South African Airways

What goes well with a lavish O&O stay? A stress-free flight on South African Airways’ Premium Business Class, complete with hours of restful sleep and delectable menu options each time our eyes choose to open.

According to Marc Cavaliere, SAA’s executive v.p., North America, there are a number of special touches on the Premium Business Class experience from North America to South Africa that complement their Skytrax five-star comfort-rated fully flat bed seats, which allowed us to sleep a good seven hours each way. “As South Africa’s national airline, we are representatives of the flag and our culture, so we pride ourselves in showcasing South African hospitality from the moment you board. Anyone who has visited South Africa knows that South Africans go out of their way to make guests feel welcome in their country,” he says. “The same applies on board our flights—from meals that reflect South African cuisine (complemented, of course, with international selections), to an exclusively South African wine cellar in the sky that has been chosen by global wine experts after a tasting of more than 1,000 entries.”

The entertainment selections are also generous, with both international and African offerings in Premium passengers’ individual, on-demand, audiovisual systems. “It’s the perfect way to start the African experience, well before you land,” explains Cavaliere. “And of course, our in-flight crew, which have been voted best in Africa by a number of travel experts, show their pride in their country by providing the warmest and most courteous South African service. It truly results in having a comfortable and restful experience on board.”

Clients flying into and out of Johannesburg’s Tambo International Airport will enjoy state-of-the-art lounges with showers and pressing services so they can refresh—and the Baobab Lounge in the departures area has TV and cigar lounges plus soundproof “snooze rooms” to catch up on rest.

SAA is enhancing its partnerships with a number of airlines, including jetBlue and Virgin America. Then there’s SAA Vacations, which continues to offer, says Cavaliere, “…exciting new ‘smart luxury’ packages at very affordable prices for points throughout Southern and Eastern Africa, and will continue to be a lucrative selling opportunity for agents.”