000-south-africa-airways-review-new-feature

South African Airways Review: Perth to Cape Town (via Johannesburg)

With Toto set on repeat for the 16-hour (including transfers) journey, here’s how flying with South Africa’s national carrier went.

Finally ticking off a much-awaited bucket list destination, I planned a trip to Southern Africa over Easter, visiting Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Johannesburg and Kruger National Park.

Given that I was pretty set on travel dates and going over an extra-long weekend, South African Airways was the most affordable and convenient option.

Here’s how it went.

Flight details:

Route: Perth to Cape Town via Johannesburg
Duration: 10 hours, 50 minutes; 2 hours, 5 minutes
Flight numbers: SA281 and SA307
Aircraft type: Airbus A343 (Perth to Johannesburg) and Airbus A320 (Johannesburg to Cape Town)
Date travelled: 23 March 2018
Class: Economy
Frequent flyer program: Voyager (Can also collect Velocity points)

What did I like?

  • Departure/arrival times: Being able to work a full day without needing to take annual leave for a travel day, I left Sydney on a Virgin Australia flight that had me in Perth with plenty of time to spare before catching my flight to South Africa at 11:45pm. The flight arrived in Johannesburg at 4:35am, allowing me to catch a connection that had me in Cape Town by breakfast. The return flight back to Perth two weeks later had a similar schedule, leaving Johannesburg in the evening and arriving in Perth at noon.
  • Leg room: With a roomy 33.5 inches of legroom combined with my short stature, this nearly 11-hour flight was rather comfortable. (By comparison, most Qantas planes offer 31, Tigerair and Jetstar offer just 29-30 depending on the aircraft.)
  • Comfort of seats: Although an older plane that probably could use a refurbishment, the seats were quite comfortable. They weren’t leather, meaning I didn’t slide in the seat when I wanted to slouch down to sleep, which I often find happens. Combined with the ample legroom, this serial non-sleeper on planes managed to catch a few hours of shut-eye before touching down in Johannesburg.
  • Amenities kit: Along with the standard blanket and pillow that comes with full-service flights, South African Airways also provides a small amenities kit for each passenger. Inside the kit was an eye mask, a pair of socks and a single-use toothbrush with toothpaste.


What didn’t I like?

  • Aged plane: The Airbus A343 was a rather old-looking plane. The seats appeared a bit worn and the panel beneath the window next to me (pictured) was broken. I’m not at all scared of flying; however, the rattling noises the aircraft made upon take off and landing were rather alarming and I could see they would possibly cause panic in those who don’t feel as safe in the sky.
  • Old entertainment system: While there was seat-back, on-demand entertainment, the system was old. The image wasn’t sharp and you needed to be sitting at just the right angle to get the best quality image, which isn’t ideal if you’re someone who prefers to slouch or recline your seat.
  • No direct flights from Sydney: Perth is South African Airways’ only Australian gateway, meaning travellers from Sydney must first fly to Perth with SAA’s code-share partner, Virgin Australia. If travelling beyond Johannesburg, which I was on my outbound journey, this meant the trip was 24 hours and three flights long to reach Cape Town.
  • Food: Now, I know airplane food is never deserving of a hat, but aside from the sides and individually wrapped Tim Tam, I couldn’t finish my meal (pictured). The biscuit and rooibos tea to pair with it after the meal were the saving grace.


Would I use South African Airways again?

I would prefer to fly direct to South Africa from Sydney, and currently that route is only serviced by Qantas. But if that flight isn’t available on the day I need to travel or costs a lot more, I would fly with South African Airways again. And I’d remember to bring snacks.


South African Airways flights on sale

It looks like we don't have any coupons at the moment. Take a look at our most recent deals

Flight Centre - International Flight Centre - International

AirAsia sale: Asia flights from $216 return

Valid for travel between October 2019 - February 2020. Destinations include Singapore, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City, Bali, Shanghai, Delhi, Bangkok and more. Sample fare is Perth-Lombok.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off worldwide flights with code

Valid for travel until December 2019. Get 5% discount on elevate fares, and 10% discount on freedom, premium economy and business fares. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Father's Day sale: $30 off site-wide with code

Valid for use on driving experiences, flying experiences, water sports and more. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and more. Minimum spend of $149 applies. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

TourAmigo TourAmigo

Up to 35% off New Zealand tours

Save on tours to destinations like Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and more from brands like Contiki and G Adventures.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Klook Klook
Exclusive

Extra $7 off activities with code

Valid for use on select dates for new customers only. Destinations include Hong Kong, Singapore, Osaka, Taipei, Dubai, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Paris, New York and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Emirates Emirates

Extra 8% off flights worldwide

Book any flight on any date departing Australia using a MasterCard and save. Fly to destinations including the UAE, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and more.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Skydive Australia Skydive Australia

Up to $110 off skydiving

Valid on select 2019 dates. Locations include Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Adrenaline Adrenaline
Exclusive

Extra $10 off with code

Valid on your first purchase with Adrenaline. Experiences include skydiving, scenic flights, hot air ballooning, V8 experiences, rally driving, scuba diving and more. Minimum spend of $99. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

DiDi DiDi
Exclusive

Get $20 credit

Get $5 off each of your first four rides in Melbourne, Geelong and Brisbane. Valid on all dates for new users. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

$1 deposits + up to $900 in onboard credit

Available cruises departing after 27 August 2019 to the Whitsundays, Queensland coast, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji and more. Onboard credit amount depends on the length of your cruise and cabin booked.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Topdeck Topdeck

Up to 30% off last-minute tours

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and North America. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

DriveMyCar DriveMyCar
Exclusive

$30 off car rentals

Valid on rentals booked thru DriveMyCar. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Looking4Parking Looking4Parking
Exclusive

Up to 15% off airport parking across Australia

Valid until 31 December 2019 on airport parking, airport transfers and port parking across Australia, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast and Adelaide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Contiki Contiki

Up to 25% off last-minute tours worldwide

Book a range of last-minute Contiki tours, from week-long jaunts to month-long journeys, to destinations including Italy, France, Germany, Iceland, Greece, Vietnam, Thailand, USA, Canada and more.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon
Exclusive

Up to 50% off experiences + extra 10% off with code

Valid on all dates, including over Christmas on activities like skydiving, quad biking, bridge climbing, canyoning, hot air ballooning, helicopter scenic flights, abseiling, scuba diving, cruises, ghost tours and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Rentalcars.com Rentalcars.com

Up to 20% off car hire

Compare car hire prices on Rentalcars.com and save up to 20% compared to booking direct.

Last verified

U River Cruises U River Cruises

8-day Europe river cruises from $2,499

Cruise through Germany, Netherlands, Hungary and see Europe's Christmas markets on select dates until December 2019.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

Up to 50% off hotels

Valid on select 2019 dates. Destinations include Shanghai, Hanoi, Sydney, Milan, Frankfurt, London, Paris, New York and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Get 2-for-1 rates on last-minute cruises

Valid for travel until December 2019, including over Christmas. Destinations include Venice, Italy, France, Japan, South Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

Up to 25% off Hilton Asia Pacific hotels

Valid for travel from 8 July 2019 - 31 January 2020, including over Christmas. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, China, Thailand, Singapore, Maldives and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

50% off deposit + Up to $500 OBC with Holland America cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020-2021. Includes $25 beverage card for kids, complimentary pinnacle grill dinner and more. Destinations include Auckland, Sydney, Christchurch, Tasmania and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Groupon Groupon

Up to 42% off 5-night Hawaii holiday with flights

Valid for travel from 20 July - 20 September, 10 October - 10 December 2019 and 19 January - 20 March 2020. Includes accommodation, return flights, breakfast, transfers and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Europcar Europcar

15% off base rate on 5+ day rentals

Valid for rental pick ups until 14 December 2019 across Australia and New Zealand. Minimum rent of 5 days rental. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Budget Car Rental Budget Car Rental

Free three days car hire

Valid on rentals from 19 August -15 December 2019. Minimum of 7 consecutive days. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

G Adventures G Adventures

2-for-1 on select sailing and cruise tours

Biggest discounts are available on Sri Lanka sailing tours and France river cruises. Also save up to 20% on select Antarctica tours.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skydive Australia Skydive Australia

$20 off 15,000ft tandem skydive

Available in cities across Australia including Brisbane, Cairns, the Whitsundays, Byron Bay, Sydney, Hunter Valley, Perth, Great Ocean Road, Melbourne and Yarra Valley. Redeem before 1 September 2019.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Europcar Europcar

Up to 20% off advance bookings

Valid for rental pick ups until 31 January 2020. Discount applies when you book 21 days prior to pick up. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 8% off hotel bookings

Valid on hotel stays worldwide on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Last verified

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 15% off business flights in Australia with code

Valid for travel on select dates with Business Saver and business fares. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 15% off business flights with code

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include within Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Fiji. Includes 7% off getaway, elevate and freedom fares. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours

Up to 15% off USA and Canada tours

Valid for travel on select dates. Other destinations include Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, California, Costa Rica and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Extra $30 off international return flights

Valid for travel on select dates departing from Australia. Destinations include Auckland, London, Los Angeles and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 30% off Europe tours

Valid for travel from August - November 2019. Destinations include Croatia, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Greece and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

2-for-1 experiences and activities

Buy one get one free on a range of experiences across Australia. Offers change regularly, but often include sightseeing cruises, abseiling, dining, hot air ballooning, quadbiking, jet boating, scenic flights, helicopter rides, flying lessons, classic car hire, driving and rally car experiences and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

finder.com.au finder.com.au

Up to $134 off BridgeClimb Sydney

Book an express BridgeClimb in Sydney for up to $134 off the price of the full-length experience.

Last verified

Groupon Groupon

Extra 15% off first Groupon purchase

Valid on all dates including holidays like Christmas for restaurants, spas, getaways, things to do and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon
Exclusive

$10 off zoo entries across Australia

Valid for use for zoo activities and tours across Australia including Taronga Zoo, Melbourne Zoo and the Australia Zoo, perfect for school holidays and Christmas break. Minimum spend of $80. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Extra 10% off Mt Buller ski package

Save on a Mount Buller snow package including resort entry, lift tickets, ski lesson and return transportation from Melbourne.

Last verified

CruiseAway CruiseAway

$1 deposit and up to $900 OBC with P&O

Valid for cruises until 23 December 2019. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Noumea, Port Douglas, Sunshine Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Popular Travel coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
19 Aug 2019 Up to 10% off worldwide flights with code CMT****
16 Aug 2019 Father's Day sale: $30 off site-wide with code DAD****
31 Jul 2019 Extra $7 off activities with code KLK****
31 Jul 2019 Extra 8% off flights worldwide AUM****
30 Jul 2019 Extra $10 off with code FIN****

Popular Flights coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
19 Aug 2019 Up to 10% off worldwide flights with code CMT****
31 Jul 2019 Extra 8% off flights worldwide AUM****
19 Aug 2019 Up to 15% off business flights in Australia with code FMZ****
19 Aug 2019 Up to 15% off business flights with code PRW****
16 Aug 2019 Extra $30 off international return flights HOL****
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Latest Flight Deals

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site