Review of South African flight Johannesburg Durban in Business

Airline South African
Flight SA559
Class Business
Seat 5A
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 01:05
Take-off 23 Jul 17, 13:55
Arrival at 23 Jul 17, 15:00
SA   #64 out of 139 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 54 reviews
st7515
By 1298
Published on 14th August 2017
Routing :

CDG – MUC / Airbus A320-214 CEO SL D-AIUT Lufthansa LH2239 Economy K / 6 AM Beer City Flug [THERE]

MUC – SOF / Airbus A320-214 CEO SL Lufthansa LH1702 Economy K / Eastern Orient Express [THERE]

SOF – VIE / Airbus A320-200 CEO OE-LBP Austrian OS796 Business C / Vienna coffee [THERE]

VIE – FRA / Airbus A319-100 CEO OE-LDG Austrian OS125 Business C / Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 [THERE]

FRA – JNB / Boeing 747-8i D-ABYO Lufthansa LH572 Business C Upper Deck / I’m leaving on a jet plane, (I know) when I’ll be back again [THERE]



JNB – SZK / Embraer 135 ZS-SWN South African Airlink SA8865 Economy Q / A different kind of animal [THERE]

SZK – MQP / Cessna Caravan C208-B ZS-MLT South African Airlink SA8930 Economy Y / Dreaming of Cessna [THERE]

MQP – JNB / Embraer 140 ZS-ALR South African Airlink SA8828 Economy Q / Outclassing the road [THERE]

> JNB – DUR / Airbus A330-200 ZS-SXV South African Airways SA559 Business C / Comfy old cabin [YOU ARE HERE]

DUR – CPT / Boeing 738WL ZS-ZWU British Airways by Comair BA6310 Business U / On the ‘Business’ again [THERE]

CPT – GRJ / Embraer 135 ZS-SWN South African Airlink SA8631 Economy Q / Lost Garden route flightpath [THERE]

PLZ – JNB / Boeing 737-800 Split Scimitar winglets ZS-ZWH British Airways by Comair BA6242 Economy O / From PE with chill [THERE]

JNB – FRA / Boeing 747-8i D-ABYR Lufthansa LH573 First C Nose / "Luck" [THERE]

FRA – VIE / Airbus A320 CEO OE-LBL Austrian OS128 Business C / Good Morning Austria

VIE – SOF / Airbus A320 CEO OE-LBM Austrian OS795 Business C / Foodstock

SOF – MUC / Embraer 195 D-AEMD Lufthansa LH1705 Cityline Economy K / …6.5 hours later

MUC – CDG / Airbus A319-100 CEO D-AILY Lufthansa LH2238 Economy K / Clap-my-end or "I (don't) love Paris, in the summer…"



————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Welcome to this 9th FR of the routing !

Now, 5 days before taking this flight, SAA sent me an e-mail offering me to use their upgrade bidding system along with a 10% discount (limited time availability).
The minimum offer was of 35€ / pax.

First, I checked that the J cabin was empty, which seemed to be the case on BCD Travel.
photo bcd travel
So I decided to offer 35€ as a minimum.
photo upgrade plusgrade.com jnb-dur 1_li
The confirmation came soon after
photo upgrade plusgrade.com jnb-dur 2
When you go back to the page, you can see that your offer was indeed received
photo upgrade plusgrade.com jnb-dur 4
You can check it out by the "offer received" link
photo upgrade plusgrade.com jnb-dur 5 detail_li
We were granted the upgrade for that price, then shortly thereafter, the process was cancelled simply because it seems there was not enough seats available or the flights was cancelled itself. Then we were reprotected to the SA555 with the upgrade bid to restart. The minimum price had changed to 40€/pax. I agreed doing another offer.
Then this very SA555 got cancelled as well and we were reprotected to SA559, operated by an A330-200 with that same upgrade.

So in the end, we had more time to enjoy the lounge at JNB, a better aircraft to fly Business class in and that was it. 80€ for both of us was fair I think. Especially for priority boarding when I saw the queue !!
The only issue was I had a transfer booked from DUR so I had to change twice my arrival flight but hopefully our driver (Peter Koen, owner of Extreme Nature Tours and Travel located in St Lucia) was incredibly friendly (I use this word on every FR, I know, but they are friendly !) and reliable.

So, as for our BPs, they were delivered in MQP : this class " C / U(pgrade) " does not seem to be eligible to earn any NZ Airpoints despite the C class being listed as a valid class in their terms and conditions.
photo img_6050
As It was an A330-200 and not a -300, I knew it couldn't be the new cabins.

So we will go straight to the most interesting part airside : the lounge, located one level up after security. It is called South African Airways Via Platinum Lounge. It was newly refurbished.
You'll find more information about it HERE

The welcome was warm, the staff committed into making sure everything was where it had to be, especially for the newpapers.
There were many many chairs available to sit this day, being morning and the fact that SAA does not offer Business Class to a lot of domestic destinations. At the beggining, we were just the two of us in the lounge and at the peak we were 5 pax, literally nothing in such a big space.

Here are the views you get in front of the relaxing chairs
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The toilets are individual and the flushing is electronically launched
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There is even a shower available
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The catering options are plethoric

Drinks are a bit limited though (sodas are available on a fridge under the pancake machine)
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My selection (I've been too reasonable)

Boarding was scheduled gate C11 but was postponed by 20 minutes once we were there.
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Hello Sierra X-ray Victor ! The aircraft is newer then what I thought : just 6 years old.
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The cabin, in a 2-2-2 layout, was bright and spacious.
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The IFE is stowed in the compartments in between the seats
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The tray table is stowed inside the seat as well
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Seat controls : simple to use and extensive. One thing to note however : you cannot put your seat on a relaxing position when eating. If you put your seat on a reclined position, your tray won't be right, it will tilt on the left or right hand side, depending which seat you're at.
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Both the remote control and the power outlet were conveniently placed and worked.
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The half leather half fabric seat covers have a typical African style that is I find pleasant to look at
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Adjustable reading lights are placed at each seat. These seats, however, do not offer much privacy as there is no moving separation.
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Stowage under the seat in front of me
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A special stowage compartment for a nighttime water bottle
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The seatback pocket content is out of reach when seated
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In front of us, there was probably a kind of South African famous man living in Durban from Indian backgrounds I had never seen in my entire life. It was really funny being more interested by the A330 !
The safety card (revision number 13) is stowed inside
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It was in a very good shape, probably placed there recently
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Pushback time !

A French (Reunion Island) airline !
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First time I see a Rwandair aircraft
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Switzerland is here as well
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An Egyptair A330
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Dreamliner in sight !
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We lined up runway 21R

… and lifted of shortly thereafter !

As the flight was/is really short, the crew had to be extremely fast to serve everyone. It was really difficult for them and they got out of this quite good. It does not really matter if they seemed in a rush and did not really have time to talk with us, the flight wasn't long enough for that.
Closed
photo img_e6125
Opened :
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The main consisted of two slices of what seemed like pastrami, with another two slices of peppered cheese and two small feta dice, a potato/onions salad along with a slice of cucumber. The dessert was a tasty pear mousse I enjoyed (I am being subjective here, I adore pears)

The cutlery, in metal, was not SAA branded, however the glass was
photo img_e6126
I really loved the views we got of the Garden Province (I seated on this side on purpose of course) while approaching King Shaka airport's runway 24


Welkom to Durban ladies and gentlemen, beautiful heh ? Ranked as the 2016 fifthiest most dangerous city in the world, according to Business Insider^^ But we are not going to Durban, we will head straight to Mtubatuba, or near this town, on the banks of the Umfolozi River, in a Protea Hotel where things… did not really go as planned !

The airport terminal looks fairly recent from the outside (and the inside)
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Here is a Comair BA 734 after landing, exiting the runway
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We deplaned via jetbridge 15 minutes late, not too bad

The mood was however shattered as soon as the luggage carousel stopped delivering bags coming from our flight and my mother did not receive her !

We spent our time making the luggage inquiry (nice groundstaff) and met our guide 45 minutes after the scheduled time ! What an embarrassment for us ! Hopefully he was a great, great guy.

My bag did not have the priority tag as It was tagged in MQP where the first flight was in Economy.

To the credit of SAA : they delivered us the bag in the aforementioned Protea Hotel, 2hrs away from Durban, which was very nice from them.

The 100 USD/day compensation for Business class passengers probably encouraged them being quick !

The only thing I did not understand is that they searched for the bag with my visual description but did not look at the small tag on it (it had lost the big one on the different carousels probably) where the name and bag number were still there, so that is a weird process^^

I guess we were very lucky to get the bag back ! So… kudos SAA !
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Verdict

South African

7.8/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.0

South African Airways VIA Lounge (domestic)

8.4/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services10.0

Johannesburg - JNB

6.8/10
Efficiency6.5
Access6.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.0

Durban - DUR

9.6/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Despite the delay and the lost luggage they did find, I think SAA offered us a nice product with that upgrade bid and I do not regret any minute bidding on this.

The crew did as they could in a minimum time, the cabin was definitely comfortable for such a short journey and the catering, well, was adapted to the flight time.

The lounge was a highlight of our stay in JNB which, I think I've been clear on that point, is far from being my favourite airport !
I'd have to say Durban airport may not be better organized, it is however brighter, newer and the staff there is amazing.

Information on the route Johannesburg (JNB) Durban (DUR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Johannesburg (JNB) → Durban (DUR).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is South African with 7.3/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 6 minutes.

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3 Comments

  • Comment 408730 by
    RichieRSA 32 Comments

    Hello thanks for the report,
    Allow me to correct one comment, The Garden Province is in Western Cape, Kwazulu Natal province and Durban area is the Country of the 1000 Hills.

    • Comment 408732 by
      st7515 AUTHOR 221 Comments

      Thanks for your comment!

      You know, don't think that because I wrote the FRs fast, I haven't checked anything, I made that mistake once last year, I won't do it again, for sure!

      1. KZN is definitely known as the garden province (a certified guide told me this, and you can check wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KwaZulu-Natal (first line) : "KwaZulu-Natal (/kwɑːˌzuːluː nəˈtɑːl/; also referred to as KZN and known as "the garden province"[4])..."

      2. You must talk about the Garden Route which is a SANPark in the Western Cape province.

      3. The "Country" or "land" of a 1000 Hills is... Rwanda : https://www.tcsworldtravel.com/blog/rwanda-the-land-of-a-thousand-hills / http://fortuneofafrica.com/rwanda/2014/01/31/rwanda-a-country-of-a-thousand-hills/

      4. The "Valley" of a 1000 Hills is, indeed, in KZN : http://www.zulu.org.za/about/routes/1000-hills

      So, no mistake here ! Try again ;)

      • Comment 408734 by
        RichieRSA 32 Comments

        i just live in South Africa since 2008.... and my point was to say that the garden of South Africa is Western Cape and yes KZN has the same appelation that Rwanda. we are so both right ;)
        As per priority lane in RSA, yes Airport Authorty is not authorized yet to implement it.
        For the rest, we are lucky here to have real on-board service in flight where it is less the casa in Europe and local airport are generally better for services and cleaneless

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