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BA business class vs SAA business class - which would you pick?

BA business class vs SAA business class - which would you pick?

Old Aug 7, 16, 5:14 pm
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BA business class vs SAA business class - which would you pick?

BA business class vs SAA business class - which would you pick?

- good nights rest / sleep quality
- seating
- food, service and overall soft product
- connecting lounges at LHR
cooleddie is offline  
Old Aug 7, 16, 7:09 pm
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Connecting to? You don't list VS as an option which would get my vote for lounge and possibly for seat/plane. SA is good for traveling with someone and BA gets a nod for aisle access but not a big fan of their J seat and setup. Service on SAA J I don't know about and can be good, ok & occasionally not so good on BA.
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Old Aug 7, 16, 11:12 pm
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Connecting to Calgary, Canada.

I've flown SAA / AC often but never BA.
cooleddie is offline  
Old Aug 10, 16, 4:23 am
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I am also not a fan of the Club World seat. Yes, it is private - but it is cramped and there's nowhere convenient to put anything. I much prefer the SA seat.

Having said that there are times I will favour BA over SA in J:
- if I am flying LHR to/from CPT and can get a direct flight (almost anything beats connecting in JNB)
- if I can get 64A/K on a 744 - in fact any window seat on the UD would also do

The BA lounges in JNB are better than those of SA IME. (The food offering in the SA international J lounge in JNB is a disgrace!) Plus they have arrivals lounges in LHR. But OTOH SA has an arrivals lounge in JNB. Leaving LHR I like the Maple Leaf lounge that SA uses and I think it's nicer than the Galleries Club lounges.

IMO food/drink on BA is very mediocre and I regard SA's offering as a step up.

Service is always a variable on any airline and both BA and SA can be good and not so good - but SA is far more likely to deliver atrocious service than is BA. You know, the sort of service where the crew is belligerent, surly or just disinterested and make up the rules to suit themselves as they go.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 9:49 am
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While inflight service can be inconsistent, and seats are not the latest generation of business class seats, I'd still opt for SAA over BA's current offering which is cramped and like a cattle-car when full. The other obvious consideration is where you plan to put your mileage, if that matters, since each airline belongs to a different alliance. Haven't used the LHR SAA lounge, but I know the BA lounges can be quite crowded at peak times. The JNB SAA lounge isn't as nice as the BA JNB lounge, though is likely to be more crowded than the BA one.

SAA has arrivals lounges at both JNB and LHR (UA arrivals lounge shared with AC), BA only at LHR.

As someone who travels to South Africa in part to sample more of its wines, SAA definitely wins on this score as it carries a good selection of their wines. As a STAR business customer, while the AC MLL is the "official" lounge, you can also access either the SQ or UA lounges at LHR in both directions. I think UA is marginally nicer than the AC lounge with a wider food and bar selection (best UA lounge in the system).

Upper deck windows on the 744 is the most private BA J seat and the ones by the emergency exit have best aisle access (though these are also booked first by those who know this). Also, if you don't have OW status, you must pay for an advance seat booking, even in J on BA!

I'm flying SAA ex-GRU to JNB later this month so will see how standards have held up since the last time I flew SAA in J two years ago.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 1:06 pm
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oh wow ba or sa j geez should you take the megabus or greyhound lolz

both inconsistent with service but sa has better food. but really it aint that good. pre packaged cheese plate like w tf. but you can get real gem fas on sa that are on point. both seats are 10 years behind the times but you'll be comfortable either way. but also ba has non stops to cpt and honestly you'll thank yourself for skipping a 2hr cnx + 2hr flight at the last leg after travelling ~30 hours.

as the mayor of the t2 star lounges, i decree:
-lh has best breakfast and the only star lounge to have self pour drinks all day. plus you're going by it anyways while navigating that crappy airport.
-ua has best showers including shirt press and best cocktails. it's also bright and spacious and i spend most of my time here when doing my rounds.
-sq has singapore slings, best seating for loners, very good food and is lovely when not crowded. when it's crowded it's lovely but just not as lovely.
-ac is good for sleeping on those lounge chairs they have in the private "viewing rooms" at the back. oh and cookies in the evening. but that's it.

ba lounges in t5 were pretty mediocre, even ac in t2 is better.
sa domestic lounges are pretty decent but the jnb intl lounge is just....awful:. no booze til 12.

sa domestic j is far better than ba domestic j. hands down. it's a 2-3 config on narrow bodies but the food and beverage are worth it. also if on sa no booze on domestic flights til 12 and limited meal hours so book accordingly: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/south...s-cpt-jnb.html

Last edited by cur; Aug 10, 16 at 1:12 pm
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Old Aug 15, 16, 9:48 pm
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There is probably double the space in SAA business class versus BA's club world. It's low density versus high density. . .
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Old Aug 28, 16, 11:20 am
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If aisle access is a thing for you, SAA has 4/6ths of its seats with direct aisle access. BA only has 4/8ths (also, 2/4ths on the upper deck of the 747 and 4/7 on the upper deck of the A380), plus a few exception seats, with full aisle access.

SAA has incredibly thick padded and comfortable seats. Maybe the most comfortable from that standpoint in the world. BA's are ok, but not as nice.

On BA planes with upgraded IFE, their PTVs are probably better. Otherwise, basically a wash.

I find SAA has better food than BA and better still wines, but SAA has had a habit of using South African sparkling in J and I prefer BA's use of actual champagne. Booze is a wash, though I like that SAA has Dry (Bitter) Lemon on all flights to go with my gin.

I find the SAA FAs much friendlier and generally more attentive.
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