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South African Airways will fly its A350 to Frankfurt

Jan. 30, 2020
3 min read
South African Airways will fly its A350 to Frankfurt
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South African Airways is bringing its new Airbus A350 aircraft to Europe. As of February, South African's existing route to Frankfurt will get the A350 aircraft — the airline's second destination to get the new plane.

As reported by One Mile at a Time, the carrier's A350 will fly between Johannesburg (JNB) and Frankfurt (FRA) as of February 7, 2020. The A350-operated flight will fly on the following schedule:

  • SA260 Johannesburg (JNB) 8:25 p.m. Departure ⇒ Frankfurt (FRA) 6:15 a.m. (+1) Arrival
  • SA261 Frankfurt (FRA) 8:45 p.m. Departure ⇒ Johannesburg (JNB) 8:25 a.m. (+1) Arrival

The route is currently operated by one of the carrier's old A340-600 aircraft. The replacement represents an improvement in terms of passenger comfort, given the hard product on the A340 was outdated.

In addition to this Frankfurt route, South African also uses A350 aircraft on its route to New York (JFK). South African has taken delivery of four leased A350 aircraft: two originally intended for Hainan Airlines and two originally intended for Air Mauritius.

TPG Managing Editor Alberto Riva flew one of South African's A350s between New York and Johannesburg, knowing that the Air Mauritius layout was preferred in business class, as it's a 1-2-1 layout, rather than the 2-2-2 layout installed for Hainan. However, the A350 used on the New York route for his flight was the Hainan variant, featuring 30 seats in five rows of six.

He found the A350 to be a general improvement on the route over its dated predecessor, but found the lack of Wi-Fi, no aisle access for all business-class passengers and issues with the soft product to be major flaws.

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(Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

The biggest challenge with South African's fleet of A350s is that the passenger experience is vastly different between the former Hainan and Air Mauritius aircraft. If you have the choice, try to fly with one of the A350 registered as ZS-SDE or ZS-SDF, as they're the former Air Mauritius aircraft.

Based on seat maps loaded on ExpertFlyer, which is owned by TPG's parent company Red Ventures, South African has the Hainan A350s loaded on this route.

The airline is continuing to make major route adjustments, such as the A350 to New York and Frankfurt, although it is still bankrupt. It's still operating thanks to emergency funds from the South African government. As a result of its financial difficulties, South African has been forced to cancel some flights and park some aircraft.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023