Malabo’s airport is literally the most underwhelming ever- like 2 gates in the whole terminal.

For about 7 years now, I’ve been  experimenting with carriers across Africa.  Its easy when you go from New York to the big African capitals like Joburg or Cairo- but my queries have been  about how to ride in comfort to places like Luanda or Dar es Salaam or Malabo.

All Africaphiles welcome to weigh in here!

Essentially there are 3 main choices for globalists making lots of moves across sub-Saharan Africa: SAA, Ethiopian and Kenya….

SAA Kenya Ethiopian
Countries X X X
Flights per day X X X
Fleet X X X
Age X X X
Alliances X X X

In about 70% of the 20+ trips I’ve made to or within Africa, I’ve been flying SAA.

In recent years, Kenya and Ethiopian have been staking their claim however.

Ethiopian does score major points for being the first with flights completely run by ladies!

Not only have they {insert news about expansion or improvement above Kenya Airways) and {insert news about expansion or improvement above Ethiopian Airways) their flights are competitive in price, if going to USA.

Kenya and Ethiopian will always edge ahead when you are traveling within East Africa, SAA still appears more flights per day in most of my destinations.

Plus, even though South Africa is at the bottom of the continent, a layover at Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport is infinitely more pleasurable than being stuck in Addis or Nairobi airport.  There are stores and restaurants and free wifi galore there.

One of my clients would book me in the City Lodge for extended layovers, which is literally a 10 minute walk through the airport and back to the gate and has an amazing breakfast buffet!

What else do I love about SAA?

No joke-the wine selection is winning at life.  It’s not just that South Africa is a spectacular wine producer in and of itself.  It’s the fact that South African Airways recruits a panel of expert sommeliers to taste and personally curate the wine selection from over 700 vintners!  And the staff will keep giving you in-flight wine until you say “Basta!”

Even in economy, the wine selection is on fleek.  Having lived in South Africa for 1.5 years and done a few  wine tours there…..with all my issues with the crime, inequality, racism, corruption, South Africa remains the undisputed global champion for wine in my book.

Enough waxing poetic about SA wines,  I am a pan-Africanist and loyal to no country and hear that Ethiopia is nurturing is domestic wine industry.  Hopefully, in a few years, their in-flight wine selection, as with the planes and service itself, will give SAA a run for its money.