How to Fly Business Class to Africa for the Price of An Economy Ticket

PHOTO: Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock

You probably know that the cost of a business-class seat increases significantly from a coach option, oftentimes double or even triple the price. But it doesn't have to.

Now that we’ve covered how to fly business class to Europe, Asia and South America for roughly the price of an economy ticket it’s time to tackle Africa, one of the most difficult continents to reach by air.

When you have to travel this far, I don’t blame you for not wanting to spend your two-day journey in economy. I’m not a fan of sore back, knees and poor blood circulation, either. But, can flying all that way in business class really be affordable?

If you live in the United States, most flights to African countries will connect either in Europe or South America and prices skyrocket when your route has connecting flights. Having said that, there are still ways to travel to Africa from the United States in business class without spending a ton, even though you’ll notice the cost is higher than in our previous installments to Europe, South America and Asia.

Fly to South Africa From the West Coast

Do you live on the West Coast of the United States and have seeing the big five on a Safari in South Africa on your bucket list?

If you want to fly business class on the cheap, you can take a trip from Los Angeles to Johannesburg with Ethiopian Airlines. You can book a round-trip for under $2,500 in their premium Cloud Nine cabin between November and February, which are considered summer months in the southern hemisphere.

INSIDER TIPBoth the eastbound and westbound legs of the Los Angeles to Addis Ababa route make a fuel stop in Dublin, but you don’t have to deplane.

 

On the first leg—between Los Angeles and Addis Ababa—you’ll fly on flatbed seats on a Boeing 787 and enjoy meals from a menu that includes both Western and Ethiopian food choices, plus Ethiopian tea and coffee. There is no Wi-Fi onboard, but you’ll be presented with a choice of movies, TV shows and audio on the in-flight entertainment system.

Once you arrive in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you can take refuge from the chaotic terminal in the Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge, which you can access for free with your business-class ticket. Treat yourself to a broad selection of wines and spirits or check out the Ethiopian coffee station while you wait for your connecting flight to Nairobi.

Fly to Morocco From the Midwest

If you have exotic shopping on your mind, head to Morocco where you will have plenty of chances to bargain in the cities’ colorful souks or venture out to Marrakech, Fez or Chefchaouen to get a true Moroccan experience.

Chicago is the best city for finding great business class deals to Africa; Turkish Airlines is one of the best carriers. They fly to more than 300 destinations in about 110 countries, and they can get you from Chicago to Casablanca, via the carrier’s hub in Istanbul for under $3,000.

If you haven’t yet flown in business class with Turkish Airlines, you’re in for a treat. The product is known for its excellent service and delicious food. When choosing your meal, you can opt for a beef fillet, grilled fish or a vegetarian pasta choice for dinner or a Turkish cheese pastry or an omelet for breakfast—all prepped by a dedicated in-flight chef and served with a candle. Plus they serve Turkish delight for dessert!

Turkish operates a wide-body Boeing 777 on this route, and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to sleep like a baby in your completely lie-flat seat during the 15 hour flight. If you find yourself awake, throw on your noise-canceling headphones and enjoy a flick (or three) on your in-flight entertainment screen or enjoy free Wi-Fi.

When you connect in Istanbul, make sure not to miss Turkish Airlines’ International CIP Lounge. Scan your boarding pass for entry and enjoy! There you’ll find everything: luggage storage, a library, a theater room, a pool table, a kids’ area, and more.

If your layover is long enough, freshen up in one of the shower suites. If not, make yourself a plate from the buffet or just soak in your surroundings. The lounge itself is an experience in and of itself, so make sure you get the most of it.

Fly to Cairo From the East Coast

SkyTeam partner Saudia, also known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, offers great service and prices connecting New York City with Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and a plethora of other African destinations, such as Cairo, one of Saudia’s top destinations.

You’ll depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport’ Terminal 1 and as a business-class Saudia passenger you’ll have access to the Air France lounge. There, you’ll get to enjoy a selection of hot and cold food, free Wi-Fi and refreshments. If you partake in alcohol, remember that Saudia is a dry airline, so make sure to enjoy a glass or two of bubbly in the lounge.You can fly to Cairo and back this fall for under $2,500 per ticket. Sure, the costs seems a lot higher than what we’ve found to be true to other destinations, but it beats a $6,000 price tag to destinations in Africa.

The airline operates Airbus 330 and Boeing 777 planes on this itinerary, and you’ll be able to enjoy lie-flat seats in all their glory. Once on board, check out a Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit and find moisturizing creams, a toothbrush with toothpaste, an eye mask, earplugs and socks for your comfort.

The menu features a few meal options, and the service includes Arabic coffee. You’ll find plenty of options in English and Arabic languages on your Inflight entertainment system and even have access to internet, albeit for just 20 minutes at no extra cost.

INSIDER TIPYou also can fly from New York City to Johannesburg on Saudia for under $2,500, but stops in Jeddah are a bit longer—10 to 14 hours long.

Get Going

Affordable flights from the U.S. to the African continent are few and far in between. It’s such a far-flung destination that many airlines charge a substantial amount of money to reach it. Sure, the average cost of these premium-cabin flights exceed the cost of similar flights to Europe and Asia, but it’s still possible to reach Africa’s exciting countries for a reasonable price.