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What time of year is cheapest to fly Atlanta or New York to Joburg???


Dec 22nd, 2005, 04:40 PM
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What time of year is cheapest to fly Atlanta or New York to Joburg???

Sadly, I doubt that my frequent flier points will have enough time to build up into the form of two business class tickets by the time I wish to travel to Botswana & Zambia in August or September 2006. I would need 160,000 miles if I were to fly from Europe to Johannesburg, and I think I will need about six months to get there, as I am down to about 40,000 miles after my recent 180,000 frequent flier point splurge for my LAX - Amsterdam - LAX business class flights for my upcoming Tanzanian safari.

Flying LAX - Europe - LAX in August will be pretty expensive...likely about $850 per person. If I do wait until Sept 01st, a strong possibility, then the cost of the flight to Europe will go down by at least 20%. However, I am also willing to fly LAX - Atlanta or New York to Johannesburg this time around, even though it will be in coach.

One final possibility is to fly LAX - Sydney - Joburg, spending possibly three nights in Sydney. If this were done in August or early September, I do think prices would be very advantageous for the flights, at least the LAX - Sydney portion. Really, this would only add about three hours of flying time rather than going through Europe, and it would allow me to spend a few nights in Sydney and step foot on my 6th continent. I am concerned on how much the flights will be from Sydney to Joburg, but I am willing to pay a little premium for Sydney rather than Europe or rather than going through Atlanta or New York.

I guess the real question is when is the best time to fly to Southern Africa from each destination (USA, Europe & Australia).

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Dec 22nd, 2005, 05:04 PM
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Well, here is one result...if I were to depart on December 30th from LAX - London - Joburg and return on Jan 25th, I could fly on Virgin Atlantic for only $1285.

The lowest priced flight from July - September from LAX to Joburg is on Sept 01st and is $1716 per person on British Airways.

Sadly, for the very same date of Sept 01st from Sydney to Joburg, it is $1875 and this does not even include the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney! So, I am probably looking at paying well over a $1,000 per person premium if I were to choose Sydney as a halfway point.

Going through South America offers a nice 8 hour flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil, but getting there is a bit of a struggle from Los Angeles (probably through Miami or Mexico City). A flight out of Sao Paulo to Joburg on Sept 01st is $1160 on Varig, but throw in another $840, at least for getting from LAX - GRU. Mexico City would be a nice stopover for the weekend, but would be about $300 pp more than LAX - Europe - Joburg. However, that $300 pp would likely be made up in the cost of a 5* hotel in Mexico City vs. the cost of a 5* hotel in London, Paris or Milan, each gateways to Joburg.

I am figuring that Dubai would be nearly the same price as Australia and would only work out between about mid-November to about mid-March, otherwise it may be too warm.

Any other interesting routings? I wish there were other options to flying into Southern Africa than going through Joburg, but the fact that there are no direct flights between places like Lusaka to Maun, complicate matters for anyone wanting to combine Botswana and Zambia while bypassing Joburg.
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Dec 22nd, 2005, 05:37 PM
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Once you're in Botswana, you needn't necessarily backtrack to JNB to get to Zambia. From the Okavango Delta, you can take a quick flight to Kasane, which is an hour from the Zim/Zam border, and you can then use the Livingstone, Zambia airport for a charter.

For South Luangwa, its also worth looking into the Lilongwe, Malawi airport, which is where I flew. Its less than an hour by air from Mfuwe.
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Dec 22nd, 2005, 11:04 PM
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Proflight goes to Maun from Livingstone 4x/week, connecting to Lusaka 3x/week.

Have you looked at Malaysian from Buenos Aires. And Bangkok,Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur are always cheaper than through Australia.

Lilongwe is a good option to fly into. The flights are cheaper from there and there is a couple small operators based there.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 03:47 AM
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Rocco -

From info received over these past four-years -

SAA's lowest fares seem to appear for the period late-Oct, November, early-Dec. And, if I recall - another time-frame, which I believe is Feb/Mar... but this can depend on when the Easter/Spring school breaks fall.

Fares for the Oct/Dec period out of ATL, JRK & IAD have been around $875, plus tax (varies, but rarely more than $1,000-$1,050 total). Of course, to these they offer add-ons from the West Coast.

I've used Premier Tours out of Phila - a tour operator with a separate "air" dept. You can contact them thru:


but best to call (800#) for specifics as info on web not always current. They've been offering such low fares for over 25-years.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 05:59 AM
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Thanks. Yes, I have contacted Premier Tours before. While their ground packages are not that competitive, their international air prices are very good. The only reason I did not eventually use them when I contacted them is because I ended up using frequent flier miles.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 06:41 AM
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Rocco, Something else to consider since you will be going coach, is space. My return last month was JNB-IAD. The route is a relatively new one for SAA and after stopping in Ghana to refuel and drop off passengers the plane (747)was virtually empty. The attendant said there were about 50 people on board and explained it takes time to develop new routes. I was in business class but on that flight everyone had a "bed". Probably won't be that empty in nine months though or I doubt they will still be flying it.
I prefer to go out via JFK as it is a night flight where ATL & IAD are morning. I went via London once, but wouldn't go that way again unless spending several days.
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