For our anniversary trip to South Africa, we flew into and spent our time in and around Cape Town. But as things are with award travel availability, our trip home started in Johannesburg. I’ve been to JoBurg for work previously and we had to be selective with our limited time, so we decided to simply fly into JNB the same day, and not leave the airport.
There are various options to fly between major cities in South Africa, and my initial plan was to fly on South African, since my wife and I would be able to utilize our Star Alliance Gold status. But looking at schedules, and there wasn’t really a lot of good options, plus pricing was high. Instead we opted for a local low cost carrier, FlySafair. They offer multiple flights an hour, between Cape Town and Johannesburg, at least in the timeframe I searched, since we didn’t want to have too much time waiting for our longhaul flight home.
As with many LCCs, the up front price is exceedingly cheap, but almost every perk is charged. Seat assignments, food, early boarding, etc. Normally almost 2x the price of economy is more than I’d want to pay for a ~2 hour flight, but given the favorable exchange rate, these were cheap tickets. We had checked bags, small hand luggage, Since I’m over 6 feet tall, what is lacking in legroom, I could at least stretch my legs into the middle seat area if needed, so this seemed worth the upcharge. We decided to book “business class” which cost us around US$100 each. Not bad for a 2 hour flight, especially in “Business Class”.
Here is a summary of what was included in our ticket. The best thing is probably the vacant middle seat, which means extra space, and is like business class flights within Europe.
We arrived at the Cape Town airport a few hours before our departure. We had checked in online, and had mobile boarding passes, which were also sent to my WhatsApp number. Baggage drop off was quick and easy. We cleared security, and while FlySafair does not have a lounge, they do offer lounge access at a contract lounge. This is not included in the “business class” package we purchased, but it is for the Bidvest lounge, which we accessed via Priority Pass anyway. Nothing special, but comfortable place to relax. Eventually we headed to our gate, and took advantage of priority boarding. Credit to the airline for using WhatsApp to give flight info to passengers. Boarding passes, departure gate and baggage claim information all were sent on day of travel.
Once on board, the Boeing 737 was relatively new, and clean, it was no doubt a LCC, with safety cards printed on the tray tables. No excuse for not looking at the safety card before departure.
The seats had head covers on them, and middle seats were noted as blocked.
Legroom is lacking, but not awful for a short flight, at 30 inch pitch. The first row has unlimited legroom, but is hectic during boarding, and I didn’t want to sit way back at the exit row in case things were running late and we had to hurry off once we landed. We were seated in 3A and 3C, with 3B blocked.
Meals service is definitely LCC, with everything chargeable. I do have to say, prices are reasonable. Our ticket granted ZAR85 per person in credit, and we had to get a bit creative to use it all. Here is a link to the FlySafair menu.
I ordered a chicken sandwich and a beer, and my wife had some pringles and a coke. With a few rand of our credit left, we also ordered a candy bar. The vacation diet!
I usually try to avoid LCCs, but I found this experience perfectly comfortable, and would have no issue flying with them on future flights around southern Africa. Have you been on FlySafair? What was your experience?