Best seats: business class, South African Airways Airbus A340-300

By John Walton, October 18 2012
Best seats: business class, South African Airways Airbus A340-300

South African Airways is Qantas' partner for flights to South Africa, and uses its A340-300 on its only Australian flight, from Perth to Johannesburg.

If you're travelling in business class on the plane, we've got the latest in our series of expert Best Seats guides to making sure your journey is as productive or restful as possible.

The business class cabin

You'll find 38 angled lie-flat business class seats set out in a 2-2-2 configuration, in two cabins: rows 1-5 in the front cabin and 15-16 in the rear.

SAA's business class seat is a roomy 23.6 inches (60 cm) in width, with 73 inches (185 cm) of seat pitch in each row.

The best seats on the plane

1K 1A 15A 15K: if you're a window fan, these are the seats to go for, in this order. The bulkhead in front of you means that you have more space to pick your way across the aisle passenger. However, note that there is a small galley kitchen in front of 1K and lavatories in front of 1A, 15A and 15K. Note that all these seats are bassinet positions for babies, so you may be moved (or disturbed) as a result.

3D 3G: aisle fans and anyone who really wants to get some undisturbed sleep should pick this row, as far as you can get from flushing loos, banging kitchens and squalling kids, and with nobody picking their way over you in the night.

2D 2G 4D 4G: a second-best set for aisle fans, these centre pairs are still some way from sources of noise, with direct access to the aisle.

D & G seats: as a rule, these are best to pick if you're trying to get some sleep: nobody picking their way over you.

The worst seats on the plane

1D 1C 15C 15D 15G 15H: watch out for these aisle seats, which are right next to the lavatories: ripe for increased traffic and disturbance.

Row 16: right in front of economy (and no fewer than four bassinet crib positions for infants), this is likely to be the noisiest spot in business. Avoid.

Row 5: some passengers like being cocooned between the closets on either side, but others report that there's galley noise from behind and that the crew are often in and out of the closets. Choose with caution.

C & H seats: there's no reason for aisle fans to choose these seats, since there'll be a window passenger climbing over them. Pick a D or G seat instead.

Also in our Best Seats series: 

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John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


24 Apr 2012

Total posts 21

I thought that SAA had full flat business class

correct. All SAA long-haul J seats are fully flat.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 666

Nope, sorry 7OD: the airline itself states: "Seat reclines to lie-flat position (not 180 degrees but slightly offset)."

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