Flying to Africa through Asia?

Jan 26th, 2007, 04:37 PM
  #1  
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Flying to Africa through Asia?

Hi! I have a question for those people who know lots about flights (Patty, I think?).

I live in San Francisco which is about as far as you can get from Africa. It looks like most people go to Europe and then to Africa, but has anyone tried to go to Asia and then to Africa?

It seems about the same distance and costs about the same, and then I could spend a few days somewhere in Asia. I've traveled a lot in Europe but not Asia so it would be nice to see a new place. But I'm not sure if the jet lag will be worse because of the date line...

Moira
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Jan 26th, 2007, 04:57 PM
  #2  
santharamhari
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Moira,

Flights to India from West Coast USA are plenty....if you desire to visit India, it would be a good opportunity for you.

My flights from Bombay to Africa are very short (relatively speaking). It is only 8 30 hrs direct flight SAA to Joburg. To Nairobi from Bombay is only around 6. Maybe less....i havent been since 2002, cant remember. That's Kenyan airways. Air India also has a direct service to Nairobi with a connecting service to Dar Es Sallam, if you desire to do Southern Tanzania.

You can do a tiger safari in India, prior to going to Africa......

Hari
 
Jan 26th, 2007, 05:12 PM
  #3  
 
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The airlines that fly from the US to Asia and then on to Africa are very few, and generally don't publish fares all the way from the US to Africa. Instead, you need to put together two separate trips - one to Asia, then another to Africa.

Doing that, the price can work out to be a bit less than the through fares, or a bit more, depending on dates and precise routes.

For example, you can fly on Cathay Pacific from SFO to Hong Kong, then also on Cathay Pacific to Johannesburg. Total cost of the two fares is around $400 more than SFO - Europe - JNB. Or, you can fly on Emirates from Hong Kong to JNB for around US$900 (via Dubai.) Once you're in Asia there are several routings, but only a couple of airlines that serve the west coast connect through to Africa. India, Malaysia, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong are the main connecting countries.

You can also get to Joburg via Sydney or Perth.

It's more than a basic round trip, but you can also buy a round-the-world ticket that allows you to include Asia (or Oz), Africa, Europe, and some significant travel within the US. They're major bargains.

Gardyloo is online now  
Jan 26th, 2007, 05:38 PM
  #4  
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Hi Gardyloo and Hari,

Thanks for your replies! The round the world ticket sounds interesting, I always wanted to do a round the world trip but never had time. Not that I have time now, with three weeks on my safari, but it still sounds fun!

For some reason I thought that there were some airlines that fly all the way...I was thinking of Singapore Airlines because I have friends in Singapore that are always asking me to visit them, and I heard it's a very nice airline which is good for long flights. Or maybe Cathay Pacific (though then I would want to go shopping, so maybe not with the luggage limits on the small planes!). Tokyo would be really nice too, but I don't think any Japanese airlines fly to Africa.

India sounds great, Hari! But won't it be really hot and full of bugs when we go in the African winter? My sister absolutely hates bugs and will kill me if I take her somewhere where there are lots of bugs.

I forgot to say that I'm using Frequent Fliyer Miles if that makes any difference. Most of my miles are on United (Star Alliance) but I have some on Continental (Sky Team) and American (Oneworld) too.

Moira
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Jan 26th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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I've flown several times around the world. It is my preferred way to do the long distant travel. You can arrange a variety of itineraries that you would not normally consider if flying for example to Africa and back. Also by flying 'with the sun' all the time, you don't suffer jet lag as harsely.

I chose to alternate via Australia and Asia when going. Too many places to see and experience. Besides, the price is better then the Roundtrip fares. A good one for me was One World, because you could backtrack, easiest to rack up miles, and had lots of good partners. I rarely flew American btw. Only when there was no other choices.
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Jan 26th, 2007, 06:58 PM
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santharamhari
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Moira,

She is going to encounter bugs, India or Africa......

It's hot April, May and June in certain parts.....July-Feb is good.

Hari
 
Jan 26th, 2007, 07:33 PM
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You can fly Star Alliance, using Thai (from BKK) Singapore, or South African Airways (from Hong Kong) to J'burg. It's 11-12 hours to JBO from all of those places. If you're going to East Africa India is most convenient, but there are direct flights with Kenya to Nairobi and Ethiopian to Addis from BKK. Those flights are around 9 hours Kenya Airways is okay.

Obviously Thailand is the preferred stopover ;-)

By the way a return economy ticket from BKK to Africa is $600+ at the moment, purchased locally.
kimburu is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 07:34 PM
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Oh, Malaysian also flies to JBO.
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Jan 26th, 2007, 08:26 PM
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moira-I'm in Hawaii which IS the farthest you can get from Africa and have always flown to SFO then onwards to Africa as it still is the fastest way to get there. Going by Asia/Oz the layovers are outrageous but next trip thanks to Gardyloo, I think I'll head to HongKong then Johannesburg and save about $600 per person, and spend a night or two in HongKong on layover.
(Hari, haven't checked HNL to India yet, but the HNL-Australia is around $900 more per person than HNL-SFO-London-Joburg
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 09:55 PM
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santharamhari
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Dennis,

You can do Hawaii-Singapore-Chennai and then, do a short safari prior to Africa. You must visit!!!

Hari
 
Jan 26th, 2007, 09:56 PM
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santharamhari
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Oh yes, thanks Kimburu....Ethiopian also i believe flies from India and connects to Kili thru Addis....

Hari
 
Jan 26th, 2007, 10:53 PM
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I did some checking for an upcoming trip to S Africa/Botswana. On Singapore Airlines there are good connections from Vancouver (and so I presume SFO) to Johannesburg via Singapore. It's a little more expensive than via Europe but the travelling time is about the same....altho time in the air is several hours longer. If you're using Star Alliance mileage and you have friends in Singapore, then that's the way to go. Singapore is a great stopover destination....but if you are a shopoholic, beware!
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Jan 27th, 2007, 04:09 AM
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I've taken the Singapore flight to Johannesburg, and it's about as painless as you can get. You arrive in JNB at 7am, which is ideal for connecting to most southern Africa safari sites.

The SIN-JNB flight leaves at 2 am, and there is a "transit hotel" in the Singapore airport. The transit hotel sells its rooms in blocks of 6 hours, and a standard room has a double bed and private bathroom (toilet/sink/shower). Nothing deluxe, but very clean. I arranged to get to the airport at 7pm (I started in BKK and took a late afternoon BKK-SIN flight), then got a good 5-hour sleep at the transit hotel before showering and getting on the plane to Johannesburg. Another few hours of airplane sleep on the SIN-JNB flight, and I felt great on arrival at JNB.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jan 27th, 2007, 06:49 AM
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As an example of round-the-world fares in this context, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, and Virgin Atlantic partner on a RTW fare called the "Escapade" which allows up to 29,000 miles for travel (in one direction - E>W or W>E) using any of those three airlines' flights. Pricing in economy for trips beginning/ending in the USA is around $3400 plus tax, and would allow a routing of, say, Los Angeles - Fiji - Auckland - Sydney - Singapore - Johannesburg - London - Los Angeles; or San Francisco - Hong Kong - Singapore - Bali - Singapore - Cape Town - London - San Francisco; or umpteen variations on that theme. Often the drawback to RTWs is that they require more time than many travelers have to spend, in order to make the most of the tickets.
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Jan 27th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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MoiraS,
I looked into this recently with United as I'm considering using miles to go SFO-Joburg next year. The consensus was that it would be no problem flying SFO-SIN-JNB Singapore would be the airline of choice and the stopover is very reasonable. The miles would be the same as routing via Europe.

As SAA has joined the Star Alliance you could also use them for the segment SIN-JNB

I was considering a Business ticket which would be 120,000 miles each and the only question was whether I could used SIN in business from Singapore. Singapore Airlines has a strnge FF rule that ywhile you can fly into SIN in business if you transfer to another flight shorhaul you will be downgraded to economy even when using miles...thus SFO-SIN would be in business but if you went on to Sri Lanka this would be in Economy.

However, United thought this would not be the case for JoBurg because it's a long haul destination. However they didn't really know and said they couldn't remember the question coming up....which tells me not many people do this route. Obviously this is only relevant for Business awards, but if this is the case you could get around it by combining SAA, UA or SA.

You can make a stopover or an open jaw and do remember that with SAA as a partner you don't have to use JNB as your destination. You could go to Capetown or more exotic destinations for the same number of miles as long as you opt for either a stopover or an open jaw.
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Jan 27th, 2007, 12:33 PM
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Coming to this late and don't really have much to add. Just a few comments since you're redeeming miles, check with each program to see if you can route via the Pacific on a US-Africa award and whether there's any difference in mileage requirement vs routing via the Atlantic.

Skyteam will be your weakest option if you want to route your award through Asia as there's no Skyteam carrier that flies from Asia to JNB. I assume you're going to southern and not East Africa. Not that it matters as you'd run into the same problem either way. Once Kenya Airways' entry into Skyteam is finalized, this will change. However, who knows when that will happen (it was announced over a year ago).

I'm not familiar enough with CO Onepass to know if you can mix Skyteam and non-Skyteam carriers on the same award. If you can, then there might be some workable combination using Emirates from Asia to JNB.

Good luck!
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Jan 28th, 2007, 01:53 AM
  #17  
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WOW!!! This is amazing!

We don't really have time to take advantage of the round the world ticket, though I will definitely print this and save it for that eventual round the world trip I plan to take someday.

I'm sorry, I forgot to say where we are going...South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia, in July or August so there aren't too many bugs. So we are planning to fly into Joberg.

I have tons of miles from work travel, so we will hopefully be going business class. The post about United is a bit scary though...I would not want to get downgraded! Please let me know what you find out from them, we can compare notes.

It sounds like Singapore is probably the best stop for us because my friends are there. Does anyone know if we can pay extra (or more miles) to do two stopovers? It would be great to stop over for a few days on the way back since we are BOTH shopaholics!

Dennis, you are even further than we are, but at least you get to live in Hawaii...

Moira
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Jan 28th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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another (dumb?) question...
when flying hnl-sfo-lhr-africa: say you leave on a wed. and you get there on a friday. if you go the other way, through asia, do you get there two days earlier? leave wed. get to africa wed? or would it still be friday there?
thanks
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 12:00 AM
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santharamhari
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Dennis,

Would be the same situation for you.....you lose time travelling east bound.....so you still arrive Friday.

On the bright side, when you return home you will gain time, so same day perhaps.

Hari
 
Jan 29th, 2007, 04:26 AM
  #20  
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Hi Dennis,

Funny, I was just wondering the same thing! We are trying to figure out how many days we can do based on our vacation days, and I couldn't figure out how crossing the date line would affect us. I'm still a bit confused...

Moira
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