Review of Safair flight George Cape Town in Economy

Airline Safair
Flight FA121
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 737-400
Flight time 01:00
Take-off 28 Dec 15, 16:10
Arrival at 28 Dec 15, 17:10
FA 2 reviews
MrMax
By 1550
Published on 11th December 2015
Welcome to the fourth FR in my first series. Tody I will be flying from JNB-GRG (a small airport in the southwest of the country)

BACKGROUND INFO
This december I visted South Africa to visit my familly there (I'm half South African). For this fourth leg, I will be flying from George to Cape Town to visit more familly there. I found thesse tickets online for a very good price ($43 per person, I think), all the other flights were CRAZY expensive. So I obviously went with this one. FlySafair is the LCC subsidy of a small South African airline called Safair, today I'l be flying FlySafair. I'm not really expecting much of them, but $43 for a oneway flight, at the last minute, in peak season, (ONLY IN SOUTH AFRICA) warrents some respect. Anyways, here's my routing:

EK226 SFO-DXB in Y ………. http://flight-report.com/en/report-12750.html
EK767 DXB-JNB in Y ………. Flight Report Coming Soon!
SA1521 JNB-GRJ in Y………. Flight Report Coming Soon!
FA121 GRJ-CPT in Y ………. THIS REPORT
SA332 CPT-JNB in Y ………. Flight Report Coming Soon!
EK764 JNB-DXB in Y ………. Flight Report Coming Soon!
EK225 DXB-SFO in Y
………. Flight Report Coming Soon!

If you're wondering, GRJ is the IATA code for George Airport. George is a small city in the south of the country.
Here is a map of my internal flights for this trip (courtesy of www.gcmap.com):

photo Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 5.50.35 PM

Also, here's a FySafair plane (courtesy of wikipedia, and not the last we'l see)

photo FlySafair_B737-4Y0_ZS-JRE_(Flying_for_Mango)_(13196984215)

Apparently, this plane's taking off from GRJ :)

Before we begin, here's a disclaimer:
I judge airlines on value for money mostly. I got these flights for the equivalent of $43 each at the very last minute when the next cheapest flight was $200 (Both prices are one way). SAA is very expensive for the record. So basically, this flight could be absolutely awful, but I'll still be very happy :)



THE FLIGHT

We arrive at GRJ about 1:40 in advance. GRJ is a relatively small airport, but meets demand. I find it kind-of charming.

photo Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 4.47.50 PM


Today is an especilly busy day because ppl are returning home from their holiday houses near George

photo photo 1-4 copy


I found these cool benchs outside the airport, nice concept.

photo photo 2-3 copy


Once we arrived, we were met with this line for check in:

photo Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 4.47.29 PM


Here's what happened; FA was trying to check in 2 completely full flights from 2 counters. Then the computer system on one of the counters broke down. All the while, there is a ticket office (the ticket office has two counters, yet there are only two check in counters) that would accommodate 100% more capacity than the one functional check in desk! and many other abandoned check in desks. The staff of the airport and FA are not properly handling the situation, and the pax are taking WAY to long to check in, and are mingling at the desk.

photo photo 3-4

Once we get to the desk, the agent doesn't ask for us to pay the usual ZAR240 for our luggage, yet doesn't mention explicitly that she's comping us. The security line is short and the process is uneventful. Past security we go to the Bidvest lounge. There are Bidvest lounges in most SA airports, they are uniformly good. The chairs are comfortable, there's enough space, and the food is edible. What more can you ask for at a small airport like GRJ?

After a quick bite at the lounge, we head down to the gate. The boarding was fast. Since this is a LCC, there were no priorities to respect – So I guess that all priorities were very well respected :)

My plane

photo Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 4.47.08 PM


Some food I stole from the lounge :)

photo photo 2-3 copy 2

The cabin is a little old. Again this is a 737-400. The parent company, Safair, has been around for 50 years!!!

The legroomon this plane is also very good, especilly for an LCC. Again, I'm not the tallest in the world. For all I know, It might not be so great.

(I wanted to put photos with the legroom and age-of-cabin comments but they aren't downloading properly)



Taxiing (sorry for the upside-down photo)

photo photo 1-4 copy 2


The beautiful countryside outside of George.

photo photo 3-4 copyphoto photo 4-2 copy 2


The tray table has an advert on it. I,am not at all offended. I think that it's very harmless to the pax, and is a good way to generate revenue to keep fares down. Any day I would choose to pay a lower fare and look at an ad, over paying a higher fare for a less interesting tray table, lol.


photo photo 2-3 copy 3


I payed about $1 for my tea. It's good tea for the record. And its almost $2.56 cheaper than the tea on FR ($3.56!), if your wondering.

photo photo 1-4 copy 3


Some pics of the beautiful outskirts of CPT, the Drakensburg Mountains (Also the cover of this FR)

photo photo 3-4 copy 2photo photo 5 copy 2

Flying over an area of Cape Town

photo photo 4-2 copy 3

Landing in CPT (The arrow is pointing to Table Mountain).

photo photo 1-4 copy 4

The CPT approach is one of my favorite landings in the whole world. Everytime I return to Cape Town I'm struck by the beauty of the landing approach.

I,am sorry that all my pix of taxi were destroyed by my computer. Never mind!

The widebody display here is limited, but made slightly more interesting by the arrivel of TK who flies CPT-IST (On an A330???)

Baggage claim was quick and un notable

SUMMERY

As I said, this flight was great value for money. The seat pitch was good (the flight was only 45 mins). The only thing that annoyed me was the check in problem. Overall, I would definitely fly FA again. Also, I may add that the tea is only $1, that's $2.56 cheaper then on FR!

Since this is an LCC I will breakdown the cost of our flight per person:

Base Fare and Tax: $43
BOB: $1
Total: $44

Overall, A very good flight with FlySafair. FlySafair offer exceptional value for money, and is a great option if you are flying in SA on a budget. FlySafair also is the most punctual airline in SA, and our flight was no exeption. On our flight today we did not at all feel nickel-and-dimed. However, because of the mishap at GRJ, they let us check in our bags for free. Usally it would cost ZAR240 ($14.59) per bag.

If we hadn't checked in our bags for free, the cost breakdown would be more like this:

Base Fare and Tax: $43.00
BOB: $1.00
Checked-Bag Fees: $14.59
Total: $58.59


See you next time for SA332 CPT-JNB. Thanks for reading!!!!

Feel free to use the comment section below if you have any comments, questions, compliments, or constructive criticism.
See more

Verdict

Safair

9.0/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Meal/catering7.0

George - GRJ

3.4/10
Efficiency9.5
Access1.5
Services0.0
Cleanliness2.5

Cape Town - CPT

4.2/10
Efficiency5.0
Access4.0
Services4.0
Cleanliness4.0

Conclusion

As I said, this flight was great value for money. The seat pitch was good (the flight was only 45 mins). The only thing that annoyed me was the check in problem. Overall, I would definitely fly FA again. Also, I may add that the tea is only $1, that's $2.56 cheaper then on FR!

Since this is an LCC I will breakdown the cost of our flight per person:

Base Fare and Tax: $43
BOB: $1
Total: $44

Overall, A very good flight with FlySafair. FlySafair offer exceptional value for money, and is a great option if you are flying in SA on a budget. FlySafair also is the most punctual airline in SA, and our flight was no exeption. On our flight today we did not at all feel nickel-and-dimed. However, because of the mishap at GRJ, they let us check in our bags for free. Usally it would cost ZAR240 ($14.59) per bag.

If we hadn't checked in our bags for free, the cost breakdown would be more like this:

Base Fare and Tax: $43.00
BOB: $1.00
Checked-Bag Fees: $14.59
Total: $58.59

Related

7 Comments

  • Comment 156106 by
    East African 1490 Comments

    Thanks for this first FR about FlySafair.

    You got a pretty good deal in these conditions!

    Agree, the Bidvest Lounge in JNB is quite nice.

    Innovative idea about the ad on the tray table.

    Kulula charged ZAR 10 for hot drinks thus i think it's cheaper than $1.

    Thanks for sharing looking forward to the SA332 FR.

    • Comment 333536 by
      MrMax AUTHOR 144 Comments

      Hi East African! I agree the flight was a great deal. Recently the ZAr went way down, so everything was really cheap at the time of our trip, however thesse flights were booked a few days before the rand plunged. I actually disagree with you about the JNB Bidvest lounge (domestic). I think that there isn't enough seating, and the lounge is too crowded. The food options are exactly the same, all around the country at the bidvest lounges. For a small lounge in GRJ the options are good, but for JNB the offerings are scarce. ZAR10 at the time of publication is about 62 cents, my drinks costed ZAR15 (30 cents more). Kalula is slightly better value for money than FlySafair because they also don't charge for bags (I don't think), but they sometimes cost more. A good rule of thumb is to book Kalula if it is at most $20 more expensive (if you will check in bags). Other than bag fee, FA doesn't charge for anything essential.

    • Comment 333538 by
      MrMax AUTHOR 144 Comments

      A lot of LCCs put an ad on the tray table, but I've never seen it myself. Some Flight-Reporters complain that it cheapens the look of the cabin. But I find it fine, as I said in the FR:

      I think that it's very harmless to the pax, and is a good way to generate revenue to keep fares down. Any day I would choose to pay a lower fare and look at an ad, over paying a higher fare for a less interesting tray table, lol.

  • Comment 156827 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4845 Comments

    Hey Max, thanks for sharing this exotic first report on FlySafair!

    This december I visted South Africa to visit my familly there (I'm half South African)
    - So how many of the 11 official languages of South Africa do you speak besides English? :-)

    The staff of the airport and FA are not properly handling the situation, and the pax are taking WAY to long to check in, and are mingling at the desk.
    - Sounds like a hot mess. I don't have much experience flying in South Africa, but the little bit I do have, there's always some chaos!

    There are Bidvest lounges in most SA airports
    - It's nice that there are lounges even in small airport like GRJ. Too bad you didn't get any pics of the lounge. Next time!

    Some food I stole from the lounge :)
    - Haha stealing is bad :-P

    The parent company, Safair, has been around for 50 years!!!
    - Looks like your plane is about that old! hahaha

    Flying in South Africa is always a treat with beautiful landscapes.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 334440 by
      MrMax AUTHOR 144 Comments

      Hi Kévin,
      Glad you enjoyed my FR. It actually isn't my first. Here are my FRs in order of publication:

      EK226
      FA121
      EK767

      Let's get to answering your questions:

      I can understand a little Affrikaans, and can speak about 8 words of isiZulu.

      Yes, GRJ is usally a very good airport (by SA standards), but things vereed off course that day.

      Sorry about lack of lounge pics. It wasn't mutch: a little seating / small buffet.

      Stealing isn't bad if you're flying on a LCC :)

      Yes a 737-400. I forgot to include registration, but it's ZS-JRI. Almost 24 years old. It used to be AK https://www.planespotters.net/airframe/Boeing/737/25095/ZS-JRI-FlySafair

  • Comment 157283 by
    Abyssin 267 Comments

    Thanks Max for this report.

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