reason.

Legal entity

South African Airways (Proprietary) Limited Reg. No. 1997/0022444/07 in terms of the Company Act of 1973.

Subsidiaries of South African Airways

Airchefs (Pty) Ltd
Airchefs International (Pty) Ltd
SAA City Centre (Pty) Ltd
SAA Technical (Pty) Ltd - reponsible for the repair and maintenance of planes
International Aviation Personnel (Pty) Ltd
Air Tanzania (Pty) Ltd (Tanzania) 

Financial Statements

The financial statements of South African Airways run from 1 April to 31 March, and the airline's business is conducted through 4 subsidiaries (Mango Airlines, SAA Technical, Air Chefs & the South African Travel Centre), 2 partner airlines and 2 business units.

  Gross Operating profit  




2011/2012 financials of SAA

(1 357)

Attention is drawn to SAA being an "economic enabler", & indicating that South African Airways' contribution to Gross Domestic Product in South Africa is R8.6bn & supports 35,000 jobs. Mango Airlines started flights from Lanseria Airport, and SAA signed a codeshare with Mango regarding its Lanseria - Cape Town flights (it also has a codeshare with Mango Airlines for the Cape Town - Durban flights).

2010/2011 financials of SAA

1 006

The Fifa World Cup is celebrated.

2009/2010 financials of SAA


Attention is drawn to South African Airways being "severely undercapitalised"

2008/2009 financials of SAA


As a result of their restructuring R2.5bn in costs were taken out over a 2 year period.

2007/2008 financials of SAA


On a world-wide basis, the airline industry turned a profit in 2007 for the first time since 2000.

2006/2007 financials of SAA


SAA joins the Star Alliance in March 2006.

2005/2006 financials of SAA


Contracts with suppliers were renegotiated, realising R1.3bn in savings.

2004/2005 financials of SAA


The "other airline income" figures increased by 89%, due to the release of tickets which weren't used from SAA's air traffic liability account, & the fuel levy.

2003/2004 financials of SAA
(part of Transnet's)


The fleet is being renewed & the 1st of 41 brand new Airbuses were delivered in Jan 2003.

2002/2003 financials of SAA


Revenue increased by 19.5%, with more passengers being carried and yields improving.

2001/2002 financials of SAA

(1 320)

51% of SAA's expenses are denominated in US Dollars, and were negatively impacted by the devaluation in the Rand.

2000/2001 financials of SAA

(1 725)


The governance of SAA has been moved from the Department of Public Enterprise to the Treasury Department. The turnaround of SAA will be overseen by Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa. Cyril has been put in charge of the turnaround plans for three of South Africa's failing parastatals namely, Eskom, South African Post Office and SAA. Big job for the Vice President.

Callsign & IATA code

IATA code: SA
ICAO code: SAA

Flight reservations

Call centre


Customer Service

0861 FLY SAA
0861 359 722
+27 11 978 5313

+27 11 978 1111 (24 hours)

+27 11 978 2888
0860 003 146

Online Check-In

You can avoid the queues at the airport check-in counters by checking in online. Online check-in is possible at the following airports in South Africa: Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Maseru, Manzini, Mmabatho, Mthatha and Windhoek.

Flight Reviews

(These are not the views of SouthAfrica.TO)

  • Rating 5/5 : "As a regular traveller from Port Elizabeth my flights to Cape Town, and occasionally to Johannesburg, are booked on my behalf usually either on SAA and or SA Express. Whichever way the experience is normally pleasant. Fast, efficient and very friendly - just the way I enjoy life. Unfortunately it's often not the airline that upsets your travel but rather your fellow passengers. On one of my return flights on the 22nd of February a few gents who I believe had ‘one to many’ arrived late and to my horror I realised the seat next to me was empty, only for the loudest one of them all become my partner. I decided to keep to my own and try not to interfere, rather focusing on the day's business meetings. But one of the ill mannered men kept harassing me. It would turn out to be one of “those” fights. We were hardly in the air when a very friendly small air hostess jumped in and took charge of the situation. What she said left my mouth hanging open. I won't reveal the details, but I would certainly recommend SAA to everyone. 5 out of 5 for excellent service and doing everything possible to really make your travel experience as pleasant as possible. As a Board of Trustee member of a medical aid within Local Government I will without doubt keep on traveling with SAA."

  • Rating 5/5 : "I started flying SAA in 2011 and I have never flown a better airline than SAA! I frequently travel in Africa between Namibia, Zambia and Botswana but none of the airlines operating these routes come close to SAA. There is room for improvement, but SAA continues to give me great customer service and the reservation desk is excellent. SAA is always on time and their booking platform is a breeze. The meals are delicious and I'm always very comfortable during flights. Therefore SAA is by far my favourite African airline! "

  • Rating 4/5 : "I flew up to Johannesburg from Cape Town on their first flight which departs at 05h45. The crew were very friendly despite it being so early and we received newspapers on the flight. The food was not bad. We arrived 20min before scheduled and when I got out my bag was already on the carousel waiting for me. All in all a great flight."

  • Rating 3/5 : "I recently flew with SAA from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg. The flight was uneventful and nothing interesting happened. Based on the service, I would give them a rating of 3 out of 5, because the food served was really terrible. For the price, one would expect better food."

  • Rating 5/5 : " Rating I am a Pastor / Missionary from South Africa and travel frequently from New York to South Africa and Zambia. Every time I travelled on SAA I experienced friendliness, care and attention from the flight attendants. My trips were always pleasant and I would recommend SAA to anyone wishing to travel long distance. SAA you have excelled in your service and have gone the extra mile to administer "Service with a Smile". God bless you.

  • Rating 5/5 : "I have always been a bit scared of flying, don't really know why since it is the safest way to travel...." .

  • Rating 5/5 : "Later, the pilot actually said to my dad that in all his years, he has never seen a person walk off his plane missing one shoe." .

  • 2014-01-15 Rating 5/5 : "The crew were friendly and efficient and in the short flight time managed to serve us snacks and drinks, making the whole flight a relaxing and pleasurable experience..." .

  • 2014-01-13 Rating 5/5 : "My son Luke flew with his Dad to dbn...flight was comfortable and pilot allowed him to view cockpit." .

  • 2014-01-05 Rating 3/5 : "Our journey began in Christchurch, where we caught an Air New Zealand flight to Auckland, and then another Air New Zealand flight to Perth..." .

  • 2013-12-25 Rating 5/5 : "We went for a holiday in June, and I must say travelling with SAA airlines was terrific..." .

    2013-11-28 Rating 5/5 : "So the day arrived and we were off to the airport. We had a flight to PE. All the different emotions when we arrived at the airport..." .

  • 2013-11-27 Rating 4.5/5 : "After a hectic week of wedding festivities (daughter's wedding), my body mind and soul were yelling out, 'break away'." Read more.

  • 2013-11-25 Rating 5/5 : "I am 39 years old but believe me it was my first flight. I boarded in O R Tambo heading for King Shaka."

  • 2013-11-23 Rating 5/5 : "I flew to East London and wanted to see the place so landed there and went to the harbor and nmi motor industries then had to fly back the same day because of a family emergency.".

  • 2013-11-20 Rating 5/5 : "After just going through a messy divorce and just needing a breathe of fresh air, I could not think of a better place to travel to but Port Elizabeth as it is a clean and beautiful city..."

  • 2013-11-19 Rating 5/5 : "Every year I go visit my son in Johannesburg, I normally fly with SAA. Last year was a little different because I have a daughter and at the time she was three years old. Well everything went well until we got on the plane. We sat next to this old woman and my daughter wanted to look out the window, but the lady was sitting there. I could see that was bothering my daughter a lot - she never said anything but the look on her face that told me everything. She sat still for ten minutes or so and then all of a sudden she grabbed the woman's book and went right over her and made her way next to the woman, sitting right by the window. She looked backed at me with a big smile on her face. At that moment I just didn't know where to put my head in, I was so embarrassed. I just kept on apologising to the woman - the woman just laughed and said in her life she had never seen something like that".

  • 2013-11-18 Rating 5/5 : "I found out I was adopted when I was 18. At 55 I found my biological mother. Firstly my husband and I flew down to East London to meet my mother and my father..." .

  • 2013-11-17 Rating 5/5 : "My first flight experience and only flight experience up to now, was last year..."

  • 2013-10-30 Rating 5/5 : "I travelled from Cape Town to London. This was my first time flying and I enjoyed my trip to the fullest..."

  • 2013-10-25 Rating 4/5 : "Well, my last flight adventure was from Cape Town to Joburg. The Flight was chosen for me as this was work related, so it was with SA Airways. On a scale from 1 to 5 I will give them a 4 for flying through turbulence but still maintaining a very good and safe flight. The service were very professional and client driven. The info given and displayed were very professional. The material provided was flight orientated and client accommodated. The flight generally was a quick enjoyable experience to be definitely redone as I enjoyed a much more then 100 % return flight with the same airlines. Highly recommended, closing remarks by satisfied client".

  • 2013-10-22 Rating 2/5 : "My experience was not a pleasant one. My flight was from Durban to Johannesberg, and it being my first flight I was very nervous as I'm afraid of heights. My boss and I went to Jhb for a meeting. Prior to boarding the SAA plane I refused to sit by the window and guess what - I ended up by the window and the ride to JHB was a bumpy one. Although the hostesses were kind, no one could ease my uneasiness until we landed. My next trip I have booked today with Mango via my Edgars card (my first time to Cape Town)".

  • 2013-10-17 Rating 5/5 : "I recently travelled to Mumbai India. I had an awesome flight, with a great seat and the airhost and hostess were extremely nice... The food was very tasty ..I travelled with SAA cause they gave us a good baggage allowance - 46kg - and their airfares were at a very good rate! We reached our destination half an hour before the estimated time. Very good service".

  • 2013-10-04 Rating 5/5 : "I sprained my ankle on an afternoon of adventure at Grahamstown in June. I could not walk the closest to walking was limping I got to the airport just in time for my evening flight to OR Tambo..." .

  • 2013-09-27 Rating 5/5 : "My two boys aged 5 and 7 flew from Jhb to Cpt for the first time, also their first time alone on an aircraft, and the service received from SAA crew was amazing. The 2 had so much fun on the aircraft with the crew playing cards and chatting away. The lunch was pre-packed as they are very fussy eaters, but the crew had something up their sleeve for them too. They were really treated like VIP's and flew back to Jhb with the greatest confidence…Thanks SAA".

  • 2013-09-24 Rating 4.2/5 : "I traveled from Johannesburg with S.A.A. & they assisted me with a wheelchair as I was walking with walking stick. Flight was very good. All S.A.A. staff were very kind to me. The only setback I had was with the sandwich. The salad was almost black. I complained, the flight attendant took down notes. When I arrieved in DBN Airport I went to the S.A.A. counter and waited for almost an hour before someone came to me. He did not even say sorry. I was glad to eat something when I arrived at the home that I was visiting as I was starving. The other thing about S.A.A. is that they don't check where we come from. I travelled from Switzerland & was allowed to bring 3 pieces of luggage. I was asked to pay for one suitcase. I think they should not have charged me. I rate S.A.A. 4 to 5 because everything else was very good".

  • 2013-09-14 Rating 3.5/5 : "The flight from Buenos Aires to Johannesburg was with South African Airways. This is so far the only direct flight you fly to the whole African continent departing from Buenos Aires." .

  • 2013-09-03 Rating 2.5/5 : " I wanted a direct flights from Lagos to Johannesburg, so my options were South African Airways or Arik Air..." Read more.

  • 2013-08-19 Rating 2/5 : "SAA is pathetic. I had food poisoning after I ate their food. The crew were very rude and not attending to the needs off passengers. Crew members on long flights are mostly at the back chatting and on their cellphones. They also didn't load my bag and I had to wait for 2 days for it. No compensation received. I wrote a letter to airline - no response. I was not proudly South African."

  • 2013-08-14 Rating 5/5 : "When you tell people that you have a 13 hour journey ahead of you with South African Airways, you don’t always get the most reassuring comments..."

  • 2013-08-12 Rating 5/5 : "I had never had the experience to fly. Then my husband got a project in Lesotho and I did not have a choice but to save money to book a flight in order to see my husband..."

  • 2013-08-11 Rating 4.5/5 : "Why the Standard Bank lounge at OR Tambo International Airport is not jam-packed, I do not understand!"

  • 2013-08-09 Rating 5/5 : "I firstly chose 1TIME and the journey was not really good, and on my return I chose SAA and I proudly rate 5 because of the 100% best service from checking in, the service from the air hostesses, the food, comfort n I hardly had any humps compared to the other flight before. My journey was magnificent, top of the range. SAA Number 1".

  • 2013-08-08 Rating 5/5 : My last flight was with SAA to East Londen, although a short flight, I will still rate them with a 5 rating. I prefer SAA flights as the journey is always made a more enjoyable experience. I had a flight to Spain in early April this year also with SAA and believe me the long hours was worth it".

  • 2013-08-06 Rating 2/5 : "I try not to complain but sometimes enough is enough!" .

  • 2013-07-25 Rating 4/5 : "Travelling from Cape Town to Beijing on an SAA flight was a fantastic experience for me."

  • 2013-07-19 Rating 5/5 : "Growing up, I dreamed of travelling the world and exploring new cultures and cuisine..."

  • 2013-07-04 Rating 5/5 : "I had a very good experience travelling to Durban with SAA. It was myself and three children as it was my daughter's birthday. The service was very good, and we were treated like VIPs regardless of the fact that it was a domestic flight, but to me and my children we felt like we were in businees class. Way to go SAA. HALALA"

  • 2013-07-03 Rating 2/5 : "I was on a SAA flight from Sau Paulo to Johannesburg airport. The flight was not very full and I had a very nice and comfortable chair at and emergency exit in the back part of the aircraft. Very happy with all the leg room I had, I was looking forward to a relaxed flight back home. Soon after takeoff, dinner was announced. When the food-trolley came to us from the back of the scullery she just announced that she has no food in her trolley anymore but will be with us soon. After quite a while, they were clearing up the cabins we reminded them that we did not get food yet which they then replied that there is no food available as they did not get enough food before takeoff. Quite upset as we came from Brasilia and before getting on the connection flight there was no time to have any snack in-between. They just left it there. Now been very upset and been hungry we decided to watch some movies. No headsets were available for a few of the passengers. When requesting for headsets we were just told that the flight did not get enough for all the passengers. Back in Johannesburg, no word was ever spoken by the airways regarding this bad service. It was as if it never occurred. This was the worst flight I ever had. Although I thought of not using them, again only they cover some roots."

  • 2013-06-08 Rating 5/5 : "There was something about the cabin crew, they seemed so calm while walking up and down the aircraft and it's something I admired." .

  • 2013-05-21: Rating 5/ 5: "We finally wound our way to Chapmans Peak and on to Cape Point. We decided to take a walk as far as we could go to make the most of this incredible vista where the Indian and the Atlantic oceans come together with a mighty force."

  • 2013-05-19: Rating 5/ 5 :"My best flight experience was on SAA, the whole aeroplane is completely different to the others, you feel like you are sitting in first class even though you are in economy, you get treated the same as those in first class, the airline staff are friendly and look after your every need, the seats are comfortable and spacious and you do not feel cramped throughout the flight. You can get cheaper air tickets on South African Airways, everyone always goes for other airlines because they THINK they are cheaper but if you look carefully you will see that SAA is very competitive with their prices. What a wonderful airline, smart, sophisticated and brilliant take-offs and landings!!! Kind regards."

  • 2013-05-10: Rating 5/ 5: " The warm welcoming and great hospitality we received on the flight overwhelmed me... "

  • 2013-05-01: "A South African Airways cabin crew member once saved my show. I was travelling from Germany to Cape Town. The South African Airways flight was cancelled. I had 15 000 people who were looking forward to seeing me perform the next day. The Grand West venue in Cape Town was sold out and I was the headline artist. Luckily, one of the cabin crew members recognised my face and helped me get on another flight. I made it to Cape Town on time and had the most awesome night on stage, with three standing ovations!"

  • 2013-04-23: "I had quite an experience while travelling back from Portugal to South Africa via Mozambique. "

  • 2013-04-27 Rating 5/5 : "I travelled to South Africa from Perth Western Australia. I am an artist and I was invited to paint a rhino on World Rhino Day to raise awareness of the plight of these animals."

  • 2013-04-22 Rating 4/5 : "My friend and I went to switzerland to visit his sister he had not seen for many years. We flew with South African Airways, and other than the seat space, everything was fantastic - the staff were so helpful and friendly at the airport as well as on the plane, there was a big selection of movies and music to listen to on the plane, and the food was excellent and more than enough for us. But there was no space for my legs and I could not sleep. Before we came back we booked the seats on the first row for its leg space only to find they changed the planes and we were sitting in the second row. Everybody was so cross that had the same problem."

  • 2013-04: say that "We experienced our firstever flight on SAA from East London
    to Johannesburg. It was amazing: we enjoyed the entire trip, from take-off to landing. We'll definitely fly with SAA again for our next journey." as quoted in Sawubona Magazine

  • 2013-03-22: "I was really excited about my first trip ever to South Africa and was looking forward to landing on South African soil for the first time. "

  • 2013-03-20: "For me and my husband's honeymoon we decided that we would fly to South Africa for two weeks."

  • 2013-01-5: Rating 4/ 5 : "We had delicious snacks and extra legroom which was a welcome surprise. " Rubenthree

  • 2013-01-04: Rating 4.9/ 5 : "Flight attendants are always pleasant and have a smile ready, and the food is good too."

  • 2012-07-30: flew with SAA from New York to Malawi via Johannesburg: "The seats were large and comfortable, the movie selection was awesome as was the music (new releases and award-winning films and music albums.) I was served 3 meals, snacks and offered complimentary beer and wine throughout my flight (and I did not even fly business class!). The onboard staff made the flight as pleasant as possible by coming around often to pick up trash, offer more snacks or drinks and by keeping the lights turned off so that the passengers could get some much-needed rest. I was also given a pouch with toothbrush, toothpaste, socks and eye mask, and also a big, plushy blanket and pillow."

2012-04-09: flew from Munich to Port Elizabeth with SAA, via Johannesburg. Here are some of their thoughts:

  • "The seats were a little older but the space we had was amazing! It felt even more spacious than our Lufthansa business class seat. I had to really reach over to grab stuff from the seat back pocket in front of us."

  • "I discovered a new drink that I really liked called Grapetiser, which is basically a sparkling grape juice. It became my favorite drink during my stay in South Africa."

  • "After dinner we put our seats in sleeping mode and they turned into a fully flat bed."

  • 2012-02-06: Rating 3.5/ 5: : "SAA were far from cheapest, but did offer us a free roll & more legspace than on the low cost carriers. We had the pleasure of flying on an Airbus A340-300E which is usually used for international flight duty. I hadn't flown SAA for a while, and they no longer serve my favourite drink - tomato cocktails. ".

SAA plane being boarded at Cape Town International Airport

  • 2010-01-31: Rating 5/ 5: : " Who says Kulula has a monopoly on in-flight humour? I overheard an SAA flight steward saying to a passenger on our flight: "Sir, I see that you and your wife have been given seats in differnt rows of the plane. When the passenger arrives who's sitting next to you, I'll ask them if they will swap seats with your wife. Sorry Sir, if you were trying to avoid your wife."

  • 2008-01-19: Rating 4.5/ 5 : "The boarding procedure was a little more exciting."

  • 2007-11-18 Rating 3.5/ 5 : "We checked in without incident. "

  • 2007-06-22 Rating 4/ 5 : "I had my usual aisle seat and a backpacker plonked herself next to me."

  • 2007-06-20 Rating 3.5/ 5 : "Happily, despite being fully booked, the SAA flight boarded and left on time."

  • 25 Jul 2010. "Country Gourmet Traveller" caught a South African Airways flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg to Dakar to New York, which he describes as one of his "favourite airlines": "What I like already is that there is more leg space than in many other airlines which makes long hauls a lot easier. I was flying from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then via Dakar to New York which is a 17 hour long trip, so it is very much appreciated to have these couple of extra centimetres... The service was outstanding, the food was good, ok the sandwich was a little weak, some sloppy wrap with beef inside, nothing to write about, but then the hot meal was very good and nicely presented. The choice of course the usual beef or chicken and I opted for the chicken, very tasty and good, no complaints. The movie choice could have been a bit better, but I guess if one doesn’t fly too often it is perfectly fine. I slept quite a bit on the way so it didn’t matter too much. The service passes often with refreshments, so one is very well looked after."

British Airways v SAA

Battle of the full service carriers - here we compare them on a point by point basis.

Feautred Video: Meet Africa's favourite Airline


Category : South African Airways

To advertise here email