What It’s Like To Fly With Skywise Airline

I spent my day in the air with Skywise Airline, the new independently-owned, low-cost domestic carrier that operates exclusively between Johannesburg and Cape Town. We took off from Cape Town at 10:20 and arrived in Johannesburg a prompt hour and forty minutes later. I caught the two-hour return flight to Cape Town later that afternoon. Watch the video below to get an idea of what it’s like to be up in the air with SA’s new low-cost carrier:


They Literally Roll Out the Red Carpet for You

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This sounds like an exaggeration however you’ll find red carpets and roses waiting for you at each check-in station. Carol Wyngaardt, a Skywise passenger flying for the second time, told me she liked that their check-in area was so easy to spot. A passenger who usually flies on business-class carriers reported:

“When I arrived at the check-in counter I had a chuckle at myself seeing the red carpet and roses and this friendly assistant just showing teeth. I had to look up and make sure I was heading for the right counter. Thinking to myself (SA needs this! An airline making people feel welcome). At the desk I was stunned when the lady said, ‘Good Afternoon, how are you today?’ I am usually greeted with, ‘ID please, bag on the belt’. So firstly thumbs up for whoever thought of the red carpet. Secondly, lady with the bright smile you eased a very agitated and nervous flyer today simply by being polite.”

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Check-in was over in 30 seconds as I wasn’t carrying much except a camera bag. (Skywise does not offer online check-in just yet but they are working on it). I was pleased to note there’s 20 kg free baggage per person so the option is there if you have lots of stuff to transport, especially students flying home for the holidays. Also you can check two bags, including sports equipment. Infants under-two fly free but then you are required to share the 20 kg, if you are flying with a child over two, you’ll pay for a separate ticket and then you’ll have 40 kg of luggage available between you.

They’re Low-Cost

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Johan who was flying for the first time to Cape Town on Skywise, said he had a smooth online-booking experience and that he chose the airline because they were well priced: “If it’s a business trip then cost isn’t going to be my primary concern, but when it’s personal it is going to factor into my decision”.

Charl, a first-time-flyer with Skywise, said he was happy with the ample legroom and leather seats. Though he added that he was waiting to see the fruition of the offers in the May copy of Skye. Skye is the A5 sized travel and lifestyle mag you’ll find in your seat-pocket (see the video at the top of the page). Carol Wyngaardt added that she’s pleased with their service but wishes the Skywise website had been more clear about how much time there was to pay after booking. She lost her booking because of this but fortuitously managed to make another booking for the same price.

They’re Expanding Their Flight Times

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Leon Botha, the manager for Skywise at Johannesburg Airport, told me that from the 11th June they’ll be introducing a daily early-morning flight, leaving at 06.20 to get business passengers to Cape Town by 8.20. He said getting everyone to their destination on time is the airline’s top priority – another reason to become a Skywiser. They are also adding a later flight leaving Johannesburg at 17:55 and arriving in CPT at 20:00. They are capable of carrying 36 000 passengers per month at present and hope to increase this in the near future. More good news is that their ticket includes complimentary money-back insurance of up to R2500 in the event that Skywise has to cancel your flight.

The Coffee and Tea is Free

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I had the tea on the way there and coffee on the way back as well as an enormous chocolate cookie for R10. There is something so ridiculously pleasant about getting a complimentary cup of tea/rooibos or coffee. Skywise is waiting on their liquor license so at the moment they only serve still or sparkling water, Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coke-light, hot chocolate, apple and orange juice (ranging in price from R10-R15). Mariepa Vogelare said she’d had a pleasant flight down and that she only wished the menu was more extensive as she wanted to buy something more substantial. Luckily the flights are fairly short and you can buy sliced beef biltong at R30, wine gums at R10, chocolate bars at R15, a rusk at R5 and various other snacky items.


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The team of pilots, check-in attendants, flight attendants are all very, very welcoming. I watched a flight attendant happily carry a mother’s extra bag on the transport bus to JHB airport, while she carried her child. Yes, this is his job but he did it very cheerfully. Marlon Stephen emailed customer care to congratulate flight attendant Bradley for his “excellent service and hospitality” and pilot Garth White for his “communications and updates during the flight”.

So all in all not a bad day in the sky.

Check out our Instagram account for more pics of our day out with Skywise.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Good day Skywise words can not describe how irate I am with the pathetic service received by your company we requested a refund (as we paid via eft) about 200 times via email to your refund department until today not a single word from you where is the supposedly garuntee of a refund should you cancel the flight STILL WAITING

    • Hi Belinda,

      Thank you for contacting us and I regret to hear you have not had a good booking experience and struggling to get a response from our refunds team.

      If you could please send me your Travelstart booking reference number and contact details and I will gladly look into this, give you a call and revert with feedback. If you could reply on this blog and I will keep an eye out for your response.

  2. Hi
    I am Zenzile is been more than 8 weeks since I requested my refund from travelstart. As I cancelled the return flight from Cape Town to Jhbg which was Skywise and book another flight through Travel start.
    Can you please help me with my refund as I used my December salary to buy tickets for friends as I was the tour organiser.
    Thank you

    • Hi Zenzile,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’ve done a search using your e-mail address and located 2 bookings.

      I see one of our refunds agents e-mailed you on the 4th December advising the following:

      “Good day Zenzile,

      Thank you for your email.

      We would like to inform you that we have issued a refund application for your Skywise flights, requesting a refund from the airline due to flight cancellation.

      You will be informed by email as soon as the refund has come through from the airline. Please be advised that the refund application can take 6 to 10 weeks before the airline authorizes the refund.

      Please advise us of your bank details for the refund.”

      Please could you reply to refunds@travelstart.com e-mail if you have queries they will be able to advise accordingly and answer any questions you might have.


    • Hi Nasiba,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Please could you e-mail our Customer Service team at: urgent@travelstart.com with your booking reference number. They will look look at the history of your booking and be able to assist accordingly on any queries you might have.

      With regards to Skywise refunds the airline has advised they take 6 – 8 weeks.

  4. Not even the decency to write a personal email back. BAH!!!

  5. Here too Skywise is ignoring my complements and complain which I wrote 2 days before. The whole letter has just been deleted. Is this the way you handle your customers????

  6. Do NOT fly with Skywise. Check all the complaints on Hello Peter. Alsocheck the facebook page, although they delete negative posts when they notice them. They still have not refunded countless customers for cancelled flights without reason or explanation and after countless empty promises. After complaining on their facebook page I was simply blocked without even a response to my valid posts. They are also appearing soon before the board where their licence may be suspended due to non compliance with regulations.

    • Hi Wilma,

      I sincerely regret to hear that you are dissatisfied with the service provided by Skywise Airlines. I’m sure this is not the service they pride themselves on.

  7. Hi there. I am travelling to Johannesburg from Cape Town and decided to try Skywise for my return flight. I have booked a flight leaving Jhb on 13/11 at 15:00. All this negative talk is making me concerned. I also read on the news that Skywise flights were grounded. Should I be concerned that Skywise will no longer be flying by then.

    • Hi Caroline,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Those were just rumors and Skywise is still operating. There is however a few schedule changes which have been implemented to some of their flights. You are welcome to contact them direct or go directly onto their website to check for your new departure times.

  8. Skywise is an amazing airline, too all those stupid remarks and posts are simply jealous mediocrity and should be stopped, instead of pointing out ‘so called faults’ in the airline which I personally think is ridiculous, engage in a competitive strategy.

    Juwairiyya Choonara

  9. Beware, the R7999 is a scam. They do not answer the phone3x, e-mails3x and two watts apps. They sell the ticket and then ignore your attempts to fly as much as possible. The less you fly, the bigger their profit…..

    • Hi Neel,

      Thanks for getting in touch and the feedback.

      Sorry to hear you have not had a good booking experience with Skywise.

      I’ve just tried to contact them on 086 000 4442 which is their unlimited flying number and a consultant picked up within less than a minutes.

      Their operating hours for Customer support are between 7am – 9pm from Monday to Friday. And 7am – 7pm on Saturday and Sunday.

      Please try again, you should be able to get through and an agent will gladly assist with any questions you might have.

  10. Flew Skywise the first time on 14-07-2015 JHB to CT.
    Announcement was made that the plane had to go in for maintenance and that a backup plane and crew will be called in.

    Took off 3 hours later.

    Doubt if I’ll fly with them again.

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Can imagine the frustration caused with a delayed flight, however these are unforeseen circumstances which sometimes do occur in the airline industry.

      You welcome to e-mail Skywise direct with any feedback as they do welcome this.

  11. I am rather a bit upset. I fly quite often between jhn and cpt and today thought let me try sky wise. This morning I then made a booking online 7 June 2015. From cpt to jhb with sky wise. I was experiencing problems with my credit card. And was suprised there was a pay later option avail. I then clicked on it and I was emailed an invoice and ref number.

    Anyway….. got to the airport and guess what???? No booking!!!!! R1290 WAS MY INITIAL PRICE….R1550 new price. How is that possible? So y do u make a booking if this happens. Yes its not a 1k diffrence. But what just what if I never had that extra money? What wud have happend?

    • Hi Shireen,

      Thanks for getting in touch and voicing your concerns.

      I’m sorry to hear of this unfortunate experience. Would you please respond giving us your Travelstart booking reference number and e-mail address used to make the booking. This way we will be able to locate the booking and assist in answering your queries.

      I’ve done a search using: shireen.swartz22@gmail.com however not able to locate a booking.

      If the booking was made directly on Skywise website you will need to contact them direct as they will need to look into this matter from their side and see how this error came about.

      I look forward to your soonest reply

  12. Who is the shareholders of this airline. And what type of aircraft do they operate.

    • Hi Wessel,

      The airline is the brainchild of 1time founders Rodney James (CEO of Skywise), Glenn Orsmond (was CEO of 1time), Michael Kaminski (was head of IT at 1time) and Johan Bortslap (who was Sun Air’s Managing Director). Today it is led by Tabassum A. Qadir and J. Malik, who have extensive business experience in diversified operations. The CEO is Johan Borstlap, who brings the aviation experience and knowledge to the operator. In total, Skywise management has a combined 150 years in the aviation business!

      Skywise operate a fleet of 2 aircraft – each of them are Boeing 737-300’s.

  13. It would have been a lot beter if they didn’t have the music in the video or at least have it softer so you could hear what the lady was saying and rather speak to passengers about what they thought of the flight

  14. Does Skywise plan on ever having “business flights” on which there will be no people under the age of 12? The first airline that introduces one of these will get my indying support!

    • Hi Karen,

      I think Skywise will remain low-cost, therefore 1 cabin class for all passengers.

      Coincidentally I was reading something about “Business Class flights only” the other day. To my knowledge, La Compagnie is currently the only airline offering Business Class only between Paris/London and New York: https://www.lacompagnie.com/en/choose-departure

    • Shame Karen, were u never under the age of 12 urself? or where u just an absolutely perfectly well behaved little girl? if u want to fly business class, choose another airline!!
      mom of two boys under 12!!

  15. Why is Durban always an after thought? We are desperate for competition to shake up Mango and Kulula on the Cape Town / Durban route !!!! Your flights would be full….

    • Hi Jenny,

      I hear you, however, Skywise has debuted on the JNB/CPT route as this is the most popular with South African air travellers. Currently, their small fleet (only 2 aircraft) pretty much limits expansion to other cities in SA. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Durban added soon,and they have indicated King Shaka Airport definitely forms part of their plan.

  16. Your article is very informative. Image quality is very good.Thank you.

  17. Is Zuma or Mandela family involved with this airline. If so. I’m never flying.

  18. A Durban – E London – PE. – George – C Town (& return) “hop n skop” route would work well. Lots of passengers flying ex Durban feel very left out. Joeys and C Town are not the only cities on the planet, you know,..

  19. How about putting East London on your route sometime in the future. there are no cheap flights in this direction. Thanks it all looks good.

  20. How about some Durban specials , “some discount and all” hahah

  21. Hey how about including Durban on your sale specials ?????

    • Hi Gaydene,

      Skywise has started small in South Africa with a fleet of 2 aircraft flying between Johannesburg and Cape Town. I am sure Durban will eventually form part of their growth strategy and we will be sure to keep the public updated.

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  22. Thank you. Skywise. At last some airline competition…
    Cape Town Johannesburg to Kruger ( old Nationwide route) will pay off.
    Only one airline with sizable aircraft operates into Mpumalanga presently.

  23. thanks for the article and video but unfortunately it did not really help me make a decision to use them or not. It would have been great in the video to see how much leg room you have compared to your height. My wife has lots of leg room but she is short compared to me and I battle with leg room. I just don’t trust them yet after their last failure with 1time and friends loosing a lot of money and stress.
    Thanks for a great website. I’ve used your flights for most of my overseas travel bookings.

    • Hi Rory,

      Thanks for your comments. Look out for more Skywise content coming soon. I hear you about being skeptical of a new airline; I am the same. But we will be supporting the “small guys” in their early days. Also, Skywise offers a unique service to protect their customers against this very concern. With every Skywise ticket you buy you automatically qualify for their airline liquidation policy which covers you to the value of R2500 in the event they cease operations.


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