I should perhaps specify that I was flying South African Airways (SAA) in particular, from Sao Paulo Brazil to Johannesburg South Africa, but my final destination was Mauritius. SAA is perhaps the best option to take if one wants to get from South America to Africa without having to first go through North America, Europe or the Middle East.
Okay, so to be quite honest all I saw was that it’s a 10-hour flight between Sao Paulo and Johannesburg, but that’s on the way back from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo. If I had known that it would be an eight-hour flight going to Africa I would have flown economy since my general rule is that Business Class is only for long-haul flights. No matter because from Johannesburg and on to Mauritius is a further four hours in the air after a relatively short stopover which will have you arriving just in time to start boarding the connecting flight.
A Business Class ticket is at least double what you’d pay for Economy Class, so I guess it is indeed a very significant difference.
While I have indeed flown Economy Class on so many occasions (on every single other occasion at the time of the writing of this post in fact), I hadn’t previously flown SAA Economy Class, so I guess my comparison draws on flying Economy with other airlines such as Etihad, Qantas, Emirates, Jet, etc.
There’s a difference you can feel immediately when walking into the cabin, welcomed with a choice between a bottle of water or a glass of OJ, in which case I took both of course. That’s not even an issue because you can have as much of it as you like along with pretty much anything else you can imagine eating and drinking at any time during the flight by just pushing a personal service button on the remote.
There’s a lot more cabin space available in and around your seat and the seat extends all the way out into what is essentially a bed. Pop the noise-canceling headset over your ears, cover yourself with the blanket you find at your feet and it’s not unlike sleeping in a flying hotel!
You get a nice leather toiletry bag as well filled with basic grooming goodies and the meals served in flight are offered as part of a gourmet menu, so in addition to your bedroom in the sky experience you basically have a five-star restaurant to enjoy as well.
The menu is impressive to say the very least about that and I personally really enjoyed the variety and the options I chose.
The cabin restrooms are still a bit small though, but there’s always at least one of these available since there are only a few people flying Business.
All in all I guess if you’re on a long-haul flight then flying Business Class makes it a comfortable experience. Oh, the seat has a massage feature as well, which I naturally enjoyed using the whole way.