Welcome to the 4th installment of this Series that covers the first leg to Europe. Thanks to the delayed KQ762, the ground team rebooked me on this SA180 in order to catch KL566 from Nairobi.
1/ MRS – AMS: Air France, AF1820, Economy: no report 2/ AMS – LHR: KLM, KL1021, EBC (C), B737-700, click here 3/ LHR – NBO: Kenya Airways, Premier World (J), B787-800,click here 4/ NBO – JNB: Kenya Airways, Premier World (J), B787-800, click here 5/ JNB – NBO: Kenya Airways, Premier World (J), You are here 6/ NBO – AMS: KLM, World Business Class (J), coming soon 7/ AMS – MRS: Air France, AF1807, Economy: no report
Yeah, the other basic option suggested the direct KL592 overnight but the primary fear was getting, as a reward of a worthless 12h idle time at JNB, the infamous KLM old J seat on some of 772/77Ws (like in KevinDC's great TR) …
Finally it got delayed by 2h only!
At 1:50 pm, KQ agent informed me about the long walk towards SAA check in counters at the opposite side from where we dealt with the issue. A friendly agent tagged my luggage all the way up to Marseille. As i had left my M&M card at home, later i discovered the hassle of claiming miles from SAA (BP was sent to Flying Blue already), different from most of *A partners…
Premium check in area
Initially a stroll at the nearest observation deck was planned, but the remaining time forced to go airside and discover the Baobab lounge. I must admit it's a very convenient place, much better than The Pride Lounge in Nairobi, and also outpaces BA Galleries located just accross the windows.
Platinum go left, business class pax go right, the fouth lounge visited in Jo'burg!
A glimpse at BA Galleries & First Class Lounge
The light choice ( food area is self service while it is a staffed bar)
At gate A08, a A320 waited for the crowd, i was glad because 738 with an old 2-3 config are often seen elsewhere in Africa.
ZS – SZF – 16 months old
Since March 2014, SAA A320 have Priestmangoode design cabin. Nice colors!
No PDB, but as soon as slides were armed, the crew handed over a bottle of still water and offered newspapers.
24 premium seats
Pillows softer (and bigger) than KQ ones
The good crew sprang into action and distributed a warm towel, a food and drink menus and treated us immediately with plate of gorgeous cold canapés.
Probably not noise cancelling, but somewhat ok!
=> Menu ( translated in French too)
As fine as some well known champagne brands
They consisted of fish, beef and cheese, lovely!
For the starter, the purser let the passenger select his preference, as she carried around trays of both choices – SAA can not go wrong that way!
Event though, they patrolled regularly the cabin to top up glasses or assist passengers, i found the service was rushed.
What you have to choose from
Juicy and firm texture, on the left a piece garlic bread quite starchy tho
Once the hors d'oeuvre plate was cleared, i got my main course order taken!
Far from reaching half of the knowledges of a wine connoisseur, she made me taste both!
Visually, not exactly what was expected, especially after KQ's fabulous lamb rack on LHR – NBO leg
Cooked perfectly, but it definitely lacked of flavours and herbs!
Always a kind gesture to sample new chocolates, too bad i was still chewing on my lamb … :-(
Dessert and cheeses!
These first mini bottles probably froze over as the sweet nectar thickened and became impossible to pour. It got replaced very quickly with sincere apologies
Pitch of 39, recline of 7
To stow your tablet ;-)
Lake Malawi !
The last 2hr were spent on reading and listening some music from a Zambian artist… ;-) :
The forward galley curtain remained open during the entire flight duration, the best way to focus on customer service?
Let's go for more then!
After landing slightly behind schedule, 2 buses drove passengers to the Arrivals hall ( most of them) or the main departure terminal for a onward journey (only a handful of people including me) via the security checks of T1A.
Should not we be parked the other way round… ;-) ?
Notice the sticker Nelson Mandela Day on the fuselage
South African Airways Baobab Lounge
Johannesburg - JNB
Nairobi - NBO
A premium lane at security and immigration could be a great improvement. I could not see a rest area at the lounge. However one can hardly complain about the atmosphere and the other features! In flight SAA offer a solid product, a bit disappointed by the lamb meal and the lack of personnal IFE. At the end of the day, I'm glad to have experienced for the first time SAA C product, courtesy of my most flown airline: Kenya Airways
Thanks for reading, coming up next KLM 747 to AMS?
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