I plan to fly from Johannesburg (south africa) to London in January. What would be the best airline in terms of quality, comfort and service? Seats, dinner, breakfast, attitude of stewards, in-flight entertainment etc.
I intend to fly economy with my wife.
Flying non-stop from London to Johannesburg, you have a choice of South African Airways, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, United, and BMI.
Right away, I'd probably discard BMI and United as possibilities -- only given the fact that both are three-star airlines and your other choices are four-star airlines, so immediately gain the upper hand (Skytrax is the reigning body for ranking airlines: you can read about the difference between a three and four star airline here: http://www.airlinequality.com/StarRanking/ranking.htm
Out of South African Airways, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic, I'd personally be more tempted by the first two -- from what I've heard recently, the standard at Virgin has declined a little from its heyday several years ago. Moreover, BA and South African offer far more choice with regard to flight times (and, at least where I checked, were a little cheaper too.)
Don't take my word for it though -- you can read tons of reviews on all five of the airlines I mentioned above, and make your mind up that way. Here they are:
South African reviews: http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/saa.htm
British Airways reviews:
Virgin Atlantic reviews:
Hope that helps a little -- have a great flight, whomever you end up flying with!
British Airways has one of the best inflight services among the major airlines and they fly non-stop from Johannesburg to London. Even their economy class cabin is luxurious. However, South African Airways, which also flies non-stop from Johannesburg to London, has just been reorganized and their inflight and ground service has improved greatly.
It is all up to you as to which airline to choose. Of course, BA has the edge in terms of over-all service, but SAA certainly is not fare behind and offers lower fares. It will all boil down to budget constraints and your membership in a frequent flyer program. The flight is quite long and you can certainly earn miles for this trip, which you can later convert into free tickets for yourself or anyone you choose. BA is a member of oneworld, while SAA is a member of Star Alliance. I feel that you should choose the one that belongs to the alliance that your frequent flyer program belongs to, if you are a member of one. If not, I feel you should choose SAA as their program has more attractive and flexible benefits than that of BA.
The Austrian Airlines