South African Airways has stepped up to compete with the likes of BA and Virgin following the completion of lie-flat beds in Business Class.
The airline has now fitted lie-flat beds across its fleet of B747-400 aircraft, which operate betweenLondonand both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The new beds take the seat pitch in Business from 55 inches to 78 inches, which beats BA's Club World at 73 inches and is close to Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class product at 79.2 inches. As all 14 flights per week toJohannesburgand nine toCape Townoperate overnight, the beds, which come with duvets and pillows, will offer a welcome rest to business travellers arriving for morning meetings inSouth Africa.
But following the product upgrade Business Class fares have risen. "Fares will rise slightly," an SAA spokeswoman told businesstraveller.com, "because we feel we can now compete with BA and Virgin with our Business Class product."
Business Class fares currently start at £2,400 return including taxes to both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Travel in Business Class includes seatback video with on-demand movies, complimentary airport transfer within a 65-mile return trip and access to departure and arrival lounges.
Malaysia Airlines, British Airways and SAS are among other airlines to have recently revamped business class.