South African Airways GRU-JNB: Back in Busines

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The Star Alliance Lounge Review Sao Paulo is part of the South America & Africa Points Heist Trip Report.


Having overstayed my welcome at the Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo, it was time to leave South America for South Africa. The flight was on South African Airways aboard an A330. Leaving at 6PM, I was ready for a nice dinner and nap followed by an early arrival.

Boarding
I was one of the first to board which gave me an opportunity to take photos of the cabin. It is setup in a 1-2-1 configuration. The only problem is that Ms. TPOL was in the 1 and I was in the set of 2. I figured when everyone was on board that a) the plane would not be full or b) someone would switch instead of sitting next to this celebrity.

A Lesson On Seating
I was wrong on both a) and b). The plane was fully booked and the group in business was part of a single tour. Everyone was either paired up in the middle 2 or their partner was in the solo seat. This disappointment taught me to call ahead and confirm seats as things don’t always work out. This almost happened when I flew Etihad Apartments where I was in 1 and Ms. TPOL was in 3, and this clown wouldn’t switch because seat 3 was facing the opposite direction. Some strong arm negotiating got him in line.

The Amenities Kit 
The days of me hoarding amenities kits are over. There was nothing particularly impressive in this one which is why I left it behind. 

The Service
The service can make or break a flight. Here, it made it. Every moment my glass was out of Chenin Blanc, it was promptly refilled to the brim. I never had to use the call button once. ‎I believe this is the airline’s way of pacifying the babies in business and having them fall asleep without a fuss.

The Drinks
On the drink topic, the best liquor was Johnnie but I stuck with Chenin Blanc and Cab Sauv besides the traditional sparkling and OJ before takeoff.

The Food
We were told that the food menu had not arrived yet. I’m not sure what ‘yet’ meant, but the flight attendant decided to announce the menu over the intercom. I’m sure the poor people in coach were not thrilled to learn that we had the choice among beef, chicken, salmon, or vegetarian. I went with the beef and soup to start. No complaints from me. 

The Entertainment
The entertainment was lacking for two reasons. First, I hate when swear words are bleeped out. What’s the point of doing that? Watching Office Space isn’t the same when words are changed to fit children. The second reason was the lack of TV shows. My favorite show that I only watch on planes, Blackish, was not available. Neither was Family Guy or Sunny.

The Sleep
There was a cover that went over the seat but unlike first class, self assembly was required. After that was complete, I fell asleep and did not wake up until breakfast.

Breakfast
Breakfast was a choice between eggs and fruit. I made the right choice of an omelette and tea.

Overall
This was a great flight despite the seating issue. Now let the African adventure begin.

8 COMMENTS

  1. You call someone a “clown” because you were too lazy to do advance seat assignments and the other PAX didn’t want a seat that faced the other direction? Wow.

    • The airline with the most bailouts…if they don’t get a bailout, the airline is toast. If they do get a bailout, the country’s bond will be reduced to junk. Decisions.

  2. Good report, but I was hoping to see the seat in ‘bed’ position – instead you placed 3 almost identical photos of the seat position.
    It does look more ‘crowded’ compared to configuration on SA JFK-JNB route, and the food was definitely more upscale on JFK-JNB-JFK flights. Overall I found SA being a very good value (but their cash prices is the killer).

  3. i had this plane on both gru-jnb and jnb-gru flights and they managed to change both planes to a340! South African is famous for swapping planes as they please.
    I managed to fly the new business class on the MRU-JNB route but apart from the looks, the seat is not that great

  4. Wife and I flew this back in June and really enjoyed it. FAs were great, good food, and the seats were quite comfy. Had a chocolate almond cake for dessert was to die for! The IFE was a bit lacking but I found enough to enjoy – though I hate they didn’t turn on the IFE until awhile after takeoff. Also did JNB-IAD in SA J and it was consistent with the good experience from GRU.

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