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I was shocked to hear from one of our suppliers that all their 4x4's are already hired out over the new year's period! If you're looking to hire a car from 20 Dec to 5 Jan please move fast and request a car hire quote from one of our travel consultants.

Cruise news: If you're feeling like love sux, why not make a booking on the 5FM Love Sux cruise? 11 to 15 Feb 2013 on the MSC Opera, from Durban.

Tips for booking cheap flights

Here's a list of our top tips for ensuring you book a cheap flight:

  1. It appears that 1time has automatic random price increases and decreases (R100 to R200 each way). If you've searched for a flight on their website, wait 15 minutes and repeat (you might get a lower price). If the price has increased, don't panic and purchase, but give another 15 minutes and repeat. You may have your original price. Don't know if it's a glitch but that seems to be what happens! (thanks Ette for sharing this tip)

  2. Subscribe to the SouthAfrica.TO mailing list - this will alert you to flight specials, and give you a feel for prices. Use SouthAfrica.TO's airline price comparison tool to find the cheapest airline.

  3. When booking domestic flights, book your outbound and return flight separately, looking for the best deal on each individually (an exception may be where an airline offers a special which is contingent on you booking a return flight as well, which Mango Airlines used to do). HOWEVER, when booking an international flight, book your outbound and return tickets together with the same airline (it almost always works out more expensive to book the legs seperately on international flights).

  4. When flying to or from Johannesburg, check prices to/from both Johannesburg Lanseria (HLA) and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB).

  5. Generally speaking, airlines sell their cheapest tickets first, however, this does not always hold (as if tickets are not selling, airlines sometimes drop their prices and flight prices can get cheaper). Booking a long time before has the added advantage of it being more likely you'll find reasonably priced tickets on the exact dates you want to fly.

  6. Keep track of the Rand price of oil - depending on airlines' pricing power, these will filter through into prices. So if there's been sharp falls in Rand oil prices in the last week, you may want to delay your purchase a bit, but if there's been a sharp increase in the Rand price of oil you may want to accelerate the purchase of your ticket.

  7. If possible be flexible with your leaving and return dates. For domestic flights Saturday afternoon travel is generally cheaper. For international flights leaving South Africa on Sundays to Thursdays and returning Tuesday to Thursday is generally cheaper. Avoid booking on Fridays, Sunday Evenings, on the days before public holidays, and before the start or at the end of school holidays (also keep an eye out for local events, e.g. flying to Cape Town just before the Argus Cycle tour is expensive). August is generally a cheap month in which to fly local South African flights.

  8. When needing to change a booking, check what the costs are of doing it on the internet versus doing it telephonically. We accidentally entered a male passenger as female, and 1time's call centre staff corrected it for free (it would have cost R90 making the change on the internet).

  9. When booking Mango, 1time or Kulula flights, use their facility to search for 1-month low rates, to find the cheapest flight price in a month. Mango calls its "1 Month Low Rates", on 1time's site it is labelled "best fare search" and on Kulula's site it is labelled "Bargain Browza". Always use the "Premium" search facility for Mango, as Mango Plus and Mango Flextickets are sometimes cheaper (the Premium facility also shows the normal price) - especially during high demand dates they are sometimes cheaper than Mango's normal flight prices.Mango Airlines dashboard for monthly low rates and premium flights

  10. "Like" the SouthAfricaTO Facebook site, follow South Africa Travel Online on Google/+, and take part in the travel competitions (only Facebook - competitions are not allowed on Google/+).

  11. Where airlines have codeshare arrangements (i.e. they sell tickets on each other's flights) check the prices on all the airlines' websites. For example, SAA sells Qantas Airline tickets for flights from Johannesburg to Sydney - check both theSAA site as well as the Qantas site (the prices are not always the same). Also, Kulula sells British Airways flights on their website, sometimes at a cheaper price than you can book the flights on the British Airways site (you can tell that it's a British Airways flight if the flight number has 4 numbers in it, e.g. MN6313) - we've seen situations where over R1000 can be saved on BA flights by booking them on Kulula's website. We've also seen it happen the other way round, where flights are cheaper on the BA website than on the Kulula website.

  12. When booking domestic South African flights, check the prices of the low cost airlines (Mango, Kulula & 1time) , as well as the full service carriers (British Airways & SAA). For international flights, always check the prices of Emirates flights.

  13. Direct non-stop flights are best. With each stop the chances of something going wrong (e.g. being stranded as a result of delayed flights) increases. Especially avoid stopovers in places during their bad-weather seasons (e.g. Chicago is prone to snowstorms in winter).

  14. photo of Kulula moolah

    Get a Kulula credit card - the Kulula moolah you earn can be used to offset the price of Kulula airline tickets. For cheaper Mango flights, get a Vodacom credit card. Where airlines have frequent flyer programmes sign up for them.

  15. After Nationwide’s liquidation (& more recently Velvet Sky's) many passenger's were stuck with tickets they couldn't use. To reduce this risk, purchase your airline tickets with a credit card that comes with a safeguard that if a supplier fails to deliver, you can turn to your card issuer for a refund (this is usually achieved by choosing the option to pay the full amount before interest rates kick in after a month).

  16. Use the pay later option as a "hedge-bet". It gives you 24-48 hours to look for a better rate and eliminates post purchase dissonance if an airline decides to run a special.

  17. If you're really desperate for a cheap flight, then date a pilot or flight attendant! Or better yet get a job as one - they have loads of flight perks.

Get spacious seating

It's not all about price - comfort counts. Look at our comparisons of 1time vs, Kulula vs Mango (the low cost airlines) and BA vs South Africa (the full service airlines).

Once you've chosen your airline the next challenge is to and get the most comfortable seating (In a Skyscanner survey seat 6A was the most popular, as it's close enough to the front of the aircraft to get off early & be served food early, but not too close to te galley/toilet).

  1. Check in & select your favourite seat online. By the time you get around to physically checking-in, all the best seats are taken.

  2. In my experience it is difficult to negotiate an upgrade to business class, but check-in attendants are willing to accommodate requests to be seated at the emergency exits or the front of the plane (not only do these seats have more space, but they are safer in the event of an accident, as you're closer to an emergency exit). At check-in always check whether the seats at the emergency exit and at the front of the plane are available. And don't make the mistake like I once did of asking for seats "next to" the emergency exit, and the SAA check-in lady seated me at the row in front of the emergency exit (which has seats which don't fold back), always ask for the seat "at the" emergency exit.

    Note that the Civil Aviation Authority wont allow the following people to sit at the emergency exit row: (1) those who cannot follow & execute instructions in english, (2) those passengers who are largely deaf / blind, (3) kids who are under the age of twelve, including infants, and (4) those who are travelling with another person who would need assistance in the event of an emergency.

  3. If you're travelling in a group (e.g. Mother, Father and daughter), don't just assume that the check-in attendant will seat you together. On occassions I have assumed this, and found myself split from my family on the plane. Rather make sure whilst checking in that you are seated together. If there are no remaining seats together, try to get aisle seats or window seats (and not middle seats) to trade with others on the plane and get yourselves seated together (people are less willing to trade an aisle seat or a window seats for a middle seat. Once on the plane ask the flight attendants to assist you with swapping places to get your group together.

Make it through within the luggage limits

Know the luggage limits, and weigh your luggage before you leave. If you suspect you will be overweight take some of your coats and jerseys out of your luggage and wear them. Put some heavy items in your pockets. If you'll still be overweight remember that it's sometimes cheaper to buy coupons for extra luggage online when you book your ticket, rather than at the airport.

Spread luggage to hedge your bets

If you are traveling with somebody, pack half of your belongings in your travel case, and place the other half in your companion’s luggage. In case one person’s luggage is delayed, you will both have access to some of your essential items.

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R10 642*


Book at SAA or through the SAA Call Centre on 0861 606 606
Limited seats available
When booking through the Reservations Call Centre, quote booking code: ws24May12

Enjoy your drive and get rewarded. Book your car with Europcar via flysaa.com and stand a chance to be 200 000 Voyager Miles richer.  Terms and conditions apply.



The London Olympics takes place from the 27th July until the 12th August 2012. International flight prices may be elevated during that period. Also note, that if you're flying to the UK, the UK Border Agency have warned that immigration queues may be 4 hours long.

From 1 June 2012, you fly Emirates from Durban on a Boeing 777.

With their added legroom, we all love sitting in the exit rows, but not everybody can. The Civil Aviation Authority have various requirements for passengers who sit in exit rows - the following passengers may not sit in the row at the emergency exit: (1) if you can't understand & carry out english instructions, (2) if you are substantially deaf or blind, (3) kids under the age of 12, including babies, and (4) passengers travelling with somebody who would require help in the event of an emergency.

The Purple shall rule! Last word on the removal of 1time's toilets from the front of the aircraft: "How can we join the mile high club now?" Carol. (Ed: the important questions must be asked!)

Views expressed here aren't necessarily those of SouthAfrica.TO's. If you would like to get your opinions published, please email them to cheapflights@southafrica.to

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The Bottom Line: Pending legislation sometimes has unintended consequences as companies gear up for its implementation. Take the youth wage subsidy - President Zuma has indicated that only workers in excess of your current number may count for the youth wage subsidy. So, our little business is holding back on hiring until it's implemented (or until we know for certain that it wont be implemented).