South African Airways A340-300E BusinessBack to Forum
Anonymous29 Feb 2012
Travelling with my daughter on this LHR – JNB flight, I was disappointed, when checking in on line, to find our pre allocated seats had been unallocated and we were haphazardly allocated two seats at the very back of the cabin just in front of the economy class basanets, despite my being an LH Senator (Star Gold) holder. I mention this because the effort made by the check-in and ground handling team to resolve this was remarkable. Several people completed a jig-saw involving several passenger moves to secure us 4H and K which they presented to us at the gate at final boarding call. Truly outstanding service! Future travellers note, the business cabin on an Airbus 340-300 has 4 rows (1-4) ahead of the galley and two rows (15 and 16) behind and separated from economy class by a minimum screen.
Once checked -in, T1 was surprisingly quiet and fast track security took only 5 minutes to negotiate. SAA send their passengers to the Star Alliance Lounge which is unremarkable with a mediocre selection of snacks and drinks, no views and very basic seating. We migrated to the BMI Lounge which is bright, great views and a supurb selection of food and drinks plus great working space. Boarding was very well organised and trouble free and we were soon settled in with Moet champagne, a good ammenity bag and excellent range of newspapers and magazines. Departure was spot on time and with a short taxi we were in the air within 20 minutes. The crew were really helpful and seemed determined to do a great job. Drinks were served within 30 minutes but the meal was not rushed. There were no menus or wine lists available on this flight, but the wine quality was outstanding for business class and scored well in John Platters SA Wine Guide. The food was beautifully presented, more like 1st Class than Business, and tasty too. It was good to see some really healthy options available. The touch screen entertainment system was operating minutes into the flight and had a reasonable choice of TV, movies and music. The moving map had good information but was fragmented by exercise cartoon evrery three frames. The earphones were basic and did not seem to be noise cancellation type.
The seats can be adjusted into just about any configuration, and from my perspective ,as a tall person were completely acceptable. The fully flat bed was long enough for my frame and wide enough to sleep on the side. A mattress and duvet were provided and worked well. A full breakfast service was provided 90 minutes out of JNB, once again a great choice with healthy options. The flight touched down 10 miutes early and we landed on the runway close to the terminal buildings avoiding the usual 15 – 20 minute taxi in to the stand. Three other flights had arrived just ahead of us, so immigration was very busy with initially a very long queue. However, with all desks staffed and some intelligent diversion of “foreigners” into the near empty residents line (why can’t some larger well known countries do this), we were through in 20 minutes. Baggage was already waiting and we were checking in for our connecting flight 45 minutes after touching down. In summary, despite the initial hassle with seat allocations, this was a very good flight experience and exceeded expectations. A special thanks to the ground crew at LHR and our cabin crew who did a great job.
TridentGold29 Feb 2012
The process of migrating foreigners into citizens line when it is empty is an excellent idea, I have encountered it at JFK and ORD. I agree with the poster that it would be sensible if more big countries do this.29 Feb 2012