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South Africa's low cost carriers are Mango (owned by the government) and Kulula Airlines (owned by Comair). Over the last few years Nationwide Airlines, Interlink airline, 1time and Velvet Sky have all gone bankrupt; with fastjet wanting to fly domestic flights (and already flying from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam), and Skywise Airline and FlySafair about to enter the market. To book a cheap flight on a low cost carrier use the booking engine on the left of this page to identify the cheapest flight deal (then use SouthAfrica.TO travel vouchers to further discount your flight - if you've got none, start earning them now by by emailing us a review of your last flight).
Low cost carriers contrast with full service carriers. The key differentiating factor between low cost carriers (also known as no frills airlines) and full services carriers is whether the provision of meals is included in the airline ticket's price - low cost carriers usually provide food on board, but airline passengers have to pay for the food (an air hostess will walk down the aisle with food or drinks for which passengers can choose what they want and pay cash for it).
Full service airlines may also offer other services, such as the ability to cancel flights, frequent flier miles, business class seats and business class lounges (as well as first class). However, the lines get blurred, as Mango Airlines, for instance, offers Mango Plus and Mango Flex tickets, which incorporate the ability to cancel flights.
Fastjet are the only low cost carrier in South Africa which charges for all checked-in baggage, which is the way European low cost carriers like Ryanair operate.
South Africa is by no means the only country with low cost carriers - low cost carriers in other countries include the USA's Jet Blue, Europe's RyanAir, India's Spicejet Airline and Firefly Airlines which operates Fokker F50s in Malaysia. In May 2007 Skybus Airlines is starting to offer $10 flights in the USA.