Review: South African Airways A320-2, Johannesburg – Cape Town
Our Aeroplan Business Class Redemption had us breaking out journey on that ticket with a stop over in Johannesburg. Since most of the excitement (for us) in South Africa is down in Cape Town, we needed a short positioning flight to get down there. We booked this ticket separately on the SAA website on the most commonly travelled domestic route in South Africa.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, a Safari in the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Mauritius. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Kenya & Mauritius via South African Airways, Swiss and Air Canada Business Class
- Vancouver Airport Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge
- United Business Vancouver – Chicago O’Hare
- United Club Chicago O’Hare – Concourse B
- United Club Chicago O’Hare – Concourse C
- United Business First Chicago O’Hare – Sao Paolo International
- Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare
- United Business Chicago O’Hare – Washington Dulles International
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge – Washington Dulles
- South African Airways Business Class Washington Dulles – Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar
- Dakar Technical Stopover
- South African Airways Business Class Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg International Airport
- South African Airways Baobab Lounge – O.R Tambo Johannesburg Terminal A Domestic
- South African Airways Economy Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Cape Town international
- Westin Cape Town
- A Visit to Robben Island: South Africa’s Most Famous Jail
- Exploring Table Mountain by Cable Car, Cape Town
- Where the Two Oceans Meet: Visiting Cape Point at Cape of Good Hope
- The Test Kitchen
- Le Quartier Français – Franschhoek
- Touring Western Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch and Franschoek
- The Tasting Room
- South African Airways – Cape Town Cyobab Domestic Lounge
- South African Airways Economy Class – Cape Town – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg
- Hyatt Regency Rosebank Johannesburg
- Soweto & Informal Settlement Tour
- SAA Baobab Premium Lounge – OR Tambo Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Mauritius
- St Regis Mauritius – A Beachfront Suite
- St Regis Mauritius – Le Morne Penninsula, Iridium Spa and The House Reef
- Air Maurituis Amédée Maingard Lounge
- South African Airways Business Class Mauritius – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Jomo Kennyata Nairobi, Kenya
- Fairmont Norfolk, Nairobi
- Travelling the Gritty Streets of Nairobi, Kenya
- Air Kenya – Wilson Airport – Ngrende Airstrip
- Fairmont Mara Safari Club
- Locating Elephants, Rhino’s and Giraffes in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Being Surrounded by Lions in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Dancing with the Elders at a Maasai Mara Village in the Rift Valley, Kenya
- Air Kenya Ngrende Airstrip – Nairobi Wilson
- Swiss Air Business Nairobi – Zurich
- Swiss Air Arrivals Lounge – Zurich
- Swiss Air Concourse D Lounge (non Shengen) Zurich
- Swiss Air Business Zurich – London Heathrow Terminal 1
- Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge – London Heathrow Terminal 3
- Air Canada / SAS Lounge – Heathrow Terminal 3
- Air Canada London Heathrow – Vancouver International
Review: South African Airways A320-2, Johannesburg – Cape Town
This will be a brief review. By the time we had flown this segment, we had been travelling for almost three days straight. We’d started in Vancouver, flown United Airlines Vancouver to Chicago, had our flight cancelled, unexpectedly stayed overnight in Chicago, and then another overnight flight on South African Airways Washington Dulles – Dakar, then onwards on South African Airways Dakar to Johannesburg. This was our last flight before our touching down at our hotel room for the next few days.
About 30 minutes before the flight, we headed down to the gate. On arrival, people were lined up already waiting to board at the podium. There was no priority boarding call and we again did the mad crush boarding style for the gate.
The gate agent didn’t like our roller board suitcase and laptop bag combination that is common throughout North America. We got stopped and told we would have to gate check one of the bags. The gate agent held up the line while he filled out a limited release and the forms needed to tag and gate check the carry ons.
It’s funny how when you get really irritated, your mind reflects back to things you have perhaps experienced or seen in the past. In this case, it was the words of Kate Winslet’s character Rose Dawson from the movie Titanic when she ran away from Cal’s bodyguard with Leo “I’m through being nice!”
After the end of our fifth consecutive flight and about 40 hrs of continuous travel, we’d had it by this point with the lost luggage, stubborn ticketing issues / interruptions and short sleeps and decided as soon as we were out of the gate agent’s sight, we’d sneak on the bags. Around the corner, we tore off the gate check claim tags and just rolled on our suitcases onto the plane, which thankfully no one seemed to notice.
On Board South African Airways A320 Short Haul Domestic:
Today’s flight was served by one of SAA’s brand new Airbus 320-200’s. We had initially booked on the A340-6, but they had an aircraft swap or downgrade and that equipment didn’t show up. The crew was very proud of the newer A320 aircraft as it was a recent arrival to the SAA fleet..
South African Airways
JNB-CPT (O.R. Tambo Johannesburg International – Cape Town International)
SA 223 – Economy Class (L)
6:30 PM – 7:20 PM
November 5, 2013
Booked: Boeing 340-600
Flown: Boeing 320-200
The configuration is 2-2 in Business Class, and 3-3 in economy class. By a stroke of luck, we were seated in the bulkhead.
The aircraft had the next generation form of moving map, which had interactive displays of your position.
The Meal: A Small Dinner
On the way down to “The Mother City” of Cape Town, a beverage service including complimentary bar service was offered. A complimentary meal was also offered with a choice of chicken and rice or beef with strips. I can certainly applaud South African Airways for offering a free meal and bar service, even in economy for a domestic flight.
Arriving to The Mother City:
We arrived in Cape Town to a non gate position and boarded a bus to the terminal. There was a bit of rain on the ground in Cape Town, on a cool evening.
As we were arriving at about 10 PM, I decided back in Chicago that we’d attempt to book the car service for our transfer to the hotel. The Westin Cape Town was attentive enough to respond to emails within 24 hours. By the time we had arrived in Johannesburg, the process had been confirmed. On arrival in Cape Town, we were met by the Westin meet and greet service and were taken to the hotel in a pleasant E Class Mercedes for a 20 minute transfer to the hotel.
Our South African Airways domestic flight was pretty reasonable given the difficulties we’d had earlier in the trip. Aside form the carry on police, we were fed, watered and had a reasonable bulk head seat. The newer Airbus 320 – 2 is among the newer more fuel efficient aircraft that SAA has and you can tell that the staff are really proud to fly it.