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Business Class on South African Airways

Our Dream Trip to South Africa begins…

…with a fabulous red-eye economy-class flight with Jet Blue.  Gotta get to New York somehow, right?  Might as well be on a non-stop $100 ticket at a time when we’re more likely to sleep through the whole thing anyway.  Still, I was so excited to be on my way to Cape Town that I was ready to burst out of my skin and didn’t sleep a wink.  Frankie didn’t sleep either—his back couldn’t tolerate the cramped airplane seating, especially for 3 and a half hours. 


But as soon as we landed at JFK, the first-class treatment began.  After checking our bags in with South African Airways, we were directed to the Swiss lounge just outside the security checkpoint.  A posh seating area, courtesy showers, a “relaxing room,” an open breakfast buffet, free drinks of all varieties, and an amazing espresso machine the size of a washing machine that spat out a perfect cappuccino in less than 10 seconds…with both of us being young travelers (just 23 years old), you’ll notice that thrills come quite easy for us.


Our flight with SAA was nothing short of amazing.  Years of travelling like a sardine in coach made the bump up to business class quite a treat for us.  We were graced with hot towels and a flute of champagne for take-off, and the over-the-top service continued for the entire 15 hours of flight down to Johannesburg:  free reign over a selection of South African wines, a 2-course lunch, a 4-course dinner, and a full hot breakfast.  Honestly, I don’t think I’d ever eaten so much before in my life.   

Now, for the seating.  How uncomfortable can a flight possibly be when one of the dozen-or-so seat-adjustment buttons on your arm-rest is labeled “CRADLE”?   Our seats had leg room that would have satisfied Shaquille O’Neal, and they converted into flat sleeping pods with just a touch of a button (the one labeled “BED”).  Lights off, jammies on, rest on your pillow & and curl up under your duvet…There’s really no other way to fly.


Frankie & I enjoyed a couple of movies and some port before “bed-time.”  We had our own personal TV screens, so when selecting a comedy from a list of options, we had to press “play” simultaneously to make sure we were both laughing at the same one-liners.

Unfortunately, we had to de-board for our connection flight to Cape Town.  We were only in the J-Burg airport for about an hour, but it was long enough for a “porter” to cop us out of 20 bucks to help us find our next gate (live & learn) and to see that the place was still fully decked out in soccer décor 3 months after the World Cup was over.   It reminded me a lot of Christmas lights—so much work went into putting them up, why be so rushed to take them down? 

A short 2-hour flight and another full in-flight breakfast later, we were in Cape Town with a whole day of exploring ahead of us.

(Megan is our friend from Colorado who won a fabulous dream vacation to South Africa & is sharing the experience with us)

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