My flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg on South African Airways was originally scheduled with an Airbus A350-900, but swapped at the last minute for an A32o-200 instead. While I missed out on a lie-flat seating, the A320 business class journey on SAA was pleasant enough.
South African Airways A320 Business Class Review
After spending some time in the South African Airways CPT lounge prior to the flight, I headed downstairs just ahead of the commencement of boarding. There was already a huge line which I had no desire to stand in, so I just sat down and waited a bit longer to board.
South African Airways 326
Cape Town (CPT) – Johannesburg (JNB)
Wednesday, March 11
Duration: 01hr, 55min
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Seat: 3F (Business Class)
Onboard, despite waiting to board, I found most of the business class cabin empty, though the cabin eventually filled up.
Business Class Seat
The A320 business class cabin includes six rows of 2-2 seating with 39″ of seat pitch. These are similar to the domestic first class seats you find in the USA, though included a footrest and a bit more legroom. I took my assigned window seat in row three.
I appreciated the power outlets and the extra USB port at eye level in the literature pocket area.
Lunch was served after takeoff, which began with a choice of beverage then continued with a mushroom frittata with hash browns covered in a mushroom gravy and some hush puppies (in the middle…I think this is what they were called). Admittedly, I was not hungry from my Westin breakfast and just ate the fruit. Had I been hungry, the lounge food looked better.
Apparently there was IFE hidden in one of the armrests (at least according to online seat maps). I looked for it, but could not find it. Is it possible that SAA ripped them out as a cost-savings measure? There was also a passenger control unit, which certainly suggested something was there.
Service onboard was punctual and friendly, though we did not see flight attendants after the meal service until just prior to landing. While not rude or indifferent, these flight attendants were nothing like the outstanding crew I would experience on my connection to Accra.
The lavatory included very pungent bright orange soap…I regretted immediately using it, though on this side of the pandemic I am less fussy about the scent of soap.
Arrival Into JNB
You would think South Africa could figure out how to better manage domestic to international connections, but it was a mess. We landed in the international terminal. Instead of just letting me and other passengers into the terminal, they herded us down two flights of stairs and onto a bus, where we drove across the airport to the domestic terminal.
From there, I had to walk all the way back from where I started. A total waste of time, save for the exercise…
View From The Window
Lastly, I always enjoy planespotting when in another country and enjoyed several beautiful aircraft including a pair of now-retired British Airways 747s and a TAAG 777.
The seat in business class was fine. The cabin crew was fine. Overall, the flight itself was fine…the ground experience, not so much. In one sense, this total inefficiency on the ground in JNB reflects the greater inefficiencies that have plagued SAA for years. It is still unclear whether South African Airways will survive, but if it does, I can at least vouch for the onboard product.
How would you review the South African Airways A320 in business class?
This story is part of my An African Adventure As The World Shut Down trip report.