Introduction: Star Alliance To South Africa
Review: Four Points By Sheraton Vancouver Airport
Review: Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 787 Vancouver To Toronto
Review: Air Canada International Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 787 Toronto To Frankfurt
Review: South African Airways Business Class A340 Frankfurt To Johannesburg
Review: South African Airways Domestic Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A319 Johannesburg To Cape Town
Review: Westin Cape Town
Review: South African Airways Lounge Cape Town Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A340 Cape Town To Johannesburg
Review: South African Airways International Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: Mashonzha Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A330 Johannesburg To London
Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 777 London Heathrow To Toronto
Review: Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport
Review: Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport
South African Airways 336
Cape Town (CPT) – Johannesburg (JNB)
Wednesday, May 25
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Seat: 5A (Business Class)
I boarded at around 1:50PM through the forward door. Upon presenting my boarding pass I was pointed down the near aisle, to seat 5A. As I explained in the Frankfurt to Johannesburg review I wrote, South African’s A340-600 cabin consists of a total of 42 seats, spread across seven rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
The seats have plenty of legroom, and are comfortable enough for a longhaul flight, let alone for the quick hop from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
Boarding was quick due to the use of a remote stand, and within 10 minutes two thirds of the business class cabin was full. The seat next to me remained empty.
As boarding finished up, the crew passed through the cabin with newspapers and magazines, though there were no pre-departure beverages.
At 2:05PM Captain Hugh came on the PA to add his welcome board. He informed us that the crew had just flown in from Johannesburg, and there was quite a bit of turbulence, so they had to adjust their altitude to cope with it. He also informed us that the flight time would be 1hr39min.
At 2:10PM the air stairs were removed from the plane, and five minutes after that we pushed back, at which point the safety video began to play.
There was an Ethiopian 787 at the gate across from us, as we pushed.
Then there was a plane from an airline I’ve never seen before, and one I actually still can’t identify — anyone know what it is?
Then there was also a Turkish A330.
The most beautiful of all was parked at the very end, which was a TAAG 777. I’d love to fly with them.
After taxiing for just a few minutes we made it to runway 19, which was just past the 737 cargo planes parked on the cargo ramp.
At 2:25PM we began our takeoff roll, which was rather quick, as you’d expect for a fairly empty A340-600.
The views on climb out were gorgeous, and within about 10 minutes the seatbelt sign was turned off.
15 minutes after the seatbelt sign was off the crew came through the cabin with hot towels, followed by a snack. The choice was between falafel or fish cakes, both of which were served with a potato salad.
I chose the falafel, though I’m still not actually convinced that’s what I was served. Regardless, the dish was rather tasteless, and also lukewarm (I’d rather it be chilled or hot, because when it’s somewhere in the middle I always wonder how it was prepared).
The snack was served with a side of fruit.
I had a gin & tonic to accompany the snack.
Afterwards I ordered a coffee, which once again tasted powdered. Better than nothing, I suppose.
By the time the snack service was complete, we were only about 40 minutes from landing in Johannesburg. The crew was friendly and attentive, and throughout the flight they passed through the cabin proactively to see if anyone wanted anything.
I turned on the tail camera to look at the beautiful A340-600 from behind.
I also reclined the seat into the fully flat position, since I wasn’t able to snap such a picture on the previous flight. I’d note that South African doesn’t offer any sort of pillows or blankets on their shorthaul flights.
At around 3:45PM the captain came on the PA once again to provide us with updated arrival information, informing us we’d be landing at around 4:05PM.
The ride was quite smooth, except for the last 15 minutes, where we hit quite a bit of turbulence.
The seatbelt sign was turned on about 10 minutes before landing, at which point I had to fold away the personal television.
The worst chop occurred as we descended through the cloud layer, where a few passengers let out gasps.
It was a beautiful day below the clouds, and we touched down in Johannesburg at 4:05PM sharp.
From there it was about a 10 minute taxi to our arrival stand, and we once again passed the Air Corridor 737 without engines, which is parked off the runway.
We had to cross a parallel runway to get to the terminal.
Eventually we pulled into a remote stand, next to an EgyptAir A330 and Lufthansa 747-8.
We arrived at our stand by 4:15PM, and then within five minutes the air stairs pulled up so we could deplane.
In the distance there was a British Airways 747 parked at stand, waiting to return to Heathrow later in the evening.
SAA A340-600 Business Class bottom line
It’s tough to beat flying an A340-600 with flat beds on a sub-two hour flight. That being said, other than the aircraft type, SAA’s shorthaul product generally disappoints. The food isn’t very good, there are no pillows and blankets, etc. It also wasn’t great that the flight used remote stands on both ends of the journey.
At least the crew was friendly.