LIFT Airline Premium Flight Review.

Who is LIFT Airlines?

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 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. The average age of LIFT’s  aircraft are around 30 years, giving LIFT one of the oldest fleets in the business.

Booking Your Flight With LIFT

Booking this flight was as simple as clicking on LIFT offers 5 flights daily between Johannesburg and Cape Town. This is also the only route that LIFT is currently flying at the moment. There are 3 ticket options on offer when booking your flight with LIFT. When booking with LIFT, tickets are fully flexible, allowing you to change flights and cancel without penalties no matter what class of ticket you book.

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)


  • 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)


  • 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 choose the LIFT premium experience that is aimed at drawing business class customers away from British Airways and South African Airways that both fly this route. The premium fare was cheaper than both British Airways and South African Airways so how would it compare in terms of service?

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. 

COVID-19 Protocols When Flying LIFT

LIFT’s aircraft are SACAA and IATA approved. Aircraft are sanitised and cleaned after every flight. The COVID clean involves Airbus approved sanitisers used to clean all touch points on the plane.

The team also vacuums the aircraft after every flight and replaces all bags during the turnaround.

Strict social distancing is enforced at check-in using dedicated markings on the floor. All passengers are encouraged to check-in and buy added extras online to avoid unnecessary contact during the airport process.

LIFT encourages passengers to scan their boarding passes themselves to avoid unnecessary contact during boarding‚ thus keeping passengers as safe as possible.

All passengers are required to wear masks during the entire flight.

All cabin crew are required to wear masks during the entire flight.

Hand sanitiser is available at our check-in counters as well as onboard. 

Food and beverage are served in sustainable‚ single-use ware.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ishmael Ndlovu

    What an awesome service, couldn’t check in online only to find out at the airport that my flight was tomorrow, then l called my travel agent at pentravel who resolved the issue and l was asked if l didn’t mind taking the next flight which was in 45 minutes which was perfect for me but what great stuff and service

  2. Antoinette

    Lift airline disappointed me at check in when I arrived 3o minutes before my flight and they didn’t let me board and I had to pay Over R900 to catch the next flight. They said they will get back to me but they never did.

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