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South African Airways Flight Guide

South African Airways

South African Airways History

South African Airways began in 1934 but has since seen a number of mergers, by-outs and splits over the years. It is the main flag carrier of South Africa, and sports the country’s flag on its tail fin. South African Airways was historically part of the apartheid government, and international restrictions forced it to engage in long-haul flight. Because of or thanks to that, today South African Airways is the continent’s premier carrier with 54 airplanes that fly to 42 destinations.
The company has its HQ and hub at OR Tambo International Airport, which serves Johannesburg. Another principle city of operations for the company is at Cape Town International. South African Airways is a member of the Star Alliance group of airlines. It is also rated as a 4-star carrier, and it is the only carrier in Africa to have such a rank.

South African Airways Flights

Why fly South African Airways?

If the latter information cannot inspire one’s curiosity, then perhaps the fact that South African Airways is a comfortable, modern and experienced airline can. Membership in the Star Alliance at least demands as much. The airline has a number of agreements and partnerships that make flying with them even more attractive.
But the main attraction for those considering flying regularly with them is their loyalty program. This is a frequent-flyer program called “Voyager”, and functions much the same as other programs of its kind. This program divides membership into five levels: Blue, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Lifetime Platinum. Miles are awarded based on the kind of flight and distance travelled. They are divided into two categories; Base Miles can be redeemed for rewards such as hotel stays, free flight tickets, upgrades and more; and Tier Miles refers to those miles that go toward climbing the membership levels. The higher the membership, the greater the perks.

South African Airways Flight Destinations

South African Airways flies to all the major cities in South Africa, including East London, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. In the region, service is offered to Mauritius, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana and Namibia. International flights total 37 destinations. More of the nations that are served include the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Senegal, Nigeria, Togo, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, India, China, Australia, Germany and England.
Through the subsidiary company Mango, South African Airways passengers can reach many more domestic and international airports. Through Star Alliance, more countries are at their fingertips. Finally, codeshare agreements exist with Air Mauritius, RwandAir, SA Express, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Jet Airwys, Airlink, Qantas, JetBlue, Emirates, Air Seychelles and Etihad Airways.

On Board South African Airways

South African Airways is a 4-star airline, which means one can expect top-tier quality service aboard planes that are comfortable, safe and efficient. Ticketing is organized into a number of categories that one can choose from, depending on their priorities (whether they would like to have refundable tickets, special class seating, etc).
The economy seats are above-standard, with a higher level of pitch and a bit more room at the hips. Passengers are greeted by smiling attendants who serve complimentary drinks and snacks on most flights. Of course, the offerings depend on the length of flights, as most domestic flights do not last long enough to merit certain amenities. However, especially on the long-hauls, one can expect a hot meal.
The in-flight entertainment system in economy class is installed on a seat back screen. One can access a number of films, television shows and interactive gaming programs to shave off the hours. There is also a wealth of audio offerings, from talks and stories to dozens of genres of music. On different flights the offerings are distinct.

Business Class Flights

If the economy class tickets are organized into “saver”, “plus”, “classic” and “select”, then the Business Class ticketing options are categorized as “priority” and “premium”. Business Class aboard South African Airways flights is an award-winning product that combines additional privacy and width of seats with fully-reclining pitches, airport, check-in and immigration perks, and a wealth of amenities including product kits, upgraded meals and access to the company and Star Alliance lounges.
The Business Class is available mostly available on international flights. The seats are very spacious and provide one with the entertainment options that they pay for, including newly released films, modern and traditional music options and a much larger personal screen. The meals come with complimentary wines, and South Africa is known for its vineyards’ produce.

South African Airways Lounges

South African Airways has a very good network of lounges. Domestic lounges can be found at each of the 5 major airports that South African Airways serves. South African Airways can also be found in Nigeria, Lusaka and Harare. In addition, there are many arrivals lounges and domestic departure lounges as well. These lounges are called ORTIA, and are available to Business Class passengers and ranked members of the frequent flyer program.
In addition to the lounges offered by South African Airways, passengers who qualify can also visit the lounges of partner airlines through the Star Alliance agreement. Just as miles can be spent on partner airline flights, so can they go toward entry into over 900 lounges offered by this group.


The airline website can be found at One can purchase tickets, check flight status, manage their miles rewards and more. The website is in need of some attention, though, and it can be hard to navigate.


Cheap South African Airways Flights & Online Bookings

Below are a historical prices of flight deals on South African Airways from the USA to . Prices are a guide only and are subject to availability and conditions, additional charges may apply. For more deals try the booking engine

Sydney from $3097* Atlanta from $2217* Adelaide from $2243* Dakar from $1293*

Flight Route Origin Country Destination Country Distance
New York to Johannesburg United States South Africa 7955 miles
London Heathrow to Johannesburg United Kingdom South Africa 5627 miles
Perth to Johannesburg Australia South Africa 5152 miles
London Heathrow to Cape Town United Kingdom South Africa 6003 miles
Hong Kong to Johannesburg Hong Kong South Africa 6618 miles
Washington to Dakar United States Senegal 3968 miles

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