British Airways doesn’t have a stellar reputation these days. Continuous cost-cutting, reduced catering and poor service have turned British Airways Business class into a mediocre experience for the price paid. In fact, there have even been reports lately of British Airways potentially losing its 4-star Skytrax rating.
Luckily, it’s a very different story when flying with British Airways’ South African franchise, Comair. Comair operates domestic and some international services out of South Africa under the British Airways brand. Comair aircraft are painted in British Airways colours and all services have “BA” flight numbers. Its frequent flyer program is British Airways Executive Club and as a Oneworld affiliate airline, Comair passengers can earn and redeem points in any Oneworld frequent flyer program. Oneworld status is also recognised by Comair.
AFF member pyffii recently flew with Comair from Johannesburg to Cape Town in Business class. They were thoroughly impressed with the Comair service.
We recently flew Johannesburg to Cape Town return with BA business class and I must say the overall experience puts Qantas domestic to shame.
The airport experience in Johannesburg was hassle-free. Comair uses the SLOW Lounge for domestic flights, which would have to be one of the best domestic airport lounges out there.
The check in experience was quick with 4 business counters open….the SLOW Lounge simply superb with the best domestic food and drink options we have ever experienced….
The catering and Comair service continued to impress on board the flight. Three delicious hot meal choices were available on both flights.
On board the flights attendants were super friendly and the in flight dining experience was wonderful….3 hot food options and we had the best ever vegetation curry and roast chicken in one direction and grilled chicken breat with couscous and Beef Eye Fillet on the return…all meals just superb
Comair uses a mix of older and newer Boeing 737 aircraft. Some of the older planes in Comair’s fleet are starting to show their age, and the Business class seats are “just” leather recliners in a 2-3 configuration. But the Comair Business class seats are wider and offer more legroom than Economy class. This is an improvement on British Airways’ own Club Europe seats, which are the same as Economy class seats and offer no extra legroom!
If you’re after a lie-flat bed on the 2-hour hop from Johannesburg to Cape Town, South African Airways does occasionally use wide-body Airbus A330s and A340s on this route.
Overall, the great Comair service made up for the older aircraft and lack of in-flight entertainment on these short flights. pyffii describes Comair Business class as a “wonderful experience”.
Comair happens to be one of the world’s most profitable airlines. The airline has never made an annual loss in the 71 years it has been in business.
As a Oneworld partner airline, it is possible to book Comair flights using Qantas points. However, you’ll need to call Qantas to book and the agent may need to do a long sell.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Flying British Airways Domestic in South Africa