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johnboy
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Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 6:22 am

I've finally decided to bite the bullet and save money for a South Africa trip this year. Imagine my shock at the prices from SFO to JNB upon initial viewing! Was wondering if anyone had any ideas about lowering fares at all, or which airline to take.

1) Traveling around Xmas time to middle of January. (After Xmas actually, since the price drops substantially)

2) Cheapest airfare via Travelocity appears to be Air France via CDG. (USD 1500) Next in line is Virgin Atlantic (USD 1700). I've read where the service on VS is outstanding but seat pitch is awful (i'm 5'10"). What about AF to South Africa?

3) Unfortunately flights on SAA (via JFK or ATL) are too expensive (this is going to be a bare bones operation), although flying times are less. BA also seems to be a little pricier.

4) Although I would imagine that CPT is where i'll spend the bulk of my time, I will be traveling around the country, so JNB is cheapest to fly into.

5) Since the flying time clocks in at 30 + hours, what are possibilities of stopovers in either Paris/London. Barring that, how does one spend 10 hours awaiting the South Africa leg of each flight? I'm talking sleep opportunities here, folks.

Thanks for any advice you can provide.
 
bkkair
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 7:03 am

Did you ever consider flying via the Pacific? CX via HKG to JNB or SQ via SIN to CPT? I know that CX often have crazy specials and they do take people from the US West Coast to RSA.

Also, you will not find your best deals on the Internet. Check your newspaper, probably in the Travel Section and you will see plenty of ads from travel agencies who will sell you a "consolidator ticket". These are bulk rate tickets travel agencies get from the airlines that often don't even have all the heavy restrictions.
 
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CV990A
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 7:30 am

I flew from JFK-LHR-JNB on Virgin about a year ago, and while it was 'cheap' (about $1000 I seem to recall) the seats were indeed terrible, and I'm 6'5". However, the connections were akward, with the flight from the US arriving in the morning, but the flight to JNB not going until that night, so I did have the day in London to walk around a bit, which was nice. Regardless, the experience was amazing. Have fun on your trip.
Kittens Give Morbo Gas
 
Airstud
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 7:42 am

See, I'm planning a similar trip; to take place this September (leaving from the West Coast). Ideally I'd like to take Singapore Airlines, because that's the only way to get to JNB with FULL Star Alliance mileage credit (LH is the only other Star carrier into JNB but they give 50% credit on the flight from FRA).

But, SQ is proving insanely expensive. I mean it's like $1700 just into Singapore.

So, let me know when you find a good deal.

(I hadn't thought about Air France, I'll have to give that a shot.)
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Tripleseven
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 8:03 am

You take the Air France?
 
Airstud
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 9:43 am

Well, I don't know whether I SHOULD take the Air France. Francly, I hadn't even thought of them as an option until a total gooficus emailed me the link to this thread.
Pancakes are delicious.
 
TonyBurr
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 11:44 am

You will love South Africa. I go at least twice a year. I leave from the East coast of USA. I generally do an around the world fare since I can do business in different places. Once you get to South Africa it is not expensive. The people are great.

As to flying, $1,600.00 actually is a good fare. Remember it is a looonnggg trip. I think if you break the trip say in London it might be even more expensive.

Some possibilites to look into:

1. Malaysai Airlines - has some goo fares. They fly from the west coast to Kula Lampur and do go to South Africa.

2. Consolidators - They can have good prices. U just have to check them out. Do u have a travel agent?

3. ALthough I have never used them I have checked out "TrailFinders" a bucket shop in London. Try their website.

4. Also check some airlines like: Oylmpic, Ehtiopian, Egyptair. They fly there and tend to have lower fares.

Hope u make it. It is a great place (do be careful on the street).
 
TonyBurr
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 12:06 pm

Johnboy I just checked the ad for Ethiopian to JNB. $910.00 from Washington or Newark, in Q class basis, but could not see dates. You might get a cheap ATA across country and hook up. That is also an idea, use something like ATA to the east coast and then look for fares from there to JNB.
 
kdonohue
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 12:28 pm

JNB is an interesting destination from the west coast. As some of the previous posts suggested I would see about a trans-pacific routing. I know I've seen fares advertised from Vancouver at about $1500 CDN dollars.

If you want I can call the agent to see what the routing and fare rules are. Let me know

[email protected]

Ken
 
QANTAS747-438
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 4:21 pm

Has anybody mentioned South African Airways?! Delta LAX-ATL, South African ATL-JNB. That would be my first choice.

I say that because from LAX, or west coast, it's 5500mi to London, then @6000 to SA = 11,500mi. Whereas, via ATL, it's 2000mi + 8400mi = 10,400mi.

Not to be rude or ignorant, but is South Africa safe to visit, because I am dying to go!
My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
 
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johnboy
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 4:22 pm

Thanks to the replies thus far.

I did check out SQ, as they showed up on a Travelocity board, but the price was around $2400. Would be an interesting routing to be sure. The times aren't significantly longer than transatlantic, but gets into JNB about 0600.

But, unfortunately there needs to be a cheaper way! While I might consider it traveling myself, I'm actually buying two tickets, and that really add$ up quickly!

Ethiopian sounds intriguing! I've often heard that their service is quite good.

While I haven't checked out Malaysia specifically yet, they have had a special running in the SF newspapers awhile back about traveling to numerous cities for a fairly low price (about USD 800). Add on fares to South Africa brought the total to about $1200 RT. The bad news is that the special runs until November, just shy of the time i'll be traveling.

I'll probably end up getting a travel agent, but I was just checking out fares for the first time, and was shocked by the $2000 and up fares I saw right before Xmas.
 
TonyBurr
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 8:18 pm

QANTAS747 - SOuth AFrica is a beautiful country. From Capetown to the northern part lots of great things to see. Nothing like spending a few days in a game reserve to see animals in their natural environment. To turn a corner and see a group of giraffe or xebras in their natural element. To sit by a water hole and watch the animals come to drink. You can not beat it! And the people are wonderful. So friendly and welcoming. But, some of the cities are very dangerous. JNB downtown is empty. Even the stock exchange has moved out because of violence. I have been going there for five or six years, and although I love it I am concerned about crime. It is not just at night, not just in bad areas of the city, u never know where it will occur. However, it would not stop me from going. Just use your head and be careful. Never travel around at might alone. I am heading back in August to Capetown and Durban.
 
Guest

RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 9:06 pm

RSA is beautiful, we just bought a house not far from CPT. And in my opinion, CPT is probably the nicest city in RSA easily; there really is nothing much to Jo'burg, but I understand that if it's the cheapest arrival point, that's where you'll want to be heading...

As for flights, guess loads of good advice has already been posted....I flew Virgin at Xmas from CPT (A340), didn't find the seats any worse than with BA, and found the service to be nothing short of excellent.

AF service is also pretty good, flew them to Luanda also last year (777); seats were pretty much the standard for Economy, but with PTV's etc. and great food.

Within SA, there are plenty of cheap tickets for flights between JNB and CPT, and I think there are now 2 no-frills carriers operating the route-kulula.com and nationair.

Anyway, enjoy; the flight may be pricey, but the exchange rate is very favourable (about 12 rands to the $ at Xmas, and nearly 18 to the pound!), so very cheap!
 
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CV990A
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Thu May 02, 2002 9:54 pm

Picard- is it really 12 Rand to the dollar?! I was there last May, and it was only 8! Talk about a fall in value. But I think the crime issue may be a bit overblown. As long as you practice street smarts you shouldn't have any problems.
Kittens Give Morbo Gas
 
Guest

RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Fri May 03, 2002 12:21 am

Yep, at Xmas the rate was at that level; on one day only, the rate climbed to 20 rands to the pound!

Checking the latest rates at www.xe.net/ucc I see the rand has since gained some ground-the rate now stands at 10 to the $.

Still, a cheap place to go out. You should have seen the airfares we were quoted from CPT to London, Buenos Aires, Sydney-all very cheap compared to from London.
 
bambicruz
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Fri May 03, 2002 5:31 am

you can try a SFO-JFK and from JFK Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca, and from casablanca I believe there is a timed connection with the flight going to Johannesburg.

RAM has a code-share with delta on SFO-JFK, so i guess you can fly delta to jfk , and then RAM all the way to johannesburg from there. ( you'll have to switch plane at CMN )

you can also try British Airways through london. or Varig through RIO
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Airstud
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RE: Trip To South Africa: Which Airline?

Sat May 04, 2002 1:51 am

Bambicruz, Varig no longer operates any transatlantic services to South Africa.

(Believe me, as a StarAlliance mileage hog, I've CHECKED.)
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