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Don't fly in December

SouthAfrica.TO survey
21 December 2007 flights
surveyed on 24 Nov 2007

1time airline

British Airways

Kulula airline

Mango airline

Nationwide

SAA

sold out

R 1370

R 1456

sold out

R 1238

R 2024

Just like you should never join a gym in January, you should never go flying (or gift shopping) in December - it's just too expensive and the airports are too crowded. Today we surveyed flights from Cape Town to Durban and average flight prices were the most expensive we have surveyed all year. Substituting your December travel time for January is not a bad idea at all.

Nationwide Airline

As usual Nationwide Airline are cheapest

After last week's freakish and first occasion where British Airways were cheapest (from Johannesburg to Cape Town) we're back to normalacy this week, with Nationwide Airline offering the cheapest flight from Cape Town to Durban. On the Cape Town to Durban flight route Nationwide have dominated, with four wins out of six surveys (a mention must be made of Kulula.com, who have had the cheapest flight on the route, at R288). It's easy to see from the table below that current flight prices are the highest they've been:

Survey date

Flight date

Flight route

Cheapest airline

Flight price

24 Nov 2007

21 Dec 2007

Cape Town to Durban flights

Nationwide airline

R 1238

13 Oct 2007

9 Nov 2007

Cape Town to Durban flights

Nationwide airline

R 649

1 Sep 2007

28 Sep 2007

Cape Town to Durban flights

Mango airline

R 639

21 Jul 2007

17 Aug 2007

Cape Town to Durban flights

Kulula airline

R 288

9 Jun 2007

6 Jul 2007

Cape Town to Durban flights

Nationwide airline

R 688

28 Apr 2007

25 May 2007

Cape Town to Durban flights

Nationwide airline

R 484

it's always been more of a lottery as to who is cheapest from Johannesburg to Cape Town, with every airline having come first at some stage (with the notable exception of SAA), and Kulula.com having taken the honours twice:

Survey date

Flight date

Flight route

Cheapest airline

Flight price

17 Nov 2007

14 Dec 2007

Johannesburg to Cape Town flights

British Airways

R 867

6 Oct 2007

2 Nov 2007

Johannesburg to Cape Town flights

Kulula airline

R 638

25 Aug 2007

21 Sep 2007

Johannesburg to Cape Town flights

Nationwide airline

R 1241

15 Jul 2007

10 Aug 2007

Johannesburg to Cape Town flights

Kulula airline

R 443

2 Jun 2007

29 Jun 2007

Johannesburg to Cape Town flights

1time airline

R 499

21 Apr 2007

18 May 2007

Johannesburg to Cape Town flights

Mango airline

R 499

Mango airline adMango airline are weird

It seems odd to us that an airline can be offering flight specials at the same time as having their flights sold out - for a profit-orientated airline, this would be the time to be charging higher flight prices and cashing in profits rather than offering flight specials. Nevertheless, we had the ad on the right of this text emailed to us on the 22nd November. Unlike the last time we received a Mango ad we didn't distribute it to all our readers, as we were a bit dissapointed with what had happened last time (a large number of readers were first elated at the prospect of cheap flights and then disgruntled that they couldn't find any). Without even distributed the ad, one of our readers wrote and complained about it: "10000 Ticket special: ANOTHER SCAM! I would love to see where these seats were offered!? on only 5 flights!? Why then advertise the flights as being available between certain dates, if there is (sic) only 3 possable days to travel. (JHB - Capetown - JHB) Or was (sic) all 10000 seats only available between (JHB - Bloemfontein), because everyone want to go to Bloem for the December holidays!".

airline lifeguardsAre the CAA smoking?

South Africa's Civil Aviation Authority want cabin crew to be able to morph into Clifton beach lifeguards, should a plane crash in water - are they smoking or is this a sensible requirement?

Flights from Johannesburg to London

We know that Comair will be flying from Johannesburg to London, but with Kulula.com or British Airways? Now, in another surprise Comair have indicated that they will probably be flying from Lanseria Airport, not OR Tambo International Airport: "We’re looking at Lanseria as an alternative to Ortia (OR Tambo International Airport) , but haven’t yet come to a decision.", Gidon Novick (joint MD of Comair) told Travel News Weekly. Currently, Comair only operates flights from Lanseria Airport with Kulula airline (not British Airways flights). Novick has indicated that the destination will be London, but not London Heathrow; "It's just impossible to get into Heathrow right now." Our guess - it'll be Kulula airline operating cheap flights from London Stansted (outside possibility of London Luton) to Lanseria Airport.

Review of SAA flight SA333

SAA plane stuckRemember SA333, the South African Airways flight which got its nosewheel stuck in the sand at Cape Town International Airport (FACT) after its pilot executed a handbrake-turn. We flew on SA333, a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town in the Airbus A340-600, and reviewed the flight. In short, SAA's seating sux (they didn't place Mommy, Daddy and Baby together) but their meals have improved. In light of these experiences, we also updated our British Airways vs SAA comparison (comparison of South Africa's two full service airlines).

Updates

We have had a confirmation that the pilot of the SAA flight SAA333, which got stuck in the soft sand at Cape Town airport was female and indications are that ACSA's had less of a role to play in the incident than was previously thought.

SAA nose wheel stuck

International aviatic news

BA still cheapest from London to Paris

This is getting boring and predictable - for the third week in a row British Airways are offering the cheapest flights from Londo to Paris.

Survey date

Flight date

Air France

British Airways

easyJet flights

KLM

National Express *

Eurostar train

18 Nov 2007

14 Dec 2007

£538

£47.80

£51.99 ¹

£364

£56.00

£154.50

10 Nov 2007

7 Dec 2007

£375

£45.80

£51.99 ¹

£352

£34.00

£154.50

4 Nov 2007

30 Nov 2007

£375

£45.80

£51.99 ¹

£353

£34.00

£154.50

¹ an allowance has been made for 1 item of easyJet hold baggage weighing 20kg (which costs £2). KLM (economy class) allow 2 pieces of checked luggage weighing up to 23kg in total. British Airways (World Traveller and Euro Traveller) allow 1 piece of luggage weighing up to 23kg. Air France (Temp class) allows 2 pieces of checked luggage weighing up to 23kg in total. All airlines charge extra for non-standard sized baggage.

* bus/ferry ** train

Echoes of the couldn't-care-less ACSA monopoly

A Life in Full Flight
"We were disappointed that the Irish government permitted the Dublin airport monopoly to increase costs for all airlines from 1 January, and this has already resulted in the average cost of air travel to and from Ireland rising for the first time since 1986. The Irish government has got it wrong. The days of protecting these state-owned monopolies are gone. Dublin airport will once again lose out as all our new routes this year will operate between the UK and Europe." Extract from Alan Ruddock's book, "A Life in Full Flight: The story of the man who made Ryanair take off".

 

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