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Europe To South Africa, Why Mostly At Night?  
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5646 times:

I noticed that most of the flights from Europe to South Africa (as well as South Africa to Europe) are departing at night and arrive in the morning. I think that KL has one day flight from AMS to JNB, LX had a day flight but they also switched to a night flight a few month ago.

Does anyone know why? As a passenger I would prefer to start here in the morning and arrive at South Africa in the evening. I can also not understand why the planes are standing all day long on the ramp, it would be more economical when they are flying back after a normal turnaround time.

Can anyone explain?

Patrick

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJcs17 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 8065 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5600 times:

Personally, I dont think it makes too much sense either. First of all, evening flights make it a day-long connection in Europe if you are coming from North America. Then, to make matters worse, you have an aircraft sitting on the ground in JNB for 12-14 hours for the return flight.


America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
User currently offlineLeezyjet From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4042 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5565 times:

I would think that a majority of passengers prefer it the way it is otherwise the airlines would look to change it if they received alot of complaints.

Also it means that the passengers can sleep on the flight on the way down and arrive ready to do business or whatever straight away so not wasting a day of their holiday/business trip travelling when they could be doing other things.

The VS flight from LHR-CPT-LHR was a daytime flight and the crews hated it. As South African people are quite demanding at the best of times, at least most would be asleep on an overnight flight, but they are awake during the daytime flights and as it is such a long flight they would constantly run out of food and drinks on the return leg due to the high demands of the passengers.

 Smile



"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5563 times:

SAA once had a midday flight from LHR but it didn't seem to work. But I can understand that for business trips it makes more sense to leave here at night and arrive in the morning giving you a whole day yet. And that way people save a night at a hotel. Seems to make sense keeping the planes on the ground for so long. Qantas does the same on flights to Europe and they seem to earn some money there too...

Max


User currently offlineStefandotde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5511 times:

Godbless, i think that would be a poor company, if they can't their coworkers an overnight in a hotel. Also lots of companies would like to see their people fit when they are working. And a flight per night doesn't make anybody fit in economy, maybe in business. But therefor you can buy a couple of overnights.
And Qantas has to fly overnight cause of the length of the trip. I don't think there is a more efficient way to fly overnight, and they don't have a chance. What would happen, QF arrives at 5.30 am in FRA, when should it leave to have good times for all the destionations?


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5462 times:

Jcs17 made an interesting point here, the late daparture time in Europe makes a USA to South Africa via Europe flight very long. The US flights are mostly arrive in the morning, if you are continue to travel to South Africa you need a hotel room for the day or you have to hang around in the terminal all the day.

But as some members already mentioned, it seems that a lot of people prefer the night flights because otherwise the airlines had already changed the departure times.

Patrick


User currently offlineStefandotde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5452 times:

But why should people from the us make a stop in europe just for aircraft-change?
And lots of people hate night-flights, they can't sleep, very little space to sleep, loud, too excited, etc.
So night-flights also can be horror-trips.


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5434 times:

But why should people from the us make a stop in europe just for aircraft-change?

Why not? There are not so many direct flights from the USA to South Africa

And lots of people hate night-flights, they can't sleep, very little space to sleep, loud, too excited, etc.
So night-flights also can be horror-trips.


I agree with you Stefan, I hate it also to fly at night because I am a very tall guy (1,90m), it is impossible for me to sleep in Economy Class and I am too poor to buy Business Class tickets.

Patrick


User currently offlineStefandotde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5429 times:

and imagine, Patrick, how many overnights you can get for the difference eco/busi

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 9, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5412 times:

Actually, flying overnight makes a lot of sense:

One important point you seem to be neglecting is the connecting traffic on one or both ends. Most longhauls between European cities and CPT or JNB cannot rely on O&D traffic alone, so they have to be fed at one or both ends by short- and medium haul traffic.

By leaving early in the morning and arriving somewhen in the evening, the number of connections is greatly limited to maybe just the first or very last hub bank. On the other hand, a flight in the evening is both fed by several banks in the afternoon and evening.
Also, it is suited very well to business travellers, who are able to work in the country of departure an entire day before leaving directly to the airport or to their feeder flight which will take them to the departure point for the longhaul flight. Upon arrival, there are several outbound banks to disperse the longhaul traffic. Also, business passengers are able to work a full day at their destination (unless they have to take a very long onward flight).

Hope this helps.  Smile




Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5408 times:

Yes, you can sleep in a five star hotel and you would still save money, compared to a Business Class fare.

I can also imagine that a day flight is quite interesting when you have a window seat, you could see the Sahara, the jungle and much more from Africa`s landscape.

Patrick


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5388 times:

Jens, you are correct, the number of connecting passergers is higher on evening flights and it makes sense for airlines which have only one daily flight to JNB or CPT but I can not understand that South African also offers only night flights, they have three (or two) flights from LHR to JNB and all are departing in the evening, for me it would make more sense when they would also offer a day flight. An other example: LH and SA from FRA to JNB, both are partners, one airline could offer a day flight and the other a night flight, so every passenger could take the flight he prefers. I can imagine that they would still getting a lot of connecting passengers from Germany and other European countries if one of these flight would start at around 10am.

Patrick


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 12, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5360 times:

Patrick,
You are talking about a very interesting point here. Ona high frequency route like LON-JNB, when three or more flights are leaving to the same longhaul destination within an hour or so, there seems to be room for more schedule flexibility. It would be intersting to see the economic numbers on routes, where day- and nighttime longhauls are already offered like NYC-LON.
Is the passenger mix more low-yield on daytime flights? Are passengers less satisified sitting in the aircraft seemingly (due to the time difference) all day? Mayb eit is because it seems like one has lost an entire day (on eastbound longhauls) that day flights are not very popular.

However, this is no answer to North-South flights with little or no time difference like between Europe and South Africa.

Interesting topic...



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineCrosswind From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 2600 posts, RR: 58
Reply 13, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5294 times:
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The most important consideration nobody has mentioned, which I can assure you the airlines have thought a lot about is aircraft performance!

Johannesburg is a classic "hot-and-high" airport, and temperatures soar during the day. Add in to the equation a widebody departing at close to MTOW and you have a potential problem, of having to leave passengers, baggage or cargo behind. At the best of times a heavy departure from Johannesburg will be MTOW limited to a greater or lesser extent.

To ensure you are able to carry a useful payload out of JNB you are forced to schedule your Europe-bound departures in the evening. Working back, it's impossible to have Europe-South Africa day flight that leaves at a reasonable time and arrives in time to operate a reasonably timed flight back to Europe.

If an airline is going to schedule a ground time of 10hrs+ down route there is usually a better reason than passenger preference! If that were the main reason, most airlines would have by now rescheduled a normal turnaround on cost grounds, and the passengers would have little choice!

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In the modern jet age there are far fewer aircraft/route combinations where performance considerations become important in scheduling flights, but they still exist...

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User currently offlineLj From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4461 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5258 times:

As of the next winter schedule all KLM flights to JNB will be day time flights and the CPT will be a night flight (subject to change). The reason [prpbably being the fact that KLM doesn't want its B747 to stand idle at JNB for an entire day.

BTW JNB is scheduled for 3 Combis and 4 full pax a week


User currently offlineMD80Nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 959 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5230 times:

It's not just Europe-South Africa flights that are operated at night. Flights between the US and deep South America are also operated at night, same for the deep South America to US flights. I've flown from Miami to Buenos Aires, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and back, and all flights were overnighters except one. It's not uncommon here in Miami to see planes from South American airlines parked at the remote stands during the day waiting for evening departures.

I hate those overnight flights too, especially since I have to fly economy. But it seems people and/or the airlines prefer them, so that's the way it is.



Fly Douglas Jets DC-8 / DC-9 / DC-10 / MD80 / MD11 / MD90 / 717
User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5246 times:

I can also imagine that a day flight is quite interesting when you have a window seat, you could see the Sahara, the jungle and much more from Africa`s landscape.

Absolutely. I had a couple of great experiences overflying Africa during the day. Let me list them for you:

Most recently, Virgin A340 from CPT to LHR. As you mentioned, the Sahara was AWESOME and timed perfectly, as we started to overfly it during sunset. Can you imagine? It was simply the best experience I have ever had...the fantastic cabin staff of Virgin, coupled with the excellent IFE made this one of the best flights I have ever taken.

The Captain even asked permission from the ATC authorities to make a short sightseeing tour of Table Mountain, Robben Island (on which Mandela spent many years imprisoned), and generally the beautiful beaches in that area. I can't begin to describe how awesome it was to fly so low and experience those steep banking angles so that the wing was clear of the view!! Just incredible....I understand other airline crew try to perform the same little 'tour'. As we departed early, I guess we were lucky.

Another time was actually at night, as we flew over Nouakchott on the BA evening service to CPT (we have a house there, that's why I've flown regularly there). Two great things: the shooting stars. The green glow from beneath the overlying clouds, as we flew over various west African cities...I believe the rest of the flight was conducted over water, right until the descent off the Cape Town coast...

I also remember flying "Blue Crane" an SAA A320, from NBO-JNB...we saw LOTS of interesting stuff...including the Victoria falls and some large dam, who's name I have unfortunately forgotten. The best part was the storm at JNB...African storms...they're great, especially at night!  Big thumbs up

I guess we flew over the Sahara quite a lot with BA, when they had the daylight NBO-LHR flights (they had 2 dailies, one was the morning departure from NBO.)

And then there was MH on that silly EZE-CPT-JNB-KUL route (we flew from EZE to JNB and vice versa). Also great views and they are DAYLIGHT flights.

Conclusion: flying over Africa is great! (lots of turbulence and fantastic storms...)



User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12119 posts, RR: 49
Reply 17, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5200 times:
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Another consideration is, and I am not sure what the crew rest time actually is, it looks like the plane is on the ground for a minimum of 12 hours, so could they being using the same crew on the return as the outbound? After they have had 12 hours off between flights?


You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5147 times:

DoorsToManual,

thanks a lot for your little trip reports, very interesting! I have been one time in South Africa but both flights were night departures and I had an aisle seat, so I couldn`t see anything.

Patrick


User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 33
Reply 19, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5134 times:

When Swissair had codeshare on SAAs night flight they didn't really care about their day flight. Now as it has been mentioned, Swiss got a night flight as well since the demand is much higher for that.

Especially tour operators save two hotel nights in the program with a night flight. My personally, I prefer to leave in the late night and save a "holiday". Same goes for the flight back, I prefer to arrive in the early morning back in Europe.

Carriers such as KL and LH fly JNB-CPT vv. to get some more revenue and that the aircraft doesn't stand the whole day at JNB.



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineIFlyMidwExprss From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 160 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5068 times:

I definitely agree with those who talked about the horrendously long trips from the USA to South Africa. I flew UA/LH from the U.S. to FRA to JNB to CPT in May (T.R. coming soon, I swear...), and it was a beast. Two consecutive nights in coach, with 10 hours in FRA during the day--it was tough. Totally worth it for the amazing experience of visiting South Africa, but holy crap was it looooong. I definitely would have preferred an a.m. connection out of FRA. But, I get the business and technical considerations, so I guess that's life.  Smile
Cheers,
Ryan


User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5053 times:

Hey,

Just out of interest, last time I was in CPT (Jan) I noticed the SAA/DL flight to ATL via Ilha do Sal - that still going?


User currently offlineIFlyMidwExprss From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 160 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5030 times:

I picked up the SAA timetable at CPT in May, and it showed the flights from CPT/JNB to ATL stopping in Sal, with the U.S. to South Africa flights going nonstop.

[Edited 2003-08-04 22:27:18]

User currently offlineGKirk From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2000, 24947 posts, RR: 56
Reply 23, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4918 times:

To be honest, if you fly USA-S.A via Europe, then, especially if you fly BA, you shouldnt have to wait that long as the number of flights that BA have into LHR from the USA means that there are flights arriving at LHR from the US at all times of the day.


When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
User currently offline9V-SVE From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 2066 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4879 times:

If people want to fly to South Africa from the US, why don't they just fly to ATL or JFK and catch SAA's flights?

25 Johnboy : Actually I chose BA to fly to South Africa last December because of comments regarding superior service on this very board. Although I live in the San
26 Jcs17 : If people want to fly to South Africa from the US, why don't they just fly to ATL or JFK and catch SAA's flights? First of all, a lot of people, espec
27 JetTrader : "...why cant an airline leave Europe at 900AM, arrive JNB at 700P-800P, and then make a return trip back to Europe at 1000PM-1100PM..." Because...as
28 Rednose : Being originally from Cape Town and still flying there on average three times a year from LHR and having tried all the major airlines, some comments.
29 Stefandotde : Jet Trader: "... a day on the ground is required to allow the same crew to operate the return flight." So is it allowed for a crew to arrive in the mo
30 FlySwiss : A business man prefers a night flight from Europe to South Africa or vs. He can work the whole day in Europe and can have a meeting next morning in So
31 Mandala499 : My guess apart from hot and high is that 9am slots for long haul out of europe will be a nightmare. You got FL280 - FL380 clogged with short haul traf
32 Crosswind : An airline wouldn't roster the same crew to operate a UK-South Africa-UK round trip. The duty period for the LHR-JNB leg would be in excess of 12 hour
33 Sabena332 : Some of you mentioned very interesting facts, thanks a lot for all your replies! Patrick
34 Gigneil : I didn't see this mentioned but... A fair bit of the reason is timezones. Like the US and South America, many of the cities are only an hour or two ap
35 ZSSNC : JetTrader, while SAA does not have any Europe based flight crews they still spend more than just the day on the ground. All of the SAA crews stay at l
36 Jrebel : "...why cant an airline leave Europe at 900 AM, arrive JNB at 700P-800P, and then make a return trip back to Europe at 1000 PM-1100 PM..." Because...a
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