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Airline news: Up at the sharp end

Dusting off the passport and heading for foreign climes? The latest airline news suggests that international carriers flying into South Africa have upped their game when it comes to inflight luxury.
airline news

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines has expanded its reach into Africa, with the April launch of direct flights between Istanbul and Cape Town. Four weekly services now connect the Mother City with the Turkish capital, offering seamless access to the 334 destinations in the extensive Turkish Airlines network across five continents.

The premium offering on board the next-gen Boeing 787-9 ‘Dreamliner’ includes 30 Business Class seats, each allowing 44-inches of legroom and a spacious seat that folds out into a fully flat 76-inch bed. And the 1-2-1 layout guarantees aisle access.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways set the bar for Business Class when it revealed QSuite in 2017. Here there’s a premium on personal space, whether you’re flying solo, as a family, or with colleagues. The unique seating allows for couples to cocoon in shared central seats, or for four travellers to travel together in the unique four-seater joint suite.

‘Passengers who travel with Qatar appreciate the finer things in life; they care about the small attention to detail that the airline upholds when designing its cabins and providing its services,’ explains Rossen Dimitrov, Chief Officer Customer Experience.

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways now links Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi six times per week, using a 787-9 Dreamliner on the route. And while the Business Suite is certainly no slouch when it comes to in-flight comforts, it’s on your connecting flights to New York and Chicago that things start to get interesting. From July 2022, Etihad will deploy its Airbus A350-1000, aimed at ultra-long-haul routes.

The A350-1000 burns 25 percent less fuel and is 50 percent quieter than earlier generations of aircraft. The airline has also opted for the superb Super Diamond seats from Collins Aerospace for its Business Class cabin, which is laid out in a customer-friendly herringbone format to ensure space, privacy and easy aisle access.


United recently expanded its reach into southern Africa and offers year-round direct flights between Cape Town and Newark. ‘We’re making it even easier for our customers to visit one of the world’s best destinations,’ said Patrick Quayle, United’s Senior Vice President of International Network Planning and Alliances. ‘United’s direct flights from New York/Newark cut the usual travel time to Cape Town by more than five hours.’

The Cape Town service sees (another) 787-9 touching down on local soil, with the United Dreamliner offering 48 Business Class seats in its superb Polaris® class. Aside from the spacious seats offering all the usual lie-flat perks and tech innovations, you can look forward to impressive levels of comfort thanks to hotel-quality on-board bedding by Saks Fifth Avenue.

An enormous perk on the return leg is access to the excellent Polaris lounge at Newark Liberty International Airport. It’s a spacious haven where you can freshen up and relax.


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