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Who is LIFT Airlines?

Lift Airline is South Africa’s newest airline, launched during the Covid 19 pandemic. Lifting off from Johannesburg, South Africa with its new airline LIFT Airlines! This venture is a joint effort between former Kulula CEO Gidon Novick and his team at Global Aviation Operations. By using 30 year old fleet aircrafts they are able to offer low cost fares while maintaining affordability for all their customers who book through the app or website during booking sessions that last up until 60 minutes before takeoff time according availability online without any hidden fees associated it so you know what your going into when purchasing tickets especially if there’s not many other choices available just yet which will happen soon though because more cities await release after this initial phase ends next month

Booking Your Flight With LIFT

If you’re looking to travel between Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, then there’s no better way than booking with LIFT. They offer 5 flights daily that will get your trip started off on the right foot! What are three options for ticket purchases? You have them all covered when purchasing through their website; just choose which one suits YOUR needs best- whether its budget or time of year (or everything!). Lifting has the most competitive fares on their site, with fully flexible tickets that allow you to change flights and cancel without penalties. Lift’s policy is perfect for those who are looking out for cheap but still high-quality airline deals!

ECONOMY – NO BAG – The Cheapest Option

  • Normal Seats Free of Charge
  • 1 x Hand Bag up to 7 KG
  • Onboard Drinks and Snacks
  • Refundable to LIFT Wallet
  • Flexible Amendments (No Penalties up to 24 Hours before departure)
  • Flexible Cancellations (No Penalties up to 24 Hours before departure)

ECONOMY – BAG INCLUDED

  • Normal Seats Free of Charge 
  • 1 x Checked Bag up to 23 KG 
  • 1 x Hand Bag up to 7 KG 
  • Onboard Drinks and Snacks 
  • Refundable to LIFT Wallet 
  • Flexible Amendments (No Penalties up to 24 Hours before departure)
  • Flexible Cancellations (No Penalties up to 24 Hours before departure)

PREMIUM

  • Extra Legroom Free of Charge
  • 2 x Checked Bags up to 23 KG 1 x Sporting Equipment
  • 2 x Hand Bags up to 7 KG
  • Premium Onboard Drinks and Snacks
  • Refundable to LIFT Wallet
  • Flexible Amendments
  • Flexible Cancellations
  • Fast Track Security/Boarding
  • Lounge Access

I decided to take a chance with the LIFT premium experience, which is aimed at drawing business class customers from British Airways and South African Airline. The cheaper fare was much more affordable than both flights on offer here in my area so how would it compare?

Check In At O.R. Tambo Airport

LIFT offers a premium check in counter but on this very busy at O.R. Tambo the premium counter was closed and I had to join the long line to check in. Not a great first impression when it comes to creating a premium experience. At the check in counter the agent said the premium check in was closed as the staff were on lunch. I came back a hour later and the counter was still closed so if you are planning to work at LIFT, you know you are going to get super long lunch breaks. 

The agent also wanted to charge me for an extra bag and had no idea of what was paid for with a premium ticket. After a phone call to someone, the issue was sorted out and bags were checked in and boarding pass issued. The premium ticket also offers a Vida E coffee voucher but none of the agents knew anything about the voucher, so no Vida E coffee for me. So far the premium experience promised by LIFT had been at best poor and certainly not premium at all. 

Fast Track security worked well and then it was off to the Bidvest Lounge. My ticket was scanned and I found a seat easily. The Bidvest Premier Lounge is open to numerous airlines and is also the Priority Pass lounge on offer. Follow the link for a full review of the Bidvest Premier Lounge.

Boarding The Flight

LIFT offers premium ticket holders priority check to board your flight and get settled and stow your luggage. On this flight GE147 there was no premium check in even though there was a demarcated area for premium check in. The counter staff did not manage this very well and again total failure on what was promised and then not delivered, no priority boarding.

LIFT to Cape Town

The fourth generation Airbus A320 offers 174 leather seats with legroom ranging from 30 to 33 inches depending on your seat selection. The configuration is 3 by 3 except for the first 3 rows that are configured for premium fare passengers. These seats have the middle seat blocked so you have no one sitting next to you and the front row offers you unlimited legroom. These seats have no charging facilities so if you intend to work or watch movies, make sure your devices are charged prior to boarding. Overall this A320 was in excellent condition and there was no way to tell that the plane was 30 years old. 

The seat, 1A that I was allocated was comfortable with plenty of legroom and recline and was up to par with what British Airways and South African Airways offer on their local business class flights. Read my British Airways Club World review. Once everyone was loaded and seated and safety briefing completed we were ready to depart. Departure was 15 minutes late and the take off up to cruising altitude was slow and gradual compared to the Boeing 737’s that most airlines use on this route.

Once we were at cruising altitude a variety of snacks and drinks were offered by the crew. I passed on the snacks but enjoyed two very nice Malachite Fynbos Gin and tonics during the flight. Unlike other local business class flights there is no special meal served so it would be best to eat in the lounge before departure if you are hungry. Note that during the flight you have to wear your face mask at all times except when you are eating or drinking. 

The flight to Cape Town was pleasant and comfortable and the cabin crew was very attentive. Flight time to Cape Town was 1 hour and 50 minutes. On arrival in Cape Town we got off the plane row by row in keeping with Covid19 regulations. Baggage collection took forever at Cape Town and although the bags get a premium tag they did not come out first and came out mixed in with the rest of the bags. 

Does LIFT provide a premium experience?

LIFT airlines offered a number of premium extras for their premium ticket price of around R2840.00. This is significantly cheaper than premium tickets that other airlines on this route but at the moment it seems that the ground staff are unable to provide premium fliers with what they paid for. On my flight there were numerous service misses and I am not sure if premium fliers will return and rebook flights when they do not get the service that they have paid for. In summary , the flight and crew on were excellent, the wide body A320 plane was comfortable but the rest was pretty poor and I am in two minds if I will try LIFT again or just stick to British Airways or South African Airways. 

Flexible Air Travel.

LIFT Airlines is South Africa’s newest airline, launched during the Covid 19 pandemic, LIFT flies between Johannesburg and Cape Town. LIFT is a joint venture between former Kulula.com CEO Gidon Novick, former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache, and local aircraft leasing company Global Aviation Operations, a South African-based ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) specialist operating a fleet of Airbus A320’s aircraft.
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Global Aviation Operations (PTY)Ltd marketed as LIFT Airline is a currently operating African scheduled low-cost carrier with a base at O.R. Tambo International Airport, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Pros
  • Baggage
  • Seat
  • Flexibility
  • Support
  • Onboard
Cons
  • delayed flights
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