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hurricanewendy May 27th, 2005 08:42 AM

airfare from capetown, SA to Florida USA
Hi I am new here. I have a friend that lives near Capetown, South Africa. We are trying to plan a trip for her to visit me in Florida next year (either May or December, 2006) Does anyone know of the best way to get affordable airfare between South Africa and the USA. I have looked at online sites and found a sample fare as low as $1,500 US dollars, but am hoping to find it cheaper as she is on a budget. I have no experience at all with purchasing international airfare. I hope this the appropriate place to post this question, I had considered posting it on the Africa board. Thanks in advance for any advice.

jcasale May 27th, 2005 09:34 AM

Given that we are flying from Chicago to Cape Town next month and it is costing as about $1800, I'd say $1500 isn't bad. There was an article in Conde Nast Traveler this month about finding bargains on international flights - it's not easy, but it can be done if you have time and patience. You might want to pick up a copy of the magazine.

hurricanewendy May 27th, 2005 09:46 AM

Thanks, I will make sure to pick up a copy of that magazine.

wally34949 May 27th, 2005 10:30 AM

Delta is partners with South African Airways. I suppose you wouldn't have 100,000 miles tucked away somewhere. I did the Ft. Lauderdale to Atlanta to Cape Town flight between Christmas/New Years. Since that was very high season, I paid dearly, $1951. The price seems to be the same if you do a stopover in Europe. American has a partner in Brazil if you are miles with American. Otherwise, $1,300 is the lowest I've seen.

Suppose you don't want to buy an Around the World ticket?

sundowner May 27th, 2005 12:09 PM

Has she priced a ticket? In 2002 when we flew from the US to South Africa, our tickets were $2200+ RT. We talked to a couple of people who live in SA and their RT ticket from SA to the US was $800 something. They obviously had a much cheaper fare. They were regular travelers from SA to the US and they were shocked at how much our ticket was. We assumed their fares were regularly much cheaper flying out of SA than flying in.

I've never asked anyone else how much they pay so I have no idea if this was just a fluke or not. It won't hurt to have her check the fare from her end.

hurricanewendy May 27th, 2005 12:36 PM

to answer both questions, neither of us have frequent flyer miles. And as for checking on her end, she had a friend ask a friend to check and was quoted 2,000 US dollars connecting in Washington(??) anyway I told her that was an odd place to make a connection and she should be able to get the ticket cheaper, that is why I am checking. I am going to tell her to inquire with a few local travel agents and see what they tell her.


Gardyloo May 27th, 2005 03:20 PM

The connection is in Washington because that's South African Airlines' new US base of operations.

Note you can't book flights (or see fares) longer than 330 days before the flights, so both May and December 2006 are too far out at present. Using ITA ( for April 2006 I can see a fare of US$1350 or so using SAA and Varig, going from South Africa to Brasil then up to Miami.

Otherwise it might be advisable to look at cheap flights from SA to London, then a separate ticket across the water to Miami.

clevelandbrown May 27th, 2005 03:36 PM

I know sometimes the country where you buy the tickets and start can affect the price. In other words, London to Chicago to London can have a lower fare than Chicago to London to Chicago. Often the sites we use to find prices don't reflect this, as they are US based. In other words, a search on ExpediaUS may produce a different result than a search on ExpediaUK. Of the sites I use, however, none shows an African affiliate site.

Just for kicks, I went to South African Airlines site and for Johansberg to Ft. Lauderdale through Atlanta in December was just over $1800US. Expedia (I think, I forgot to write the name down) showed the same price, but also showed a Delta flight through New York at $1300US.

I've not flown to Africa, so I don't know what high season (which can affect the price of tickets) is, nor whether travel there follows the same pattern I see in domestic US flights, and US to Europe flights, where prices are high until about 90 days before the travel date, then decline for a few weeks, then go back up. That pattern is always subject to the occasional sale.

My suggestion would be to identify which airlines offer service between your friend's destinations, then monitor those airlines closely hoping to find a sale. Be prepared to buy quickly if a good price shows up, as sale tickets invariably sell out very quickly.

You might also try posting an inquiry on the cheapflights forum at
While you would be nominally off topic there, I have seen an occasional posting regarding South Africa, and you won't find more informed and helpful people anywhere.

hurricanewendy May 28th, 2005 06:36 AM

Wow thanks for all the helpful info! Bookmarked the ITA website. I think with a little legwork that my friend and I can pull this off.

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